Mark Has Some Good News, Part 27, Your Game Face

Mark 7

Traditions and Commandments

1 Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, 2 they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. 3 (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands, holding to the tradition of the elders, 4 and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches.) 5 And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, "Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?"

6 And he 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 in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'
8 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men."

9 And he said to them, "You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! 10 For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.' 11 But you say, 'If a man tells his father or his mother, "Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban"' (that is, given to God)— 12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13 thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do."

I want you to memorize this chunk of scripture, let it sink in like a hatchback in a mud hole. It deals with a mess that the church has been dealing with for centuries. That mess is religion.

Here we see Jesus watching people who are so holy that when their parents need them to support them financially. They flat out tell them sorry I tithed your rent check. Something every teen wants to hear is what Jesus is saying here "your rules suck". And every anarchist not currently occupying a street said amen right? Well not so fast let's look at what Jesus' point was.

" thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do."

It goes without saying that God has rules for us, it's inherent in perfection that a standard would be present in our lives for a relationship with God to exist. But the sin of religion is adding to what God has intended for us. You see perfection cannot be added to, it's not a number to be reached it's an attribute of God. So the Pharisees we're not guilty of doing something wrong per say but we guilty of placing themselves as equal to God and then some. Any time we take what God tells us and try to one up it we sin.

We see this in rules like dress codes at youth. We tell girls to wear one piece bathing suits or t-shirts to the pool because we're a Christian youth group. We know modesty and near nudity don't mix so we make up a rule to keep ourselves and our ministries safe. But let me ask you did Jesus do that. Did Jesus require and does Jesus require anything from our wardrobe to be saved. There's a thief in heaven right now that will tell you all he did was ask Jesus to save his unworthy life.

And what about dating. We have rules for that too. Couples are encouraged to not be couples at youth group for the conscience of the group, so we don't have exclusive relationships or accountability problems. Its stay on your side of the bus this and don't hold hands that. Yet Jesus forgave, evangelized and ministered to women who had been caught having sex with married men and having live in boyfriends after several failed marriages.

I can't help but wonder would we be as merciful and gracious as Jesus was in those two parts of God in-errant word written for our doctrine, teaching and personal rebuke.

2 Tim 3:16

The big issue here is how do you prevent sin? I mean if there's a way to sin the must be a way to not sin right? The mistake that Pharisees made was they thought you and I can make good people out of each other. Their mistake was trying to make a religious book big enough that hitting anyone with it would solve the problem of sin.

God’s solution was always not to get them to learn perfection. Plain and simple, works, deeds, strategies, accountability partners, Jesus, nothing but you stops you from sinning. The only thing God will do for your sin is pay for it. Sometimes you will go to pool and have a great time having fun and not even think twice about what's on your body. Other times you'll go for the express purpose to get guys to look at your body and want it.

The trouble with sin is that stopping it has always been in our court and we can't play the perfection game. Satan sin and death will always score more points on us than we will on them. We need help. We need a substitution for our lousy game of religion. Our God, Father Son and Ghost perfect in us what we could not do for ourselves. They're our defense when we need the strength to not lose another point to our perversion. They’re our offense when we need to make up for a lost point. And they’re our victory that we could never achieve. That's because perfection tips the scales on any score death, sin, Satan or we thought we had.

Like an Ant vs. Elephant fight, the scale changes when you add a perfect God and his sacrifice for our sins. No effort on our end will make up for our losses. No effort on our end will preventive-ly do what God can do for us redemptive-ly.

So for all of us, students and leaders alike. Where are we trying to compete with a perfection we can't attain? And where are we looking to that perfection for guidance, rescue and redemption? We need to stop trying to be and make better people. That job has been finished for a longtime. Finished by a man whose has the scars to prove it. So let's look to that man. .Jesus. And try to be more like him as we bring other to a more and deeper knowledge of him.