Harmony Christian Church
Harmony Christian Church
Week 3 - Forgiveness, Asking for it
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Jesus says some shocking things, one of them has to do with people who are angry with you.  Tune in to learn why He says what He says and how it can affect eternity. When you give at Harmony, you are investing in life change and are Advancing the Kingdom!  GIVE TODAY, text any amount to (859) 459-0316  to get started (or give online @ my.harmonychurch.cc/give ).
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OPENING ILLUSTRATION: In the late ’80s early ’90s there was this weird period where silk shirts were cool.  My brother was in high school at the time and he had saved up money to buy a silk shirt.  He would tuck it in and be all poofy with feathered hair.  He was cool.  He’s 4 years older than me and I must have been in 6th grade.  Because I remember him sitting on the couch watching TV and eating spaghetti.  He said something to me that set me off…  Have you ever had one of those moments where you “broke?”  I broke.  I was like, “I’ve had all I can take and I can’t take no more!”  I walked straight over to him, grabbed the plate of spaghetti he was eating, and flipped it up onto his brand new silk shirt.  Lol.  Have you ever seen the fires of hell?  I saw them that day in my brother’s eyes.  I took off running outside because I knew my life was over…
Ha!  And Jesus says this…
Mt 5:21-22a 21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder,[a] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister[b][c] will be subject to judgment.
Lol, wish I’d have known to throw that one in his face! “in your face!”
Jesus said being angry with your brother is the same as murder…
If you read this section of the scripture, Jesus is saying this about a lot of things…
You think adultery is bad – if you lust after someone you’ve already committed it in your heart
You’ve heard take revenge – an eye for an eye, I’m telling you, let people slap you around
Jesus is illustrating how people who live in the Kingdom of God will live and operate differently from those in the Kingdom of the world.
Now, we’ll come back to this particular passage about Anger in a minute, but I need to give you a quick primer on this whole section:
We call this

The sermon on the mount
Jesus started preaching the good news

Good News:  “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven has come near”-could literally have a whole sermon series on this
and now he’s initiating the Kingdom-He calls disciples – starts calling followers-He enacts the Kingdom – starts healing people, casting out demons – He is showing the Kingdom of God has come down to earth
It is in this context of the Kingdom that Jesus teaches the sermon on the mount – you have to understand what He is doing to understand what He’s saying-Most people view this sermon as another list of things to do and don’t do. 
The sermon on the mount is a list of things you will see evident in the life of a disciple of the Kingdom
ILLUSTRATION: Have you ever known someone who went to church so they could party on the weekend and not feel bad about it?  I had this friend who was like that.  I remember arguing with her because she was gonna go get drunk and party and her plan was then to go to confession and ask some priest to forgive her.  I remember thinking, your goal is to see how close you can get to the edge without falling over the cliff.  How far can I go and still be ok with God?
This is kind of the attitude the religious people of Jesus’ day had.  They treated the law of God like a fence for them – it kept some people in and kept some people out -So, they would get mad if you healed on a Sabbath because you shouldn’t work on the sabbath…Make sense?
But Jesus treated God, His word, and His Kingdom like a warm fire in a cold room – you want to see how close you could get and you wanted to draw others in.
So, listen, as you read the Sermon on the mount – you can’t see it as another fence – people who do these things are in and people who don’t are out…
The idea of the sermon is: this is what it looks like to be in the Kingdom
Even if you are poor – you know you’re blessed because you have the KingdomIf you mourn – you will know comfort because you know ends are not eternal

you will treat marriage differently

money differently
And what drives all of these different behaviors?  It is following the law of the Kingdom
Love one another as I have loved you-Jesus is showing us how love looks in the Kingdom
Ok, so, back to my brother being ticked at me and me wishing I’d been more biblically literate to throw it in his face…
Can I read you the whole passage Jesus says as he illustrates how a Kingdom disciple will handle this situation?

Mt 5:21-22 21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder,[a] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister[b][c] will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’[d] is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
So far so good – it just gets better – you’re going to hell if you get mad enough at me!  Sorry bro!
Doesn’t this make you feel a little better?-Your kids who are so mad at you for how you raised them and you never did enough for them you were so terrible to them…  If they don’t get this figured out, they’re in real trouble – that anger will consume them-That coworker that you think is overreacting – sorry for you pal, you may be mad at me, but I won’t pay the price-you’re X who is furious with you and the arrangement over your custody and how much they have to pay in child support… 
The reason this kind of anger is so dangerous is that there is no forgiveness in this person’s heart.
And Jesus said you will be forgiven in the same way you forgive.
By holding on to anger towards you – they are not embracing the grace of God for themselves either.
But remember, I told you, Jesus is illustrating Kingdom living…  Listen to how He wraps this section up…  Up until now, the focus has been on the person who is harboring anger

23-24 23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First, go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
Jesus points the finger at us, it’s so beautiful – this is masterful preaching…He says, imagine, you have come to the temple – maybe even made a big journey.  You have brought your sacrifice to God – a sacrifice that will bring you the forgiveness of sins.  He says you are there in front of the altar – just about to ask God for forgiveness and there you remember that your brother or sister…  your kids, your coworker, your X has something against you…  Get this…  Jesus says to leave your sacrifice where it is and go to the person who was offended, be reconciled to them, and then come and offer your gift.
If you have given someone reason to be angry – go and reconcile with them.-Jesus doesn’t qualify it…
He doesn’t say, “if they have a right to be mad, go…”He doesn’t say, “if you really did screw up, go…”
For years I thought this passage was about me being angry with them…  But they are the one with something against me…
This passage is about a person being humble

this passage is about a person who is willing to admit they were wrong

This passage is about a person NOT having to have the last word
This is you caring more about the eternal destination of those in your sphere than about you being right…
There is SO much more to say about this than I have time to say…  My hope is that you will come tonight to our Connection Group Spin-Off Experience and hash this out in community with other Christians.
But at the very least that you will start to look at your own discipleship and start to go to those in your world who are angry with you and ask for forgiveness…
CLOSING ILLUSTRATION: some of you know that I take this seriously.  Because I used to not.  I used to let fear keep me from actually going into these kinds of moments.  I honestly had too much ego to admit I was wrong, to humble myself, to ask for forgiveness.  You can ask my wife, it still sometimes takes me a bit to go back and do it.  But I’ve learned something over the years.  
That most of the time humility inspires humility 
What I mean is that when I seriously humble myself before someone and say, “I was wrong, I’m sorry” that they tend to shift in their attitude as well.  I end up providing the runway for their forgiveness to take flight.
“But Kent, what if it doesn’t go that way?”  Look, you can’t control if they will forgive, or if they will be willing to let go.  Some won’t, all you can do is own what you did do, ask for forgiveness, and trust that if they don’t forgive, God will deal with that too…