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The Rule of Life

Matthew 15:1-20

By Stuart Mains

April 30, 2023

Thank you for checking out this sermon. If you are moved by what you hear and are in the Boston area, consider visiting in person!

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Amen. Wow, it is great to be a part of this church worshiping God with you guys. Let's give it up for the worship team. That was pretty awesome right there. For those that don't know me, my name is Stuart Mains, and along with my wife Ashley and the leadership team, we help lead the downtown region of the Boston Church. We are so grateful you're here. If you're visiting with us for the first time or the umpteenth time, it is great to have you here. As well as if you've been a member of this church for 20, 25, 30 years. We got a lot of college students in this ministry. Some of you were members of this church before they were even born, and yet we're excited to have you here worshiping as well. We are so, so grateful, my wife and I, for the church family that we have. And we really have the privilege to show off what God has done in so many people's lives by having you come and be a part of this. So thank you for making the time and being here.

Today's title the message of today is the rule of your life. The rule of life. What is your rule of life? What's the standard of your life? Your creed or your manifesto? What's the guiding force behind the decisions that you make? For some of us, when we ask that question, it's not too obvious what the rule of our life is, even to ourselves. But then when you start looking at how you spend your time, your energy, your money, especially your money, right. You start to realize very quickly, oh, there's some principles that are guiding the way that I live my life or I spend my time. Or if you look at your calendar, you can see pretty quickly how invested you are into your job or into school or into friends. Right. There are principles that are guiding the way you live your life, whether you like it or know it or not. This idea of standards, we sometimes love them and sometimes hate them. If it's a syllabus in school or grading, we don't like them so much. If it is, how clean is the restaurant you're going to? In the grading system they have we're grateful that's there. If I see a B on a restaurant, I'm leaving the restaurant.

I don't even know what a B means. I just know it's not an A. You with me? There was in Cleveland Circle, the Starbucks is remodeling right now, and right outside of their door is B. I'm like, I am not going to that Starbucks until it's remodeled. We love these kind of standards. We even understand standards in our workplace. When I was 19 years old, I worked at Ben and Jerry's. You got to love Ben and Jerry's. And when I worked there for a solid month, it was a long time for me in college. I didn't keep jobs for very long, but as you guys know that, heard the story about UPS, three days at UPS, so a month is a really long time. I worked at Ben and Jerry's, and in my training at Ben and Jerry's, they said, you get a treat at the end of every one of your shifts. I said, now, this is why I'm working at Ben and Jerry's. This is why I signed up. I knew that fact already before you said it, and I'm happy that you said it. And one of the guys that was training me said, in fact, you can even take a pint home every single shift.

And so I said, oh, man, sign me up. And so every single shift, I would fill that hand packed pint. You're supposed to put it out to put a top on it. Sometimes I would fill it up to overflowing so even the top wouldn't go on this pint. I would always do pretty much it was strawberry cheesecake or it was a Dublin mudslide. Okay? Those were my two. I'm not a Chunky Monkey fan, but if you are, more power to you. So every day for 30 straight days of work, I would get this hand packed pint. And finally and I punch it in. I was on the up and up, and I finally got called into my manager's office, and they said, we're going to have to let you go. And I said, Why? They said, Because you're stealing ice cream from us. And I said, what are you talking about? I was trained that I could take the pint. They said, that person's getting fired, too, that is against the rules. And I got that. I didn't even know. So I lost my job after 30 days of working at Ben and Jerry's. It's all right.

