121028 SM 07 If Looks Could Kill - Matthew 5_21-26
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121028 SM 07 If Looks Could Kill - Matthew 5_21-26

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Sermon 7 in a series on the Sermon on the Mount. Adapted from a lesson with the same title by Chip Bell at www.Bible.org. Presented 10/28/2012 at Palm Desert Church of Christ by Dale Wells.

Sermon 7 in a series on the Sermon on the Mount. Adapted from a lesson with the same title by Chip Bell at www.Bible.org. Presented 10/28/2012 at Palm Desert Church of Christ by Dale Wells.

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  • We live in an angry world. People walk around with a chip on their shoulder, just hoping someone will knock it off.The worse the economy gets, the higher the jobless rate gets, the angrier people become. You’ve heard the saying “If looks could kill …”Here are a few of those looks.
  • I like shows about crime and police and courts. After a person has been killed, someone reports that a suspect had threatened: ”I’m going to kill him!” That focuses attention of law enforcement on the person who uttered the rash words. Don’t ever say that! That’s good advice. If you ever feel like doing someone else in, just keep it to yourself. Suspect: “He was a horrible man. I’m glad he’s dead. I’d like to congratulate the guy who killed him. But I didn’t do it!”They willingly tell the police because it’s not against the law to hate someone—it’s just against the law to kill them. That’s the way it works in America. But you know what? In God’s Kingdom that’s not the way it works. In God’s Kingdom, it’s not only against the law to murder. It’s also against the law just to stay angry with someone. That’s the kind of radical idea that Jesus gave his followers. Today we’re continuing our study of the Sermon on the Mount, one of the lessons Jesus taught his followers. It’s a kind of handbook for the kingdom of God.
  • Last week we began a new section called: The Disciple’s Code (Matt. 5:17-48)Disciples don’t live a life of lawlessness. In fact, Jesus heightens the requirements of the law. He tells us what the law really means: not just the letter of the law, but the spirit of the law, the law’s intent. We finished last week with Jesus’ statement that “your righteousness must surpass that of the Pharisees”, the most carefully righteous people of his day. I’m sure his followers then wondered how that could be possible that they could be even more righteous than the Pharisees. But what Jesus meant was that although the Pharisees were very concerned with obeying the external requirements of the code, they followed it in a very legalistic, wooden way. Jesus called them “actors”, which is what “hypocrites” means. They cared very little about whether they were doing what God wanted. They only cared that they did exactly what God told them to do. In fact, they had even added a few extra rules (and some of them were actually the opposite of what God wanted). And so, Jesus tells his disciples that the true meaning of the law, the Disciple’s Code, is to honor God not just with your actions, but also with your thoughts, your motives and your attitudes. The Disciple’s Code is deeper and more personal than the law of any country. It delves into the innermost parts of a man that no other man can judge and only God can know.
  • What follows are six comparisons between external performance of the law and internal obedience to the law. Jesus deals with anger, lust, divorce, lying, revenge, and hatred. In each case, he calls us, his disciples, to commit ourselves not just to obeying the external requirements of the law, but also to allowing the Disciple’s Code to govern our thoughts, our motives and our attitudes. Each begins with “You have heard that it was said … But I say to you.”
  • 2% - Doing away with the OT law entirely Last week: many OT requirements carried over into the NT. Israel’s civil laws & ceremonial laws done away with, but moral laws remain.0% - Giving his personal opinion about the OT lawGlad to see that we all recognize that Jesus’ voice is the voice of authority, not opinion. Matthew 7:28-29 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.“Teachers of the law” cited authorities; Jesus’ spoke on his own authority.22% - Replacing the OT law with a different lawPaul’s teaching is that we are not under law, but under graceGalatians 5:4 HCSB You who are trying to be justified by the law are alienated from Christ; you have fallen from grace!76% - Giving his disciples a fuller understanding of what the OT law was really aboutThe problem was that in keeping the letter of the law, the Jews had violated its essence
  • Today we begin with the first of these six contrasts as Jesus teaches us about anger. Jesus tells us that unresolved anger is sin.
  • The first part is OT (long ago) “You shall not murder.”The second part “anyone who murders will be subject to judgment” was what the rabbis taught. Judgment here is the death penalty. Anger (internal heart!) is also sin. It also brings God’s judgment. We have difficulty prosecuting “hate” crimes, because it is almost impossible to know what is in a person’s heart. God doesn’t have that problem, because he knows heart.
