The Defilement of Sin, Man's greatest problem Mt. 15:15 - 20
Topic: Sunday AM Passage: Matthew 15:15–15:20
15Peter said to Him, “Explain the parable to us.” 16Jesus said, “Are you still lacking in understanding also? 17“Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? 18“But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. 19“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. 20“These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.”
You're in for a short morning. Yay. Maybe. These verses really need to finish off our thoughts that we began last week.
I'm out of whack on my paragraph divisions, and the next section is daunting. Probably too much to cover in one week, and definitely impossible if I embark on it with these 6 verses. I don't want to mess it up, so I decided to do a course correction by not going on beyond these 6 important verses.
What we have here is a defining discussion about man's most basic problem. Sin.
Isaiah 59:1 - 3a ...1Behold, the LORD'S hand is not so short That it cannot save; Nor is His ear so dull That it cannot hear. 2But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. 3For your hands are defiled with blood And your fingers with iniquity; Your lips have spoken falsehood, Your tongue mutters wickedness.…
That, in an amazing economy of words that only the Holy Spirit can pull off, is our planet's problem. Sin defines us.
When Adam fell, and Satan usurped his role of authority to reign on earth, God stepped away. Sin seperates us from God. Habakkuk says; Your eyes are too pure to look on evil.
And the Lord says through the Psalmist; Psalm 34:15 - 16
The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry; but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to blot out their name from the earth.
Thus men are born into sin with no way to know God. No way to solve the problem. In sin did my mother conceive me. David says in Psalm 51. We are born into it, and there's no way to extract ourselves from it. We are spiritually DOA, dead on arrival. And God is hidden to us. We have no capacity to find Him.
And thus we have a planet explained by what Jesus said a few verses ago. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.
That's the nature of our world and frankly, it explains a LOT.
Those of us who have been rescued flip on the news and we look at it through that filter. Evil is not only winning, it's growing like a cancer that is malignant. Out of control.
Of course ISIS is gang raping innocent women and children are being crucified. Sin out of control. Of course the United States is punishing an Illinois school district for not allowing a young man to shower in the girls shower room. Sin out of control. Of course the race to legalize a halucinigenic drug is making the news daily. Like a battering ram until it happens. And it will. Sin out of control.
The true church is supposed to be salt on this piece of rotting meat we call the world. Supposed to be an influence that slows the decay, but we have mostly failed. The salt isn't salty any more. That's another sermon.
Our world is drowning in sin. Every baby that is born into this world is born into sin and the result is a whole lot of blind dead people trying to figure things out, and we turn on the news and they're following each other into one pit after another. They cannot know God. That capacity is dead on arrival.
That brings us to the Pharisee's. An interesting situation in the midst of the more general mess for sure. They were Israelites. Learned. Part of God's chosen nation. Benefactors of the revelation of God. And they didn't have a clue.
Everything Jesus is going to tell Peter by way of explanation is already stated in their scriptures. Every scripture I've shown you so far was from the old testament. Jer. 17:9 says; The heart is deceitful above all things, and deperately wicked. Who can know it?
The Scribes and Pharisees, the chief priests and rulers of Israel had invented a man made religion quite apart from true Israel.
They couldn't keep the law any more than any other human can, so they invented thousands of "traditions" that they could keep. And feel very righteous doing it. Jesus said they were full of dead men's bones.
This idea of sin is where they went off the tracks. The prevailing idea of sin, to them, is more along the lines of how we look at a contagious disease. It was outward and you got dirty by touch.
That's why Luke records that they saw Jesus eating with non-ritually washed hands and were amazed. In their minds, they were clean until sin entered from an external source. God forbid a harlot should weep and wash your feet with her tears and dry the tears with her hair!
