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Practice Genuine Purity     Matt. 15:1-20     October 21, 2007

    It amazes me how many people get all concerned about clean hands but pollute their bodies with all kinds of destructive elements. The Pharisees possessed that kind of attitude. They were very concerned about their traditions related to clean hands and body, but neglected cleanliness of the heart. Some Christians enjoy a special emphasis on a particular pet peeve; while being guilty of an obvious neglect of obedience to God's Word. None of us are perfect in our actions and obedience, but that should be our desire. We need to make every effort to Practice Genuine Purity in all areas of the Christian life.

1. Answering . . Questions About The Practice Of Genuine Purity. 15:1-9

    A. Through . . Receiving Questions About Purity.
    1 The Pharisees and scribes came from Jerusalem to Jesus and asked, 2 "Why do Your
disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they don't wash their hands when they eat!"

B. Through . . Requesting Answers To Your Questions About Purity. 15:3-4
    3 He answered them, "And why do you break God's commandment because of your
tradition? 4 For God said: Honor your father and your mother; and, The one who speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death.

     C. Through . . Refuting Answers To Their Questions About Purity. 15:5-6
    5 But you say, 'Whoever tells his father or mother, "Whatever benefit you might
have received from me is a gift committed to the temple" -- 6 he does not have to honor his father.' In this way, you have revoked God's word because of your tradition.

     D. Through . . Regarding Scriptures On Their Question About Purity. 15:7-9
    7 Hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied correctly about you when he said:
8 These people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. 9 They worship Me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commands of men."

    We need an openness to hearing beliefs of others while planning gently, but firmly, to correct them. Sometimes the best way to answer a question will be to ask a question. Jesus used this method often. He refuted the error of the Pharisees by pointing out inconsistencies in their thinking while asking a question. Further; Jesus refuted the erroneous teaching of the Pharisees by climaxing His position with scriptures. Some of the cultish people delight in endless arguments about their doctrines and ways of life. It really becomes tiresome debating with them but we need to refute them with biblical truth.

2. Advancing . . The Practice Of Genuine Purity. 15:10-14

    A. Advance Through . . Clarification. 15:10-11
    10 Summoning the crowd, He told them, "Listen and understand: 11 It's not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man."

    B. Advance Through . . Confrontation. 15:12-14
    12 Then the disciples came up and told Him, "Do You know that the Pharisees took
offense when they heard this statement?" 13 He replied, "Every plant that My heavenly Father didn't plant will be uprooted. 14 Leave them alone! They are blind guides. And if the
blind guide the blind, both will fall into a pit."

    In order to advance truth about purity our position may need to be clarified. When Jesus clarified His truth it left little or no room for argument or debate. Jesus confronted error as He identified the position held by the Pharisees, and then clarified what the scriptures really say. . The disciples seemed to be concerned that Jesus offended the scribes. Let me ask; if you kindly, but firmly, correct error; do you think you might offend those in opposition to your beliefs? I heard our Preacher, R. G. Lee, say he did not want somebody saying at his funeral, "He never offended anyone." He further said, You can't preach the Word of God correctly unless it offends someone." The old Methodist Preacher, Sam Jones, supposedly said; "Nobody happy, sad, glad, or mad, no preaching." Jesus did not go out of His way to offend people, and neither should we, but He did not fail to correct error. We should do the same.

3. Analyzing . . The Practice Of Genuine Purity. 15:15-20

    A. Analyze Through . . Explanation. 15:15-18

    15 Then Peter replied to Him, "Explain this parable to us." 16 "Are even you still lacking in understanding?" He asked. 17 "Don't you realize that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is eliminated? 18 But what comes out of the mouthcomes from the heart, and this defiles a man."

    B. Analyze Through . . Elaboration. 15:19-20
    19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities,
thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. 20 These are the things that defile a man, but eating with unwashed hands does not defile a man."

    Sometimes further analysis of truth is needed, and Jesus did this through explanation that illustrated His position. It is interesting that Simon registered the need for additional explanation, and it seems to surprise the Lord. Sometimes after explaining a need further elaboration exists. Jesus did not hesitate to speak further on the subject. We need to make sure in our elaborations that we stay on the subject. These ways might be included as we attempt to clarify and Practice Genuine Purity. Amen? Amen!