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  • A Christian's Righteousness: Avoiding Anger & Lust
    November 10, 2021
    Response to the video:
    God is calling us to be “all-in” to learn and obey the Commands of Christ.
    Open: Have you ever slowed down your car because you saw a police officer? What did your action indicate about your attitude toward the law?
    I see it as a suggestion until there is someone to enforce it.
    Purpose: To understand how anger and lust are related to the commandments against murder and adultery.
    The scribes and Pharisees calculated that the law contained 248 commandments and 365 prohibitions. But they were better at arithmetic than obedience.
    So they tried to make the law's demands less demanding and the law's permissions more permissive.
    Throughout the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus seeks to reverse this tendency.
    He came to deepen not destroy the law's demands.
    In this passage he explains the true meaning of the sixth and seventh commandments, the prohibitions against murder and adultery.
    Tonight, let’s see if we can get through the 6 verses regarding anger
    Read Matthew 5:21-26
    Matthew 5:21–26 NASB95
    21 “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ 22 “But 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. 23 “Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. 25 “Make 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. 26 “Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent.
    Jesus starts this passage and several others with the:
    You have heard it said ...
    But I say to you ...
    Said by whom?
    Moses?
    Someone else?
    Sam Storms says:
    The Sermon on the Mount Dealing with Anger (Matthew 5:21–26)

    The most likely scenario is that the contrasts in view are between the teaching of Jesus and the perversion and misunderstanding of the Mosaic law on the part of the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus is not setting himself over against Moses but over against the distortions of Moses by the rabbis in Israel. We must distinguish between the written Torah and the oral tradition in Israel. The latter, known as the Halakah, by the end of the 2nd century had come to be regarded as equal in authority to the written law of God. Both were thought to have been given at Sinai and transmitted faithfully down through the centuries. This view emphasizes Jesus’ use of the words “heard” and “said”. The point is this: Jesus does not say, “You have read in the written Word of God,” but “You have heard it said …” Jesus was opposing the oral tradition of the scribes, not the written Word of Moses. By whom was it “said”? By the rabbis, those who expounded, interpreted, and applied the Law to the people. For example, in the last “antithesis” Jesus declares, “You have heard that it was said … hate your enemy” (5:43). But nowhere in the OT are God’s people told to hate their enemy. Jesus is challenging an oral distortion of Moses, not one of his written declarations.

    1. The NIV translates the sixth commandment as "Do not murder" rather than "Do not kill." Why is this an important distinction?
    Question 1. Matthew 5:21 is not a prohibition against taking all human life in any and every circumstance.
    This is clear from the fact that the same Mosaic law, which forbids killing in the Decalogue, elsewhere calls for it both in the form of capital punishment and in the wars designed to exterminate the corrupt pagan tribes which inhabited the Promised Land.
    Romans 13:1–7 NASB95
    1 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. 3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. 5 Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. 7 Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.
    Does not bear the sword in vain...
    Law enforcement, soldiers, etc. are the arm of the government — they don’t exercise their own authority (not supposed to anyway).
    2. In Matthew 5:21-22 Jesus places murder and unrighteous anger in the same category. How are they related?
    Here is where the KJV has different wording:
    Matthew 5:22 AV
    22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
    How did this happen?
    Newer manuscripts include this “without a cause” — not OLDER manuscripts copied closer to the time of the original.
    I heard, but cannot verify, that King James wanted this addition.
    Hard Sayings of the Bible 5:22 “You Fool!” Merits Hell?

    According to the KJV, “whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment,” but the phrase “without a cause” is a later addition to the Greek text, designed to make Jesus’ words more tolerable. The other man’s anger may be sheer bad temper, but mine is righteous indignation—anger with a cause. But Jesus’ words, in the original form of the text, make no distinction between righteous and unrighteous anger: anyone who is angry with his brother exposes himself to judgment. There is no saying where unchecked anger may end. “Be angry but do not sin,” we are told in Ephesians 4:26 (RSV); that is, “If you are angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin; let sunset put an end to your anger, for otherwise it will provide the devil with an opportunity which he will not be slow to seize.”

