Mark 7:1-23, Three Ways To Receive And Serve God’s Word

Mark 7:1-23, Three Ways To Receive And Serve God’s Word
1. God’s Word As A Superior Authority To Traditions (v1-13)
2. God’s Word As A Bite-Sized Invitation To Truth (v14-16)
3. God’s Word As A Hearty Personal Meal With Jesus (v17-23)

Pastor Jerry Simmons teaching Mark 7:1-23, Three Ways To Receive And Serve God’s Word

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Jerry Simmons shared this Verse By Verse Bible study from Mark on Wednesday, June 7, 2023 using the New King James Version (NKJV).

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Well, as we look at this portion today, Mark Chapter Seven, I've titled the Message three ways to receive and serve God's Word. Three ways to receive and serve God's word here. We're looking at an interaction that Jesus has. It begins with some confrontation. The religious leaders come from Jerusalem and they confront Jesus about a situation that they see and are displeased by. So there's the first part that we'll see there in the 1st 13 verses, but then Jesus takes that conversation and makes it a little bit more public and calls the multitude to himself. And he addresses the subject in a slightly different way as he now addresses the multitude. And then we'll see. Away alone, with his disciples continuing the conversation, continuing the discussion. But now it's a little bit different, and so you can see the different ways that Jesus is addressing this topic, depending on who he's speaking to. Three groups of people, and so three ways. To receive as well as to serve that is to deliver God's word. I don't have the words quite exactly right, but on the cooking shows, if you ever watch the cooking shows and cooking competitions, you know a lot of times they'll serve potatoes three ways or whatever, right? Like and and you can always know pretty much anytime someone says they're going to serve something three ways. They're not going to win that competition. They usually do pretty poorly, like it's not a a good way to. Approach to the challenges that they have in those competitions and and so that's kind of the idea in my head. It's serving God's word in three ways. That's what Jesus does now. Jesus is a much better chef, especially with the word of God than those cooking competition contestants. And so it's the right thing to do and we can see Jesus approach these situations differently and and talking about the same thing but having a different approach, having some different things to say as he relates to it is a good example for us. But also, as we look at these things, we see the need for us to really receive in all three ways. And as those who desire to grow and develop in our relationship with. The Lord, these are important ways for us to maintain our receiving of God's word into our lives as well. And so as we are receiving from the word and as we are sharing the word with others around us, these three different aspects are very important for us to develop, to understand and to keep in mind. And so we're going to walk through these. Three ways to receive and serve God's word. The first one is founded verses one through 13 and here we see God's word as a superior authority to traditions. God's word stands above everything else. It is the highest authority that we can have in this life. The word of God. Is a superior authority to all of men's traditions, men's teachings, men's philosophies, men's ideas, our hopes, our dreams, our. Peoples, the word of God stands above all of them. It is far superior authority. Let's dive in again. Verses one through three, it says. Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes came together to him, having come from Jerusalem. Now when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defile that his unwashed hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees and all the Jews, do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition. Of the elders. And so here the stage is set. The Pharisees, that is, the religious rulers of the day, came up from Jerusalem. They were in Jerusalem. They were religious leaders. There in the community, which was in the southern part of Israel, Jesus is in the Galilee area around the Sea of Galilee in the northern part of Israel, and so they come up and make this journey. They make this. The TREC to investigate the life and the Ministry of Jesus. This isn't the first time that they've done that, and it's not the last time they continue to seek to trap him to disqualify him. And so as they're watching what's going on, they see something that they find shocking and displeasing. It tells us in verse 2. That some of the disciples eat bread with unwashed. And this really bothered them. Now don't think about this in the way that you might think about washing hands today. One of the things that things that bothers me is if you go to a restaurant and you go to the restroom in the restaurant. And there's no soap in the dispenser, and then even worse than that, is if on your way into the restroom you see an employee walking out of the. And you know, there was an employee in the restroom that used the restroom. And either there's a slim chance to use the last little bit of soap or didn't need soap anyways, cause no no use washing your hands when you're working at a restaurant, right? Like that is horrifying. And we would find fault with that. But that's not what is happening here. This is not about hygiene. It's not about cleanliness, it's not about washing dirt or germs off