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Saturday, October 15, 2016

Born That Way (Mark 7:21-23)

"He went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.' For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.'"

Which is worse: sexual sin, murder, or pride? We are quick to grade what God equates. It is amazing how we pridefully sanitize some sin while vilifying others. Each of us enters this world with a capacity and propensity to act selfishly and to pridefully categorize our particular sins as better or worse than those of others.

For instance, no one can make you angry, lust or lie. Circumstances (both good and bad) simply offer opportunities for what's inside to come out. Time, opportunity, and even family, don't make people do certain things; rather they reveal what is there all along. The pride of a Pharisee is just as ugly as sexual immorality or murder. The theft of someone's reputation by slander and gossip is no different than robbing a bank (though consequences certainly differ). That's why "good" people (as Pharisees consider themselves to be) and all others must experience the new birth, the Spiritual birth.

We all enter this world disconnected from God (which shows up in a multitude of ways) and reconnection comes at a price: humility and honesty on our part and forgiveness and redemption on God's part.

Arguing over the DNA of sin doesn't answer the question of what must be done for the sinner from whose heart proceeds "evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly". Further, Jesus says "All these evils come from inside and make the man unclean." That's why the gospel of Jesus Christ is such good news. "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Mark 7:1-23; Matthew 15:1-20

  • What standard do the Pharisees use to measure one's cleanness or uncleanness?
  • What does Jesus use to "justify" His response? What is the major point in Jesus' response?
  • How does Jesus illustrate the Pharisees' true condition?
Mark 7:24-30; Matthew 15:21-28
  • What does this text teach about demon possession?
  • How does Jesus respond to the Syrophoenician woman's request?
  • What does Jesus look for when people come to him? (Hebrews 11:6)
  • What does this woman recognize about Christ?
Mark 7:31-37; Matthew 15:29-31
  • How does this healing differ from others that we've read about?
  • What do the crowds recognize about Jesus and want from Him?
Mark 8:1-10; Matthew 15:32-39
  • How does Jesus respond to the needs of the crowd? What does Jesus use to meet their needs?
  • What does this story tell you about Jesus? About remote areas? About His resources?
Turning truth into prayer
Ask the Lord to make you aware of when you categorize the sins of others and when you mistreat those whose sins differ from yours.