• Matt Beaney

#309 – LOVE FULFILS THE LAW (18/3/21)


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

Here, Jesus is making reference to the Sixth Commandment (Exodus 20:13; Deut. 5:18). 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.”

Jesus’ work in us leads to our keeping the heart intention of the Old Testament laws. In Matthew 5:21-48, Jesus is giving examples of how we are to keep the law as God intended.


The heart of this law (on murder) is that we, like God, are to value human life. It’s not a licence to treat people badly as long as we don’t murder them!

The heart of this law is not just negative: don’t kill people; the heart of this law is positive: ‘be reconciled’ - aim for harmonious relationships. In this age of heightened tension between genders, people groups and cultures, Christians are to ‘seek peace and pursue it’ (1 Peter 3:11). Paul writes,

‘Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 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 13:8-10)

RESPONSE

Love is the fulfilment of the law. It’s not enough to refrain from murder. It’s not enough even to refrain from murderous anger. Jesus wants to fulfil this law in you as you love as He has loved you.


COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - PURSUE LOVE AND PUT AWAY ANGER


Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.


Suggested opener/Ice-breaker

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)


Discussion questions

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)

In light of this text, how does the Father want you to change?

4. Do you want prayer for anything?


Serving, Investing and inviting

The way we express anger and attempt reconciliation will be key in our witness for Jesus. Let's take a moment to share and pray about how we are serving, investing and inviting into our community.

1) Who has God put into your life that we could pray for together?

2) How are you planning to serve invest and invite?

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