- Sermon Notes
Intro: The root of the problem.
Last week, we ended on Matthew 5:20, where Jesus says, “unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” The Scribes and Pharisees were focused on do’s and don’ts, on the outward appearance of righteousness, but Jesus, as we have seen from the beginning of the sermon on the mount, is pointing all toward a deeper level of righteousness. He is telling all who will listen that it’s not about what is happening outwardly, but inwardly, it’s about a transformed heart.
Read: Matthew 5:21-26
- Those listening to Jesus had no doubt heard it taught that they were not to murder, it was a part of the 10 Commandments. It was a true statement, however, Jesus, as we have seen, is placing a spotlight on the importance of inward transformation. Why is Jesus placing such attention on the heart?
Matthew 15:19-20, For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.
- Jesus knows that the heart is where it all starts, and so too, it is where He begins, seeking an inward transformation.
I. Start with Your Heart
Matthew 5:21, You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court.
- The way that people received the Scriptures was much different than today. The internet was a couple millennia away, there weren’t local bookstores. There were barriers to people reading the Scriptures for themselves.
- There were language barriers as the Scriptures were not translated into every language at that time, if a person did have the OT in their language, they most likely couldn’t afford a copy as the Scriptures were expensive and far out of the financial reach of the average person.
- Generally, the text was read and expounded upon in a synagogue service. Most understood little of what was being read and had no basis upon which they could know whether what they were being told was actually true.
- Many Rabbis and scribes would simply read from the Talmud, which was an exhaustive commentary of rabbinic traditions.
- Regarding murder, the rabbis, scribes, and Pharisees had made murder a civil issue that was confined to a human court.
- They had also confined the evil associated with it to the physical act. But Jesus here, goes deeper.
1 Samuel 16:7, God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
- By Jesus saying “you have heard it said, but I tell you,” He was not seeking to go against the scriptures, it was not Jesus vs. the Old Testament; rather, it was Jesus against false and superficial interpretations.
- He is going deeper than the eye can see, to the root of the problem, the realm of inward feelings, contemplations, and battles.
Illus. Starburst award.
- What was accomplished was born out of a desire that started as soon as that conversation ended.
- True understanding comes from realizing that outward actions start in the heart.
Illus. It started years ago.
A.Don’t let anger carry you
Matthew 5:22, But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court.
- There is a type of anger Jesus is referring to.
- Two words are given in the Bible for the Greek word translated angry.
- 1.Thymos: A type of anger that comes suddenly (a spontaneous feeling), and soon subsides.
- 2.Orgizo: the type which brews, will not forget, refuses to be pacified, the anger which seeks revenge.
- Jesus is speaking specifically of the latter, one who is remaining angry, one who is nursing a grudge (Dale Bruner).
Ephesians 4:26, Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.
Ephesians 6:12, For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Illus. Carrying me through the week.
- When you hold onto that anger, when you refuse to let go, and harbor a heart of anger and resentment rather than a heart of reconciliation; you are in danger.
- Anger is then no longer something you carry, but something that is carrying you, and taking root in your heart.
James 1:19-20, But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.
- Anger is not murder, that is certainly true, but the anger we hold onto, that we refuse to let go of has a beginning. It begins in the heart and progresses from there.
- Matthew 5:22, “And whoever says to his brother, ‘you good for nothing’ (Raca), shall be guilty before the supreme court.
A.Watch what you say
- Raca, is a new testament four-letter word, that one would say about another.
- It was a term of malicious abuse (“You idiot,” “You good for nothing,” etc.)
- It was a word of contempt, the word of one who despises another with arrogant contempt.
- (Vs. 22), And whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.
- You fool is the word Moros (moron), dull stupid, unintelligent.
- Two times we read in Psalms that “the fool has said in his heart, “there is no God” (Ps. 14:1; 53:1).
- Proverbs has many references to fools (Prov. 12:16; 17:28). Jesus refers to two men as “foolish” and slow of heart to believe in all the prophets had spoken.
- Based on what we have been given in God’s Word, we know that fools do exist.
- But when you call a person a fool out of anger and hatred, you are in the wrong.
- The three examples given by Jesus display increasing displays of seriousness.
- To be angry is the basic evil behind anger, guilty before the lower court.
- To slander a person with a term is even more serious, it gives expression to that anger. Guilty before the supreme court.
- To condemn or shame a person’s character by calling them a fool is more slanderous still and guilty enough to go hell.
- Watch out for unrighteous anger, for what is in your heart, for what you say, what you call another person, when in your heart you are angry and you begin to put forth words of anger.
- When you speak angrily, or judgmentally of people, what is in your heart is revealed.
- When you are that angry, it is not Christ at work in you and it is essential to watch what you say, and check your heart…The status of your heart matters more than the outcome of your situation.
James 3:9-11, With the tongue we bless our Lord and Father and with it we curse men, who have been made in His likeness; from the mouth come both blessing and cursing…It ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water?
A.Break the cycle
Luke 6:45, The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.
- If what you are speaking is filled with anger, that is what is in your heart. Your heart matters.
- Jesus points us to breaking the cycle, to avoiding the outcome of anger, which is where danger is found.
- He points us toward making things right. Your relationship with God can be affected by your relationship with and to others.
Illus. Vs. 23, Jesus is speaking on the Sea of Galilee, the altar was in Jerusalem...
- Jesus stresses the importance of being reconciled to one another. If you are at the place of worship and remember that someone has something against you, go get it right.
- He continues in verse 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.”
- Settle matters quickly, don’t put it off, it only gets worse.
Romans 12:18, If possible, so far as it depends upon you, be at peace with all men.
- This means peace, as best you can.
- Culture says if you don’t agree, remain angry. If you don’t agree, just leave…Remain angry…Culture says, Raca…
- Jesus says we can do better. Jesus says His desire is that we would all be one as He and the Father are one (John 17:20-21).
- Let’s be those who break the cycle and pursue a better way.