Friday, October 10, 2014

Dealing with People: Issues: When You're the Sinner

Scripture: Matthew 5.21-26
Translation: 5.21You’ve heard that it was said to the ancients: “Don’t murder!” and whoever would murder, will be deserving of judgment. 22But I’m telling you that everyone who gets angry with his brother will be deserving of judgment. and whoever would say to his brother “Raka!” will be held accountable by the Sanhedrin. And whoever would say “Idiot!” will be deserving of burning in hell. 23So, if you’re offering your gift on the altar, and there you remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar and go. First reconcile with your brother, and then come offer your gift. 25Be making friends with your accuser quickly, while you’re with him on the road, so that the accuser doesn’t hand you over to the judge and the judge to the bailiff and you will get thrown in jail. 26Amen, I say to you: you’d never ever get out of there until you pay back the last penny.

1.      Drama…oh drama…
1.      Structure
a.       Application of “Don’t Murder or face judgment” to “don’t get angry and name call or face judgment” (vv.21-22) (deal with relationship problems by not causing them)
b.      Avoid Judgment for Failure by Dealing with Relationship problems before worship (vv.23-24) [deal with relationship problems before spreading them and before they get too serious]
c.       Avoid Judgment for Failure by Dealing with Relationship problems before judgment (vv.25-26) [deal with relationship problems when they’ve escalated before judgment/irreversible actions take place]
2.      Themes
a.       Anger
b.      Guilt/accountability
c.       Hell
d.      Judgment
e.       Relationships
f.       Reconciliation
g.      Worship
h.      Interpretation/application of the Law
i.        Priorities
j.        Name calling
k.      Gift
l.        Escalation vs. De-escalation
3.      Doctrines
a.       Relationships with people need to be fixed before trying to worship God

