Exodus 20: The Sixth Command
Father, we ache with the Johnstons this morning. We hurt with them over the loss of Jenny. We’re happy that she is today in Heaven with you in your presence, and she reached the end of her race -that she endured to the end.
But I just pray that you would give an immense amount of comfort and peace to the Johnston family and use us to do that, to be those agents of peace for you or… You know, we’ve got a lot going on out there in the world. Sometimes it can weigh heavy on our hearts, we have a lot going on individually, different struggles and sins that we face in our life day by day, and today, Lord, right now, during this time, I asked that you would please just clear those things out of our mind, so that we can focus on your word.
I pray that you would forgive us for sins. That you would cleanse us from those sins, that you would open the eyes of our hearts, that we can see you, and I pray that you would challenge us and change us today. Father, I pray and ask these things in your precious name. Amen.
Would you turn in your Bible with me, please, to Exodus Chapter 20.We have been working our way through the book of Exodus, and we slowed down to almost a grinding halt as we got in Exodus Chapter 20, which is the 10 Commandments, and we wanted to cover each one of these commandments… One a week, at least one of those commandments took two weeks to cover, but we are on commandment number six this week, and we’re gonna look at the high standard of righteousness and the goodness of that righteousness that’s brought to us today. In the 6th commandment, we are looking at exit 20 and verse 13. this is the sermon text for this morning.
You shall not murder.
In Hebrew, it’s one word.
So we’re gonna spend the next however long on one word, Do not murder.
You shall not murder. You will not murder.
When I was a youth pastor in Michigan, early on, I had purchased a vehicle, a Toyota Camry from friend of my dad, and we were excited, it was really our first new-ish vehicle, it was like three or four years old to that point, we had normally done the 10-15-year-old vehicle.
I still have that Toyota Camery today.
One of our first youth group activities I had there at the church, I drove my Camery to the Church, I left it parked out back, we had some bonfire, some activity outside, and we cleaned up and on my way out to my vehicle that night, I noticed on the passenger side, somebody had taken a key and the entire length of the passenger side had been keyed… It’s still there today. You can go see it. And that is fairly typical, ’cause I was youth pastor in Michigan, and that is American-made car country and Toyota for whatever reason, doesn’t have that reputation as being American-made even though too more or are made in America, the… Anywhere else in the world. But that’s neither here nor there.
I felt they defaced my property, they scratched it up as, I guess, silent protest, and that was kind of frustrating, but I was like, Wow, it doesn’t really bother me. I still get me from point A to point B, that part hasn’t rushed it out, so we’re good.
Unfortunately, we have many examples today of the defacing of property in the violence and kind of crazy world we live in, one of the main ones this last week has been the destruction of statues from Civil War generals from the South.
Some of you have seen this, obviously, there’s a debate about whether or not these should be taken down in our world today, there’s actually a really good article on the Gospel Coalition about that this week that you could read, and it really brought a lot of clarity for my mind on the subject, these images are being torn down and broken because many of the men were aggressive in their promotion and their defense of the institution of slavery, and so the images of the men are being torn down, so today, we are gonna look at a different kind of image that is destroyed or defaced, it is an image that is much, much more that valuable though.
So here’s the big idea, if you’re taking notes… Here’s the idea- the thing that you would wanna write down and remember from this sermon, Human Life Has Value That Should Not Be Damaged, human life has value that should not be damaged. Alright, like I said earlier, this word in the Hebrew is one word, however, this word is a specific word, sometimes you and I might use the word kill and murder interchangeably.
Okay, in Hebrew, there’s actually a very specific word dedicated to murder, and it’s never used of a general, like a killing in a battle or a justified killing of someone for a punishment that they committed, it’s never used like that, there’s a separate word that’s used for that in Hebrew, there’s one specific word that’s used, murder, it’s about taking a life of a person who did not deserve it, that’s the word, and that’s what it means, here’s another really good definition of this word, murder in Hebrew. It’s killing an innocent person.
Okay, it’s pretty straight forward. And so I’m gonna give you a few principles on what this murder looks like, and we’re gonna drive has always toward the cross of Jesus Christ. We’re gonna see some wonderful things there in a moment. One of the most important principles I can teach you today about why murder is wrong is… And this is number one, all human life has inherent value because they are made in the image of God. What do I mean when I say inherent value?- it’s part of who they are.
