Traditions or God

TRADITIONS OR GOD?

Sun. May 10, 1998

Bible Passage: Mark 7:1-23

Key Verse:       Mark 7:8 "You have let go of the commandments of God and are holding on to the traditions of  men”

Session Focus: To grow in service to our Lord from our hearts rather than by outer regulation.

(NOTE: ALL SCRIPTURE HEREIN IS GIVEN IN THE NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION)

Mark 7:1-23 1. "The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and 2 saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were "unclean," that is, unwashed. 3 (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat 8unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. 4 When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles. [1]) 5 So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, "Why don't your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with `unclean' hands?" 6 He replied, "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: "`These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.' [2] 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men." 9 And he said to them: "You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe [3] your own traditions! 10 For Moses said, `Honor your father and your mother,' [4] and, `Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.' [5] 11 But you say that if a man says to his father or mother: `Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is Corban' (that is, a gift devoted to God), 12 then you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that." 14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, "Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. 15 Nothing outside a man can make him `unclean' by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him `unclean.' [6]" 17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18 "Are you so dull?" he asked. "Don't you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him `unclean'? 19 For it doesn't go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body." (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods "clean.") 20 He went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him `unclean.' 21 For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and make a man `unclean.'"

Tradition! What is tradition?

What is it about tradition that makes us comfortable? What is it about tradition that can make us spiritually barren?

Tra·di·tion:  Related Word culture; convention, custom, ethic, form; birthright, inheritance, legacy

What are some traditions we have as a nation, As a church, As a family? Are traditions wrong? Or are they any more wrong than money? The Lord said the "love of money" was the root of all evil. He didn't say that money itself was. And in the same way, I believe that traditions can easily become a stumbling block for us.

The flesh tends to enjoy ease and comfort while it seems that the spirit of man enjoys action and challenges. Rest is important for these bodies that we temporarily wear. But, action and challenges are also important, not only for our bodies, but also for our spirits to stay young and active. And yet how easy it is for us to slip into those ruts of tradition that makes us feel comfortable. Those areas of our lives where we can practically do it with our eyes closed like driving a car in a deep rut and being able to take our eyes off of the road because of the rut we may be in. We tend to not only get this way with our relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but also with those with whom we've dedicated our lives to love and to cherish. Laziness is "me" centered and tradition seems to provide the soil in which that attitude of laziness tends to flourish.

 

Tradition says:       "Just do this and no more, that's all that's required of me."

Love for God says:  "Let's go the extra mile, that God may be glorified."

Tradition says:       "I've already given my tithes, let others give."

Love for God says:  "Lord Thank you for giving to me that I can help others."

 

Man has always tried to put God in a box but God is One who will not be placed there. Our Lord is free within the boundaries of Holiness and Love and within those boundaries He is FREE! And yet, we're always trying to put a relationship with Him into a comfortable traditional little box just like we do with our spouses many times. We need spiritual disciplines with our Lord that keeps the waters of our Love for Him stirred up just like we need emotional stirrings within our earthly relationships to keep the fire of love going strong in our marriages. I feel the best way to get to where we know we should be, since believe me our adversary, satan, is always there to try and knock us down, is to set small obtainable goals with a fervent desire to be faithful to those goals. People don't become super lovers of God over night neither do we become super husbands and wives overnight. We need to know that to be where we should be in our relationships takes faithfulness in the little things. It means being whole hearted to be true in the little things that matter to the ones we love. Just as Luke 16:10 which states "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much." Also, We need to guard the affections of our heart so says God's Word in Prov 4:23 "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." We need to learn how to be doers from the heart as Prov 3:5&6 which states "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." To be betrayed hurts the human soul so very much by the amount of pain that the heart goes through. Maybe this is why we tend to not involve our hearts so much in what we do and yet the language of the heart is the only one our Loving Heavenly Fathers talks to us with. No one has been betrayed more than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and yet He still gave of His whole heart. And, as much as we too may share in the suffering of a betrayed heart, we still need to learn how to love despite anything and everything that may come against us. May we never allow the ruts of tradition to steal the language of love out of our hearts but may we always learn new, exciting, and challenging ways to express our love one to another.

 

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