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The Sermon On The Mount - Part 4

"Christian Homicide"

by David Legge | Copyright © 2001 | All Rights Reserved | www.preachtheword.com

'Preach The Word'Now we're turning in the New Testament again to our studies in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew's gospel and chapter 5. We took a brief break over the Sunday School Prize Giving and, indeed, our day of prayer and fasting from these studies - but we're returning again to the greatest sermon ever preached by our Lord Jesus Christ. We're looking this morning at the subject of 'Christian Homicide', Christian homicide - and we're reading verses 21 and 22.

So we come to the crime of murder, that is the crime that the Lord is laying down as a possibility in the life of a believer: murder! Christian murderers!

The Lord Jesus says: "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing".

Let's bow our heads together and let us pray that the Lord may speak to us, that His fiery glance would come and look at the motives that control and the place, the chamber, where polluted things hold empire o'er our soul. Father, we pray for Thy Holy Spirit. We ask that He may come in convicting power upon Thy church, that He would come and speak to us of Christian homicide, and how we as the people of God are so often guilty of the sin and the seed of murder. We pray that You will help us to be open-hearted, that You will help us to be honest with ourselves and with Thee, our God - that You will speak to us, cleanse us, and heal us of all that is contrary to Thy will and word. We pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

In our last study in the Sermon on the Mount you will remember that, in verses 17 right through to verse 20, the Lord Jesus Christ laid down how He had not come to destroy the law - which was the accusation to Him of the Pharisees and the Scribes - but He had come to be the filling up of the law, the fulfilment. He, indeed, in Himself as a person, as Messiah, was the fulfilment of all that the law and the prophets foretold and pointed to. Therefore the Lord in those verses, verses 17 through to 20, and especially verse 19, told of how He was, in Himself and in His new covenant and new law, uplifting the law to a position that it had never held before. We see the Lord Jesus Christ as the new lawgiver, we see the Lord Jesus elevating the law of Moses, indeed the law of God, to a position that it never ever had before - for the Lord Jesus was enshrining God's holy law in the new covenant of Christ.

This is not the stony righteousness of outward external conformity that does not change the dead, stone-cold heart - but this is an internal, supernatural change...

That is what the book of Hebrews is about, isn't it? In Hebrews 7:22 we read these words: 'By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament', of a better covenant. Hebrews 8 verse 6: 'But now hath he', the Lord Jesus, 'obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises'. Isn't it wonderful to have entered into something new, to have entered into the new covenant of the Lord Jesus Christ? But we had to be reminded in our last study that that does not mean that we are antinomian - in other words, anti-law. It doesn't mean that we disregard the law of God, it doesn't mean that we ignore it in our sinfulness - or as Paul put it: 'Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?'. That is not an option for the child of God.

So, to clear all these questions up that the Scribes and the Pharisees were asking concerning the law of God, the Lord Jesus presents Himself in the Sermon on the Mount as the pivotal point of history, as the one who will fulfil God's law and, indeed, in His own disciples and in His own people, will have a people - a peculiar people, a new nation of God - who will be zealous of good works, and who effectively will live out in the Spirit the Sermon on the Mount. Of course the running theme right throughout this sermon is the difference between the letter and the Spirit. It is the contrast between the religion of the Pharisees and the Scribes, and the faith of the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. The Pharisees' religion was outward, it was an outward conforming to man's rules and the traditions that they deciphered from the law of God. But the Lord Jesus was coming along to them and speaking of a new righteousness, a righteousness - as He said in verse 20 - that exceeded the righteousness of the Pharisees. This was something deeper, this was an inward righteousness. In other words - as we see in the book of Ezekiel that will come to pass one day to the children of Israel, and did in the day of Ezekiel - they are given a new heart, a new spirit is put within them. This is not the stony righteousness of outward external conformity that does not change the dead, stone-cold heart - but this is an internal, supernatural change where God comes into the life and the Spirit of God lives through external righteousness.