of your hands. This is a ceremonial washing. In fact, the kind of washing that they're referring to here would take place after they washed. Hands that there would be kind of a two-part thing. They would wash their hands to cleanse them, to get the dirt off of them and then they would do a second washing. That was the ceremonial washing, and there was a particular procedure that they would follow to wash them in a particular way and and the religious leaders especially. He even says all of the Jews in verse three would practice this, and so the traditional Jews, the religious Jews, the religious leaders, they would all practice this. They would have this special way of washing their hands before they would eat their food. It was how they were raised. It's what they knew their whole life. It's something they took great pride in and were meticulous about. But then all of a sudden they see the disciples of Jesus not doing this. And it really bothers them what is going on? How is it? Why is it and and they confront Jesus, not the disciples, who didn't wash their hands? They confront Jesus. Jesus, you're the teacher. You're supposed to teach them how to do these things the right way. How can you allow them to go on in that way? Now Mark here explains this for us a little bit in verses 3:00 and 4:00. It's one of the indications that we have that the Gospel of Mark was written. Not primarily for a Jewish audience because they didn't need these things explained to them. But for a Gentile audience like you and I, probably we we wouldn't know the. Customs of the Jewish people in this way and so he explains this and and then he goes on to explain in verse 4. There's a lot of other things that they would do like this many other things that they would wash and have a particular method and particular technique, cups and pitchers and copper vessels and couches. And so this was something that they were felt was really important and held on to but. Notice in verse 3. The end, it says, holding the tradition of the elders. And this really is the core of this exchange that's about to happen. This washing that they were so zealous for was not something that was prescribed in the scriptures. This was something that the elders. That is not even this generation, but generations before them. Elders in the Nation of Israel. Taught and held to you certain kinds of washings and certain techniques, and approaching the washings and being ceremonial, clean, ceremonially clean. And so these things were handed down. And so again, you can picture this as like ingrained in their minds. It's part of their life. It's part of their culture. It's what they've known their whole lives, and that's why they're so shocked. When they see these disciples not following. That tradition for the religious leaders. And for many of the Jewish people of Jesus Day. The customs and traditions of the elders. Were held in. Higher regard to the scriptures than the scriptures themselves. And so they would. And Jesus is going to address this here in these verses, but they would disregard the scriptures in order to follow what it was that was passed down to them traditionally in their culture and in their customs. And so the religious leaders upset by this confront Jesus in verse five, it says. Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him. Why do your disciples not walk? According to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands? Now, one good thing here is that they recognize that this issue is an issue of tradition. They're not confused and thinking well. We think this is the scripture we think this is the word of God. They know that it's tradition. It's the tradition of the elders. But again, that was meaningful to them. It meant it was as important. And for some people, more important than the scriptures themselves and. So it was. Like they were violating the scriptures from the religious leaders. Why do you do that? Why do you violate and you don't walk? According to the tradition of the elders, but you eat bread with unwashed hands. Now Jesus, in responding to them, he gets. Pretty bold and clear right up front. He begins to quote from the Prophet Isaiah verse six. He says he answered and said to them well, did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites as it is written, this people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And in vain they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. Here Jesus quotes from the Prophet Isaiah, chapter 29, verse 13. And the prophet Isaiah. Here gives us an indication the religious leaders of Jesus's day weren't the first generation to have this kind of issue. Hundreds of years earlier. As the prophet Isaiah was ministering to the people. There was this same issue. Which is important to recognize because it's not just one generation, but as we look at the Pharisees here, as we look at the religious leaders and their their grasp on tradition, we can understand it's not a one time issue that one generation had or one people had or one culture had it's a issue. That is ongoing and has always been and is still present today and is important for us to consider because we can find ourselves in a similar situation as the Pharisees. If we hold our traditions in too high. Of a regard. And so, as the religious leaders come to Jesus with this, he comes back to them and calls them hypocrites. He calls them pretenders. He calls them fakers and and he says very sternly here. Isaiah prophesied really well about you because. You honor the Lord