I Haven’t Murdered Anyone; How About You?
Exodus 20:13; Matthew 5:21-22; 5:43-48
Exodus 20:13 (NIV) "You shall not murder.”
A Sunday School teacher was discussing the 10 commandments with her 5 & 6 year olds. After explaining the commandment to “honor your father and mother,” she asked, “Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?” Quickly, one of the kids answered, “Thou shalt not kill.”
You may have learned the 10 Commandments using the word “kill.” The rendering of “Thou shalt not kill” comes from an older translation, from the year 1611. But if we use the word “kill” we run into problems, because God actually commands the death penalty for some offenses. . . in other places, he commands war. And people are always killed in war, so what does this commandment mean?
- The word kill is better translated as murder throughout the scripture. Most translation today use the word “murder” including the NKJV.
- So here is my question - Any murderers here this morning? Be careful how you answer this command. You might think it is for others right? If this doesn’t apply to us then we might as well go down stairs and eat. Only kidding! You are not going to get off that easy.
- Let us check out what Jesus has to say about this command:
Matthew 5:21-22 (NIV)
"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.
- Racca – an Aramaic term of contempt / disrespect/ hatred. Saying “I hate you” would be what it means today. That means if you say “I hate you” you would have to go in front of group of pastors and explain yourself.
Matthew 5:43-48 (NIV)
43 "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
I. Why does God give us this command to not murder:
A. First because we are made in the image of God. Genesis 1:27 (NIV) So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
1. We are created with God’s very image stamped on us. That doesn’t mean that we look like God – it means that our spiritual being is shaped like His.
2. God has a mind, we have a mind. God has a will, we have a will. God has emotions, and we have emotions.
B. Secondly, we are created with God’s prevenient grace. Simply stated from the time of conception God grace is present in our lives. He is calling us to follow Him from the time we are conceived. Now if we are murdering literally or spiritually we are damaging or destroying God’s grace. Not a good idea because we need His grace.
C. Thirdly, because God is the giver of life. Acts 17:24-25 (NLT) “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, 25 and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need.
D. In the OT, God laid out commands like: Don’t murder; Don’t commit adultery; Don’t lie; they are pretty straightforward. But Jesus tells us that God is not just concerned with our outer actions, He’s also concerned with our hearts! He’s not just concerned that our body is doing the right actions, He’s concerned that our heart has the right attitudes!
1. Jesus is concerned with our inner attitudes. He is speaking to us about what our attitudes would lead us to do if we could get away with it.
2. Jesus came along and said, “God’s not just interested in whether we would kill, He’s concerned with whether we would kill if we had the chance to. He’s concerned with our hearts / with our attitudes – what would we do if we thought we could get away with it.”
3. You understand the difference? Lots of men and women never cheat on their spouses because they might get caught. But would they if they knew no one would ever find out? Maybe our spouses won’t find out, but I don’t believe that for a minute, the scarier thing is God knows.
4. There are people who wouldn’t murder someone but have been so angry and full of hate that if they knew no one would find out, they just might do it. God is interested in our heart’s motives – not just what you do, but why you do it.
II. I believe that we must not minimize this command just because we haven’t actually physically murder anyone – God is also looking at our attitudes, and what we are feeling and thinking. Let me give you a couple reasons why we our inner attitudes are in turmoil today:
Romans 1:28-32 (NLT) – Listen to what Paul has to say about our attitudes
28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. 31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. 32 They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage / approve others to do them, too.
A. We entertain ourselves all the time with those who break God’s commands. The word in verse 32 translated as encourage in the NLT is translated in NIV as approve which also means to enjoy. In other words we enjoy violence.
1. Someone calculated that “if a child watches 3-4 hours of TV per day, he will have seen about 8,000 murders on TV by the time he finishes grade school.”
a. One of the top selling movies this year is the last movie that Paul Walker was making Fast & Furious 7 (Furious 7) before he died in a tragic car accident – has more deaths in it than any of the other 6 before this one. Fast & Furious movies used to be about cars and racing – now it is about how many people that can be destroyed or blown up.
b. What are the most watched TV shows? Comedies which normally are about sex the other ones are about solving crimes – especially murders.
c. I am guilty of watching shoot them up movies – starting with old westerns (I’m s John Wayne fan – normally he does the killing I think there are only 4 where he dies) and some of those are really violent.
d. And now we have new heroes of the screen that kill or be killed. NCIS is one of my favorite shows but it too is getting more violent. But so is our society. Which comes first – the movie or the violence in society?
