“CLEAN IS GOOD” By Pastor YAU
BACKGROUND: This passage is the answer given by Jesus to an accusative question posted by the Pharisees and scribes as recorded in 15:1-9. They accused the disciples of Jesus of breaking the traditions of the Jews by eating without washing of hands. The answer by Jesus, including the explanation, was not meant to be interpreted as His stand against washing of hands before one uses a meal. We learn this good habit in the kindergarten days of our lives. The point Jesus was trying to make to the accusers was: while it is good to be clean on the outside, it is lot more important to be clean on the inside, the heart and the soul. The lesson we may learn from this passage includes:
BE RECEPTIVE TO HIS TEACHING: ()
Before Jesus began His teaching, He required the people to “listen and understand.” Often times we hear people talking but in fact we do not listen, much less understand what is being said to us. That’s exactly what Jesus didn’t want his listeners to treat his message. There are many who do not pay serious attention to the teaching of God’s Word, and therefore they do not know what to follow for their lives. Jesus was asking his listeners to be attentive, serious and receptive to what he has to say. Jesus wanted his people to take into heart, to believe in and to act it out in their daily lives accordingly. Too often, we heard message after message, but never really listen or believe. And there is little evidence in acting them out.
People act, speak and think according to their beliefs, either good or bad. Terrorists’ acts of destruction and killing were done because of their beliefs even though the beliefs were wrong by civilized standards. No one who does not believe in the murderous beliefs will participate in the acts of murder as did by those who do. The fundamental problem of many so called Christians is they do not really believe in Jesus’ teachings.
THE NEED OF CLEAN HEARTS: ()
Jesus would never condone eating food with dirty hands. What He said in this verse is: while it is good to have clean hands, it is much more important to have clean hearts. God doesn’t pay much attention to the outside of people as men often do. He looks closely to the inside of men: his intention, thoughts and motives. Among all the tests we may apply to check and see if our hearts are clean, the following three are easy:
1) Check you heart with the Word of God, the Bible, the universal standard. If any thoughts, intentions or motives that are not consistent with the Bible, then you know they are not clean.
2) Check yourself with the Holy Spirit, the inner dwelling of God. The Holy Spirit will convict us of any wrong thoughts and minds. Through the working the Holy Spirit, God will direct our words and actions to fulfill His purposes in us.
3) Check the fruits of your life: good trees will bear good fruits, and bad tree will bear bad fruits. (Matt. 7:17-19) The kind of life will bring about the kind of consequences.
THE RESISTANCE TO BE CLEANED: ()
Any parent can testify that one of the difficult things to do to little children is to wash their faces. Few children will be willing to stay still as parents wash their faces. They always resist the good intention of their parents. This is true with the Pharisees. The Bible says they were offended by the words of Jesus. Instead of being thankful to Jesus for pointing out their darkness, they hated him even more. The same exists even today.
Many people, including some so called Christians, become angry when truth was presented to them. They will accuse those who told them the truth with love. Some will even leave the church where they should stay to receive treatments of correction. Many in the church today will do things to please people. But those who are true to God will follow Jesus in teaching His words to rebuke and correct the wrong.
BEWARE OF THE BLIND LEADING THE BLIND: (-14)
While many interpret the BLIND as the false teachers, the Pharisees, many of the blinds in today’s church is the influence of secularism, socialism and liberalism. We see churches and denominations are full of teachings outright against the Truth of the Word of God. Tolerance of homosexual practices leads to ordination of gay and lesbian so call pastors and bishops is in direct contradiction of the word of God. The name and respect of the CHURCH has been greatly damaged by these people who steal the good name of the Church as it was used by the Lord Jesus Himself. Christians, those who are true followers of the Lord, need to wake up and take a stand against this corruption.
Heresy is another BLIND side of the church. Through the centuries, some people have selectively used the Bible to develop false teachings to lead others away from the total truth of God. Mormonism, Christian Scientists, Charismatic, Jehovah Witnesses, just to name a few, had poisoned the truth of God and had led many away from the truth. Jesus warned the blind and those led by the blind that they will all fall into the pit, the eternal destruction and separation from the Truth and God.
Since the day of Jesus Christ, Truth has never been popular nor in majority. This is a world of evil and darkness. That’s why Jesus commanded His people to be the Light of the world. While many will do and say things to be politically and socially correct, those who stand for the Lord need to take a stand for the LORD and His TRUTH.
Search our hearts and see if they are clean. Do something about it if they are not. Confess your sins and ask for forgiveness from the Lord of mercy. Be strong for the Lord and He will be with you even to the end of the ages.