Jason Helopoulos / Mar 22, 2020 / Matthew 15:1-20
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Sermon Summary / Transcript
In Matthew 15 the scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus this: “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.”
This was no sincere question. It was a rebuke. They didn’t like the influence that Jesus was exerting. They knew their question had nothing to do with the keeping of Scripture. It was their traditions that Jesus threatened.
But Jesus flips the script with a rebuke of his own. He asks them why they put aside the Word of God for the sake of their traditions. He calls them hypocrites and blind guides. What may have started as something merely good and helpful had at some point become necessary, so that the tradition itself displaced the very thing it was meant to serve. This is legalism. This is washing the outside of a cup and ignoring the real filth on the inside.
Jesus quotes Isaiah: “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” Lip-honor is empty legalism. Dependence on man-made traditions is empty legalism. Living in a way that holds up an outward appearance — going to church every Sunday maybe — that doesn’t correspond to what’s in the heart is empty legalism. Such hearts are far from Jesus.
Over the next weeks, time will tell where our hearts are at. Ask yourself this: Could I go on indefinitely doing church from my living room couch? Would I be ok with that? If the answer is yes, then maybe the “church” you were doing before coronavirus came along never really corresponded with a heart turned to God.
If the answer is yes then repent, Sinner! There is grace! Humble yourself before Him and receive what He has already secured for you: a new heart, perfectly clean.