Kingdom Reconciliation

February 4, 2024 | Brandon Cooper

Brandon Cooper preached on resolving conflicts biblically by emphasizing reconciliation as taught in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Jesus challenged traditional interpretations of the law by focusing on inward motives like anger over outward actions. Anger can lead to sinful words or deeds if not addressed, so conflicts should be dealt with urgently through confession, repentance, and forgiveness. Cooper explained this through Jesus’ forgiveness on the cross and teachings to pray for forgiveness of debts. Reconciliation honors Jesus’ example of initiating forgiveness despite our offenses against him.


The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.

Good morning church want to go ahead open your Bibles to Matthew chapter five, we’ll be starting in verse 21. This morning, we continue our series in the Sermon on the Mount, as you’re turning there, let’s picture a church very much like our own, you know, kind of small enough that you know, everybody in the room. And there are two families in this church that have unresolved conflict, just a years long, cold war between them, let’s say so not really bothering anyone, it is a cold war, after all, but they’re just careful to keep their distance, you know, they’ll come into the auditorium and make sure they sit on opposite sides and not going to serve in the same ministry don’t want to have that awkwardness of they’re both in the kids city classroom together, something like that wouldn’t sign up for the same Open Table dinner or anything like that. And so they just can’t even really remember what it was, you know, those kinds of conflicts are just a series of things that just kind of grew apart and never dealt with what started it all. What’s the problem with that scenario? Or maybe even Is there a problem with that scenario? After all, they’re not hurting anybody. They’re not actively dividing the church or anything like that. There’s probably that sense inside of you that what I just described, like, you know, it’s wrong. But why exactly. And this really gets to the heart of Kingdom living, is specifically what it looks like for us to live together in the kingdom of God Didn’t Jesus say just a few verses earlier, Blessed are the peacemakers. There’s something about us where we’re supposed to be making peace that is there, there are implications for our allies, to the gospel, and the peace that Christ has won for us. And that’s what we’re gonna look at this morning. This is the first application or even really illustration that Jesus offers after his thesis statement. So if you weren’t here last week, the verses we looked at verses 17, to 20, are the thesis statement for the sermon on the mount as a whole, if you weren’t here, we’d encourage you to go back and listen to it, it helps to kind of understand where we’re going in the next few weeks. But the theme there, the thesis that he puts out is the the greater righteousness that is required of those who are in the kingdom, a righteousness that surpasses that of the Pharisees, and the teachers the law, he says, righteousness, meaning our our way of life before the Lord our conduct. And Jesus has begun to say, look, this is now a little different than maybe what you thought it was. This has to do with a gospel shaped heart. Interestingly, not just right living but a right being. And that’s really where we’re going. So he’s gonna give us six examples of this greater righteousness. Now we’re going to cover we’re going to kind of pick up our pace as we go. So we’re gonna look at the first one. Today, we’re gonna look at the next to next week, and then the last three, the week after that. So there are these six, they are normally called antitheses. That’s maybe not quite right, because it’s not really in opposition. And Jesus came to fulfill the law, not abolish it afterward, after all, but again, these illustrations of Kingdom righteousness, why does he give us these six right after his thesis statement, two purposes really. First, he’s trying to show us the sort of behavior that He requires that the king requires. And then second, he’s going to show us how the Kings law surpasses. But without contradicting the law of the Old Testament, the Torah. So again, surpasses without contradicting, that’s the whole idea right there. Here’s the way one anonymous scholar put it some years ago, he said, Christ’s commandment contains the law. But the law does not contain Christ’s commandment, Therefore whoever fulfills the commandments of Christ implicitly fulfills the commandments of the law. And that’s exactly what we’re going to see in the next three weeks. So with that kind of introduction to all of this as a whole let’s dive in this week we’re looking at resolving conflicts specifically when it comes to resolving conflict, Jesus is gonna give us three clear ideas that kind of show us that greater righteousness that Christ demand. So let’s start with the first one first idea here when it comes to resolving conflict inward, Trump’s outward in verses 21 and 22. Let me read it for us. You’ve heard that it was said to the people long ago You shall not murder and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to her brother or sister Raka is answerable to the court and anyone who says