Figuratively, you could say it’s part of their DNA. Its innate to them. It’s not dependent on what they do, what they look like, how strong they are, anything like that, their value is not dependent on if what their skin color is, on what their intellect is, their value is not dependent on how productive in society they are, No- their value is inherent, it’s something built into them, and that’s why it’s wrong to take a life that means different races are not more or less humans, that means different classes, rich, poor are not more or less human, that means that different levels of athleticism are not… Or less human. And all God’s people said, Amen- Yeah, it’s a good thing too.
Different looks, different productivity levels, every human being has innate value… Why? Because they were created in the image of God. What does it mean to be created in the image of God?
This is a question that theologians have literally been debating for like 34-35 centuries now, so it’s hard, but at the very least, we know being created, the image of God from Genesis chapter 1 is connected to a unique relationship that humans have with God, that the rest of the world doesn’t… And on top of that, it’s connected to a unique calling that humans have to rule this world and bring order to this world in a way that glorifies God, we know that all humans are called to that, and they have this innately inside of them.
There are many differences that you and I have in skin color or an athleticism and strength and whatever, but these differences actually display the beauty of the creator, why? Because God is the creator of both black and white skin, God is the creator of thin and thick hair, God is the creator of athleticism and intellect and beauty, and height and shortness, and how long your second toe is… Some of you know you’ve been over to my house when I go barefoot, my second toe was longer than my big toe… It’s supposedly a Roman DNA thing, I looked it up on the internet, so it must be true.
Okay, some of you have really short second toes, like it’s almost shorter than your third toe… That’s weird. Okay.
But God makes us with different even size toes, the beauty and the diversity of creation displays God, because God is not the creator of a single people group that all look a like lots of groups of people and types, you’ve never met God created. There are so unlike in fact, that you might even struggle to talk to them, but they do have equal value, not because they are like you, but because they are like God, they’re created in the image of God.
Not God, they created in the image of God.
Some humans may respond to this truth, and no, God I’m created in your image, so I’m gonna live for you, and thank you that you made me in your image, and in that since they appreciate the fact that they created in the image of God, other people might reject that and say, No, I’m not created in God’s in it. I’ll do whatever I want, but guess what? Both people are still created in God’s image, both people have equal value before God because of that… What defines a person? What makes a human valuable?
When is a person a person? When is a person not a person? If someone has the intellect of a baby or they use less of a person, location intellect, contribution to society, self-awareness, none of these things make a person a person, that is the reason that… It’s an innate quality that is the reason why would be a pro-life person… The second you say humanness has something to do with our performance, is the second that you open yourself up for any kind of racism, because if I say for instance, this is the most common argument that a person is a person when they’re self-aware, when they’re aware they’re a person… Well, what age is that?
And by the way, I know plenty of people who lack self-awareness, does that mean they’re less of a person than the people who really are aware of themselves and how they impact others? Even if it’s like 100 to 90, is that okay?
So, I believe humanness is an innate quality. That’s what the Bible teaches, it’s not determined by how small or big, it’s not determined by location, whether they’re inside of the womb or outside of the womb, is that determined by their dependency, whether they rely on machines to live or their mother to live, it’s not dependent on their self-awareness or they’re intellect, it’s an innate thing, it’s built into our DNA, and therefore to take the life of a babies is murder. Here’s the interesting thing, I have to, I think at this point, defined very carefully what I mean by innocent… Remember how I define murder? How the Bible defines murder.
The Bible defines it as, the killing of an innocent person, so the question is, what makes someone innocent or not, because if we mean a sinless person, well, all of us deserved to be killed, right.
It’s not, there’s no… Never been, there’s been only one in one person and he was killed, is Jesus… It is appropriate to know what innocent means, and the lucky thing is not lucky that the God-given thing is that actually the Old Testament law is filled with case study after case study of what makes a person innocent and undeserving of being killed for wrongs that they’ve done.
So let me give you an example, Exodus 22, fascinating example in the law.
