Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 years ago

Be Angry And Do Not Sin (Matthew 5:21-26)

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Luke Smith (Guest preacher)

Back in the fall, I believe was October, November, sixty minutes on CBS aired a video where they showed for a few minutes, they showed men, women and children in Syria being gassed to death. It was horrific and the editor in chief of CBS news was asked the question why would you show that on television and he said this. He said you can read about horrific reality all day long, but until you've seen it, it probably won't change you. I realized this couple months ago and realize it again this morning, knowing I was I mean I was going to preach this message that there are a couple of different options of mirrors that you can get dressed in. In my house. You probably have the same you can get dressed in front of the mirror and the bathroom. I don't like to do that because the the image in the mirror, it kind of squishes the image and I'm trying to lose some weight. I don't want to have my image further squished. There's a mirror, a long, full length mirror, in the corner of our room, but it tends to be long gate the image and I really like that that image because makes me look kind of skinny. Then there's a mirror on our wall that is kind of a perfect medium between those and it probably gives the most accurate representation of what I really look like. But I never get dressed in that mirror. This morning I got dressed in the full length mirror. That made me look really skinny. We're skinnier than I am because we want to see ourselves in the best light. Right. You want to do the same. I want to do that. We like to to look at ourselves in those mirrors that make us look good. Now it's been said that the law of God is like a mirror that you see your true self in. Right, but in our day and age, maybe a maybe a more accessible analogy for many is the law of God and may be more like a high definition video. You can take video with your iphones now or any kind of smartphone or other equipment things you can hold in the palm of your hand and get instant, instant video. And I got captured on video a couple months ago and someone showed me the video and I thought, okay, do I really look like that? Like I know the camera adds ten pounds, but how many cameras did I eat, and I think that is what the law of God is. Look, I guess it's a mirror, it's it's like that live, raw video footage that we look into and we see...

...maybe a horrific reality. We'll see what Jesus has a say about the law of God tonight, and so I would ask you a stand for the reading of God's word. Matthew Chapter Five, versus twenty one through twenty six. is comes from the sermon on the Mount. Lord is speaking about the law. Matthew Five, Verse Twenty One. This is what Jesus says. You have heard that it was said to those of old you shall not murder, and whoever murders will be liable to judgment. But I say to you that everyone who was angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council and whoever says you fool will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift of the altar and they remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift of there before the altar and go first be reconciled to your brother and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge and the judge to the guard and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny. A man. Please be seated. A couple of you know the story because I got to church with you and you've seen her on facebook. But back in February my wife and child and I were coming back from speaking out a missions conference in Tennessee and on the last leg of the trip our child was a little fussy. He's just turned to children under the age of two get Fussy, children over the age of to get Fussy, adults kid Fussy, but especially kids who have a sinus infection, whose ears won't pop as you get up into the sky, and so a sending and descending his his ears hurt and so he started to fuss, he started to cry and the couple right in front of US started to get really angry with us and they turned around and they stared at us like they were staring through our souls, that kind of intensity, and then they started talking about my son in a fairly loud tone where everyone around them could hear what they were talking about and who they were talking about. They even spoke about my son in expletives, saying I can't wait to get off this plane in away from this bleeping child. Then they made gestures to each other in talking about my son as if they were wrangling him, and words can express how angry...

