Saturday, August 21, 2010

What is Sin - Part 16 : Inside or Out?

WHAT IS SIN?
Part 16 - Inside or out?
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org


SLIDE 1

SCRIPTURE READING

Mark 7:13-23
... you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that."

 14Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, "Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. 15Nothing outside a man can make him 'unclean' by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him 'unclean.' “

 17After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18"Are you so dull?" he asked. "Don't you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him 'unclean'? 19For it doesn't go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body." (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods "clean.")

 20He went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.' 21For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.' "


I.                   WHERE IS SIN?

a.      Sin takes place and resides inside of us
                                                             i.      Jesus says here, when this comes out (we allow it to manifest) we become unclean.
1.      Sin is in our HEARTS...inward

                                                          ii.      Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
1.      God alone.

2.      And the Word warns us about evil inside us, our hearts.
3.      “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
a.      It is in our hearts, inside of us, that sin resides...not outwardly, but inwardly.

b.     Jesus and the Word of God tells us where sin is

                                                             i.      Matthew 23:25-26 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.  Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”

1.      Where is sin? On the inside.
a.      When we come to the Lord, we don’t “clean up our act” before we come to Him!

b.     Scripture says, “While I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me...”

c.      God is concerned with our inside...our spiritual state

2.      Why are the Pharisee’s hypocrites?  Because all they worried about was the outward appearance.

a.      Jesus told them, the only way to clean the outside was to take care of the inside.

ILLUSTRATION 1

At the last church I Pastored in, we had some Jezebel’s who were constantly trying to control the church, and every aspect of its operations...last I heard they are still there today and doing the same work they always have.

 One Sunday we had communion, and this being early in my ministry, I had only administered communion once or twice before.

I read my scriptures, prayed and passed the juice before the bread that day.  I was immediately met after the service to be scolded by the Jezabel about how I did it wrong, and I messed it up and ruined communion.

So, being new to this, I could not believe I made such an error, looked at my scriptures I read before the communion that day in Luke 22, and low and behold, the cup was given before the bread in that scripture.

So what was the big deal? 

She was so focused on the external, the outward of what was taking place, the “ritual”, that she totally missed out on what God is really concerned with, which is the spiritual aspect of communion.

The remembrance of his sacrifice, communion together with the brethren, the symbolic acceptance of the New Covenant purchased in His blood, the Spiritual Commitment to the lord, the opportunity for self examination, confession to the Lord and repentance.

No...none of that.  Bruce gave the grape juice before the oyster cracker.

She had her mind set, because of the tradition of men, that communion was supposed to be done a certain way.

I did not do it the way she thought it should be done.

But it wasn’t I who ruined communion for her...it was her wicked heart.

She was a modern day Pharisee, a Jezebel bent on controlling every aspect of the church.  She was someone who was more concerned about the outward, and did not look at the inside or spiritual aspect of the matter. 

Obviously, if the scriptures in Luke 22 say the cup was first, then the bread, yet in other references the bread was first, then the cup...the Lord must not care about the “ritual”, but the spiritual meaning behind it.

Remember...nowhere in scripture are we given detailed instruction on the HOW of communion, baptism, marriage...just instruction that it is symbolic and “represents” a spiritual truth.

The LORD is not concerned with religion and rituals...but relationship.

ILLUSTRATION 2

I also had an Elder of that same church come and challenge the fact that I invited people at the end of the service to come forward as it says in James to have the Elders pray for them and anoint their heads with oil.

He said it was not scriptural.

Why?  Because he said the scripture did not “SAY” to do it at the end of a service.

In fact, at this church, I was challenged multiple times by the same person because I didn’t “SAY” the words they thought should be said at the invitation.

Apparently knowing more than the Holy Spirit...perhaps I should listen to them instead?

Why do they do this?

Both of these people were looking at the wrong things.

First of all, when did Jesus and the Apostles have people come and get hands laid on them and pray for them?  When they preached!

Secondly, there is not ONE instruction in scripture telling us the words we must say for invitation.  Not one!

IN FACT...the typical invitations you hear are not scriptural.

No where did they make people “come forward” to be “saved.”

Like Jesus isn’t powerful enough to save you in your seat, or He is ONLY standing at the front of the church and can’t save you.

People are stuck in their paradigms and what they are used to, which is the teachings of men.

Stop looking at the external, and examine your heart...because that is what is going to be judged!

Scripture does not say one thing about us standing before God to give an account of why we ate an oyster cracker for communion instead of a Holy Wafer Blessed by the Pope.

Where is sin?  Inside or out?

                                                          ii.      Matthew 23:27-28 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. 28In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

1.      There are many Pharisees among us today, who are full of wickedness and sin, yet try outwardly to appear as righteous and upright.

