This is the heavily edited transcript of my bible study vlog video of the above video. Working on and editing transcript allows me correct some grammatical errors, add clarity to the message as well as insert scripture references for your further study.
Bible Study Notes on Leviticus 11 and Mark 7:
5 Ways to Maintain a Clean Heart
What we sow into our minds and hearts grow, brew and ferment. Our thoughts are consequently expressed through our words and eventually demonstrated in our actions.
Thank you for joining me on my journey as I study the Bible. Today, I will go into Leviticus 11 and Mark 7. In the chapters of both the Old Testament and the New Testament, we see the confirmation of God’s word regarding clean and unclean things. Their applications in our life as disciples of Christ, however, will be a little bit different depending on whether we are talking about the literal unclean animals that God forbids us to consume in Leviticus 11 or the unclean things of the world that we consume into our eyes, minds and hearts.
As we look at Mark 7, it’s clear the it is no longer about the literal application of eating clean or unclean food, but it’s more about the human heart and what we consume into our minds and store in our hearts that comes out of our mouths.
It may seem like Leviticus 11 is not relevant to us today, but actually it’s really important to read. We may tend to skip over these Old Testament books about the laws since it feels very tedious to read, but this is still God’s word.
This something we have to recognize — the totality of the Bible is still God’s word. And we would benefit from reaching both the Old Testament and the New Testament each day. There’s a blessing in doing that. As we’re reading the New Testament and then studying how that checks out in the Israelite’s physical reality as documented in the Old Testament, we get such a much richer picture of God’s character and also his plans and purposes for His people throughout history — thousands of thousands of years of the teachings of God guiding the Israelites, of God leading them and God preserving them through these laws. So I do really find it very enriching to read the Old Testament. I’d also like to encourage you to read both the new and the Old Testament at the same time on a daily basis.
Today we are going to get into Leviticus 11. Let’s go through the whole book together.
Let’s read Leviticus 11.
So that’s a very, very long list of things that are clean and unclean. Now, the purpose of God telling the Israel this was to preserve them, keep them safe. Remember, at that time in history, there was no such thing as sterilization. There was no way to pasteurize anything. There was no refrigeration.
If a person became sick, it would be basically death. We are blessed in this day and age to have medicine. We are blessed to have medical facilities and doctors, medical professionals taking care of us and antibiotics to help our bodies fight off infection. Back then in the ancient days, there was no such thing such as antibiotics and sterile medical care.
So God wanted to warn the Israelites, making it very clear for them to stay away from certain animals that we now actually know that a lot of these animals are insects are indeed unclean. We know, for example, rats and cockroaches are unclean and carry diseases. If we were to ingest them, we would get sick and not just sick, but we could die.
If God’s people ate them as staples of their diet, they would end up raising them to consume. This could lead to fatal illnesses and diseases that are contagious and obliterate the entire population, like a pandemic. So God wanted to make it very clear what kind of animals the Israelites should stay away from. Giving them this extensive list very clearly was to preserve them in addition to being holy and set apart, behaving differently from the neighboring tribes around the Israelites.
God wanted to set them apart in the food that they ate, but also to protect their lives and longevity and the lineage from which would come out of Israelites, who would be Jesus Christ. So it was very clear why God set out these protective guidelines for the Israelites.
Now, let’s look at Mark 7:1-23.
Jesus says that it’s not the food that makes a man unclean, but it’s what comes out of his mouth. Does this contradict with what the Old Testament says about unclean food? No, but here Jesus wants to talk about our heart.
As I mentioned above, the purpose of God in the Old Testament laying out the rules for what not to eat and what to eat was to protect them physically. And now Jesus is coming to speak about the heart of the man. What makes a man unclean? So let’s go read Mark 7:1- 23.
Jesus here is making a clarification. He is not saying that the law in the Old Testament was wrong. He’s saying that it served a different purpose. All foods are declared clean in the sense that whatever you eat, it eventually comes out and doesn’t stay with us or even cause us to sin. He wants the people to understand that there is a greater danger of defiling ourselves in another way. When we look at the issue of the heart, we can defile ourselves when we consume the ideologies of the world.
So Jesus likes to use analogies of our body. Our head, our eyes, our heart, our mind and our hands and our thoughts. What is the source of the words spoken from the mouth? It comes from the mind and it comes from the heart. This means what we consume through our eyes goes into our mind. It gets processed and sinks into our heart.