So we have the difference between the letter and the Spirit. The difference between keeping to every jot and tittle of the law without a change of heart. The difference between external conformity to the law without an internal change to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. We must be very careful in these days, because there are two extremes within Christendom. There is the extreme of not regarding the law of God at all - in other words, the Bible does not matter. Things are thrown out that are not the tradition of men, but the tradition of the word of God! We must beware that we do not disregard the law of God. That is one extreme: where every man in the church does that which is right in his own eyes. But there is the other extreme, and I think that this extreme could be more deadly, because it is more subtle, because with its externality of religiosity it gives the assumption within the mind of the person committing this sin, and within the eyes of those around him who witness him, that he is alright and that his heart is OK. Of course, it is modern day Pharisaism - and I'll give you an illustration of what it is. It is studying the word of God down to every Greek verb and participle, but there is no reality of the thing you are studying in your heart! That is the letter, not the Spirit. When we get to a position where our little idiosyncratic doctrines are more important than the theological and spiritual principle behind them, we are according to the letter!

Their outside walls were white and clean, pristine with all the rules of men, but if you were to delve deep into the chamber of the tomb of their heart you would find dead men's bones...

That is exactly what the Lord Jesus was preaching against in this sermon. That is why He says in verse 20: 'I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven'. He now proceeds in this passage to give five illustrations of the meaning of how our righteousness ought to exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees. He tells us that our righteousness can be estimated by the depth to which it goes. In other words, the righteousness of the Pharisees were whitened sepulchres - their outside walls were white and clean, pristine with all the rules of men, but if you were to delve deep into the chamber of the tomb of their heart you would find dead men's bones. So our righteousness is to be estimated by the depth to which it goes.

So the Lord begins with the sixth commandment in verse 21: 'Thou shalt not kill'. He says: 'Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time', you notice He says that it was heard, because they didn't read, or many of them couldn't read. Indeed there weren't enough editions of the word of God, as we are blessed with today, to go around. So what happened was they all gathered together on the Sabbath day, and they read together the word of God in the synagogue in worshipping. Every Sabbath a portion of the law was split up into seven sections and read by seven different people, and then it was followed by a reading from the prophets. How carefully every Jew sat there, Saturday after Saturday, listening to the law of God, and they heard the law of God. 'Ye have heard that it was said'.

In verse 21 He says 'it was said by them of old time', that would be better translated, I believe, 'to them of old time'. It was said to them of old time, in other words, God spoke this! In Exodus 20 you can see the law given to Moses by God, it was spoken to the people of God by God. Then in Deuteronomy 5 it's repeated by Moses, ultimately from God, but by Moses to the people. In Exodus 20:15 you find this very sixth commandment: 'Thou shalt not kill'. The Master is insisting that we are not to see God's law as the law of Moses, but we are to see it as the word of God. He now unfolds to us the law of God in its inner, fullest sense, in its greatest meaning, in its prophetic implication in Himself - 'I am come not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it'. In verse 22 He shows how He is doing this, how He has come as the fulfilment, He says: 'But I say unto you'. 'It was said to you by God through Moses of old time, but I say unto you'.

Now that's emphatic, that word 'I say'. It means 'in contrast to what God has already said'. 'I am coming to you as God's new utterance. I'm revealing to you the more perfect way. I am the Minister of the new covenant'. We should ask the question - this is what is being spoken, but who is the Lord speaking to in this passage? This is so important. If you look down verses 21, right down into the very last verse of this section, you will find that the word 'brother', or 'brethren' comes four times at least. If you turned to Paul's letter to the Galatians 3 and 26 - you don't need to turn to it, but if you were to look there you would say that Paul says of all Christians: 'Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus'. So all who are believers are sons of God, they are sons of the Father - and that necessitates that they are brothers one to another. It means that in their behaviour they ought to behave charitably to one another, as the word of God puts it: brotherly kindness. If you were to turn to 2 Peter 1:7 he says that the foundation of Christian qualities within the Christian character is 'add to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity'.

He isn't addressing the world. He's not addressing men and women in the ordinary family, He's talking to the family of God...

Brotherly kindness, this relationship in the family of God, and charity - the one to the other - is nonnegotiable. So, when you come to this passage and what the Lord Jesus Christ says, He isn't addressing the world. He's not addressing men and women in the ordinary family, He's talking to the family of God. In fact, what He is saying is: 'This type of misconduct between brethren is far worse than the misconduct of the world'. He is saying it is worse that believers behave in a murderous hateful way the one to the other.