you fool will be in danger of the fire of hell. Alright, so, he begins by saying you have heard that it was said that That’s important. And then you’re gonna see it throughout all six of these moments here. So Jesus doesn’t say, it says this, you know, in the Old Testament, because he’s not abolishing the law, he certainly is not suggesting that Moses got it wrong. Somehow he’s, you know, pitting the New Testament against the Old Testament or something like that. What he’s talking about is the interpretation that the scribes, the teachers of the law have had of the law, what they taught about the law, he’s dealing with tradition. And this is important for us, because tradition can very definitely replace scripture for us. We see this whole wings of the church that would kind of begin to elevate tradition, above the Word of God itself. But it is a danger for all of us, who call ourselves Christians, to begin to teach our ideas as though they were God’s word, itself. And what makes it so dangerous is because almost always it starts in Scripture. There was some connection to the Word of God. Absolutely. And then just over time, it kind of becomes well, what we say here, that’s really what God’s law is all about what God’s Word is really all about. You kind of see how this happens right away. It’s on like page three of the Bible when Satan is tempting Eve, and she misquotes God’s commandment, and everything is off. And that’s what we do we just kind of misquote God’s commandments, we almost need to ask the question that Satan asks Eve, we need to rework it for ourselves. Did God really say? Like, Did God really say, let’s go back and look at his word specifically. There’s a scene in one of the early seasons of The Simpsons, where it’s powerful theology here. So Lou, who’s one of the police officers, he’s resigning from the force. And so he’s telling the chief that he’s quitting, and the chief is eating a very large bowl of ice cream at the time, clearly eating his feelings at this point, you know, and whatnot. And Lou is explaining why. And he says, Look, Chief, it’s nothing personal. I just think there’s better money in private security. And the chief as he’s, you know, gorging himself says, I’m hearing you say, I’m fat. And this has become kind of a running joke in our marriage. Actually, this has helped us out a lot. Because you know how sometimes in close relationships, you’re saying something, and the other person is hearing something else. And really, there’s no everybody’s been married for more than a year is like, everyone else is like, really? That happens. Yes, that happens. And so when that happens in our marriage, we just we kind of joke and say, I’m hearing you say, I’m fat. And it kind of reminds us okay, what were the actual words? What was the actual intent behind what was said, we want to listen carefully, especially when it comes to God’s word. This is why we meditate on God’s word to go to God really say, What did God really say? So what did you hear? Jesus says, You’ve heard that it was said, and then he quotes the sixth commandment, which is a good one. We just covered this one. Not that long ago, Kurt Wiggins, president of caring network preached for us, You shall not murder. And then he adds this little bit afterwards. Anyone who murders will be liable to judgment. That’s not a quote from scripture. But it is a really good summary of what Scripture says there are punishments included in the Mosaic Law for this. But then he goes on, and he says, But I tell you,
and when he says that he begins speaking, with a new kind of authority to speak in the first person about the law is just unheard of the way it would normally go, a rabbi would get up to teach, and he would say, Rabbi Hillo, spoke in the name of Rabbi Abraham who said, and Rabbi Eli’s name and then would kind of give you the interpretation of the law. nothing inherently wrong with that, by the way of kind of what I do here, isn’t it? I’m gonna be like, here’s what Calvin said, and what Edwards said, and what Martyn Lloyd Jones said, and if all three of them said it, like there’s a good chance I’m on solid footing here. In fact, if I were to get up here and go, I’m giving you a new interpretation. No one has ever read this scripture the way I’m about to read it for you right now. That’s time to run me out of town. Right? So you understand what the rabbi’s are doing but not Jesus? Jesus speaks in the first person I tell you, what he’s saying here is my interpretation of Moses is the true one. And in light of everything he’s just said, and what we looked at last week, it’s even deeper than that. What he’s really saying is, I’m the one who gave it to Moses in the first place. So I’m the only one who can rightly interpret it. And then he gives us interpretation. Now, before we get into the specifics of murder, and anger and reconciliation and all of that, what makes Jesus’s interpretation different generally, what he’s going to do here is show us that the spirit matters more than the letter of the law. is it’s not just your actions or the actions of course matter, but the heart beneath it, like what’s going on inside of you? What are your motivations? The way I put it inward? Trump’s the outward here. And as we saw in our series on the 10 commandments, the big 10 that we did last