The problem of sin within

Religion that focuses on man made rules…is a crusher of true relationship with God. Seeking to appease God by means of following rules and behaving just so…While trying to conform to man made rules you end up being pushed away from the heart of God. What you are sold is that doing these things will bring you closer to God…The opposite happens AND THEN! You end up not even wanting the heart of God because YOU want the attention of men

There are overt and covert ways of getting caught up in rules, either way, that kind of focus takes you further and farther from the kind of relationship the God of Scripture wants. What all legalism seeks is to somehow be made ‘Clean’. But it is a con game you play on yourself. We have no way to make ourselves acceptable to God. Because we are the problem… the problem lives within us… The beginning of a relationship with Christ is understanding and admitting the deal with sin.

When we last saw Jesus and His disciples they’re in the middle of a healing spree…There seems to be a connection between the faith that is being displayed and the scope of the healing that was taking place:

And wherever He entered villages, towns, or rural areas, they would place the sick in the marketplaces and implore Him that they might touch just the fringe of His cloak. And as many as touched Him were made well. ~ Mark 6:56

It must have caused quite a commotion in that region…and word got back to Jerusalem, to the religious leaders…so they sent some ‘investigators’ / ‘accusers’

Mark 7:1-23 [NASB]

1 The Pharisees and some of the scribes gathered around Him when they had come from Jerusalem, 2 and had seen that some of His disciples were eating their bread with impure hands, that is, unwashed. 3 (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they carefully wash their hands, thus observing the traditions of the elders; 4 and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they cleanse themselves; and there are many other things which they have received in order to observe, such as the washing of cups and pitchers and copper pots.)

  • This is the 2nd of 5 times in Mark the pharisees come to ‘accuse’ Jesus of things
  • The religion of: The Temple / The Sanhedrin / The Pharisees / The Sadducees
  • They were all obsessed with trying to make & keep themselves ‘Clean’
  • If they were around enough people (some could be ‘unclean’) they thought they could ‘Catch’ something… that other’s uncleanliness could rub off on them
  • It’s an old idea that a person can make themselves acceptable to God
  • The Law of Moses was to show God’s chosen people they could never make themselves ‘Clean’ enough, or acceptable to a perfect Holy God

5 The Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?” 6 And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. 7 But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’ 8 Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.” [Isaiah 29:13]

  • Their goal is to get Jesus to disrespect tradition / religious leaders
  • They’re so caught up in their rules they can’t see God standing in front of them!
  • Jesus responds to their question by quoting Scripture: As it is written…

Then the Lord said: ‘Because these people approach me with empty words, and the honor they bestow on me is mere lip-service; while in fact they have distanced their hearts from me, and their ‘fear of me’ is just a law of human origin’ ~ Isaiah 29:13 CJB

  • Speaking through Isaiah, the Holy Spirit is describing those opposed to God
  • God is consistent throughout His Word on if you follow men you neglect ME

9 He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition. 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘The one who speaks evil of father or mother, is to be put to death’; WOW!!! 11 but you say, ‘If a person says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is ‘Corban’ (that is to say, given to God),’ 12 you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother; 13 thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.”

  • Jesus clarifies why Isiah was rebuking their type… [legalists / false religion]
  • Because they [and other legalists] put their tradition over God’s commands
  • They act and pressure others to act in ways that go against God’s Word
  • Their system ‘Invalidates’ God’s Word / Scripture [‘As it is Written’]
  • This is one example our Lord cites, they do many things such as that
  • He tells the pharisees that ‘you and your type are hypocrites, far from God’

14 After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, “Listen to Me, all of you, and understand: 15 there is nothing outside the person which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the person are what defile the person.16 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

  • Jesus wants everyone to listen and understand this important point
  • At our core, what is wrong with each & every one of us is not outside influence
  • Our problem is our fallen state of inborn sin…
  • We are all made in God’s image but it is a fallen, sin perverted image…
  • All of humankind is at some level painfully aware of this state
  • So our God given inclination is to be good enough for God
  • The pharisees & all legalists think if they do the right things they will be ‘clean’
  • They have come to believe (self convinced) that inside they are acceptable

17 When He had left the crowd and entered the house, His disciples questioned Him about the parable. 18 And He said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the person from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.)

  • This one of Jesus’ ‘Discipleship Master Class’ debrief sessions
  • We might not think of this a s a parable, but scripture call it one
  • The definition of ‘Parable’

A short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson. A statement or comment that conveys a meaning indirectly by the use of comparison, analogy, or the like.

