Gospel of Mark Chapter Seven: Part One
Introduction: A key idea in the Gospel of Mark is that Jesus is the servant of God. Today, we hope to discuss Jesus' prerogative over the Pharisees' traditions.
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Read the Gospel of Mark 7:1-23
10. Over the Pharisees' traditions. Jesus is confronted by religious leaders. The question is raised about why His disciples don't follow the religious traditions.
Jesus rebukes them because of their poor priorities. He rebukes His disciples because of their slow understanding of how sin comes from the heart, not rituals or food.
- Don't let the devil use you. Notice in vs. 5 that the devil uses religious leaders to cause distraction and stress for God's program. Since the devil used them, we should be on the lookout for him using us.
A good way to keep the devil from using us is to stay focused on carrying out God's will for our lives and trying our thoughts, emotions, and actions against God's word. Let's keep the devil from using us.
And let's be aware that the devil can use and often uses religious leaders to cause stress and distractions for God's program. The devil not only works in the church, but he can work on our jobs, in our families, and in our communities.
- Unity between the leader and the helpers. Notice in vs. 5 that there was an attack on the leader's helpers. When the devil cannot attack the leader, he may settle for attacking his helpers. It is so important for helpers to be on one accord with their leader.
When there is division between the leader and the helpers, the devil attacks in this area with great joy. Let's work on unity between the leader and the helpers. If we are leaders, we should make our leadership expectations clear and reasonable.
If we are helpers, we should submit to our leader and comply with his/her expectations (see Num. 11:16-17; Ex. 18:25-26; Acts 6:1-6). If we are followers, we should pray that things go well, encourage righteousness, and discourage unrighteousness.
Some helpers would either get with the program or quit, if it were not for "parking lot" followers who give them courage.
- Applying God's word to today's issues. Notice in vss. 6-7 of the Gospel of Mark chapter 7 that Jesus used scriptures to counter those who challenged Him. It is crucial for us to study the Bible for not only its meaning to the original readers but also for how it applies to today's living.
Let's use the study question and tools to help us apply God's word to today's issues. Sunday school teachers and associate ministers are being challenged to make the word relevant for those who hear.
- Keeping God's will above traditions. Notice in vss. 8-9 of the 7th chapter of the Gospel of Mark that the religious people had placed their traditions over divine commands and God's will. Traditions are important.
They can help us focus on the bigger picture, instead of how to do simple procedures. Having an agreed upon way of serving communion allows us to focus on the body and blood given for us, instead of how we are going to insure everyone has bread and grape juice.
Traditions can promote unity of thought and actions. However, when our traditions are more important to us than doing God's expressed will then our traditions are too important. Helping people get saved and grow in the Lord is more important than holding on to an order of worship that doesn't do its best in helping people get saved and grow.
Helping men, women, and young people develop godly relationships and live by God's word is more important than filling the calendar up with unnecessary worship services, in which we rarely worship.
Let's make sure we don't allow our traditions to become more important to us than God's will. Our behavior speaks louder than our words. Personal and family traditions need to be revisited as well.
A personal tradition of not being demonstrative in worship or sitting in a convenient seat may have to be revisited, in light of God's calling for us to make a joyful noise and the call for us fill God's house.
- Family benevolence. Notice in vs. 10 of the same chapter seven of the Gospel of Mark the teaching about family benevolence. On one side, it is important for biological family members to provide support for one another.
Food, clothing, shelter, and money, in addition to moral support and encouragement are important. On the other side, under achieving family members can often use guilt devices to obtain the hard earned resources of over achieving family members.
Each one of us must exercise good conscious in trying to living by the teaching of our text and passages like II Thessalonians 3:10 that teaches if you don't work, you don't eat.
And Psalms 127:3-5 teaches that at some point we must let our children go. Let's work on godly family benevolence. Ideally, all family members would provide for themselves.
- Teaching, learning, and living. In vs. 14 of chapter seven of the Gospel of Mark we see that Jesus spent quality and significant quantity of time with teaching the people. On one hand, those with the gift of teaching ought to be urged to teach.
On the other hand, we ought to be in the place of learning, when God has some teaching going on. To be the people of God that God is calling us to be, we must give serious attention to learning and living by God's will.
To be the church that God is calling us to be, we must give serious attention to teaching, helping people understand the will of God, and to living by it. Let's work on being a teaching, learning, and living people of God.
- Righteous rebuke. Notice in vss. 6, 18 that Jesus rebuked both the religious leaders who challenged Him and His slow learning disciples. There is a such thing as "righteous rebuke." Whenever God the Son rebukes someone, it is an occasion of righteous rebuke.
Let's make sure we are not challenging God's will nor being slow in understanding, so we can avoid righteous rebuke. Let's also make sure we are humble enough to receive righteous rebuke from those whom God has placed over us.
God may rebuke children through their parents, employees through their employers, and church members through the leader.
- Clean hearts and behavior. Notice in vss. 18-23 that what goes into the heart is more important than what goes into the stomach or our rituals. In this section of the Gospel of Mark it teaches that the heart is the place of emotions and values.
So then our emotionalized values are more important to God than our diet or rituals. If we eat that which is good and perform a ritual that is good but eat the food and perform the ritual with an ungodly heart then it is our heart that disappoints God and triggers His punishment.
We can do the right thing and mess it up with a dirty heart. Let's work on having clean hearts and behavior. Prayerfully studying and obeying God's word with the support of believers will help us in this area.
Conclusion: We learn from this section of the Gospel of Mark to work on being servants of God. God has much for those who obey His will.
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