Dear SanLo Community, an update for the week of July 1, 2012…
Thank you to Pastor Rod Yee for the message from Matthew 5:21-30, “Below the Law.” We have heard of people thinking they are “above the law,” or not held accountable to it, but we see here Jesus teaching what is “below the law,” or what is the deeper concern and meaning of the law. The question is: What is our real sin?
1) How We Say is What We Feel: (v.21) 21You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ Jesus repeatedly says, ‘you have heard that it was said,’ meaning, ‘you have understood.’ The Pharisees felt because they did not murder anyone, that they were right (righteous) before God. Jesus does not alter the Law, but corrects what they heard and thought. Murder is defined as premeditated and deliberate. Not applicable in war, nor in accidents. Jesus goes in depth as He intensifies what is considered murder by showing its ultimate meaning. Matthew 5:17 says Jesus came to fulfill the Law, not break it. What they said was right. The issue is what was unsaid: (v.22) 22But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. Angry with his brother; good for nothing; fool – are thoughts of contempt for a person’s intellect or character, either of which is verbal abuse which stems from the same sin as murder. fiery hell – referring to Gehenna or the Hinnom Valley, a ravine south of Jerusalem, known as a site for human sacrifice, a garbage dump, and also used for cremation by the Romans which became a word-picture for hell. (vv.23-24) 23Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. The Day of Atonement did not cover offenses against unless there was reconciliation. If God has been good towards me, how do I then treat others? (vv.25-26) 25Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent. Jesus says to reconcile quickly and eagerly to avoid being thrown into prison. This does not say who is right or wrong, the point is to reconcile, as all will come before the heavenly judge.
2) How We See is What We Want: (vv.27-18) 27You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; 28but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Jesus quotes from Exodus 20:14 and Deuteronomy 5:18, “have heard that it was said.” The Pharisees were concerned with outward act of taking another’s wife. Expanded to all forms of sexual relations outside of marriage, the issue is about purity. Looks at – it is the eye through which wrong thoughts are stimulated. Jesus said desire has same nature and is the same sin as the act. It breaks the marriage bond, which is bound together in Christ. Impure thoughts wait for opportunity. The real source of the problem is the heart. (vv.29-30) 29If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell. Eye and hand – will hamper your walk with Christ, but Jesus does not advocate mutilation as the removal of your eye or hand does not cure lust or sin. Jesus advocates removal of the cause of the offense – sin is in the heart. Imagination is God given but what feeds it? Today we have many vehicles for temptation through the internet, movies, TV. Having a mind filled with scripture and not man’s ideas, is the best way to combat falling into sin.
We all need to mature in Christ. The only way to resolve sin in our hearts is by confessing our sin and asking forgiveness from Jesus.
Have a blessed holiday week, with dependence on Jesus,
Stan, for SLZJCC