Okay, you’ve got this example versus one through four, I’m gonna skip Verse 30, you can read it, but
I’m just gonna skip it. For our purpose is here today. A man steals an ox or a sheep and kills it or sells it, He shall repay five oxen for the ox and for sheep for a sheet. Okay, so there’s a repayment, if there’s a stealing, a robbery effect, if a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no blood guilt for him, but if the sun is risen on him, there shall be blood guilt for him. He shall surely pay. If he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his stuff, if a beast is found alive in his possessions, whether it’s an ox or donkey or sheep shall pay double so well, what’s the case study given here?
You read that it’s a little confusing ’cause of the pronoun game that’s played, but basically it’s this… Okay, somebody breaks into your house at night, wants to steal your TV.
Okay, it’s night time.
You don’t know if this is a burger burglar or a thief, the difference verbal or steels, but is no threat to life… A thief could be a threat to life, you don’t know if this person’s breaking into, kill you, break it into, do damage to you and your family or not, because it’s night, you can’t see their intention, so you strike them and they die, you more that they die, you didn’t necessarily want them to die, but there’s no blood guilt on your hands for that, that’s not murder.
It would be killing to be a justified to… But on the other hand, if the sun is up… Do you see that? If the sun is up, what happens?
Oh, well then the person who struck him down, even if it it appears in self-defense, there’s blood guilt on His hands… Why is that? ’cause it’s assumed in that moment that… And this is a case study, an example to give you an idea, that’s somebody who who kills in that instance, he had an idea of the intent and saw that that Thief was just there to steal a property, not there to be a threat to my life, and therefore, it would be unjustified or wrong for me to take their life, in other words, and innocence life is not somebody who never does any wrong, and somebody who never does wrong to you, an innocen life biblically could even be considered a burglar, someone who’s taking your possessions, and yet, if you kill them when it’s obvious that their intent is only to take your possessions, that his murder biblically… You see that just… Yeah, that works.
There’s actually a ton of case studies on murder because stuff was happening in that society, and people needed to know when something was murdered when it wasn’t… This is, is huge in our mental capacity because it helps us to understand that an intent person is not necessarily someone who does doesn’t do any wrong to you.
Many people will rush to save a victim- to say to the victim and say, well, he was a good person, they were a bad person, they weren’t a good person, they’ll say of the victim… Well, they were known for drugs and stealing and threats, and really that reverts the biblical view of justice, those things matter, but if a life was taken in an unjustified way, it’s still murder. That’s the biblical view.
The question that we need to ask is, worthy, deserving of death or deadly force, and if the answer is no, then it was murder, biblical.
Biblically murder. Now, I know many of you are proud gun carriers, and I think it’s not a bad thing to carry guns, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, but I wanna give you a taste of the biblical perspective here so that you can consider some things deeply and ethically, I think some gun carriers tend to be too ready to pull a trigger, even in their imagination, they imagine opportunities to be able to pull the trigger, and the biblical version here is that God sees you as having blood Gill on your hands, if that person was undeserving of death and you killed him.
If that person was no threat to your life and you killed… Now, there are cases where somebody’s gonna be a threat to your life… Right, that’s why you carry a gun, apparently Biblically, there’s a cause to be able to defend yourself there, but what if somebody is just stealing your purse, your wallet, your car…
I said, Okay, to chase them down with a gun and shoot to kill…
I don’t think biblically it is. And I think if you are going to carry a gun, you need to ask that question now before you reach a situation where you need to make that determination, those decisions are some of the most difficult to make, is one of the reasons why police officers have one of the toughest jobs in the world, Right?
They’ve gotta make a split second decision about whether or not deadly force is necessary, hard decision to make in self-defense and self-preservation to pull that trigger, and yet Biblically, if they pull the trigger and it wasn’t justified… It’s considered murder. So we honor those who have to make those tough decisions, and we hold accountable those who make those decisions poorly, is the thing you cannot arrive at the biblical view that all humans deserve respect and protection from a typical modern viewpoint, you guys all thoroughly uncomfortable, ’cause I just talked about all those things for the last five, 10 minutes…
I can feel you stepping up when I talk about those things, listen, my goal is not to convince you or one view points to lay the biblical counsel wisdom before you, you’re gonna be mad with somebody, be mad with the Bible, ’cause that’s all I’m trying to do.
