Understanding the Real Christian Life

Understanding the Real Christian Life

GROWTH AND SUCCESS IN LIFE – Lessons Learned at the Feet of Jesus

Because the attention and influence of Jesus is growing so is the opposition.  Now the scribes, the Pharisees, the legal and religious experts from Jerusalem are all after him.  They are noticing that the crowds are not following ‘the tradition of the elders.’  This is now about religious power and influence.  To this, Jesus calls them out as hypocrites and fakes.

15 Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.”

16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them.17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body?18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.

1.  Separating the Real from the Counterfeit.  Under the guise of theological objections, the enemies of Jesus – now primarily the religious leaders but later joined by the Roman rulers – the experts in Judaism challenge what seem to be technical violations of the law such as lack of ceremonial washing and eating food that is not ceremonially clean.  These are sham questions, trying to set up Jesus to be characterized as an enemy of Israel and [their interpretation of] the Law.  Jesus was having none of it.

2.  True Followers of God Look at Issues of the Mind, the Soul andthe Heart.  This is really back to the lessons of the sermon on the Mount.  To be angry is to murder,  To lust is to commit adultery.  Religious traditions from men that have no connection to a relationship to God.  Judging others without a concern for self-care and review.   The issue for a follower of Jesus is what is internal not external.  It is matters of the heart, not of the body; of the soul, not religious tradition; of the mind, not following the traditions of men.

3.  The Warning for the Disciple: Be Careful What You Listen To and Who you Follow.  Jesus teaches with authority and without equivocation.  To follow that which is not of God is like following a blind man to his and your demise. 

The Message of the end of the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 7 is repeated: 28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

In our culture, we want it all.  We want it both ways.  We want friendship with the world and devotion to God.  Not happening.  Certainly, we can be men and women of grace and mercy, and as much as possible, ‘try to get along with all men,’ but when it comes to life values and life commitments, we can’t love the world and God.  Oil and water.

As we move into this Christmas season, may your lives be the sweet fragrance of the grace of God to those around you and may the words of Jesus’ brother James ring true: Mercy triumphs over judgment.  We can maintain or standards and still be people of grace, Jesus people.

Next week, the contrast of the religious Jesus phonies compared to the ultimate outsider’s faith – a non-Jew, a woman – the great faith of the Canaanite woman. 

— John MooreP

A true gem in the Willamette Valley, Aurora Colony Vineyards offers guests the opportunity to revive their senses through great wine, amazing food and live music - all while enjoying our beautiful property.
Phone: 503-678-3390
Fax: 503-675-4301
21338 Oak Lane NE
Aurora, OR 97002