with your lips, but your heart is far from God and Jesus is really calling them out for having that outward form. Of righteousness having the outward form of godliness. But not having a heart that was actually in tune with in fellowship with God, their hearts were far from God, but they were very careful to make sure that with their lips they honor God. And and this kind of fakeness. Not something that God puts up with or allows or desires. In verse seven, as he continues to quote from Isaiah, he says in vain they worship me. Now think about that for. It's a little bit. Challenging to work through because to think of someone saying I'm doing this for God and working hard, they the religious leaders sacrificed greatly to keep their customs and rituals and traditions that were handed down from their elders. They sacrificed greatly. All in the name of God, all with 100% confidence they were doing it for God. Many of them, I'm sure there are some of them that you know they didn't have the the even good intention to start but. But Jesus says in vain they worship me. Taking these huge sacrifices and you know all of these steps that they've taken, these great pains that they've taken. Convinced that they're doing it for God and Jesus sums it all up and says it's in vain. Because they're teaching as doctrines, the commandments of men, the traditions of the elders. They taught as doctrine again. They regarded it as high as the word of God, and in some cases higher than the. Word of God. And that is not. Appropriate for any kind. Of tradition or commandment of men or philosophy of men or ideas and mindsets of men. Not to have any. Kind of rivalry with the Word of God. And so Jesus here is pretty clear with them. He's bold with them. You're holding on to man's ideas. And you're disregarding the word of God. Check out her seat. And nine, he says, for laying aside the commandments of God. You hold the tradition of men, the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do, he said. To them all too well, you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. So it's not just that they have these traditions and they. Like to do them. The holding on of these traditions. Is perverting their perspective on things and This is why it's important for us to consider these things as we look at the religious leaders because we can follow in their footsteps if we allow our traditions to have too high of a prominence in our hearts. And our perspective gets distorted. Can convince us? That we're able to that we have license to neglect other areas. That God has spoken to us about. Traditions skew and distort perspective about righteousness and sin. The the religious leaders here had bad doctrine in regards to righteousness and sin. Makes a person righteous before God, and what defiles a person, Jesus is going to correct to that doctrine here in just a moment. But it's their traditions that. Started this problem and caused them as they held on to these things and and related to them as if they were the word of God and and when you hold on to true traditions as if they are as prominent as strong, as as authoritative as the commandment of God, then what ends up happening is you begin to lay aside. The commandment of God. And so there's. A danger we always have to have kind of a light touch. On our traditions, on our customs and rituals and things that we do and hold fast to the Scripture itself. Laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men. Verse 10 for Moses said honor your father and your mother and he who curses father or mother, let him. Be put to death. But you say if a man says to his father or mother, whatever. Profit you might. Have received from me is Corbin. That is a gift to God. Jesus lays out here an example. Let me give you an example, he says of the traditions that you hold on to to the neglect of the commandment of God. So here's the commandment of God. In verse 10 he quotes Moses. From the 10 commandments. Exodus Chapter 20, Deuteronomy chapter 5. Honor your father and your mother. And he who curses father and mother. Let him be put to death. Here's clear scripture. Clear teaching from God. Here's what God wants from children. Honor your father and your mother. Clear revelation of God. And his word? Now the religious leaders wouldn't have disputed this commandment or this verse this concept. But at the same time they did hold on to this idea. Known as Corbin. What is that? Well, he's explaining it here in verse 11. In relating to a father or mother. If someone says whatever you might have received from me. It's a gift to God. And this was a practice that they allowed as a means of getting out of responsibilities. A little bit humorous as you think through it. Because you know from our perspective, from this far away from this many years away, it seems so silly. But be careful because our hearts can easily find ourselves in similar places. But the idea of Corbin was it was something that you would dedicate to God. Let's say you had a great harvest. And you were excited about it. And so you said this whole harvest of this season is Corvette. It's a gift to God now. Again, this is not. Something that is outlined in the Scriptures, but their traditions taught them that. OK, when you give something to God in that way. That doesn't mean you have to go take it all and actually drop it off. At the temple. It just means it's reserved for the things of God. Now, of course, God would want you. To be paid reasonably for your service in harvesting his crop, right. And