The Evil in Our Hearts

Mark 7:20-23

20 He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

The Pharisees are harassing Jesus about not washing hands. Jesus turns to what really directs our hands to pursue that which defiles, and that is our hearts. When speaking about the heart Jesus is speaking about what is important to us, and why it is important.

And he turns out a list of things that defile. I believe that what we are to understand from this list is that all people have work to do. We are not meant for sin. Just as we are not meant for death. Jesus has come that we might have life, and have it more abundantly. If we are to follow Jesus’ teaching and example, there are attitudes and actions that we are called to abandon in order that we might follow Christ. We cannot do both! We can only follow Jesus right now. The gospel is for now. Life is for now!

And so, Jesus wants us to look at the evil that is in our hearts, remembering that it is the heart itself that seeks to feed itself on these things. I John 2: Do not love the world or the things of the world. Whoever loves the world, the love of the Father is not in them. All that the world loves can be divided into three groups of attitudes:

Desire to please our sinful flesh. Desire to acquire money and possessions. Desire to see ourselves acknowledged and honored by others.

  1. God Cares about Sexual Intimacy

        From the list: sexual immorality, adultery, lewdness and folly

“Turn those stones to bread.”       

“Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

This is a subset of the desire to please our bodies in a sinful way.

  1. God is the source of all that is good

In this list there is sexual immorality, adultery and         lewdness (Lewdness: given to the unlawful indulgence of lust)    and folly.

As it relates to sexual involvement with others, what is the current cultural standard?

  1. Must be consensual.
  2. “If two people love each other and no one is being hurt…”
  3. If it feels good to each other.

This is not the Jesus standard.

Removing some of the danger to women, we indulge in more of   what is dangerous to all!

God made our bodies capable of feeling pleasure. He created our brains with the capacity to experience pleasure as well as pain.


  1. God defines what is good

That is the justification for the sexual revolution. What is the      result of sex for pleasure? (Keeping in mind birth control as   the revolutionary tool that makes it possible)

The incredibly growth of divorce

The destruction of the nuclear family.

The ready reality of abortion.

The factory for the creation of bad men.

The loss of true intimacy.

The end of self-control and the way that we learn to submit and   love as a result.

The open competition for men and women and the consequent     loss of the opportunity to have a life partner for many.

Low birthrates.


  1. The celebration of evil for pleasure

        This has been going on for a long time!

        Cain: Given over to the desire to sin

        Lamech: Celebrating the depraved human heart and the         independence of sin.

        Genesis 6 statement: The growth and destruction of evil

        Ham: Given over to the desire of sin

        Sodom and Gomorrah: The growth and destruction of evil

        The punishment of Jesus: The just punishment of evil


Our greatest desire in life is to be connected to God in a real relationship. This is the greatest need of our hearts. Knowing God and His love is the greatest pleasure that there is. “Love heroin.” The personal knowledge and experience of God’s love is the only pleasure that gives and gives and gives without addiction and enslavement!


  1. God and Our Ego

       From the list: Murder, malice, deceit, envy, slander, arrogance

“If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down!”      

 ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”

  1. Appropriate healthy self-image

                You are created in the image of God.

Make sure and compare yourself to God’s design for you                      and not your neighbor!!

Your neighbor is created in the image of God.


You sin and fall short of God’s created image in you.


Treat others as you would like to be treated.


  1. The danger of disrespect

                Not respecting the image of God in others

Murder, malice, envy, slander

Treat others as you would like to be treated.

Ephesians 4:

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.


II Corinthians 5: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.


Luke 6: 37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

39 He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.

41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Matthew 6: 14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Matthew 18: 21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants… (Parable of the unmerciful servant)


  1. God loves your neighbor

                Love is patient. Love is kind.

Learn to celebrate the image of God in others.

Jesus washes the Disciple’s feet and says:

John 13: 12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Lamentations 3: 22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”


III. Foolishness of Greed

       “Bow to me and I will give you everything.”

        “Worship God and serve Him only.”

        Greed amounts to idolatry. Colossians 3: Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.

        God is our provider: Check from home mortgage company!

  1. To have or be had

        I Tim 6:6ff

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.


  1. God is a giver

        John 3:16

  1. We must first be grateful (humility)
  2. We must second learn contentment (humility)
  3. We must third be generous (responsibility)


  1. Give to get to give

        II Corinthians 8:

        10 And here is my judgment about what is best for you in this matter. Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. 11 Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. 12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.

13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, 15 as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”

        II Corinthians 9:

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:

“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever.”[a]

10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.


Theft, deceit, greed, folly

Be a giver. Put that value into your heart. Give your money. Give         your time. Give your talent in service to God and through Him to others.

Establish true success as being generous, not in accumulating      more stuff than others.

Involve God in your purchases. Seek wisdom. Do not allow what you own to own you.



Jesus gives what appears to be an easier pathway to cleanliness. We don’t have to wash our hands, which means we can eat apart from water being present.

In reality, Jesus will solve the cleanliness issue in two ways:

  1. He will pay the penalty for sin. In this way Jesus makes people clean before God.
  2. He will teach you what issues of life to attack in order to live in God’s world in a manner that does not disrupt your relationship with Him. Put another way, He will show you what makes you unclean. And so, we have our character developed so that we live out a life of cleanliness. I don’t believe that Jesus actually teaches a pathway different from the Old Testament. It’s just that people are drawn to lists and standards that are easier to meet. Jesus obliterates any easy pathway to meeting the character of God!

You must be merciful as your Father in heaven is merciful.

You must be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.

You must love your enemies, pray for those who despitefully use you.

You must forgive those who sin against you or your heavenly       father will not forgive you.