Sermon on November 25 by Pastor Roland Eskinazi
Scripture: Mark 7:1-23
Why talk about freedom from sin? If there is no such thing as sin or guilt, why do we feel we need to prove ourselves?
If you want to be free from sin:
1. LISTEN TO GOD’S WORD, NOT MEN’S TRADITIONS!
- Ritual religion is careless with God’s commands (v1-5)
Don’t measure your faith, or anyone else’s by what you see on the outside. A beautiful box can contain trash.
Faith in Jesus does not come through manipulation, comparison or condemnation.
- Ritual religion is callous with God’s people (v6-10)
Watch out for ‘loophole’ religion – finding out ways to look better than others, when you are no less guilty.
‘Never let a hypocrite stand between you and God, otherwise they’ll be standing closer to God than you are.’
2. LIVE FROM THE INSIDE-OUT, NOT THE OUTSIDE-IN!
- Outside-in cleansing will shackle you up (v11-16)
Not eating unclean food was a matter of Jewish national pride. Even Peter got it wrong…
… Do not call anything impure that God has made clean
(Acts 10: 15)
Acceptance with God is not dependent on your habits, whether they be good or bad.
- Inside-out cleansing will set you free (v17-23)
If the heart of the problem is deep within, only One with a pure heart can cleanse and free us to live as intended.
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?
If religion and efforts to live a better life were enough, Jesus would not have come all the way from heaven to the Cross.
What does God see as He alone looks at your heart?
A heart that says, ‘I am better than Jesus thinks?’
Or a heart that is clinging to His life, death and resurrection?
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QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
1. What is different about the Christian worldview that makes us have a different judgement on the value of pride? Is there a connection between pride and legalism?
2. Is it easy to do the right things and still have a heart that is far from God? What are some of the rituals in our church that are possible to do as external show, without having an inner change of heart?
3. What is the remedy for the list of sinful heart conditions? Why is trying harder inadequate and even counterproductive?
4. How does the gospel free us from self-absorption and perfectionism?
Photo credit FreeImages.com/mailsparky