  • He points out their shortcoming and then teaches them the truth
  • Point #1: What people consume is not what gets between them and God
  • Peter is going to get a very direct lesson in this in Acts 10

20 And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the person, that is what defiles the person. 21 For from within, out of the hearts of people, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22 deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. 23 All these evil things proceed from within and defile the person.”

  • Point #2: The problem is within us. Our hearts are fallen…sin riddled
  • The idea that we should trust our hearts is from the pit of hell, a demonic ploy!
  • Our heart is understood as the essence of our being, what we are at our core
  • All of these things are hardwired into our flesh, in-bedded in our being


We are full of evil, it has separated us from our perfect & holy Creator. But God was not content to let that keep us apart. He came into our lives as one of us to full reveal himself. Christ’s Birth / Christ’s Life / Christ’s Death / Christ’s Resurrection. The surrender of our lives by faith and the Indwelling of The Holy Spirit. God does it all and it is important for us to fully acknowledge that (conviction)

If there is any part of us that thinks ‘I did something to get his deal’…THAT Is the infection that leads to the disease of Legalism! So how do we do it right, ie GOD’S WAY?


God wants personal contact, not ritual & ceremony

Jesus wants to sit at the table with you, not witness you acts of appeasement

The Holy Spirit wants YOU to work in concert with Him, not watch your spiritual show

But it is far easier and much more comfortable to follow rules than to have an intimate, honest relationship with the perfect & holy ‘Self Existent God’.

Beware the spirit of judgement, if you harbor it, you make a place for legalism

For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. ~ Hosea 6:6

Let’s talk application! Application of this teaching of Jesus is SO important.

Application of Scripture: Asking God to build your belief in a principle by Spirit & Truth so you can make repeated choices, take concrete steps and establish lifestyle habits. Choices / Steps / Habits


Do you believe in any way that you had something to do with being chosen by God to live with Him eternally?

If so, DESTROY those beliefs and learn of God’s grace through study of Scripture.

How judgmental are you of fellow followers of Christ?

DESTROY those habits and seek God’s heart of forgiveness for yourself and others.

Have you by faith fully surrendered your life to Jesus Christ?

If not DESTROY anything that is keeping you from doing that TODAY!

Important Info 4 Christ’s Disciples

The Gospel of Mark: what a treasure for disciples of Christ. Jesus is leading a ‘Master Class’ on His 1st batch of Disciples.

Today we have the story we all know; Jesus walks on the water… That is what we remember from this story… But there are deep insights for the disciple who will look for them. There are foundational principles about walking with Christ and doing ministry in His name to be found in this story, and throughout the Book of Mark!

These applications of this Scripture are for Biblical disciples of Jesus Christ. If you haven’t surrendered your life to Christ you’re not indwelled W/ The Holy Spirit. If you are not empowered by God’s Spirit you have no shot at doing these things. Today is a good day, now is the time to repent and surrender your life fully to Christ!

Previously on The Gospel of Mark… what has transpired in the last few months? Jesus goes home, He is rejected & does few miracles because of a lack of faith. He sends out the disciples, two by two to preach the kingdom & demonstrate power. While this is going on John The Baptist is beheaded. When the disciples return Jesus takes them on a retreat only to be followed by thousands. He teaches and feeds them…

So they all ate and were filled. Then they picked up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and what was left of the fish. And those who had eaten the loaves were five thousand men. ~ Mark 6:42-44

Mark 6:45-56 (MOUNCE)

45 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of Him to the other side, toward Bethesda, while He dispersed the crowd. 46 After He had taken leave of them, He went to the mountain to pray.

  • Immediately, Jesus is active yet never in a hurry!
  • He is giving them this night to retreat while He does the same
  • He sent them on with out Him, or so they thought
  • What is going through their minds at this point?

47 When evening had come, the boat was in the middle of the lake and He was alone on the land. 48 He saw them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them.

  • Apart…physically, but there is not place we go apart from Him if we are HIS!
  • How did He see them? Because Christ is present with all is true disciples
  • It is a discouraging struggle… the text will reveal their heart condition soon

About the fourth watch of the night He came toward them, walking on the lake. He intended to pass by them, 49 but when they saw Him walking on the lake, they thought that He was a ghost. And they cried out, 50 for they all saw Him and were terrified.

  • 3am last watch
  • They had been striving in their own power for hours and had gone nowhere
  • So Christ sought to remind them of His presence
  • But instead of His presence reassuring them and empowering them…
  • They thought He was a ghost and they screamed like scared children
  • Why?