  • 19% - Anger is a dangerous emotion that can lead to violence. True, but it doesn’t go far enough.9% - Murder can be the result of harbored anger. True, but it doesn’t go far enough.72% - Anger violates God’s command to love. One question last week had to do with whether God regards some commands as greater than others. Len Stuessel reminded me of Greatest Command last week. Matthew 22:36-40 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37 Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.“Jesus was saying this is greatest, because keeping it involves keeping all the rest.Romans 13:9-10 The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.Galatians 5:14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
  • 31% - Self-control that keeps the disciple from acting on his/her emotions. Good, because it controls the actions, but not so good, because it can allow harmful attitudes to fester.69% - Thought-control that keeps the disciple from harboring harmful attitudes.Ephesians 4:31-32 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
  • ^ Anger is NOT the same as murder.^ Anger is NOT just as bad as murder. For the record, I would much rather you were angry with me than kill me.^ It is NOT saying that anger itself is sin. From other passages, we know that Jesus himself was sometimes angry and that we can be angry without sinning. (We’ll see that in a minute.)
  • Anger is not a sin in the sense of a choice I make to disobey God. When it first strikes, anger is more of a temptation than a sin. It’s what we choose to do with anger and what we choose to do because of anger that makes it sinful. As we’ll see from later verses, it’s unresolved anger that is sinful.^ Raca and fool are insults. (Raca sounds like spitting and means “empty head”.) Fool is Greek “moros”, (meaning “foolish” from which we get “moron”). When we’re angry, we really want to say something nasty to the people who make us angry. Jesus says, that’s sin. ^ “Hell” is Gehenna. Trash heap where they dumped the bodies of criminals. Always burning. Came to symbolize hell. He doesn’t mean that if you call someone a fool that you’re going to hell. He means that is a sin and sin deserves hell. If Jesus hadn’t paid for your sin, that’s what you would deserve—not just for murder, but even for speaking insults. ^ God takes it seriously. Why? In our anger, we lose sight of the person that God loves.
  • Two sets: You heard x, but I say y. Murder – judgment; Anger – judgment“Raca” – Sanhedrin; “Fool” – hell He extends the culpability from action to emotion. He extends the judgment from human to divine. Before we move on, let’s examine what else the NT says about anger:
  • Notice, it is possible to be angry without sin. It is just not possible to harbor anger without sin.
  • Mike McCoy had on his bench the following: “Quick to listen, slow to speak, never to anger.”
  • Jesus turns from anger to reconciliation.Reconciliation is important.In fact, reconciliation is a prelude to acceptable worship.
  • Reconciliation: diallassomai = “change thoroughly” This verse shows the importance of reconciliation. It’s important enough to interrupt worshipping God (maybe because unresolved conflict does interfere with our ability to worship God.)Notice here the initiative is on the one who has sinned against someone else. The guilty party should take initiative to resolve the conflict with his brother. (This is interesting because it’s the other person who is probably angry.) Don’t even stop to worship when you know that your sin has caused a brother or sister to be angry. Seek them out. Apologize. Ask for their forgiveness. Seek to reconcile your relationship. The responsibility to seek reconciliation does not rest with only the offending party. Later in Matthew, Jesus gives instructions to the party that has been offended (and is probably angry).
  • Really, both parties are responsible to come together and patch things up. As far as possible, to be able to agree on what was done, what was wrong and for each side to take responsibility for whatever they contributed to the conflict.This is usually the last thing we want to do. And it’s hard work. But it is very important. More important, says Jesus, than getting to the worship service on time.
  • 4% - It eliminates stress that can contribute to physical and emotional illness. Good, but it doesn’t go far enough.96% - Our attitudes toward others reflect our relationship with God1 John 4:19-21 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
  • Not only is reconciliation important, it’s also urgent. In this last section, Jesus gives us a mini-parable to teach us that the business of reconciliation is urgent.
  • Surely this extends beyond just the situation of two men going to court.