so because God would have you can you can partake of the crop, you can use the crop and sell the crop. Personal use was no problem for something that was. A gift to God that was. Corban in that way. But what wasn't permitted is for anybody else to have access to that resource. And so you could devote it to God, which meant. Sounded very spiritual, looked like a really great thing. You have full access to it. And nobody else could touch it. And the idea was OK. And then if you die, well, then, whatever's left is given to the Lord at the temple and. And so this was the, the custom, the idea that was passed down to them. And so then they would begin to use that and say, alright, mom and dad, I know I'm supposed to honor you and take care of you. It's the right way. It's what God would desire. But you know, you know it just. Kind of turns. Out I dedicated my whole bank account and all of my retirement savings and everything to God. And so I sorry my hands are tied. I can't give you anything I can't support you. I can continue to live how I want to live and go on my vacations and do the fun things I want to do, but I I just I can't support you. It's it's dedicated to God. And so they allowed. This kind of thing again, Corbin is. Not a biblical prescription for this. This was their tradition and they allowed it to be a loophole then. OK, now you. Can disregard the command to honor your father and mother. Because there's a higher command that is this tradition, it's dedicated to the Lord, and so it cannot be used for those things. And so Yep, you're not accountable then to be what the scripture says because you have dedicated those things to the Lord. Verse 12, he says. Then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, making the word of God of no effect through your tradition, which you have handed down. And many such things you do. Jesus says this is just one example of many. You allow this tradition to become a loophole so that they don't have to. Follow what God has revealed and what God has said. And you do a whole lot of things. Like that commentator, FB Meyer puts it this way. The Pharisees laid great stress on ritual so long as their devotees were careful in the minor observances. They were permitted a wide license so far as the weightier matters of the law were concerned. This is a natural tendency of the human heart. It's a natural tendency of the human heart. This isn't just something that religious leaders of Jesus's day. Had issue with or struggled with and it's why the point is. Here's here's how we need to receive as well as serve the word of God. We need to receive it as a superior authority. To all traditions, to all philosophies, to all of man's teachings, it stands above it stands apart from anything that humans can produce. No matter what's popular, no matter what's trending, no matter, you know, if everybody in the world agrees, but God's word disagrees. It's the word of God that is the highest authority. And the tendency of our human heart. Is to allow traditions and our own philosophies and ideas. To rise above and we disregard what God says in preference to. What we desire now, a few times here in this passage, we see that this is just one of many examples relying back to verse four for a minute. It says when they come from the marketplace, mark is explaining the situation. They do not eat unless they wash and there are many other things which they have received and hold. Not one example, not you know, just one issue, but there's many things in their life that they hold on to in these traditions as commandments of God or higher than even commandments of God. In verse 8, Jesus talking directly to them, laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, the washing of pitchers and cups. And many other such things you do. So Mark says that earlier in verse four many other things you do like this and verse 8 many other things you do like this. Verse 13, making the word of God no effect through your tradition which you have handed down and many such things. And so there wasn't just this one isolated issue and an incident, but this was a pattern. In their life and this is. What can develop? When we do not. Receive the word of God as. A superior authority to tradition. Our life gets filled with many things. Not just one thing, not just one. You know, area that is a little bit weak because we hold on to that tradition. But but those traditions. Lead us into many such things. And so there's this need for us to come back to the word of God and remember the authority that it has and the place that it needs to have in our minds and in our hearts, Pastor, where? And Wisby says each new generation must engage in a similar conflict. For human nature is prone to hold on to worn out, man made traditions. And ignore or disobey the living word of God. This is important because it's a tendency for us. And every new generation. And it is interesting to think about the generational traditions because they get passed down to us. We're familiar with them. We're perhaps brought up with them where we've known them for a long time and and those traditions can easily become like gospel to us. But we have to be careful. To not allow anything to compete with the scriptures. You know the way that traditions usually develop are good things. It's a good thing the work that God has done and the Lord, you know, spoke to me and taught me how to spend time with him every day in the scriptures. And so I passed that on to the next generation and then the next