#307 – HATRED LEADS TO HELL (16/3/21)
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” (Matthew 5:21-22)
Jesus warns us that murder and murderous hatred will send us to hell. Does this mean that if I’ve had any ungodly anger toward someone that I’m damned?
Let’s remember the context. Jesus is speaking to his disciples in the presence of the Pharisees and teachers of the law. It seems that for them, it was only the actual act of murder that was important and, so, of course, most of them felt that they were obeying the law and were right with God. Jesus is seeking to show them the true unrighteousness of their condition and their need for a Saviour.
A true disciple understands that they have broken the Law of God. They have been humbled. They are ‘poor in spirit’ (5:3). They come to Jesus for forgiveness and transformation.
A true Christian, one who is born again of the Spirit, may still commit sinful anger, but they are not content with it. They hate it. They are remorseful and repentant. They endeavour to be reconciled with God and others. All of this is good fruit that all Christians bear, as Jesus says,
“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognised by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. (Matthew 12:33-34)
How do you feel about the ungodly anger in your life? Are you grieved by your sin? Are you keeping short accounts with God and others? Are you a good tree that is bearing good fruit? If you have been humbled, the good news is that Jesus says over you,
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:3-4)
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - PURSUE LOVE AND PUT AWAY ANGER
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
What has brought you joy in the news this week?
On Sunday Nev spoke about how we are to PURSUE LOVE AND PUT AWAY ANGER. Jesus taught,
I) DO NOT MURDER
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.” (Matthew 5:21)
Recent killings in the news show us that anger and murder continue to have a huge impact on our lives. Jesus is making reference to the Sixth Commandment (Exodus 20:13; Deut. 5:18).
II) LOVE FULFILS THE LAW
As we saw last week, Jesus said,
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them.” (Matthew 5:17)
Jesus is showing us the true heart of this command is to value human life and pursue reconciliation. It seems that the Pharisees and teachers of the law were emphasising that murder was the important thing to avoid. However, God is interested in the heart because it's from the heart that the act of murder flows. Therefore, Jesus continues,
‘But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.’ (Matthew 5:22)
Jesus is taking the Old Testament and showing how it is to be applied in light of His coming. Jesus raises the standard – we are not to murder, but we are also to refrain from unrighteous anger. As Paul writes,
The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,”and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.”Love does no harm to a neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law.’ (Romans 13:9-10)
Therefore, it's only as we are positive and actually pursue love, that we are actually keeping God's command as He intended. Christians are to take the initiative in pursuing love and peace (See 5:9). Jesus continues,
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift..." (Matthew 5:23-24)
1. Did God speak to you about anything in particular from Sunday's message or the blogs this week?
2. Nev shared the difference between righteous and unrighteous anger; righteous anger is limited to 'anger at what makes God angry; it's anger that is rightly measured and controlled.' Do you struggle with unrighteous anger? If so, would you like to share any examples that might help the group?
3. James wrote,
'My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.' (James 1:19-20)