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 15 – September 2, 2018 – Mark 7:14-23 “REMEMBER AND TEACH CHRIST’S WORD”

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:

  • As most of you are aware, human nature is quite fascinating. We may not recognize how incredibly complex we are, but we certainly recognize that others are different, and often remarkably so.  We can identify others as being “characters” and alas, we also are “characters,” individuals.
  • We tend to look at this as all rather normal –once we recognize the vast variety and diversity of human beings. We are also aware, however, that the uniqueness is not equal, that it does not all serve the safety, well-being, and prosperity of people equally.  We don’t always think clearly about this, but it is the purpose of education to provide people with “better” ways of thinking, being, behaving, and performing – so that they have a better chance of “surviving and succeeding” in this earthly life.  Likewise, so that others are protected from evil behavior!
  • It is no different when it comes to our spiritual well-being and safety. In the Epistle Lesson for this morning the Apostle Paul makes it sound as if we must be prepared and dressed to be “warriors.” [Eph. 6]  One needn’t do this were it not true that we are subject to tremendous spiritual attack and peril. 
  • So God gives us His Word, and encourages us to keep it faithfully, not adding to it or subtracting from it, but keeping it. Likewise, we are sternly charged, in the OT Lesson to make God’s Word known to our children and grandchildren.  We are to “REMEMBER AND TEACH CHRIST’S WORD” for our own welfare, and also for the good and welfare of our family and other loved ones! 
  • We must be reminded of this and encouraged because:

 

I.  It Is Of Our Sinful Nature To Forget God’s Word Instead Of Making It Our Armor

 

OT Lesson:  “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest [My decrees and statutes, My Word] depart from your heart all the days of your life.”

 

Epistle:  “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”

 

A.  Our Tendency Is To Blame Things For Our Problems And Sins, Rejecting God’s Good Gifts To Us

 

Text:  “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.  . . .  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.]”

 

B.  We Do This To Cover Up The Real Source Of Evil – Our Hearts

 

Text:  “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 evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

 

C.  And In Doing This We End Up Calling Evil Things Natural And Normal [And Therefore “Good”] While We Also Call Good Things, Gifts Of God, Evil

 

Statement:  Today we have two other explanations for human behavior, that are used to “justify” virtually any and all behaviors.  Nurture, how people are raised, and what they have experienced determines “who” they are, so they are not to be blamed personally for their sins or evil behavior.  And secondly, “nature,” our genetics, dictate and determine much about us, supposedly also including aberrant and evil behavior, and so people are not to be blamed personally for their deviant and immoral predilections and behaviors.  Likewise, what occurs is viewed as merely a result of nature and is argued therefore to be “natural” and therefore morally neutral.  And of course, all of this, in erasing human culpability, also degrades the concept of what it means to be “human” and to have choices, freedom, and the ability to learn and distinguish between right and wrong.  That is, it makes human beings mere brute beasts and animals. 

 

Application:  These arguments and considerations, dear friends, are precisely what the Apostle is warning about in the Epistle Lesson – the arguments, schemes, and deceptions of the devil and the cosmic powers of darkness.   And obviously they are not without force and persuasion, for millions of people have succumbed to these delusions, and millions of sins and evils have been committed against others – and then justified with these arguments. 

 

All of this is a huge danger to humanity, to civility, and to a just, healthy, and vibrant society.  As we read in the Old Testament lesson for today, even the heathen and unbelieving nations can see when a society has “wisdom and understanding,” and likewise when they are forsaking wisdom and godliness.  Sadly, this is occurring in many of the modern nations of today, a desertion of wisdom and godliness, and the results are going to be terrifying to those who love God and love what is good.  So let us beware.

 

Transition:  And so in these words of Jesus we see that:

 

II.  Jesus Calls All Of Us To Deep Repentance About This Dynamic Of Justifying Our Evils, And To Faith In God’s Gracious Forgiveness, And To Return To His Word

 

Text:  “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 evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

 

Statement:  Note that these things do seem to come “naturally,” from within the heart of man.  But they are not the way God first created us – and hence they are not truly “natural” but the evil consequences of sin being in the world.  And although these things arise spontaneously from within our sinful hearts, we are not excused but rather “defiled” by them, according to Jesus.  We remain human – both free and accountable.  And our explanations and rationalizations do “cleanse away” our sin and guilt, but rather exacerbate it!

 

Application:  Because this is reality, the call to repent of our sins is also real!  The need to repent is real!  And the need to continue hearing God’s Word, learning God’s Word, having His Word in our hearts, and putting it on us like armor, is real and compelling!   Thankfully, we also have the constant assurance of God’s full and complete forgiveness and pardon of our sins, provided by Jesus’ suffering and death, and guaranteed by God’s Word.

 

Conclusion:   It is true that there is great variety and diversity when it comes to people.  But it is also true that the differences are not benign or morally neutral.  Thankfully, God provides us with the opportunity to learn and grow and make better decisions and choices – because He has made us to be human beings, and because He has given us His Word.

 

As we heed His call to repentance, confessing our sins, we receive His absolution in Christ Jesus, full and complete forgiveness and pardon for our sins.  In this His goodness and love, He seeks to woo and draw us away from the dictates of our sinful nature, and back into the ways of true sentience, intelligence, wisdom, and understanding, the ways of love that His Word instructs!

 

God grant that we heed His calling, that we “REMEMBER AND TEACH HIS WORD.”  This, so that we are blessed, and our children are blessed, and our children’s children as well!  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 life everlasting, Amen.