Don't feel too bad for me. I didn't like my job that much anyways. But even with something like that, we understand standards at work. We understand if you steal something from your job, you probably should get fired. We recognize and understand that standards are good. There's beneficial things. But when it comes back to your life, what's your gauge, what's your metric? Is it culture that guides the way that you think about your life and the principles that you imploy in your life? Is it your emotions that we live day by day? Is it your family, and maybe what your family did that you're trying to imitate? And maybe what your family did that you're definitely trying not to imitate? This idea of standards, we actually love standards until they pinch us, until they stifle us. We like protocols and rules. It keeps us safe. It keeps people in the right lanes. Be praying for Alex Mall. He is fine. He's part of the pros ministry. But last night he got hit while being in his Uber. He was in the back right side of the car, and somebody ran the red light and T boned his Uber. And so he got hit there. He's in the emergency room for a couple of hours making sure he's okay, and he's fine, but he's very, very sore. Right? That person ran the red lights and broke the law. We like those rules being followed, but when it comes to our life, we oftentimes feel like it shouldn't be that way in God's kingdom. The idea of the rules of life should be a little bit more ambiguous when it comes to spirituality. And we're coming into a passage in Matthew 15 where Jesus is talking about the concept of what is your guiding force, what is the rule at which you live your life by? You see, in the time that Jesus was living, there were very religious people that were trying to carry out to the letter of the law what the scriptures said. But along the way, in trying to carry out the law that was the scriptures of the Old Testament, they would go off the rails at different times and create new laws on top of those laws. So much so, by the time Jesus arriving on the scene, there were all kinds of laws that were being held to that had very little to do with the scripture at times that even violated God's word, but that were put on by the elders or the spiritual leaders or the Pharisees or the teachers of the time.

Jesus comes on the scene in Matthew 15, verse one. As we read, he's trying to recalibrate his people to seeing what truly matters and what guiding force for their life needs to look like. It says, "Then some Pharisees and teachers of the Law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, why do your disciples break the traditions of the elders? They don't wash their hands before they eat. Now, when you hear that, that's not necessarily doesn't seem like a big crime. That's not hygienic. Amen. We all learned how to wash our hands during COVID for 30 seconds a minute. Do it. Really good hot water, right? That's not what he's talking about. What they're talking about is the idea that we have put these statutes, these laws, in order to be more pleasing to God or ceremonious to God. And so they were teaching the idea that you are defiled if you don't do this ceremonial cleaning before you eat because your hands are defiled and they got to get cleaned off before they eat something that goes into your body, then you will be defiled. Does that make sense? So they were teaching this this wasn't in God's scripture, but this is what they were being taught.

And so the Pharisees looked at the Christians as, you guys are so disgusting. You are gross, you are defiled. You are bringing in dirtiness into Judaism. This is not how you should be living. Verse three, "Jesus replied, and why do you break the command of God?" Without skipping a beat, Jesus responds right back at them, "but why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, honor your father and mother, and anyone who curses their father and mother is to be put to death. But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is devoted to God, they are not to honor their father and mother with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition." Or in the Greek, you could usually say or teaching. "You hypocrites. Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you. These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain. Their teachings are merely human rules."

You see what God is trying to convey to us. These people had gotten caught up in all of these humanistic rules, and he's saying, you really hold to the letter of the law in certain ways, but in other ways, you completely disobey God's word for your traditions.

And so he goes in on saying, you want people to honor God by the way that they honor their father and mother by devoting that money that should be taking care of their parents to the temple so that you get paid. And so they were saying, what you're doing, how you're setting this up, is nullifying the word of God within the traditions that you're setting up. As we look at this concept Jesus is establishing, he calls it the commands of God or God's Word as the standard that we must live by. The first point is God's rule of life. As we look at God's Word and we look at his scripture, we recognize that this is the rule of life that he expects and calls us to live. And there's a presupposition in this passage that he starts off with, you Pharisees. You teachers of the law, believe God's Word to be true. I, Jesus, also believe God's word to be true. Therefore stop nullifying it, therefore stop treating it as less than the word of the elders. But in our culture today, I don't believe that that presupposed idea that the word of God is true is necessarily what we all believe. In our culture, that's not held as a standard of what we believe.