I was won't do it justice, but I didn't say anything to them. I did say to my wife if I ever see them again, because they live in Tusson, if I ever see them again, I would dot dot dot. What does Jesus say about that? What does Jesus, Jesus, say about not just their anger, what does Jesus say about my anger? Look back in verses Twenty One and twenty two, Jesus says. You've heard that. It was said to those of old you shall not murder, and whoever murders will be liable to judgment. But I say to you that everyone who was angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, whoever insult his brother will be liable to the council, who ever says you fool, will be liable to the hell of fire. Jesus says, I'm a murderer. Right, I murder, even though I didn't say anything to them, I just thought it. But I'm a murderer because I have offended, I have sinned against my brother, my neighbor, and I really can. I read that text and I would say, okay, Jesus, but really, who is my brother? Who is my neighbor? Well, Jesus had a parable or about that. Right, the Good Samaritan. He says, look, your your brother, your neighbor, is the one lying in the road who you would like to have nothing to do with. That's your neighbor and you've murdered him. So that's our first point, murdering your neighbor. You know, in Jesus reminds those listening to him what the law says. He you notice, he doesn't say this is, this is what the law says, that you shall not kill. He doesn't say that. He says you are not to murder. There they're two different words. They mean two different things. The law has to do with murder, okay, not not killing in self defense, but has something to do with with a a passion and ingrained passion, a feeling, a sin that is deeply rooted and premeditated. It's taking their life in your mind, in your heart, taking their life because you think that they are worthless. Who here is guilty of that? Yeah, you raise your hands if you think you're okay. You've been angry with someone. Okay, good, yes, we were all murderers. If you don't think you are, you are okay. The law has to do with murder. Now, the Lord inspired David to write Psalm for and, and it's all him, for David said be angry and do not sin. Okay,...

...and the Apostle Paul quoted this as he was in writing to the Ephesians about what new life looks like in Christ if we live loud, lived out as God had intended us to live. And he says be angry and do not sin. But the question is, can we actually do that? Can We? Can we actually be angry with someone, murder them in our hearts? Right, because, because when we are angry with people, we are usually murdering them in our hearts. Can we be angry with someone and not sin? Right? There is such a thing as righteous anger and and I'm still trying to to discern whether it. When is the last time I was filled with righteous anchor. Right. When's the last time actually hated the sin but didn't also hate the sinner? Because we say that he'll hate the sin but don't hate the sinner? I can't remember the last time that happened. It's all murder now. Is Anger Wrong? No, but I'm not saying that we can't be righteously angry. We can write and to say we don't usually do that angers not out wrong right. God made us in his Im and she's a god of passions, not just come passion, but passion. He is a God who can get angry righteously. We can as well right, but never are are we given the privilege, given the right in scripture by the Lord, to to be angry with those who sin, even our enemies. What did Jesus say? Pray for your enemies, Love Your Enemies. Point is this, to be angry at sin is to simultaneously be compassionate towards the center, because that is the character of God. Those that we show anger towards may have indeed infinited us for some reason, or those that we love in their ignorance and arrogance. But we don't get the right to be angry with them, to hate them. But think, think about this. Why is Jesus here preaching this sermon to these people? And I don't mean here, meaning Judea, I mean here, as in the earth. Why is Jesus here? It's well, think about some of the very last words that Jesus said on the Cross. He says, father, forgive them, for they do not know what they're doing. Jesus came to live and to be killed for and to be raised again for people who were ignorant and arrogant. Incarnate compassion of God has shown in his love for sinners. When someone's like like you, like me, have been spared from God's wrath,...

...how can we hate our neighbor in our anger? Look back at verse thirty two again. Are Excuse me. First twenty two Jesus says this, but I say to you, everyone who's angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council and whoever says you fool will be liable to the hell of fire. Now, when someone insults his brother, I don't know what translation of scripture you have, but some translations will use the term rock got says when someone someone says rock got to his brother. That's the air make word, meaning you are worthless, you have no value at all. You will face judgment when someone says you fool. Do you know what the term is? Moron? When someone says you moron, you will be liable to the hell of fire. Now more, Moron is not just a word that speaks to someone who is idiotic. It speaks to someone who is in moral, who is godless, who is lawless. That Jesus actually calls the Pharisees later in Matthew Chapter Twenty three, when he's speaking woes against them, he actually calls them morons. But he is fully God and he is righteous, he's holy and he he can call them morons in their godlessness, in their immorality, right in their lawlessness. But we, as we sin, we are showing ourselves, in our sin, to be moronic. And when we act as morons, we as morons, don't get the privilege of calling other morons morons or treating them like morons, as immoral, godless people, when we have acted the same way, because we proven ourselves to be just that. But it's no good incidence that Jesus says that those who insult another are liable to the hell of fire. Jesus, they are in verse twenty two. He speaks of these judgments and and and he for a couple verses, he brings up the different judgments of the council. And you'll be liable to the to the hell of fire and all these metaphors. Everyone, all the commentators, agree that there are metaphors for eternal judgment. But the language of hell of fire is something that should should appear very familiar to those that are listening to Jesus sermon, because it alludes, alludes to something that everyone knew about. It alludes to the trash heap outside the city walls were all the refuse, all the garbage, all the unwanted things went to be earned. And so if you are saying or even thinking that someone was worthless, surely that would bring up in your mind and all the other Jewish minds of that time that they were so worthless that...