Luke 11:37 - 39 Now when He had spoken, a Pharisee asked Him to have lunch with him; and He went in, and reclined at the table. 38When the Pharisee saw it, he was surprised that He had not first ceremonially washed before the meal. 39But the Lord said to him, "Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the platter; but inside of you, you are full of robbery and wickedness.…
God forbid you should allow the outsiders to touch the hem of your cloak. Unclean! Unclean! Sin gets on you from touch and you have to wash it off, constantly. That was their religion
What Jesus told the pharisees was so foreign to anything Peter and the disciples had ever heard or experienced that it simply didn't compute. That's why he says. Whoa. Stop right there, please. 15Peter said to Him, “Explain the parable to us.”
Shock and awe. Something new. Old, in their scriptures, but lost to them. Explain, please.
What's funny is that the disciples were already doing this. They weren't doing the ritual washing stuff any more. Why? Because Jesus didn't. They were following His example even though they had no doctrinal basis. He didn't bother with ritual cleansings, so they jettisoned them too. Now Peter would like to understand.
So confused is his thinking that he calls what Jesus said to the pharisees, a parable. Jesus was speaking literally. 15Peter said to Him, “Explain the parable to us.” But it isn't a parable.
That's why Jesus chides him a bit. Vs.16 Jesus said, “Are you still lacking in understanding also? In our vernacular, we might say; Really?? We don't have a word for rolling your eyes.
Let's review what Jesus said to these pharisee's. From last week;
Mt. 15: 10 After Jesus called the crowd to Him, He said to them, “Hear and understand. 11“It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.”
That didn't make any sense to Peter. It's so confusing, it must be a parable. What does the parable mean? “Explain the parable to us.” And beginning in Vs. 17, Jesus does exactly that, in simple language.
17“Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated?
This isn't a science lesson, and these aren't scientists. Edwardian english has cleaned up the obvious. In the original language it goes something like this. everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and goes into the toilet. Is that clearing things up. It goes in the mouth portal and it comes out . . . the other one.
Bodily function. Sin doesn't get in this way. Too bad, because then maybe we could get rid of it in the completion of the process. No worky. Guzzinta. Guzzouta. That's it. Even dirt. We'd probably be surprised at how much real dirt the body could process. Does process.
18“But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.
Now we've left the physical dimension for a whole other one, haven't we. Sin doesn't get on us. Because we rubbed up against it. It doesn't enter us physically. It's already there. It's already there.
It comes out of your mouth, in words that damage and destroy. It comes out your hands that pick up things to kill with. Jesus has a whole list of things that are bubbling away in the human heart, waiting for an exit, doesn't He.
The heart is the seat of all sin. In this case, the heart is the person that lives inside this physical body. The mind. The emotions. The intellect. The broken dead spirit that wants to worship . . something.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Jer. 17:9
I've already told the story of my Naval training where the instructor taught us that man is basically good. I raised my hand and stopped him. Something that wise people don't do. Sort of the let sleeping dogs lie kind of idea. He acknowledged me and I quoted Jeremiah 17:9. He said, the United States Navy doesn't recognize the things written in a 4,000 year old book. Official doctrine of the United States Navy is, man is basically good.
That wasn't last year folks. That was 43 years ago.
Sin lives in the human heart. Recogizing that answers so many questions. Those news people looking at the latest crazy guy hosing people down with an Uzi, wagging their heads asking, how could someone do that?
Their problem is they've rejected what a 4,000 year old book says and bought into the official doctrine of the United States. We know the answer to their question. They don't want to hear it.
Listen to Jesus. 18“But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. The heart of every man born into this world except one, is full of murder. Sick with sin.
This doctrine has a parallel one. The virgin birth. If Jesus had been born of a normal union, He'd have the same sickness. He could not be a sinless sacrifice for us, unless He was born outside the disease we all hold in common.
Sin. From our parents, from theirs, and theirs all the way back to Adam. Jesus broke that cycle. His Father was God. His mother was human. He lived without sin. A sinless life. He gives us that life, and takes unto Him, on the cross, our sin. All of it. And that, friends, is man's only hope.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Ro. 3:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Ro. 6:23
1Cor. 15:21 - 23 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 23But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming,…, so in one man, all will be made alive.