We must recognize that God's rules of life, His rule of life is His word. God's Word is true, and it's accurate, and it's worth putting your hope in. Let's just look at a few facts about the scriptures. There are 40 different authors that wrote books to make up the scriptures that we have today. 40 different people kings, shepherds, scientists, attorneys, army general, fishermen, priests, and a physician, many of which died for their faith when they wrote it. There are other world religions that people created a religion, and then when it came down to them being persecuted for what they wrote down, they ran away and renounced it. I don't know if you know this, but the founding fathers of the Mormon faith, when called to an account to die for what they believed in, they renounced it, and many of them turned to Christianity. They were supposed to be the ones that had seen the tablets that they hold as being the scriptures that they added to God's Word. If they ran and hid when everything was hard and when they were facing persecution, you very quickly realize they don't even totally believe this.

Many of these authors have been killed for their faith. This was written over 1500 years on three continents, in three languages by people that in most cases had never met one another. Then let's just talk about the scientific understanding of the scriptures. I know that there has been on YouTube this idea of the flat earth stuff. That's not true. Okay, let's talk about truth here. The earth was round and understood as round in scriptures thousands of years prior to even the leading scholars of who we think of being, these wise astronomers of the time, way before anybody knew that the earth was round. Scripture said it was round. The earth suspends in the solar system. That was not understood. And many world religions have gotten that wrong. That the earth is suspended in the solar system, held up by seemingly nothing. The rain in the evaporation cycle, you remember that cycle that you learned about when you were like in second grade, that the rain comes down, it fills the rivers, it evaporates from the sun, it goes into the clouds and it does it again. That was talked about 2500 years ago, like 2000 years prior to anybody understanding that concept.

The laws that kept the Israelites from dying. You know that in the scriptures they said you shouldn't eat roadkill. Makes sense to us, right? We know they didn't know back then. If you stumble upon something that's dead, it's unclean. Don't eat that dead thing. Even if it looks really good, even if you think it's fresh, don't eat it. That's in God's word. The idea that it's not sanitary to keep sewage in and around where you're living. I mean, even as recently as a couple hundred years ago, there have been breakouts because that's not been held to. That was talked about in God's word. God's word has never been disproven. It's never been shown to be inaccurate. Even the cultures that they say, we don't have any record archaeologically of these cultures. We later come to find out, oh no. Now we discovered things that were written about in the scriptures thousands of years prior. Guys, it's never ever been disproven. God's word is worth putting your hope in. Jesus says in John Ten, verse 35 scripture cannot be broken and it's worth investing your time.

Some of you are sitting here right now going I don't know if I totally agree with that preacher up there that says that it is a perfect law, it is always right. It has never been broken. Then study it out, test it, you will be blown away. And the people that actually invest the time to look into it, they walk out stronger Christian advocates than ever before because it cannot be broken. Psalm 119, verse 105 says your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path. If this is true, if God's word, his rules of life are accurate, then what he has to say about your life matters. The way that he wants you to live it matters. Too many of us are sitting here not totally investing in what he says because we let ourselves off the hook with not believing that it's true. You know, this idea of standards, again, we love the idea of standards when it works in our favor. I love going to amusement parks. I love going on roller coasters. And I've never asked in the roller coaster line, as I get to the engineer of pressing the buttons to make me go on the roller coaster, I've never come up to and gone how'd the inspections go. I just trust that they've been inspected. I trust that you know what, that roller coaster is going to make me flip upside down, 70ft in the air.

They've had some protocols that they're following to be able to make sure I don't die when I go on that. And so when I'm on a roller coaster, I'm having a lot of fun. Why? Because I trust that the protocols are put in place. You ever been on a roller coaster, though? And they like, do the test, you know what I'm saying? They go kick and they put it on your legs or over the harness, over you, and then they test it and it pops open. You ever had that happen? I was about to go on this ride in Magic Mountain in Los Angeles, and it's called The Riddler. Okay? And The Riddler the ride like somersaults you're one chair along with everybody else. So as you're going and you're flipping and you're spinning, your chair itself is also doing all kinds of stuff, right? And I'm like, oh, this is going to be awesome. I love it. And when I get in and I kid you not, I put it on. The person comes over and you know how sometimes they're kind of like hapazard in their check of your harness, right? They come over and this person was haphazard, and it clicked right open, like was lightly touched it, and it just boof popped open.

