Hearts Under Control
Impart God's Word into your lifestyle. Be under His control and not under man-made beliefs. Live by His will and bring your body and mind captive under His control.
Alright thank you very much, and hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing all right? Well, this your friend Dr. Cook and I’m back again with you to share from the Word of God. I guess I have the reputation for putting biblical truths let’s say, simply, even though they may be profound. I can remember years ago. when the chairman of the board of deacons in one of the churches of which I pastored was praying about me and said, “Lord we thank you for the pastor and the way he exposes your word”. Not too long ago I was introduced by someone in a gathering where I was going to speak and he said, “Well our brother has the gift of saying things simply. He’s not very deep, but you understand him”. Well, whatever. You know I love God’s Word and you know I love you. Bless your heart, that’s what counts.
We’re looking at Mark chapter 7 and this whole long passage from verse one through verse 23 sort of holds together, although there are different comments coming in at different times but it’s all part of the same package it seems to me. Now, the conversation grew out of the fact that the Pharisees and some of the scribes, “As they watched the Lord Jesus and His disciples were asking”, they said, “How is it”, they said, “they eat bread without washing their hands”. Now there was this set of rules that was observed in those days by people who belonged to any kind of a strict religious application of the Mosaic law, like for example Pharisees, they had traditions, called the tradition of the elders, and when they come, Mark is explaining this in verse four of chapter seven, “When they come from the market except they wash they eat not many of the things there be which they received to observe as the washing of cups and pots and brasen vessels and tables”, so the Pharisees said, “Why don’t Your disciples observe all these tradition of the elders”? Now, the Lord Jesus, instead of answering the question, turns to the questioners and spoke about them. He said, “Well, IsaiahÂ prophesied about you”, hypocrites He called them. “As it is written this people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. Howbeit in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men, for laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, like the washing of pots and cups and many other such like things ye do. Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition”. Then He gave them an illustration, if you’re supposed to do something for your parents, but you don’t want to and instead you look at the money that you would’ve spent on them and say, well that’s something I promised to give to God, so you’re not really obligated to them anymore. Now He said, “You make the Word of God of none effect through your tradition, which you have delivered and many such like things ye do”. Now, He said that twice, “many such like things ye do”, that’s in verse 8, “many such like things do ye”, that’s in verse 13. God watches the frequency with which you disobey Him. That’s a frightening thought isn’t it, but He does. “Many such things”, He says, “you do”. You see, this was a lifestyle with them.
I have to talk with you a little bit about this. Once you begin to trim the obvious meaning of God’s Word, it becomes for you a sort of lifestyle, so that you apply that procedure to many other decisions in life. You follow what I’m saying to you? Once you begin to compromise on a principle, once you begin to compromise on a principle, that then becomes a working relationship with other decisions that you have to make in life, and you find yourself then, just as these people did, observing tradition of rather than the commandment of God, because that’s what you have set out initially to do. Whenever you set aside the plain teaching of God’s word in favor of something man-made, you are creating a habit pattern that will reach over into other areas of life, so that you will find yourself saying, oh well it won’t matter this time. Oh well I know that’s what the Bible says, but then that was with the long time ago and this is different. The idea that God did not really mean what He said is as old as the Garden of Eden. The tempter came to Eve and said, “God didn’t really mean that you’re going to die because He knows that when you eat of this forbidden fruit, you’re going to be like He is. You’ll be as good as God and He doesn’t want you to be as good as He or as wise as He and therefore that’s why He’s keeping you from this”. Satan tells this humongous lie that God is a repressive God and that He’s trying to cheat you out of some enjoyment that you would otherwise have. That lie is still being told to the hearts and minds of millions of people by the tempter, day after day. The big lie that God didn’t really mean what He said and that He doesn’t really want the best for you. Oh, Satan’s lie. Don’t believe it beloved friend. God says, “I know the thoughts I think toward you, thoughts of good and not of evil, to give you a desired end”. God wants the best for you always.
Well anyhow, He says, “You set aside the commandment of God and you hold the tradition of men, and that works into all the relationships of life even in something as important as how you treat your parents”, said He, because you find a loophole in the obligation that is clearly stated in God’s Word, you find a loophole in it and you sort of ease yourself out of the obligation. Now, what I’ve said so far is, when I begin to compromise on principles that are plainly stated in God’s Word that in turn becomes a lifestyle that affects all the things I do. Jesus said, “Many other such like things ye do”. You follow that? Oh, be true to God’s word no matter what. Be true to what you understand to be the will of God the matter what the circumstances or the pressures or the comments of friends and acquaintances may be, be true to God’s word most of all. Now that our Savior took up the question that was posed early in this chapter, why don’t they wash their hands, and He said, “How can every one of you understand? There is nothing from outside a man that entering into him can defile him, but the things which come out of him, they, those are they that defile the man”. So He said, ”Don’t you, don’t you understand”, the disciples ask Him later on about it, “don’t you understand that whatever thing from outside enters into a man it cannot defile him, that is the real man, because it enters not into his heart but into his belly”. Then He says, “That which cometh out of the man, that defiles him from within out of the heart of men proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, and evil eye, blasphemy, and pride, and foolishness, all these things come out from within and defile the man”. Now, what we’re talking about then is the real person, and our Lord Jesus very clearly states here, that to the traditions that people hold having to do with food and clothing and scheduling, and all that, these have very little effect upon the real person, but He says, what really defiles is what comes out of a heart that isn’t under the control of Almighty God. “Out of the heart of man”, said He, “proceed evil thoughts”.
Interestingly enough, our Lord Jesus in detailing this ugly list of bad things of which the human heart is capable, started with evil thoughts. This private world of ours, where we think no one knows about it, is far more powerful in influencing our behavior then we dream. You think when you daydream about something or you think when you sit solemnly and mull over some hurt, real or fancied, you think that no one knows and it doesn’t make any difference. When you sit and dream of things that you might do, which are obviously wrong, you think that doesn’t make any difference? Oh, yes it does. The Bible says, “As he thinketh in his heart so is he”, “Out of the heart”, He said come evil thoughts”, and then what comes right after that? Immorality, adulteries and fornications, and what comes after that? Violence, murders, and thefts and what comes after that? A lifestyle of wanting what is not yours, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness and evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. It’s interesting to me that the Lord Jesus took some things that we think aren’t really not allÂ that harmful, He started with evil thoughts, He ended with foolishness and He says, “That those are things along with the violence and the immorality that defile the real person”. Now, wrap this up into a principle.
The heart, Jeremiah says, “Is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked who can know it. Where shall I start as I look at all of this bundle of truth, frightening in its implication, that what can come out of my inmost being is capable of defiling me and others around me”? What shall I do about it. First of all Romans 12:1, “Present your body a living sacrifice, wholly acceptable unto God”, which is a reasonable service. Second, bring your thoughts to Jesus and bringing every thought, Second Corinthians 10:5, “Bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”. Third, do what you do and pray as you do it that God’s Will, will be done. “Those things that you learn and heard and seen received in Me, do and the God of peace will be with you”. You pray about things you think about Christ and you do God’s will. Pray, think, and do is the triad of truth you find in Philippians 4. Give your body to Christ, bring your thoughts to Christ, pray about things before you do them, and then act in obedience to His blessed will. He’ll keep you clean. “You who are kept”, says Peter, “by the power of God through faith unto salvation”, you’re not kept by willpower, you’re kept by believing God. “Christ is made unto us”, that’s 1 Corinthians 1:30, “Christ is made unto us, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption”. You can trust your blessed living Lord.
Dear father today, grant that our hearts might be under Thy control, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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