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A very good morning to all of you, welcome to our first English worship service this morning, we are grateful you are able to join us, especially if you're here with us for the very first time. We are going through the book of Matthew and we continue this series, miniseries within the larger series of Matthew. We call this miniseries the law fulfilled, Jesus the King of kings, is going to teach us about the law of God and the place and purpose of the law in the kingdom of God.
Let me start by telling you something that I have not even told my wife or my kids. Not too long ago, I killed someone. What happened was I was driving and a car swerved abruptly into my lane and I was horrified I was angry, I, I blasted my horn, I sped up after that to catch up with him, I gave him a death stare and I wish he would die, I wish he would crash and burn in a road traffic accident.
Pastor did you crash into him, no I didn't. Did you in any way cause him to get into an accident, no I didn't. Then pastor, why did you say you killed him? Well, according to Jesus, I did, I killed him, not physically but mentally, not with my hands, but in my heart. You see as Jesus explains the law of God, He's going to tell us what this law really means in its full extent, He tells us in Matthew 15, that's going to come later, but I think this is a helpful verse to start.
He tells us that out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery and so on. The fountain of sin is in the heart and so sin is not just what you do on the outside, it's what you think on the inside.
So Jesus now in the sermon on the mount, explains the sixth commandment, He says you have heard that it was said to those of old, you shall not murder, and whoever murders will be liable to judgment. I like this translation, you shall not murder, some other translations translate it as thou shalt not kill or you shall not kill, that's fine. But the word murder is more specific because both the Hebrew and the Greek words are about murder, it's about an intentional, deliberate, malicious killing, not just any killing.
So Jesus now says, you have heard, it has been told of old Exodus, chapter 20, verse 13, you shall not murder, part of the 10 Commandments, it's number 6 in the 10 Commandments and then whoever murders will be liable to judgment, that's taken from Numbers 35 and verse 30. So Jesus says this is what you are familiar with, the combination of Exodus 20, combination with Numbers 35.
In this, actually there's nothing wrong with this combination, there is nothing wrong with saying what has been said. The problem for the Jews and for the religious leaders however, is that they limit this to merely physical acts, they do not deal with the issues of the heart. They have restricted the law to be just about external deeds but not about internal attitudes.
You recall this story right, a rich young ruler came to Jesus one day, he asked, good teacher, what good deed must I do to inherit eternal life. Jesus replied, in summary, Well, why do you call me good, there's only one who is good and that is God. But if you want to have eternal life, keep the commandments. Now obviously Jesus is not saying anyone can go to heaven by keeping commandments, but that is one way to get him to see his problem. So He says, keep the commandments. The young man then replied, which one. Jesus then said, don't kill, don't murder, don't commit adultery, don't steal, don't bear false witness, honor your father and your mother, love your neighbor as yourself and the rich young ruler then said, all these I have kept from my youth.
Wow, there is a man who really believes he has never murdered before, never committed adultery before, never lied before, never stolen before, always honored his parents, he says I've done this from my youth up. Now either he is super deluded or he has been taught to believe, the obedience to these laws are only in the external physical acts and that's what the scribes and the Pharisees, the religious leaders teach, you shall not murder because whoever murders will be sent the court and they said oh, I understand now, I cannot physically kill someone, but God never said anything about my heart.
So Jesus identifies the problem, they have a very superficial kind of observance, a very superficial kind of righteousness and He goes in for the kill. He says in verse 22, but I say to you, that everyone who is angry with his brother, will be liable to judgment. Whoever insults his brother will be liable to the Council and whoever says, you fool will be liable to the hell of fire.
In other words, thou shalt not murder is not just about the physical act, you've got it wrong rich young ruler, you've got it wrong scribes and Pharisees, you got it wrong Israel, it is not just that, it's also about anger, about insulting with your lips, about calling names with your lips.
Now, if you understand this you will understand, none of us can really fulfill the sixth commandment isn't it. Now, I don't think anyone of you have killed anyone yet, physically but I'm sure that all of us have been angry with people for selfish reasons. All of us have maybe called out names, insulted people, even kids, even kids. I know when, when my kids fight and when one of them take another from another from the brother, you know what they will say, Shawn, I want to kill you, funny hah, Matthias. Well all of us understand that, I'm going to kill you, murder is in the heart even of a child, we are all sinners, we have all broken the sixth commandment, the law of God therefore condemns us, humbles us.
