Mark 7:1-23All these evil things come from…within!”


Intro:  Bad luck with watches – Looked nice but didn’t work right

No matter how often I wound it or how many times I changed the hands…it just didn’t help.


The most important thing about a watch is “to tell time”. So, what is most important is what is inside!


Same is true about a Christian – Jesus illustrates this in the section before us tonight.

Mark 7:1-5

Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes came together to Him, having come from Jerusalem.2 Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault.3 For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders.4 When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches.


5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, "Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?"


 So here we see A delegation of religious leaders from Jerusalem travel 100 miles to check Jesus out.

A) Jesus ministry was front page news at this time – he was attracting quite a crowd


B) But these men didn’t come to see if Jesus was the Messiah – they came looking for something to pick on

1) They were looking for a reason to discredit him and to put him down.


C) They had to look very hard and finally they settled on the issue of Ceremonial washing !


D) This was not a matter of personal hygiene but of religious ritual.


During the late 2nd century AD,  oral teachings (traditions) were written down in what was called the Mishnah

A) a book of 6 divisions: agriculture, festivals, marriage, civil life, crime, & ceremonies)

B) To this was added a commentary called the Gemara.

Together the Mishnah & the Gemara formed the Talmud.


C) These contained 248 commandments(“thou shalts!”);
1) And 365 prohibitions(“thou shalt nots!”)


They had this whole Well Section on Washing before eating!

A) Infact The Jewish Mishnah contained no less than 30 ch.’s on the cleansing of vessels.


B) Now This Hand washing ritual came from the command for priests to wash their hands before doing their service duties (Ex.30:19; 40:12).


C)  It was a very simple practice that symbolized approaching God with a clean heart


But the Jewish religious leader took this simple command and turned it into a complicated burden

A) Here is what they were supposed to do!


B) The water was first poured on both hands, held with the fingers pointed upwards, and must run up the arm as far as the wrist. 


C) It must drop off from the wrist, for the water was now itself unclean, having touched the unclean hands,

1) and, if it ran down the fingers again, it would again render them unclean.


D) The process was repeated with the hands held in the opposite direction, with the fingers pointing down;

1) and then finally each hand was cleansed by being rubbed with the fist of the other.


So God says wash your hands before eat and serve and they turn it into this complicated process

 A) A really strict Jew would do all this, not only before a meal, but also between each of the courses.

B) SO this was the problem the religious leaders were having with the disciples of Jesus !

1) They were not following this washing ritual


C) Notice how Jesus responds


6 He answered and said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:


'This people honors Me with their lips,

But their heart is far from Me.

7 And in vain they worship Me,

Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'

8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men -- the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do."


There were two problems that Jesus points out here


A) Lip service – honor me with their lips- heart is far from me


B) Now Before we are too hard on the religious leaders – Aren’t we at times guilty of the same

1) We sing – I surrender all – Holding on to things


C) We sing Lord reign in me – in our hearts we are saying accept in these areas


D) We sing I love you Lord and we hate our brother

1) God says : How can that be


Listen we can be just as Guilty of playing lip service

Worship and life is in Vain – Hypocritical

A) Hypocrite was a play actor


B) So the first problem is a heart problem –

1) Saying all the right things but the heart is far from the Lord


C) Going thru the motions – but there is no fire


Problem #2 Traditions above truth

A) There is a big difference between tradition & truth!


Tradition is outward; Truth is inward. –


Tradition has to do w/ritual; Truth has to do w/reality.


Tradition is something you keep; Truth is something that keeps you.



I see many moms place a very thin blanket over their babies in their strollers (keep the sun out).


But what would happen if they just kept placing blanket after blanket…it doesn’t matter how thin these blankets were…the baby would suffocate.

Over the years the Pharisees had overlaid the biblical teaching w/vast amounts of spoken teaching blankets & oral tradition blankets.


Jesus keys in on one specific area where they were doing this.

9 He said to them, "All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.10 For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.' 11 But you say, 'If a man says to his father or mother,"Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban" -- ' (that is, a gift to God),12 then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother,13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do."


The Pharisees had a tradition whereby whatever they declared to be ‘corban’, or ‘dedicated’, belonged to God.



While this practice may have sounded pious, in actuality it provided a way for them to circumvent all charitable giving 

A) It even provided a way for them to not have to take care of their aging parents even though God said to honor them


B) Jesus called them on this Practice – Using their religion as an excuse to not do what is right


C) It was Hypocritical and selfish – The opposite of what Jesus Preached & God Commanded


Listen when Tradition takes the place of truth – what happens -  we make the word of God of no affect

A) We lesson the word’s power and effect in our lives


B) Traditions – Suit and tie and Church

 1) Hymns –

2) Communion


C) I-55 can become a distraction – Unless there is a Rock band – and Black curtains and lights I can’t worship


D) Pastor behind a pulpit – I can’t receive !


1st time to applegate – Courson leading worship


Hope happen here

Q: So what is the balance or safe place with “tradition”?

[1] Learn from what other Christian communities have learned over the years (i.e. traditions of old)


[2] Never put it on the same level as the bible!


[3] We must constantly differentiate between what is Scriptural & authoritative & traditions which may or may not be relevant or helpful at any given time.


(i.e. Scriptural - the church meets weekly on the 1st day of the week. But tradition dictates time & location & what we do when we meet)


[4] Scripture is God-breathedTradition is man-made!


[5] Scripture is from God & is Authoritative & Primary; Tradition is from man & is secondary & must remain flexible.


[6] Traditions must always be subordinate to God’s Word.


[7] We must constantly assess our traditions in the light of Scripture.

We can’t pass on Non-Essentials; we need to pass on Jesus!


Mark 7:14-23

14 When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, "Hear Me, everyone, and understand:15 There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man.16 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!"


17 When He had entered a house away from the crowd, His disciples asked Him concerning the parable.18 So He said to them, "Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him,19 because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?"

20 And He said, "What comes out of a man, that defiles a man.21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man."


The issue: “Outward religious traditions vs. Inward living faith!”

A) Key is the heart needs to Change –


Prov.4:23 “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.”


So How do we do that – two verses and we are done !


Rom 12:1-2

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.




2 Cor 3:18

18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.