Sermon Transcript – Commandments of Men or Words From God?

Series B – Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost – Sunday, August 23, 2015 | Pr. Chris Rosebrough

Welcome to the Teaching Ministry of Kongsvinger Lutheran Church. Kongsvinger is a beacon for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is located on the plains of Northwestern Minnesota.
We proclaim Christ and Him crucified for our sins and salvation by grace through faith alone, and now, here’s a message from Pastor Chris Rosebrough:
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Time StampTranscript
0:24The holy Gospel According to Saint Mark
0:31chapter 7 verses 1 through 13. the Pharisees and some of the teachers
0:36of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands
0:42that were unclean that is unwashed the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat
0:47unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing holding to the tradition of the elders
0:53when they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash and they observe many other Traditions such as
0:59the washing of Cups pitchers and Kettles so the Pharisees and the teachers of the law asked Jesus why don’t your disciples
1:05live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with unclean hands he replied Isaiah was
1:13right when he prophesied about you Hypocrites as it is written these people honor me with their lips but their
1:18hearts are far from me they worship me in vain their teachings are but rules taught by men
1:24you have let go of The Commandments of God and are holding to the traditions of men and he said to them you have a fine
1:31way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions for Moses said honor your father and
1:38your mother and anyone who curses his father a mother must be put to death but you say that if a man says to his father
1:44or mother whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is korbon that is a gift devoted to God then you no longer let him do anything
1:51for his father or mother thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down and
1:58you do many things like that in the name of Jesus
2:04got to tell you this is going to be a little bit of a ride today Jesus is not
2:09mixing words and there’s something really important that we need to see in this text and it’s going to require us
2:15to do a little bit of historical background so let’s go back to our text I’m going to actually be preaching from the ESV
2:21but you should be able to follow along in the NIV here’s what it says now when the Pharisees gathered to Jesus with some of
2:28the scribes who had come from Jerusalem they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled that is
2:35unwashed now we’re going to pause there for a second and let’s do a little bit
2:40of confession I grew up in a home where I was not allowed to eat dinner until I
2:45had first visited either the bathroom sink or the kitchen sink and washed with soap
2:51my mom made it very clear that just sticking your hands in and baptizing them was not going to work
2:58although I did try to bend that rule every now and then if she wasn’t looking yeah I didn’t understand the importance
3:03of soap this is not what this is about it’s important for us to know something the Pharisees are usurpers I’ve said
3:11that many times and I’ll say it again they are usurpers some of the earliest documents there’s a question in one of
3:18their catechisms if you can call it that and the question put before the Pharisees is how many torahs do you have
3:24answer from the Pharisees rabbis we have two we have two torahs now you know what
3:30the Torah is the Torah is the five books of Moses Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy according to the
3:37Pharisees there are two torahs there’s the written Torah and there’s the oral
3:43Torah they their claim is that when Moses went up on Mount Sinai God gave
3:49him the written Torah and the oral Torah in their way of thinking the written Torah is like the bones the the written
3:57torahs the bones the oral Torah is the flesh this is what they think about it and so they have two sources of divine
4:04Authority and what’s going on here is Jesus completely trashing and I mean
4:11this trashing their secondary source of authority if you don’t understand what’s
4:17going on with that the tutoras the oral tradition and which by the way when you read in your Bible where it says
4:23tradition of the elders that’s a formal title it’d be like the name of the book Moby
4:29Dick right capital m capital D right tradition of the elders should be
4:34capital T capital E it’s a formal title now eventually this gets written down
4:41this so-called oral tradition and it takes on several different volumes you got the mid rash you have the Jerusalem
4:48and Babylonian talmuds and then oh I forget the lame of the last one it’ll
4:53come to me later you know I’m getting old it’s been a while since I’ve read some of these but they’re fascinating
4:58reads if you want to ever read them so this is a showdown about
5:05where we can go to know that God has spoken and Jesus definitively answers
5:12this question because if you think about it here’s the setup Jesus is out teaching in come the scribes and
5:18Pharisees from Jerusalem which means they’re from headquarters these are not just your everyday run-of-the-mill
5:24Pharisees these are the cream of the crop these are the ones who count these are the ones who sit around debate ideas
5:31and make decisions for people they have authority they’ve got pull and they come
