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  • East Martin CRC

But God Looks At the Heart

Matthew 15:1-20

1 Samuel 16:7b The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

Today we find the Pharisees and teachers of the law once again complaining that Jesus and His disciples are not living by the laws that they have instituted which they claim help the people obey the law given by Moses. These laws are not God's law but laws made by men. Jesus asks them why they don't follow the law of Moses, manipulating wording so that they don't have to honor their mom and dad. And then Jesus makes the true problem as plain as possible using not His own words but those of the prophet Isaiah. “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught."

Jesus sure hit the mark with that quote and so He calls the crowds over to explain the facts - God isn't as concerned with how good our actions are if the motive behind them is not about who He is. The law wasn't given to make men good but to help us see sin for what it is, a complete opposite of His holiness. The law isn't so much a list of rules as it is a reminder of what isn't holy. Jesus was trying to show that it was our hearts - what's going on inside of us - that is causes the sins in our lives.

The disciples came over to Him and ask what He meant. Jesus kind of chided them for not understanding before He explained what He meant. God created us so that what goes in our mouths will nourish us and then exit but there is filth in us that comes out of our mouths, sins of the darkest kind.

Jesus was reminding them what the Lord had told Samuel when he was looking for the king God wanted him to anoint. God doesn't look at what is on the outside but at what is on the inside. And what is on the inside will eventually be reflected on the outside through our actions.

Making it personal

What do your actions say about the state of your heart? Do you see areas in your life where it is easier to just follow the law without your heart being in it? Have you ever thought about the law showing the holiness of God? Does that change your view of the law?

Making it personal kids

Do you know the 10 commandments? Try making a list of them and see if you can understand what they say about God's character. For example: "Do not commit adultery" shows that God is wholly faithful. Can you figure out the other 9?

Closing prayer

Father, please help us understand that being holy, so we can reflect You, doesn't mean following a bunch of rules but rather letting You rule our hearts. We surrender to You and submit to Your rule in our life. In Jesus' name, amen.

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