generation. But but pretty soon it can be well, this is just what we do. You know, we have the area of the country called the Bible Belt, right. There's a lot of tradition that is bound up there. And if you don't? Believe me, just call it Pastor Tom Holman and he'll talk to you all about it. And there's a a ton of people who are convinced it's a Christian culture. It's a, you know, Christian rituals and practices. And they're they're convinced that they're right with God and everything is OK because of the traditions that they follow, the traditions that they keep. And each generation has not engaged. With the word of God in the same way. And so developing habits and kind of traditions of our own are not necessarily bad. Again, they often are rooted in things that are good and seeking God and and following. The Lord but. But we have to be really careful. To not allow those things. Well, that's how we've always done it. That's how all of the churches do it. That's how Calvary chapels have always done it. That's how you know, my family walked with the. Lord, that's how. That's perhaps very good for those times, and maybe even very good for today. But we must go back to the word of God to reestablish the basis and the foundation for the traditions that we continue in. We have to receive God's word. Remember, Peter had to be challenged in this in acts chapter 10. When the Lord gave him the vision of all of the animals that were unclean, and he said, rise, Peter, kill and eat, and he said no, not so. Lord I I don't partake of that. That kind of food. I've never touched those unclean things and God said don't call unclean. What I have cleanse. And there Peter had a choice. To receive God's word as a superior authority. Rooted in this teaching here that Peter heard from Jesus right here in Mark Chapter 7 confirmed with this vision that the Lord received or or gave to him. He had to receive it and break his traditions. And go back to. The superior authority, the word of God. And so we have to do this as well. Another quote here from Pastor Warren Wisby, people who Revere man-made traditions above the word of God, eventually lose the power of God's word in their lives, no matter how devout they may appear, their hearts are far from God. When we hold too high of a regard for man-made traditions, we lose the power of God's word in our life. And the word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any double edged sword. Hebrews foretells us. But when we hold our traditions. Above the word of God. The power is lost because we're not receiving the word of God. Paul tells Timothy and Second Timothy, Chapter 3, talking about the latter days. There's going to be perilous times and all of these crazy things that will be happening. Men will be lovers of themselves and money and boasters and proud and blasphemous. But you continue all the way down, verse 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Great wickedness, but very religious is going to be a mark of the last days. How do you have great wickedness but also very religious? The form of godliness but denying its power? You have that holding on to the traditions of men. And rejecting, ignoring, setting aside. The word of God receive. God's word as a superior authority to tradition but also serve God's word. That's that way. That is when we have opportunity to share. That we need to make sure that we stay true to what the Scriptures actually teach. This past week I was listening to Pastor Chuck teach on Mark Chapter 5. Because I was preparing for Sunday's message and I didn't cover this on Sunday, but it in March, Chapter 5 is also the encounter with the Demoniac the the Legion right, and the pigs being rushing off the Cliff and everything. But in that teaching, it was it just kind of struck me as interesting not to make a big deal about it. But as he began to address the situation and talk about. Passion Chuck began to talk about demons. What are demons? He was explaining well. We don't really know. We can draw some conclusions. It seems clear from the scriptures that. They are fallen angels, evil spirits, demons, fallen angels that they're they're synonymous. But he also was very clear to make the point. We can't see this. Without question or without discussion, there's room for discussion on this because it's not clearly revealed anywhere in the scriptures. It seems like the clearest possibility, but there's still room for the discussion on the matter. And then I was listening to another pastor teaching on the passage and. He shared a similar position. And I just appreciated the honesty there. Sometimes, you know, if you would ask one of us, well, what are demons? Ohh, they're fallen angels like not even a question. No room for discussion if you have a different view on that, you know you're completely wrong. It's a heretic. There's not no room for other other ideas or opportunities. There now I don't. Mean to say that I'm thinking something differently about demons, but just the reality that we we come back to and where the scripture is clear, we can be very clear and where the scripture is not clear. Well, there's room for discussion because the Lord hasn't made that clear. But the word of God is what we serve, not our ideas. Not you know what we think are our preferences or if we're sharing our ideas and thoughts that it's. We're not saying this is what the Bible says. It says in the Bible, not to wrestle your neighbor. That's a quote from Nacho Libre, not from the Bible, right?

That's not what the.