semester, there’s also a positive vision to all of these commandments. It’s not just negative. So usually phrased negatively, you know, don’t hate but there’s kind of the idea. Well, yeah, love instead, don’t curse somebody. Absolutely, you should bless them instead. This is important, because we all face the temptation to make the law easy for ourselves. If we reduce it to the letter of the law, and just the negative prohibition or something, then we can keep it, we can keep it. And if we keep it, then we don’t have to come to God, poor and spirit, do we, we can come puffed up and pride, because we’ve obeyed. So like the rich young ruler, we talked about him last week, we need to come face to face with our failure. I’ve kept all these since no, you haven’t. Not really. And he’s dejected at that point. But we don’t have to leave dejected. When that happens, we flee to Christ instead. Because once we come to Jesus, we talked about this last week, we get his law keeping His righteousness, His perfect life that’s given to us, it’s ours to wear. And then he makes us into law keepers, so that what he declares true of us, we, that becomes true of us as we grow in Christ’s likeness. That’s the wholeness, the purity of heart the perfection, that the Sermon on the Mount demands, that’s the greater righteousness of the kingdom. So what did they hear? Let’s kind of get into the specifics of the text. Now, what did they hear? Well, again, we got to focus on the letter of the law and just the action and just the negative prohibition. So did you murder anyone? Did you take someone’s life with purposeful violence? No. Well, then you’re good. We did it. This is why the rich young ruler says he’s kept all these commands since childhood, because if that’s the standard, you could actually keep them. Paul says as much Philippians three, he’s going through this and he says, when it comes to righteousness based on the law, I was faultless. And he meant it, I did it. If it’s just a matter of checking easy boxes, then I did it. But what if God requires more? And that’s what Jesus says, Jesus says, in fact, even being angry with someone makes you liable to judgment, which is exactly the same phrase that was used for murder, same punishment suggests, you know, kind of the same crime, doesn’t it? And it’s not and I want to be clear about that. There’s a difference between feeling anger in your heart and murdering somebody those are not equal. In certainly in terms of the effect it has in this world not equal at all. We use the image in pathetic moments here, it’s a little bit like being on the train line, right? So the Union Pacific West, you know, goes from Chicago through Elmhurst and lands and Elburn like murderers, elbow, maybe you’ve gotten not gotten to Elburn. But we all been on that train. We’ve all been on the anger train before. And that makes us guilty, sinful, before God. And then if you want to train further, you know, one step further, something like that. That would be when that anger gets expressed verbally. The first one raka would translate our vernacular to date, something like idiot, or moron. Because it’s talking about intellect. Whereas the next one, you fool, which we tend to think of fool as being intellectual as well, but it’s not biblically speaking, that has to do with with your character. The fool says in his heart, there is no God. And then you read the book of Proverbs, and you see that that’s how the fool lives as well. So we’re dealing with an empty head and an empty heart. The way AB Bruce, the great Scottish pastor put it, you know, it’s a first expresses contempt for man’s intellect and the second for his character. But those kinds of comments make you liable to punishment also. And we’ve got to be a little careful here too, because it sounds like things are getting worse. So if you’ve got anger in your heart makes you liable to judgment and then call somebody a dummy and you got to go to court and then call somebody a fool. And you’re getting dammed? I don’t think so. This is all the same judgment that we’re talking about, because even you know, human courts imperfectly, but there are meant to carry out God’s justice. So the point is, they all make you liable to punishment. And we understand his point, we understand why he would say this, because anger is incipient murder, it’s there. Right? So anger is to wishes someone dead is the spring from which murder flows. We can see this in Cain and Abel. Again, we’re on like page four of the Bible. Now, Keynes angry with his brother Abel, because April’s offering is accepted by God and Keynes is not and that anger that jealousy leads to the world’s first murder. This means we got to examine our heart here in this place. Do we have that kind of anger within us? I’ll give you an example that I see I’ve see this sort of sentiment expressed by you know, online trolls all sorts time, where, you know, we got two fairly old likely nominees for the presidential election, and half the country hates one of them, and half the country hates the other one. So a whole lot of hatred, right here. And you think, well, they are on the older side. You know, things could happen. Fingers crossed. To wish someone dead is incipient murder. Maybe it’s not our politicians, maybe it’s other world leaders who are doing things that we