09 Apr What is wrong with me?
14 And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” 17 And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
“What is wrong with the world?” That’s the question that everyone is asking. You don’t have to be Christians to ask this question. Everyone knows instinctively that there is something wrong with the world. I woke up few weeks ago, opened my Ipad and found out that there was another mass shooting at high school in Florida, America. 17 people died because of it. This is not right. You heard about the war in the Middle East and tens of thousands of refugees that came out of it. This is not right. You know someone who seems to be healthy and doing well in live and they suddenly died because of tragedy or sickness. This is not right. You studied modern history at school and learned about Hitler murdering 6 million Jews. This is not right. So we asked, “What is wrong with the world?” Right?
Everyone tried to answer this question with different answers. In fact, over the last 32 years, I have come up with different answers. When I was a kid, I thought what was wrong with the world was vegetables, especially carrot juice. I don’t get why I have to drink that disgusting drink. They keep saying it’s good for my eyes but it is not working. When I was a teenager, I thought what was wrong with the world was my parents. “If my parents are just more open minded… if my parents are just less strict… if my parents just let me wear whatever I want to wear… If my parents just buy me the newest game console… if my parents just let me date!” Anyone with me? When I was in college, I thought what was wrong with the world was girls. Girls are just too unpredictable. I don’t get why my first ex would cheated on a nice guy like me. I was like the best thing ever happened to her and she cheated on me with her ex. Gosh what is wrong with the world? Then I started to make more friends and for reason that continue to bewilder me, some of my friends did not like me. They talked bad about me and spread rumour me that was not true. Then I heard many stories about people hurting one another. People backstabbed one another. Husband slept with another woman. Wife left his husband and family for another man. Business partners betrayed one another. So I take a look at everything that is happening around me and I concluded, what is wrong with the world is you. You are what is wrong with the world.
“What is wrong with you?” I mean, we are convinced that whatever is wrong with the world, whatever created this mess, it is not me. It is something out there. It is probably you. But it is not me. I am just the victim of this corrupted society. The world is filled with brokenness and you are broken as well. But not me. I am cool. And if I am broken, it is because of you. You make me broken. I mean, you hear this all the time. You hear people who made a big mess in their life being interviewed and say, “The reason I am like this is because I was abandoned when I was young. Or, I was molested or I grew up in a bad neighbourhood.” We always find excuses for our brokenness and the reason for it is always outside of us. It is you. It is the world. You are the problem. The world is the problem. I am just a victim.
This train of thought is very popular in Jesus’ days. Surprise. Nothing has changed for the past 2000 years. It is part of human nature. One day Jesus has a conversation with the Pharisees and teachers of the Law. If you are not familiar with Pharisees, think of them as today equivalent of pastors. Now the Pharisees love the Law of God. They have a very high view of the 10 commandments. Their lives are dedicated to studying and applying the laws of God in daily life. Sounds good right? Here lies the problem. Some of the laws of God are very generic. They are not specific and detailed enough to have direct everyday application. Let me give you an example. The fourth commandment: Keep the Sabbath day holy. The Pharisees looks at this commandment and think, “Hang on, this is very unclear. What does it mean to keep the Sabbath day holy? Okay, you cannot work on Sabbath. But what is considered as work? Is walking consider a work? What about breathing? Breathing is something you do. So can we breathe on Sabbath day?” Can you see what’s happening? In their attempt to keep the law of God, they come to conclusion that they need other laws that explain the do’s and don’ts of the law of God more explicitly. These additional laws came to be known as tradition of the elders, or Mishnah.
Let me share with you some of the tradition of the elders concerning Sabbath day. You cannot look at yourself in the mirror on Sabbath day because if you looked into the mirror and saw a grey hair, you might be tempted to pull it out and when you do, you perform work on the Sabbath. You cannot wear your false teeth on Sabbath day because if they fell out you would have to pick it up and thus you perform work on the Sabbath. Now, can you see how ridiculous this is? These are just two examples out of thousands. These traditions is known as fences around the law. Like for example, if your mom told you “Don’t play on the road because it is dangerous. Stick to the front yard”, you have to think, “Hmmm… what is considered as the road? Is 10 steps from front door considered as the road? Is it 20 or 30?” But if you put fences to separate between the front yard and the road, then it is clear. You don’t have to second guess mom anymore. This is what the traditions of the elders meant to do. It supposes to give you fences around the law. It is not a bad thing.