Bible says I'm not saying you should wrestle your neighbor either, but that you get the point that that we can develop our traditions or kind of teach. What we think at. Our conclusions as. Authoritative or presenting it as if it's what God says. We have to be careful that we come. Back to you. The clarity and the authority that is found in the scriptures. Well, I'm not going to spend that much time on all the points, but we needed to work through that. That was important. So now we move on to verses 14 through 16 for point #2 God's word. As a bite sized invites. Action to truth receive God's word this way as a bite sized invitation to truth, but also serve God's word this way. A bite sized invitation to truth. Check out verse 14 through 16. It says when he had called all the multitude to himself, he said to them, hear me everyone and understand. There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him. But the things which come out of him, those things or those are the things that defile a man. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear. Jesus directs his attention to another group now. He was dealing with and interacting with these religious leaders, but now in verse 14 it says he called all the multitude to himself. There was the multitude around them and the religious leaders were there. Amongst the multitude they began to interact with Jesus, but it wasn't. That the whole crowd was watching the situation, of course, there were some around them that were hearing and partaking in this back and forth exchange that was going on. But now Jesus makes it a deliberate crowd event, and he calls. All the monsters. Hey, everybody, listen up. close a little bit. I want to talk to you about. Something we've just been talking about here. Hear me everyone. And he says, understand. So he wants the people to hear. He wants them to get close enough. They can hear what he's about to say and. He wants them to be able to process it, to receive it, to think through it, hear and understand. There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him. There is no food. That changes your opportunity to relate to God. Is the idea that Jesus is saying here. Nothing from the outside can defile. It's the things that come out. Those are the things that defile a person. And then he says if anyone has ears to hear, let him hear. And so Jesus here makes a very simple point. It's a one point message to the crowd. Maybe two points if you count one point. Nothing from the outside can defile. Point #2 the things that come from inside, those are the things that defile. Listen to that, he says. Think about that and if you're able to receive it, receive it. Learn from this. It's a bite sized invitation to truth. There's more to this doctrine, there's more to this, but Jesus doesn't try to relive the whole conversation with the religious leaders to the multitude. They they weren't in the same place as the religious leaders, it wouldn't have been appropriate for them. He didn't have to address them all and call them all hypocrites. And you know, address the multitude in that way. He's wanting to draw them close. To give them a taste of the truth. And that taste was an invitation, an opportunity. If you want to understand this better, you want to understand about right relationship with God and defilement and how that works. Well, there's opportunity if you have ears to hear. It's right in line with the use of parables that Jesus did in his ministry. He taught the parable, told the stories that had meanings and truths embedded into them, so that if you were interested, if you had ears to hear, you wanted. Ohh, that's interesting that. I wonder what God says about that. What does that mean for me and the Lord? Lord, what do you want to say to me about that? Those people would be interacting with God and hearing from God and receiving from God. They would have ears to. And so they would hear. But those who had no interest in God, they would hear a nice story. Sound like it had a good moral good ending. I feel good. I'm warm and fuzzy now. I just move on without receiving that real truth or deeper truth to the parable. It's the way that Jesus ministered to the multitudes. He ministered differently. To his disciples, and we'll get to that in just a moment. But when it came to the crowd. It wasn't great depth. It wasn't crazy truth. It wasn't, you know, very. Hard to follow things. It was bite sized invitations, let me tell. You a story? That you can understand that you can relate to. And if you're interested, you'll get my drift. And you'll be able to dive deeper with the Lord and. Receive from him. The things that you eat, the things that you consume. Those don't defile you. But the things that come out of you? That is what causes defilement. Receive God's word as a bite size invitation. To truth, no matter how far along we progress in this Christian life. We always need to be in this place where we are able to receive this kind of expression of the word of God. The Lord is always presenting to us. Bite sized invitations. Yeah, he wants to take. Us deeper and reveal more to us. But we have to be willing first. To receive the simple truth. I think Peter is talking about this as well and for Peter Chapter 2. Calls us to lay aside malice to cede hypocrisy, envy, evil speaking and as newborn babes desire the pure milk of the word that you. May grow thereby. If indeed you have, they said that the Lord is gracious. If you've tasted that the Lord is gracious, desire the pure milk. Of the word now in Hebrews we have a contrast between the milk and the meat of the word. The milk is what babies survive off of. The meat is for the mature, but that's not to say that we don't need the milk. Of the word. That that, we. Move away from. The simple truth. That we move away from the simple expressions of. What the Lord says that there is still invitations to the Lord from us. All the way around invitations from the. Lord to us. Where he's still saying if anyone has ears to hear, that's what he said to the churches in revelation right revelation chapter two and three. Every church