And then he added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you. Mark 7:20-23

I am sure the we have all heard the song, “It’s not what you do it’s the way that you do it”, well that simple phrase sums up today’s passage of scripture. If you are able to why not go and read the whole conversation. You will find it in Matthew 15:1-20 or Mark 7:1-23.

The Pharisees are bound up in doing stuff. The way they talk, they way they meet, the way they wash their hands before eating. Their whole relationship with God was around what they did and how they did it.

Now one day, the disciples are feeling a bit peckish so they dive straight into dinner without performing the fact hand washing routine that the Pharisees said that you had to do. The body is holy so you have to wash and eat things in a certain way to uphold the holiness yada yada…

The disciples were hungry. Straight in, first in the line. The Pharisees were furious. “Your disciples don’t do it right” they moan at Jesus. I am sure He bit back His tongue. Me? My reply would have been, “Wah, Wah, get over yourselves cry babies!” Jesus was more loving than that – even to the Pharisees.

Well, actually, I lied with that last bit. At times Jesus was savage towards the Pharisees. ““You hypocrites!” He snapped.

“Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote,
‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship is a farce,
for they teach man- made ideas as commands from God. ’
For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition”

Jesus was righteously angry with those teachers and leaders who led the people away from relationship with Father and into religion with a rule imposing God. They were against everything that He stood for and came to Earth to achieve; and He let them know it.

Now at this point may I please make a statement. Jesus was angry with the leaders. He didn’t give the people the right to be angry. I hear so many people bashing preachers, teachers, evangelists, pastors etc. That is not your place! You are not Jesus.

If Jesus wants to come against a preacher’s message He will. The Spirit will eventually expose and shut down those who are leading people into error. On the final day, we who teach will stand before God as judge and have to account for our words. It is scary stuff. At no point did Jesus say to the people, “Yeah, you’re right. These teachers aren’t so great. Stop meeting together. Stop corporate worship. Go it alone as only you are right.” NO! and every time I hear something like that it makes me so sad. If you are one of these people who judges every church bad because of your past hurts at the hands of those within the body, stop!

There must be one church congregation within 30 miles of you that needs what you have to offer. Your gifts and talents aren’t there for you. They are for the building up of the body. Don’t be so selfish. Remember, just because we are saved doesn’t mean that we aren’t going to have to give an account for our actions…

So Jesus lumps into the Pharisees, the people whose words sound right, whose actions look good, who seemed to be observing the letter of the law, but who actually were not following the spirit of the law.

Man made ideas is not true worship. There is a way that appears good to man and a way that appears right before God. Let’s make sure that we are following after the second way. “It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart” is what Jesus told His followers.

Its not the stuff that comes from the world that can affect and influence our spiritual walk an relationship with God. It is what comes from within our hearts that affects us. The wrong sort of worship music, a boring speaker, uncomfortable chairs, people talking. These things don’t affect our worship at church on a Sunday.

Stinking thinking. A critical spirit. Judgmental attitudes and pride. That is what stops us from connecting with Jesus on a Sunday. The Holy Spirit can’t make Himself heard over the sound of your worldly thinking.

During the week it is not worth reading chapters of Bible, attending prayer meetings, giving thanks for food, looking and sounding like the real deal, if you are caught up in your own importance. Your career, your family, your lifestyle. Just perfect because of your hard work and effort. The person in the office that just isn’t as good as you. That neighbour or family member that, quite frankly, just let everyone else down…

Wrong attitude. You are like a Pharisees. You are doing what appears right but it counts of nothing. God is after true worship from a point of humility. All that we have and all the we are is due to His provision audit isn’t just ours. It is for the benefit of all.

Jesus warned the disciples and He is warning us today, pray to get your heart right. Study scripture. Don’t read it, study it to get your head right. Confess the goodness of God over your life and the lives of those around you. Live righteously so that our own hearts don’t condemn us. As we start to live the Word, as we start to live under the guidance of the Spirit, as we start to live by by scripture it will well up out of our insides.

People will notice. They will want to be around us. We will be attractive. We will be in step with the heart and the will of God. We will know His Spirit leading us and guiding us in all things. Salvation, miracles and healing will follow us. We will be like Jesus.

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