However, as time goes by, these traditions became more and more sacred to the point that it is considered as the law of God. They are no longer fences around the law but the fences has become the law. In fact, it got so bad that the tradition of the elders became more important than the law of God. And in the verses before our passage for today, we found Jesus confronted the Pharisees of his days on this belief. The Pharisees and the teachers of the laws elevated the tradition of the elders to the point that it is okay to break the commandment of God in order to keep the tradition of the elders. This is mess up. Jesus would not have it. Jesus confronted them on their hypocrisy. How can tradition of the elders carry more weight than the law of God it supposed to protect? Are you with me?
Here is why I am telling you all of this. First, you have to know that the Pharisees and teachers of the laws are not bad people. They are not. Far from it. They are good people who dedicated their life to do the right thing. What they tried to do is actually a good thing. They don’t want to break the law of God. However, they got it all wrong. Terribly wrong. They started with a wrong premise. They think that what is wrong with the world is out there. They think the road is the problem. And therefore the solution is to build fences. The more fences they have, the safer they are. But how many of you know that those fences won’t stop your kid to play on the road? He will just climb over the fences to get to the road. This is what Jesus is getting at. Pharisees thought the solution is to build fences to stop you from playing in the road. Jesus says, “No fences can stop you from playing in the road.” The problem is not out there. The problem is something else altogether. And no fences can stop you from breaking the law of God.
Three things that I want to talk to you about this passage. The universal problem; the radical diagnosis; the supernatural solution.
The universal problem
Mark 7:14-15 – 14 And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.”
So here is what you and I know instinctively. There is something wrong. People disagree on what the wrong is, but we all agree that there is something wrong with this world. Jesus does not shy away from it. He make it abundant clear that all of us have some sense of ‘defilement.’ Jesus just spend the previous 13 verses arguing with the Pharisees about cleanliness, washing hand before you eat. The Pharisees complained to Jesus on why his disciples did not wash their hands before they eat. Their hands were defiled. It is part of the tradition of the elders to wash hand, and even take bath, before dinner. Sounds like my mom somehow. But the reason behind washing hand and taking bath is because they believe that the world is polluted. The marketplace is corrupted and tainted with dirtiness. But the Jews are different. The Jews are God’s chosen people therefore they ought to be clean. So when they come in contact and have fellowship with other Jews, they would wash their hands and take a bath to cleanse themselves first. And this is common sense right? You take shower this morning before you come to church right? I hope. Raise your hand if you don’t so we can stay away from you.
It is a common sense to clean yourself before you meet other people. Especially if that someone is a very important person. Guys, what do you do before that big date with that hot woman? If you are a chef, you don’t go to that date straight from your work with the smell of smoke and bacon all around you. You don’t do that. You know what you do? You go home, you take shower for 15 minutes, you rub that soap all over your body, you floss your teeth, you spray cologne on your wrist and neck, put on some nice ironed clothes, and you wax your hair. “You handsome fine dude.” You don’t want to smell bad and you want to appear clean. And that’s what the Pharisees tried to do as well. And this is God’s intention as well. You cannot find laws of God about washing hand before eating but you find many laws of God that require priests to wash themselves before they come into the presence of God. God is saying that he wants you to be clean. He does not want you to come before him dirty.
Here is the universal problem: all of us are dirty and we know it. Not only the Pharisees that are aware that they are dirty before God, but all of us are conscious that we are dirty. We know something is wrong and we try to fix it. We can’t run away from it. However, we fix it the wrong way. We tried to clean ourselves from the outside in. Four common things that we try to do to make us feel clean.