And we both looked at each other. She goes, that's not supposed to happen. I said, you think? I mean, she goes, well, why don't we get you in another chair? I go, no, I'm good. I have seen all that I need to see of The Riddler, and I am doing great, and this has been a great experience for me and for you. Hopefully you'll take this to the higher ups and I'm out, see you guys. Have a good one. And I got off the roller coaster, and I was not trusting anything else. And I watched the roller coaster go with that harness that I was in up and just locked it up there. And everybody went to their impending doom. They survived amen. But that gave me pause. I started thinking, what are the inspections? I stopped doing rides and carnivals after that. I was like, man, if the theme parks aren't good, what are these carnivals? What's the protocols, the standards there?

We love guardrails. We love harnesses. We don't feel like they infringe upon us when they save our lives. If you were to run into a guardrail that was stopping you from going off a cliff, you're not mad about your car being dented up. You're so encouraged that you didn't go flying off the cliff. And God's word is a guardrail. It's a harness for your soul. We're living lives, and we are being thrown and tossed every which way, and yet God's Word is a harness to hold you in that even though your chair is spinning all over the place, you are steadfast. Because what he has in his word is worth investing your whole life in. All your time, all your energy, all your money. And yet, for too many of us, we don't apply it to our lives as a rule of life because we just feel like it's cramping our style a little bit too much. There is going to be stress in everybody's life. You will face trials no matter if you are a Christian or not a Christian, but the stresses that you experience as a Christian are completely different than the ones that you face without Jesus as the Lord of your life. The idea that I have never questioned in my life if I have an STD, not once, not ever, because I have sex with one woman that is my wife, and I've never had sex before that marriage day, that's never happened.

What stress do you have to battle because of your immorality? What are you battling with right now in your seat? That because of your promiscuity in the past, that you're still battling things even as a disciple, you may still have things that are harming you and hurting you because of the decisions you made. The stress that we have in the church is different. The idea that I have never ever questioned if my wife is cheating on me, that concept, it's a different stress. It's a different stress church. The idea that I don't have to think, what am I going to do with my kids? I don't know how to train them and raise them in the way of anything worthwhile without God's Word. I don't know how to raise kids. And I'm scared of myself in my nature, my anger, how I would sin against them, in my anger, in my fits of rage that I can have, that I'm battling even as a disciple, not to get angry or frustrated with them. How much more when I don't have a standard of life like Jesus, what would I be like as a dad or a husband?

The stresses of life that you experience as a disciple of Jesus Christ are better and different and some of you have been around the church for so long that you've forgotten that. You've forgotten that the standard of your life causes your stresses to be completely different. If you're not a disciple of Jesus Christ, I want to tell you it's worth the infringement that you feel initially, the harness that you feel, it's worth investing and investigating in your life. Because the stress that I feel is nothing like with the stress that you feel. I promise you that. What you're going through in your life, I feel for you and I don't look down on you and I'm not self righteous about it. But I tell you what, come on this side. Because the life that I'm experiencing, I'm the happiest I've ever been in my life by a lot. And the stresses that I feel is getting up and making sure that I preach a sermon. The stress that I feel is, am I praying enough for my kids? The stress that I feel is, am I taking care of my wife and treating her like a queen?

That's what I worry about. I don't worry about the things you're worrying about. This idea, this concept of a standard of life, God, His Word, is worth investing in. And as you look at the passage, this idea of God being the standard of life in our culture right now, we create our own standard for most of us in the world. The standard is we compile something from over here and something that we heard over here and that cool concept over here and let's make our own standard of life or rule of life. And Jesus is addressing that. They're doing the same things that they created all these teachings to make up their own new standard, this new religion versus what God's Word was saying. Look what he says here as we go through a couple of the verses that we just read in verse three says, why do you break the command of God? What what was the reason for the sake of your own traditions or teachings? Verse six. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition or teachings. Verse eight. These people, they honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Verse nine, they worship me in vain. Their teachings are merely human rules.

