Sunday Recap Vol. 1.14

FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR

Fountain of Grace

Verse 1
Fountain of Grace wash over me;
Healing water make me clean.
And in my unbelief, help me to believe.
Fountain of Grace wash over me.
You promise me Your word is true,
and, Lord, I live because of you.
My only hope, I seek your face;
You wash me clean, Fountain of Grace.

Verse 2
Fountain of Grace wash over me;
Open my eyes that I may see.
When I am fearful let me hide in Thee;
Fountain of Grace wash over me.
You promise me Your word is true,
and, Lord, I live because of you.
My only hope, I seek your face;
You wash me clean, Fountain of Grace.

Welcome to the Red Mountain Sunday Recap! 

The Sunday Recap is a brief fly-by of what we did during Sunday worship. Did anything land with you from worship on Sunday? What did it make you think? How did it make you feel? What did you find especially sweet or challenging from God's word? What did we sing, read, or pray that left an impression on you?

Food For Thought:
The heart is deceitful above all things,
         and desperately sick;
         who can understand it?
 
“I the LORD search the heart
         and test the mind,
         to give every man according to his ways,
according to the fruit of his deeds.” - Jeremiah 17:9-10
 
I [The Lord] will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. - Ezekiel 36:25-27

The scriptures spoke of purity, and set up codes and signposts to it; Jesus, however, was offering the reality. When you arrive at the destination you don't need the signposts any more, not because they were worthless but precisely because they were correct. - N.T. Wright

Q&A: Westminster Shorter Catechism

Q. 16. Did all mankind fall in Adam's first transgression?

A. The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself, but for his posterity; all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him, in his first transgression.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—... But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. (Romans 5:12,15)

Listen To This Weeks Sermon: "Out Of The Heart"

Sermon Text: Mark 7:14-23

14 And he called the people to him again and said to them,  “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15  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.”  17 And when he had entered  the house and left the people,  his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 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, 19 since it enters not his heart  but his stomach, and is expelled?”  ( Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said,  “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft,  murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit,  sensuality,  envy,  slander,  pride,  foolishness. 23  All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

Sermon Outline

  1. We need a paradigm shift (v. 14-20)
  2. We need an accurate diagnosis (v. 21-22)
  3. We need a clean heart (v. 23; 1 John 1:7,9)

Sermon Summary

Mark 7:14-23 continues the prominent theme of defilement introduced in the previous thirteen verses. The word translated "defiled" occurs 5 times in these ten verses. The importance of this theme is deepened when we observe two features of this passage. The first is the priority of the heart. Jesus introduced this feature when he quoted from Isaiah 29:13 in verses 6-7, "This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me." He develops this theme further when he teaches that it's not what goes in a person that makes him/her unclean but what comes out. "For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts..." (v. 21) The second feature is the location of this passage in Mark's gospel. It is the longest conflict passage between Jesus and the Religious Leaders and it appears right before three episodes involving Gentiles (7:24-37). Given these two features, Mark gives us a profound window into Jesus' mission and message. Jesus has come to bring the good news of the Kingdom to all people because all people have defiled hearts, whether Jew or Gentile.

Therefore, the point of this passage can be summarized like this: unless you receive Jesus' teaching on true defilement you will never experience true cleansing.

However, the message of this passage is not easily understood or embraced. Therefore, Jesus begins with a parable: 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. (v. 15) It is worth reminding ourselves what a parable is intended to do. "A parable functions like a lens that allows us to see the truth and to correct distorted vision. They allow us to see what we would otherwise not see." (Klyne Snodgrass) Clearly Jesus is trying to help us see ourselves rightly, that is, our hearts. He is rooting out the all too common temptation to base our identity and acceptance with God on our performance, religious or otherwise. Or to put it more provocatively, our biggest problem isn't our circumstances or other people. Our biggest problem is within.

Why do we need to listen to what Jesus teaches here? There are at least two reasons. Every human heart wants to hide or blame shift. These two maneuvers of the human heart are present on almost every page of the bible beginning in Genesis 3. Everyone knows they are not right at the very core of their being (Rom. 1:18-20) and yet sin is giving yourself to the life long task of trying to cleanse yourself apart from God's cleansing grace. The scriptures paint a vivid picture of the human heart:

The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Gen. 6:5)

For...from [the heart] flow the springs of life. (Prov. 4:23)

As a sample, these two verses help us understand what the Bible means by the heart. It is the source of our thoughts, will and emotions. It is what gives expression to who we really are in all its variety and complexity. However, Jesus' diagnosis of our hearts is devastating. It's uncomfortable, even upsetting."All these evil things come from within, and defile a person." (v. 23)

The temptation may be to read Jesus' words and distance ourselves from some of the words he lists. However, James 2:10 teaches that to fail to keep God's commands in just one point is to be guilty for all of it. The twelve actions and attitudes Jesus' lists describe the human heart actively breaking the two greatest commandments to love God and to love neighbor. Jesus' point is this: "While sin finds different outlets in each of us, in every heart lies the seeds of every possible sin." (Sinclair Ferguson; see also Matthew 5:21-7:29)

This passage ends with no words of hope, which is the point. Hope can't be found by looking inside and no amount of attention to what's outside of us will change that. But remember who speaks these words. One who get's personally involved in our defilement at infinite cost to himself. In order for the good news to be exactly that...good news, we need to hear and accept the bad news. Ironically, Jesus' teaching is what makes the gospel good news for all people, not just the religiously fastidious, because everyone needs a clean heart, a new heart. Everyone begins in the same place...a place of desperate need!

Again and again Mark presents Jesus to us as the savior of sinners who becomes defiled in order to cleanse us. (Mk. 1:40-45) How does he do this? By shedding his blood on the cross. It is the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from all sin. In other words, the Gospel is like a stain remover for the heart and in turn our attitudes and actions. How can you benefit from the stain remover of the gospel?

By grace alone...

[H]e saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior. (Titus 3:5-6)

By confessing our sin...

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.... If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:7,9)

Reflection Questions

  1. What was new or compelling to you? What stood out to you from this passage?
  2. What questions does this passage raise for you?
  3. Was there anything that bothered you?
  4. How does Jesus' parable and diagnosis of the heart challenge you? 
  5. Where is the good news in this passage?

Suggested Resources & The Week Ahead

One of the magazines I regularly try to read to stay up on what others in our culture are talking about is First Things. This week I read an interestinginterview in First Things with "Dr. Jonathan Haidt, a psychologist and professor of business ethics at New York University-Stern School of Business, whose book, The Righteous Mind, discusses the emotional justification of modern-day ethical beliefs and political divides."

Recently, he wrote a fascinating article for The Atlantic with Greg Lukianoff called, "The Coddling of the American Mind" about the culture of oversensitivity on university campuses. Both pieces are interesting commentary on our current cultural moment.

Songs for this week:
Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
Let Us Love And Sing And Wonder
In Christ Alone
Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence
All Things New

Until next time,

Will