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Faithlife

BAD RELIGION // MATT 15

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INTRODUCTION

Last week we talked about the things around us.
We saw Jesus meet the needs of many with 2 Fish and 5 Loaves.
We saw him do the miraculous in the midst of many
We saw Peter begin to sink as he looked around instead of looking unto Jesus.
The more he looked at his distractions, the more he sunk
The more he kept his focus on Jesus, the more the miraculous happened.

THIS WEEK

We will see Jesus confront the traditions of the Pharisees and the Scribes
We will see Jesus challenge the worth of their identity
We will see Jesus expose the heart of their stance

WE MUST ASK OURSELVES

What traditions do we hold to today, that may be good, but may unsay what we say?
What traditions that we hold to today, that may be good, but preach a contradictory message?
What Spiritual Rhythms may be steering us into a subpar identity.

READ

Matthew 15:1–20 NKJV
1 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 or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. 7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 8 ‘These people 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.”
Matthew 15 NKJV
1 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 or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. 7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 8 ‘These people 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.” 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. 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, 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 maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel. 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 Magdala.
Matthew 15
PRAY
Matthew 15:1–2 NKJV
1 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.”
Matthew 15:
Let’s begin with defining who these groups of people are
SCRIBES:
Scribes came on the scene at around 516BC
Initially, They were employed as secretaries to the King
Around the time of Ezra 458BC they took on a more important role
They became students of the law and were primarily responsible for copying, writing, and teaching the law.
IN NT TIMES:
They were in charge of making sure that every Israelite was acquainted rules and regulations of the law.
They were very skilled in the court room and often used in juries and even as judges

The basic duty of scribes in the New Testament period was to make sure that every Israelite was acquainted with the law’s rules and regulations. In this regard, scribes also served in a judicial capacity, passing sentence in Jewish court. Their knowledge of and skill in interpreting the law made them ideal candidates for the position of judge

