Monday, October 13, 2008

Seeing Sin For What It Really Is In Us

And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled? (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these things come from within, and they defile a person.”
Mark 7:14-23
Here is part of the second message I gave at the high school retreat I spoke at a couple of weekends ago. I spoke on Mark 7:1-23 and the title of my message was "Seeing Sin For What It Really Is In Us." I don't think I've ever been more affected by a message that I have preached than I was affected by this one as I continue to work out the implications of it today. When I really get this, I will say with the apostle Paul that "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost" (1 Timothy 1:15), and mean it.

So how do we see sin for what it really is? From verses 14 and 15, we should understand that sin doesn’t have to do with anything on the outside of our bodies. Sin is not something external.

Jesus says very clearly, “There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him…” He’s talking about food because the Pharisees were making a big deal about the disciples eating food that would be touched by unwashed hands. But when he says nothing, He means nothing. Things outside of us aren’t the source of our sin. Wearing certain kinds of clothes or certain kinds of jewelry isn’t sin in itself. Listening to certain kinds of music isn’t sin in itself. What I mean when I say that is that there is no kind of music that you are sinning if you listen to it and not sinning by not listening to it. There is no clothing or jewelry that you are sinning if you wear it and not sinning by not wearing it. Why? Because if this could be the case, then it would be something outside of you defiling you. But Jesus says that nothing outside of a person even if it goes into him can defile him.

So we know that sin doesn’t have to do with breaking the traditions or convictions of men that go beyond the Bible. Sin doesn’t have to do with something external. So what does sin really have to do with?

If you don’t understand yet, that’s OK. Jesus’ disciples didn’t understand either. At this point in verse 17, Mark tells us that they asked Jesus about the parable. They wanted to know what He meant.

Jesus then tells them why something that a person eats can’t make him unclean: because it goes through his stomach and out of his body. It doesn’t go into his heart. What’s the implication? Sin is what is in our hearts. The sin in you is what other people can never see and will never see. They will see some evidences of it. But they will never see it for what it really is. What this means is that we can only see sin for what it really is in ourselves. So how do we see sin for what it really is? We look inside ourselves. That’s the only place we’re going to truly be able to see it. Sin is completely internal.

And that’s why I said that the idea of judging others in our hearts leads to what Jesus teaches sin is really about. Sin isn’t most fundamentally about what we do. Sin is most fundamentally about what we think and feel.


So often we have trouble loving others because when we see them we find them hard to love. But here’s the crazy thing about that. Sin is in the heart. We can’t see their hearts. But if we have the eyes to see, we can see most of the ugliness in our own hearts. If we really saw how ugly our hearts were, then I don’t think there is anyone we could look at who wouldn’t be more beautiful and more lovable than what we see in ourselves.

You can get the entire sermon manuscript here.


Mel said...

Wow, Chris.... It's been a prayer of mine for a while, and I know it's not me praying it but God praying it in me, to be able to see myself as Paul saw himself, as the chief of all sinners. This is an incredible, eye-opening, Spirit-breathed message. I went to the link, printed out the whole thing, and hope to read it to my family tonight. I love it when we ask God questions, and He answers with such blatant, clear, to-the-point messages, in languages that we understand. Praise His Holy Name!

Mel said...

This is such a great message... I was awake in the middle of the night for a couple of hours last night, and I thought a great deal about this message. Have you by chance already posted a link to the message that was preached before this one, the message that this message makes reference to? If so, which one is it? And if not, would you be willing to?

Thanks a bunch! Have a great day!

In Christ,

pilgriminconflict said...

Hi Mel,

I praise the Lord that you are blessed through it. Like I said, I'm still continuing to work out the implications of that message in my own life. They are staggeringly huge, especially for someone who so often judges others and identifies their sin (which I cannot see) instead of identifying mine (which I can). May the Lord give me more grace in this.

The first message is from two posts earlier: "The Key To Loving Jesus." There should be a link to download that entire one also at the end of the post. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

May God's grace continue to abound to you and your family,

Mel said...

Oh, got it. Duh.

I read that post and enjoyed it thoroughly, but somehow I missed the link to the entire message at the bottom. I have it now though, and I'm glad I have both of them because I want to read them to my family in the proper order. :)

Have a glorious day!

Mel said...

Good morning, Chris! I've felt led to go back and read your blog posts from the beginning. I just happened across your 3/16/07 post and now I know why God wanted me to go back there.

Check out this question I posed on a good friend's blog recently:

I have a question for you... I've been reading through the Gospel of John in "The Message Bible." When I came to the part about the adulterous woman, a question came to mind that has been in my heart for many years... When Jesus said, "Go and sin no more," what was He REALLY saying? Obviously, we all sin. I'm sure she sinned again sometime in her life. And people who honestly think they don't sin might have a tiny bit of a pride issue going on... So what was he really saying? Any thoughts?

I asked my friend this question, but I asked God first, and lo! He led me to your 3/16/07 post! Isn't He good!?! :)

I received my Rebel CD in the mail on Saturday. I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet because I need to print the lyrics first so I can follow what's really being said. But my daughter Linnea immediately burned a copy of it and was listening to it in her room yesterday. What a blessing!

I hope your day is going well!

In Christ,