...they need to be cast outside the city walls and burned with all the other garbage. They should be destroyed because when we hate someone in our hearts, that's what we're doing right we're destroying them. We met at physically murder them. We may not say the word to them, and yet we've utterly destroyed them in our hearts. Now, on that plane back in February and one millisecond, I tore that couple apart limb from whim in my mind, in my hatred. But at least I didn't say anything to them. Right, don't we excuse or something like that? Sometimes, Hey, at least I'm I was a good southern boy. I didn't say anything. My Mama taught me right. You can think all you want, but just don't say anything. You're good. I still murdered them on my heart. We can't balance the scale to just a couple applications with this this point. First, every every person. Every person has worth because they're made in the image of God. Even if we don't like that, they do have worth. I am no more worthy of God's kindness. You are no more worthy of God's kindness than any joe blow on the street, because they're also made in God's image. Second, Sin, including our anger. It has an effect on the community. Right Jesus says if you're angry with your brother, that you will be liable to judgment, you will be liable to the council, the Sanhedron, in other words, and this should remind us that God has made us for and put us into community where there is both mutuality a shared call from God upon our lives for love and accountability. The third the hatred that we display in our anger. It stems from pure pride and we have to we have to know that it's all pride. You know, pride is the root. It's a sin, but it's also the root of all sin. At C S Lewis said, there is a test that psychologists give called the narcissism test. It tests to see how narcissistic you are. Go figure. But but just in the last couple of years they have looked at the result of this narcissism tests and seeing that the results were quite extraordinary. It tests for things like how do you agree with, how much you agree with with comments like I believe I'm extraordinary or I love to be the center of attention, and across the board, over the last two decades the average score of this test has increased by thirty percent, meaning that by far I'll call our culture in this day and age is more self focused than two decades ago. But that really should not be any surprise to us right, because pride, again, is the root of all sin. It makes us want to be God...

...even though we're not. Adam and Eve sin because they bought into the lie that their world, that God had put them in, was all about them. That's not true. The novelist David Foster Wallace, who died a few years ago, he gave a commencement address in two thousand and five at Kenyan college where he spoke about this. This reality is very sad reality, and this is a man. He was not a man of faith at all, but he said this. He said everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute center of the universe, the realist, most vivid and most important person in existence. We really talked about this sort of natural basic selfcinnerness, because it's so socially repulsive, but it's pretty much the same for all of us deep down. It is our default setting, hardwired into our boards at birth. Think about it. There is no experience you've ever had that you were not at the absolute center of the world. As you experience it is right there in front of you. Were behind you are to the left or right of you, on your TV, on your monitor or wherever. Other people's thoughts and feelings have to be communicated to you somehow, but your own are so immediate, urgent and real, so true. Our pride makes us feel that we are more important, more superior, infinite, infinitely more worthy than anyone else. This leads us to not only destroying our neighbors, murdering our neighbors, but it also leads us to destroying ourselves, murdering in essence, ourselves. There is a movie that came out in the S. it's a comedy, it's pretty funny and has a lot of old actors and actresses, like Peter Sellers, who's in the pink panther movies, and it's about this one millionaire, billionaire, rich guy lives in this kind of spooky mansion out in the woods and he invites all the world's greatest detectives to his mansion for the weekend to try to solve this crime that he is set up. And this one detective couple are staying at that mansion over the weekend and they go up to the room that first night and the Butler is leading them and he opens the door and what they see in the room is just dust and cobwebs and and they say wow, it looks like that. No one has lived in is stayed in here for years, and he said that that's right, no one has stayed in here since Madam killed her she's being Badham murdered herself. And they said, don't you mean she killed herself, and he says no, it was definitely murder. She hated herself. What is hatred? Her Anger? Due to US internally destroying the Bible, about two sons of David, absalom and Amnon, am no on...