2. We need to be careful what goes into our minds – we see too much evil we begin to enjoy watching it. The garbage that goes in swirls around inside us and then eventually comes; so therefore we need to be careful what goes in.
B. We as a society see nothing wrong with harboring anger and hatred for others. But the Scripture is clear on 1 John 3:11-15 (NLT) 11 This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous. 13 So don’t be surprised, dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. 14 If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. 15 Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.
1. Understand if we are harboring murder in our heart we are not alive in Christ.
2. Deep seated anger not only destroys those around us – it will destroy us from within. We can’t ignore that feeling we need to deal with it.
C. Jesus moved the commandments from just outward actions – “murder” – to inward attitudes and motives – “hate.” You see, anger affects everyone. Not just you, but those around you. It’s very contagious! But you know what? Many parents have passed on to their children their own anger.
1. God cares that we act right. But He also equally cares that you ARE right on the inside.
III. SO HOW DOES THIS AFFECT US?
A. If you break God’s commands on the outside, often the pain will be on the outside. (If you pull the trigger and kill someone, they’0ll put you in jail.) But if you break God’s command on the inside, like we’ve been talking about today, guess where the pain comes?
B. That’s right. It’s all in here! When you bottle up hatred and anger, when you have a heart to kill, even when your body wouldn’t do it, they won’t put you in jail. But it will cause damage and pain and hurt in your heart that only God can heal!
C. God’s enemy, our enemy, Satan loves it when we are spiritually miserable. How do we deal with the enemy, Satan who attacks from within? Don’t complicate this process.
1. Make it right between you and God. 1 John 1:9 (NIV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
a. We need to recognize the sin in our lives and admit that we have the sin.
b. After recognizing the sin we have to confess it – that is a verbal confession to God that we are in need of forgiveness.
c. Ask God to give us His power to turn away from the sin – repentance.
2. Learn to take on God’s attitude toward evil. Psalm 97:10 (NIV) Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
a. Simply we need to hate evil - we need to stay away from evil.
3. Define life like God does. Our life is precious to God – so should all life be precious to us. Our life is so valuable to God that He allowed His Son to die for us. So we need to have that type of attitude.
I was looking for an illustration / story to depict this attitude and came across a story on line of a youth pastor - Chris Carrier of Coral Gables, Florida, was abducted when he was 10 years old. His kidnapper, angry with the boy’s family, burned him with cigarettes, stabbed him numerous times with an ice pick, then shot him in the head and left him to die in the Everglades. Remarkably, the boy survived, though he lost sight in one eye. No one was ever arrested. A man confessed to the crime. Carrier, had become a youth minister at Granada Presbyterian Church, went to see him. He found David McAllister, a 77-year-old ex-convict, frail and blind, living in a North Miami Beach nursing home. Carrier began visiting often, reading to McAllister from the Bible and praying with him. His ministry opened the door for McAllister to make a profession of faith. No arrest is forthcoming; after 22 years, the statute of limitations on the crime is long past. In Christian Reader (Jan/Feb 98), Carrier says, "While many people can’t understand how I could forgive David McAllister, from my point of view I couldn’t not forgive him. If I’d chosen to hate him all these years, or spent my life looking for revenge, then I wouldn’t be the man I am today, the man my wife and children love, the man God has helped me to be." Merv Budd, London, Ontario. Leadership, Vol. 19, no. 2.
4. Instead of harboring hate, let God love through you. Be like Chris Carrier. Romans 5:5 (NIV) And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Seeing the Father's Image
Max Lucado writes about a big, muscle-bound man named Daniel who was swindled by his own brother. He vowed that if he ever saw him again, he would break his neck. A few months later, Daniel became a Christian. Even so, he couldn't forgive his brother. One day, the inevitable encounter took place on a busy avenue. This is how Daniel described what happened:
I saw him, but he didn't see me. I felt my fists clench and my face get hot. My initial impulse was to grab him around the throat and choke the life out of him. But as I looked into his face, my anger began to melt. For as I saw him, I saw the image of my father. I saw my father's eyes. I saw my father's look. I saw my father's expression. And as I saw my father in his face, my enemy once again became my brother.
The brother found himself wrapped in those big arms—but in a hug. The two stood in the middle of the river of people and wept. Daniel's words bear repeating: "When I saw the image of my father in his face, my enemy became my brother."