2.      They do not recognize their own sin because they are too worried about trying to find sin in others, looking at the outward appearance.

3.      The planks in their own eyes blind them...

We need to realize it is the inside, the spiritual, that matters to the Lord.

                                                       iii.      Matthew 5:27-2827"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' 28But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart

In his heart...where sin takes place.  Not by the physical actions that happen outwardly...long before that.

                                                         iv.      Luke 18:9-14 “ 9To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable:

10"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'
 13"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'
 14"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

The Pharisee sets himself above others looking at outward sin.  Bragging about how “spiritual” he is (fasting and tithing).  Do we hear some brag today about their spirituality?  Their “gifts”,  their “abilities”, their so called educations, knowledge?

But the one who was justified before God was not the Pharisee...but the one who recognized his inward self as being sinful.  The one who confessed to God that he was a sinner.  The one who prayed for mercy.

The Pharisee was too busy examining everyone else to take a close look at himself.

He knew God’s word, they expounded God’s word and tried to put it on God’s people making it a heavy burden.

But Jesus says His yoke is light...give it to Him and do not worry about those things which are external.

God even goes as far to say, “Don’t worry about the one who may destroy the body.  But fear the one who can destroy the body and the soul.”

What did Jesus tell us to do in Matthew 28?  Preach the Gospel to everyone. Baptize in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey all that I command.

Are you concerning yourself with this?  Or with what others are doing?

Our heart may be where sin begins, but it is also where we commit to the Lord.
This is why scripture says we cannot serve two masters, because where our heart is, there our treasure will also be.

Do you have a heart for your sin...or for the Lord?

c.      Our heart is where salvation must be (internal / spiritual)!

                                                             i.      Prayer of Salvation?

1.      Words mean nothing...God looks at the heart!
2.      No instruction in scripture on what to pray!
3.      Prayer of salvation (although a good guide) is a MAN MADE TRADITION!

a.      Jeremiah 11:20 “O LORD Almighty, you who judge righteously and test the heart and mind”
                                                                                                                                      i.      God examines our hearts and mind, not our words...Anyone can claim to belong to the Lord!
1.      Matthew 7:21-23  21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

                                                                                                                                   ii.      Are you in religion...or relationship with the Lord?  Are you examining the outward, or inward of your walk?

b.     Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Where is your heart today? 

                                                          ii.      Works (which are external) for Salvation?

1.      Works cannot save, only a right heart!

2.      Acts 8:21 “You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God.”

Salvation is INTERNAL and SPIRITUAL, not external.

It’s not about Words...it’s about your heart!

                                                       iii.      How do you know you are saved?
1.      Not because of magic words
2.      Not because you were dunked in water
3.      Not because you ate a cracker and drank grape juice
4.      Because you accepted the New Covenant in Jesus Christ
5.      Because you confessed your sin
6.      Because you repent (and continue to repent)

Our salvation, forgiveness and righteousness is of Christ ALONE, and not by ANYTHING that we DO externally...

Only by what we do internally, which is commit our heart to the Lord, confess our sins (which take place inside our hearts) and repent (turn our hearts away from sin).

II.               IS GOD CONCERNED WITH OUR OUTWARD OR INWARD?
a.      Ordinances of the church
b.     Some argue ordinances are acts, which must be performed to obtain mercy, and grace as well as salvation from the lord.

                                                             i.      Baptism
1.      Legalistic external / traditions of men
a.      Only in Jordan
b.     Dunk 3 Times
c.      Only by Apostle or John the Baptist
d.     Babies must be baptized

2.      Communion (Legalistic external / traditions of men)
a.      Only with wine (Catholic )
b.     Only with Juice (Baptists)
c.      Only with unleavened bread (Jews)
d.     Only with wafers blessed by priests (Lutherans)
e.      Only administered by a Priest (Catholics)
f.       Literally turns into blood and flesh of Christ (Catholics and some Orthodox)

In 1551, the Council of Trent officially defined that "by the consecration of the bread and of the wine, a conversion is made of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord, and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of His blood; which conversion is, by the holy Catholic Church, suitably and properly called Tran-sub-stantiation." (Session XIII, chapter IV; cf. canon II).

3.      These are Legalistic external / traditions of men.

4.      The Word on Baptism
a.      We are not told how many times to dunk someone.
b.     We are not told to ONLY use the Jordan.
c.      We are not told “who” can baptize someone.
d.     We are not told to baptize babies.

If we are not commanded on these matters...then we MUST conclude its because the outward ritual is not what the Lord is looking at, but the spiritual aspect of these symbolic outward expression.