We as a United States of America, as a world, as a population, we exalt our rules of life above God's rule of life all the time. We as a world, we exalt the teachings that we think make sense to us and we nullify God's teachings all the time. We take for granted that God's scriptures is true and we can be hold to it as steadfast in a rock foundation for our lives. And instead, we try to make God's Word conform into the world around us versus God's Word informing the worldview that we have. The idea that we are trying to morph God and put God into what we want to believe. And the problem is that there's so many different beliefs that your God, if you're doing that to him, starts to conform and to turn into your image more than you conform into his image. And so you've got a bunch of different versions of God everywhere. Why? Because you're conforming God into being like you in how you think. We got the God of CNN and the way they think, the God of Fox News and the way they think.

We got progressive gods, right? We got liberal gods. We got conservative gods. We got very conservative gods. We've got gods that are really on the cutting edge of new nuances of scripture that you've never seen before, that God's teachings will enlighten your mind. And nobody in all of history has seen this new liberal, progressive perspective. And then we got other ones that are talking about, no, it's the God of hard and truth, and there is justice and there is no grace and there is no mercy. And so we morph God into exalting our rules of life more than we even realize. And the problem with that is that the world constantly changes, and the world and the culture around us does not apologize when they lead you down the wrong road. In the 1950s, it was thought it was a good idea. If you wanted to lose weight, you eat tapeworms. That was a promotion that they had. Eat tapeworms. It'll help you out. Or not too long ago, heroin and cocaine were used as being helpful good drugs. We've seen this even more recently in therapy. The concepts and the ideas of how to remedy your sadness, how to get happy, it changes all the time.

It's constantly shifting the new ideas of therapy in how to do this, and we're susceptible to it because it's all around us, and we're constantly being bombarded with this is how you should live. You know that food pyramid that we were pushed on? I'm 35, so maybe not all of you were pushed on, but when I was in grade school, in elementary, they said, that's how to eat. Now they're saying, don't eat like the food pyramid. What's your problem? That's stupid. No one would think that way. That was what we were taught in schools that we're supposed to eat. Okay, I got the little top of the pyramid with the sugars, and I shouldn't have a lot of sugars, little bit of snickers, and then below that, that's what we were taught. Now they're saying that's stupid eggs are good for you or bad for you on a ten year cycle. I can't figure out what cycle we're in right now. Are eggs good or are they bad? They will be bad for you soon enough. Just wait. If they're good now, they're bad later. The concepts of the world being what dictates our rules of life is foolishness.

Man, I'm bringing back some old stories. When I was in Florida, same time I lost my job in Ben and Jerry's and I needed some money. Well, I listened on the radio because we still did that at that time. We don't have Spotify or itunes at the moment at 19 years old. So I did radio on the radio, they said, come on down. There's a medical trial, $2,500. 5 days. You can play video games. You can do whatever. We'll just give you either a placebo or the medication. It's only a nausea medication for cancer patients. Come and see if you qualify. $2,500. Easiest $2,500 you'll ever make. I go, Sounds good. Let's do it. Okay. So I call them up. I go, I pee in the cup. They go, you know what? Actually, we're going to have to put you on a waitlist. We're not sure we have so many people that want to do this, so I'm calling my parents. I'm on this. Waitlist. I think I can make I mean, my bills at that time, that would have lasted me, like, two months. $2,500. I was, like, just going month to month here. And so I said, I really want to do this.

And my dad's asking me more questions, and I'm like, oh, it's totally safe. This is, like, the fourth trial they've got. It's totally good. They're doing awesome. He goes, I really don't want you to do this. I hear you, but you're overly safe and cautious. I'm going to do it. He goes, no, I really don't want you to do this. And he started researching. I didn't really research it. And he goes, please don't do this. I go, I think I'm going to do it. This is back and forth for a couple of days. Then he finally calls me, goes, I will pay you the amount of money that they are offering you not to do this. Then the clinic called me and said, you know what? We don't need you. And there was a decision to lie to my dad. I didn't lie, but I did think about it, right? And they said, we don't need you. And so I never did it. And the test went, and guess what? That medicine that I was going to take has never made it to market. Now, why? We don't know. They don't tell you those details.

