Friday, July 22, 2011

Matter of the Heart

I hope you're enjoying the Sermon on the Mount series as much as I am, I'm learning new things all the time. 
Last week's message was from Matthew 5:17 - 26
Matthew 5:17-18(NIV) 
17“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  
18I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 
He reminded the people that He didn't  come to lower the standard of the of the Law and the Prophets  (Old Testament)  He actually  raised it where it belonged.
He redefined and reemphasized the divine standard given in the law of God. Which is that   what you are on the inside is what God is concerned with. Jesus emphasized here in the Sermon on the Mount and throughout His whole ministry, that: external ceremonies, external religious rites, and certain works are not the whole issue He  is concerned with the heart.  The scribes and the Pharisees had a righteousness that was external. God is concerned about what you really are not what you appear to be. It is the internal that is infinitely more important than the external.That is essentially what verse 20 means. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. 
 God  responds to men not on the basis of outward deeds but on the basis of the heart which God alone knows.
The key, I believe is the phrase you have heard it said.”  In virtually every other place where Jesus refers to the Law (or Old Testament), He uses the phrase, “It is written” (e.g., Matthew 4:4, 7, 10; 21:13, 26:31).  Here He uses the phrase “You have heard.” This is a contrast between  what the he scribes and Pharisees taught  and the true letter and true spirit of the Law.

Hatred & Murder
  21“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder,£ and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’  22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother£ will be subject to judgment.
 Jesus' teaching here about murder that's literally shocking, it is devastating to the audience, because he makes it a heart issue. If you hate someone that is just like murder and deserves the same punishment. 
Are you guilty of murder? Well Jesus said if you hate someone you are a murderer.

  John warns us that  "Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer."   We must guard our hearts because hatred is murder.

He makes another shocking statement that bothers me.
23“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 
24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift

 If someone has something against me I need to go to them and be reconciled before I worship. I think I have some praying to  do, people to see

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