GROWTH AND SUCCESS IN LIFE – Lessons Learned at the Feet of Jesus – Sermon on Mount (Part 13)
The High and True Standard of God and His Kingdom is now developed by Jesus. Rather than listening to the phony teachers of the Law, the guardians of the Law who twisted Truth for their selfish interests, Jesus now lays out what standards are in harmony with a correct understanding of the Old Testament. And the greatest sequel to this instruction is that Jesus, in all he was and was to do, came not to set aside or annual the Law, but to fulfill it.
In this following section of six antitheses, Jesus places his own authority over the misinterpretations of the the religious norm of His Day…’It is said, but I say…’ (Matthew 5:21, 27, 31, 33, 38 and 43). Separating the counterfeit from the Real – beginning with the prohibition against Murder.
Matthew 5:21-2221“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
1. The Outside and Inside of Murder. Jesus will be redirecting the attention of his disciples and listeners to issues of the heart. No longer is mere surface behavior seen as acceptable to God. Like the little boy who, when told to sit in the corner, said “I may be sitting on the outside, but I’m standing on the inside!” Few if any of us have actually murdered anyone, but all of us, myself included, have been angry with our brothers such that we are condemned as murderers by the standards of the Kingdom and deserving of judgment! And in this section it is clearly eternal judgment in view. Anger is murder committed in the heart.
2. Anger as the Mark of Condemnation. Our first reaction, of course, is if I have been or am currently harboring anger and bitterness in my heart – and we are and I have or do – then who can be saved? Are not we all condemned? And the answer is, of course, yes. The perfect and righteous standard of the Law, as we saw, anyone who breaks the least of these commandments … will be called least in the kingdom. Short of Jesus and redemption, that is the point. We have no hope without Him.
3. Anger as the Source of Damage to Ourselves and to Others. And warnings against Anger take us back to the key defining language of James, the brother of Jesus: James 1:19-2119My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
There is never any good that comes from anger. Never never.
If our concern is living in a manner that is approved by God, then our lives need to reflect His standards, which means there is a vertical and a horizontal analysis: Vertically, our goal in relationships is true worship with God (which is our concern on April 5) and horizontally, our reconciliations with others (which is coming on April 12). Stay tuned. Two guarantees. It will be good and it will be convicting, for me and for you.
— John Moore