“WHAT’S YOUR PROBLEM?”                          By Pastor Yau

Matthew 15:1-9

 

INTRODUCTION:

       A family in my former church in Dallas had a little girl about 3.  He mother used to say to her “What’s your problem?” when she won’t stop fuss.  One day when I went to visit her family and she came to answer the door.  She greeted me with this familiar question: ”What’s your problem?”  Of course, the mother had to explain to me why.

       The Scripture quotation above is part of a historical event when the Pharisees and the scribes came to Jesus and tried to find problems with His disciples because they did not wash their hands before they ate. It is not a new thing for people to find faults or problems in others.  What is new is those who want to find problems in others are the ones who have many problems themselves.  Jesus did not give them an answer to their accusation. Instead, He pointed out the problems in their lives.

 

THEY FOLLOWED MAN’S TRADITION INSTEAD OF COMMANDS OF GOD:

       Through the decades before the birth of Jesus, Jewish teachers created traditions apart from the Word of God as rules of conduct for the Jews. Many of these traditions or rules of man are deemed as more important than the laws of God. Washing hands before eating was one of them.

       Today, many people, including many Christians, follow the culture of man more than the law of God. Young Christians follow the trend of pop culture more closely than follow the teachings of the Bible as code of conduct. Young teens pursue acceptance from worldly people more than acceptance of God. Adults follow secular values and way of life more than that of the Bible. Many hold worldly or even ungodly purpose of life more closely than holding principles of Christian living.  No wonder the world pays little attention to the Church and her people because Christians live their lives very much like everyone else in the secular society.  This is a BIG problem we have in out witness for the Lord.  Instead of drawing the world to God, we let the world draw us into them.

 

THEY FOCUSED SO MUCH IN WASHING OF HANDS INSTEAD OF WASHING OF HEARTS:   Later in the same chapter, Jesus pointed out that it is not that important to wash hands before food than washing of the heart.  The Pharisees and scribes cared so much on the outside performance than what was inside of their hearts.  And many of us are as guilty today as they were 2,000 years ago.

       The culture today is on the outside: the charm, the status, the money, wealth, success, popularity, promotion, procession, power, achievements, etc. the list goes on and on. Few people care about what is inside of him/her or others.  The Bible says clearly that God looks in the heart while man looks on the appearance. While many of the things man has on the outside are no bad, but God demands as clean heart as King David asked God to give him one. (Psalm 51:10)  Impression is not important to God, a pure heart is.

 

THEY PLACED RELIGIOUS DUTIES HIGHER THAN HONOR OF PARENTS:

       While fulfilling religious duties, such as giving, is not bad, it is bad when it denies honors due to parents.  Family, parents, marriage and children are important parts in the Law of God through history in both the Old and the New Testaments. God did not place Commandment #5 in the Ten Commandments for nothing. It is very much in the mind and heart of God when He commanded His people to honor their fathers and mothers. This is what we need so much today. Disobedience, negligence, despite and even out right abuse of parents happen everyday.  Many of the problems, crimes, social disorder by teens are rooted from the lack of respect of parents.

       Too often, families which have parenting and juvenal problems are those who place their families on wrong foundations. Money, job, career, sports, academic pursuit are in the center of life instead of moral, ethical and spiritual growth.

 

THEY PAID LIP-SERVICE TO GOD THAN FROM THEIR HEARTS:

       Jesus called the Pharisees and scribes hypocrites because they served the Lord with their lips, not their hearts. Lip-service is out right fake and dishonest. Sweet talks and false gestures are cheap in building a relationship with man, much less than with God.

       Honesty, sincerity and faithfulness are rare commodities in today’s society. Yet Christians are to be the light of the world especially in regards to our relationship with God. One may try to cheat God, but he can’t run away from being discovered.

 

CONCLUSION:

       It is always easier to focus on people’s problems.  But the Bible instructs us to look into our own problems, needs of correction and changes.  It is so important to see the true pictures of ourselves and work on improvement than asking others, “What’s your problem?”