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Well, good morning and Happy New Year. My name is Kayla, and I'm one of the pastor's here at Northgate, where we envision transforming our homes, community and world by pursuing God building community and unleashing compassion, I am so glad that you chose to start this new year off with us today. We are actually starting this new year with a brand new series called You're not the boss of me. And it's all about learning how to say no to the emotions that compete for control. Listen, we all like to have control over our lives, we don't like anybody to tell us what to do. And all of that starts pretty early. I remember when one of my kids was early. In fact, all three of my kids had their moment of glory, whenever I had just gotten after them for something. And they look at me with all of the strength of their three year old self, and they look me square in the eyes and say, You're not the boss of me. Of course, that was the last time they ever said that to me. But it always happens once. The scary part is though, we actually never grow out of that.
We all still want to be the boss of our lives, we want to call our own shots. And there's something down deep inside of us that truly believes that if we were able to call all of our own shots, we would always 100% of the time, call the right shots. In fact, I think that's what amazes us and surprises us about when we hear stories about the people who have somehow figured out how to have control over their lives. They either make enough money or they have enough power or whatever they've done to be able to call most of the shots in their lives. And then they throw it all away with one really stupid decision. We look at them and we cross our arms and go, What is wrong with you? I would never do that. No, no, if I had full control over my life 100% for sure, I would do the right thing. Every single time I can't even wipe the smile off my face, because that's how funny it is. But friends, I actually do believe that we could be those people, we could be sure that we call all of the right shots in our lives. But to do that, we're gonna have to get control of some of the bad advice that we're taking. And the source of that advice might surprise you a little bit. You see it is the one source that is most filtered. For us. It's the one source that will always be just a little bit sketchy.
And that source is you. It's It's me, it's inside of us. Honestly, friends, the person that often gives us the worst advice is ourselves. We don't get in trouble for not taking advice. We most often get in trouble because we take our own bad advice. Now hear me though, not everything you think is bad, you're not stupid, I don't always have may give myself bad advice. But the advice I'm talking about is the one that gets filtered and distorted by our emotions. It's the one that we allow our emotions to get in the driver's seat and give us advice that leads us off into a reality that is not the one we had planned for ourselves. That's why we have to learn how to say no to the emotions that are trying to get in the driver's seat that are trying to take the control of our lives. You might think it's your boss or your parents or your spouse or maybe even your kids, you're the government or your circumstances that are that are taking the control of your lives. But most often, for most of us, the culprit of control is our emotions. And over the next few weeks, we're going to talk about some of the emotions specifically that sneak into the driver's seat for us. Things like guilt, insecurity, envy. fear and anger. And hopefully together over these next several weeks, we're going to learn and be able to recognize these voices that are lurking down deep inside us. And we're going to learn to control them and say, No, we're going to take back control of our lives. But let's get some truths about emotions out of the way, I want to set the stage for you with some truths about emotions. And some of these may be common sense to you. And some of them you may know in your head, but the way that we live tells a different story. So here's, here's a couple truth let me just need to set it out here. First one is this, your emotions are not you.
Your emotions, aren't you, you are not your emotions, you have emotions, you feel emotions, but they are not you. You are not anger, you might be angry, sometimes you are not fear itself, you just may feel afraid. Friends, you have to know this, because you can't take control of something unless we can name it. And we name it something other than ourselves, your emotions are not you. The second truth we need to know is that emotions aren't bad. Your emotions aren't inherently bad, none of them are bad within themselves, even the negative ones. So think of it this way. It's kind of like money. Money in and of itself is not bad. It's not evil. But the way we think about it, the way we allow it to control us the way that we use, it can be bad. Your emotions are the same way. Even sadness or anger. In fact, it reminds me of that movie a few years ago, inside out the Pixar movie, I love that movie. And it, it tells the story of this little girl, but it tells it through the perspective of her feelings. And you, you get to see in her head these, these feelings of joy and sadness, and anger and disgust. And the whole story is that joy is the one that everyone thinks should be in control all the time. And then there's this, like Debbie Downer character, sadness, she's blue, and she's always sad. She talks like this all the time.
