Traditions Of Men Part 1

Mark 7 begins with an account describing traditions of the Jewish leaders. These including methods of washing cups and plates. Their traditions had become more important to them than the actual commandments that God had given.

Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables. Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
Mark 7:1-9

He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
Mark 7:6

Jesus was not politically correct. He called the Jewish leaders hypocrites to their faces! This is a lesson many in the Church need to learn today.

Many talk about how the power of God seems to be missing today. Could it be that we are more afraid of what people think than what God thinks of us? I believe our political correctness is the very thing hindering us from walking in the place the Church is called to walk in.

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.
Ephesians 4:15

We can follow Jesus’ example without stepping out of love. Being politically incorrect does not mean we do not walk in love.

Did you know that we are in essence accountable for a person’s rejection of the truth if we refuse to share it with them? God will hold us accountable because we did not love the person enough to share and give them the chance to choose to turn to God.

Man has a freewill. We are called to share the truth. It is not our responsibility to make them accept it. Some will and some won’t. It is not our place to force them. Jesus shared the truth and allowed people the opportunity to make a choice to accept or reject it. Following His example means we do the same and accept a person’s choice.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.
Matthew 23:27

Jesus was willing to offend people if necessary. He was unwilling to compromise the truth.

Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?
Matthew 15:12

The disciples were concerned that Jesus was upsetting people. They confronted Him and notice His response:

“Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.”

I am sure this was not what the disciples expected from Him. They were obviously afraid He was upsetting the leaders of their nation but this did not phase Him.

Speaking the truth in love will mean we sometimes offend people. This does not fit the model of “seeker friendly” worship that so many churches are pursuing today. Softer messages that do offend may build larger crowds but they will not build disciples. In the end we will not be rewarded for the number of followers we have gathered!

I believe that the Church has in a way gone off of the path God has called it to travel. We have become so concerned with offending people that it does not seem to bother us if we offend God.

He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
Mark 7:6-13

We say that God is a good God. In practice do our lives reflect that we believe this?
We say that God loves us. In practice do our lives reflect that we believe this?
We say that God is faithful. In practice do our lives reflect that we believe this?

Christians live life as if they believe God will punish them if they are not good enough. We are beginning a new series in this post. Our goal will be to do a self examination of our beliefs to root out any tradition we have been taught that is voiding the truth from setting us free.

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