Now, you see, the backdrop to all this is the way that the Jews kept this sixth commandment, 'Thou shalt not kill'. They believed that if that sin was abstained from, as long as they didn't strike the final blow, that they were righteous in the eyes of the law - 'As long as I don't kill someone in cold blood'. But their cloak of false righteousness had been taken off them, because the Lord is now laying down that you can no longer take pride in not committing murder. Murder is deeper, murder begins with a seed in the depths of the heart - and we're all murderers by the Lord's definition!

It gets worse as you through the New Testament Scriptures, because when you get to that great epistle of love - 1 John chapter 3 and verse 15 - you read these words: 'Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him'. Now, if you want to dilute that - go ahead, but you'll pay the consequences! Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. What the Lord is doing is He is tracing the actual physical act of murder in cold blood with a man's hands to the seed within the heart - right back to the spring of action. He deals with what Dr Campbell Morgan calls: 'Murder in the making'. The Lord is dealing with nipping in the bud what will eventually come to fruition in literal hate or murder, what will effectively come to bear fruitfully as a flower of murder.

What the Lord Jesus is doing is He is tracing the germ, the real germ to its origin: 'The foul overt crime of murder', He says, 'begins in the very heart of the believer'. So we come to the crime of murder, that is the crime that the Lord is laying down as a possibility in the life of a believer: murder! Christian murderers! 'Thou shalt not kill', it would be better translated: 'Thou shalt not murder'. The case is one of homicide, and the idea is the idea of the city of refuge within the Old Testament. In other words, the fact of murder is certain, but the motive is uncertain. When a man committed manslaughter in the Old Testament, he ran to a city of refuge and there he was safe - but he had to be judged there whether his motive was right or not for running away, whether he had literally committed manslaughter or cold-blooded murder. He flees to the city of refuge, and when he is tried it is decided whether the fugitive has a right to the privilege of sanctuary or not. He has to be judged, that's right throughout Numbers and Joshua.

Like a flame that comes on dried straw - it flares up in a moment, a great bright flame, and then it suddenly goes out...

But the Lord Jesus says, in the light of that, verse 22: 'I say unto you: it's not just the act of murder that has to be judged, but it's the very seed of murder in the depths of your heart'. So He tells us the three crimes, the seed of murder. Look at verse 22, the first: 'But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment'. The first sin of murder is silent hate, I've entitled it: 'Murdering with the Heart'. It's the idea of anger within your heart to a brother. Now, in the New Testament there are two Greek words for anger. The first is 'thumos' (sp?), and it means like a flame that comes on dried straw - it flares up in a moment, a great bright flame, and then it suddenly goes out. An anger that quickly blazes up and then just as quickly dies down. It's an anger that rises speedily and then speedily passes away - 'thumos'.

Then there is the Greek word 'orgay' (sp?), and it describes a long-lived anger. A person who nurses their wrath in their bosom, who keeps it warm. It is an anger over which a person broods and meditates, and on which he allows himself to actually die within that murder, and he doesn't let the murder die within him. Have you ever met believers like this? I have. I'm sure there's been times I've been guilty of it myself. You can see them: miserable looking people. They sing the hymns: 'Oh, happy day that fixed my choice on Thee, my Saviour and my God', and they have a heart filled with pent-up anger, pent-up bitterness. People who never speak to you because they've got a chip on their shoulder, people who don't sing the hymns because they're so bitter that they have no joy of God in their heart any more. People who are annoyed because someone did something to them 20 years ago and they still haven't forgot about it!

Well, let me tell you what the word of God says - James chapter 1 and verse 20: 'The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God'. Whatever your cause may be, if your heart is eaten up with a passionate anger, your cause is wrong! Therefore our Lord Jesus Christ forbids, forever, anger which broods and anger which will not forget, anger that refuses to be pacified and that seeks revenge and retribution. In fact He says that if you inhabit that anger, you're a murderer!

Our Lord Jesus Christ forbids, forever, anger which broods and anger which will not forget, anger that refuses to be pacified and that seeks revenge and retribution...

Silent hate is the first thing He prohibits. The second thing, in verse 22 you find: 'Whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council'. This is speaking with contempt - the first was silent hate, murdering with the heart, but this is murdering with the words. This is when your anger is permitted to express itself in an utter contempt for another brother in Christ. The word 'raca' is an Aramaic word, and the sense of it is 'vain and empty' - to be a vain and empty person. If you want to put it into our contemporary language, you could say that it's calling someone 'a good for nothing', or an 'empty head'.