And inside the heart and mind, a lot of things brew.What we keep and sow into our minds and hearts grow, brew and ferment. Our thoughts are consequently expressed through our words and eventually demonstrated in our actions. And that is what Jesus is more concerned about. Our spiritual… Click To Tweet
Now here, we have Jesus giving us the word of what He really cares about. God calls his people throughout the ages, throughout history to be holy and not unclean. Are we being holy or are we being unclean? That’s up to us. It is our responsibility to know and identify the unclean things of this world. We are bombarded with a lot of things coming at us. We need to make a choice and ask for God’s discernment and wisdom in terms of what we put into our spiritual eyes, into our mind, and what we speak out of our mouth. See, it’s like we have this processing system, let’s call it a filtration system.
A system consists of the input, the process, the filtration in this case, and the output. What is the input that we are allowing into our hearts and minds? It is the images of the world. They are the ideas of the world, ideology, and man-made religions, man-made ideas, man-made wisdom, man-made opinions. We continuously read, watch and observe men’s opinions of the world and their understanding of the world.
There are ideas and opinions we need to reject because they could defile our minds. And eventually it defiles our hearts making what comes out of our mouths unclean and unfruitful. So how do we process the things in this world to help make sure that we are holy? Make sure that our actions are holy, that the words that come out of our mouth are holy? (Read 2 Corinthians 7:1)
Before I proceed, let me be clear that those who have repented and given their lives to God are holy in God’s eyes because of Jesus Christ. (Read 2 Timothy 1:9) So when God calls us to be holy, He is inviting us to act in a way that is fitting to the position that we have earned through Jesus Christ and recognize the cost for the holiness and forgiveness that we have been freely gifted. A child of God longs to live and act in a way that reflects that grateful heart.The words that comes out of our mouth has a Spiritual aroma. Does that aroma reflect and point to Christ? Click To Tweet
Back to our filtration system. How is the health of your filtration system? And as I was reading this, do you know what comes to mind? The question of us being the aroma of Christ. The words that comes out of our mouth has a Spiritual aroma. Does that aroma reflect and point to Christ? Do you have the aroma of Christ wanting people to hunger for righteousness and and be attracted to who Christ is? Is that an aroma that arouses interest in Christ? Or is there an aroma that comes out of you the aroma of the world that draws people away from Christ? We all have an aroma exuding from us. It exudes out of our attitudes and our words. What is that aroma? (Read 2 Corinthians 2:15-17) So, how do we ensure that our filtration system is healthy and working well? A healthy filtration system would be able to process the world’s information and the world’s wisdom so that the result is a clean aroma of Christ that is distinct, holy and set apart from the aroma of the world. (Read Psalm 119:9)
5 Ways to Maintain a Clean Heart
I’d like to share five ways that we can check the health of our filtration system for a clean heart, making sure that we are exuding at the aroma of Christ, not the aroma of the world.
1. Set our mind on things above and things of God. (Read Colossians 3) Are you about God’s business? Are you consuming things that has anything to do with God’s business? What are you involved in? How much are you influenced by the world’s media? How much are you influenced by people? What activities you are doing daily? Are those activities showing that you are involved in your father’s business, or are you more involved in the world’s business?
2. Hide God’s word in your heart. (Read Psalm 119:11) That is the most important filtration layer in our hearts and minds because God’s word needs to filter everything that comes in from the world. This means that we need to know his word, to be able to hide it in our hearts.
We need to read the word, we have to know the word and then hide the scriptures in our hearts, cherish these scriptures. This is not just something you do only once a week, but as something we need to do every single day to keep that filtration system healthy.
When we hide God’s word in our heart, it doesn’t mean hide, burry and put away in a place that can’t be found. It means hiding in there, take care of it and keeping it safe, but also using it as that most effective filter for the unclean things of this world that will make us stray away from God’s word and our relationship with him.
3. Have a lifestyle of confessing and repenting with God to keep the channel clear. (Read 1 John 1:9) If the filtration system is clogged up from unconfessed, sin and hardening of heart, then our communication with God becomes blocked too. This affects our prayer life. You won’t be going to God asking Him to renew these things and bring them to the cross. You’re not giving it up to God to be “burned up” figuratively by his Holy Spirit.
Bring these unconfessed sins to Him, submitting them to Him, asking him for His help to take away those sins that we have committed, whether in thought in word or indeed. It could be thoughts like malice, envy, or jealousy. These things can really build up and harden your hearts if not dealt with.
We may not even be aware of it. And so it’s important to know what God tell us. What are the things that we need to put off, right? (Colossians 3:8) Thoughts like comparing ourselves to the world and thinking, “Oh, they have such a better life than me.” This kind of self-pity will really stir up and ferment envy and jealousy.
Malice and bitterness will also harden your filtration system, making it less effective.