don’t care for. And we think we wish somebody would blow them up at this point, if that’s what Jesus is talking about here. But then you go, no, no, no, that’s not me. Like I’m not I’m not that into politics, first of all, which means I’m a much more peaceful person than my neighbors and stuff. But we can fool ourselves, can’t we? That there isn’t anger inside of us when actually there is. You ever had that? And again, maybe it’s a spouse or a friend who knows you? Well, where you’re but you’re angry, like, No, I’m not angry. Like, I can tell you’re angry right now. Because it manifests, doesn’t it? The jaw is clenched. And you know, hands are shaking, all that kind of stuff, cold shoulder, silence, all that kind of stuff. I think this is why God gives us these physical responses to our anger so that we can’t fool ourselves. You know, when that email comes in from that person that you got issues with and your heart starts racing, and you immediately start fighting with the person in your head, that like, that’s good. And that tells you okay, there’s something there that I got to deal with. That’s what Jesus is talking about. And again, we get it makes sense to us what he’s talking about. But wait, you say, What about Jesus? Didn’t Jesus get angry too? I seem to remember some of these stories. Is he a hypocrite in this moment? No, Jesus certainly did get angry. Can’t deny that in the slightest. Matthew 21 parallels and the other Gospels, Jesus is flipping tables over in the temple precinct. And in one version of that he actually makes a whip and starts driving them out. That looks like anger to me, Mark chapter three. It says it openly says when Jesus about to heal the man with a shriveled hand on the Sabbath. And he knows what the teachers the law are thinking that they’re upset that he’s doing this and that he’s going to do it on the Sabbath. They don’t care that this man is suffering. And it says Jesus looked on them with anger. Or here’s this one, Matthew 23, verse 17, where he speaks of that same group of people and calls them You blind fools. Zach exact word that we’re not supposed to say, right here.
But we know that Jesus was without sin, tempted in every way, just that we are yet he did not sin. So what is it about Jesus’s reactions there, that means that this wasn’t actually sinful. And here’s the difference, there is a place for righteous anger at injustice and evil in this world. That is, there are times where if your heart is functioning properly, in right relationship with God, you should shake with anger at the injustice that you were seeing. On October 7 would be a really good example, where I read a story this week on the civil war that’s happening in Sudan right now and read an account of a mother who had to watch as her two year old son, I’ve got a two year old son, right, so this one hits close to home, was beaten to death in front of her simply because he was a boy. And so they were worried he would grow up to fight against them. And I was angry. And I think that was good. Anger because there is a good kind of anger, a godly anger. Luthor calls it an anger of love, and anger of love for neighbor, one that wishes no one any evil one that is friendly to the person but hostile to the sin. That’s what we see in Jesus. The problem, though, is that we tend to get angry, not at sin and injustice, we tend to get angry at personal offense. That’s the difference. You read those stories that I mentioned, Jesus’s ego was never involved. That’s not what the problem was like. I just finished Matthew 26 In my times of private worship, and you know, he’s being betrayed by Judas, and he’s being arrested and all that stuff, and he doesn’t ever blow up in anger by Peters cutting people’s ears off. But Jesus is like, slow your roll, man, okay? Like we’re good here, take a deep breath, calm down. So that’s the difference. Compare that to yourself, What makes you shake with anger, that person who’s cutting you off in traffic. Or maybe it’s when you plop down on the couch on the couch after a long day of work, and the game is about to start and then chaos breaks out among your children. And your quiet is interrupted the quiet that you deserve or a joke that was meant in good fun, just ruffles your feathers. What’s happening in all those situations? personal offense. So what do we do here? It’s interesting, Paul, in Ephesians, four, he’s quoting Psalm 14, it says, In your anger, do not sin. That’s helpful for us right there, by the way, because it means there’s an anger, emotion, which we don’t have control over our emotions, right? And then there’s an anger like action or state of being we do have control over that, in your anger, don’t sin. So what happens is that feeling of anger, that’s like the warning light on your dashboard, where you know, you got to stop, you’ll pull the car, we got to pop the hood, see what’s going on? What’s going on in my heart that all of a sudden now I feel angry? Is my anger righteous, that evil and injustice, okay? And what do you do with that anger? And probably pray the Psalms is what you do with that. Because that’s a lot of what psalms are right? Praying, that kind of anger. And then you look for ways that you can do justice in that situation. But what if, and this is much, much, much more likely, it’s not righteous anger. It