...raped their sister Tamar, and Absalom wanted to murder him, but he waited two years. He waited, he plotted, he waited some more, plotted some more, waited for the right time and then he killed his brother Amnon. But we hear that story, we read that story in scripture and sometimes we may think, well, that was a heroic killing because Amnin he was he was going to get it, he deserved it. We like heroic killings, right, like like Edmund Dantes and the County Money Cristo. Right, he's he's falsely imprisoned by his friend and he goes to the Chateau de prison. You think he's never going to get out, where everyone goes there to die, and he escapes and he gets all this money and the stead of going right to that old friend who stole his life and stole his love from him and kill him. Then he waits and he waits and he plots and then at the very end he gets it and we cheer. Yes, he got it. Way To go, Edmond. It's a heroic killing. We love it when the bad guy gets it right. But what did that do to Edmund? Internally, what did I do to Absalom? And internally, what did that do to me or to you? Harboring anger is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. It only takes one word, one thought, to absolutely destroy someone else. But we like to stay angry right why? Because on some level it's delicious. I want to be angry with that person that you know. My wife and I various times are o marriage. We do something or say something to the other person that's unloving and we are very quick to apologize and very quick, but not very quick, to forgive, sadly, sometimes, and we'd say to each other. I just I just want to stay angry, just for a little while, because we like that. We like to harbor anger, we like to wait to take out vengeance on other people. But you know, hatred does linger, it grows and it isn't satisfied actually when that person is destroyed. ABSOLOM's anger was not satisfied when am non was killed. Neither is ours most of the time, because if you give us time, we will find someone else to fall victim to our pride. Jesus said that our righteousness is to exceed that of the Pharisees. He said earlier in Matthew Chapter Five. How does this happen? While he says we are to be poor in spirit, were...

...to warn over sin, we're to humble ourselves before the law of God, God and our need for his righteousness. But what we are saying when we're angry toward our neighbor and hate them in our hearts, is that we actually don't care about holiness, we don't care about God's law, we only care about ourselves. However, the problem is that, though are anger, our hatred for our neighbors says that we only care about ourselves, in reality, what it does, is it? It says that we actually hate ourselves, because it's destroying as we're drinking that poison. It's killing US inside. We are destroying the image that God has made after his own likeness. You're destroying what God is called good. Here's what Psalm Ninety seven says. This is Oh, you who love the Lord, hate evil. Proverbs eight. The fear of the Lord is the hatred of evil, pride and the arrogance in the way of evil and perverted speech. I hate. But here's the deal, folks, is that we can't love the sinner when we lack a hatred for hatred, not other people's hatred, now other people's anger, but ours. We have to hate it. What does Jesus say in Verse Twenty Three, three, twenty six. Look back with me, says. So, if you are offering your gift of the altar and then remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go first be reconciled to your brother and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge and the judge, the guard, you and be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny. Well, is Jesus saying? He says work it out with your with your brother, work it out with your neighbor if you're angry with him. If you know anything about the God of the Bible, you know that this God is a God who is fully intent and is devoted to having his people show compassion on other sinners and to restore relationships, to reconcile that relationship with one another. But my rebuttal to the Lord with my instance on this on this plane back in February, was but Lord, I don't have relationship with this couple on the plane. Here's how I think the Lord Responds. Oh, you don't have a relationship? Are you breathing the same air that I gave you and them? Are you on the same plane that where I have providentially placed you and them? Are you both made in my image? Do you both need my grace? You have a relationship with them? I came to die for you...