Okay, here it is, work it through, figure it out in your heart, but don’t you dare say, I won’t have what Pastor tray just brought to my mind, I’m gonna ignore it.
Don’t you dare do that. God will hold you accountable for that.
Now, you end up disagreeing with that, if you end up grappling with the scripture and struggling through it, and you disagree with a view point, I might have an interpretation in a happy… Fine, let’s talk about it. I wanna learn. But don’t you dare deform it and say, I won’t have anything to do with it.
I wanna bring this back around to a really important view, the system of evolution, if evolution is your philosophical system, then the strong killing the week is how the human race has refined itself to evolve to the point where it is today, and you really have no legs to stand on to say, We should stop doing that if… If that’s your main philosophical system, that’s how we got to where we are today, you see the logical outcomes of those things, all you have to do is go and read some of Darwin’s works, or you have to do is go and read the founder of plan to parenthood, all you have to do is read about the atrocities that were committed in places where the evolutionary system was the foundation of the decisions they made, like Russia and China and Europe over the last century, greater atrocities had been committed in the name of evolution than any other name, millions have died. These atrocities have the underpinning of the evolutionary mindset, because if I am strong than I deserve to oppress or even kill the week to maintain my strengths, ask yourself What foundation of your view… What foundations do you have to hold on to this idea that all humans have inherent value? Ask yourself that question, Why should all humans have inherent value, why should I consider all humans to be valuable?
I’ve heard people say, Well, we should just love one another and say, Yeah, but why should we love one another?
Because it’s a good thing. Yeah, but why is it a good thing? And how do you even define? Good.
What would you should… It’s better for everyone. If we do that well, is it really better for you? If you’ve gotta give up your strength, because everyone has value, well, what is that value based on… Are you gonna say that value is based on their beauty, that they’re unique, that they’re individualistic about people who are cookie cutters, what is the value going to be based on in your mindset, because if you’re not gonna find it in some innate quality and man, you’ve got problems, and it’s gonna lead you toward all kind of problems to racism, it’s gonna lead you toward a mindset that is justified when it comes to not only killing but subjugating people who are not like you… People might have less or more of the thing that you consider what makes humans valuable, and if they have less than you, does that give you the right to hurt them, but if you accept that humans are created names of God, then you must… You must… You must hate racism, you must hate classes, you must hate sex is me, you must hate every violence against another human being because of some kind of difference, you must hate abortion.
You have to… And if your initial response to that is to defend yourself, then you’re not seeing the Bible clearly. Why is it so hard for us to just say, Yes, racism is bad. Without needing to argue against it, it’s okay to say that We believe that Christians should try up that humans are valuable and equal and amazing, ’cause they’re made in the image of God, we should try it that and love that.
Do everything we can to work for that ideology.
So here’s principle number two, principle number one is all human life is created an image of God, and therefore valuable principle number two is taking the life of a human made in the image of God requires just punishment if you need a text… By the way, I’m sorry, I didn’t give you the clear text on this for principal number one, Genesis 9:6, I would be the one you would wanna look at, here are the texts for taking the human of life made in the image of God requires just punishment Numbers 25:31 says, You shall accept no ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, he shall be put to death, Deuteronomy 19 goes on and says, Your I shall not pity him, but you shall purge the guilt of the innocent blood from Israel. So that it may be well with you. In other words, somebody who kills somebody else in an unjustified way, the murder of an innocent person, and remember how we define innocent in essence just means somebody who was not deserving of death, not a perfect person, not even a good person, remember, ’cause thieves were deserving of death, they do not get jail time, they do not get a fine, they do not get to pay a ransom and get off… This is a really tough part of the law, right.
Is this offensive to your modern sensibilities at all, like a murderer deserves to be The Death punishment? It makes me feel a little like… A little sad. Anyone? I’m seeing no nods. Okay, I’m the only one. So this point, it’s just for me, I’m gonna say it out loud just in case… Okay, innocent blood being spilled requires guilty blood being spilled.