Now, let me develop this further, you realize that there are three levels of anger mentioned in verse 22 and for these three levels of anger or killing, there are three consequences that are different. So there is a gradation, there are three different levels. So let's look at the first one, you can be angry with a brother and you will be liable to the judgment. So you have a sense of displeasure towards someone for something, he or she did or said, you are angry, you're upset, you're displeased and you know what you do, you or what happens to you, you'll be liable to judgment.
Now remember, the Jews said, whoever murders shall be liable to judgment. Jesus says, no need to actually kill with the hand, as long as you are angry within your heart, you are already guilty, liable to judgment, you've already broken the law, level I.
But you know anger doesn't stay there, usually it grows, it festers and when you cannot take it anymore, you know what you do, you go to the next step, you insult your brother. Now the word insult in the ESV, is not that great in my opinion alright, because in the Greek it literally is, whoever says Raca to his brother, says Raca, you say what's Raca well, the word Raca is a Aramaic word, it's a language that people use in the days of Jesus, which simply translated today probably means idiot, fool, numskulls, blockhead or local vernacular goondu, you goondu, you idiot.
Well when it's not kept in the heart, it goes to the lips, Jesus says now the punishment is greater, you'll be liable to the Council. The Council is a Supreme Court, it's the High Court, it's made up of 70 elders, you call it the Sanhedrin, so the point is, if you are angry in your heart, liable to judgment, lower courts, you elevate that, escalate that, you're liable to the Council, greater punishment and if that is not enough, you go to the next step which says, you fool.
Now the word fool here is not about the blockhead or numskulls, it's not just about the head, the fool here has moral overtones, it is referring to the heart. Remember i Psalm 14, it says the fool, hath said in his heart there is no God. So there's a moral overtones of this word, you're saying, this person is living such a immoral life, he doesn't know God, so this is a more severe charge against someone and the Bible says Jesus says, this person would now be liable to the hell of fire. And the word hell is interesting, we, we whenever we see the word hell, we think about the hell that sinners will go to in the later days, next time.
But actually the word hell is the word Gehenna and the word Gehenna literally means of a real place in Israel. It, it refers to the Valley of Hinnom, you say what the world is the valley of, valley of Hinnom. Well, this is ancient Jerusalem and the Valley of Hinnom. look at the picture to the bottom left you see Hinnom Valley, okay your eye can't see it's alright, so it's fine. Just know that this is Jerusalem and the Valley of Hinnom or Gehenna, is in the south west of Jerusalem.
What so special about this place, well, it looks like this today, if you go to Israel, the Valley of Hinnom, it's near Moriah, Olives, it's just a wasteland now, but in those days, ancient times, the Valley of Hinnom was a very notorious place, because it was during King Ahaz time that he started to offer children as burnt offerings unto false gods.
So he sent his own sons to be burnt in the Valley of Hinnom, as an offering to Molech and Israel followed their king in child sacrifices to appease a false god. When Josiah who's a good king, came on board, he decided to change all that, he stamped out this child worship, he brought reformation to the nation and he said this place will now, this Valley of Hinnom used to offer burnt children to their false gods will now be an accursed place.
So ever since then, the Valley of Hinnom became a public incineration, it became a giant garbage dump, all the refuse, all the garbage of Jerusalem, the city will be brought to the southwest part of that area, to the Valley of Hinnom to be burned and so there's always fire, there's always black smoke and that, that, that grew these kind of grubs and worms that would eat and feast on all the unburnt garbage, so you have this phrase, where the worm diest not, remember when you read the New Testament it's, it's a reference to Gehenna, the Valley of Hinnom, it is a place associated with filth, with sin, with rejection, with suffering and torment and so the Bible uses this mental picture of this terrible place to tell you what hell is like, it's not hell, it's not literally hell, but it's a picture of what hell will be like, there will be fire, there will be burning, there be a place where the worm chews forever, there will be suffering forever, that's the point.
