Sunday School Material 6-17-18: Jesus Teaches About Justice

(Matthew 15:1-9; 6/17/18; Dr. Baines, Jr.)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that Jesus urged obedience to God’s word more than the traditions of people. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to prayerfully study and obey God’s word as authoritative truth.

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Read Matthew 15:1-2

I. Outer Cleanliness. There is an exchange between the Pharisees and Jesus. The Pharisees are challenging Jesus about His disciples’ behavior. The disciples are not washing their hands according to the traditions.

Applications –

- Traveling accusers. Notice in vss. 1-2 that the Pharisees traveled from Jerusalem to accuse Jesus or His disciples. In like manner, the devil can have people go out of their way to cause all kinds of trouble for you.

First, brace yourself for being attacked. The greater an asset you are for the Lord, the greater a target you are for the devil’s plans. Second, those who have leadership positions should give extra effort to living in ways that are in line with God’s will.

When the devil cannot attack the leader, he will settle for the helpers of the leaders. Think about how this relates to all church Cabinet members being faithful in studying, serving, and giving as well as getting along with the people and the Pastor.

Third, make sure you don’t allow the devil to use you in attacking others without cause. As the devil used religious people in this text, he will use you, if you let him. Let’s work on bracing for and defending against the devil’s plans.

Read Matthew 15:3-9

II. Inner Corruption. Jesus replies to the Pharisees. He talks about how they are following their traditions more than following God’s commands.

As an example, Jesus talks about the disregard of God’s command to honor one’s parents. Jesus then refers to a passage from Isaiah that talks about honoring God with lips but not with hearts.

Applications –

- God’s commands over our traditions. Notice in vs. 3 that God’s commands should be more authoritative than human traditions.

First, there is a place for traditions. All traditions are not bad, nor are all good. We need to have “a way of doing things,” so we can become excellent in doing what we do for the Lord. If we are constantly changing, we are subject to lack excellence and often nurture chaos.

Second, God’s word should be more authoritative than traditions. For this to be the case, we must prayerful study the Bible to know what is God’s word and what is not in His word. And then we must obey God’s word, when there is a choice between it and traditions. Let’s work on prayerfully studying and obeying God’s word.

- Parental care. Notice in vs. 4 that God’s people are to honor their parents. Surely this includes respecting them. However, it also includes responding to their needs – financial, social, medical, etc. 

First, every adult should strive to live as independent of their children’s support as they can. However, it is not strange to need some help, no matter how you try to be independent.

Second, if you need help, strive to demonstrate appreciation, instead of “cashing in” on your rights or sense of entitlement.

Third, adult children need to navigate God’s command to honor their parents with God’s other principles related to spouses, children, grandchildren, and self-care. Let’s work on being both independent of our children’s support and helpful to our dependent parents and elders.

- Authoritative truth. Notice in vss. 5-6 that the Jews had human traditions that helped them avoid obeying God’s commands. We should learn from their mistakes. Instead of developing or obeying anything that is in competition with God’s will.

Let’s work on prayerfully studying and obeying God’s word, as authoritative truth for our lives.

- Confrontation about hypocrisy. Notice in vss. 7-9 that Jesus refers to the Pharisees as hypocrites who serve God with their lips but not their hearts and lives.

First, there are times when people need to be confronted. It can be uncomfortable. But yet there are times when we need to prayerfully and courageously confront the realities before us.

Second, we need to be familiar enough with scriptures to know when they are applicable to the situations that we face. This calls for prayerful study and being prayerful as you live your life.

Third, we should avoid being hypocrites. We should strive to worship the Lord with our lips and lives. Let’s work on seeking God’s wisdom about confrontation, the application of scripture, and worshipping Him with our lips and lives.

Conclusion: Let’s work on prayerfully studying and obeying God’s word as authoritative truth. God has much for those who obey His will.

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