The upgraded version – this is by far the most common one. It is often known as self-help. Somehow we managed to convince ourselves that we need is ourselves version 2.0. If you love to watch you-tube, then you might heard of the name Jordan Peterson. He is probably the number one self-help guru in the world right now. He is extremely brilliant. He recently released a book titled, “12 rules for life” that immediately becomes best-seller. I love listening to the man. I found him very fascinating. Fascinating enough that I actually bought his book. And I don’t even believe in self-help. Today, Peterson has become a father figure to many young men out there. Back in the days we used to have this thing called god-father. Peterson is not god-father; he is a you-tube-father. But here is why I find him very intriguing. Peterson gets it so right and so wrong at the same time. In his book, he tells you 12 rules that you should apply to your life to make you a better you. Who does not want that? And his rules makes a lot of sense. It is the basic principal of life. And the assumption is that if you just follow these 12 steps then your life will be better. So, we have this imaginary future version of us that once we get there, that frustration and nagging feeling of dirtiness will simply disappear. Really? Isn’t that what you told yourself 5 years ago? How are you doing today? Has it gotten any better? “Well, no. I only did 6 of the 12 rules. I need to do the other 6 then maybe my live will be better. I need more time! I need to leave my parent’s house. I need to go to the gym more. I need to study more. I need to work more. I need my eight packs since six is not sexy enough. I need a new haircut. I need a make-up. I need a plastic surgery.” Go ahead and try it and tell me how it is. I’m sure you’ll still be disappointed. The truth is you are your own worst enemy. You will not find anyone who betray you, lie to you and disappointed you more than you have. You are the problem. You version 7.0 will not solve the problem. No matter what you do, you can’t get rid the sense of defilement on your own.
Relationship – since the upgraded version of us does not work, we run to relationship. We thought that he or she will finally satisfy and complete us and clean the dirt in us. “You complete me.” But this is non-sense. Let’s do a quick survey. Raise your hand if you are in a relationship. Keep your hands up. Okay everyone look around. Now put your hands down if you think life is easier when you were single. Now look around one more time. There should not be a single hand raise. If there is, they are liars or they are just in a relationship for less than a week. In fact, it works the other way around. Relationship has its way to reveal what was broken in you that you never though was there before. You don’t become clean through relationship. You realize you are even dirtier than before. And this is the foundational problem of every relationship. We look to others to make us feel clean but only find ourselves dirtier than before and we got frustrated and we blame them for making us dirtier.
Creation – How many of you love the feeling of wearing new clothes? It is interesting how new stuff makes us feel like better human beings. We are not! We just wearing new suit or a new watch that makes us feel better. This becomes very evident to me when I first got my 86. I have to admit, it was an awesome feeling. Driving around with my window opens, with me wearing sunnies and suit, with pocket square of course, and listening to Lecrae’s rap, even though I don’t understand anything he said. I thought I was a better person. But I am not any better. I just have a new stuff. We can numb that sense of dirtiness with new stuff but eventually it will fade. I bought all the soap and the gear to hand wash my car. I was determine to keep it clean and shiny. I have that car for 5 years now. Do you know how many times I wash it on my own? Twice! It only takes me mere weeks before I wanted another new car. Now I gave up in keeping it clean. The car is lucky if I wash it once a month. And the craziest thing is that we thought more of the same thing will finally solve it. So we begin to buy more cars, more clothes, more shoes and more watches, in hope that we will finally feel clean but we don’t. Eventually the effect begins to wear off and the thing that used to numb that emptiness lose its value in our eyes.
Church – This is the one that worry me the most and this is the solution that the Pharisees comes up with. You try to clean yourself by being a good person and follow all the rules. You create lots and lots of fences and you try to keep yourself clean that way. You read your Bible, you know how to pray the right prayer, you even know the right Christian doctrines. You know how to play the game called church really well. You are expert at it. In the outside you look very clean. Everyone around you think you got it all together. But you can’t get rid of that sense of dirtiness in you doesn’t matter how hard you try. You don’t have that joy and security of knowing that God is pleased with you.