Let me show you the most righteous human possible. His name was Joshua and he was the high priest when God allowed His people Israel to go home after the Babylonian captivity. Far more righteous than these Pharisee's. Beloved by God.
Zechariah 3:1 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2The LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” 3Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel. 4He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” Again he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.” 5Then I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments, while the angel of the LORD was standing by.
Again, Edwardian english is softening the blow. Filthy rags is the best gentlemen can do for a word that means, literally, clothing covered in excrement. Joshua took a swim in the sewer and then appeared before God. Strongs Hebrew lexicon has the descriptive word; excrementitious
Satan accused him. Rightly so! He was filthy. But he was chosen by God, and God, the angel of the Lord, who this passage also calls simply, the Lord, this is Jesus, pre-incarnation, that Lord says to Satan. You go fly.
“The LORD rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?”
This is strong stuff. Beat it Satan. This fire brand is mine!
Now, watch the wording here; “Remove the filthy garments from him.” Again he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.”
We are clothed with iniquity. The sewer garments are sin. Jesus removes the sin and gives us festal robes. This is the gospel, folks.
These pharisees are going to stand before God in rags covered with sewage. That's their righteousness! That's every mans righteousness, unless the Lord has clothed Him.
The one thing that the jews did understand correctly is that sin is a defilement. From God's point of view, sin is like having someone in your house who just took a swim in sewage. Sin is defilement. Corruption. Pollution. Foul.
What they failed to own is that the corruption, the defilement is from within, not without.
It's interesting that the writer of Hebrews is trying to shake some of these very same folks who have made some sort of confession but not moved out of their old religion. Keeping their feet in both worlds. The old familiar and the new christianity thing. He's trying to shake them loose from that in Hebrews 6. He says;
1Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2of instruction about washings. . .
They couldn't let go of this idea that washings with water would remove sin that they rubbed up against.
What is the source of sin? Paul says sin that dwells within us. Just like Jesus.
Paul has this long discussion in Romans 7. 21 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. 22For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 23but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. 24Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
No good thing. Unrestrained, this world will suffer evil that's frightening to imagine. No restraint at all. Just men with evil fomenting in their hearts. Jesus defines the human heart;
19“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. 20“These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.”
evil thoughts. Sin starts in the thought machine. What I want. How will I get what I want.
In the case of these pharisees, recall already in chapter 12, they were working out the details of His murder. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against Him, as to how they might destroy Him. What they want is Him dead.
Evil begins at the heart. The seat of what you want. Somebody's in the way of what you want. Murder him.
You want to gratify your flesh. Commit adultery. Fornication. Murder if you have to. Steal your neighbors wife. Tell lies. Evil that begins in your thoughts.
Take what you want. Even if it isn't yours. Steal to get what you want.
False witness. The word simply means lie. Want to be president? Lie.
Slander is the word normally translated; to blaspheme. Evil men blaspheme God. They hate God. They invent impossible schemes, like evolution to rob God of His glory. The world made itself. That is blasphemy.
This is an ugly picture I'm painting.
Let's consider what restrains evil for a moment. Not an exhaustive list. That's another study, and in interesting one, but let's just consider three things God has instituted for our good, so that evil will be somewhat restrained.
1. God's moral law. The 10 commandments and a fear of a God who judges. You shall not lie. You shall not steal. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not covet. Honor father and mother. These are the base lines of civil order.
2. Government. God instituted government for our well being. Government restrains evil doers. Punishes those who do evil. Rewards those who do good. Authority backed up with capitol punishment is ordained by God for our good.
3. Families. Families are the ground zero of civilization based in restraint of evil. We teach our children love and respect. We punish them when they do evil. We reward them when they do well. We love them unconditionally. We protect them and give them shelter.
Now, smash those 3 things to pieces and let the evil that is inside men's hearts just go unrestrained. See what that will look like. We're about to find out. In a single generation, my lifetime, OK a generation and a half <rolleyes> these 3 restraints have been battered almost to pieces.
