Most of the time when we hear this verse preached on we talk about the heart of matters. We like to talk about how we need to clean our hearts, how often times we can come to church much like the Pharisees and be clean on the outside and have a great christian appearance and have a horrible inward life that no one knows about. All of this is true and a good point and something we have to work on, but as we begin to reach out to our community I’d like to talk about this in a different way.
Often times when we begin to reach outside the walls of the church, we will quickly notice one thing, some people who don’t know Jesus don’t act like they know Jesus. I know, this is extremely strange. However, people come in to the church and for some reason we expect them to automatically start acting like everyone else, to have their lives clean and get it right – on the outside. We want them to display the life of a Christian and be crystal clean on the outside. We push them to clean the outside of the dish before they even have a chance to clean the inside.
I think what Jesus would tell us through these words is the most important thing for us to do is to help them clean themselves from the inside out. And if we are being honest, we can’t clean them, thats the work of the Holy Spirit, but we can lead them to places where they can. We can teach them and show them through scripture how God has called us to live and how to walk in a way of righteousness. How to have a relationship with Jesus and go to him for answers and guidance instead of whatever it was they turned to in the past. As they begin to grow closer to Jesus the thing we will notice is their decisions will change; the way they respond will change; their life will look different, and consequently the inside of the cup will begin to be cleaned and so will the outside.
As the Church, as A church, we have to be willing to allow people to clean the inside of the dish before we can expect the outwardly to be cleaned. Today, pray that God will give you eyes like his to see people. That you will see them for who they can become in Christ and not just the person they are and the situation they currently find themselves in.