is unrighteous, self righteous anger at personal offense. Totally do then. probably move on. Proverbs 1911 tells us it’s to one’s glory to overlook an offense. And somebody can do something that’s even a little bit offensive, and you can choose not to be offended by it. It’s great advice. That’s why it’s in Proverbs. And so we can move it Love covers over a multitude of sins. It’s fine. Look at how much I angered God and yet he still loves me. I’m gonna be good. We can be good. Maybe Maybe there’s room for gentle, loving, humble admonition. Absolutely. For the sake of the other person. You go and say, hey, when you said that earlier, like I know you meant it and good fun. I don’t think the joke landed the the way you thought it was going to just, you know, heads up kind of be aware like Yeah, absolutely. That’s a great thing to do. We need to hang on to that anger when it comes to conflict, inward Trump’s outward. So don’t just look at the action, the letter of the law or the negative prohibition, ask the deeper question, am I like Jesus, when I do get angry is my anger like Jesus’s anger. Second point to the inward Trump’s outward, but then obedience, Trump’s ceremony. Next paragraph verses 23 and 24. Let me read it for us. Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you leave your gift there in front of the altar, first go and be reconciled to them, then come and offer your gift. So here’s the shift from the negative to the positive. So it’s not just don’t kill or even don’t get angry. But now go and be reconciled. Deal with what caused that anger in the first place. Like there was a problem with our to church families. They didn’t ever deal with it. And so he’s just sitting there. And we tend to think, okay, so long as I’m not, you know, breaking this negative prohibition, I’m good. But no, no, no, that’s not what Jesus just said. Here’s the way Martyn Lloyd Jones says that he says, we tend to stop and say as long as I don’t say these things all as well. But our Lord tells us that we must not stop even there. We must not even harbor the thought and the feeling in our heart. We’re called to a greater righteousness, a heart level righteousness, because we got to deal with it all the way down here. Do you notice that this paragraph begins with the word therefore, that means it’s following from verses 21 and 22. Therefore, you know, if you got anger, the kind of anger that make you kill somebody or even just speak badly of them, don’t let that anger fester. You got to take positive steps to overcome it. And I think this is where we most deceive ourselves. We kind of go as long as I’m not actively indulging it, I’m going to be fine. That’s not how it works. It’s a little bit like if you got a pipe leaking in your house, you know, upper bathroom or something like that. You fix the leak, great. There’s no longer an act Do you have a problem, but your drywall soaked through now, you’re not going to want to leave that sit. You’re a mold. And the mold is going to get worse and worse and worse. That’s a toxic but accurate picture of our hearts when we let these things fester. But let’s not miss how radical This is what Jesus just said we could miss it. Because this is not our context. We don’t offer sacrifices anymore, like this. So here’s a man who is at the temple in Jerusalem. He’s passed through the court of Gentiles, he’s passed through the court of women, he’s now in the court of men. He’s got his animal there. He’s before the priests and more importantly, he is before God, like he knows that he is standing before God, what could be more important than our devotion to God? He is actively worshipping in concrete ways. And yet, that can be a way of avoiding the prick of conscience. To go about religious duties after all, I am a worshipping, how could I possibly be in the wrong? I had a friend in seminary, he did this. He knew it. He was confessing this sheepishly. But he said every time that he and his wife would get into a spat, you know, and then kind of go to different rooms for a moment, he would sit down and read his Bible. Because then when they came back to finish the conversation, well, I’ve been reading my Bible for the last 20 minutes. So I win automatically, right? That’s how we are heard I’m serving a church. I’m sacrificing my time like how could I possibly be wrong it all the while I’m leaving anger and bitterness and unforgiveness to fester in my heart, and Jesus isn’t happening. Obedience Trump’s ceremony. Love comes before religious duty before mere rituals. Isn’t that what Samuel said to Saul to obey is better than sacrifice. So let’s obey. In this way, put the sacrifice to the side for a moment and deal with a heart issue. And let’s get real for a moment. You may be angry with someone. And you may be aware that someone has something against you. That’s what Jesus says in this passage. Even if they’ve got something against you, you still initiate you always initiate biblically. Why? Because we tried to be like Jesus, and he initiated with us. So you’re aware that there is conflict. And maybe it’s easier, even, like maybe you’re sitting next to a spouse, or a family member where there’s some anger, like maybe you pulled into the parking lot, and it was DEF CON three in the minivan, because it did not go well on the way to church.