5:37to check out Jesus and this is the thing they decide to go to war with Jesus over so here’s the scenario they’re out
5:43listening to Jesus they listen to us they’re taking notes taking notes taking notes hey let’s go inside and eat and of
5:50course when you walk in there’s a little Basin and there’s a little picture and all of the Pharisees stopped by the
5:57pitcher and they have this ceremony that they do and the ceremony basically you take the picture put your left hand in
6:03Palm down pour water switch over right hand in Palm down pour water switch
6:09again open up left hand pour water take it again switch over pour water and then
6:15you pray a prayer to this effect Lord God maker of heaven and Earth and King of the universe we thank you that you
6:20have given us the command to wash our hands and voila you’ve done it
6:26it’s ceremonial it’s not about soap and cleanliness it’s a ceremonial washing getting the sin and the icky stuff
6:33that you were exposed to out in the marketplace off of you before you eat
6:39and if you think about it I mean all we’re talking about here is a simple
6:44little hand washing Ceremony this should be considered a secondary doctrinal
6:50matter should it not I mean do people go to heaven or go to hell if they don’t do this little thing well Jesus exalts this
6:58not from a secondary matter but to a primary matter so here’s what happens they go in ah there’s the line of the
7:04Pharisees the next one thank you God right and the disciples they go straight from the door
7:10to the table hey Peter pass a chicken wing
7:16how’s that potato salad Andrew they didn’t even stop and wash their
7:23hands why because Jesus told him not to they don’t respect this secondary source
7:32of authority because you’re going to look long and hard in the written Torah for a command that says Thou shalt wash
7:39your hands before you eat it’s not there but it’s in bold print in the oral Torah
7:48so that’s the thing this is about who do we go to for words from God that we are
7:55to obey so with that let’s keep go back so when the Pharisees gathered to him with some of the scribes who had come from
8:01Jerusalem they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled that is unwashed so the
8:06Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands properly holding to capital T the tradition of
8:15the elders and when they come in from the marketplace they do not eat unless they
8:21wash and there are many other Traditions that they observe such
8:27as the washing of cups and pots copper vessels and dining couches by the way the word
8:34wash there is a derivative of the word baptized so they baptize cups and they
8:39baptize entire couches which by the way rules out that interpretation of the
8:44word baptizo that says baptism in the Greek means to immerse fully no it actually doesn’t mean that at all and
8:52I’d like to see somebody fully immerse and baptize a couch that doesn’t make any sense so the Pharisees and the
8:58scribes they asked Jesus why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders
9:04capital T but they eat with defiled hands
9:11so there it is don’t you recognize the tradition of the elders as authoritative
9:17as binding on these men’s consciences these men are sinning against God because they’re not following the
9:24tradition of the elders
9:30Jesus turns on them hard well did Isaiah prophesy of you you
9:35hypocrites for it is written this people honors me with their lips but their heart is far
9:41from me in vain do they worship me teaching as doctrines the Commandments
9:46of men boom drop the mic walk off stage
9:54what Jesus is literally saying yeah that whole tradition of the elders thing
9:59it’s doo doo it’s garbage it’s not binding and notice his words
10:06from Isaiah the prophet in vain do they worship me these are not
10:11people worshiping but all these are not people out there sacrificing their children to Molech they’re claiming to
10:17Worship the Lord and Jesus says through the words of the prophet Isaiah they’re doing this in
10:24vain that means it’s of no effect it’s not going to benefit them at all why
10:30because they’re teaching as doctrines the Commandments of men
10:38so Jesus wasn’t willing to compromise and say oh this is a secondary matter
10:44boys go ahead and wash before you get in I it doesn’t really mean anything but we
10:50don’t want to upset the Pharisees instead Jesus’s disciples were told you
10:55skipped that the tradition of the elders is not the word of God do not observe this and if they get upset don’t worry
11:01I’ll I’ll take care of it and he does so Jesus says to the Pharisees they are
11:07worshiping him in vain teaching as Commandments the doctrines
11:13of men and then Jesus says this you leave the Commandment of God and you
11:20hold to the tradition of men now this is where it’s going to get a
11:26little rough Christians of all Stripes do this
11:31don’t think that the differences between Protestants and Catholics is that
11:36Protestants oh their Sola scriptura and Roman Catholics you know they follow the traditions of men well nowadays
11:43Protestants have their own Traditions that are every bit as dubious as any some some of the crazy practices of the
11:49Roman Catholics so let’s let’s get this out there every
11:54Christian of every stripe is guilty of this so we can point to the obvious nowhere
12:00in scripture are we told to pray to Mary to the Saints to pay the Roman Catholic
12:05Church money for indulgences to Spring our dead relatives out of purgatory nor were nowhere in scripture does it say