There's one occasion, at least, I found in the Old Testament where this word is used 'raca'. Second Samuel 6:20, and you have the account there that after David danced naked before the Ark of God, it says: 'David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul', his wife, 'came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!'. David comes home after worshipping the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his mind - and his wife is standing there in jealousy and in sarcasm, and says: 'You're empty headed! What were you doing today? Like one of those vain fellows shamelessly uncovering yourself'. Do you know what happened Michal? She became a barren woman - if you want to put it in our terms: she became an unfruitful Christian because of a loose tongue! That is the fruit of loose tongue: unfruitfulness.

Our Lord first treated the anger as a feeling within the breast in the heart, and now He goes further and He proceeds to the case where angry words display the feeling within. Do you know what this does when anger is put into words? Effectively the reason why it is murder is because it depreciates the value of the one we offend! You're saying: 'Raca!', you're saying, 'You're good for nothing! You're empty headed!'. Not only is it hate and murder, but it gets worse because it is false witness. The Lord is speaking of a relationship between brothers and sisters in Christ, and you can't call anybody good for nothing who was bought by the blood of Christ! How can you do that? It's a lie! Whether it's in your heart, or whether it's with your mouth - how can you call anybody good for nothing who is a son and an heir with the Lord Jesus Christ? How can you call anybody good for nothing that one day will rule and reign with Him, and will share all eternity with the Lord Jesus Christ? These words of contempt must cease, brethren! They must stop!

It can come from the pride of birth and snobbery, from money, from material things. It can come from contempt because of the knowledge you have, and perhaps one of the worst of all snobberies is intellectual snobbery. But the point is this: you can never look with content upon a man for whom Christ died! Many a man's character has been assassinated and murdered by another child of God. We all have met people whose anger bubbles over into words - people, even maybe here, would that be possible? Even here? People who you're afraid to speak to because you don't know what way they're going to take you up, or you're afraid to joke with because they always take you the wrong way? Grumbling people, always grumbling about someone or something - and the only time you hear them is when they've something ill to say about another! What about this character assassination? What about it? Do we commit it? Murder in the house of God!

The only time you hear them is when they've something ill to say about another! What about this character assassination? What about it? Do we commit it? Murder in the house of God!

That is murdering with the heart, and murdering with the words - thirdly He says, in verse 22: 'But whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire'. This is murdering, I believe, with curses. First of all it starts in your heart, then it starts with the words of contempt, and then finally it starts with words of cursing. It's anger assuming an unsuppressed energetic activity - it's inflammatory language of passion. Now, if this word here - and we don't know - but if this word is Greek, it means 'fool' as the Authorised Version translates it. But I suspect that it's a Syriac word, which actually means stronger than 'fool', because it seems that the Lord is going down in a digression of deeds and sins and wrong, and it's getting worse and worse. If it's a Syriac word 'moray' (sp?), it means 'rebel'!

So you're going from one who hates in their heart, down to one who calls another 'worthless', and then finally to one who calls a brother a 'rebel'. It seems to account for the increase in penalty that we'll see in a moment, but you know that word 'rebel' has, even in a legalistic sense in the land, the court of the laws, is an awful criminality - a terrible thing. The idea of treason, rebellion, and literally in the law in Deuteronomy 21, that sin of rebellion was worthy of death - so you would have been stoned for it! If it's 'a fool' it means 'a moral fool', it means to be dead, it means what the Psalmist says: 'The fool has said in his heart: 'No God, I don't want You in my life, I don't want You in my heart''. But the point is this: this is hate going from the heart right to the words, and getting even worse from the words and coming to a curse - and it's literally a wish that the person would be dead!

The believer can do that! In other words, rebellion was a sin that was worthy of death, and if you call another a 'rebel' in this context it means that you want them to die! You have it about today, you know. I want to say this, because it brings it home. Do you see when you hear people say: 'God damn you'? That's what they're doing. That's what the Lord Jesus is talking about. When you hear someone say to another: 'Go to hell', that's what they're saying. Jesus is saying that one who utters such a word is in danger of hell fire themselves! Now I want you to see this, in Numbers 20 verse 10 - and I believe this is what was on the Lord's mind, although I can't prove it - but it says there about Moses and Aaron, they gathered the congregation before the rock. We were hearing in the Breaking of Bread how Moses was probably the greatest man in the Old Testament, and that's right - but there are Moses and Aaron, and he says to the congregation around the rock: 'Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?'. 'You rebels, why won't you obey God?' - and God kept Moses and Aaron out of the promised land because of that, because they called God's people rebels!

