Thou Shalt Not Kill — Matthew 5:21-26

In review, what we have said about Jesus’ teaching in His Sermon on the Mount, is that He gives us a contrast between what the Scribes and Pharisees were teaching and what was the true teaching of Moses. As Lloyd-Jones points out, the Scribes and Pharisees were always guilty of reducing the meaning and the demands of the law, and we will give a perfect example of it here in our text.

We will outline Jesus’ teaching in regard to “thou shalt not kill,” in the following two points.

 

1. What matters is not merely the letter of the law but the spirit of the law.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:21-22,

“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’  22 “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.

What Jesus was teaching here is that the commandment, “Thou shall not kill,” goes deeper than just the physical act of murder. The violation of this law actually begins in the heart when we choose to be angry at a person. And then that anger is expressed in cruel word, such as “you good for nothing person,” or “you fool.” And then, in some cases there will be a physical murder. But Jesus tells us that it is all sin, that in every phase it is murder.

Why? Well, I suppose it is because in each phase there is cruelty committed. When we tell a person that he is a worthless person, that kind of talk is very damaging to one’s self-worth. It is like killing the soul.  To say “you fool” is actually judging a person, pronouncing a judgment on him. But only God has the right to do that.

We can and should express anger at sin and at all the evil in the world, but never at any person. That is God’s business.  And at the end of time He will express His anger at every lost sinner at the Great White Throne (Rev. 20).

 

2. Our attitude must always be to try to reconcile with our brother.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:23-26,

“Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,  24 leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.  25 “Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.  26 “Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent.

We cannot please the Lord in worship if we don’t first make an attempt to make peace with one that has something against us, or we with him. Hence, it is not enough to discontinue our negative thoughts against him, we must take steps to remove the cause of the anger and the trouble. And also, don’t try to cover up the sin by doing any good works. This won’t be acceptable to God and really won’t help to fix the real problem. You must deal with the source of the problem. Some situations are difficult, but you must do your part. That’s all you can do.

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Donald Trump and the Media

Stephen Nielsen

In my last article on this subject I revealed how I became interested in politics and how I came to root for Donald Trump. I also wrote about how I got hooked on Fox News and how I see it as far superior to any other so-called news. Here I will carry on with the same thing, but maybe more on Trump.

You know I don’t think most people are even aware of all that the President has done, what a really good person he is. I see it especially where I live, in Minnesota; a very liberal, Dem state. I blame it mostly on the liberal news media. Sometimes I get the feeling that we are no better informed than communist countries—that restrict and control, and even alter the news. When I was younger, I remember hearing how people in Russia have no idea of the freedom we enjoy…

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How to Engage in Spiritual Conversations

Stephen Nielsen

The sermon today at my church had to do with witnessing to our neighbors—or anyone we would have a chance to talk to. It was good for me, because, over the years I have become sort of lax in this area. I don’t know why. I was thinking that maybe it is because I just haven’t taken the time with people to get in a lot of deep, personal conversations. Or maybe I have become too Christianized, or too proud—if you know what I mean. Anyway, I what to give you a few questions (taken directly from the sermon notes) that every Christian can ask his friends in order to stimulate a spiritual conversation.

  • Do you believe people can change?
  • What brings you a sense of meaning of purpose?
  • Do you think our world is getting better or worse?
  • Is there a movie or book series that has meant a…

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My New Interest In Politics

Stephen Nielsen

During the Bush (Jr) years I was sort of interested in politics. But I think I was more forced into it by all that was happening in the country—you know, the Twin Towers. So tragic! Everybody was glued to their set, and concerned, and praying. And I was so proud of the President, the way he took charge.

I remained sort of interested in politics during the Obama years, but for a different reason. I was always praying that our people wouldn’t give up in the face of so much corruption in the government. As I witnessed more and more Christians around the world being persecuted and denied help from our countries it drove me to prayer. As I saw Muslims being let in and put in positions of government, my mind turned to bible prophecy—thinking about end times. You know, I just couldn’t believe how our country and the…

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My New Free-Flowing Blogging Style

Stephen Nielsen

This is my second article for my new personal blog. Actually, I wrote it a while back but now I’m rewriting it because I thought it would work well for this new blog. I have four other blogs going: a prayer blog which I started I think in 2011, then a few years later I began a bible prophecy blog, and then more recently I began a political blog and also a nature blog. The first two blogs are still going fairly well, but the nature blog and the political blog aren’t doing well at all. So, I have decided to delete those and put this one in its place. It will be freer flowing and easier. The following is the article I wrote a while ago. I think everything is still relevant.

My New Free-Flowing Blogging Style

Up till now, when I’ve blogged, I will usually study a subject…

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My New Personal Blog

Stephen Nielsen

For a while now I have been thinking that I really want to change my writing and blogging style. For so long now I have been blogging on one particular topic. I have a blog on prayer and another blog on bible prophecy. Those are good blogs, but I wanted to do something different. So far on the blogs I have, I have been very careful about getting all my information accurate. So I do my research before I write. But on this new blog my style will be different. I will be writing on things I already know about. I will be basically writing about me: my life,. my work, my interests, my thoughts or views on things. I think it will be much more free flowing and fun. I’m looking forward to it. I have so far thirteen different categorizes I want to write on–so I will be…

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How to Pray with Importunity – 4 Points

 

There is so much we could say here.  I think the following four points will give you a lot to work on.

 

Start by building up your faith

Since true importune prayer is aroused and energized by the Holy Spirit, it makes sense that if you want to pray with importunity you must be filled with the Spirit and walk in the Spirit. You can begin to do this by meditating on the Word.  When you get to know the God of the Word you will learn to trust Him and wait on Him in prayer.  Soon you will not yield to discouragement and weariness when you pray.  Likewise, you will say to God, “O my God, I trust in You” (Ps. 25:2).  And you will keep praying persistently for as long as it takes to gain the answer.

 

Strengthen your friendships

Since friendship is a great motivating factor in importune prayer, it behooves us to strengthen our friendships.  Strengthen your friendship with God by spending more quality time in the Word and by spending more intimate time with Him in prayer.  Likewise, you can strengthen your human friendships basically the same way, by spending more time with them.  In your time together of course, you ought to seek to get to know each other by asking personal questions and by praying together.  But the most important thing I think is to play together.  Yes, have fun together (as children do); and, with all your heart, seek to enjoy yourself with that person.  Out of your mutual enjoyment of each other will come a deep concern and love for each other.  This deep friendship will energize your persistent prayers for each other like nothing else.

 

Stretch out your praying

Plan your prayer times, and plan to pray for as long as possible. When you can, pray for an extended period of time: for a couple of hours, a half a day, or even a whole day. Don’t let petty activities get in the way of your praying.  Set your priorities on prayer.  When you are in the habit of praying longer, God will bless you and give you great joy.  He will make you want to spend more and more time in prayer.  You will never want to quit until He tells you, Stop praying now until our next meeting.  I like what E. M. Bounds has said: “Importunate prayer has patience to wait and strength to continue.  It never prepares itself to quit praying, and declines to rise from its knees until an answer is received.”6

 

Don’t give into laziness and selfishness

Importune praying requires a lot of work and is never selfish. If you want to pray with importunity, guard against the love of ease and seeking always to please yourself. Instead practice thinking and praying for the needs of others.  Try to feel and experience their hurts and needs as your own.  Put yourself in their place.  Ask yourself, “How would I feel and what would I do if I were them?” This practice will put you right on the cutting edge of prayer.  It will give you the passion and patience to continue in prayer for a person for as long as it takes.

 

6 E. M. Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer, p. 73.

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