So we tried our best to make ourselves feel clean. We tried to upgrade ourselves to a better version of us. We tried relationship. We tried creation. And we even tried church. But none of it can make us feel clean. It is like a man who wear clean clothes from top to bottom. He wears the best of shirt, suit, tie and shoes. He wax his hair nicely and he put on lots of cologne on him. But he can’t get rid of the sense of dirtiness on him. He stinks. Why? Because despite all the clean clothes, despite all the hair products and cologne, the man have not taken shower for a month. It does not matter what clothes you wear, you will always feel dirty and smell bad. Unless you take shower. But to take shower, it is to recognize the problem is not out there. The problem is in the inside. We don’t ask, “What is wrong with the world?” or “What is wrong with you?” but we ask “What is wrong with me?” And this is what Jesus is getting at. You know that there is something wrong. But you got the answer wrong. What is wrong with the world is not out there but it is in you. You are what’s wrong with the world.
Mark 7:17-23 – 17 And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
Don’t miss it. This is extremely radical. Up to this time, all the Jews think that it is what on the outside that defiles you. That’s why they have so many laws on washing and keeping oneself clean. Volumes were written on how to wash your hands and keep yourself clean. I am serious. It gets so complicated till they themselves got confused on how to keep themselves clean. But then Jesus came along and said, “It is not what goes inside of you that defiles you.” Just think about it. What happen when you eat food? You put in your mouth, you chew it 30 times if you are being good, and then you swallow it. Then your stomach will digest the food and then it will expel the food in the next day or two. Correct? Some of your digestion is so quick that the food need to be expelled immediately. What comes in, ultimately comes out. It does not defile you. Then Mark makes this very important parenthesis, “thus he declared all foods clean.” How many non-halal people we have in this place? You have to love this short line. Praise God we can eat pork belly today.
Then Jesus continues. “What defiles you is not whatever goes inside of you. What defiles you is what comes out of you.” With another word, Jesus is saying, “Let me tell you the heart of the problem. The problem is not what’s out there but what’s in you. The heart of the problem is the problem of the heart. It is your heart that defiles you.” Boom! Jesus drops the mic. Jesus turns the equation upside down. We always assume that it is what’s out there that’s defile us. “Don’t be friends with the wrong crowd because it will defile you. Don’t go to strip club because it will make you dirty.” And there is a grain of truth in it. Bad friendship and strip club are not good for you. But here comes Jesus and he says that bad friendship does not defile you. Strip club does not make you dirty. Bad friendship only pulls out the defilement that is already in you but it does not make you defile. Going to strip club only shows that you are dirty but it does not make you dirty. You are already defile and dirty. Because your problem is not what you do; your problem is your heart. Your heart is defile and that is why what comes out of you is defilement. You do not become sinner because you sin. You sin because you are a sinner.
That is why as long as we still have a defile heart, it does not matter what we do, what comes out of us is always defilement. Yet a lot of times, we try to fix the symptoms rather than the disease. We look at our problem and say, “I have a lust problem. I have an anger issue. I have an addiction. I need to fix my problem.” So we do our best to modify our behaviour. We try our best to control ourselves. We try our best to be good. But it is not working. Why? Because we are only treating the symptom. We are not dealing with the root of the problem. No one can make you stop sinning because it comes from within you. As long as our heart is sinful, sin comes naturally for us.
It will take a long time to go through the list of sin in these verses one by one. Let’s just do the first one – evil thoughts. No one can make you think evil thoughts toward anyone. No one. And I know some of you will say, “Yos, you do not know my husband. You have not seen my wife when she lost her cool. You don’t know my crazy mother in law. You don’t know my sibling. You don’t know my housemate. I am telling you. I am a very patient person. But they just know how to push my button. They are crazy. If you know them, then you know they can make you think evil thoughts.” Granted, people can be crazy. People do crazy thing that can annoy you. People can hurt you and betray you. I’ll give you that. But listen. It does not matter what they do, no one control what’s in your head but you. You are the one who entertain the thoughts of killing them softly in your mind. You are the one who keep replaying the things they did that hurt you in slow motion. No one can do that in your mind but you. We want to blame others but Jesus won’t have it. Jesus says that all those evil thoughts come from your heart. Can you see what happen? We like to play the blame game. We like to blame things out there for our sins. However, Jesus would not have it. You have no one to blame but you. Whatever your problem is, the real issue is not with your relationship, your marriage, your addiction, your anger, your lust etc. They are just the symptoms. The problem is not what you do but what makes you do what you do. The problem with you is your heart. Your heart is dirty and corrupt. Therefore, what you need is a new clean heart.
