Hymns 306 Abundant Life  363 Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me
Bible Reading Mark 7:1-23.
Some of my best memories of food on the farm are the times when my mother or sisters brought tea and sandwiches out to the field. When harvesting grain or picking potatoes with dirt under the nails, our hands needed deep sanitation. But the clay on the white bread seemed to only make it taste better.
A Jewish family would never do that. 
How did these disciples so quickly abandon that practice to be found eating with unwashen hands? We may assume that the Lord pointed out that this was a man-made regulation and He liberated them from this legality of men.
However, the Pharisees were critical. They mustn't have received the memo, so "they found fault" (Ch. 7:2,5). The Lord's defense was both thorough and shocking. It gives an analysis of the state of the human heart that reveals man's total corruption of nature. This passage gives solid proof for the doctrine of Total Depravity that is the starting point in proclaiming the gospel. If we start with man's innate goodness, or ability to clean up his own life by a self-directed repentance, we will go wrong when ministering the gospel.
This corruption of man's heart is seen all too often in nations and peoples of this world. In the world of Hollywood, political leaders, churches, and in domestic life the vilest of sins are manifest, and it is not restricted to age, social status, nor education. The vilest sins are carried out in all of society. Truly, the state of human nature is wretched, just as the Lord stated when He listed these thirteen forms of sin (v.20-21).
The whole event clearly points out that it is not ingestion of earth's dirt that corrupts man; his whole nature is corrupt. Isaiah begins his prophecy declaring that man is corrupt from head to foot etc. (Isaiah 1:3-5).
This is the state of things that we must face in gospel ministry.  We must be realists when it comes to the depths of the problem of sin in the human heart. We must face up to the radical aspects of sin's evil and the radical remedies of the gospel that are required. 
1. We must address the depths of the sin nature in man.
The gospel church will preach much to men about their sinful nature. The gospel church will also pray much for God's grace toward sinners. We know that men who are lost souls, blind to God's truth and reality, dead in the corruption of their sins if left to themselves will never turn to God.
2. We must insist on heart religion (v.6).
The Pharisees' blindness to their sin-nature led to "lip service". Without comprehending the extent of human corruption men will think that their attempts at worship with washings of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables (v.4) will be acceptable. A corrupt heart can bring forth nothing that is good or acceptable to God. Everything touched by man is defiled.
The chief purpose of Levitcal washings and ceremonies was to teach that man is unclean.
The engagement of a heart of love and a heart that seeks purity is God's delight. We must pray for the lip service to end and for hearts to be broken over sin. Pray for pride to be abased, so that sinners will feel their need of a Saviour, not find a cloak for their sin.
3. We must pray for souls to be Born Again of the Spirit.
The truth of total depravity demands the necessity of the New Birth. 
Last Sunday morning's sermon on Nicodemus is important here in the prayer meeting so that we learn to pray for that radical change that is required to see sinners made fit for the kingdom of God. Our focus on prayer must be on the helplessness of souls who are dead in sin, until the Holy Spirit breathes life into them. 
Testimony after testimony relate that hopeless, despairing souls, who had tried the broken cisterns of this world, needed to be rescued by the saving power of Christ.  
Regeneration is the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit acting directly upon the human will, changing our natures from rebels with a bias against God turning our inner nature to desire after God. It is the Spirit of God's Son born in us (Gal. 4:6) as well as the Son revealed to us (Gal 1:16).
4. We must point sinners to the atoning work of Christ's sacrifice.
Regeneration is subjective as it is the change of a sinner's heart. The atoning work of Christ is objective as it is done outside of us. For sinners to be effectually called into the gospel they need to hear the gospel of God's dear Son. They need to learn the facts of the cross-work of Christ. 
This is consistent with man's total depravity.  He can do nothing but look away from himself, or herself and look unto Christ. The work of gospel preaching is to hold forth the cross as God's way of reconciling sinners to Himself.  We must present to sinful men the miraculous nature of Christ's death as the God-Man. Jesus' blood has all the power of God and is unlimited in its power to cleanse from all sin. As we preach the cross-work of Christ we cling to the promise of the Lord, "And I if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me" (John 12:32).  As we approach Easter, pray earnestly that we may know God's power to preach His Son as the crucified Saviour for sinners.
5. We must magnify the grace of God in His plan of redemption.
The ultimate answer to man's depravity is God's grace. No man deserves salvation and God did not send His Son because people deserved a Saviour. It is the lost condition of men that makes them candidates of grace, which is God's undeserving favour.
Our gospel is based on God's eternal covenant of grace to redeem sinners and bring them home to glory.
God's Eternal Purpose of Grace is Greater than Man's Sin
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 
Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." 
God's Everlasting Love
"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 
He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things" (Romans 8:29-32)?
This is our hope in ministering to sinful men. God's purpose to save a people from their sins is the hope of every gospel ministry. We exist to promote God's purpose of grace to sinful men.  Let us pray for God's gracious purpose to sinners to be fulfilled in our day and generation. Take some soul to heart and pray for that person knowing he, or she is a corrupt sinner, but also knowing God's power to regenerate the human heart.