But immediately He spoke with them and said to them, “Take courage! It is I. Do not be afraid!”

  • Did Christ wait for them to calm down? NO! Immediately He spoke:
  • A Word from Christ…
  • Have faith, I Am here! Don’t be afraid!
  • ‘The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?’ ~ Ps.27:1
  • Do you need a Word from Jesus Christ today?

51 Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind died down. And they were absolutely amazed, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves; but their hearts were hardened.

  • He showed up and brought HIS peace ‘The Prince of Peace’
  • Why does it say they were absolutely amazed, they just saw Him feed 7000 +
  • They didn’t understand about the loaves, did they think it was some trick?
  • Why were there hearts hardened? [Doing ministry of their own strength]
  • They had yet to fully believe that Jesus was God & God is good, all the time…

But then there is the rest of the story… [Paul Harvey] The beauty of the four Gospels: They don’t all tell every part of any given scene. Mark & Matthew record the story the same up to where Jesus speaks but then Matthew adds this:

Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him,“You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!” ~Matthew 14:28-33

It is a story within a story to make the point about doing things in our own strength. Here in Matthew we see the faith of the disciples grow to where they worship Jesus as God. This growth of faith then has fantastic results. Both Gospels describe the scene when the land pretty much the same:

53 So when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret where they tied up the boat. 54 When they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized Jesus, 55 and ran throughout that whole area bringing those who were ill on their mats to wherever they heard He was.

  • The journey is suddenly easy…
  • It says they immediately recognized Jesus [recognized Him as the Messiah?]
  • Perhaps the faith of the disciples was contagious
  • The people all begin to act on faith that Jesus can cure any illness

56 And wherever He entered villages, towns, or rural areas, they would place the sick in the marketplaces and implore Him that they might touch just the fringe of His cloak. And as many as touched Him were made well.

  • So for a period of time there wherever Christ went there was faith
  • That faith was acted upon and God saw fit to reward every act of faith!
  • Now the disciples were walking in connected faith and the result was fruit!

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples.” ~ John 15:5-8 [ESV]

Connection is the key! For a disciple of Jesus Christ, connection to HIM is a way of life. It is not natural so we have to be ‘discipled’ / disciplined to a different way of life. Part of that different way of life is trusting in His Presence and His Goodness. Serving and doing kingdom work empowered by the connection we have to Christ. He bought us, He lives in us and He wants us to grow and be part of His work.

Big Ideas

#1: As a disciple of Jesus there are times when Christ will seem distant, don’t lose faith in His presence or care.

#2: Doing the Lord’s work without trusting in His presence is a discouraging struggle. It will harden your heart and make you fearful.

#3: When you seek to hear from Christ and trust Him enough to act, you will see God’s power poured out!

Application Actions:

Schedule a daily time alone with Your Lord. Choose to make it an intentional habit.

Study the Bible with others regularly. Choose to make it a lifestyle!

Start everything you do with Connecting to Christ. Choose to act based on HIS presence.

Hunger For God Acted Upon

Hunger 4 God is Always Rewarded!

Loaves and Fish… A familiar story, where do you see yourself in it? Bumper Sticker: ‘Do you follow Jesus this close?’

In our passage today about 7000 people followed Jesus. Not figuratively but literally followed Him around a lake, for miles over rough terrain because they were spiritually hungry…and they found the bread of life!

We are going to see faith in action. What they believed about Jesus was drove their feet and calmed their doubts. We’re going to see honest, active faith rewarded; spiritually, physically & emotionally! We’re going to see how true pursuit of God, AKA Jesus Christ, puts you in places… (deserted places) where you will see God do miracles and it will grow your faith and your depth of relationship with Our Lord.

Two weeks ago Jesus The Christ sent out the 12 ‘Disciples’ that He called to be His 1st :And He called to Himself the twelve and began to send them out two by two… ~ Mark 6:7a (MOUNCE)

While the disciples were sent to proclaim that people should repent (The message of John the Baptist) We have the story that was our text from last week… The story of a leader (Herod Antipas) who was so corrupted by the evil he surrounded himself with that on a vow he had someone killed… someone he ‘feared’ because he knew he was a holy and righteous man… John the Baptist was indeed what Herod Antipas believed he was: set apart for God and great in the Kingdom, as declared by our Lord Himself! And then the disciples return…

Mark 6:30-44 (MOUNCE)

30 The apostles rejoined Jesus and reported to Him all they had done and taught. 31 And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to some deserted place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they did not even have a time to eat.