...and for people like them. I've met you together, you know, without really knowing you guys, I know there's probably a lot of confession and repentance that might need to take place between you and someone else. I know that's true of me. But as we grow in holiness, the more that we should be angry towards sin, our own sin especially, and compassionate towards other sinful people. Lastly, when you love your sin more than the law of God, that doesn't just lead to murdering your neighbors and implicitly murdering yourself, but you end up murdering your Lord. Peter, in that great sermon that you preach, an acts to with a thousands of people surrounding him. After the Lord's ascension, he he started speaking about this incarnate Christ and he spoke of Jesus this way, he says, this Jesus Whom you crucified. Now they're thousands of people. There were some who were present at Peter's sermon, and acts too, were some. Probably they're shouting crucify him, crucify him. Before pilot, yes, most likely, but we're also people, they are listening to Peter who were not before pilot, shouting crucify him, crucify him, even people that were long time disciples of Jesus. Yes, so how can peter say to them this Jesus, whom you or in the Greek all Y'All, crucified? Well, look again in verses twenty three and twenty four of what Jesus says. He says. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift before the altar and go first be reconciled to your brother and then come and offer your gift. What Jesus is doing is exposing something that we're all guilty of, and that's trying to balance with a lot of good things, right balance the scale, a lot of good things to cover up all of our sin, right to weigh against our sin. And the Pharisees were experts at this. They just didn't go to church or Synagog Temple, you know, one time a week. That would go multiple times a week. They go every single day. They just didn't tie ten percent. That would tie even upwards of eighty percent if they could. They made sacrifices all the time. They brought gifts to the altar. They did all those things while hating their brother in their hearts. But for a god that has commanded a sacrifices be brought to the altar in order to reconcile this people to himself.

Where's the value and where is ultimately, the worship and that act of worship? If you harbor sin, it's not worship, apart from continue worship yourself and your pride. But Jesus says, you know what you have done to the least of these, you've done to me, and we can take that in a positive way and in a negative way, right, for again and for ill. If you have done good, if you've loved your neighbor, what you've done to the least of these, these outcasts, the people you don't like, the you have also done to me. But if you have sinned against them, if you have murdered them in your hearts, you've also murdered me. That's why Jesus, or that's why Peter says, an acts to this Jesus whom you crucified. Jesus hung on the Cross because of our sin. We put him there, we crucified him. Point is this, when you try to Turne for your own moral failure by doing good, to balance his scales, you're saying I don't need saving and therefore, you don't need Jesus. He's worthless to you, and if you don't need him, then you have proven to be a godless and lawless men, and lawless men were the ones who murder Jesus again, not just Romans, not just Jews, but us our sin. Jesus was cast out past the city walls to a place called God Gotha, carrying his cross. They'll goth is the place where they would put all the garbage. It was the trash heap. We're all the worthless things went, and he did so. He went to that place so that you and I wouldn't have to face the hell that he faced. He paid every last penny of your debt and of my debt that we owed the Lord because we could never balance a scale enough to earn God's favor to get us out of jail, to get us away from the judgment of God and his wrath. But the same one whom you crucified, Who I crucified, God also raised from the dead so that we might be raised with him. That's that's the beauty of the Gospel, that's the hope of the resurrection. He made you and me, who were an enemy and a moron and a fool. He made us a friend, even though we didn't deserve it, even though we can never be worthy of God's love. He counts us as worthy because all of our worth is found in Jesus saying to his father, father, there with me, there with me. So how do we respond? Well, I don't want to make any assumptions. I...

...would even though I would say probably all of you here are Christians, but if you are hearing, you're not a Christian, or at least if you have relationships with a non Christians, which you should. You should have many of them. The point is this, that Jesus is the judge of all men. He is the prosecutor who holds up the Mirror of the law of God or held, holds up that live raw video footage, and your exposed for all of your law breaking, all that that horrific detail, no matter how good you think you might be, or good those other people think they they might have, all the good they might have done. And so your response is to repent, repent and believe in Jesus, that Jesus was put on the Cross because of your sin and you need to obey God's Law and Follow Him repent of your sin. Believe that he is taken as far as the East is from the West, so that you may know a life that is beautiful, a life of flourishing and goodness and peace, and life of restoration and reconciliation between you and God. But whether you're are a Christian or whether you're not a Christian, you also have to know this is that Jesus not just your prosecutor, he's also your defense attorney. He stands between you and the wrath of God. Is Perfect. Obedience to God's law should be the impetus for our obedience. Right it should be, if you believe in him. Must we follow God's law? Yes, we have to, but the love of Jesus, for fools like us, it changes are our our hearts to the point where we look at God's law we say, not only do I have to follow God's law, but I want to. I want to do we love God's law more than we do our pride. If we do, then we will respond to others in love and we can lead them and the love of Christ. Let's pray.

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