Saturday, October 8, 2011

Their Heart Is Far From Me


Matthew 15:1-20 (NKJV)

In NT times, Jewish religious life was marked by many traditions and ceremonies which have no biblical basis.

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The scribes and Pharisees meticulously observed the tradition of the elders.

They were quick to condemn those who did not share their scruples.

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They censured the disciples who had not performed the ritual washing of hands before eating a meal.

In this ritual, hands were washed in a special manner to cleanse them of any religious defilement caused by contact with Gentiles in the market-place.

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The Pharisees had plenty of religion.

But the Lord Jesus Christ applied to them the words of the prophet Isaiah, “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me”.

They made a great show of religious tradition but they set aside obedience to the commandment of God.

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The Lord Jesus Christ reminded them how they used tradition to disobey the 5th commandment.

They would claim that money that could be used for the support of their elderly and needy parents had been dedicated as a gift for the work of God.

They thus avoided honoring them by providing for them.

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If we do not provide for our own family, we deny the faith and are worse than an unbeliever.

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The disciples were concerned that the Lord Jesus Christ had offended the Pharisees by His reply to their question.

The Lord Jesus Christ pointed out that they were not plants which his Father had planted and that they would be uprooted.

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The Pharisees were blind leaders of the blind.

We should not be surprised when the plain teaching of the word of God offends many religious people who are blinded by their own traditions.

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The Lord Jesus Christ stressed the importance of heart righteousness rather than ritual.

Food eaten with unwashed hands has no effect on the state of a man’s heart (his soul, character, mind and will).

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The human heart is a breeding ground for all kinds of sin.

We may be very religious and yet have a heart which is far from God.

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How real is our Christianity?


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