If our problem is dirty hearts then what we need is clean hearts. The question is, how do we have clean hearts? Good question. I’m glad you asked. Mark didn’t give us the full answer in this passage but he does gives us a hint for the answer. Mark, unlike Matthew, Luke and John, hardly gives us his editorial comments. All other gospel writers does it. They tell you what Jesus did and added their own little commentaries to it. Especially John. But Mark hardly does it. Thus, when Mark does it, we need to pay attention to it. In this passage, Mark just make a little comment, ”Thus he declared all foods clean” (Verse 19). We take this short line for granted. We don’t understand how radical this is for the Jews.
Simple illustration. Few years later, Peter, one of the leading apostle, have a vision from God. In the vision, he sees pork belly, bacon, and many other meat comes down from Heaven. And then he hears God says to him, “Eat them Peter. Enjoy heavenly pork belly.” Do you know what Peter say? This is one of the apostle. One of Jesus’ closest disciple. “Lord, I can see this pork belly fall from heaven. I can smell the heavenly smell. And I know you are telling me to eat it. But I won’t do it. I won’t eat it. I never eat anything unclean and I will not start.” Then God replies, “Do not call anything unclean that God has made clean.” And you think that Peter will eat it after hearing God’s reply. But he didn’t. It happened three times and he still didn’t eat it. Can you see how strong this statement that Mark made?
Jesus is not saying, “You know what? That law I made about not eating pork, they are just ridiculous. I realize now how delicious pork is. So, don’t worry about that law. From now on, you can eat pork as much as you want.” This cannot be what Jesus is saying. Why? Because Jesus has a very high view of the law of God. Pharisees have a very high view of the law of God. That’s why they created fences around the law. But Jesus has even higher view of the law of God in comparison to Pharisees. Matthew 5:17-18 – “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law of the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” Did you hear that? Jesus cannot and will not abolish any part of the law. Not an iota, not a dot. That means that the only reason that now we can eat pork is because the law have been fulfilled. All the cleansing law has been fulfilled by Jesus.
How? Let me tell you how. This is beautiful. And I am letting you know that I’m stealing this from Timothy Keller. And he stole it from another pastor named Ray Dillard. You can steal it from me as well. I don’t mind. In fact, it is available for free at our church website. In the Old Testament, you will find most of the clean laws in the book of Leviticus. But, there is only one place that show what the clean laws were about. It is on Zechariah chapter 3. Let me tell you what happen. The prophet Zechariah had a vision. And in that vision he saw Joshua, the high priest of Israel in his time, standing before the Lord. Now, you need to understand that there is only one day a year where the high priest get to stand before the Lord. It is on the day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. This is the only day that the high priest get to stand before the Lord. And in order for Joshua to stand before the Lord, a lot of preparation need to be made. What happened was a week before the day, Joshua would be taken away from his home and put in a secluded area where he was completely alone. Why? So Joshua would not accidentally touch anything that was unclean. For that one week, Joshua needed to keep himself clean. He would take lots of bath and prepare his heart. He would spend time praying and meditating on the law. His foods was brought to him. He would spent the entire week practicing for the Day, making sure he would not make any mistake. And on the night before the day, he was not allowed to sleep. He would stay awake all night praying and meditating on Scripture. There would be other priests rotating to help him pray all night.
Then on the day, Joshua had to take a bath five times. And he had to do it in public. They would set a screen around Joshua taking a bath but it need to be a public display. Because it is important for people of Israel to see that their high priest, the one who would represent them in front of God, was absolutely clean and pure. Then Joshua would be dressed in white pure linen. Then he goes inside the Holy of Holies and made sacrifice for his own sins. Then he came out and take another bath to clean himself. Then they dressed him in another pure while linen and Joshua entered the holy of holies the second time to make sacrifice for the sins of all the priests. And that’s not all. He would come out again, took another bath, dressed in pure white linen, and entered the third time to make sacrifice for the people of Israel. All of this was done in public so that people could see that everything was done perfectly. This is not about Joshua. This is ultimately about the sins of all the people of Israel.