Or maybe it is a family, maybe my hypothetical to start, the sermon is real for you. Or maybe it’s not someone in this room at all. But you know, there are people that you despise, would not want to be brothers and sisters that you would not want to be in a community group with. What should you be doing right now? If that’s you? What would Jesus say to you, assuming that His word is still speaking to us today, we’re about to take communion, which is as close to the New Testament picture to offering sacrifices as you can get. We don’t need to offer sacrifices anymore, but we celebrate and remember the sacrifice that Jesus offered on our behalf. What would Jesus say to you as you get ready to take communion? Go ahead. Take it and deal with this later. It’s fine. That we know what Jesus would say because he’s saying it right here. Get up and deal with the issue. Go and be reconciled first. Then you can come back and take communion. We’re taking it again in three weeks. You can take it then that’s fine. Why? Why does this matter? Why would Jesus say this? Well, because what is the purpose of sacrifice like this? What is the purpose of participating in a worship service or taking communion or reading your Bible at home? The purpose is to know God. The purpose is intimacy with the Father, but that won’t happen when you’re hiding sin in your heart, Psalm 66 Verse 18, the psalmist said If I had cherished sin in my heart, that’s key. By the way, don’t miss that word cherish there. It does not say if I had sin in my heart, because then none of us could ever talk to God. If I cherished if I loved if I went, you know what, Lord, I hear what you’re saying, but I’m not giving this one up by a cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. God saying deal with it even before praying, for my ears will be shut up to you. So there’s no intimacy, which is the whole purpose of all our rituals. Now, quick caveat, of course, we got to say this part, reconciliation involves two people. And you are only responsible for one of those two people. So you can deal with the unforgiveness in your heart, you can attempt to reconcile and you can be rebuffed. The other person can cherish his sin in his or her heart and cling to it. Again, where’s your heart? What is the posture of your heart? Is it a forgiving posture, a gracious posture. The Bible is very real. It understands who we are as humans. Here’s Paul and Romans 1218. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you. Because Paul knows, it doesn’t just depend on you. As far as it depends on you, though. live at peace with everyone. So you can stand before the Lord and say I truly tried my hearts good. I am ready to reconcile as soon as that person is obedience, Trump’s ceremony, love Trump’s religious rights, where we got to look at the heart, not just the actions, love the way da Carson says it he says people love to substitute ceremony for integrity, purity and love. But Jesus will have none of it. So go and be reconciled. Yes, and go and be reconciled quickly. That’s our third point, urgency, Trump’s indifference. Let’s look at the rest of our passage verses 25 and 26. settle matters quickly with your adversary who’s taking you to court, do it while you are still together on the way or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, the judge may hand you over to the officer and you may be thrown into prison, Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny. So go and be reconciled. But go quickly. This is another example that Jesus gives here that serves as an illustration of the need for urgency. So what’s going on here, we know we’re dealing with debt, because you don’t get out until you pay back the last penny and diverse 26. So back then, and this was true up until just recent centuries, if you couldn’t pay a debt, you were thrown into debtors prison until you could work enough to pay off the debt. By now you hopefully caught the problem with a scenario. You can’t work overtime shifts, when you’re in prison, you can’t even work your regular shift. So what would happen, of course, is that you know, family or friends would come around you ideally pay the debt, and then you know, you’re gonna pay them back or something like that. But what Jesus is saying here is the best thing you could do in that situation is settle up quickly before the legal process starts. You can’t pay it back, go talk to them, let them know that let’s get on a payment plan, something like that. So that you don’t get brought to court thrown into jail and all the rest. Now this is good advice. That that certainly flows from the previous points, right. If you’ve got issues, deal with him and do it