12:12that the pope is the Vicar of Christ we can all point to the obvious and say
12:17well yeah those are traditions of men and in Roman Catholic circles some of
12:23these things refusing to do them is considered a mortal sin
12:29and if you die apparently with you know having con committed a mortal sin and
12:35not confessed it and been absolved well then you go to hell these are Commandments of men
12:43but don’t think that we Protestants are off the hook here I’ve grown up in protestantism you all
12:49remember the movie Footloose remember that movie it was it hit way too close to home for
12:57me you know I grew up in churches similar to what was going on in that story
13:03Footloose remember John Lithgow’s character he was a preacher and of course it was a small town and
13:08this guy ruled this small town with an iron fist so much so that the local
13:16public school couldn’t even have a dance because apparently that was forbidden by
13:21God but you’re going to look long and hard in the scriptures to find a Commandment that says Thou shalt not
13:26dance and yet I grew up under that
13:32I attended a school where I was not allowed to have a dance and you know what we did
13:38senior year parents got together and we found a location and just didn’t let the faculty
13:44know and we had our dance
13:49felt good why because it’s oppressive it’s absolutely oppressive to be told
13:56with the authority of God that somehow I’m sinning when there’s no Commandment that says I
14:03can’t do that now I understand Norwegians don’t dance just because it’s a cultural thing but
14:09that’s a different thing altogether when you put God behind it
14:14but we also do the same thing when we say well if you’re truly a Christian you would never drink alcohol now you have
14:21the freedom to drink or to not drink which you do not have the freedom to do is abuse this good gift of God and get
14:26drunk it’s the one thing you do not have the freedom to do and if you’re not convinced scripture makes it very clear
14:32read the you know the letter to the church in Corinth the first one that they were getting drunk on the communion
14:38wine tough to get drunk on communion wine if it’s grape juice okay you have to drink a lot of it to
14:44even approach an inebriation and you probably blow up first okay
14:50so nowhere in scripture is there a Prohibition that says if you’re truly a
14:55Christian you would never drink now if you don’t want to drink you are free to
15:00and if you want to drink you are free to which you’re not free to do is abuse this
15:05scripture is clear Romans 4 15 where there is no law there is no sin
15:11where there is no law there is no sin but see I am convinced that the reason
15:17why people make up their own Commandments
15:23is because they when they read the written law of God
15:28they realize that’s really hard because God’s law not only Nails us
15:35regarding the things we do it Nails us regarding the things we don’t do it
15:40regards us regarding not only our Deeds but also our thoughts and so it’s a lot easier to make up your
15:48own law and say well I’m a Christian because I don’t do this that or I do this or that and it has nothing to do
15:54with what’s in God’s law because then that becomes capable whereas God’s law
16:01man when I read it Nails me every time
16:08and let’s call this what it is when you make up your own Commandments
16:14and tax God’s name on it there are two Commandments being broken
16:19two the first commandment is you shall have no other gods before me you’ve created
16:25your own God that’s called idolatry and it doesn’t matter if the name of your God is Jesus
16:33now I don’t know if we have this NR mall but have you all seen those shops the Bill the bear shops okay have you heard
16:40this is like a scam like you wouldn’t believe if your daughter ever gets a gift certificate to like build a bear
16:45and you have to travel to go to a Build-A-Bear shop get ready to drop some major cash because that little 25 gift
16:52certificate that’s called a down payment all right but the way this works the way this
16:58works is you go in and you get to pick all the different little things that you want to have for your bear you know it
17:05has a heart and you get to pick the fur and the face and then the clothing and the accessories and at the end you need
17:12financing right
17:18now that’s the metaphor here’s how people do this nowadays when
17:23it comes to their religions it’s called the build a god shop you walk into the build of God’s shop and you have the
17:30smorgasbord of options the god I believe in well God is love so my God is love
17:35the god I believe in well he be gay affirming well maybe he wouldn’t even be a he he might be a she or an it
17:42the god I believe in would be Republican or Democrat the god I believe in would be this that or the other thing and at
17:48the end of it all you get to name it remember you get to name your bear in
17:53the Builder bear shop that the end of it well at the end of this little thing at the build of God shop you get to name
18:00your God and you know what people do they always name their God Jesus
18:05whether it’s male or female whether it sounds like or reflects the real God at all
18:12so the two Commandments being broken you shall have no other gods before me it’s idolatry
18:17second commandments being broken you shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain
18:23when you take your Commandments your ideas your doctrines and you slap God’s name on it and put