Justice requires a fair punishment, it is a perversion. In these verses, to feel bad for a murderer who took someone’s life unnecessarily, it’s a perversion, it’s a perversion of justice, they value human life, they took it, and therefore there should be taken… Now, the question that comes up naturally in my mind is, if the death penalty is used for a murderer, doesn’t that do just as much to do value human life, you wanna mean like you’re just taking another life, is that…
But I… And the answer is, No, absolutely not. It actually holds the crime against human life so high that the punishment needs to be as severe as you can possibly imagine. So let me give you an example, okay.
I’m sitting on my couch at home.
I got my phone next to me, my kids know they’re not supposed to touch my phone, it’s an annoyance thing, it’s not anything I have against them, they could break it, I guess, but I just don’t want to bother in my phone, don’t wanna mess it around with it… So if a kid comes over, I have a little toddler, do every once in a while, looks up at me, looks down on my phone, is up at me, as Don on my phone, as his hand slowly starts to reach for that phone, I look at him and I tell him, No, no.
And he pulled his hand back… Okay, so at… That is correct.
Okay, now let’s imagine we’re in the kitchen instead, my child reaches up for the pan while I’m cooking. I look at him and I say, No, no.
Keep reaching… The punishment needs to fit the crime because the crime is dangerous, so guess what I’m gonna do? I’m not just gonna tell them no, no. And that be the end of it, and then put my phone underneath my leg or whatever… So we can’t get to it, I’m not gonna do that. So what am I gonna do? Now, I’m gonna put them in time out. As he needs to learn not to touch hot pans on the stove, the punishment is gonna be more severe, one, he just hears the words, no, no.
And that might be enough to bring them to tears by the way, the other… He has to be put in the corner and time out, Right?
So the punishment has to fit the severity of the crime because of the badness of the crime, and it’s the same thing with this, how severe is the taking of an innocent life… Can you imagine a more severe crime? No, it’s the worst, right?
So what is the most severe punishment? It’s justified. It’s fair. It’s right, it’s equitable. It doesn’t make it nice.
So you can expect that if God really is the God of the entire world, then God will step on the toes of different people and different ideas in different cultures, so you can’t expect that God will step on your toes a little bit.
If he does not ever step on your toes and you are not worshipping God, you are just worshipping an idealized version of yourself, Okay, cause you’ve got a guy who always agrees with you, therefore you’ve got you…
God will disagree with you sometimes, this is an area that she disagrees with us in America, we don’t like to think of Justice, we don’t like to think of fairness and equity and right and good punishment for sins done. It makes us uncomfortable inside, but I wanna say that I think this is an area that we need to dive into more now with a vengeance now with the fire, but with a resigned peace, knowing that justice is a good thing because it’s only… When somebody has brought to justice that you and I feel satisfied, somebody does wrong to you, you’re not satisfied if they are let off the hook.
Doesn’t sit right with you. It’s not right, it’s not fair. The justice of God cannot become the only attribute you appreciate about God, but it should be one of them, if it’s the only one you appreciate about God, you will become a sadist, we don’t want that.
But it should be one of them, it should be cultivated in our hearts, ’cause in moments where there are grave injustices and we don’t see justice coming here in this earth, it’s in those moments that we need to turn and rely on the ultimate justice of God to write all wrongs and punish those who have sinned… We need that.
You need that. I wanna say you need that because things are not always gonna be fair, Amen?… Things are gonna be bad, sometimes people are gonna do something bad and get away with it, right, and you in those moments have to… You have to go back to the justice of God, knowing that he will take care of it one day. Finally, this is actually one of the things that I’ve been really struggling with a lot lately, justice of God, ’cause I’m reading Isaiah, and if you don’t know anything about the Old Testament, particular Isaiah, he weaves the justice of God in and out with the love of God, and I read the love verse, I like that verse, I read the justice first, and I’m like A… And then I read The Lovers, Hey, that’s good, and the justice first like… Like I can’t get used to it yet, but I need to, I need to appreciate it for what it is.
Now, each one of the points above is pointing to the significance of human life, humans are significant and valuable because they’re created in the image of God. Amen. Even the life of criminals is significant and valuable because they’re created in the image of God, I mean… Finally, human life is so significant that taking it requires a great punishment. Human life matters, these people around you that stumble through their days every day, they matter, they’re valuable, their life is significant. And that brings us to the very important fourth point, here it is, image of God can be harmed in many ways, the image of God can be harmed in many ways, murder can happen, can be committed with the hands, with the tongue and with the heart.