right away, this all makes perfect sense. But it is an illustration too. And I think it’s more meant to be an illustration. After all, we have debts. Jesus is about to teach us to pray that isn’t he next chapter the Lord’s Prayer, forgive us our debts, debts. It is we have to remember that we come into this world with God as our adversary. We are at enmity with him. Paul tells us by nature objects of wrath. He’s our adversary. He’s also the judge and the officer who will throw us into prison. And we will all certainly stand before Him and be asked about this debt. So resolve that conflict quickly. Because you don’t know when you’ll be brought before the judge. None of us is promised even another day. We could all die tomorrow. You can’t earn money to pay back your debt when you’re in prison. And you can’t reconcile with your brother or sister or even with God after death and facing judgment. So urgency Trump’s indifference. Where’s the urgency come from people in debt. Feel the crushing weight of of burden. When I first heard about Christians against poverty and their debt centers, one of which we have here at this church, they showed a video of a real testimony. Someone in England and his story began with him on the side of a bridge, ready to jump, because he was hopeless. And thankfully his wife knew what was happening and police were able to find him all that and he got connected with CAP was able to deal with debt and he actually came to Christ as a result, but there’s that crushing weight. But I can’t. I can’t handle this any more. It’s like the sword of Damocles, hanging over them at all times. Here’s my question for you. Do you feel the weight of unresolved conflict? Does it haunt you the way debt haunts those who are burdened by it? Do you sense the need for a swift resolution? Or have you grown comfortable with the conflict with your bitterness and unforgiveness? Remember, this is hindering your prayers hindering your intimacy with God. Jesus will tell us in the next chapter, it’s actually reason to question your salvation, even if you have actually received grace, because that should have changed your heart if you do not forgive others their sins. Jesus says, Matthew 6:15 Your Father will not forgive yours. Those are strong words. This is serious business. Because this is the king’s law, which is deeper spiritual, talking about the heart level and positive, not just make sure you don’t do the negative one. But we read last week, we can’t enter the kingdom without keeping it. So how are we feeling right now? Hopefully humble, hopefully, humble. That’s where we should be is we’re reading this going. I have not kept the king’s law. We remember where we ended last week, or the preaching of the law drives us to Christ drives us back to Christ every time we hear it for forgiveness, and grace. Like how can you says it he says again, we are made to see their only hope is Christ who fulfilled all righteousness and offers it to us as a free gift. He gives us His law keeping, and then makes us lawkeepers. Jesus says radical demand is meant to drive us to him for grace. And then he asks the all important question. Have you done so? I love what he says at the end. He says even murderers are welcome. Maybe literal murderers. They are certainly welcome. But those of us who are holding murder in our hearts also. So the preaching the law drives us to Christ for forgiveness and grace. But then remember the rest of the quote from last week, then Jesus sends us back to the law
to learn how to live, he see the gospel, it transforms our hearts, and then motivates our new obedience. So let’s look at what this would mean here when it comes to anger, consider Jesus, and what he did with personal offenses. He suffered tremendous personal offense, and yet didn’t respond in anger, as we’ve seen, not at his arrest, not at his torture, not when they’re spitting in his face, mocking him, saying prophesy who hit you if you’re the Christ, not when they nailed Him to the cross. In fact, what does he say on the cross? Father, forgive, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing. Here’s the way Peter describes it when they hurled their insults at him. He didn’t retaliate. When he suffered, he made no threats. But it’s even more than that. Why? Why? Because He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness. He bore the sins even have some of those insulting him. He paid the debt that they owed him. He’s there on the cross, because he’s saying there is a bill you owe that you cannot pay. So I will pay it for you. And he did so with purpose, with purpose. When the hour came, Luke tells us that he set his face like a flint towards