18:30his authority behind it you are blaspheming God you are stealing his name to deceive people
18:39it’s exactly what you’re doing it is a horrendous sin
18:45one that lands people in hell and you think about this read the gospels Jesus
18:51reserves his harshest criticisms for the Pharisees
18:57those who worship God in vain teaching as Commandments the
19:02Commandments of men and here’s the thing
19:08we’ve all done this none of us is free from guilt on this we
19:14all have this sin on our hands when you come to the scriptures and the
19:20scriptures say something you say yeah I don’t know if I can believe that or you
19:26find a way to philosophically work your way around it so that it doesn’t mean what it says
19:31or you don’t bend the knee you don’t believe we’re all guilty of this
19:36and this is a terrible sin because it’s a sin against the first table
19:42think about that first table of the law has to do with our relationship with God second table has to do with our
19:48relationship with others when you sin in this category first table you are sinning against God
19:55himself and you are treading on thin ice
20:01history as well as scripture is full of examples of men whom God has hardened
20:07their hearts because of these sins and they go to their grave in penitent which means they go to their grave and the
20:13next thing that they do as soon as their eyes close here they find themselves in the Flames of hell
20:20and they will never get out of it Grievous sins
20:26let’s continue with our text verses 9 through 13. I’m going to point
20:31something out I’m going to read it and I want you to pay attention to the interplay here because we learned something about the doctrine of
20:38inspiration of scripture and here’s what I mean Jesus is going to use two terms
20:44interchangeably he’s going to talk about commandment of God and then he’s going to say Moses and he’s going to say word
20:50of God watch how he does this let’s verse 9 Jesus said to them you have a
20:55fine way of rejecting the Commandment of god notice commandment of God in order to establish your own tradition for
21:02Moses said so those commandment of God Moses said honor your father and mother
21:07but whoever reviles father and mother must surely die actually the Greek there is wonderful die the death but you say
21:14if a man tells his father or mother knows it says you say he tells his father mother what you
21:19would have gained for me is korbon that is a gift given to God then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father and mother thus making void the
21:26word of God so notice commandment of God Moses said word of God
21:33see what Jesus did there who wrote the Torah Moses
21:39Moses wrote the Torah but Jesus is saying even though Moses wrote this these are not Moses’s words these are
21:45God’s word and that’s the idea second Peter
21:50chapter 1 verses 16-21 kind of fleshes this out and Jesus does this masterfully pointing out what we understand about
21:57scripture we know for we did not follow cleverly devised myth second Peter 1 16 when we made known to the power and the
22:04coming of our Lord Jesus Christ but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty for when he received honor and Glory from
22:10God the father and the voice was born to him by the Majestic Glory this is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased
22:16we ourselves heard this very voice born from heaven for we were with him on the Holy Mountain and we have the prophetic
22:23word more fully confirmed to which you will do well to pay attention as a lamp shining in a dark place knows he’s
22:29pointing people to the scriptures until the day Dawns and The Morning Star rises in your hearts knowing this first
22:35of all no prophecy of scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation no
22:42prophecy was ever produced by the will of man but men spoke from God as they were carried Along by the spirit
22:51the written word of God despite the fact it has human authors who pen these
22:57things they’re not writing their own words they’re writing the very words of
23:03God this is why Paul writes in second Timothy chapter 3 all scripture is Theo
23:09nustas God breathed the only place you can go today and I
23:15mean this with and know with any certainty that you are hearing words from God is the written text
23:23period now let me show you some of the warnings in scripture about adding to God’s words
23:29proverbs 30 verses 5 through 6 every word of God proves true
23:35he is a shield to those who take refuge in him do not add to his words lest he
23:40rebuke you and you be found a liar Deuteronomy 4 verses 1-2 and now Israel
23:49listened to the statutes and the rules that I’m teaching you and do them that you may live and go in and take
23:56possession of the land that the Lord your God the Lord your God of your fathers is
24:01giving you you shall not add to the word that I command you nor take away from it
24:06that you may keep the Commandments of the Lord your God that I have commanded you the Pharisees disobeyed God and they
24:13added to the scriptures and many people do this to their own demise into the demise of their
24:18followers everything that I command you Deuteronomy 12 32 everything that I command you you shall be careful to do
24:23you shall not add to it or take away from it
24:29scripture is clear on this and now let me remind you of what our Old Testament text said
24:35Isaiah chapter 29 verses 12-14 and then 18 through 19.