There were 60 pages of disclosures and things that I would have had to sign, basically saying, kill me, prod me, do whatever you want to me. It's okay. I'm just a test guinea pig here. This concept of allowing our souls to be susceptible to any kind of testing or prodding or guinea pig that the culture has around us is stupid. It's foolish. I mean, you couldn't get more stupid than trying to live your life going, what are the whims of the culture around me teaching me that I should do? And let me make that the rule of the life that I'm going to live by. You couldn't get more dumb because it's always been proven wrong. Always. Look at the people that are talking about marriages. How many of the people and the experts that you watch on YouTube are divorced? How many of these expert, even spiritual leaders, do you have to be skeptical of? They lose or forfeit their very soul by the ways that they take on the ideologies of the culture around them? So many of us are following these blind guides that Jesus calls them in Matthew 15, verse 14, as the passage goes on, he says, leave them, they are blind guides.

If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit. They're blind guides that are leading us. And with those people that were saying cocaine and heroin are fine or great for medical use, the people could have apologized, but if you're dead, you didn't hear it. The tapeworm idea, they could apologize, but if you're dead, who cares? So many of us are forfeiting our souls because we're allowing any whim of teaching to go on and enter our hearts. And then when they say, sorry, that actually was wrong, that's not what I believe anymore, you're left in carnage and you follow them into the pit, and yet there's no recourse for them. What is your rule of life? Are you listening? Are you understanding that the culture around us is wrong? The world's teaching about love is wrong. The world's teaching about love is inaccurate. Romans twelve, verse nine said, love must be sincere, hate what is evil, cling to what is good. If you are loving something that the Bible says is evil, then it's not real love and it's going to lead you into a pit. But I love my girlfriend so much, I want to express that physically. I want to have sex with her just to show her how much I love her. Let's all be real. That's not the reason why you want to have sex. It's not because your expression of love. It's because we live in a hedonistic culture that teaches pleasure is supreme above all things. But even if you were saying that love is the reason why I'm going to do this, God's word is saying you must hate what is evil, you must cling to what is good, and your rule of life must be what God calls evil. There is too much culture of the world around us that's seeping into the church. It seeps in slowly, and it sounds appeasing, like just love. Doesn't Jesus want it to be all about love? If you are loving in a way that is not pleasing to God and you're loving the world, god has some choice words for you. In James four, verse four, he says, you adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world means enmity being an enemy against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. How much more clear does God's word need to be?

If you are a friend of the world, what does that mean? If people think very highly of you in the world because you're never saying challenging things to them, if you never contradict what they say, then you are an enemy of God. Enemy? No, I go to church. Enemy of God is what it says. How convicting is that? That you could be here week after week and he sees you as an enemy, that you're in opposition of what he's trying to teach? No, but I show up. I want to be. I've read my Bible. He says, you honor me with your lips, but your heart is far from me. You are an enemy. I love you. I don't want you to be an enemy, but you're an enemy. You are pushing an agenda that is not of my word. This idea of do whatever you feel, what a terrible concept. What an awful idea. The idea that I'm just going to have the rule of life, that whatever I feel I should do. Do you know how many people have died just doing whatever they felt? It never ends well basing the rules of your life off feelings.

Many of us in this room have had, are children of divorced parents. They felt like they didn't want to be married anymore. They felt like they wanted to cheat on their spouse. They felt like they wanted to go and do something else. They felt like it wasn't working for them anymore. And you were the carnage of that decision. The pain that comes from other people's decisions, we can see it clearly, but oftentimes we can't see what our problems with our own rule of life, our God version of rule of life and how it's playing out. We don't see the effect that it's having. But you can see the effect that other people's rules of life breaking down has on you. Do whatever you feel is not a rule of life. The world is teaching that we know how to be happy. I know what true happiness is. We are the most depressed nation in the world. Who would ever listen to an American about being happy? But we're so isolated in our own little American bubble that we're like, oh, we know the truth about happiness. No, we don't. We have no idea how to be happy.