Calling a child of God [a rebel], it seems, in the Old Testament was an unpardonable sin - not in eternity, but in time and in the law - you had to die for it. The Lord is saying that calling a child of God a rebel is a great sin today, because it sets a child who has been reconciled to God by the blood of Christ among the enemies of the most high God. You're lining up another child of God with the hordes of hell! What you're saying when you use that language like that is: 'If I had the power, according to my will, I would put you in hell'. It's an awful thing to hear a believer threaten another believer. It's an awful thing to hear a believer curse another believer, and use violent words against them.

Do you see the Lord's teaching? He's teaching that anger contains the seed of murder...

Do you see the Lord's teaching? He's teaching that anger contains the seed of murder. He's saying that anger contains abusive language, which is the spirit of murder, and anger is cursing language which implies the very desire to murder! Now what's the sentence, as we close - and I want to finish this - what's the sentence for murder that the Lord gives? Think of this: Christians going down for murder! Our Lord uses illustrations that would be familiar to the disciples of the law courts of the day, and He's telling what will happen. In His day if men disregarded the common judgement of the court, they were in danger of being brought into the inner court, the synagogue, and if they disregarded that they were in danger of the final judgement - they were handed over to God! What the Lord is saying is that God will hold everyone responsible for their actions and for their motives: we will be judged as believers! Don't think that we're going to get off scot-free for everything we say and do as believers because the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin - I don't believe that! I believe that there is a judgement for us, and there will be loss!

The first thing the Lord mentions in verse 21 is that those who commit this hate with the heart are in danger of the judgement, that's the local court of the synagogue where ordinary misdemeanours were tried for minor offences. So if you're guilty of having hate in your heart, it's as if you were guilty of going to the court of minor offences. Then He says that if you have this contempt with your words, you're in danger of the Council, that's the central court of the 71 members of the Sanhedrin that met as the people of God and the leaders, religiously. That's a more serious charge if you say 'raca', 'empty head' to someone. Thirdly there's the fire - now it's not hell fire, it's the fire of hell, the fire of hell. The word is 'Gehenna', the word speaks of a place, literally, in Palestine. It was the Valley of Hinnom, it was the city rubbish dump south-west of Jerusalem, where criminals bodies - after crucifixion - were dumped and were burnt up. It was also where people who weren't crucified were burnt to death at the stake! 'Where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched', and the Lord often uses that place 'Gehenna' as a picture of hell.

Now, my friend, here we're getting to the point. Does that mean that we are guilty of hell if we show violence to another believer? Yes, it does! Did you hear me!? It means we're guilty of hell! What is the grounds of this guilt? I'll tell you what it is: in the Old Testament whenever you had something against another the two of you were to come together, and you were to stand before the Lord, and if you falsely accused the other person you were to suffer the punishment for what you accused them of. You notice in these verses that the Lord says that you will be in danger of these things. In other words, if you hate someone from your heart, the guilt you have ought to make you in judgement - and if you go as far as to act violently or speak violently against another believer, you are guilty of hell! You're in the danger of it!

The one thing is for certain is that the Master places anger on the level of murder. Murder! Christian homicide!

I believe in eternal security like anybody but, my friend, I'm not going to water down the words of the Lord Jesus Christ for anybody. It tells me this: that if this is the way you behave in your life, you deserve hell! Praise God you'll maybe not get it, but you deserve it! You're in the danger of it. It's not literal, because there's not going to be any Council in the millennium reign of Christ that's being spoken of here, there's no Sanhedrin there, neither will there be any hell fire - but the Lord is looking at the question of guilt. He's saying you are guilty of this - one who commits the first of these crimes, and the second of these offences, in God's sight is on a par with one who is guilty before the synagogue or guilty before the Sanhedrin. Anybody who goes as far as to commit the third of these things - awful thing - is in the rank of judgement with the worst of criminals, that is what God is saying. To be cast into the city rubbish dump for execution, that's the kind of thing this hate between believers is worthy of!

