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Devotionals Sermon on the Mount

Love

We have tried to lay a foundation for us as the people of God so that we and our children have a solid understanding of God’s Moral Code so that no one may cry … “I did not know”. You see, we are influenced daily by what we hear, see and experience on every level, be it at home, work, school or the malls. We are human. We have emotions which are driven by our daily experiences. The difference between an intentional Christian and others is that knowing, loving and pursuing God’s Word as our daily compass is that such a person ought not to react when experiences are negative. Rather the procedure we need to follow is that of pro-acting. We are so prepared through God’s Word that when enticed to sin we have the spiritual power and insight that gives “power” to avoid and resist the devil’s temptation offerings. Well … that is as it ought to be and that’s how it ought to be when it comes to “anger”.

1) Interpreting the Ten Commandments (Moral Code). You will recall we spent some time working through:

Mt 5:21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’”

The Command reads

Ex 20:13 “You shall not murder.”

This was repeated before Israel crossed the Jordan River into Canaan

Dt 5:17 “You shall not murder.”

There are many Old Testament references to this Command, supporting, interpreting and showing that God hates the murderer

Pr 6:16 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood

He also says that the one who takes a life must be executed.

Lev 24:17 “If anyone takes the life of a human being, he must be put to death.” 

Yet at the same time God makes provision for the one who commits accidental or un-premeditated murder!

Nu 35:25 The assembly must protect the one accused of murder from the avenger of blood and send him back to the city of refuge to which he fled. He must stay there until the death of the high priest, who was anointed with the holy oil.

2) Murder or kill. The older translations of the Bible gave the interpretation as “You shall not kill”. This was not accurate. You see, killing happens at war, in accidents and amongst other things, when it comes to capital punishment. Murder has that element of premeditation. Murder is intentional. Murder is to eliminate someone! Murder carries those terrible emotions and intentions that incite and motivate the hand towards action!

3) Where did it start? Murder is sin and sin entered humanity when our first parents fell from grace in Genesis chapter 3. Sin is defiance against God and His holiness. Sin is rebelling against God and His rules, laws and righteousness. The very first report we have of Adam and Eve’s children is a demonstration of sin’s wicked rebellion. We see premeditation because of jealousy

Ge 4:8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

Where this is the first recorded “physical death” in the Bible, the first was the devil leadings Eve and then Adam into sin. Sin caused spiritual death. This means the devil murdered our first parents spiritually!

Jn 8:44 “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Lying about God to Eve led to her sin followed by Adam’s and resulted in them dying spiritually. That was the first murder … a spiritually one that has consequences for the whole race. We are born with their sinful disposition so it’s no wonder that the sin of sibling rivalry leading to jealousy and murder would happen. No too long ago a lady who was a police officer was sentenced to a number of life imprisonments for plotting murders on family members to collect multiple Life Assurance payouts. A news report today speaks of a homeless lady who killed a 10 years old to sell the organs for money. There have been two mass shootings in the USA recently, one at a Church. We know the list is endless … and it’s all related to our sinful disposition.

4) The Gospel shows the way of preventing the emotions and mindset that lead to murder, amongst other sins:

Ro 13:8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

This is astounding! Love prevents harm! What drives the attitudes and actions of adultery, murder, stealing, coveting, etc.? The lack of love … or more strongly put … is hatred! If love is the driving force that prevents these sins, then surely love ought to be pursued. Although we have covered this before, we need to ask … “how is love shaped?”

(1) Love starts with God. He loved Israel so much that He redeemed her from Egypt and gave her a ready made country called Palestine. He says:

Deut 6:5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

Then He says …

(2) Love yourself.

Lev 19:18 but love your neighbor as yourself.

Only once you love God are you able to love yourself. Note … love your neighbor “as yourself”. This means that once you love God you are able to love yourself, made in God’s likeness. Appearance, economic standing, education, employment, family, friends are seen from the perspective that God and you love each other. So, you can love and accept yourself, who you are and what you have. This leads to you being able to …

(3) Love your neighbor.

Lev 19:18 “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself”.

Loving your neighbor means to want the very best for the person, not the worst. There is no room for jealousy, hatred, revenge or holding grudges. On top of that, you may not chose your neighbor. Israel were to love Israel. Christians love Christians … but neighbor means every person other than myself! Loving God leads to loving yourself as you are so that you may love your neighbor. It starts with God, His Word and His Gospel.

Father, thank You that you love me so much. Help me to love You, myself and my neighbor as You require to prevent sinful emotions. Amen.

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