So when you are angry with someone, you don't have to kill that person, you are already guilty of breaking the sixth commandment, this is a formidable law, none of us, I think the point of Jesus, is to bring us to a corner, that we are so desperate and says none of us could ever fulfill this, none of us will probably kill someone maybe you would one day, I do not know, but very few of us will really kill someone physically but we all have been angry, we all have insulted people, since we were young.
You know something about what, about the law of God if you break one law, James tells you, you break the whole law, wow. Now if this doesn't make you humble, if this doesn't make you feel oh this, this is mission impossible, Jesus takes it on to another higher level, He's going to say if you want to fulfill this commandment, it's not just that you cannot kill, it's not just that you cannot be angry for a sinful selfish reason, but to really fulfill this, you must also ensure others are not angry with you because of a sin or a offense you have caused.
To fulfill this is not just about you, you also must make sure others are not offended because of you, wow. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, you have sinned against him, you have offended him, what do you do, leave your gift there before the altar and go, first be reconciled to your brother and then come and offer your gift. In other words, it's so important for you to get this right that stop your worship right now, go settled that, because that's what the sixth commandment entails, not just that you're not angry, but don't let your brother also be angry.
Now here He says your brother, later on in verse 25, 26, it's about your accuser. So whether it is your brother or your accuser, your friend or your enemy, the point is very simple, you've got to settle this, ASAP, you've got to love you brother enough so that or you got to love your enemy enough so that he does not fall into the sin of breaking the sixth commandment himself, go do it. I like what, so I like this focus again, first be reconciled to your brother and then come and offer your gift.
Max Lucado is a very witty writer I think, he writes short but very powerfully crafted sentences and he said about this, as far as I know, this is the only time God tells you to slip out of church early. So next time if I see you leave church service early, I know why. Apparently He would rather have you give your olive branch than your tithe, than your offering. He says make this a priority, Jesus.
So, if today you and your spouse, your wife, your husband, you quarrel, well God says don't come to worship. If you sin against your wife, if you sin against your husband, go tell him your fault, don't let your spouse continue to be angry with you over your sin. Maybe some of you drove here this morning and you already, eeyour, eeyour, eeyour, eeyour, but by the time you got into this hall, everything is at peace. You thought so, but it is not so. Or maybe you thought yourself, it's okay I just want to worship God with my money now, I give Him some money, I give, put some money in offering bag that should be fine, right. I thought that my money could cover up for my sin, no you can't, you don't, obedience is better than sacrifice. So before you check your worship or before you enter your worship, check your fellowship, check your relationship and do it ASAP.
Now, this law now looks rather different isn't it, you shall not murder, the rich young ruler, he looked at this commandment and he said it's easy, I can do it. So, good teacher, what else do I need to, to, I really fulfilled this from my youth up. When you look at this law superficially, you are proud because you say I'm, I'm pretty good, I've accomplished it but then when Jesus expounds more, you read, oh, that includes no cursing, oh, it includes no sinful anger. Now there is a, I put a bracket there because there's a place was for holy anger. God is angry with sin there's a place for holy anger, what we are talking about is selfish, malicious kind of a anger, which one of us could fulfill this completely, none.
But Jesus adds on, if you really want to fulfill this, then you must not be the cause for others to sin and even if you have done so, you must seek forgiveness soonest. Sometimes it's very hard for people to say sorry, but you shall not murder, includes all that. You know what's the effect, if you're really listening to me today, if you're really reading what Jesus is saying, I think what you'll say now is, oh no, I'm done for, I'm busted, I thought I was a good guy, I thought I could be good enough for God to accept me.
I hope just with this short 10, 15 minutes, you would say I am done, I cannot save myself by myself, I'm not good enough, I'm never going to be good enough, that is what the law is supposed to be. It shows you the perfection of God's desires and shows you our imperfections and hopelessness.
