a used car salesman will clean up the outside of a car to distract
potential buyers from engine problems. Likewise, the religious
establishment of Jesus' day thought their rituals made them
acceptable to God. Jesus told them, "You are the ones who
justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts.
What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight."
Religious groups can fixate on surface issues the Bible says nothing
about: playing cards, dancing, movies, etc. They confuse keeping
rules with holiness and godliness.
issues reflect a reliance on culture over Christ. Some churches
battles begin because of cultural bias rather than spiritual
conviction. They continue from each person's desire to be right. They
involve music styles, proper use of space, which Bible to use, etc.
teaches us to understand spirituality as an internal rather than an
external matter. We are not saved from the outside in. It is not
money, politics, the right diet, nor dressing a certain way. We must
look to the “heart” as the source of righteousness not how well
we follow man-made rules. He said, “Nothing
outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is
what comes out of a person that defiles them.” (Mark
lists the evil intentions that flow from the human heart. It’s a
catalog of evil: sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed,
malice, deceit, lewdness, slander, arrogance and folly. Jesus is
saying that every human heart is a fertile breeding ground for evil.
if pornography weren’t a $10 billion a year industry there would be
sexual immorality. Pornography isn't the cause, it’s a symptom of
what’s inside the human heart. Even without violent video games,
people would still be drawn to acts of hatred and violence.
Christians believe that programs & laws are the answer but Jesus
is saying that sin isn't created by our environment. It hides within
each human heart. The prophet Jeremiah said, "The heart is
deceitful and sick beyond cure; who can understand it?"
must take an inside-out approach to sin. Unless the human heart
undergoes a radical transformation, all the outward efforts and
legislation won’t be enough. The human heart is where the change
needs to begin and only Jesus Christ can transform the human heart.
away from culture, politics, power plays, games, personal vendettas &
feuds turn to Jesus who said “I am the truth and the life, NO ONE
comes to the Father except through me.” (John