4. In addition to the above, you need to renew your mind. (Read Romans 12:2) Know that God has good plans for you. Knowing that even though in this challenging circumstance where you are not getting what you want. Perhaps you’re not achieving a goal you want to achieve, and your peer has already accomplished more than you. You feel sad and you feel a little angry at God. May be your thoughts sound like this, “how come the wicked is prospering, but I am suffering. Why am I going through these trials and trouble again?” The wicked they prosper, but God’s word affirms to us that that will not be forever.
May you be encouraged by Psalm 37:7
“Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.”
We will have the day when our faith will become sight. What we hold dear, what God holds dear will be rewarded to us. (Read Psalm 119:1-18) So be patient and persevere and renew your mind to not think like the world, to not compare the worldly successes to your successes. What we need to be caring about as Christ followers is our spiritual blessings and living each day with a grateful heart, not comparing our lives to other people, because as they say, comparison is the biggest thief of joy. You can protect your heart from that by not comparing to other people.
When you think like the world, when your mind is like the world, you will talk like the world. And that’s a red flag when we don’t take in God’s word more than taking in the world’s ideas. We live in the world. We are not taken out from the world yet.
Jesus says for us to be in this world, but not of the world. (John 17:14-16) We interact with the world every day. And there are things we can take in and process and use for our growth and development. But we need to know that the most important things we need to take in are God’s pieces of wisdom, gems of wisdom from His word and store those up more than the gems and wisdom of the world.
So renew your mind. Make sure you’re not speaking like the world, but you’re speaking like a Christ follower.
5. Know and embrace your identity. (Read John 1:12) That means living out your identity in Christ, who are you in Christ? You are a child of God. You are a Prince of the Most High King. You are a princess of the Most High. Live out that identity.
You are holy, because of Jesus Christ. You are a new creation. When you come to Christ, when you surrender your life to Him, when you ask Him to give you a new heart and a new mind, you have a new title. You have a new identity. You are a new creation. And so act in a way that is fitting of that role that God has assigned you.You are holy, because of Jesus Christ. You are a new creation. When you come to Christ, when you surrender your life to Him, when you ask Him to give you a new heart and a new mind, you have a new title. You have a new identity. You are a… Click To Tweet
To think that we are a child of God can be hard to accept. Sometimes we think, “Oh, I don’t deserve this. I can’t be called a princess. I can’t be called a Prince. I’m not holy. How dare I say that I’m holy” God tells you you are. See Peter 1:2-9. You are holy. Don’t disagree with that. Do understand that we indeed do not deserve this title. Nobody on earth deserves this title, but because of Jesus, His perfect sacrifice on the cross, we have been adopted into this royal family of Christ, the royal family of our Father in Heaven. We don’t deserve it, but we are invited to receive this gift with joy. And now that we have received it, we have to live it out. We have to live out and work out our royal responsibilities.
So every day in the morning, go to God and ask, “what is it that you want me to do as your child? What is it that you want me to do as part of this royal family to further your Kingdom, Lord?”
And at the end of the day, pray and release any burdens from your day to Him. (Proverbs 16:3) It’s hard. It’s not easy to do these “royal tasks”. It can be risky and it can be dangerous. Each day, you will come under attack. You will come under people pushing back and you will come under spiritual warfare so stand firm.
So at the end of the day, go to God, release it to him, pray about the difficulties you’ve had, pray about how your heart was affected by the world and ask God again to renew your heart. And in the morning, waking up knowing that his mercy is new every single morning. And we start again working and living out our title as “Child of God” as are holy and chosen people. We are a priesthood through our High Priest, Jesus Christ, who had gone before us to make a way and reconcile us to our Father in Heaven. And God has purposes for us to extend His Kingdom to bring more people to come into this loving relationship with Him. (Hebrews 6:19-20)
Through our hearts, through our minds and what comes out of our mouth, is it the aroma of Christ or the aroma of the world? As this royal position comes with a responsibility, I want to encourage it was to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Why fear and trembling? Because we need to recognize that this is a weighty responsibility.
This is serious stuff that God is calling us to do to advance His Kingdom. And we need to embrace this weighty responsibility of being a child of God, of being a disciple of Christ. You are are prince or princess who has been adopted. Royal duty doesn’t mean you just sit idle and have other people serve you.
That’s actually the opposite of what God calls for us to be. He calls us to be servant leaders like our Lord Jesus Christ. We are to be princes and princesses of God to serve others, not to sit idle, but take on this responsibility and serve His Kingdom. So I want to encourage you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, that if your relationship with your King, your God has grown cold, the first priority you need to take care of is go back and renew that love relationship with Him. Only then, are you ready to receive the mission that He has for you to further advance His Kingdom, to share the life transforming Truth with the world.