In the recent Wednesday services, the members have been going over the Beatitudes; Jesus’ sermon on the mountain. On August 2nd, Pastor Anderson began the Wednesday service by reading from Matthew 5:21-26. It reads:
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.’ 22 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.
23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.
Pastor Anderson explains to the congregation that this is Jesus telling his followers about the new law. This is the law that is not meant to abolish the old law, but fulfill it. The old law says that those who commit murder will be subject to judgement. Here Jesus is say that if you even are angry with your brother, the fire of hell is close. “In the Bible, fire represents the wrath of God,” the pastor continues, “Let’s look at Deuteronomy 4:21-24 and 9:3, Isaiah 31:9 and Matthew 25:41.”
Within these verse we can see the wrath of God recorded. Being subject to the wrath of God just because you’re angry with someone seems very harsh and strict. And why would God first say ‘Do not murder’ and then through Jesus say ‘Do not be angry’? Pastor Anderson made clear that though the old law is needed and was not some mistake by God, it has a limit. “What is the range and application of the old law,” Pastor asks, “it only addresses the outside and not the hearts of man.”
When the first sin was commited, it wasn’t because Eve ate the fruit (it wasn’t the action), but because she doubted God in her heart. She had arrogance within her; this was her sin and Adam’s as well. God’s ultimate goal is to pull out the root of the sin and sin begins in the heart. This is why Jesus tells the congregration to not even be angry with people and if they are, then the dispute should be settled quickly. In the story of Cain and Abel, Cain’s jealousy of his brother turned to hatred and that hatred caused him to murder his own flesh and blood.
God wishes for us to reconcile and love our brothers and sisters, with the same unconditional love His loves us. This is what Jesus is preaching about in the first of the new law. And we as followers of Christ should also live in this way; with a clean heart yearning to love like the Lord loves us. Our lives should be living worship and a sacrifice to our Heavenly Father. Our sacrifice is dirty, if we give it with hatred in our hearts.
Pastor concludes, “We must stay in the love of God in order to love with this unconditional love.”