Living in His terms / Pr. Lucas Albrecht / Mark 7:14-21 / Sunday September 2nd 2018: Season of Pentecost / Mount Olive Lutheran Church
Text: Mark 7:14-21
Theme: Living in His terms
Intr – When you go to one of our hospitals in town, one if the first things you see are those hand sanitizer dispensers. And you’ll come across with quite a few of them depending on where you are heading to. The ideia seems to be this is one of the secure ways to avoid carrying in, or out, germs that may bring problems to you or to other people.
Now, say you left home with your washed your hands clean to come to the hospital. Or you at least make a quick check and couldn’t spot a trace of dirt in them. Still that dispenser is there for you too. And why is that? Because the assumption is our hands are, if not all the time, most of the time not really clean. If we believe doctors and health authorities, then we know we can almost ever have clean hands, as we carry up and down all sorts of impurities and germs.
Interesting: we are asked to sanitize our hands, even when they look clean - because dangers is always lurking in the microscopic world. Now, what about our hearts?
1 – From the insde
_In the Gospel today, we see Jesus asking everybody to listen carefully, and He says: it is not what comes from outside that defiles a person. He demonstrates that the rule about defiled hands was wrong. This is not what God takes into account.
_The critical thing is to have the heart sanitized. Because this is the fount of every defiling
_It is from inside. From the heart, There is the problem. Trying to make people look good or bad it’s easier from what you see (or do not see). The heart is quite a different thing. The way and terms we see life (Ours and others’) can be surely deceiving.
2 – “In his own terms”
_A famous person died recently, and one of his daughters wrote online: “He was a person who lived in his own terms”. This is supposed to be a quality. But it is actually a very dangerous thing.
_ Listen carefully. Why does Jesus emphaze it? Well, maybe because our minds sometimes may be tempted to thing things are not that bad. “Maybe we are good people. See, we are polite, we treat others well, we are not as evil as one may think. You know what? Maybe evil is just a creation of our society, or of our mind. In the end we are all inate good people.” We make a quick check and declare it clean. Or at least not that dirty.
_What happens when we think like that? When we live by our own terms? I’ll give just and example, which also proves the point of the defilement from inside – original sin.
A couple thought of quitting their jobs and travelling the world ‘round in they bycicles with a strong assumption and ideal, which they stated this way: "Evil is a make-believe concept we've invented to deal with the complexities of fellow humans.", wrote one of the idealistic young Americans. The news from some weeks ago? “Millennial Couple Bikes Near ISIS Territory Thinking ‘Humans Are Kind’ and Gets Killed” They were killed in an Islamic State-claimed terrorist attack last month while on their cycling trip around the world. 
Idealistic is one way some people put it, for sure. I read also people using other words, like naive or idiot. I would say though that one thing was missing to them: reading. Flipping through the pages of the Book that has been around quite a while showing how that is not the truth at all. Even great human beings, from the human standards, can be and do evil.
_This sort of underlines the idea: “I like to sin, Jesus likes to forgive. What a perfect match”. Let’s live by our own terms.
_But Here’s what we get living in our own terms: Jesus is very specific, let’s be specific like Him. “21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, mmurder,adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, nsensuality, oenvy, pslander, qpride, rfoolishness. 23 sAll these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
It is a long list. And if you fall for one, you fall for the whole Law (St. James). They are more than germs, which at their worst may claim our life on Earth. When our heart is defiled by sin permanently, it’ll claim our life forever.
_”Pastor, but you are preaching to Christians”. Exactly, Because they are the ones who know how frail humans terms are. Other people maybe would just ignore it.
3 – Living in Jesus’ terms
_Listen carefully. Living in our own terms is a terrible idea. Our heart carries up and down germs of sin and death. We need be sanitized. We need to be constantly cleansed by forgiveness and love. We need to live in His terms.
And here is what we get when we live in His terms
_Our hearts are sanitized by Law and Gospel
_Our mouths may not eat in a wise way all the time, but He sends us to speak wisely, by the power of His Holy Spirit.
_Our hands are also sanitized from hurting and denying to be helping and caring.
In Word and Sacrament, His own terms where HE reveals His Love and Grace, He keeps sanitizing or ever falling for sin hearts, so that we never fall from Grace, always falling in His arms of love.
_Now we live a life reflecting his love in our daily loife. So yes, this is Santification. Let’s not be afraid of talking about it. Jesus was not, Paul was not. We shouldn’t. Santification. Living our faith in the world, avoiding that list Jesus mentions. We can go out and put our faith into practice by living the list Paul proviodes us in Galatians 5, just before our epistle for today: “But the fruit of the Spirit is flove, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” These are the works Christ wants to do through us to our neighbour.
_Jesus points our sin and filthiness to bring us to repentance and faith. That is His goal in our sanctified life as well. When we talk against sin, it is always to bring the sinner close to him – and not just to crush him or hammer him down. The goal is always the forgiveness we have in Christ.
Cc - Live in His Terms. Love in His terms. And then, live forever.