Today we begin a five part mini series within our mountaintop series. Today Jesus flips the switch on how the law was viewed, He takes it from outward action to inward motivation.
Matthew 5:21-22 NKJV “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ (22) But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.”
Jesus takes the act of murder and boils it down to what it is really about, anger.
How many times, in anger, have we said “I’ll kill you” or “I’d like to slap the fire out of that person”. Now all of us will say we would never actually kill anyone, that Jesus’ point.
You see the religious leaders and I’m sure others felt they were righteous because the kept the law. Do you remember the story of the rich ruler who came to Jesus and said I want to be saved. Jesus responded, keep the commandments. The guy followed that with a hardy I have kept them since I was little. Jesus then asked him to surrender what he trusted in, in this case he trusted in money, for you it may be something else. The point is the man went away with a heavy heart because he wouldn’t surrender his heart to Jesus.
In Jesus going from murder to anger, He took away everyones (including ours) self-righteous security blanket. In another place Jesus called religious people white-washed tombs. You look good on the outside but you inside, you heart is black, filthy, vile, and disgusting, not worthy of the presence of God.
Right actions or abstinence from “the big sins” doesn’t mean much if our hearts are far from God.
Yet, Jesus doesn’t end here, verses twenty-three through twenty-six, “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, (24) leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (25) Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. (26) Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.”
Scripture says God loves and accepts the gifts of a cheerful prompt to do giver.
Remember the Cain and Able story, anger arose because he didn’t give with a right heart, he waited till the end. He then became upset at his brothers blessing and murdered him.
Malachi 3:10-11 NKJV “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. (11) “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the Lord of hosts;”
Do you see the correlation of giving and BLESSING. Remember the context of Matthew five, it is about the spirit in which the gift is given. If we give in anger, the devourer(the enemy) won’t be stopped. Anger has the ability and does apprehend our advancement.
I’m not giving a financial message here, the entire purpose of Jesus’ illustration is on reconciliation and forgiveness.
Jesus said we are to love one another. I have a question for each of us, is there any anger in your heart, any unforgiveness? If so go to the Lord today, if possible, go to that person and make things right. Ask for and give forgiveness today.
When we walk in anger we close ourselves off from fellowship with God, none of us want that. Choose to walk in freedom today by giving forgiveness and walking in love.
Father I ask that you would speak to our hearts and show us of any anger in our hearts so that we may make things right and begin walking again on the path of love you have called us to. In Jesus name, Amen.