But that's not all I want to tell you about the law. Level one is saying, I can do it, level two understanding of the law is, I now realize, I can't do it. You know what's level 3 of understanding the law, level three of understanding the law is that Jesus did it. Verse 17, that's where we begin this whole segment, do not think that I've come to abolish the law or the prophets, I've not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. And when you read the rest of the Bible you know Jesus did not just say this, He actually did it, He fulfilled the sixth commandment to its fullest. He was never angry for a selfish reason. Now those of you are sharp, you say Jesus was angry before, remember John 2 when He chased out the money changers, yah, He was angry, why, over sin, over God's Name, it was never selfish, vindictive, it was a holy anger, Jesus was never guilty of breaking the sixth commandment.
In fact, the supreme demonstration of this obedience or conformity to the law is seen when He went to the cross, He was abused, He was threatened, He was falsely accused, He was mocked, He was beaten up, He was crucified, He suffered, people laughed at Him, but He never retaliated, even when His servant, Peter was so angry, cuts of the ear of Malchus, Jesus says, why do you do that and healed the ear of Malchus and on the cross, our Savior said, kill them, did He say that? What did Jesus say, Father forgive them for they know not what they do, He loved the people still.
Jesus Christ fulfilled all the law, wow, we can come to the law of God and say, I have done it all, like the rich young ruler or we can go to this state where we oh no, this is, this is doomsday, there is no way I can be saved or you can go on and say wow, Jesus did it all, and why did He do it, He did it all for me, He did it all for us.
Romans 3 tells us, for all have sinned, how do you know all have sinned, no need to go on, actually if you really understand this, we don't have to go on to the next few verses. The first example raised by Jesus would already prove the point, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,
we already known, that this is the good news of the Bible. This is the Good News of Jesus Christ, we can be justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, He is willing, He is able, He has done it to bring us, to save us and to buy us back from sin. He purchased our justification, He purchased our forgiveness, He purchased our reconciliation with the Holy God who we have sinned against, that's the message of the Bible, there is redemption in Jesus Christ, you can't fulfill the law, but Jesus fulfilled it all for you and today we are justified not because we could fulfill the law, but Jesus fulfilled the law and He gives it to you as a gift out of grace, grace is unconditional love demonstrated for us, it is doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Jesus gives it to those who would repent and believe upon Him.
You see the board here today, I'm going to draw again, remember what we talked about the last week, the diagram and nowadays, I don't know why, I like to draw, I think it helps you listen in better, actually so that's why.
So we talk about the law, particularly today, the sixth commandment, you shall not murder, don't kill anyone physically, don't be angry with anyone for a sinful selfish reason, don't curse, don't be the cause for others to be angry, when you hear the law preached and explained properly, you would come to a despairing state, you will say I can't save myself, excellent, that's where you need to start, because the law, then drives you to grace, God's unconditional favor earned for you by Jesus Christ, who fulfilled everything about the law, and He says give me your sins and I'll give you My righteousness, wow, what a deal, give Me your sins and I'm going to give you My perfection and so on the cross, Jesus was cursed for us, He who knew no sin is made a curse for us so that you may be made righteous in Him. Jesus on the cross took your judgment, took your Gehenna for you, do you know that, He suffered in your stead, that's grace. So now because of the grace of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven, you're saved, you're justified, you're reconciled and the amazing thing about grace as you know is that it makes you born again. Grace gives you a new heart, grace gives you a new life. Now you understand, after you're saved, you're a child of God, you're no more a slave to sin, you've a new identity the old Jason is dead, I now and no more a slave to sin, I don't have to sin anymore, I don't have to justify myself anymore, I don't have to orientate my life all around me anymore,
I'm no more a slave to sin, I can now worship God, I can now serve Him, I can now live for Him, new identity, grace gives you a new identity. Grace gives you a nourishing of your heart that you are loved by God, you're deeply loved by Him, and because you know you are loved by Him, you love Him, we love Him because He first loved us. Not only that, but now you have the indwelling Holy Spirit. Grace gives you the indwelling Holy Spirit, His Spirit, the Spirit of Christ lives in me to give me the power to do what I could never do when I was not saved, so grace changes everything, new identity, new motivation of love, new power in the Spirit and now you can really fulfill the law.