PHARISEES
Pharisees came on to the scene at around 150BC
The Aramaic Word for Pharisee means:
To Separate
To Divide
To Distinguish
They would live into their consecration both socially and theologically
When it came to the word of God
They developed a tradition of strict interpretation of the Mosaic Law
Developing an extensive set of oral extensions of the law designed to maintain religious identity and purity
They came from a group known as the Hasidim
If you would like to know more about this sect of Judaism
There is a very interesting documentary called “One of us” on Netflix
Specifically documenting the arduous process of leaving this community.
BACK TO THE TEXT
Here we have a group of Scribes and Pharisees, the Echelon of Jewish Spiritual Life
They have come from Jerusalem to question Jesus about his students practicum
You would think they had some serious accusations
They would be traveling over 90 miles
Check out what they ask:
Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders?
How?
Because they do not wash their hands when they eat bread
Why was this a big deal?
If Jesus was being called a Rabbi
If His students were representing Spiritual Leadership in their hood
Then they better begin to act like it
They better begin to fit the mold of leadership that they had set so perfectly
CULTURALLY
Before a a priest would eat a meal
They needed to be ceremonially clean
Why?
Because eating a meal together would be the greatest sign of community one could ever partake in
So important, that you needed to be ceremonially clean in order to participate
Normally, we see handwashing as a process that protects the individual
Here, it was a process that protected everyone involved
You would pass bread around the table
Tearing off pieces and placing them on your lap
You would pass humus and sauces around
Dipping your bread into bowls
Getting dirty with it
If you were unclean, you would put the spiritual life of those closest to you in jeopardy.
SIDENOTE: THOUGH THEY ARE DEEP TRADITIONS, THESE TRADITIONS WERE NOT A PART OF THE MOSAIC LAW
They were Pharisaical Practices put in place to maintain spiritual orthodoxy
They were Pharisaical Practices put in place to maintain spiritual orthodoxy
They were written by the Pharisees
They became as authoritative to Jewish Law
A law that wasn’t suppose to be messed with
Deuteronomy 4:1–2 NKJV
1 “Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers is giving you. 2 You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.
HOW WOULD JESUS RESPOND?
MATTHEW 15:3-
Matthew 15:3–9 NKJV
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 or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. 7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 8 ‘These people 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.’ ”
What the Pharisees didn’t know was that Jesus could see right through their self righteousness
He not only switches it up on them
He actually ups the antee
The Disciples may have been breaking the Oral Traditions of the Elders
But the Pharisees, the Echelon of Jewish Spiritual Life, were breaking the commandments of God
How?
Instead of honoring their mother and their father
They were ripping off their mother and their father
How?
Sons and Daughters could excuse themselves from providing for their parents by giving to the church
That investment grew and was profitable
Sorry Mom and Dad, but I gave all my money to the church, so I guess the medicine or the food will have to wait.
It would be recognized as a gift from God
Would be seen as a payoff from having to do what is honorable
This wasn’t just dishonorable
It enabled kids to break the law while maintaining their spiritual reputation at high levels.
JESUS THEN CALLS IT WHAT IT IS . . . . HYPOCRISY
But not just Hypocrisy . . . a fulfillment of Prophecy from Isaiah 29
Jesus says:
These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips
Something very near and dear to us
Something that is easy to do
Something that we naturally do when things aren’t playing out
But their heart is far from Me, and in vain they Worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men
This is the reality of a Hypocritical Spiritual Life
It is normally unseen to the naked eye
But God is fully aware
CHURCH, THIS IS SO DANGEROUS, NOT BECAUSE IT MEANS MORE WORK, BUT BECAUSE IT MAKES LESS OF JESUS
Baptism has become this
Some churches believe that you must be baptized in order to be saved
Jesus never said that
Membership Communion
You must first be a card holding member of the Church in order to take communion
Jesus never said that
Tithing
You must give a certain amount of money every year
Jesus never said that
Today
We care more about Social Justice and Equal Rights
Yet we neglect the Unborn because it is controversial
Isn’t it all controversial?
Doesn’t all life matter?
We become pharisaical when we stand for an issue that we deem important, while neglecting the issues that God deems important.
I see the value of marching for women’s rights
Yes its important
We are willing to march for certain causes
I see the value of marching for the unborn
But yet, when it comes to walking with Jesus
But those things are valued one day out of 365
What if we truly began to walk with the Lord 365 days
We are shy about it.
What if this walk began to effect how we value people
What if the unbelievers began to feel their Eternal Worth because the Church was actively walking with Jesus
AFTER CALLING OUT THE PHARISEES ON THEIR BAD THEOLOGY
JESUS TAKES THE OPPORTUNITY TO INSTRUCT THE MULTITUDES
MATTHEW 15:10-
Matthew 15:10–11 NKJV
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.”
He grabs their attention and says to them
Hear and Understand
It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man
But what comes out of the mouth that defiles a man
It is not what you ingest
But how you process the ingestion and how it effects your message
I listen to a very controversial, progressive, Christian podcast
Though I understand where they are coming from
I don’t believe the things that they believe
I am able to filter what they are saying
I am able to balance their position with my core beliefs
Because of how I value my relationship with Jesus, I can filter what is profitable and what is not.
However, if your relationship with Jesus is unstable
I watched it, and it was very dark
You will be easily swayed by the cultural influences that target your social identity.
Your heart will welcome what pleases you and your reputation
Your heart will make room for that which feeds your flesh
Matthew 15:12–20 NKJV
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.”
Matthew 15:12-
JESUS KNEW THAT THE RELIGIOUS OF THE DAY WERE BLIND
He knew that would be uprooted
He knew that their hypocrisy would one day show itself true
Notice how he doesn’t give them the time of day
They should know better than to walk 90 miles to accuse someone of something petty while approving a contradictory lifestyle
JESUS KNEW THAT THEIR HEART WAS PREACHING ANOTHER MESSAGE
JESUS KNEW THAT THEY HAD A BAD RELIGION
HE EXPOSES IT
Church, before we can go and condemn people for something petty
Ask yourself this question
Psalm
Psalm 139:23–24 NKJV
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.
This will help us admonish people with the heart of God
This will give us the right posture
This will create a gracious practicum
This will help us deal with the deceitfulness of our heart
Thus giving us the right heart for others
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