The lie is, get rid of that stuff, so that man, who is basically good, can move on into a greater realm. Let him go free. Take away the restraints. Let his goodness soar, unfettered.
Jesus says; Mt. 12: 34“You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. 35“The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil.
Jesus says: Mt. 15: 19“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. 20“These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.”
Men have evil in their hearts. It comes out. It defiles them. The word for defile is pollute. Filth and evil live inside every son of Adam and when it comes out of us, we are polluted. Soiled. Filthy. Bankrupt. Helpless to help ourselves.
Let's return for a moment to this idea of defilement. From a God's eye view. The picture of Joshua before the Lord covered in excrement is useful for us. We tend to say defilement and think of something less. Something not so bad. We're defiled, but it isn't that important.
Are you a person who skips to the end of a book to find out how it comes out? Consider the words of Revelation 21 and 22. Some of the final paragraphs in God's book, talking about dwelling where God is;
22 I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; 26and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; 27and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Ultimately, there is a place, where God dwells, and no one with filthy garments is going to be there. 14Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. 15Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying. Rev. 22
What to do. How does this passage inform us and how would we apply what Jesus taught here in our lives.
First and most obvious, I hope, is to realize that you are hopelessly bankrupt. Apart from Jesus, you have nothing to offer God. We are collectively, in our fallen state, filthy. The best we can bring on our own, is sewage. Do we believe that?? Believe it!
Second is to humbly and prayerfully embrace the finished work of Jesus on the cross. He offers His righteousness. He will take away your sin.
One man, Adam, got us into this mess, and God sent one man, His son Jesus, to get us out of this mess. That is the only provision. Cast yourself on His mercy. Hold nothing back. He demands that we come out of this world, and join Him in His authority to reign. His Kingdom is forever.
Ask Him for the festal robes, and He will give you His Holy Spirit to live in your heart as the down payment and guarantee that those robes, white and clean, will be waiting for you in heaven.
A third thing dawns on our understanding, and that is the glorious light of understanding why the world is the way the world is. This book has answers.
I was listening to Al Mohler earlier this week and he made a remarkable statement. I don't know if it originated with him.
He says, the world has 4 questions. Here they are.
Why is there something rather than nothing?
What’s gone wrong with the world?
Can anything be done about it?
And where is everything headed? X2
And I thought to myself as I'd been studying this passage; the world has no answers. They are blind. Blind leading blind. Hopeless to find any of these things out.
We know the answers to those questions.
Why is there something rather than nothing? There's something rather than nothing because God spoke the something into existence in order for all of that something, vast universes, things we've not even seen or begun to perceive, He created it all to reflect His glory. It is a mirror of Him and we see in that mirror the Glory of God.
What’s gone wrong with the world? Adams fall. Sin entered the world. Satan usurped authority and rules this world. Every man since Adams fall is born with sin deep in his innermost being. Every man is born broken.
Can anything be done about it? Yes, Jesus died to redeem us. To purchase us out of this world. One by one by one, individual redeemed hearts restored by the Lord Jesus. Because of His death and resurrection, we can come out of slavery to sin and Satan and be slaves to Jesus, and righteousness.
But that only partially answers that question. Can anything be done about Satan ruling on this planet? Yes, and that takes us to the final question.
And where is everything headed? Everything is headed to that day when Jesus returns and deposes Satan and retakes this earth for His Glory. He'll rule in perfect righteousness for a 1,000 years, and then this world will go out of existence and He creates a new heaven and a new earth.
These are impossible questions for the world. There's simply no way for the world to find any of these answers out. But God graciously gives them to His children. How cool is that?
More in The Gospel of Matthew
March 26, 2017The Authority and Commission of Jesus Mt. 28:16 - 20
March 19, 2017Jesus IS Alive! The Tomb is Empty Mt. 28: 1 - 15
March 12, 2017The Burial of Jesus Mt. 27:55 - 66 pt. 2