MATTHEW 15.1-20 | The law of God is not the measure of our holiness. As Jesus has made clear before in His confrontations with the Pharisees, the law is necessary to guide us because we are blind to the goodness of God. If we put God’s goodness into the dos and do nots of the law it does not make us pure; purity is living in perfect submission to God. What this means for us is that moral behavior is a means and not the end. God wants us to obey His law, but it is to draw us into perfect relationship with Him, not to replace it. The law helps to push away bad habits and connect us to the character of God so that our hearts and minds can be changed by our love for Him. The law is a temporary placeholder, but our relationship with God is eternal. We must put our time into pursuing Him, not just avoiding potential sin. The act of seeking Him WILL sanctify and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.
And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” Matthew 15.10-11
1. What part of the text or sermon had the greatest impact on you? Where were you most encouraged, intrigued, challenged?
2. What is the issue that Pharisees have? How does Jesus turn this around on them?
3. What happens when we make the means (the law) the focus of the Christian life (v.8-9, 14)?
4. Read Colossians 2.16-23. How does Paul define answer the same accusation that Jesus does here? What is his solution to the dead end of legalism?
5. Talk about some ways that we can elevate the means of the Bible in a way that obscures the gospel. What areas of your life need to be retuned by the gospel?