Week of June 13, 2021 

SERIES: The Gospel of Mark          

Week #26- Inside-Out Faith    

Mark 7:1-23


Pastor Brian is back this week to continue our series in The Gospel of Mark as we look at Mark 7:1-23. Below is a preview of this weekend’s message. 

TWO WAYS TO APPROACH FAITH (*One is hypocritical and the other is genuine.)

  1. The “Outside-In” Approach 
    1. Mark 7:6-8 ESV “And he 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; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’  You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” 
      1. Lip service indicates closeness to God, but the heart is actually far from Him. (what others see) 
      2. We exchange the Word of God for religious traditions. (i.e., washing hands, eating, Corban) 
    2. Mark 7:13 ESV “…thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you handed down. And many such things you do.” 
      1. The Result: We “make void” the Word of God by our traditions. 
      2. Illustration: “Corban” – Corban is money earmarked as dedicated to God (not necessarily given yet). If a son declared that the amount needed to support his parents was “Corban” the scribes said he was exempt from his duty to care for his parents financially, a duty the law required. (tradition that nullified the Word)
    3. What does this mean practically? 
      1. We don’t experience God for who He is. 
      2. We lead other people to a warped view of God.
      3. We fake our faith with works of outward appearance. 
      4. We become spiritually abusive in defense of our traditions. 
      5. We walk in bondage or tradition instead of the gospel. 
  1. The “Inside-Out” Approach (Mark 7:14-21) 
    1. The things going into a person are not what defiles him. (Dietary laws) 
      1. Mark 7:18-19 ESV “18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled? (Thus he declared all foods clean.)”
      2. Warning: Do not make this contextual remark regarding dietary laws prescriptive. There are things you can put in that will defile you. It’s often a matter of the heart that causes us to ingest such things. 
    2. What comes out a person is what defiles him. 
      1. Mark 7:20-23 ESV “20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
      2. Galatians 5:19-21 ESVNow the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
    3. What comes out of the heart indicates we belong to Christ. 
      1. Galatians 5:22-24 ESV “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”


  1. So now what? God always looks at the heart. It’s interesting that Jesus quotes Isaiah who said: “This people honors me with their lips be there hearts are FAR from me.” 
  2. What is the proximity of your heart to Jesus? How close are you inside – where you and only Jesus can see? 
  3. Our Response
    1. You need a new heart
      1. We need to come to Jesus. 
        1. Ezekiel 36:26 ESV “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”
      2. We cannot make our own hearts clean. 
        1. Proverbs 20:9 ESV “Who can say, “I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin?”
    2. Guard your heart. 
      1. We need to be vigilant. 
        1. Proverbs 4:23 ESV “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life
    3. Draw near to God. 
      1. James 4:7-8 ESV “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”


Opening Discussion: 

Begin your discussion by sharing God moments and praying together. Use the following questions to encourage dialogue. 

  1. What are the “God moments” from this past week?  How have you seen God at work that is unmistakably Him? 
    1. Anyone volunteer or participate in VBS this week? How did you see God work during VBS? 
  2. How did God speak to you through His Word this past week? 
    1. How are you hearing and obeying? 
  3. How can we specifically pray for you this week? 

Pray as a group – thanking God for how He is at work and asking Him to answer the requests that were mentioned. 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Ask and discuss the following questions.

Q: How would you define an “outside-in” approach to faith? What is the danger of choosing this way of faith? 

Q: Read Mark 7:6-8. Why do you think we try to look close to God when in fact our hearts are far from Him? 

Q: What did Jesus mean when he said: “You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men? (vs. 8). What are real life examples of how we could choose tradition over the truth of God?  

Q: How would you define an “inside-out” approach to faith? Why is this a better approach? 

Q: Read Mark 7:14-23. Why does Jesus say it’s “the things that come out of a person” that defiles them and not what goes into them? 

Q: How can the things we say, do, and think reveal the true condition of our heart? 

Q: How can a person gain a “new heart?” 

Q: Read Proverbs 4:23. What does it mean to “keep your heart with all vigilance”? How do we do this in our lives? 

Q: What are practical things we can do to draw near to God?  


While we can be tempted to put our focus on an “outside-in” approach to faith, it’s vital that we understand that true faith comes from the “inside-out”. 

Use the following questions to wrap-up your discussion of today’s message and talk more about how we can apply it to our lives. 

  1. What did you hear? 
    1. What is your one “take-away” from this week? 
    2. How did God speak specifically to you through this passage and study? 
  2. What do you think? 
    1. How did this passage and study affirm, challenge, or change the way you think about the love of God?  
  3. What will you do? 
    1. What is your next step? How will you take the truth of God’s Word and apply it to your life this week?   
    2. How are you going to “guard your heart” this week? 
    3. How are you going to “draw near to God?” 


  • Mark 7:1-23, Galatians 5:19-24, Ezekiel 36:26, Proverbs 20:9, Proverbs 4:23, James 4:7-8

UPCOMING MESSAGES: “The Gospel of Mark” 

  • June 20 – Mark 8:27-9:1
  • June 27 – Mark 9:42-50
  • July 4 – Mark 10:17-31
  • July 11- Mark 11:1-11
  • July 18 – Mark 13:1-37
  • July 25 – Mark 14:53-65
  • August 1 – Mark 15:21-39
  • August 8- Mark 16:1-8