Matthew 15:1-20 Guarding Against Vain Worship

by | Nov 14, 2023 | 0 comments

2 Timothy 3

I. Practitioners Of Vain Worship

A. Fault Finders, Deceived, Zealous V. 1

2 Timothy 3:3, 13 “…slanderers…deceiving and being deceived…”
Mark 7:2 “…they fault…”
Matthew 15:14 “They are blind leaders of the blind.” (Deceived & deceiving others)

1. There are people who falsely accuse, who themselves are deceiving & being deceived
2. These men traveled 100 miles from Jerusalem to find fault w/Jesus Vs. 14:33-36
3. They were sincere & zealous, but sincerity & zeal are not substitutes for truth
4. B/C Jesus “violated their tradition”, they earlier had decided to kill him John 5:18
5. QUESTION: Are any of these attitudes or actions found in us?

a. Are you zealous & energetic to find fault with others?

i. Different than exposing falsehood, wanting to see others saved & helped
ii. Jesus never wanted to see these men destroyed, though they wanted Him dead

b. Is your faith is energized by exposing other’s faults?
c. Do you have a desire to see others destroyed who disagree with you?

6. If yes, then your worship might be in vain: meaningless, not recognized by God

B. Own Version Of Righteousness- Focusing On The External V. 2

2 Timothy 3:5 “…having a form of godliness but denying its power…”

1. Jesus commented on the tradition of the elders

a. “Tradition” comes from a Hebrew word which means to “hand down”
b. It speaks of the oral law handed down thru the generations

2. The Jews of Jesus’ day recognized both the written law, and the oral law

a. The written law- that which was given to Moses by God
b. The oral law, not written, but supposedly given to explain the written law

3. An example of Jewish thought regarding the written and the oral law:
4. “The words of the scribes are lovely beyond the words of the law: for the words of the law are weighty and light, but the words of the scribes are all weighty.”
5. The Tradition of concern-The Jews had come to believe that a demonic spirit would sit on men’s hands at night, and therefore their food, and if the hands were not washed, the demon would do that person harm.
6. “He who does not wash his hands before eating,” says the Talmud, “is as bad as a murderer.” Quote: {Talmudic Anth. pg.529)
7. QUESTION: Are any of these attitudes or actions found in us?

a. Have we come to value tradition as much as God’s written word?
b. Can we justify our faith & religious life according to God’s word?
c. Do we view our traditions & superstitions as essential and equal to God’s word?
d. Is your faith energized/dependent upon non-biblical traditions?

8. If yes, then your worship might be in vain: meaningless, not recognized by God

C. They Actually Break God’s Law W/Their Traditions Vs. 3-6

2 Timothy 3:5 “…having a form of godliness but denying its power…”

1. Jesus explained- “your tradition” was a misinterpretation of God’s intent
2. Honoring one’s parents was clear, being part of the 10 Commandments.
3. They sidestepped this by calling something “corban”, a gift dedicated to God
4. A Jewish man, for spite, superstition, or other reason, could dedicate some of his possessions and/or money to God, and refuse to take care of his aged parents.
5. In violating the 5th commandment, their tradition would forgive him
6. QUESTION: Are any of these attitudes or actions found in us?

a. Do we use “religious tradition” to get out of sacred and moral duties?

7. If yes, then your worship might be in vain: meaningless, not recognized by God

D. They Are Hypocritical Vs. 7-8

2 Timothy 3:5 “…having a form of godliness but denying its power…”

1. Hypocrisy is at the core of everything these people do
2. They pretend to love God, but have learned to use religion for self-service
3. Hypocrite-a play actor who wears a mask
4. Turn to Matthew 6:2,5,16; 23:25-28
5. They had no inner desire to please God, but were self-serving in their show of religion

E. The Result: Their Worship Was Vain- Empty, Meaningless V. 9

2 Timothy 3:5 “…having a form of godliness but denying its power…”

1. They had moved away from the inner life, and focused on the outer life
2. They had moved away from God’s word, and focused on man’s word
3. They no longer understood God’s heart, & now sought to destroy the work of God
4. They exalted traditions which didn’t lift burdens from people, but burdened them

II. Jesus Taught To Focus On The Inner Life Vs. 10-11; 18-20

A. Defilement Doesn’t Come From What We Do/Don’t Do Vs. 10, 11
B. Defilement Come From Within A Man’s Heart Vs. 18-20

1. Evil words & actions come from the heart, & reveal the heart condition
2. Man needs an internal change, not an outward form of godliness
3. Jesus taught about true worship as opposed to vain worship- Turn to John 4:23
4. William Temple(Archbishop of Canterbury) “To Worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind w/the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, & to devote the will to the purpose of God.”

C. How Do We Avoid Worshipping In Vain?

1. Becoming vain in worship is a matter of paying attention to one’s own spiritual life
2. Maintain an honest heart with God, according to His Word
3. Maintain a life begun, led, and empowered by the Spirit of God Read John 3:5-8

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