Matthew 5, Jesus says, You have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, Jesus says, who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment. Whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council. whoever says, You fool will be liable to the hell of fire. Do you know what that’s saying?
It’s in the same class of sense, when you insult someone with your tongue, it’s murder with your tongue, when you’re angry at somebody in your heart, it’s murder in your heart, you see… This is the principle in the Word of God. God’s righteousness is much higher than we make it, right?
We see it over and over again.
We want to reduce these commandments down and be like, Well, I’ve never taken a life, we wanna say I’ve never pulled a gun on somebody and shot him, ’cause I was angry at him, I’ve never done that, so I’m pretty good at that command.
Is that with Jesus thinks?
James 4 puts it like this, you desire and do not have, so you murder, by the way, he’s talking about conflict within a church, I don’t think what James is getting at there is everyone pulled their guns out as soon as some conflict happened, otherwise, churches would be a lot smaller than they are, right?
You can murder with your heart and with your words and with your hands… What is murder? Here’s what murder is, ultimately, it’s devaluing and defacing human life, and that can be done in many different ways. What is the first thing you do when you are mad at someone?
What’s the first thing you do? De-humanize them, and that removes all pity and all compassion that you have toward them, that’s why when people get angry, they can lash out and say and do things that they would never normally do, because suddenly that thing over there is no longer a person, it’s just the object of my rat. They’re not a human, it’s an item. It’s a thing I’ve do humanized them. They don’t have the value that a human has anymore, so now I will attack them in that moment, the other person is not a human, they’re an obstacle to something we want, they’re a tool to get the thing we want, and therefore we are willing to damage anything we have to get that thing. That’s why James says, you desire and you don’t have… So you murder.
It’s not just that, I mean, this is all over the Old Testament too.
My study by Isaiah, this is one of the really cool things that has come out, it says right in the beginning, Isaiah chapter 1… On how the faithful city has become a horse, she was full of justice, righteousness lodged in her, but now murderers. Now I read the rest of Isaiah, I don’t see anywhere where actual murders talked about, but connected to this idea of murder over and over again is this idea of people who are using and abusing other people to get what they want. Normally, it’s the strong using and abusing the week to become more strong is what it is.
James picks up on that too. It’s not just an Old Testament thing, James says, Come now you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. He says a verse later, Behold the wages of the laborers who mode your field, which kept you, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
And he says, You have condemned and murdered the righteous person, he does not resist you, you know what that’s saying?
The rich people who are using the weak, not paying them their wages, ’cause they know they can get away with it, not paying that the fair does that they should… They’re using and abusing the week, subjugating them and hurting them for their own gain, those people like that are actually committing murder, maybe not physically, but in the heart… If you read your Bible with this in mind, you start to see murder connected to oppression all over the place, and pride all over the place.
All over the place. It’s all over in Isaiah. Think about it, when the strong de-value human life by using the week for their own benefit, that’s murder. The root cause does not have to be anger or violence, right, it can be anger and violence, but the motivation can be simple gain, and the means can be devaluing a human life, that’s what murder is ultimately. You devalue someone else. Now I see we’re in a much broader ocean of sins at that point, right.
The facing human life can happen in my mind as I think about the many ways I wanna put someone in their place… Maybe I’m the only one who does that. I didn’t get a single not.
As I think about how I wanna make them feel bad, how I wanna ruin their reputation for what they did to me… That’s murder, plain and simple.
Murder off, that happens with our lips too… I hope no one leaves our church services and immediately murder with their lips saying, Did you see what so and so was wearing?
Can you believe what Pastor Trey said? Gossip is an offense to the image of God, lying is an offense to the image of God, rape is an offense to the image of God-less and pornography is an offence to the image of God, bad-mouthing someone is an offense to the image of God, telling someone off is an offense to the image of God, posting something on social media that is offensive or hurtful to someone else, is an offense to the image of God. You start to see how this works. Murder is everywhere. Are your hands red? Are your hands red?
Have you murdered? Have you damaged the image of God and others, do you need to apologize to your spouse maybe for something you said this morning, you need to apologize to your kids… That can be a humbling.
