You can listen to the Sunday service message by Pastor Asher in the following audio link
Date: 16/02/2020: 08:30 am
Message: Pastor Asher
Title: Christ intensifies law
Scroll down for the written script of the message
Sixth Sunday of Epiphany *IN NOMINE JESU*
21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 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. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ 34 But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.
Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.
In Matthew chapter 5, today we are zeroing in once again on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, and our Lord’s commentary goes strongly into the Ten Commandments. In verse 21, did you see the Fifth Commandment?
You shall not murder.
And then in verse 27 Jesus references the 6th Commandment- You shall not commit adultery.
And finally in verse 33, Christ gives His commentary on the 8th Commandment-
You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
Many who are unfamiliar with God’s Word are often surprised to read Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount because they are constantly expecting Christ to give everyone a “pass” on sin.
You know, they say: Jesus loves everyone. He affirms everyone. He understands everyone.
And here is the problem: Many wrongly see our Lord simply as a great teacher who softens Yahweh’s Old Testament expectations, essentially ignoring God’s standards for holy living while replacing the Ten Commandments with moralistic platitudes about love, and peace, and life.
But any serious reading of the New Testament, and any serious review of Jesus’ life, understands that Christ came not to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them. (Matthew 5:17).
And here is the truth: The Law of God holds a crucial place in our everyday lives because it shows us our sin and identifies God’s righteous standard. God’s Law forces all humanity to see that the human race and all sinners… including you and me, stand condemned before our holy God.
God tells sinners the truth. He gives us the accurate diagnosis that our sin condition is TERMINAL. Sin kills. And without a Savior, we must face God’s righteous judgement and an eternity in hell.
And here in Matthew 5, Jesus is giving His Father’s just and impartial standard as He preaches in part on the Ten Commandments.
In the Scriptures, we know that Jesus’ constant theme was repentance and the Kingdom of God. (Matthew 4:17) And our Lord preached and taught on the Law, the devastation of sin, and the need for repentance and renewed faith. As the Son of God who also became true Man, our Lord understands the struggle with sin which we all have in our daily lives.
So in today’s Gospel, what does Jesus say about murder? What Christ gives us in this text are not platitudes on love, peace, and life, instead the Savior zeroes in on the sin of our hearts and the real problem with anger, insults, and broken relationships.
The amazing thing to see is that our Lord intensifies the Law and says that breaking the 5th Commandment is not only done should we sinfully end another person’s life, but we also can murder others with anger, insults, hatred, and the failure to reconcile and restore relationships.
Jesus is here teaching two important truths: First, no one can self-righteously say that anyone has obeyed the 5thCommandment. For while no one here has physically murdered his neighbor, we all have murdered others in our hearts by anger, insults, hatred, and a failure to reconcile.
We say, or think in our hearts, “you fool,” and Jesus says that we are liable (or subject to) the fire of hell- verse 22. And here is the bottom line: If God judges our anger so harshly, then all of us are comdemned by Yahweh’s divine Law.
And this is where Jesus is taking us in the Sermon on the Mount. The truth is that the 5th Commandment (and also the other nine) condemns us all. And the remedy is that we need to trust Christ in faith to receive God’s mercy and forgiveness.
And the second important truth Jesus is teaching is that our Lord- verse 24- would first have us be reconciled to our brother or sister before we come to the Lord’s house for worship.
Christ never wants dishonest insincerity from us. He never wants us to go through the motions appearing to live the Christian faith while at the same time we are angry and broken with others. This kind of two-faced living is nothing more than a hypocritical fake Christianity. And here is the decisive point: Jesus wants us to live in real relationships of love and forgiveness. Our Lord wants all of us to live in peace, and to forgive each other from our hearts.
There are no worthless platitudes here. Jesus wants us to follow Him, obey the divine Law, and live our Christian faith in sincerity and truth.
