Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
303-665-6105
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PENTECOST 14 – August 26, 2018 – Mark 7:1-13 “BAPTIZING POTS”

Introduction:  Grace be to you and peace, from God our Father, and from our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our text is the Gospel Lesson just read, from Mark 7.  We begin with prayer.

 

Dear fellow disciples of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ:

  • Isaiah writes about it – the absence of any kind of spiritual sentience and reason. It is such futility:  “The vision of all this has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed.  When men give it to one who can read, saying ‘Read this,’ he says, ‘I cannot, for it is sealed.’  And when they give the book to one who cannot read, saying ‘Read this,’ he says, ‘I cannot read.’” [Is. 29:11,12]
  • The confusion is evident in people “drawing near with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.” What is substituted for God’s Word is “a commandment taught by men.”  The result is perverse pride, unbelief and rejection of God, the only True and Living God, and self-righteous arrogance that omits the most important “good things” that God commands. It also rejects God’s Savior, the Lord Jesus, and the real love of God.
  • If it were not in Holy Scripture, I never would have believed that human beings considered it a religious duty to be “baptizing” cups, pots and copper vessels and dining couches. That is the Greek word in our text that is translated as “washing.” The Greek word is “baptizo,” “baptizing.” 
  • Of course, in our days and times we have similar nonsensical “commandments of men,” such as baptizing for the dead, re-baptizing Christians, and a host of religious “disciplines” and “customs” that various religions force upon their unfortunate members.
  • And in our own hearts and minds, we also struggle with some of the clear and straightforward teachings of God’s Word, and feel that we must correct some of them, and even replace them with what makes sense to us. But as Isaiah comments, this is a matter of “turning things upside down,” turning the potter, God who made us, into mere clay.  It is tantamount to the thing made saying of its maker, ‘He did not make  me” or the thing formed saying of Him Who formed it, ‘He has no understanding.’   [Is. 29:16]  I trust that the hopeless stupidity of this is apparent to all of you.  But the reality remains that:

 

I.  We Are All Sinfully Disposed To Such Foolish Hypocrisy And The Generation Of “Human Commandments”

 

A.  Honoring God With Our Lips But Not Our Hearts, By Substituting Our Own Wisdom For The Word Of God

 

Text:  “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me; in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.  You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”

 

B.  Rejecting The Commandment Of God In Order To Establish Our Own Traditions

 

1.  In the case of these hearers of Jesus, their problem was with the Fourth Commandment

 

Text:  “Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father of mother must surely die.’  But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban [that is, given to God] – then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the Word of God by your tradition that you handed down.  And many such things you do.’”

 

2.  In our time, many people have problems with the Sixth Commandment, as explained in the Epistle Lesson

 

Epistle:  “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, His body, and is Himself its Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.”

 

“Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. . . .  In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies . . . just as Christ does the church.’”

 

Statement:  Just as Jesus asserts that his hearers had many other issues with God’s Word, so people today have many areas of disagreement and unbelief.  It is not just marriage, and the proper responsibilities of husbands and wives.  There are a whole variety of “sexual” immoralities that go on, and even the very definition of marriage is being challenged, even in some churches, that marriage is a relationship that can only exist between one man and one woman.  And sexual promiscuity has led to the legalization of the hideous practice of abortion as well.  There are other significant, but perhaps less consequential issues as well that people have with the teaching of God’s Word in regard to creation, the age of the earth, miracles, etc.

 

Application:  But remember, that when we substitute our own understanding, our own commandments, our own doctrines, and our own pious practices, in place of God’s Word, “the wisdom of our wise men shall perish, and the discernment of our discerning men shall be hidden.”  [Is. 29:14]  Regardless of the religiosity, the feigned piety, the devotion to these human teachings which conflict with God’s Word, it is an exercise of futility that plunges human beings into ignorance and darkness of mind!

 

Transition:  Now we also know from Holy Scripture that God does not want anyone to perish eternally in such unbelief and arrogance.  And so:

 

II.  We Are All Called To Repent And Return To God’s Word

 

A.  To Acknowledge And Confess These Our Sins

 

Acts 17:30  “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent.”

 

B.   God Calls Us To Seize His Forgiveness And Love By Faith

 

Is. 1:18  “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”  

 

1 John 1:9  “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

C.  In This Way God Invites Us To Come To Love Him With Our Whole Heart, And Return Fully To Submission To His Word

 

1 John 4:16, 19  “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.  . . . We love because He first loved us.”

 

John 14:23,24  “Jesus answered, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.  Whoever does not love Me does not keep My words. And the word that you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.’”

 

Luke 10:27  “Jesus answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.’”

 

Statement:  The call to repentance is not just a matter of us doing the right thing!  It is a call to safety, to wisdom, to blessedness, and ultimately to eternal life.  For wherever the Word of God is scuttled or forsaken entirely, tragedy and disaster are sure to follow.  This includes rejection of the Fourth Commandment, rejection of the Sixth Commandment, and rejection of any part of God’s Word. 

 

Application:  God is love, and the reason He has given us His Word is because He loves us and wants only the best for us!  So while we may look at departing from His Word as something good for us, it is actually disastrous; while remaining in His Word is our safety and blessedness!

 

Conclusion:  The spiritual confusion is evident all around us, and the result of such confusion is also plainly seen – and the suffering of mankind only increases as transgressions and lawlessness increase.  It is quite sad that some would try to address this with such things as baptizing pots.  But of course, any human solution that defies God’s Word is foolishness and futility.

 

This is not God’s will for us.  Jesus makes clear the way for us – repentance, and ever growing reliance upon and faithfulness in keeping His Word, the Holy Scripture.  This is the path of true blessedness, and the way of true devotion to God Himself, God the only True and Living God.  Amen.

 

Votum:  And the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in the true faith, which is in Christ Jesus, even unto live everlasting, Amen.