And joy is constantly trying to shove her out of the way and not let her have control of anything. But spoiler alert at the end of the story, we realize that sadness has a purpose. And there is a reason why we need to be able to experience sadness, there's a reason why we need to be able to experience even the negative emotions, friends, even God has emotions. We see throughout Scripture times where we see that he loves he rejoices we even see where he laughs, where he weeps, where he's sad, and even where he gets angry. See, our ability to feel came from God, our emotions were a gift from God. It's part of how God made us in His image, how it says it in Genesis when he says, Let's make man in our own image, I believe that our emotions, our ability to feel is part of that image of God that we carry with us. And he gave us emotions to tell us important things. our emotions often turn our gaze and our mind toward something that's off or something that's good. He gave them to us so he could experience life more fully, more beautifully, because of our emotions.
In fact, he actually wants us to have an emotional relationship with him now, not just emotional relationship. But that is part of how we experience God is through our feelings through our emotions. In fact, when Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment, he mentions emotions, he says, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, your mind and strength, your heart, he's talking about your emotions. He wants us to love him with all of who we are with all of what we have, which includes our emotions. The Book of Psalms is full of emotions. In fact, it's one of my favorite parts of Scripture to go to when I'm feeling happy or sad or angry or disappointed all of it because it's all in there. So much of it was written by King David, a man that was described as a man after God's own heart. God gave us our emotions. They're not bad. Motions aren't bad. They just shouldn't be in charge. They aren't bad. They just shouldn't be in charge. Why is that? Well Frankly, they can be very unreliable emotions can be super unreliable. And I'm guessing that even the most stoic person watching right now can agree that our emotions how we feel, can be a little sketchy at times. In fact, there's something that I've said to my kids over and over and over. And frankly, I have to say it to myself a lot, too. And it's this, just because your feelings are real, doesn't make them true or actionable. Let me say that, again, just because your feelings are real, doesn't make them true, or actionable. Let's unpack that for just a second. See, no one can argue that you don't feel a certain way. No one can argue that you don't feel sad or happy or excited or angry. Those feelings in you are real, it is true, you feel them. But it doesn't make them true. It doesn't make what you're feeling the truth about reality. And it certainly does not make them actionable. See, there's something about our emotions that can be very unreliable. And and they can be used to manipulate us think about advertisements. The whole advertisement industry is made to make us feel a certain way. So that will do a certain thing that is in it works.
Friends, it works millions upon millions, maybe even billions of dollars are spent every year. Because it works. When people mess with your emotions, it often makes us want to do certain things. But just because our feelings are real, it doesn't make them true or actionable. They can be used to manipulate us by people, our friends, maybe some of your family even I remember one of my kids was exceptionally young, when they realized that they could, with a well timed Hug And A cute head tilt get themselves a little less trouble. Friends, that happens and it happens early for some. But our motions can be manipulated. In that way. Maybe Most of all, our emotions can be manipulated by the enemy, the Devil Satan himself, one of his best tricks is to use our emotions to lie to us. When you're sad, the thought comes into your mind that all is lost, everything is dark, it's all horrible. When you're afraid, there's this, this feeling that comes that maybe you just need to hide, stay inside withdraw the friends just to because those feelings are real, it doesn't make them true, or actionable. Now most of us has have figured out how to monitor our behavior well enough to I don't know in most cases, get a job, keep a job, stay married, have friends, not have road rage, that's too bad that people can see it and maybe even not punch the guy behind in front of you in the Express checkout lane that has way more than 10 items. we've all learned how to monitor our behavior. But Jesus invites us to take that monitoring a step further. Because he knows it isn't enough to just monitor our behavior. And that's where we go to our text. Today we're going to be in the book of Matthew, which is in the second half of the Bible. It's actually the first book in The New Testaments, one of the four gospels, which are the stories of Jesus life, we're actually going to be in chapter 15. Today. And in this part of the story, Jesus has been traveling and he's been teaching and preaching. He's been healing people. And at this point, he's started to draw quite a crowd. Lots of people want to hear what he has to say, people are even bringing their friends to him to be healed. But he's also already caught the attention of the Pharisees, the teachers of the law. Now, these were the religious leaders of the day, and they were not Jesus biggest fan. In fact, they took issue with a lot of what Jesus was teaching, and certainly how he and his disciples chose to live, who they chose to be with and, and how they acted. And that's where we start here in chapter 15.