Jerusalem. Nothing was going to move him from his mission of mercy. And a love like that should prompt a response in us if we understand that He came to reconcile us to the Father despite all that we had done to him to how could we possibly harbor unforgiveness against someone else? nurture anger in our hearts. We couldn’t. And so there’s the main idea coming right out of that. If you know there’s conflict, go reconcile quickly, just as Jesus came to reconcile you, you know, there’s conflict, your side, their side doesn’t matter. Go reconcile quickly. Why? Because you know that Jesus came to reconcile you. And if you’re unwilling, this doesn’t describe you, you got to ask the question, why not? Why doesn’t this describe me? Because self righteous or unrighteous anger proves that the gospel hasn’t really penetrated our hearts yet? Are there people, maybe people in this room you can’t look at? You can’t think about without fighting with them in your head. As you consider your history, do you see a trail of broken relationships behind you, and know that you just keep walking away from friendships, with people who should have been brothers and sisters in Christ. And now you can’t even be in the same church? What that humble you, if that’s true of you, and send you back to Jesus, for grace, because we keep coming for, right, that’s how it all starts poor in spirit, be reconciled to God, God stands willing to forgive God’s 10s willing to forgive even today for the first time, you may be sitting here going, I have never done this. Let today be the day. But there are terms to his forgiveness. The terms are confession, and repentance and spiritual bankruptcy. Nothing in my hand, I bring only to the Cross I clean. That’s how we receive forgiveness, on merited faith or grace in Christ and in Christ alone, but do it without delay. You feeling convicted today? Leave your gift, run and put it right. settle matters quickly, especially with God. And let’s not forget as we do that, that God is the end. He’s the reason we keep His good commands. Right? They’re not an end in themselves. He is the end. Right? And that’s why it’s not enough to ask, Did I murder anyone today? Did I call anyone an idiot today? No, we must also ask, Do I know my father? am I experiencing intimacy with Him? Am I pleasing him? Has he been supreme in my life today? And if not, and when can we ever say Yes By the way, unreservedly? If not, we rush back to grace again. And then let the gospel motivate our obedience yet again. Some years ago, at a pastors conference in Southeast Asia, there were two groups of pastors present. One was a continuing from South Korea. The other was contingent from Japan. Contingency from Japan. And if you know anything about the history of that part of the world, you know that there is deep division there. Japan invaded Korea, all that kind of stuff. So similar to the black white divide here in the States. And so here they are at this conference, hearing the gospel again. But with this division between them, all those things I’ve described definitely going on. But they were hearing the gospel, and the Gospel is powerful. What happened was, at the end of the first day in the evening, the Japanese pastors knelt before the group from Korea and confessed their sins, confessed the division confessed the injustice the group from Korea had suffered at the hands of the Japanese. And then what happened was the next morning, the Korean pastors knelt before the group from Japan. And they confessed their anger and their bitterness and their unforgiveness. And these groups were reconciled in Christ. That’s the power of the gospel. To reconcile. That’s what a picture of the power by the way, well, we just learned we’re supposed to be salt and light in this world. You want to be salt and light seeing gospel-shaped Kingdom people reconcile like that? Is the kind of deed that will make people glorify your Father in heaven. So if you know there’s conflict, division, unforgiveness, bitterness, go, be reconciled, just as Christ came to reconcile you. Let’s pray together now. Lord, we are so grateful that Jesus came to reconcile us You had every cause to be angry with us we had no cause to be angry with you. And yet, when there was that division, you came, you initiated you set things right. You forgave us. Lord, love like that should transform us. It should leave us forever changed. And that’s what we pray for now, Lord, even now you would soften our hearts a new if there is anyone in our lives that we are unwilling to reconcile with that you would, by the power of the gospel, overcome that sin in us to the glory of your name, amen.

© 2020 Cityview Community Church