The Heart of Humanity (Mark 7:14-23)

The Heart of Humanity (Mark 7:14-23)

I.) The Problem of Evil

There is a problem today acknowledged by every reasonable person on this earth. The problem is not new to humanity. A simple glance at human history will reveal it has plagued mankind from their very beginnings. It is the problem of evil.

For centuries people have wrestled with the concept and presence of evil. People seek to conquer it with good works, but that only masks it. Humanity then turns to education, but that only strengthens it all the more. There is nothing man can do to get rid of it.

Exasperated and exhausted mankind throws their hands in the air and asks:

Q.) Why is their evil in this world?

Do not turn to man for the answer. Turn to the Christ!

Q.) Do you want to begin to understand your family, friends, coworkers and neighbors?

Q.) Do you want to begin to understand yourself and your fullest potential?

Listen to the truth He speaks here. If you want to be confused by the world for the rest of your life, refuse what He tells you in this text.

II.) The Production of Evil

The reason people today seek to combat evil with methods of outer reform is because they believe they are inherently good. Evil is an external entity that desires to contaminate that which is “internally good”. We, therefore, must work to prevent its corrosion from over taking us.

This outer reform is the exact folly that perpetuated the Jews adherence to the traditions of the elders. The self-righteous works system the Pharisees enforced encouraged people to achieve perfection through human effort. They diligently reformed the outside not realizing it left the inside untouched. The inside is the production of the very problem of evil. This zealous adherence to tradition allowed spiritually dead people to appear alive.

Jesus refers to the Pharisees who mandated such teachings as:

“…Whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but on the inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness…(Who) appear righteous to men, but inwardly are full of hypocrisy.”[1]

Outer reform did nothing for the inner man except make him a hypocrite. The traditions of the elders where incapable of making one right with God, so Pharisee and follower alike were destined for destruction. The blind were leading the blind.[2]

Their teaching succeeded in giving people a self-righteous security in ones “goodness”. The outer appearance of “good” thus inoculated them from the truth of evil.

Jesus exposes the true source of evil here. Remember, He has just told the Pharisees, who everyone thinks is good mind you, that:[3]

a.) Their hearts are far from God.

b.) Meaning they only offer lip service.

c.) Meaning they worship Him in vain.

This is because they have turned aside from the Word of the Living God to man’s word.

Jesus now calls the multitude that has been ensnared by their teaching to Him.

Mark 7:14

Understand being the Greek word Suniemi.[4] In other words Jesus is saying “Pay attention, and put the perception with the thing perceived.”

“In your mind, join together what I’m about to tell you.”

He is going to address why some of His disciples were not following the cleansing ordinances handed down by the elders. So He speaks a parable to them:

Mark 7:15-16

Q.) What is the point of the parable?

A.) The external cannot defile the internal; rather the internal defiles the external.

This meant a couple of things:

1.) Failure to follow cleansing rituals had no power to defile.

2.) Obedience to the cleansing rituals had no power to purify.

External works have absolutely no impact upon a person internally. It is what resides internally that will impact the external.

Now this goes right over the disciples head and Jesus gives them an anatomy lesson:

Mark 7:17-19

Jesus is in fact calling them stupid here and questioning their intelligence. Eating bread with impure hands cannot defile a man, because it goes into the stomach and not the heart. Since it goes into the stomach it will not remain in the person.

He is quite clear “that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him.”

Q.) What then defiles humanity?

A.) The actions we commit according to the thoughts and intentions of our heart.

Mark 7:20-23

Q.) Why is there evil in the world?

A.) Evil comes forth from within us.

There is not one person on this earth whose thoughts and actions evade what is written down in this text before us. This text exposes our innermost being and reveals our fullest potential. The heart of humanity is evil.

In order for man to be considered “good” people need to redefine the word itself. This is exactly what mankind has done. Good is no longer moral perfection; it is outer kindness and generosity. Anyone who therefore displays these attributes is unquestionably “good”.

Q.) Why does mankind desire to be the definer of good rather than God?

A.) When man defines “good” it is attainable by outer reform, but when God defines “good” it’s unapproachable. Humanity is left wanting and evil by nature according to His holy standard.

III.) The Preface of Evil

Our being born inherently evil is a direct consequence of Adam’s sin in the garden.[5] The entire New Testament rests on this. It points to the preface of evil.

]One cannot read the Word of God without facing the radical corruption of mankind inherited from generation to generation:[6]

1.) Genesis 6:5 tells us “the LORD saw the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was evil continually.”

