Washed Hearts Not Washed Hands
Text: Matthew 15:1-20
Let’s read these twenty verses because they’re all connected.
The question is who you’re offending with your religion (vss 1-3)
- Elder traditions transgressed versus God’s commandments transgressed, which is worse?
- Part of your religion is defined by what you call sin. You may agree with God that sin is a matter of the heart and is expressed in Galatians 5 by the works of the flesh. Or, you may have excuses for the works of the flesh in your life or someone else’s, while you side with the culture on what sin is. In that case whatever you call sin is an act of political correctness based on whatever you worship. Sin is there defined as what is culturally unacceptable.
- Here’s a question to honestly examine yourself with; how often does my religion lead me to stay culturally appropriate by disobeying God? When I hit the crossroads of culturally acceptable versus accepted by God, what do I do? That answer will help you honestly determine who your god is.
- If your religion puts a higher value on physical hygiene than soul hygiene, your religion is more like a devil than a Christian. If you find more value in washed hands than washed hearts, your religion is vain. (1 Timothy 4:1-4)
- Because someone believes something doesn’t make it right. Because you believe something doesn’t make it right. Because all the people you’ve gone to church with believe something doesn’t make it right. The right belief is whatever God said is right.
Your religion makes the Bible worthless (vss 4-9)
- Not only do they deny the Bible, they render the Bible useless by their religion.
- They’re religion has turned DISHONORING dad and mom into an act of worship.
- Jesus cites Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. (Leviticus 20:9, Deuteronomy 27:16)
- Proverbs 28:24 Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no transgression; the same is the companion of a destroyer. (Also applying to the LORD’S words are Proverbs 30:11-17 and 1 Timothy 5:3-8, 16)
- How about this one from the people who wanted Christ crucified? The Jewish religious leaders hire liars to testify against Jesus Christ so they can have him murdered. Then they let Pilate know that it’s a holy day and they’re not going to be able to take down the bodies for a few days while they celebrate their holidays to honor God. So they need to get the bodies down today lest they be defiled. So participating in the assassination of an innocent man, God manifest in the flesh no less, wasn’t evil, but moving his dead body into a tomb on Easter would be a problem. Make sure you wash your hands while you dishonor mom and dad.
- Their religion breeds hypocrites who ignore God’s law while establishing their own standard of righteousness. Matthew 23:27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.
- Isaiah 29:13 – the heart is the problem because the heart is always the problem.
- A vain religion and a worthless worship experience is how this whole exercise is characterized in verse 9.
Christ corrects the false religion (vss 10-14)
- Jesus Christ preaches the truth in verse 11.
- Jesus doesn’t care if His teachings offend false teachers.
- There will be a thorough uprooting of everything that doesn’t belong in God’s kingdom in verse 13.
- Blind leaders of the blind are the wicked who walk in darkness.
Dirty comes from the heart (vss 15-20)
- Christ crudely explains the heart is the problem
- Your teachings, what has come out of your mouth, has defiled you and the ones who promote your tradition. They wash their hands, but they won’t wash their heart.
- Heart produces:
- Evil thoughts
- Murders – Do murderers wash their hands? It could be argued that murderers wash their hands more than people who don’t murder.
- Adulteries – Do adulterers wash their hands? Sure. Are they clean? no.
- False witness
- Deuteronomy 10:12-16 … circumcise your hearts… AND Jeremiah 4:3-4. Romans 2:29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
- Proverbs 4:20-23 My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. 21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. 22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. 23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.