We're like the worst in the world at being happy. The people that have less than you and live in huts and have nothing in their bank account, they track and research happier than you. We don't know what we're doing with happiness. God's word is to be exalted. God's word is to be seen as true. Your feelings, your wisdom of happiness, your idea of love is not to be exalted. You're wrong and you will cause death in your life spiritually. You'll cause death in your life physically, and you'll destroy relationships around you if you are not careful. Are you trying to make God's Word conform to your worldview versus God's Word informing your worldview? What's informing your worldview? Is it God's word? It must be God's word. Stop exalting the way of thinking that you have. Stop exalting your wisdom. Stop exalting the way that you think about things. Stop exalting the way you think about relationships. Stop exalting the way you think about sex. Stop exalting the way you think about happiness and joy. Stop exalting the way you even think about salvation. Stop exalting the way that you think about everything and cling to God's Word. We must recognize that God's rule, God's life, God's concept of what it means to live life to the full is the only one worth living.

The third and final point is live God's rule of life. Live God's rule of life. As the passage continues on, as we close out in verse ten, it says Jesus called the crowd to him after saying all that he said and talking about how they're hypocrites and their hearts are far from God and how Isaiah was right. He says Jesus called the crowd to him and said, listen and understand. What goes into someone's mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth. That is what defiles them. So he comes back to what he was saying originally, where they're all mad about the washing of the hands and they're all ticked off that what's being defiling them has been, that they're eating food with dirty hands that have not been cleansed ceremoniously. He's going. Stop. It's not what you put in your mouth and the food that you're ingesting, that's not what makes you clean or not clean. Then the disciples came to him and asked, do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?

I love the disciples and their perspective, as you'll see, as they continue, because they're pretty dull in their way of thinking and it makes me feel more connected to them and like I'm not so stupid when I have questions in the Scriptures. Do you know that you were offending the Pharisees? I think Jesus probably had an idea. Verse 13 he replied, every plant that my Father has not planted will be pulled up in its root by its roots. Leave them. They are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit. Peter said, Explain this parable to us. There they go again. Are you still so dull? Jesus asked him. Do I have to explain everything to you? Don't you see that whatever enters the mouth goes in the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of a person's mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart comes evil thoughts. Murder, adultery, sexual morality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person. But eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.

Jesus is bringing it very in very plain English. He's saying, Stop with all this ceremony. What I want you to know is what defiles you is what comes out of your heart, what comes out of your mouth. That's where the problems are. Now look at the sins that he brings up. Murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, lying, slander. This is just to name a few. Why do you think he put sexual morality in there along with murder, theft? This is such a promiscuous generation that we live in. It feels almost like out of place. But this shows you that this is what God feels about impurity. This is what God feels about lying, about slander. He puts them connected to theft and murder and adultery. He says, no, this is what defiles you. As you look at the scripture he's describing, this concept of how you live your life matters more than all the ceremony or all the religion that you can throw into your life on any given day basis. How you live your life makes a difference. In One Timothy four, verse 16, watch your life and doctrine closely persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Paul the apostle is saying that it matters how you live your life. Yeah, we need doctrine and truth, and we've talked a lot about that today. But you also need to put it into practice. What matters is how you live your life based on God's rule of life. He was surrounded by people that held on to these standards. But when it came to their actual hearts, they were deceiving, they were slandering, they were angry, they were murderous, they were immoral that these were the things that permeated their lives despite them being around religion a lot. As you look at this concept, it can be a pretty scary idea of how do I put this into practice? This last two weeks ago, Vance Hampton got baptized in the Christ, and Vance is a member of our professionals ministry. He already stood up. I won't make you do it again, brody, I know you didn't like when we had you stand up. He's in the third row right here in the middle there. But in studying the Bible with Vance, one of the things that was the most remarkable things about him, he came out from instagram. He walked up to me, he said, I got some questions about getting baptized, and I want to know, will you study the Bible with me? Can we get together? And so we started studying the Bible. And as we were studying the Bible, there were clearly, as there are with all of us, when we study the Bible, we look in God's Word and we go, that's not how I'm living. And so the same thing happened with him. He started looking, but decision after decision after decision, he'd go, I mean, the Word says it I got to do it. There was a relationship that needed to come to an end. He said, the Word says it, so I got to do it. It was almost a little bit odd at times. Kadim and APL and Chin Yi would be there, and we'd study the Bible, and we go, this is what God's Word says. And he goes, yeah, so you need to do this. He goes, yeah, so you're going to do it? I will. And then he would go and do it. And we're like, Amen. Okay. And then we go to another thing. You need to do this. I want to do it. Okay. So you should start doing that today. I will. Okay, great. Next passage. We just kept doing it. And then for someone like me who studied by with a lot of people, sometimes they say that, and then you go, I don't know if they're totally understanding what we're talking about here. And then he would go, and he'd do it, and he'd come back with, okay, here's what I studied out. Here's what I did. Is this good? Did I do it right? What more do I need to do? Let's look at the Scriptures again. Okay, let's do it again. I'm ready to attack that area of my life. And time and time and time again there in the South Bay, Dorchester, Panera. We were there all the time just meeting together, and it was these very short studies of this is what God's Word says. Go and do it. He'd go, Absolutely. And he'd go and do it. And it freaked us out a little bit because we felt a little bit like, are we missing something here? So he said, okay, we're going to have you do a study where you prove to us what we're saying to you.

