Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Ten Commandments Series Part 7 Hate Crimes


Commandment Number 6

Exodus 20:13 Thou shalt not kill.

“Kill” herein exactly means: Actual murder - the willful, unlawful, taking of a human life.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Believers who were in the Church at Corinth and explained the difference between the letter of the law which was engraved on tables of stone and the Spirit of the law which was written in our hearts.

2 Corinthians 3

6 God also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

The Law, which was engraved on tables of stone, was but a shadow, a dim outline, of the Truth to come, which Truth is Messiah. Through Him we find more than a cold, hard, unforgiving law … Through Jesus we find the pathway to life – both abundant and eternal life!

Brenda and I spent the past week in Israel, a few days in Jerusalem and the remainder of our time in the Galilee. While standing on the Mount of Beatitudes, overlooking the old City of Capernaum with the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights as a backdrop, we read from the Sermon on the Mount. This is the site and these are the words Jesus taught to His followers 2000 years ago. We find them recorded in Matthew 5, 6 and 7.

It is an amazing spiritual experience to stand where Jesus stood and hear what He taught in that place. Consider traveling with us on our next pilgrimage to the Holy Land this October. Believe me, it’s the trip of a lifetime. If you aren’t sure about going but would like more information, attend our initial interest meeting today at 5pm in our Education Wing. I’ll have all the details and answer any questions at that time.

One of the places we will visit together this October is a hill on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus spoke these words:

Matthew 5

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.

5 Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.

6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled …”

13 “You are the salt of the earth; …”

14 “You are the light of the world. …”

17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.”

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ’You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’

22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ’Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ’You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.

Herein Jesus makes reference to the three varying degrees of deserved punishment which were familiar to the Jews of that day.

Three Stages of Anger

1. An Inner, Unexpressed - Hidden Anger

2. An Expression of Frustration or Scorn

a. “Raca” – Worthless simpleton – good for nothing moron

b. Personal Opinion as to intellectual capacity – “stupid”

c. Derived from a word meaning – “to spit” – useless/discarded

3. An Abusive and Defamatory Indictment

a. “You Fool!”

b. Not stupid but intentionally & irrecoverably wicked and evil

c. Personal attack upon the moral and/or religious character

d. A “go to hell” decree upon a person’s life

e. Assassination of another’s person or character by judgment

Along with each degree of unwarranted anger and expression of disgusts goes a corresponding degree of punishment due the offense. However, we must remember that it is forever connected to the motivation of the heart.

Unwarranted, Unspoken, and Unbridled Anger all have their consequences.

These consequences are directly connected to the teachings of the Ten Commandments, specifically commandment number 6, You shall not murder. Murder includes unwarranted anger, personal insults and defamation of character. Much of the matter deals with the attitude of our heart as we deal with the frustrations of life.

Matthew 18

15 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.”

This is no doubt one reason why Jesus lays out the path to deal with our temptations to be angry with our neighbors. In one case, if a brother sins against us, we should not avoid the matter and allow anger to brood and grow … but rather we should manage the matter and go to the brother alone before discovering the matter to another.

It is the same if we know a neighbor is harboring anger or resentment against us. Jesus continues with His sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, verse:

23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,

24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

These instructions from Jesus are aimed at dealing with anger before it gets out of hand and leads us to sin in our heart, as a matter of expression or insult to the person or at worst, about the person by way of defamation and/or character assassination to another who might believe us and then take up a reproach themselves.

Jesus continues:

25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.

26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.”

Basically, don’t let Unwarranted, Unspoken or Unbridled Anger get the best of you … there are ways to deal with it before it cost you everything you have.

Remember – this New Testament Revelation and Grace-Filled Application of the Law is designed to show us the path to abundant life. We cannot know abundant life unless and until we comprehend and embrace the intent, or shall I say, the Spirit of God’s law.

God’s law says: Thou shalt not kill!

But, what can we learn from the sixth commandment which will readily apply to our lives a Believers who have come to faith in Jesus as Messiah?

We must not commit murder!

Not in our minds with unwarranted anger.

Not in our hearts with unspoken anger.

Not with our words with unbridled anger.

And much more

Not with our actions to willfully and unlawfully take a human life!

We need only repent to bring our lives into line with His Commandments!