Can you see the tremendous amount of preparation and cleanliness that was prepared for this day? They made sure that when Joshua stand before God, there would not be a speck of dirt and dust on him. This is the purpose of the clean laws. They made sure that he was fully clean and prepared. So Zechariah in his vision saw Joshua stand before the Lord in the Day of Atonement. And Zechariah was shocked by what he saw. Zechariah 3:3 – Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. Are you serious? After all those rituals, after all those week of preparation, after all those baths and clean linen, how can Joshua be clothed with filthy garments? In fact, the word filthy is a soft translation. The direct translation is dung. Joshua was clothed with garments tainted with human waste and urines and all the dirty ugly things you could imagined. What’s happening? God was allowing Zechariah to see what Joshua looked like before God. All those purification ritual and washing did not matter because it only cleanse you on the outside. But the heart was filthy! That’s how God saw Joshua. That’s how God sees us. It does not matter how hard we try to be good, try to behave, and try to clean ourselves. It is not what we put on in the outside but it is the heart that matter!
If that’s the end of the story, we would be doomed. Joshua would be doomed. God would have killed Joshua on the spot. But that’s not the end of the story. What happen next is the story of grace. Zechariah 3:4 – And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” What happen? Rather than killing Joshua, God removes Joshua’ sins and gave Joshua a new clean garment. How come? Because in verses 8 and 9 God says that he will send his servant, the Branch, and he will remove the sin of God’s people in a single day. A single day! Do you know who is this the Branch? It is no other than Jesus. Jesus not only gives a radical diagnosis of human’s condition, but he also comes to be the cure of our hearts’ disease.
What happened to Jesus? Exactly the opposite of what happen to Joshua. Jesus also had a week of preparation before his sacrifice. He also stayed up all night before the day. But unlike Joshua, Jesus had no one to support him and pray with him. His disciples fell asleep. And at Jesus’ time of need, all his disciples left Jesus. Then when Jesus made his sacrifice, he was not clothed with fine linen but rather he was stripped naked. He was beaten, mocked, spat and killed. And rather than receiving a clean garment from God, Jesus was clothed in our sins and filth. At the cross, Jesus took on all our sins and filth and he was judged by God for it. Why? So that you and I who believed in him might be dress in white pure linen before God. Jesus became sin so that in Jesus we become righteous and clean. Our hearts are cleansed because Jesus died for us in order to give us a new heart that loves and fear God.
You cannot clean your heart from the outside in. No law and no fence can clean your heart. It is not what’s on the outside that defile you but what’s on the inside. What you need is a new heart. What you need is the gospel. The gospel changes you from the inside out. The gospel is that Jesus took our filthy hearts and paid for it fully at the cross so that he can give us a new clean heart. It is not something we can earn or achieve on our own. It is only something we can receive freely by grace. If you believe this, if you believe the gospel, then what comes out of you is no longer defilement. What comes out of you is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. If the heart of the problem is the problem of the heart, then the gospel is the only remedy.
So what do we need to do? We need to own our sins and confess it. 1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
- What is “Mishnah” and why is Jesus against it?
- “You are your own worst enemy.” Agree or disagree? Explain
- Out of the 4 categories of self-improvement, which one(s) are you prone towards?
- According to Jesus, it is not what’s in the outside but what is in the inside that defiles you. Verses 21 gives a list of sin that comes from the inside. Choose two (beside evil thoughts and sexual immorality) and show how it comes from the inside rather than the outside.
- “Thus he declared all foods clean.” Explain the spiritual significance of this one short sentence.
- How are we tempted to make our own “fences around the law” become the law?
- 1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Take time to pray and confess your sins to God and trust that God is faithful and just to cleanse us from our sins.