24:41the predicament in Israel at the time in our Old Testament text was this because of this the people draw near
24:47with to me with their mouth and they honor me with their lips while their heart is far from me their fear of me is
24:52a commandment taught by men therefore behold I will again do wonderful things now Watch What Happens here’s the turn
24:58so the Lord speaking to Israel through the prophet says that these people honor
25:04me with their lips and they’re being taught Commandments that are the Commandments of men and here’s what
25:10God’s going to do to solve the problem he says I will do wonderful things with
25:16this people with Wonder upon wonder and the wisdom
25:21of their wise man Shall Perish and the discernment of their Discerning men shall be hidden verse 18. in that day
25:29the Death Shall hear the words of a book and out of their Gloom and darkness the
25:34eyes of the blind shall see what’s the solution to the Commandments
25:41of men according to the prophet Isaiah is that God’s going to do a wonderful thing and he’s going to Open the Eyes of
25:46the blind through the words of a what a book and we have that book and at the
25:52very end of that book in the Book of Revelation chapter 22
25:58verses 18 and 19 it says this I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book if anyone adds to
26:05them God will add to them him the plagues described in this book if anyone takes away from the words of the book of
26:11the prophecy of God God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city which are described in this
26:18book um the solution to the Commandments of men
26:23is found in a book that book is called the Bible it is the only place you can go
26:30today with certainty and hear the words of God if you want to hear God speak to you
26:36read it if you want to hear him audibly speak to you read it out loud
26:45don’t be going to the crackpots claiming to be prophets don’t be going to those who claim oh we have an oral tradition
26:52oh we got the other teachings of the Apostles that were not written down hog wash Jesus is clear on this
27:00we are to go to the written word trust and believe it and those who are
27:06speaking to us and telling us these other doctrines that we cannot find in our Bible they are liars they are
27:12deceivers they are blasphemers God will deal with them listen to the words of
27:18the book study the book I guarantee you if you’d apply yourself to trying to
27:24master that book it will Master you and that’s a good thing you will never be able to master
27:30it a lifetime of study is just not enough time to master this book
27:36but you can know with every turn of the page that every word was breathed by God
27:41the Holy Spirit and it’s there for your edification for your instruction and those are the things that God Wills for
27:48you to believe teach confess and hang on to all that other stuff you are not
27:54bound to keep it in fact when somebody comes along and says oh we’ve got this oral tradition that says you have to do
28:00this if you’re a Christian Pastor Prophet so and so said you’ve got to do this you know what you have to do as a
28:07Christian you have to do the same thing the disciples did don’t obey it
28:12for their own sake a lot of law here
28:19we’ve dealt with two very serious sins and know this from the book of Hebrews
28:25long ago many times in many ways God spoke to our fathers by the prophets
28:30but in these last days God has spoken to us by his son whom he appointed to be the heir of all things through whom also
28:36he created the world and here’s the good news that despite the fact that these sins
28:42idolatry and the blaspheming of God’s name our sins against God himself
28:49God is rich in Mercy Christ has bled and died even for these sins
28:55God placed these sins that you and I have committed against the first table of God
29:01he’s placed among Christ and Christ has bled died suffered
29:08down to the dregs the wrath of God in your place for all of your blasphemies and for all of your idolatry
29:15and God wants you to repent to change your mind stop exalting your ideas over his word
29:23you are the clay he is the Potter
29:28clay will not say to the Potter yeah I’ll believe it I want to I’ll be what I want to be
29:34silly clay so repent believe that God is right
29:40and that you were wrong trust him believe what he says
29:47start with the words of the Gospel Christ bleeding dying for your sins
29:55do not believe the lies of the devil your the world or even your sinful flesh that say yeah I don’t think God can
30:01forgive that that’s a lie Christ bled and died for that sin
30:06believe the Forgiveness of sins believe what scripture says regarding your baptism that you were when you were
30:13baptized you were buried with Christ you were raised with Christ your heart was
30:19circumcised by Christ your sins were washed away and this happened to you
30:24believe those words believe the words that you hear in the Lord’s Supper
30:30when I speak Jesus’s words on the night that he was betrayed when he took bread and said take eat this is my body take
30:37drink this is my blood shed for you for the Forgiveness of your sins believe those words
30:43tell your reason to be silent stop listening to philosophers believe what scripture says
30:51this is what we’re called to do so repent be forgiven Christ is bled and died for these sins and then bear fruit
30:58in keeping with repentance by only listening to the written word of God that’s the only place you can go today
31:05to find the words of God trust them believe them cherish them
31:11write them on the doors posts of your house scribble them on the walls
31:16put them on your mirror meditate on them these are the words of eternal life
31:23in the name of Jesus Amen [Music]
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