  • Jesus knew what they did and knew they needed to be ‘refreshed’
  • Jesus models and recommends this approach to intense ministry
  • The idea of work then rest is behind creation & the sabbath
  • ‘Go to the Father for more bread to share’

32 So they left in a boat to a deserted place by themselves. 33 Many people saw them leaving recognized them, and hurried together on foot from all the towns and arrived there ahead of them.

  • It makes sense Jesus was near Capernaum waiting for the twelve to return
  • The closest ‘deserted place’ was due east across the sea of Galilee
  • People who wanted to follow Jesus trekked along the top part of the lake
  • Their faith was so intense they got to the deserted place before JC & the 12
  • Hunger!

34 When Jesus got out of the boat, He saw the large crowd, and had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And He began to teach them many things.

  • He didn’t see the crowd until He exited the boat, perhaps Jesus was napping..
  • Christ could sense their spiritual hunger, they were desperate for God
  • Christ knew they needed guidance to add to their desire
  • To guide them He teaches them how to think different (Romans 12:2)

35 As the hour grew late, His disciples came to Him and said, “This is a deserted place and the hour is already late. 36 Send them away so they can go into the surrounding hamlets and villages and buy for themselves something to eat.”

  • The disciples say, since you went too long teaching, here is what you should do
  • It is crazy how the disciple are telling Jesus how it should go…
  • ‘Ok Jesus here is what we think you should do…’
  • Did they forget the demonstrations of power over the natural & spiritual realms?

37 But He answered them, saying, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to Him, “Should we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” 38 And He said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” When they found out they said, “Five and two fish.”

  • Jesus is like; ‘You want to be in charge, you give them something to eat’
  • Jesus had fed them what they really needed all afternoon: ‘The Bread of Life’
  • The Words of Christ are a precious gift, might we appreciate them!
  • He basically was challenging them to share what they had
  • Did they have bread to share? Didn’t they realize they were with the supply?
  • They asked it they should empty the treasury to feed everyone they could?
  • Jesus was like: What have you got? (they seem to have brought a meal for 12)

39 Then He ordered them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass . 40 So they sat down in orderly groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke the loaves and gave them to His disciples so they could distribute them. And He divided the two fish among them all.

  • He gets the supply info and go right to organizing the meal
  • He takes what was shared and blessed it…and then He broke them
  • Miraculous things happen when Christ breaks bread!
    • Last Supper
    • Road to Emmaus
  • He was showing them the power was from above / heaven
  • The Disciples reward: They got to be the hands and feet of the miracle!

42 So they all ate and were filled. 43 Then they picked up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and what was left of the fish. 44 And those who had eaten the loaves were five thousand men.

  • They didn’t need a basket to carry what they started with…now they need 12!!!
  • The whole crowd that walked about 5 miles, everyone ate and was satisfied
  • It turned out that the Disciples had bread to share…even bread to spare!
  • They had the unlimited resources of the God of the Universe
  • Faith of thousands & faith of the 12 allowed them to experience God’s provision

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be fully satisfied.” ~ Jesus @ Matthew 5:6 (MOUNCE)

Have you ever experienced a miracle that was undisputedly the hand of God?

Have you ever tried telling God what to do, but then a Word from Him changed you?

Have you ever hungered to be in God’s presence like those people?

Have you recognized YOU need to get away with God regularly if you want to serve Him and see Him move?

How many of those people who were there that day were eternally changed?


Jesus Christ’s way of doing The Fathers will and work was to regularly get alone with Our Father. He needed to recharge, process, listen & rest (spiritually, physically & emotionally).

Hunger for God makes followers do things that are out of the ordinary. Faith that honors God results in action. True faith is action not words, this is a consistent theme of OT & NT Scriptures.

Those who hunger for God need the teaching of Jesus like sheep need a shepherd. We all need our daily bread. Christ provides in both ways.

Following Christ by faith, not sight, puts you in places where your spiritual, physical and emotional needs are met by Christ.

Mature disciples & apostles give what they have to Christ’s work and trust it will be more than enough. Having experienced Christ, they trust He knows how to use them.


2 TRUTHS: Ask a person you trust to honestly evaluate your level of spiritual hunger.

Identify one thing you have been telling Jesus how things should go and instead listen to what He says.

2 DARES: Schedule an ‘A Time Away With Jesus’. Plan it before you go to bed tonight.

Go out of your way to listen to Jesus’ teachings this week: (past sermons / podcasts)