Dr Plummer (sp?) says: 'To cherish such feelings is a kind of murder, and merits the like penalty'. It is worth the penalty of murder to hate your brother and your sister, it is worth the fires of hell. It's a difficult verse to interpret, and I don't know whether you'll all interpret it the way I do - but do you know something? The one thing is for certain is that the Master places anger on the level of murder. Murder! Christian homicide! Christian murder and Christians going down for murder, and it's serious, and just as any nation or government brings people to account for the crimes, the Lord is saying: 'Even the children of God will be brought to account for their crimes. You're in my kingdom!'.

Do you know what we all do? This is what maybe some will do after this, they run to that wee phrase: 'without cause'. 'Ah, but I have a cause!'. We could go into the text and see how, possibly, that's not what that means - but anyway, that's for another day. The problem is here, I know that there is anger with a cause - but do you know what those angers are? An anger for the glory of God, an anger for ill-treatment toward another brother and sister, but there's never ever righteous anger toward self. Never ever self defence. I think we use this 'without cause' as a cloak to cover over our own wrong, as a salve to our conscience at times, to try and convince ourselves. Yes, there is a holy anger against sin, but let me say this: there is an unholy anger against people - the brethren!

How do we fare? Now, come on, let's be honest with this: how do we fare? The truth is that churches are being wrecked at this very moment as we speak because of this sin! Murder in the house of God! Hate in people's breasts! Words and actions - people standing in members meetings and tearing one another apart! Christ's word says there'll be hell to pay! We may even be paying it now, with the church of Jesus Christ in shreds. Are you in the gall of bitterness today? Are you? Are you wrecked with a hate of the heart? Have you spoken words? Do you know what the answer is? We'll look next week at how this affects the church more literally, but do you know what the answer is? Repent! You're in sin! Repent!

Some of us can't help hating others, some of us can't help saying violent words at one another. My friend, this is not the way things ought to be...

Oh, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. Oh, to have the disposition of Christ. Do you know something? Do you know what the message of the Spirit is? You can't imitate Christ, but if His Spirit is to come into your heart and you allow Him to move: He can be formed in us as a gift by the Spirit. Our Lord is going behind the rules of the law and actually breathing spirit into it to give the disposition that allows you to live this law! It's impossible unless He puts His Spirit in us, and He makes us from within outward. Oswald Chambers said well: 'When a man is born from above he does not need to pretend to be a saint, he can't help being one'.

Oh, can you not help being a saint? Some of us can't help hating others, some of us can't help saying violent words at one another. My friend, this is not the way things ought to be, for the Lord said through His apostles: 'Little children, love one another', 'By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples: that ye love one another'. If you can't do that, praise the Lord and come to Him - come to Him, as the Beatitude says: 'Blessed are the poor in spirit', come to Him and receive the power by His Spirit to live the way that you ought to live. It's wonderful, isn't it, that we should have the Son of God formed in us by His Spirit.

Let's bow our heads. If we're all honest this is a sin we are guilty of, every one of us. I'm not saying that some of you don't have hurts deep down that were made by others who didn't show love towards you, but murder and hate. But I want to point you to the Saviour who, when He was reviled, reviled not again for you. That is the one you are called to follow, the one who was despised and rejected yet endured for the joy that was set before Him. Will you let Him come in and heal your hurt, and heal your hate, and let the Son of God be formed in you?

Father, we pray that You will deal, by Your Spirit, with folk that are hurting, with folk that are hating - that they will see the danger that they are in, they are in the very danger of hell. Oh Lord, we thank Thee that we won't go there - but, Lord, to be in the danger of it! Lord help us, help us to repent, and help us to shut our mouths when we ought to - but, Lord, it goes further than that: help us to be changed in our hearts, where all these things proceed out of. For we ask these things in the name of the one whom we are to follow and have formed in us, the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Don't miss Part 5 of 'The Sermon On The Mount': "Be Reconciled To Thy Brother"

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Transcribed by:
Andrew Watkins,
Preach The Word.
June 2001
www.preachtheword.com

This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the fourth tape in his 'Sermon On The Mount' series, titled "Christian Homicide" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.

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