The Inside Story on Defilement


One of the most important teaching places in the gospel

It again is a very, very important portion of Scripture. It is paralleled in Matthew as well. It is a very, very definitive portion of Scripture. You might even conclude that of all the teaching places in the gospels, this has to rank as one of THE most important because it is so defining. And we’ll see that as we look at it — (Mark 7:14-23).

It’s a matter of the heart

And what is it? Here comes the parable, or the analogy. “There is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him, but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man.” This is an analogy and I don’t want to get too graphic here, this is a simple analogy. What goes into you is not defiling, it’s food. What comes out of you physically is defiling. You want to stay away from those unclean things that come through elimination. The parallel passage in Matthew 15 even says it comes out in the draught and the Greek word for draught means the place on which you sit. So you get the idea. This is a simple illustration but a very obvious one.

Where evil in a person comes from

Well let’s just back up a minute and say this. Where He’s going with this is that spiritually speaking pollution is not outside of you, it doesn’t come in to you, it comes out of you because the problem is not outside of you, the problem is inside of you.

That’s the point.

Should they have known that? Of course they should have known that. First Samuel 16:7, “Man looks on the outward appearance, God looks on…what?…on the heart.The heart is evil, that’s the issue, and it comes out of the man. That’s what is defiling. That’s what is corrupt.

Matthew even says it comes out of the mouth. And the reason Matthew refers to the mouth is because the mouth is the most ready to express the evil of the heart…more evil is spoken than is done. It’s so much easier to do that, that’s why Isaiah said he was a man of unclean lips because that’s how he identified the wretchedness of his heart. The whole principle is that evil doesn’t come into you from the outside, it comes out of you from the inside. And this is shocking, believe me, to the Pharisees and the scribes. They don’t like this. That’s not what they think.

What circumcision was about

…circumcision was the need for a heart cleansing and the fact that man was sinful at the very, very basic element of his being and out of man would just come more sinners and more sinners and more sinners as he passed on his fallenness. So he needed cleansing

The symbolic kinds of cleansings that were prescribed were like pictures in a picture book before a child reads words. They were like symbols and images and visions and shadows of the spiritual reality.

God didn’t want them to get preoccupied with this, why did He institute these in the first place?

Because they needed symbols, they needed pictures, they needed types, they needed representations of a spiritual reality. Ceremonies, various kinds of rituals, various kinds of prescriptions with touching and eating and drinking simply were external representations of the fact that God wanted heart cleansing. He wanted the heart to be pure from pollution, corruption and defilement. So the writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews 8:5, “These things are an example and shadow of heavenly things.”

You come to the New Testament and all of that disappears. All of that goes away cause along the heart was always the issue. That’s why Hebrews 6:1 and 2 says, “Leaving behind the washings, let us go on to maturity.” Abandon all of that.

Galatians simply says that if you put your trust in circumcision, Christ is made of no effect because you’re hoping in a ceremony and a work and Christ and you must hope for salvation in Christ alone

He declared all foods clean

Every once in a while a book appears in the Christian bookstore advocating that we all go back to an Old Testament diet to experience the blessing of God. No, no, no, no…that’s all set apart. It says it right there in verse 19, “He declared all foods clean.” First Tim…er, 1 Timothy 4, Paul writes about false teachers who forbid you to eat certain things, right? And then Paul says, “All things are to be received with thanksgiving. Nothing is unclean.” That whole system has been obliterated. It’s gone. That’s why in the New Testament there are no rituals, there are no ceremonies, none. There are no rites. And whenever you see a religion that is basically full of all kinds of external ceremonies and rituals and rites, it is Pharisaism all over again…all over again.

The Roman Catholic Church and sexually abusive priests

Am I surprised that the Roman Catholic Church cannot get to the end of sexual abusive priests? No. Why? Because the whole religion is external. They’re all external. They’re just like the Pharisees. On the outside they’re painted white, they do all the ceremonies, they go through all the rituals, and the routine.

Inside they’re full of dead-men’s bones. Inside they’re corrupt. Inside they’re wicked. Inside they’re impure. They can’t contain that. You can’t stop that. To the pure all things are pure, but to the defiled, everything is defiled. Everything they touch is defiled because they are defiled. Not surprised, not at all. It just goes with being undefiled. And that’s what all that external religion is, it’s all the outside and nothing to do with the inside. And that was the Pharisees.

In the New Testament you have no rituals
The New Testament speaks only of what defiles the inside

In the New Testament you have no rituals, none. The Lord’s table and Baptism, those aren’t rituals, we know what they symbolize. We have no washings. We have no ceremonies. We have no rites. We have no sacrifices. The New Testament speaks only of what defiles the inside. Matthew 15 speaks of the heart being defiled. In Titus 1 it speaks of the defiling influence of unbelief. First Corinthians 8, the defiling influence of idolatry, putting anything in the place of God. Hebrews 12, the defiling influence of bitterness in the heart. Jude 23 talks about the defiling influence of sin that is in us. All the externals are gone.

This is a current Hasidic orthodox Jewish teacher. Quote, “Accepting Jesus as Messiah would mean the destruction of the Jewish people for Jesus was opposed to Jewish teaching.”

The internal list

What comes out? “Evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness.” Out of the heart, ektos kardias, out of the heart, ekporeuo comes forth, gushes, compound word. Gushes out of the heart. The description of what is in the heart of people, including the leaders of false religion.

And by the way, Mark includes twelve items in his list, Matthew has a lesser list. But Mark includes twelve, the first six are plural, therefore they have to refer to acts. The second six are singular, therefore they refer to attitudes behind the acts. And the Pharisees and the scribes and the rabbis love to give lists of things to be avoided. They had all their external lists. Jesus here gives them an internal list.

King of corruption

Fornications comes out first on the list, as we would expect, because of the power of sexual temptation and sexual sin. Whatever else of sin may reign in the world, this seems to reign as king of corruption. That is why if you just take the Internet as a reflection of the human heart, there are millions more pornographic sites than one could even imagine on the Internet and far more people interested in that particular perversion than all other perversions combined. Fornications is the Greek word porneia from which comes pornography, all kinds of extramarital unnatural sexual sin.

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