We're going to start in verse one says this, then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don't wash their hands before they eat Okay, I have to say, I'm with the Pharisees on this one, especially in a year, where we have 20 seconds at a time, spent days, maybe weeks, maybe even months, washing our hands with surgeons precision. I'm wondering to why the disciples were not washing their hands before they ate, that's gross. We don't need a tradition of the elders to tell us to wash our hands before we eat. That's just good hygiene. But here's some context. Because this wasn't actually about hygiene. This was about the rule, the tradition of the elders, this Oral Torah is what it was often called. And this was a set of rules that was only known by a few leaders. And it was made up by those leaders to help people not accidentally do something that would defile them that would take them away from God, that they wouldn't accidentally eat something that they weren't supposed to eat. Because in that day, there were laws, God's laws that said, what people should eat and what they should not eat. That's what kept them clean or unclean. That was all part of the Old Covenant, the old rules. But Jesus knew that the Pharisees were talking about something that they didn't even completely understand themselves, and he wasn't having any of it.
You see these laws, this tradition it made God seems small and and petty, like you could accidentally mess up your relationship with God by just not doing the right things before you eat, or before you came to the temple. And Jesus wasn't buying it. In verse three, he see his response, Jesus replied, and why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? Then he gives them an example of how they use the same tradition that they're talking about here to break one of God's laws, specifically, the one that says, to Honor your father and mother, verse seven, you hypocrites. Jesus said, Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you. And then he quotes Isaiah, these people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain. Their teachings are merely human rules. And this passage, Isaiah was saying, and Jesus is making the same point, if you're just following the rules to follow the rules, then your worship isn't even really worship. It's just this weird thing that you're trying to do. You can't just say all the right things, and expect your heart to follow you can say and do everything exactly correct. But your heart can still be a mess. You see, with these rules, the Pharisees had turned religion into a game, that only they could win by following the rules that they made up. And that's not what our relationship with Jesus, that's not what this religion that's not what our relationship with God was about at all. And Jesus is calling them out on it. Well, at this point, a crowd had gathered. So Jesus addresses them verse 10, he says, listen and understand. What goes into someone's mouth does not defile that me saying God is not petty, he's not setting you up for entrapment. You don't get in trouble for an accidental breach of etiquette, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.
And then Jesus drops the mic and walks off. Now, I have to tell you that when I picture this scene, I like to picture Jesus disciples standing around him, you know, like you see in the movies, it's always like the leader is standing. And he's, and he's having his moment where he tells off the bully. And all of these other guys are like, yeah, yeah, burn, burn. And then the like, as they're taunting this bully, they realize their leader has walked off, so they have to scurry. Well, that's what I see here. Because the disciples, they go after Jesus, and they catch up to him Finally, and when they do, they're like, you totally told them off, man. I'm paraphrasing, but Jesus does say in verse 14, leave them he's talking about the Pharisees. They are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit. You see, the problem is, is that the disciples they had missed the point. they've missed the point entirely, and they were starting to realize it. To their credit, they were starting to realize that maybe they hadn't quite understood what had just happened. So one of them got up enough guts and asked Jesus to explain it to them. Now, Jesus seems a little bit surprised and maybe even frustrated that they don't get it yet. We read it in verse 17. He says, Don't you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach, and then out of the body. I can imagine the disciples being like, Huh, we understand the basics of the digestive system. We eat something and then a couple hours later, we have to visit the little disciples room. We got it, Jesus, we got it. But see, there's a value system that Jesus is explaining here. And this is the part where we see Jesus inviting us into more than just monitoring our behavior. Verse 18, Jesus says, but the things that come out of a person's mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. You see that word, defile, it had religious implications. If something defiles you It puts you at odds with a God. He's saying, the rules that you keep, they're not as important to God, but the things that come out of you, what you do what you say how you act. That's a different story. And he says it specifically verse 19, four out of the heart Come evil thoughts of murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony and slander. See, those are all things that would hurt other people. And Jesus is saying that that's a whole different story. hurting people that God loves, which is all of us, that will certainly put you at odds with God.
