“WANTING TO BE A KING, MAN BECOMES A SLAVE” (Isaiah 29:13-16; Mark 7:1-8)

Mark 7:1-8 Isaiah 29:13-16
September 9, 2018 10:30 AM
Rev. Jeremy B. Stopford, Pastor

TODAY’S “SPECIAL”: “Golfing Incident”
A husband decides to join his wife for the first time playing golf. He’s never really been into the game, but since his wife was playing with all these men around, he wanted to come and check it out.
All day long he complains: About the heat, about the other people, about how long it’s taking…
They are on the 9th green when suddenly he collapses from a heart attack! “Help me,” he groans to his wife.
The wife calls 911 on her cell phone, talks for a few minutes, picks up her putter, and lines up her putt.
Her husband raises his head off the green and stares at her. “I’m dying over here and you’re putting?”
“Don’t worry dear,” says the wife calmly, “they found a doctor on the second hole and he’s coming to help you.”
“Well, how long will it take for him to get here?” he asks feebly.
“No time at all,” says the wife. “Everybody’s already agreed to let him play through.”

INTRODUCTION With chapter 8 Lord willing next week, we will complete the first half of the Gospel of Mark. These 2 chapters will begin to set the stage for the purpose of Jesus’ coming to earth. As our Mark 10:45 theme verse says, He didn’t come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many. We have been observing His lessons on servanthood. Let’s begin by looking at Isaiah 29:13-18, the passage from which our Savior quotes in Mark 7. PRAYER

# 1 WHY DOES HE SERVE? WHY DO I SERVE? (Isaiah 29:13-16)
This passage will be quoted by our Savior in Mark 7 (along with parallel passages)
I’m often interested not only in WHERE a quoted passage comes from, but WHY was it used in the original passage – like here in Isaiah.
V. 13 is quoted in the NT – but vs. 14-18 tell us the WHY!

ILLUSTRATION: my procedure at the hospital had to be stopped because the surgeon met a blockage along the way – a blockage caused by what he called “congenital heart defect”. English: “that is the way I was made!”
POINT: Who owns me? WHY does He own me? Because He is the Potter! I am the clay! He has the right to do with me as He wants.
I serve, because I am His – not only by creation, but also by new creation.

The Lord through Isaiah would remind the hearers of his day that the Lord had ownership, and wanted that recognition, which by their daily rituals they refused to recognize.
* Now let’s go to our text in Mark 7:1-8

# 2. RULES! RULES! RULES! (7:1-8)
Jesus was popular! (look at 6:56). And the religious leaders of Jesus’ day did not like it. So they observed Him – and His disciples – to find loopholes in their ways of living.
AND they found THE loophole: in their violation of the religious leaders’ rules!
Look at vs. 3ff. The Pharisees had their rules set up. Mind you, so did the Jews in their observations and offerings as directed by books like Leviticus.
But the Pharisees and their cronies had rules too! In fact, by some estimates, they added to the book of Leviticus another 400 to perhaps upwards of 2,000 rules that they followed to the letter. IF these rules weren’t obeyed, the followers were in disobedience and under the wrath of the leadership.
Their complaint was on how the disciples failed to wash their hands before eating (v. 5)

ILLUSTRATION: Years ago, who did? And then the government in wisdom put up signs in every public restroom: “employees must wash their hands”. And hospitalists and others remind us of all the germs that are scattered every day. Now we have wipes everywhere to sanitize – why even the handlebars on the carts at Walmart.

“But Pastor – WE don’t have rules! WE don’t have traditions that are in violation of scripture! WE don’t.”

ILLUSTRATION.: well, if you had been here last week, you would have seen one of our rules broken. After the first song, our wonderful song leader, Bill, had us all sit down. No big deal, right! BUT HE BROKE A TRADITION, A RULE! We are supposed to greet one another after the first hymn! That’s the RULE! That’s our TRADITION! Funny how everyone looked around at each other as if to say, “are we going to greet one another, or are we going to obey our song leader and sit down?”. Well, we sat down of course.

And into this context, Jesus quotes Isaiah 29:13. And these Pharisees and “teachers of the law” (scribes who copied the scriptures) knew the scriptures. They knew the text from which He was quoting. And they KNEW the words that followed!
By their demanding an obedience to man-made (theirs!) rules and traditions, they had set aside the word of God. More importantly, they had done WHAT? They had denied the Lord’s ownership of their lives by creation – and ultimately missed out on the Redeemer Himself being right in front of their eyes.
The Redeemer Who was the promised Messiah Who would give His life for their sins so that they would be free from the demands of the law.
They missed it.
Have any of you?

Permit me to tell the story of Jennie Hussey. She was born in Henniker, New Hampshire on February 8, 1874. She began writing poetry while young, and lived in rural New Hampshire most of her life. At the time of her death in 1958, she was living in the Home for the Aged in Concord, New Hampshire.

In 1921, she penned these words which were first published in “New Songs of Praise and Power”:
“King of my life, I crown Thee now,
Thine shall the glory be;
Lest I forget Thy thorn crowned brow,
Lead me to Calvary.
Lest I forget Gethsemane,
Lest I forget Thine agony;
Lest I forget Thy love for me,
Lead me to Calvary.”

The last stanza is her “reach for the application” verse:
“May I be willing, Lord, to bear
Daily my cross for Thee;
Even Thy cup of grief to share,
Thou hast borne all for me.”

That’s what Isaiah 29 and Mark 7 are all about. THAT’S WHAT THE SERMON TITLE IS ALL ABOUT! All his life, man is striving to be the king OF his kingdom. But in so doing, he has become a slave IN his kingdom.
The Lord Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords. Yet in His humility, He became a slave – a servant if you will – so that, becoming one of us as servants, He showed how we should live: in submission to the true King.

The original poem goes like this: “Wanting to be a king, man becomes a slave; willing to be a slave, man then becomes a king.” And in submission to the true King.

That is service, true service, with a servant’s heart – the desire that the only One Who receives the recognition for all we do is the King of kings Himself, even the Lord Jesus.
Is that my heart today? Is that yours?

Close in prayer

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