Big Apple Chapel is a New Testament based church in New York City, modeled after the pattern of the early church, with a strong emphasis on following Christ as a community of His disciples.

  • Sunday - 10:30 am
  • 520 8th Ave, 16th floor
    New York, NY
  • phone: +1 (973) 837-1041


BAC Sermons

Truth or Tradition

2005-08-14 Mark 7:1-13

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6:56…And as many as touched Him were made well.  7:1 Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes came together to Him, having come from Jerusalem. 2  Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault (rather than favor w/ God).

3  For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders. 4  When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches. 5  Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, "Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?" 6  He answered and said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:   

                ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 7  And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ 8  "For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men——the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do." 9  He said to them, "All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. 10  "For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ 11  "But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban"—’ (that is, a gift to God), 12  "then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, 13  "making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do." (cf Isa 29:13; 30:1; 1:1-31)


I. Worthless Worship is based on the Tyranny of Tradition


A. Worship should accomplish something: the pleasure of God-our blessing, the edification of the saints, and the evangelization of unbelievers


B. Wise Worship requires an individual (snowflake) cognitive (heart/mind/soul/strength) response rather than mindless mooing


C. Worthless worship follows the inclinations of the flesh rather than walking in directions of the Spirit

Heart not in the right place; Clean hands and dirty heart  (not walking the talk); see Malachi: Lord of the Leftovers

Criticizing the True servants of God rather than creatively praising God; putting down others boosts sagging self-worth

Tradition is easy and secure (won’t get criticized {fear man vs God}), you don’t have to find it out yourself


D. Tradition frequently encroaches on the truth and sometimes contradicts the truth (Form follows function)

Syncretistic idol/ancestor worship, covetousness, which is idolatry - Col 3:5. What’s on your god shelf? 

The Tragedy of Tradition is that we think we’ve done our duty and pleased God, while in reality we’ve only satisfied ourselves and pleased Satan.


II. Wise Worthy Worship is based on Truth (and does not depart from it)

Worth attributed by attitude and actions Psalm 29; Rev 4:9ff

Obedience and Obeisance I Sam 15:22


                Reverence and Repentance (God is worthy of my awe and active submission)

                Emotional Enjoyment and Ecstasy (We recall and replay a “date” with someone we love)

                Sacrifice (Is God worth what I give Him?)

                Praise and Proclamation  (We hoot and holler about what excites us.)

                Obedient Submission (We embrace and carry out the agenda of our King after an audience with Him.)

                Newness of Perspective (Viewing life from the vantage point of heaven makes us walk in new paths with greater joy.)

                Sharing the Goodness of God with others (We enthusiastically tell others about someone who’s blessed us.)

                Expectation of God acting in accordance with His character (We rely on those we know and trust.)

Sacrificial Service I Chron 21:24 Hebrews 13:15-16 Romans 15:16 Phil 4:18

Holy Heart, Mind, Soul and Strength are laid before Him Ps 29:2 I Tim 2:8

Intercession, Petition, Prayers of Confidence and Trust  Jer 32:27

Praise (Public & Private)  Psalm 48:1; 100

                Person and Acts  Psalm 92, 117

                                Provider of life: past, present, future

                                Excellencies: infinitely good, just, holy, loving




                                Names of God

                Response to Revelation I Chron 20

                Awe, Adoration, Admiration, Appreciation  Psalm 145

                Intelligible & Emotional John 4:23-24 Deut 6:5

                Sacrificial Submission as well as Song & Speech Psalm 24; 101

                Edification of God & others Psalm 31:23


Questions for Reflection and Discussion:

1. What is the greatest benefit of worship to you? What distinguishes worthy worship from worthwhile worship?

2. What effect on worship does the following practice have..."God created man is His image and man has returned the favor"

3. If worship is so wonderful, why are we sometimes so loathe to indulge in it?

4. What can we do to stimulate our appetite for and enjoyment of God? (Hint: don’t stuff yourself at McDonalds before dinner at Daniel’s)

5. Do you feel more comfortable responding to God with your heart, soul, mind or strength? What could help you involve more of your life in worship?