you wrote to. If you have ears to hear. Hear what the spirit is saying to the churches. There's more to be told here, but but you need to invest yourself. Sometimes in our pride, sometimes in our experience as long term believers. We can kind of. Move past the bite sized invitations to truth. We get to a passage. Oh, yeah, I've heard this one a lot. This one very well just kind of move right along. Someone's teaching Bible study. We're thinking ohh I I've heard this. I I think I've heard this very same person teach this very same Bible study before. So let me just check out what's going on on Facebook. We can find ourselves. And missing those invitations receive God's word. As the milk. The bite sized invitation, not exclusively. Again, that's the point of Hebrews, but. We never get beyond. The simple reading receiving. Understanding and praying through the word of God, but also serve God's word this way. And and I think this is really important that Jesus here was. Strategic in his approach of the crowd in this. Way the multitude. Again, he didn't repeat what he said to the Pharisees. He's talking about the same subject, but he approached it differently. Brought an opportunity to engage that they could understand and receive. And it's something for us to consider and. Pray through as we have opportunity to share with others bite sized invitation. Sometimes is the right thing to do. Now sometimes we need to come and say hypocrites. Look at this verse and look at that verse and let's compare these and look at the cross references and look how you are disregarding God's word and violating the scriptures and preferring your own traditions and your interpretations and things that are contrary. Look at how terrible that is. You got to repent from that. Like, yes, there is. The time for that. But then there's also the time that says. You know, hey, God loves you. And has a really good plan for your life. And maybe that's not what. Is God's best for. You and you're not going to find fulfillment in that. But God does love you. Simple bite sized invitation to truth is many times appropriate. Serve God's word. In this way, receive God's word in this way. Now, finally point #3 looking at verses 17 through 23, receive God's word as a Hardy personal meal with Jesus, and serve God's word as a hearty personal meal with Jesus. Let's read verses 17 through 20 it. When he had entered a house away from the crowd, his disciples asked him concerning the parable, so he said to them, are you thus without understanding also, do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him? Because it does not enter his heart, but his stomach and is eliminated. Thus purifying all foods. And he said what? Comes out of a man that defiles. Here we find a new situation. Again, initially conflict, confrontation. And he goes toe to toe with. Them face to face. Cast down their dispute. Then he addresses the crowd just gives a little appetizer. Are you interested? You want more? I'll be here all day. But now he's with the disciples. He's not with the multitude. He's also probably not just with the 12 disciples, but there was a group of people that would follow Jesus, his disciples. They were the ones who said, hey, I received a bite sized amount of truth. I'm really interested in this. I want to hear more. And so they're inclining their hearts to the Lord they're receiving from the. And so now Jesus is with his disciples. This group of people that says yes, I want to know God, I want to hear from you. I want to receive from you. And so Jesus addresses the issue. Same topic, but slightly different. This time I would describe it as a Hardy personal meal with Jesus. This is the way that Jesus operated with his disciples. Couple of chapters earlier in Mark Chapter 4. Again it's describing his relationship to the multitude. It says with many such parables he spoke the word to them. As they were able to hear it, they weren't able to hear. The deeper truths they weren't able to receive, they weren't ready. They needed a bite sized invitation to truth. Without apparel, he did not. Speak to them. Because that was the condition that they were in. But he says when they. Were alone, he explained. All things to his disciples. And so there was that time where he was. In front of. The crowd, the multitude, and he would teach something a very simple form and version of it. And then later on with his disciples, he said, OK, let's get into the nuts and bolts of the thing and dig down deeper into what that truth is all about. I think that. We can consider these things and pray about these things in our own life as well. I would suggest to you that if your experience with the word of God is limited to this kind of situation where you're sitting there and someone is here and explaining and talking through and reading through the word of God for you. We need that bite sized invitation to truth. But I would also suggest to you no. Matter how deep I go. I'm not known for my short teachings, right? No matter how long I go. There's still a much more meaty personal meal for you. If you'll get alone with the Lord. And allow him. To reveal his word to you. This is one of the reasons why. I continue to come back to this encouragement, read through the Bible in three. Years with us. Because, well, if you read today the portion of signed today, you've had some kind of preview of our time together tonight and you've the words already begin to speak to you because you've been meditating on this passage. It helps you to be able to receive a little bit deeper. The word planted a little bit deeper to take root a little bit better. To further that, the things that the Lord wants to reveal in his word as we work through it together. There's other reasons and benefits too. As we read together as a congregation and our. In the same place and hearing from the Lord, similar things like there there's benefits there as well, but. But for you personally, there's there's much more hardiness. To what God wants to reveal to you than can ever be addressed in the service itself. God has more for you personally. Now, I'm not