Posts Tagged 'rules'

Out of the Ordinary: Tradition’s Place

Out of the Ordinary: Tradition’s Place

Matthew 15:1-9

J.I.Packer, modern Puritan scholar and evangelical theologian, wrote: “All Christians are at once beneficiaries and victims of tradition—beneficiaries, who receive nurturing truth and wisdom from God’s faithfulness in past generations; victims, who now take for granted things that need to be questioned, thus treating as divine absolutes patterns of belief and behavior that should be seen as human, provisional, and relative. We are all beneficiaries of good, wise, and sound tradition and victims of poor, unwise, and unsound traditions.”

How Can Our History Blur HIS Story?

The Weight of Tradition ~ Matthew 15:1-2

  • 1 Teachers of the Law should have a good handle on the importance of God’s word; talk about “the hedge”
  • 2 these men are concerned about their own power and status; notice they implicitly judge Jesus by the actions of his followers (this is still true today!)

The Place of Tradition ~ Matthew 15:3-9

  • 3/4 the Pharisees don’t see that their “hedge” breaks God’s command which it’s intended to protect
  • 5/6 it’s “more pious looking” to give money for others to see, than to care for your parents (which hardly anyone sees); this choice leads them to break the Law
  • 7/9 their hearts are more concerned with SELF than with God.

We need to guard against this as well; left unchecked and unexamined, we can easily turn our simple faith into a set of rules and regulations that are more concerned with keeping others OUT of “God’s Kingdom” (which isn’t actually His, but OURS with His name slapped on it).

Snapshots from Mark: Choosing Rules

Snapshots from Mark: Choosing Rules Sermon Audio Here

Mark 7:1-23

According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world. The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with “faith” or “belief system”, but religion differs from private belief in that it has a public aspect. Since we know that some of these religions directly contradict each other, we can know that they can’t all be equivalent. So, how does someone choose what to believe?

Whose Rules Run The Show? To Find Out,

Calculate The Weight Of Our Own Rules ~ Mark 7:1-13

  • 1/5 Pharisees see disciples not following their tradition
  • 6/8 Scripture warns about traditions taking the place of God’s word (some traditions are okay: e.g., organ in the foyer doesn’t supersede the Law)
  • 9/13 Corban (gift) explanation

=> everyone has their own set of rules; some are intentionally created in response to experience; some are unexamined learned behaviors from our childhood; some change over time as we use them

Clarify The Why Of God’s Rules ~ Mark 7:14-23

  • 14/15 simple clarification of “kosher”
  • 16 (aside: explain manuscript omission)
  • 17/19 what we eat doesn’t spiritually degrade us
  • 20/23 what’s inside us is what counts

=> what’s in your wallet? Commercial same concept

“…our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority [of the Word of God] is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.” (Savoy Declaration/Westminster Confession) NOT the work of individual hearts; by the evidence of the work of the Word among ALL our hearts of those who trust God. (Not individual interpretation, but collective understanding: Congregationalism!)

This is NOT the same as choosing individual preferences: I might prefer sci-fi over westerns, but that’s not a definition of truth. (Full disclosure: there are some pretty awesome westerns out there as well). Some people might choose mac-n-cheese over Chinese food every time, but that’s not an indicator of eternal truth, no matter what Kraft Foods might say to the contrary.

Jesus challenged his followers to Choose God’s Rules above their own. This is our opportunity to show that Jesus’ challenge has taken root in our own lives: we, together as God’s people, choose to live our lives by God’s Agenda above our own.


Pastor Ed Backell

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