  • 28% - He/she could work as a day laborer to earn money to pay back the debt. Anachronistic. Today, prisoners in US do work for wages, but not elsewhere in the world – and certainly not in ANE.Remember the servant in Matt 18 whose debt was forgiven, then had another servant jailed for a much smaller debt, so that the master revoked the forgiveness of his earlier debt?72% - Unless someone came to pay the debt for the prisoner, he/she would probably die there.The good news for us is that Jesus has come forward to pay our debt and release us from imprisonment to sin.
  • He’s using this example to illustrate a broader principle.^ If you continue to hold anger in your heart or if you have sinned against a brother and not ever tried to patch things up, then you are asking for it. There are consequences for leaving these things unresolved. Reconciliation is urgent so that you can avoid those consequences. ^ If you are in sin against a brother, God will discipline you to bring you to repentance (Godward) and reconciliation (manward). ^ God can increase the pressure. If you don’t “get it” the first time, then he brings a bigger stick. So…be reconciled now before God goes and gets the big stick.
  • I’d like to close today with some practical advice about anger. These are not explicitly from the Bible. And I’m not a psychologist. (here comes the email) But here is some practical advice from someone who is.Dr. William DeFoore hosts a website at www.controlangernow.com. Here is a brief video he’s posted.
  • Anger is an alarmA warning light. Treat it as such. Find out what’s setting off the alarm.Something is wrong—maybe in someone else’s actions Injustice, a personal attack Like all warning systems, you can have false alarms. You can be angry even if you haven’t been wronged. (Something amiss in me.) assumptions, inconvenience, ^ Shift perspective. Will this matter in a year? Month? Week?^ Three techniques: Silence – Seldom regret hasty things I don’t say, but often the ones I do.Breathe – DBI-DBOSmile – Not like the cat just swallowed the canary. Genuine smile.^ Can you put it away?Sometimes, things are best left ignored. If you bring up every little thing that bothers you, you will constantly have some conflict to resolve. And life is more than conflict resolution. If you’re married, you have either discovered this principle, or you are constantly living in conflict. Rather than bring up every little thing that bothers you, apply “automatic forgiveness” and just ignore it. Put it in a big box called “grace” and then put it away in the closet where it won’t get in the way of your relationship.
  • Still bothers you? Talk to them! Now. Be as calm as you can be. Don’t attack, just explain. Take responsibility for your own actions—anything that you did to contribute to the conflict. Take responsibility for your own beliefs and feelings. (Not, “You made me angry.”) Try saying something like “I believe that what you did was wrong.” Or, “I felt angry when you did that.”
  • Be willing to listen. You may have missed something. This may be just a huge misunderstanding. It’s good to be as open as possible to hearing the other person’s perspective. Hopefully, as you approach this person with prayer and with a loving attitude, they will respond.
  • Forgiveness is for you.There’s always a chance that they will not listen to you or will not respond in a good way. But whether they respond in repentance or whether they respond in stubbornly doing the same thing again, there is only one healthy thing you can do: forgive them.A lot of times we think of forgiveness as what we are supposed to do when someone apologizes. But the truth is that forgiveness is a one-party transaction. Even if someone is blatantly and stubbornly sinning against you, the very best thing you can do about it is to forgive them. Somehow we get it in our heads that if we withhold our forgiveness, then we’re really going to let them have it. We’re going to show them what real pain feels like! We won’t forgive them. That’ll teach them. But in reality, when we do that, it doesn’t hurt the other person at all. We only hurt ourselves. The more we indulge our anger, the more it consumes us, distorts our perspective on all of life, ruins our other relationships, eats away at our health, and turns us into bitter old men and women.
  • Unresolved anger is a sin. And like all sins, it destroys us. The reason God tells us to stay away from sin is because he doesn’t want us to get hurt. Sometimes you might feel so angry you could kill. Very often you can’t help that. But it’s what you do next that really matters. Because whenever you harbor anger in your heart, whenever you refuse to forgive or refuse to reconcile, the life that’s really in danger is yours. ^ Let Jesus deal with your sin.