THOUGHTS ON WORSHIP  Dynamics of Church Growth, Irving & Jenson, (Edited)


                Webster defines worship as "the reverent love and allegiance accorded a deity." It involves the recognition of worth in God, and the offering of our honor, praise, and adoration to the One who is altogether worthy. To worship genuinely is to acknowledge His kingship in our lives and His right, as our sovereign Lord, to rule over us. Corporate worship means church members gather to ascribe worth to God. Worship is for God's benefit. He has the center stage. I Chronicles 29:11-13 shows us the correct focus of biblical worship.


                Corporate worship recognizes God's glory, greatness, power, victory, majesty, and dominion. During worship, the Body yields itself to the rule and dominion of God. It bows the corporate knee to His authority. It is the Body confessing its dependence on God as its Sovereign Head.


                Many Christians misunderstand the purpose of worship. It has become an experience in which man is the focus. Worship has deteriorated into an "I didn't get anything out of the sermon" experience. Man has become the object of his own worship. He is there to be entertained and spiritually massaged. It hardly occurs to some believers that worship is primarily a matter of God receiving something from us - our praise, adoration, and confession of Him as our Sovereign Lord and King.


                The state of worship today is a symptom of the spiritual decay of our generation. The health of our personal and corporate worship reflects the health of our relationship to God. We leave the service just as far from God as we were when we entered. To worship is to be in touch with God - to pray to God, to sing to God, to confess to God, and to respond to God as He has been exalted and revealed in His word. The purpose is to give something, not receive something. Blessing will certainly come, but receiving is the result of giving. This misunderstanding about the real purpose of worship has contributed to sterile corporate worship and devastated the potential for growth in many churches (to say nothing about grieving God!).


                Three factors account for our misunderstandings about worship: culture, imbalance, and lack of personal devotional time. The first reason for lukewarm worship is the culture in which we live. We live at a frantic pace. We live in an "instant" age and society. Television has taught us to expect instant gratification of our every need and desire. Everything worthwhile has to come to us immediately. Patience is a scarce commodity. This characteristic of our culture has carried over into our spiritual lives, and particularly into our practice of worship, in insidious ways.


                The Bible repeatedly states that we must learn to WAIT on God in order to receive blessings from Him. To wait means focusing, quietly and reflectively, on God. It necessitates disengaging the mind from the cares, frustrations, and activities of our frantic lifestyle, and engaging the mind in a thoughtful reflection on God. To wait means not to rush or to be in a hurry.


                How does our culture affect our worship? We try to rush into worship. Worship by its very nature demands preparation of heart. It involves waiting. It involves refocusing the mind and heart FROM self, others, and the details of life, TO God. When we evaluate our frame of mind and our mental and spiritual condition as we walk into the sanctuary on Sunday morning, we must admit that we rarely are prepared to meet with God and give Him anything. Physically we are quiet, but our minds are still racing and occupied with what went on before the service. Even after we mentally adjust to the quieter atmosphere, we seldom focus on God. Our attention usually focuses on the details of the service itself. We read the details in the bulletin. We look around us to note who is there. We fight drowsiness, stand up or sit down several times, and settle down to listen to the sermon, the main act. We try to follow the outline, and listen eagerly for the words "Let's all stand for the benediction." Those words signal the end. We look approvingly or disapprovingly at our watches, depending how much after noon it is. We walk out, greet a few people, get into the car, and on the way home, discuss the merits or demerits of the sermon.


                How tragic! We have gone, have been sung to, preached at, and informed about coming events, but we have not worshiped, because God did not receive anything from us. We were in a hurry. We were not prepared. We evaluate the experience by how much we have received. We use the wrong standard to measure the impact of the exercise. To a great degree, our culture has dictated our response to God, and we are cheated of that which is fundamental to the Christian experience.