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                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                The Source Of True Defilement (7:14-23)

INTRODUCTION

1. When confronted by the Pharisees and scribes regarding eating with
   unclean hands...
   a. Jesus described the danger of traditions - Mk 7:1-13
   b. How they can make our worship vain and the commands of God void
      - ibid.

2. Jesus then used the occasion to teach concerning true defilement...
   a. First to the multitude - Mk 7:14-16
   b. Then privately to His disciples - Mk 7:17-23

[Having the benefit of both His public and private teaching in Mark's
gospel, we can learn "The Source Of True Defilement."  From Jesus
remarks to both the multitude and His disciples we learn that it is...]

I. NOT THE FOOD

   A. DIETARY RESTRICTIONS IN THE PAST...
      1. From the Creation, man (and animals) may have been vegetarian
         - Gen 1:29-30
      2. After the Flood, God gave animals as food, but not their blood
         - Gen 9:3-4
      3. With the Law of Moses, Israelites were restricted in their diet
         - Lev 11:1-47
      -- In Old Testament times, God did have some stringent dietary
         guidelines

   B. DIETARY FREEDOMS IN THE PRESENT...
      1. Jesus has declared all foods clean - Mk 7:14-19
         a. To the multitude, Jesus hints at the source of true
            defilement - Mk 7:14-16
         b. To His disciples, He explains His parable - Mk 7:17-19
         c. "...purifying all foods" is likely a parenthetical statement
            - Mk 7:19
         d. For while the Law of Moses was in force, Jesus observed it
            in full - cf. Mt 5:17-18
         e. Thus Mark's parenthetical statement was intended for
            disciples living after the cross
      2. Paul later taught that all food is acceptable
         a. Teaching to abstain from foods would be a sign of apostasy
            - 1Ti 4:1-3
         b. Nothing is to be refused when received with thanksgiving and
            prayer - 1Ti 4:4-5
      3. There are a few exceptions...
         a. Things offered to idols, blood, and things strangled - Ac
            15:28-29; 21:25
         b. Especially when connected to idolatry - 1Co 10:19-23; Re
            2:14,20
         c. When certain foods becomes a stumbling block to the weak
            - Ro 14:14-21; 1Co 8:8-13
      -- From the New Testament, we learn of the dietary freedom we have
         in Christ

[From what Jesus taught His disciples, true defilement comes not from
food...]

II. BUT THE HEART

   A. MAN HAS A HEART PROBLEM...
      1. The heart (mind) is a fountain out of which much that impacts
         life flows - Pr 4:23
      2. Affected by sin, it becomes deceitful and wicked - Ec 9:3; Jer
         17:9
      3. Thus the heart is a source of much evil that defiles man - Mk
         7:20-23
      -- The heart (or mind) of man is the real source of defilement

   B. EVIL THOUGHTS LEAD TO TRUE DEFILEMENT...
      1. Evil thoughts
         a. The general term translated 'evil thoughts' precedes the
            verb in the Greek text and is viewed as the root of various
            evils which follow - Bible Knowledge Commentary
         b. Evil thoughts generated in a heart unite with one's will to
            produce evil words and actions - ibid.
      2. Adulteries
         a. Illicit sexual relations by a married person
         b. Which Jesus said could occur in the heart - Mt 5:27-28
      3. Fornications
         a. Illicit sexual activities of various kinds, prompted by lust
            - cf. 1Th 4:3-5
         b. Including pre-marital sex, homosexuality, etc.
      4. Murders
         a. Taking life intentionally
         b. Which is connected to hate in the heart - 1Jn 3:15
      5. Thefts
         a. Stealing
         b. Including shoplifting, pilfering, etc.
      6. Covetousness
         a. Greediness
         b. Which makes one an idolater - Ep 5:5; Col 3:5
      7. Wickedness
         a. Evil acts
         b. Done with malice
      8. Deceit - acting with guile and intent to defraud
      9. Lewdness
         a. Unrestrained and unconcealed immoral behavior
         b. Closely related to lust - cf. Ro 13:13
     10. An evil eye - a Hebrew idiom for stinginess - cf. Pr 28:22
     11. Blasphemy - slander, verbal abuse against God or man
     12. Pride - arrogance, boastful opinion of one's self, often with
         disdain toward others
     13. Foolishness - lack of common sense, with moral and spiritual
         insensitivity
      -- Such sins prompted by evil thoughts are what truly defile us!

CONCLUSION

1. Today, many people choose to restrict their diet...
   a. Some for health reasons (allowed by the liberty we have in Christ)
   b. Others for religious reasons (not bound by the liberty we have in
      Christ)

2. From Christ and His apostles, we learn that all foods have been
   declared clean...
   a. When received with thanksgiving
   b. When sanctified by prayer

Thus we learn where our true focus should be:  removing that defilement
which springs from sinful hearts (Ep 4:17-24; 1Pe 4:1-3).  It begins
with obedience to the gospel of Christ... - cf. Ac 2:38; 22:16
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