LEAVE CHURCH NOW! (Mt 5:21-26)

Does it matter how we treat people… what we say, or don’t say. Our attitude toward them?

Mt 25:41 Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil & his angels. 42 For I was hungry & you gave me no food, I was thirsty & you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger & you did not welcome me, naked & you did not clothe me, sick & in prison & you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, & did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’

In Mt 5:21-26 Jesus goes straight for the heart. Why? Because how we treat people is the result of our heart’s condition. Thoughts, words, action, habits, character, destiny…

The first sin after Adam & Eve’s sin was murder. When Cane killed Able. Cane knew he broke God’s Law (Gen 4:9,13). The first Biblical prohibition is in Gen 9:6, “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man.” When one person murders another the penalty is death… thus showing the seriousness of the act.

In Mt Jesus is referring to Ex 20:13, “You shall not commit murder.” All murder is a Satanic act because Satan’s goal was to kill God (Jn 8:44). Yet every murderer is responsible for his own sin. This sin is one of the things God HATESPr 6:16-19

There are 6 things which the Lord hates, yes, 7 which are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, & hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, & one who spreads strife among brothers

This is the background for what Jesus says in Mt 5:21-26 where he shatters what people equated with the act of murder. They thought as long as you don’t actually KILL someone, you were ok. But Jesus blows this out of the water. He quotes the Law, then says… “BUT I SAY TO YOU…”

When Jesus gives His eternal truth about murder, he goes further than any imagined. As we will see, Jesus destroys the way murder was handled in that day AND how God views it. Jesus associates murder with three elements: 1) Anger, 2) Insults {Raca}, 3) Saying “You fool.”

Each is progressively more serious. Anger is in the heart. Insults vent the anger in the heart. You fool is to actually condemn a person. (Pause) Let’s take them one at a time…

ANGER. The KJV adds “without cause” (appropriate!). Jesus does not condemn ALL anger. He was angry when he cleansed the Temple & at the Pharisees for how they treated the Jews. But Jesus’ anger was righteous… defending God’s Name! Then Paul writes, “Be angry and sin NOT” (Eph 4:26).

What God hates, Jesus’ anger, & Paul writing “Sin not!” are important to examine. As best I can tell the kind of anger that is NOT sin is that which takes God into account. The kind that results from God’s name being blasphemed… His Law being twisted or assaulted… His image. Q:Is our anger motivated by what motivates God’s hatred (Anger) as we read in Pr 6:16-19?? Listen again

Most of our anger is personal. It is selfish… arrogant… egotistical… conceited. If we’re bold, we need to ask God to reveal to us WHY we get angry? WHAT makes us angry? WHO angers us? (PAUSE) Then, if our anger falls below HIS Law & standards we must repent! There is a penalty: Judgment.

Jesus said the proper penalty for ungodly anger is the court to condemn to death (The right and proper sentence for murder). ** Silence… PAUSE… P-A-U-S-E ** Now for the second application

INSULTS (Meaning of “Raca”). To speak to or about a person in a demeaning way. A term of malicious abuse, derision, slander. Rendered as brainless idiot, worthless, silly, empty head, or stupid. “RACA” (Insults) are arrogant contempt for other people.

It matters what we say BECAUSE words originate in the heart (Mt 12:34)! When we view people in such a manner from the heart… we are demeaning the work of God who created them in HIS IMAGE. To demean anyone is an assault on God who made them.

Do we get it? Are we listening to God’s Spirit on this?? We tell ourselves & others “We’re just joking.” But Jesus doesn’t give us that out b/c there is truth in jest. The “I’m kidding” defense doesn’t hold water. It’s a dodge… and God knows our heart of hearts.

I’m guilty… you are too. Honestly, this has been a hard message to write & not easy to deliver! But let’s keep going… The Penalty is “In danger of the Council.”

Think Supreme Court for “Council.” In Jesus’ day it was the Sanhedrin… the council of 70 that tried the most serious cases of the day. There was no authority higher in Israel. They alone had the power of sentencing a person to death. Jesus is saying slander… MURDER… got the death penalty.

YOU FOOL. The word is MOROS from which we get “Moron.” It means to judge a person as godless… unsaved… unsavable… not worth saving. It is to judge their personhood as vile… the worst sort of person that can exist. We know they exist b/c of Proverbs & Jesus… however…

Jesus’ prohibition is against slanderously calling a person a fool out of anger & hatred. Such an expression of animosity is tantamount to murder & makes us guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.

Again, a heart issue. I wondered this week: Is it possible that not loving people enough to tell them about Jesus mean we don’t care if they die without Him? Does it mean we don’t view them as worth being saved? Are we guilty of seeing others as fools? (PAUSE)

IF that is the case… we need to repent! “As you did it to the least of these you did it to me.”

The penalty of viewing others as worthless is hell’s fire. The word is GENNA. The Valley of Hinom was a trash dump outside Jerusalem where fires burned with a horrible stench. This was where King Ahaz burned his sons alive to the god (Little g) Molech (2 Chron 28:3). King Josiah tore down the altars and made it a trash dump.

To deem a person a fool is the same as cursing and murdering him. To be guilty of that sin is to be worthy of the eternal punishment of fiery hell. That lasts forever and ever and ever…

Leave Worship. What Jesus said is so serious he said this in 5:23, “So if you are offering your gift at the altar & there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar & go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

When our heart is so infected toward God & others, it is worth stopping the most important part of your worship of God to GO and be reconciled! Getting up right now to find the person who has something against us TO MAKE THINGS RIGHT WITH THEM!

We CAN’T be right with God when we are divided against others…. (BIG PAUSE).

Why does Jesus say, “Your brother has something against you” rather than “You have something against your brother?” I think there are two reasons…

First. Because Jesus is referring to UNRESOLVED CONFLICT. I promise you… if you have the kind of attitude(s) Jesus described THE OTHER PERSON KNOWS IT ABOUT YOU!

Second. We lie to ourselves so well we won’t think we did anything wrong. We are really good at justification and rationalization. Actually… WE WILL BLAME THEM FOR THE SITUATION when the truth is it is actually ALL US & not them!

Jesus equates words with murder because… Every actual murder begins as a seed of contempt for God & hatred of others in our heart. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Mt 12:34).

In closing, one last encouragement from Pr 4:23, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”

(Picture Credit)