1.      Outline
a.       Deal with People by Not being the Sinner
                                                              i.      A lot of times we comfort ourselves by thinking, “oh, what I did wasn’t really that bad” but Jesus sees things differently and wants us to see them differently as well. He wants us to see that our sin really is sin, it is a horrible evil perpetrated by us
                                                            ii.      Jesus wants us to see that unrighteous anger is a sin as evil and as sinful as murder, hence if we are going to deal with people by not being the sinner, we will obviously have to not get angry and kill people, but also we will have to control our anger and even learn how not to respond in anger
1.      That will mean watching our words, name calling out of anger is like murder
a.       Cussing people out
b.      Name calling
c.       Gossiping
2.      Some things that we say will get us held accountable by people, human authority figures
3.      And really all things we say in anger in general we will be held accountable for by God
4.      Cussing people out and calling names and saying hostile things to people or about people is something that really is a sin, and it is so much a sin that indulging in it will leave us deserving of burning in hell
5.      Hatred really is a problem. Hating people is a big deal, Jesus is telling us that hating people is tantamount to killing them
                                                          iii.      Jesus wants us to avoid facing judgment, so He tell us to not do what will bring judgment on us. So why should you and I deal with people by not being the sinner? Because if we are the sinner we will face judgment, just like murders must face justice, we will have to face justice for our murderous anger and hatred
                                                          iv.      We need to deal with people by not being the sinner, by controlling our anger and giving up our hate
1.      This is going to require love for the other person
2.      And humility about what we deserve
b.      Deal with People by Reconciling Before Worship
                                                              i.      Jesus is focused on the importance of reconciling with people that we have sinned against
                                                            ii.      Reconciliation is so important to God and to Jesus and to the Holy Spirit that They have told us to get right with others before worshiping Them.
                                                          iii.      Jesus says our priority should be on reconciliation, not fulfilling religious expectations; on getting things right with people we’ve hurt before giving God worship
1.      This even makes sense, because 1 John taught us that we have to love human beings before we can love God; moreover, God wants us to deal with the people we’ve hurt first, before we deal with Him
2.      God cares about true repentance than just the mere appearance of repentance.
3.      More boldly, God doesn’t want you’re worship if you have unsettled problems with people
4.      It is so important to God that we get things right with each other, that He literally says, “if you’re in the middle of worshipping God and you realize that you and so and so are at odds because of something you did. Stop worshipping God and go deal with it!
5.      In fact, if you have my permission to get up and leave in the middle of the songs or sermon or prayer or whatever we’re doing and go get things right with someone, if you can. GO! GET OUT! GO DEAL WITH IT!
6.      See the thing is God cares about true repentance but also true worship. One of the ways we give garbage worship to God is by giving Him worship tainted by the stench of unforgiveness, unresolved problems, of sins not dealt with, of hostility between you and someone else
7.      Our worship doesn’t have to be half-hearted, per se, to be undesirable, it just has to be mixed with unrepentant sin, with sour relationships
                                                          iv.      I’m not talking about when someone else has sinned against you, that’s a different issue that we will look at next week, but when you are the one who has perpetrated the evil, who has hurt another person, who has done evil to another
                                                            v.      The truth is that worshipping God does not always have to look like a worship service, sometimes the way we worship God is by loving God enough to love others, to humble ourselves and admit our sin to the person we’ve sinned against, sometimes worshipping God needs to look like following God’s example of love and humility, to look like holding the same value on reconciliation and healthy/healed relationships that God does
1.      A value that He does in fact hold, so tightly that He gave His only Son to restore His relationship with us, a relationship we broke—such love, and such humility
2.      And of course, Jesus is saying deal with your sin against others, not that you should never worship God again. Deal with it, move on, and go back to worshipping God, what you were doing when you realized you had something to deal with
                                                          vi.      Now, if we really obey Jesus, and do what He says, that will mean we will Reconcile with others right away, and regularly, as regularly as we worship God, as often as we pray, read the Bible, serve Jesus, come to church. Even if you only tried to follow this partially and settle your issues with others before Friday and Sunday, you would be reconciling regularly, and indeed we as a community would become known for our love for others and our humility in admitting our wrongs and seeking to right them to the glory of Jesus, God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit!
                                                        vii.      And if we are reconciling regularly right away, that will mean that our problems with others will not grow to huge, they will stay small and easily fixable (generally speaking, obviously if you still someone’s boyfriend, the problem won’t be small, but if you fix it fast, the issue will deescalate—love and humility might mean breaking up)
                                                      viii.      Obviously the best course of action is to avoid sin in the first place, but when we fail to do that, we should deal with it right away
c.       Deal with People by Reconciling Before Judgment   
                                                              i.      Jesus’ next scenario is after things have escalated, or are in the middle of escalating, or have been left unresolved for a while, or perhaps just happened but what you did was so bad that the person you’ve sinned against has legal or official merit for a lawsuit or investigation or whatever. Maybe the person is taking you to court, or maybe the person is going to complain to the boss, or maybe the person is just going to tell you’re mom or your significant other, or me, or Jin, or Jisun, or Esther, or whoever. The point is things are bad. You are guilty and the consequences are about to fall on your head
                                                            ii.      Jesus is saying deal with it fast, before you have to pay for what you did, settle the problem before someone else can get involved and throw the book at you
                                                          iii.      You don’t want to face fines, prison time, getting fired or demoted, shamed or other negative things, so Jesus says deal with it right away, and if you know they are in the process of taking those kinds of actions against you, get right with them before they finish that process.
1.      If someone is suing you, settle with them out of court
2.      If someone is going to complain to the boss about you, go to that person and make it right with them before they do
3.      If someone is going to press charges against you, try to make things right with them before they do
4.      If someone is going to post what a jerk you were to facebook, go make things right before they do
                                                          iv.      This point is really just an extension of the deal with things right away point, but the difference is that there, Jesus is focusing on the importance of reconciliation as it relates to your relationship with God, but now He is focusing on avoiding escalating problems, avoid judgment.
                                                            v.      Of course, this story about avoiding the human judge is at the same time somewhat typological for settling things with people before God the Judge of All gets involved. Remember, Jesus opened by saying people will be held accountable to human authority, but they will also be held accountable to God, and unrepented evil and uncontrolled anger and virulent hatred leave someone not just open to human judgment, but to the judgement of God, namely hell. And while it is true that all true Christians will never face hell, it is also true that all true Christians live out a life of having been saved from hell and one that is free either by positive action of success or repentance in failure of the kinds things that are indicative of hell as a final destiny. You can’t be a real Christian and go to hell, but how you deal with people will be one of the ways that your true nature will be revealed
                                                          vi.      To deal with things before they get out of hand, will require great love, but since we failed in the love department to bring us to this point, it will require even greater humility to display love
                                                        vii.      Look, if it means great cost to make things right between you and others, do it. That is what love and humility both require, and you have a personal incentive in it, namely, not facing punishment and/or judgment.
2.      Discussion Questions
a.       How often do you find yourself getting angry at people?
b.      How easy is it for you to control your anger? Why?
c.       Do you see name calling and hatred as really evil? Why or why not?
d.      Have you ever been in the middle of worshiping or serving God and realized you had sinned against someone? What did you do when you realized it?
e.       What are the benefits of dealing with a relationship problem right away?
f.       How might present or ultimate judgment affect your decision on how to deal with a relationship problem?

3.      Perhaps one of the reasons worship for us or worship for you is so difficult, is because you have a lot of relationships, perhaps only just one relationship that needs reconciliation. Maybe the problem is you are not good at having healthy relationships with people that you have an unhealthy relationship with God, perhaps it is that God refuses to accept your worship while there is this issue between you and others that needs to be reconciled 

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