The one, do you need to apologize to your employee or employer or co-worker, Do you need to apologize to someone in the church? You need to make things right.
It brings us to our final principle, principle number four, and that is the perfect image of God was killed, so that all those who damaged the image of God can be forgiven and freed to love, the perfect image of God was killed, so that all those who damaged the image of God can be forgiven and free to love… What is Jesus called?
Colossians 1:15, anyone know it.
He is the image of the invisible God.
You and I are created in the image of God.
It’s a sin to murder because it is devaluing or damaging the image of God, it says in Acts 7, and Steven’s famous speech, actually, these words were finally the words that finally made the crowd start to pick up stones to stone him to death.
He said, Which of the prophets did your father’s not persecute?
And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the righteous one, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you see the perfect image of God, Jesus Christ is a perfectly… In the image of God, he was murdered and killed innocently, he of all people was undeserving of death, he have all… People did not deserve that he was perfect here on the search, it was never deserved a deserving of any kind of punishment, much less the most severe punishment, and yet that was the one that they took and nailed to the tree.
And why did they do that? And what did that do? Acts 3, The God of Abraham, The God of Isaac, The God of Jacob, the count of Our Fathers, glorified His servant Jesus, whom You delivered.
And tonight in the presence of Pilot, when he had decided to release him, but you denied the holy and righteous one and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, And you killed the author of life, whom God then raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses, and his name by faith, in His name has made the man that they held strong… Faith is in Jesus.
Do you know the story of the cross? You who? Barabbas is at the cross.
Barabbas, the murderer, pilot brings Barabbas and Jesus to the crowd, it was the custom to let one prisoner go free, Barabbas was a violent criminal, often portrayed as a little bit crazy, and the crowd chanted for Barabbas the murderer to go free instead of Jesus, the innocent righteous one, you and are rabbis there.
You and I are the murderers who are justly condemned for our sins before God, we are justly deserving of death.
And Jesus Christ takes our place.
So in that all those who believe in Jesus Christ are forgiven for the many ways they’ve hated, the many ways they’ve gossip, in many ways they’ve been angry than many ways they’ve devalued and used and abused the human life around them, they can be forgiven for that, and not only forgiven. This is so important ’cause God doesn’t just forgive. God sets free because ultimately hatred and bitterness and anger or change, and God breaks those chains through the love of Jesus Christ, and you and I can be freed from all kinds of murder, from the murder in our heart, the bitterness we hang on to against others, for what they’ve done to us- for the murder of our lips that where we lash out at those around us and damage them because we’re not getting what we want, the murder of our actions.
God can forgive us and set us free, and so people hear today who profess and confess that Jesus Christ is our hope in life and death, are you free from murder, because if you are live as those who are free, do not go back to slavery, to anger do not go back the labor of using your tongue to murder other people, do not go back to an attitude that to value certain people on the basis of the color of their skin or how smart they are, whatever else. Do not go back to those things now.
Instead, love, value people. As much as God does. That’s my challenge for you today. Let’s close with a word of prayer, and our musicians will make their way, Close your eyes, by your head, just pray for a moment silently to God. Confess any sins you might have…
Father, thank you for the love that you’ve given to us where demonstrated that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us so that we could be forgiven for the many ways that we’ve lived in anger and had murder in our hearts and murder on our lips, murder on our hands, or your law holds us accountable to a state of the process that we could never achieve, but you sent your son cheese sort to be that righteousness on our account, and I pray that each person in here, you would… Through Jesus Christ, forgive and be set free from any anger, a murder in their heart, that we would be humble enough to recognize our sin, confess it, and turn from it .
And I asked that you would challenge and change us, I don’t let us stay the same at. Pray those who are struggling with some of the ideas even that I brought up in this sermon, things that maybe are an offense or not bother to something that they haven’t thought of before, and it’s frankly uncomfortable to think about it and I pray it would cause a level of humility, that is willing to study your word and submit to whatever it says, LORD… Father, Christ is our hope in life and death.
In life today as we live as those who are free and if we… When we die one day, Lord, He’s our hope, He’s everything we hold on to, because in Him were forgiven, we’re set free. So I pray that we would move in that assurance today. Grant a wonderful peace to us this morning, Father. I pray this in your precious name. Amen