Now, listen, that's a good point, for sure. But that's not actually where I want to land. You see, Jesus is saying something in here that is super convicting. And it is the key, it is the key to help us start saying no, to the emotions that are trying to get control of our lives. Look at verse 18, again, but the things that come out of a person's mouth come from the heart, friends, it starts in you. It starts in me. The things that come out of a person's mouth come from the heart, and these are the things that defile them. The source of the offensive words, you say, the bad actions, you take the bad attitude, you have that stuff, that mess, it starts within you. Now, you may want to push back and say, Nope, not me. Sometimes I say things I don't mean. And I will say to you, because I have to say to myself, sure. Sometimes you don't mean to say things out loud. Check your heart, friends. It all starts in there. And your heart is showing. Go back to verse 19. Again, four out of the heart, come evil thoughts of murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimonies, slander, and in Mark's account of this story, he adds greed, malice, deceit, envy, arrogance, and folly. And folly just means bad judgment.
See, this stuff comes out of our hearts. That's why we have to do more than just monitor our behavior. We have to monitor what's inside of us, we have to take stock and take control of what is within us, because what's inside of us will eventually find its way out every time what's inside us will eventually find its way out. And just like doing the right thing isn't enough to build a relationship with God. Just like Jesus was telling the Pharisees and his disciples that following a set of rules or religious rituals was not going to get them into heaven or keep them in good standing with God. It's not enough just to monitor your behavior and what you do. It's not just enough to keep not doing the wrong things. We have to monitor and control what's inside us. So it doesn't come out of us. And that's what we're going to do. over these next few weeks. We're going to practice monitoring and naming what is inside of us. So it doesn't come out of us. We're going to practice monitoring what's inside of us and naming it and then taking it under control. We're gonna personalize these things. We're gonna find out what it is. That's giving us That bad advice? We're gonna call it out and say, You're not the boss of me anymore. Anger, You're not the boss of me. Fear. You're not the boss of me and V. any of it. You're not the boss of me any more. friends think about it. How different would your life and relationships be right now, if you had been taught to monitor what's going on inside of you to control what it is? that's giving you that bad advice? What would you be doing? Where would you be? If you hadn't allowed fear or guilt to be the boss of you? What would your father have been if he had not allowed anger and greed to be the boss of him? What would it have been like? If your mother had not allowed envy to be the boss of her? What would it be like if we taught our children, that their emotions are not the boss of them? You see, if we allow our emotions to be the boss, we will be kept from living in the abundance of life because we're too afraid to take risks. We will be kept from experiencing forgiveness because we're too prideful to say I'm sorry. It'll keep us from unleashing compassion because we're letting greed be the boss instead of generosity. our emotions will every time always say hey, look at me, do what I say feed me feed this feeling that's inside of me do something about me, whether it's fear, anger, insecurity, guilt, envy, any of it. They're all screaming for us to put ourselves first, and others last. We've got to learn to call them out. And to let them know that they don't get to be the boss anymore. See, we already have a boss of us. And if you are a follower of Jesus, you have a better boss than anger, lust, greed, fear, or envy. And here's his invitation and Matthew 11. Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me. for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Jesus is saying, follow me. Learn from me.
Let me show you that I am a better boss. I don't need anything from you. You don't have to feed me. But I have something for you. And it's a good life. A life of rest and a licensed life of security in the knowledge that I am in control. Where you pray for my friends. God you are so good. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for being a God who is in control and who is good. God would you teach us Holy Spirit? Would you convict us and show us teach us how to name the things that are inside of us that are giving us bad advice stop us before we allow these emotions to take control. God we need you every hour. We love you. We trust you and your precious son's name Jesus we pray. Amen.