Notes On Mark’s Gospel (67)

“On Your Mark”

The way, the truth and the life!
The way, the truth and the life!

Beware! (Chapter 8 Verses 14-21)

The warning Jesus gives his disciples here regarding the teaching of the Pharisees is very appropriate. Remember they have just had a clash with them (vv11-13), and his men are going to be, and very soon, the foundation stone of the new covenant Church. But he also mentions Herod here (v15)? The teaching of the Pharisees and the moral principles, or rather lack of them, go together with Herod. Because teaching and morality go together, hand in hand. There is little, or no good of us speaking about high doctrine if there is no real moral stand, and witness in the Church. Can we ever have a voice in society as long as the Church today is riddled with immorality, I think not. Revival? No reformation first? The exercise of proper Church discipline, with a godly concern for those involved, surely is the need and order of the day (1Corinthians 5.1-2). When our own house is in order, then, and only then, will the world take heed to our teaching. The Lord uses the word yeast here, picturing the influential corrupting power of both these parties amongst the people. Wrong teaching can be so utterly devastating, and so hard to get rid of too, well does Jesus say ‘be careful’, be on your guard against it, turn away from it.

On the basis of what Jesus says here, sternly warning his disciples, about wrong teaching and morals, dare we drop our guard for one moment? Our stand upon the truth as it is in Jesus, the fundamentals of our faith which are constantly under attack from inside as well as outside? What did Jesus do with this religious unbelief (v13)? The ecumenical madness which continues in our country, that seeks to hold hands in the dark, ignores the teaching of the Bible. Oh that is divisive, just love everybody they say? The Roman Catholic Church which persists in teaching salvation by works, not to mention the plethora of other erroneous doctrines, destroys the very bed-rock of the gospel. We will not hold her hand! Or anybody else’s who would lead us away from Jesus and the truth of his word. Liberals who score out, who deny whatever suits them in the Bible, we are called upon to address as our brothers? It is all the same religious unbelief our Lord comes up against again and again in his ministry. Study Christ and see how he deals with it. Beware! Of the yeast of the modern ecumenical and inter-faith movements. But beware of the same leaven that has infiltrated the Reformed evangelical Church, God has called us to be his own special holy folk (1Peter 2.9). Shall we not be that (Ezra 9.1-2; 1Peter 1.16; Romans 16.17-18; 2John 10- 11)? “Therefore come out from them and be ye separate, saith the Lord” (2Corinthians 6.17).

(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)

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