He’s judging your heart during these times, not your performance.

What is taking place in the person’s heart.

5.      The Word on Communion
a.      We are not told we “have” to use wine
b.     We are not told if the fruit of the vine was wine (fermented) or juice.
c.      We are not told we “have” to use unleavened bread in the New Testament
d.     We are not told “who” can administer communion.

If we are not commanded on these matters...then we MUST conclude its because the outward ritual is not what the Lord is looking at, but the spiritual aspect of these symbolic outward expression.

He’s judging your heart during these times, not your performance.

What is taking place in the person’s heart.

6.      What we are told
a.      These acts are symbolic!
                                                                                                                                     i.      Matthew 26:26-28
1.      Jesus said, “This is my BODY” and “This is my BLOOD”

2.      Is He speaking literally or figuratively?

3.      Obviously it’s not actually His body and blood.

b.     The four scriptures referring to the last supper all use the same Greek word for bread...”artos”, which means in Greek, Bread (as raised) Strong’s concordance #G740

c.      Does this mean the bread was NOT unleavened?
                                                                                                                                      i.      Raised bread would make it appear so.

                                                                                                                                   ii.      unleavened in Greek is “azumos” #G106, and this word is used when describing the “Feast of unleavened bread”, but artos is used in describing the bread at the last supper.

Does this mean they used regular bread? Perhaps, or maybe they didn’t.  BUT, the fact remains, THEY DID NOT specifically specify or give instruction.

Why?  Because God does not want people turning something meant to be internal and spiritual into an outward ritual.

This removes the focus from inward where it’s supposed to be to external!

d.     The scriptures DO NOT give us an EXACT formula for because the act itself was symbolic.

Symbolic, these are outward expressions of a spiritual truth that is to take place in our hearts, where it matters.  We should not be so focused on the “act” itself, making the ritual the center of attention.

This is done in the Catholic church where they have specific instruction, even on how many steps to take and which way to turn when performing the Holy Eucharist.

This is also what was done when I was confronted at the other church...which happened many times in the years I served there.

We need to get it in our heads, it’s NOT about the ritual...but relationship.

7.      This is WHY we do not have exact instructions in the word of God on HOW to perform a baptism, or communion, or a wedding, or a child dedication.

So which are you?

Have you been set free by Jesus Christ, who is all things and has taken your yoke and burden, or are you still a slave because you are ignoring the inside, and looking at the external things, perhaps even trying to adhere to the Old laws which are no longer in effect to those who belong to Christ?

III.            ARE YOU FREE OR SLAVE?
a.      You Cannot Serve Two Masters

                                                             i.      All of this External and Internal boils down to one thing...the Two Covenants.
1.      Are you in covenant with the Law of Moses, or the Law of Love which is made complete in Christ?

2.      The Old Testament, the letter of the law ONLY leads to condemnation and death!

3.      Food laws, circumcision, feasts, sacrifices and rituals are ALL from the OLD COVENANT...

a.      Another external ritual which is no longer in effect is the act of circumcision.  We discussed in Bible Study how this is no longer required to be a child of God.  Why?  Because it is external and of the Old Law.
                                                                                                                                      i.      Paul tells us, the True Jews are circumcised of the heart! INTERNAL!!!!

4.      If you are part of the New Covenant in Christ Jesus, He IS the fulfillment of the Old Testament, and all things to us who belong to Him.

Romans 8:1-3
1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.

b.     Are you part of the New Covenant, or stuck in the Old?

c.      Are you acting like a believer, or a are you a plank in the eye finger pointing Pharisee ignoring the inside and focusing on external things?

d.     Are You a Pharisee?
                                                             i.      Matthew 23:24 “You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.” ~ original nit pickers

                                                          ii.      Luke 6:41-42 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.”
CONCLUSION

I believe what the Word says: God is concerned with matters which take place internally, in our hearts and minds.

This is where sin takes place...and also where righteousness and holiness can take place.

We need to let go of the old which only brought with it, condemnation and death, and hold on to the New Covenant purchased in Christ’s blood, freeing us from the external things, and allowing us to examine ourselves, and confess the things inside.

It is not about what we “do” or how we “do it”, but about what is taking place inside of you right now, and where your heart is.

Do not be like the Pharisees who ignored their spiritual state and focused on external things, which will only lead to sin.

Don’t end up a finger pointing Pharisee.

Instead, grab hold of the things of God, and allow your external expressions to truly express the spiritual transformation taking place inside of you.

Examine yourself, confess your sin, repent and ask God for His mercy.

As the scriptures say, examine yourself.  Judge yourself so that I won’t have to judge you!