Now, because you are filled with love, you know what, instead of hating someone, you are going to love someone, you're going to forbear, you're going to forgive. You're going to lay down your life for others like what Jesus did. You see, grace changes us from the inside out, it's not just external behavior modification, it's a grace Gospel centered life that heals us from the inside out, so that now I'm not just changing what I do on the outside else but I really, really want to be a blessing to love you, to serve you, to forgive you, it's God changed my life, grace change my life.
So if your life, you know, I've met with some of you in this church, you've had difficult marriages and you want to call it quits, you know what made the difference for this couple or these couples I meet, grace, because when the husband comes to Christ, the marriage is totally different, you know why, because it's not just about what I want, what I want, what I want, you're not meeting my needs, but now it's love, now it may be very young, very immature, it, it's all in the infancy stage but something has changed radically and I have seen it in this church, I have seen it among you.
Grace of God changes everything, the way you relate to your wife will be different, the way you relate to your spouse, your mother-in-law, your colleague, your, your boss, it's going to change, you now can really fulfill the law.
Let me just write one more thing draw one more thing alright. When it comes to the law, I think there are several responses a person therefore can have. Number one, I must, I must fulfill the law, that is what the world thinks, if I want to be saved, what must I do, I must obey the law, that's what the world thinks right. If you're in some kind of religion today, you would say, I can, that's what religion tells you to do. Religion is teaching you what you need to do in order to be saved.
So I must so I go into a religion, to learn how to keep it, and you must believe that you can, otherwise why are you in that religion, you get the drift. But when you're in church, when you are hearing the Bible preached faithfully, you know what you will come to, so I must, I can, next I, excellent, I can't, you really, if you really understand the Bible, if you just read the 10 Commandments properly and understand God's intent, you would say, I can't. But that is not the end of the law story, the next story is, now this is, this is a, a little bit different, what, what would you say, what would you feel is the fourth circle. Excellent but when you push that's a bit further, Jesus did, I think that's better, not that He can, He actually did it, He fulfilled the whole law, He did and you know what, the last circle I want to share, I want.
You know something, this is what the world thinks, everybody in this world, who wants to get right with God, thinks I must do good, right. So they go into religion, to learn how to do it. Some by the grace of God, go to church, where, if the Bible is faithfully preached, would come to the realization, I can't.
By the way I think Christianity is the only faith that tells you, you can't, because every other religion tells you, you can, try harder. But in church not only must you hear this, you must also understand Jesus did and I think it is those who are seeking God, who would now say and believe and therefore say, Jesus did it all and I think it is only a true follower of Jesus Christ, who would say, I want.
I want you to appreciate the journey one takes from I must, to I want, this is the miracle of the new life, I must means, bey kum guan, I tell you, you know, what's bey kum guan for those who are not Chinese or Hokkien, bey kum guan means not willing, I have to do it, no choice, I don't love God, I don't love the commandments, I find them a chore, but I have no choice, I got to do them to get right.
Problem is I thought, I can, then I realize I can't, but I'm thankful Jesus did and when I received Jesus into my life, my heart is so changed that now I say, I want, I love God and I love the law of God, I'm going to do it now not so that I can be saved, I'm, I'm doing it now because Jesus saved me and I love Him. My friends, that is how anybody in this world is going to be saved.
You say Moses was a great man, that's why God saved him, you know something, Moses was angry, he strucked the rock twice, defying God. David a great man, that's why he's saved, do you know David actually wanted to kill Nabal out of sheer anger. You say Peter must be a great guy that is why he's saved, no, Peter cuts off the Malchus ear, the ear of Malchus, all the heroes in the Bible, are no heroes, they are all sinners like you and me, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, but Jesus is our redemption. I pray today you would come to this Jesus Christ.
You know when Matthias said, Shawn I want to kill you, that's not the response I'm looking for Shawn, I mean Matthias, you know what, what can I do, I can say don't you ever say that again, you know something, he will still think that, you know what does Shawn, what does Matthias need, Matthias needs grace. I don't have a, I don't have that diagram here, he needs grace, that's what I pray for my son that he will know God's grace and God's grace will come into his life to change him from the inside out.
