“ ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ” Matthew 15:8-9 NKJV
I have developed a bad habit of calling many modern Christian, Laodiceans (in reference to the lukewarm church in Revelations). I know it is offensive – especially since God brings stern warnings against them. BUT many in today’s church are just like them, and like the Pharisees here in Matthew 15.
Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and give us wisdom. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen
Today’s reading is from the book of Matthew, chapter 15 and the book of Mark, chapter 7 (embedded below the image below for your convenience).
“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24 NKJV
Not with vain worship – but deep. Deep within our spirit. When we walk in the spirit our spirit testifies and bears witness to God. Instead, I look around and see many with a form of godliness be denying the power thereof.
“When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand: Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” Matthew 15:10-11
Can Gentile Christians be defiled? Or is this passage to the Jews – especially when later in this chapter Jesus says he is here for the Jews (and when they reject Him, it is opened to the gentiles). The answer is YES. We are adopted in – we are not under the law, but all in not prudent (and we will study that later in the New Testament) and the grace did not destroy the law but transformed it because Grace transforms everything it touches!
What does defiling have to do with vain worship?
“God is spirit” and God is holy and God is pure and our sin separates us from God (while NOHING can separate us from His love) so in His urgent and all-consuming desire to be restored with us Gos must do something about our condition which is defiled by sin. If we want to commune and draw close in the secret place, we cannot enter in while we are defiled. I personally start my prayer time with inner reflections and self-searching – then ask for forgiveness of any and everything that defiles me. I want to worship in clean, pure, raw, loving, truth.
“But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.” Matthew 15:18-20
This brings us to the second point to discuss: self. You see, when the curse of sin fell, our hearts became corrupted. We are bent towards doing wrong. This is a ‘self’ problem we must fight to overcome, even though we can only win when God completes our transformation when we pass into heaven. So, is it a pointless struggle? No, because remember grace?!?! Grace transforms us and makes us new and this new us has the power to overcome our own flesh – we have self-control. YES, we can control ourselves and are expected to do so and take responsibility when we do not. This is more difficult a message to speak in Laodicea – where the modern church blames its lack of self-control to bondage or oppression, and where they blame the devil for making them do it. The devil can’t make you, anything! Seriously, pull yourself up by the bootstraps and take responsibility.
Temptation is always there, because it comes from within – but ignoring it, overcoming it, redirecting it, moving forward in the transformed person you now are through grace are all possible! AND God is good, forgiving and helpful to get us through.
We are not much unlike those Pharisees (we are like those Pharisees) – we look on the outside, we perceive through our own defilement, we focus on that which the eyes see – in other as well as for ourselves. BUT if you get into the spirit and see in the spirit and cleanse according to the spirit and perceive in spirit – so many of what we thought we problems and hindrances are washed away and love can again flow freely. THEN, we can worship in spirit and in truth.
Gotta be honest with yourself, then God.
It is a step deeper in intimacy with God, in our relationship with God.
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen
MEMORY WORK: This month we have another great verse to pick up and swing when you need a sword in your hand! These memory verses were selected, last year for this year. As many of you tell me of the great attacks on your lives – the timing is perfect! But of course it is, it is God!
NKJV – “The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.”
NAS – “The LORD will cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated by you; they will go out against you one way and will flee at your presence seven ways.”
ESV – “The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.”
AMP – “The LORD will cause the enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way, but flee before you seven ways.”
NIV – “The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.”
Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!
BIBLE READING: Matthew 15 & Mark 7 NKJV
Defilement Comes from Within
15 Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, 2 “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”
3 He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? 4 For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ 5 But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”— 6 then he need not honor his father [a]or mother.’ Thus you have made the [b]commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. 7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:
8 ‘These people [c]draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
9 And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”
10 When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”
12 Then His disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”
13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14 Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.”
15 Then Peter answered and said to Him, “Explain this parable to us.”
16 So Jesus said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”
A Gentile Shows Her Faith
21 Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”
23 But He answered her not a word.
And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.”
24 But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”
26 But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”
27 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”
28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
Jesus Heals Great Multitudes
29 Jesus departed from there, skirted the Sea of Galilee, and went up on the mountain and sat down there. 30 Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, [d]maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them. 31 So the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the [e]maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.
Feeding the Four Thousand
32 Now Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.”
33 Then His disciples said to Him, “Where could we get enough bread in the wilderness to fill such a great multitude?”
34 Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?”
And they said, “Seven, and a few little fish.”
35 So He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. 36 And He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitude. 37 So they all ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets full of the fragments that were left. 38 Now those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children. 39 And He sent away the multitude, got into the boat, and came to the region of [f]Magdala.
- Matthew 15:6 NU omits or mother
- Matthew 15:6 NU word
- Matthew 15:8 NU omits draw near to Me with their mouth, And
- Matthew 15:30 crippled
- Matthew 15:31 crippled
- Matthew 15:39 NU Magadan
Defilement Comes from Within
7 Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes came together to Him, having come from Jerusalem. 2 Now [a]when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, [b]they found fault. 3 For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands [c]in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders. 4 When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches.
5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?”
6 He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:
‘This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
7 And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men—[d]the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”
9 He said to them, “All too well you [e]reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ 11 But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban”—’ (that is, a gift to God), 12 then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, 13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
14 When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand: 15 There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man. 16 If[f] anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!”
17 When He had entered a house away from the crowd, His disciples asked Him concerning the parable. 18 So He said to them, “Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, [g]thus purifying all foods?” 20 And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”
A Gentile Shows Her Faith
24 From there He arose and went to the region of Tyre [h]and Sidon. And He entered a house and wanted no one to know it, but He could not be hidden. 25 For a woman whose young daughter had an unclean spirit heard about Him, and she came and fell at His feet. 26 The woman was a [i]Greek, a [j]Syro-Phoenician by birth, and she kept [k]asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 But Jesus said to her, “Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”
28 And she answered and said to Him, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children’s crumbs.”
29 Then He said to her, “For this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter.”
30 And when she had come to her house, she found the demon gone out, and her daughter lying on the bed.
Jesus Heals a Deaf-Mute
31 Again, departing from the region of Tyre and Sidon, He came through the midst of the region of Decapolis to the Sea of Galilee. 32 Then they brought to Him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech, and they begged Him to put His hand on him. 33 And He took him aside from the multitude, and put His fingers in his ears, and He spat and touched his tongue. 34 Then, looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.”
35 Immediately his ears were opened, and the [l]impediment of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke plainly. 36 Then He commanded them that they should tell no one; but the more He commanded them, the more widely they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He makes both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”
- Mark 7:2 NU omits when
- Mark 7:2 NU omits they found fault
- Mark 7:3 Lit. with the fist
- Mark 7:8 NU omits the rest of v. 8.
- Mark 7:9 set aside
- Mark 7:16 NU omits v. 16.
- Mark 7:19 NU sets off the final phrase as Mark’s comment that Jesus has declared all foods clean.
- Mark 7:24 NU omits and Sidon
- Mark 7:26 Gentile
- Mark 7:26 A Syrian of Phoenicia
- Mark 7:26 begging
- Mark 7:35 Lit. bond