Does Jesus Care How We Live?

Throughout his gospel, Mark’s emphasis is primarily on what Jesus did. In chapter 7 he returns the emphasis to Jesus’ teaching, and in chapter 8 he returns again to miracles.

In the teaching of Jesus, we will see him warning of legalism and license which are both superficial, man-centered, and empty. 

May God help us to understand true obedience is anchored in grace and comes from the heart.

The Hypocrisy of ____________________  (Mark 7:1-13)

The problem with legalism is that it is:

True Obedience _____________________ (Mark 7:14-23)

True obedience is:

Main Idea: Legalism and license are both superficial, man-centered, and empty; true obedience is anchored in grace, empowered by the Spirit, and comes from the heart 


One of the frequent critiques of Christianity today is that it is legalistic. How would you define legalism? What do you think about that critique? 

The opposite of legalism is often called “license.” What do you think that means? Why do you think it is becoming increasingly popular today?  


Read Mark 7:1-5. Describe how the Pharisees defined and measured holiness. What standard did they appeal to, and where do you think some of their regulations came from? On what basis do they challenge the behavior of Jesus’ disciples? 

Read Mark 7:6-13. Based on his response, what does Jesus think about the Pharisees’ system? What are some specific problems with it, according to the passage he quotes from Isaiah? What does this kind of system do to God’s Word?

Read Mark 7:14-21. What does Jesus reveal here about the true source of defilement? What does that imply about the true nature of obedience?

Read Mark 7:24–8:21. What examples of true obedience do you see in those stories? What examples of superficial obedience do you see? What seems to be missing from those whose obedience is more superficial?


Among the two temptations this passage addresses—legalism (performance-based acceptance) or license (do whatever you want), which does your heart most naturally default toward?

What is it that keeps you from giving way to that default? How do you stay fresh in your relationship with Christ? 

How would you minister to someone trapped in legalism or license? What would you say? What passages of Scripture would you go to? 

ASSIGNMENT: With your group, memorize Mark 7:20-22, and reflect together on Christ’s call to follow him from the heart.

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