2.) Genesis 8:21 says “the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth.”

3.) David declares in Psalm 51:5 “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.”

4.) Jeremiah 17:9 teaches “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?”

The fact that the disciples were confused shows how much the tradition of the elders corroded their understanding of the Scripture. Especially the depravity of mankind.

Human depravity means we are thoroughly evil, but not as evil as we could potentially be. Depravity does not take away the will of man, rather it acknowledges our will has been so corrupted by sin our inclination is for evil. Sure people have the capacity to do seemingly good works, but those works have no power to convert the heart.

Mankind’s fall into sin not only ruined our relationship with God, it tarnished our being made in His very image entirely:[7]

a.) Spiritually, we are dead.[8]

b.) Mentally, we are darkened.[9]

c.) Willfully, we are evil.[10]

All of these together obviously equal an emotional mess.[11]

Q.) What defiles us before God?

A.) Our wicked and evil hearts.

There is nothing man can do to alter this corrupted condition of the heart: Man is helplessly hopeless.

IV.) The Panacea of Evil

The question then is this:

Q.) Oh wretched people that we are Who can save us from this body of death?[12]

Q.) If this be man’s reality is there a remedy?

A.) Yes, Jesus the Christ.

If you want to be saved from your evil heart do not put faith in your works, rather rest entirely in His work, which is finished.

Q.) Do we want to know the love of God?

A.) Begin to recognize how evil we truly are, and then look at what He did for us.

a.) He took our evil thoughts and actions upon Him and nailed it to the cross.[13]

b.) He was forsaken by the Father for our evil and appeased God’s wrath.[14]

c.) He shed His very blood to atone for our evil hearts against Him.[15]

d.) He buried our evil in the grave.[16]

c.) He arose from the dead and offers us, who are evil, not only forgiveness, but His life and His righteousness.[17]

Q.) What does God graciously do with us?

A.) He removes our heart of stone and gives us a heart of flesh.[18]

He makes us new creatures that are to walk in the newness of His life. Not according to our works but by His grace alone.[19]

As new creatures with new hearts we will begin to not love what we once loved, and we will begin to not hate what we once hated. Namely, our sin and His righteousness. This is how the new nature thinks.

Q.) Will there be a war within us?

A.) Yes, our two natures will wage it since the old has not been removed.[20]

Jesus’ finished work on the cross saved us from sins penalty, is saving us from sins power, and will one day save us from sins presence. Until that day comes, He has begun a work in you that He will perfect.[21]

Q.) Do you see Him working in your life?

Our old nature loves the things written here, but our new nature hates them and works to purge them from our members. Examine yourself to see if the new nature of Christ is at work in you.[22]

Do not let these sins reign in you, because you were washed, and you were sanctified, and you were justified in Christ, rather:[23]

“…lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted…and put on the new self, which…has been created in righteousness and holiness and truth…and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us…”[24]

It is only until we to see our corruption that we can begin to truly love God, and this love is because He first loved us in Jesus Christ.[25]

Q.) Do you desire the lost to know God’s love?

A.) Teach them their true condition.

When that truth thrusts them into a pit of despair teach them the Christ: Crucified and risen again.

[1] Matthew 23:27

[2] Matthew 15:14

[3] Mark 7:6-8

[4] Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance; NT Number: 4920

[5] Genesis 3:6; Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:22

[6] Genesis 5; Notice all of Adam’s decedents are made in his likeness and image and they all die, which was the result of disobeying God in Eden.

[7] Genesis 1:26-27

[8] Ephesians 2:1

[9] Ephesians 4:17-18

[10] Ephesians 2:1-3

[11] Read the entire Bible

[12] Romans 7:24

[13] Colossians 2:13-14

[14] Psalm 22:2; Matthew 27:46

[15] Hebrews 9:11-14; Revelation 5:9

[16] Romans 6:4-5; Colossians 2:12

[17] 1 Corinthians 15:1-20; Colossians 3:1-3

[18] Ezekiel 36:27

[19] Ephesians 2:1-10

[20] Romans 7:14-25

[21] Philippians 1:6; 2:12-13; Hebrews 12:2

[22] 2 Corinthians 13:5; Hebrews 12:4-10

[23] 1 Corinthians 6:11; Hebrews 10:19-22

[24] Ephesians 4:22-24,5:2

[25] 1 John 4:19

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