suggesting that we don't need the church and we don't need these situations. No God has provided these and this is an essential part of our growth as well. We need the milk and the meat. We need both that simple invitation to the truth. As well as our own personal time with the Lord away from the crowd. OK, Lord, what does this mean to me? What do you want to say to me about this? And so they ask Jesus. The disciples ask him and say, can you can you give us more insight? Tell us more about this. And Jesus walks through it again. The things that come inside the food that you eat. It doesn't go into your heart. So it can't defile you. Because it doesn't go into your heart. What does God care about? God looks at the heart. The things that go in the stomach and. Then are eliminated. Those things do not impact your righteousness. They do not defile you, Jesus says. But what comes out? That's the defilement. And what does that mean? If you throw it up, then it's defiling. No, he's talking about a different kind of thing, he explains it. Verse 21 for from within out of the heart of men proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, Fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness. And evil eye blasphemy, pride and foolishness. This is what comes out of the hearts of men. None of these things are placed there by food. This is already implanted in the heart. And from within the heart comes this. And again, he's just laying out a bunch of examples here. Sometimes we like to blame people. You bumped into me and made me curse at you. No, nobody makes you. Do evil or wickedness in that way. It's in your heart. They might help draw it out of you, but it's already there. It's from within all of these things. Sin is rooted. In our hearts. That's why Jeremiah says the heart is deceitfully wicked. It's desperately wicked. And deceitful and. And we can't even know. We don't even recognize. All of this stuff is in our hearts. But those are the things that are there and those are the things that produce. The wicked behavior, the wicked thoughts and attitudes. The actions that we take. Verse 23. All these evil things come from within and defile a man. And so Jesus is making it clear the issue is the heart, and the heart needs to be dealt with and food can't change the heart and food doesn't implant these things in the heart. These things are in the heart. Because our hearts are sinful. Pastor Charles Spurgeon puts it this way. The source from which these rivers of pollution proceed is the natural heart of man's sin is not a splash of mud upon man's exterior. It is a filth generated within himself. It's important that we. Don't lose sight of this. That we don't become self-righteous like the religious leaders and think well. Not in me. I don't have a river of filth in myself. Yes, you do. We all. Have a river of filth in ourselves. And God is transforming us and sanctifying us and drawing us out of those things. But this side of eternity, we will always be dealing with the river of filth. Comes out of our hearts. And how do we deal with that? God's given us a very clear way. He's prescribed a clear way to deal with. That filth with that defilement, first John chapter one. You try to deny it. You try to pretend like you don't have sin. None of that works. But if you confess it and you come to God in agreement and say I've sinned. There's filth in my heart. And this action that I took, this thought that I had this attitude that I have. It's not somebody else's fault they didn't plant it in me. Comes from my heart. I'm confessing to you. God, I'm in agreement with you. My heart is wicked. Please forgive me and change my heart. And he's faithful and righteous. To cleanse us faithful and just to forgive us. Again, if we try to pretend like we don't, we try to hold on to our traditions, we try to make a loophole with the, you know, well, this person said this. And so I think I can do that and I've always done it this way and now I can't give. To my parents because, you know, I've dedicated that to the Lord. That doesn't deal with the sin. Can be a hearty personal meal with Jesus. And you have access to it. Confession brings us to a right relationship with God.

And you can.

Take the word of God and interact directly with God. And speak to him about it and receive him from him. As he reveals himself to you. Receive God's word as a hearty personal meal with Jesus and also serve God's meal this way. There is opportunity as well to then share to let others know, to talk to others about now. Again, that's not necessarily what you delivered to the crowd. But as you have those deeper opportunities or discipleship moments. We can dive deeper into the scriptures and see what it is that the Lord is speaking. To us, so three ways to receive. And to serve God's word. As a superior authority to traditions, receive it as a bite sized invitation to truth. Receive it as a hearty personal meal with Jesus. And then give it out. Speak of the word of God and speak forth the word of God as the superior authority to all traditions and philosophies. Deliver God's word as bite size invitations. To the crowd. It's not the crazy confrontation necessarily that's required. It's the simple truth. The invitation to draw near to learn more. The invitation to know God through his word. And then serve God's word delivered up as a hearty personal meal with Jesus. In other situations, there is opportunity and we can sit down. We can dive deep. Into those things that the Lord is revealing through his word, receiving God's word and serving God's word this way will help us stay the course and stay. Right where God wants us to be. But I pray that you would help us to do that. May we value your word. I pray God that you would develop an each of us a thirst for your word, Lord, that it wouldn't be a obligation to spend time with you in your word, but. Lord, that your word. Would be alive and fresh in our hearts. God, I pray that you. Would fill us with your Holy Spirit. That we might understand and hear and receive from you. Those things that you want to speak. I pray this in Jesus name.