All right, sounds good. And then he did it. Okay. I guess he's got it okay. I guess he understands it's not that complex to put it into your life. And we get all pseudo Christian, oh, I'm really struggling with the ideas here, bro. And I'm going to try this week to put into practice. But I don't know. I mean, you got to be soft on me and slow on me because this is really hard for me. And we make it more complex than it is. See God's Word and put it into practice. James one, verse 21. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent, and humbly accept the Word planted in you which can save you. Do not merely listen to the Word and so deceive yourselves, but do what it says. I want to put before you to do what it says and test God's Word to see if it comes back void or if it comes back with the fullest life you've ever lived before. Test God's word. Put it into practice. Test what it means to actually live it out. Test. What it means to give up pornography. Test what it means to give up impurity. Test what it means to give up that relationship. Test what it means to give up your money. Test what it means to not make your job the priority of your life, but God's kingdom the priority of your life. Test what it means. Test God's word, his scriptures. What he's saying is that word that was planted in your soul, that can save your soul, put it into practice. Stop overcomplicating things and do what it says. Don't deceive yourself. Many of us live in a deceived state. We come around, we listen to God's Word. Too many of you have come around for a long time, but you're not doing what it says. We love you. We want you here. We love that you're coming week after week. There's so many of you in the room right now that have come. And you know what? The Internet met you, instagram met you and brought you here. Google met you and brought you here. And you've been coming week after week after week. But you're not doing what God's Word says. We're preaching sermons to you. And he goes, thank you for that. And you go back home and you live your life as if nothing is different. Do what it says. Test God's word, it's true. It's the thing that is going to give you life and life to the full. But will you put it into practice? Or will you try to conform God's Word to fit into your life?

Let's say a word of prayer as we close out. Dear God, thank you for this time to be able to look at Your Word. God, we are grateful. We're so grateful that your standard is true. God, it feels like there's almost nothing in the world that is true. Feels like there's almost nothing. From time to time, we can look and just feel like, where is anything to put my hope in? And yet we know through Your Word, really in the world, there's nothing that's worth putting our hope in outside of you, your Word, your bride, the church, God, there's nothing else like it. Thank you for being willing to give us this. Thank you for being willing to teach us. God, I'm so grateful that you allow us to even be worthy of living this kind of lifestyle. God, help us to stop exalting our way of thinking. Help us to stop exalting the ways that we think that we should live our lives. Instead help us to test Your words. Help us to put them into practice, not deceiving ourselves, but to truly live this life that you call us to live. God, I pray that we can live Your rule of life and not our own. We love you in Jesus name, amen. Amen.

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