121028 SM 07 If Looks Could Kill - Matthew 5_21-26 121028 SM 07 If Looks Could Kill - Matthew 5_21-26 Presentation Transcript

  • IF LOOKS COULD KILL Matthew 5:21-26THE DISCIPLE’S HANDBOOKStudies in the Sermon on the Mount
  • THE DISCIPLE’S HANDBOOK Worship Economy Code RelationshipsCharacter Disciple’s Choices
  • THE DISCIPLE’S CODEGood Enough (5:17-20)
  • THE DISCIPLE’S CODEGood Enough (5:17-20)If Looks Could Kill (5:21-26)
  • 1. When Jesus said "You have heard that it was said ... But I tell you ..." what was he doing? 2% 0% Doing away with the OT law entirely 22% Giving his personal opinion about the OT law 76% Replacing the OT law with a different law Giving his disciples a fuller understanding of what the OT law was really about
  • UNRESOLVED ANGER IS SIN Matthew 5:21-22
  • Matthew 5:21-22“You have heard that it was said to the peoplelong ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone whomurders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tellyou that anyone who is angry with his brother willbe subject to judgment. Again, anyone who saysto his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to theSanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ willbe in danger of the fire of hell.
  • 2. Why do you think Jesus said that the one who harbors anger is subject to the same judgment as the person who commits murder? 19% Anger is a dangerous emotion 9% that can lead to violence Murder can be the result of 72% harbored anger Anger violates Gods command to love
  • 3. Which of the following do you think is more important? 31% Self-control that keeps the disciple from acting on his/her emotions69% Thought-control that keeps the disciple from harboring harmful attitudes
  • Misunderstandings about this verse: NOT the same as murder NOT just as bad as murder NOT, in itself, sinful
  • Initially a response, not a choice“Raca” and “fool” are insults “Hell” is “Gehenna” God takes anger seriously
  • Notice the structure in this verse:You have heard • Anyone who murders But I tell you • Anyone who is angry Again • Anyone who says “Raca” But • Anyone who says “Fool”
  • 2 Corinthians 12:20For I am afraid that when I come I may notfind you as I want you to be, and you may notfind me as you want me to be. I fear that theremay be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts ofanger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance anddisorder.
  • Ephesians 4:26-27, 31In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun godown while you are still angry, and do not givethe devil a foothold. … Get rid of allbitterness, rage and anger, brawling andslander, along with every form of malice.
  • Colossians 3:8But now you must rid yourselvesof all such things as these:anger, rage, malice, slander, andfilthy language from your lips.
  • 1 Timothy 2:8I want men everywhere to lift upholy hands in prayer, withoutanger or disputing.
  • James 1:19-20My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyoneshould be quick to listen, slow to speak andslow to become angry, for mans anger doesnot bring about the righteous life that Goddesires.
  • RECONCILIATION IS IMPORTANT Matthew 5:23-24
  • Matthew 5:23-24“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at thealtar and there remember that your brother hassomething against you, 24 leave your gift there infront of the altar. First go and be reconciled toyour brother; then come and offer your gift.
  • Matthew 18:15-17"If your brother sins against you, go and showhim his fault, just between the two of you. Ifhe listens to you, you have won your brotherover. 16 But if he will not listen, take one ortwo others along, … 17 If he refuses to listen tothem, tell it to the church…
  • 4. Why should we resolve conflicts with fellow believers as quickly as possible? 4% It eliminates stress that can contribute to physical and emotional illness Our attitudes toward others 96% reflect our relationship with God
  • RECONCILIATION IS URGENT Matthew 5:25-26
  • Matthew 5:25-26“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who istaking you to court. Do it while you are still withhim on the way, or he may hand you over to thejudge, and the judge may hand you over to theofficer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Itell you the truth, you will not get out until youhave paid the last penny.
  • 5. How could a person pay a debt if he/she was in debtors prison? 28% He/she could work as a day laborer to earn money to pay back the debt72% Unless someone came to pay the debt for the prisoner, he/she would probably die there
  • A broader principleConsequences of • Urgent to avoid consequencesunresolved anger God will • To bring repentance (Godward) discipline you • To bring reconciliation (manward)God can increase • Don’t make God get the big stick the pressure
  • PRACTICAL ADVICE ABOUT ANGER
  • Anger is an Alarm Shift perspectivesWill this matter in a year? month? week? Three techniques:Silence Breathe Smile Can you put it away?
  • Still bothering you? Talk to them! Be as calm as you can be
  • Still bothering you? Talk to them! Be as calm as you can be Be willing to listen
  • Still bothering you? Talk to them! Be as calm as you can be Be willing to listen Forgiveness is for you
  • UNRESOLVED ANGER IS A SINLet Jesus deal with your sin once and for all