Maybe today are here with us for the first time, I want to tell you something, you are condemned by the law flat-out, you can't, but I want to tell you the Good News, Jesus did and if you believe, you repent and believe in Him, He is going to give you a new heart and you will experience what it really means to love God, love His Word and say I really do want.
Maybe some of you have grown up in Gospel Light or you have grown up in other churches, you've come here and you have always thought you are a Christian, but you know something, you notice a pattern of your life, you're still fighting with anger management issues, you are abusing your spouse, you're easily irritable, you never change for the past 20 years even though you have been in church for 20 years. I say to you, maybe you're not saved. Then what do I do then, do I keep trying harder not to commit the sin of the six commandment, no I say, don't do that, realize your heart has not been changed, you need Jesus, that's the beginning, that's the key. So don't sit on false presumption, I pray this will humble you to find salvation and life in Christ.
But I want to say lastly to my brothers and sisters in Christ, if you're like me. Now, Matthias needs a new heart. But what do I need, why would Jason be giving people death stares on the road, didn't I have a new heart, I have, I think, I still think so today, but you see, maybe I'm still so much full of self, still so much full of the need to justify myself and defend myself and preserve myself because I have not really remembered nor understood how much God loves me in the Gospel.
What I need is not someone to tell me, don't do that, what I need is the deep infusion of the love of God into my soul and heart that I would say, I love you Lord , I love that guy who cut my lane, cut lah, okay lah, cut, I love you, I pray that will be a reality for my life. I'm far from that, but what's going to heal me, change me from the inside out, is the grace of God.
You know, Leonardo da Vinci he was, a story goes like this, that he was painting the Last Supper and there he had to paint the face of Judas. At the same time, he was arguing and quarreling and he had a terrible enemy in another painter and you know what Leonardo da Vinci did, he painted that painter's face into Judas. He was so happy, because everybody could recognize, hah, hah, that's the painter, he had a sense of joy in seeing him being put down. But when he came to the painting of the face of Jesus, he couldn't do so, he could only see his enemy.
I flip it the other way round, my friends if you today could only see the grace of God in Jesus Christ, you will love your enemies, I pray today God's grace, God's love for you in the cross, in the Gospel, will be so dear to you.
Let's bow for a word of prayer together. Maybe this morning as we come to church, we hold on to our pride, we hold on to our bitterness, our hatred, our unforgiving spirit, maybe we have been the cause of someone else's anger, we thought nothing about it at all, forgetting that Jesus said it is better for you to have a millstone hung around your neck and to be drowned in the deep seas than for you to stumble your brother, but all that reflects a very light regard to the holy requirements of God, you see God is holy, absolutely holy. I pray today your sins that you remember today will humble you to the dust.
But my friends I'm not here to beat you down. This is the message of the Bible, it is here to lift you up, it is here to tell you there is hope, there is forgiveness, there is salvation in Jesus Christ, because that's why He came, He came to fulfill the law in its entirety, He came to do it all for you so that you could give Him your sins and He can give you His righteousness. Would you today, repent and turn and believe in Jesus Christ. I pray God will give you a new heart. I pray God will give a new heart to my son, I pray God will give you a new heart to you. I pray God will give a new heart to each and every one said that in this room because what God wants is not you trying to change your behavior, He wants you to come to Him and to know His love, that is the power of the cross that with that one sacrifice, Jesus paid it all, sets us free from sin, gives you a new identity, gives you a new love, gives you a new power in the Spirit.
This is the power of the cross, that even after you are a Christian, you don't keep justifying yourself by your obedience to the law but you rejoice in His grace and out of this joy, out of this grace, this gratitude, you live out a life that truly love God, this is the Gospel, it changes everything.
Father this morning I pray that you will bless Your church, Your people, what marvelous truth as we hear of this morning, marvelous realities from the Bible, marvelous Realities You have executed on this earth, may all eyes behold Jesus today, He is our hero so may we turn to Him, may we trust Him. Lord, bless Gospel Light, that each one of us will be a people of love who will forbear, forgive and sacrifice and serve not so that we can buy or bribe Your love, so that we can please You and bring joy to Your heart, because we love You. Thank You, You first loved us, may this love flood and nourish hearts, we thank You and pray all this in Jesus Name, amen.
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