(Transition)… And now in verse 27, Jesus shifts our attention to the 6th Commandment, or sexual sin. Here in our text, our Lord once again declares God’s will, and the expectation is simple and easy to understand. Sex is onlypermitted within marriage. Everyone here understands what Christ is commanding. Sex is honored by God in the union of husband and wife. And families, and children result in a God-pleasing order of things.
The problem with sex outside of marriage is that it destroys relationships, cheapens God’s gift, ignores the Lord’s design for our lives, creates huge problems of mistrust, and sins against the Heavenly Father’s will.
But again as before, Christ here intensifies the Law, and He says that breaking the 6th Commandment is not only done when a person sinfully sleep with someone he is not married to, but adultery is also committed when eyes look lustfully upon any member of the opposite sex.
So we’re in the high school cafeteria, or the government office, or wherever, and our eyes wander, and our mind sinfully fantasizes about sex outside of marriage. Jesus intensifies the Law. And He condemns this as adultery. In His sermon, Christ is saying that we are to do all we can to avoid this sin.
If our eyes are the problem, tear them out. If our hands are the problem, cut them off. And the question I’m always asked is: Does Jesus really want us to maim ourselves to avoid sin?? Well, that is what our Lord says. But what Christ is saying is that we are to do all that is humanly possible to avoid adultery, because sin is deadly and it is not to be minimized. Sin can ultimately lead to hell because when it is left unchecked, sin will eventually destroy faith and our relationship with God.
So Jesus wants to avoid sin at all costs. For the enemy, satan, will use whatever possible, our eyes, our hands, our anger, our sexual drive, to destroy us if he can.
And then in verse 31, connected to sexual sin, our Savior addresses the matter of divorce. Christ declares that ending one’s marriage, except on the ground of sexual immorality, is forbidden by God. These are hard words of Law and warning from our Savior, for it is God’s will that in our sexuality, we live a chaste and decent life, and each of us love and honor our spouse. And here, again, is the decisive point: Jesus wants us to live in real relationships of love and forgiveness. Our Lord wants all of us to live in peace, and to forgive each other from our hearts.
And now I need to rush to the final Commandment which Jesus covers in His sermon. The 8th:
You shall not give False Testimony…
We know what this means. We are to tell the truth. We are to speak the truth, and let our “yes” be “yes,” and our “no” be “no.” Lies and frivolous oaths are never the way of the Christian.
And yet, as we hear Christ preach the Law, we are ashamed because we know how often we shade the truth and play “fast and loose” with our words. So, in each Commandment, we kow we fall short of God’s righteous standard.
And the question is: What can we do? (Heads up Confirmation youth: Here is the Gospel)
What we need to understand when we read the Sermon on the Mount is that the Gospel is standing right there. The Gospel is in the Person of Christ. Jesus intensifies the Law to bring us to Himself.
And when the Law condemns us and we are devastated because of our sins, Christ is our only hope. The Savior became our Substitute for sin by taking our place and dying the death which we deserved on the cross. The cross is the intersection of God’s love and justice. And the good news is that God’s love in Jesus Christ went to the cross to save sinners like you and me.
For all who trust Jesus in faith, God’s justice is satisfied by the death and resurrection of His Son.
Jesus paid it all. All to Him we owe…
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
+Sola Deo Gloria+
KELC- Prayers- 2/16/20- Sixth Sunday after Epiphany
Dear Heavenly Father, give Your people Your Holy Spirit so that we may have the power to live righteous lives before You. And when we fail in sin to live according to your Law, lead us to Your Son who saves all believers by His blood shed on Calvary’s cross.
Lord in Your mercy……….. hear our prayer.
Almighty, Triune God, as the coronavirus pestilence spans the globe, we pray that You would moderate its effect by Your mercy. In times of despair, turn the world’s eyes toward You, in Whom true health, strength, and salvation may be found. And according to Your will, by Your outstretched hand, heal all who have fallen to this illness.
Lord in Your mercy……….. hear our prayer.
The handout of adult bible study can be downloaded below
Topic: 21st Century Idolatry ; Part 2: The God of Entertainment