    How are murder and anger related?
    Question 2. The scribes and Pharisees were evidently seeking to restrict the application of the sixth commandment to the deed of murder alone, to the act of spilling human blood in homicide.
    If they refrained from this, they considered that they had kept the commandment.
    And this apparently is what the rabbis taught the people.
    But Jesus disagreed with them.
    The true application of the prohibition was much wider, he maintained. It included thoughts and words as well as deeds, anger and insult as well as murder.
    Not all anger is evil, as is evident from the wrath of God, which is always holy and pure.
    And even fallen human beings may sometimes feel righteous anger, although, being fallen, we should ensure that even this is slow to rise and quick to die down (James 1:19 and Ephes. 4:26-27). The reference of Jesus, then, is to unrighteous anger, the anger of pride, vanity, hatred, malice and revenge.
    James 1:12–20 NASB95
    12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. 18 In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures. 19 This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.
    Ephesians 4:20–29 NASB95
    20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. 25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity. 28 He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. 29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
    3. A. B. Bruce writes: "Raca expresses contempt for a man's head = you stupid!; [fool] expresses contempt for his heart and character = you scoundrel!" Why do you think these thoughts and words would be murder in God's sight (Matthew 5:22)?
    4. What do Matthew 5:23-26 teach us about broken relationships?
    Question 4. In these verses Jesus proceeds to give a practical application of the principles he has just enunciated. His theme is that if anger and insult are so serious and so dangerous, then we must avoid them at all cost and take action as speedily as possible. We must never allow an estrangement to remain, still less to grow. We must not delay to put it right. If we want to avoid committing murder in God's sight, we must take every possible positive step to live in peace and love with all people.
    When we have offended someone, why is it so important that we go to him or her immediately?
    Read: Matthew 5:27-30
    Matthew 5:27–30 NASB95
    27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; 28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 “If 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. 30 “If 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.
    5. What, according to Jesus, is the full meaning of the seventh commandment: "Do not commit adultery" (Matthew 5:27-28)?
    Question 5. There is not the slightest suggestion here that natural sexual relations within the commitment of marriage are anything but God-given and beautiful. We may thank God that the Song of Solomon is contained in the canon of Scripture, for there is not Victorian prudery there but rather the uninhibited delight of lovers, of bride and bridegroom in each other. No, the teaching of Jesus here refers to unlawful sex outside marriage, whether practiced by married or unmarried people.
    Similarly, Jesus' allusion is to all forms of immorality. To argue that the reference is only to a man lusting after a woman and not vice versa, or only to a married man and not an unmarried, since the offender is said to commit "adultery" not "fornication," is to be guilty of the very casuistry which Jesus was condemning in the Pharisees. His emphasis is that any and every sexual practice which is immoral in deed is immoral also in look and thought.
    6. Some Christians have taken Matthew 5:29-30 literally and have mutilated their bodies. How do you think Jesus intends us to understand his warnings?
    Question 6. On the surface it is a startling command to pluck out an offending eye, to cut off an offending hand or foot. A few Christians, whose zeal greatly exceeded their wisdom, have taken Jesus literally. The best known example is the third-century scholar, Origen of Alexandria, who actually made himself a eunuch. Not long after, in A.D. 325, the Council of Nicea was right to forbid this barbarous practice.
    The command to get rid of troublesome eyes, hands and feet is an example of our Lord's use of dramatic figures of speech. What he was advocating was not a literal physical self-maiming, but a ruthless moral self-denial. Not mutilation but mortification is the path of holiness he taught, and mortification or "taking up the cross" to follow Christ means to reject sinful practices so resolutely that we die to them or put them to death (see Mark 8:34; Romans 8:13; Galatians 5:24; Col. 3:5).
    7. In what situations might we need to "gouge out an eye" or "cut off a hand"?
    How might this spiritual surgery differ from person to person?
    8. Throughout this passage, how has Jesus challenged a superficial view of righteousness?
    9. In what specific areas do you feel the need for a deeper righteousness?
    Question 9. This question might be too threatening in some groups. If this is true of your group, you might suggest that people reflect on the question silently.
    10. Ask God to help you rid your life of anything that causes you to sin. Pray that you will be able to obey him in your attitudes as well as your actions.
    LifeGuide Topical Bible Studies - Sermon on the Mount.
      • Matthew 5:21–26NLT

      • Matthew 5:22NLT

      • Matthew 5:27–30NLT

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        Worship Practice

        July 1, 2020 - 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM

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