Sermon Notes: The Sixth Commandment – Live and let live

22 02 2016

“You shall not murder.”

In the original Hebrew this commandment is two words: “Don’t kill”. The Hebrew language has 8 words for killing. This one is forbidding unlawful killing of a human being.

For further reading on the subject our Pastor recommended “Issues facing Christians today” by John Stott.

Life is valuable and comes from God. He is the author of life, He gives and takes away: “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” – Genesis 2 v 7

Issues of Life and Death:

  • War
    Most Christians would treat war as a last resort. Some would say that all war is wrong. Sometimes it can be the lesser of the two evils available, eg the Holocaust.
  • Capital Punishment
    Capital punishment isn’t an issue in the UK anymore, but people still being up the question of it after a major crime eg a mass murder in the news. The question raised is the idea of a life for a life, vs it being barbaric, and the risk of legal mistakes.
  • Abortion
    Life is valid from conception: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” – Psalm 139 v 13. This is the biblical understanding. All abortions are results of unwanted pregnancies, whether these be from rape, sex outside of marriage, or other, they’re all from situations outside of God’s perfect plan.
    But we must not forget there is still Grace. God comforts and heals.
  • Euthanasia
    The voluntary choice to end life goes against God having authority to begin and end life. Again there are complexities of course.
    All life is valuable and God given. This isn’t a popular view in our society, we want freedom to choose.
  • Suicide
    Again we don’t have the authority to choose when our lives will end. But again there are complexities. Issues of mental health, awareness of what one is doing.

All of these subjects are complex and require further reading than can be covered in a sermon. For anyone who has broken this commandment though, there is forgiveness available.

It’s much harder to keep this commandment than it initially seems.
“You have 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.” – Matthew 5 vv 21-22a
Jesus raised the bar substantially. These are the things in our lives that can become seeds of much greater issues.

It’s ok to be angry about injustice in this world – we want to share God’s heart. How could God be indifferent to the freezing Syrian children?!

When there is damage in a relationship there may be anger, and it needs dealing with. “In your anger do not sin” – Ephesians 4 v 26a.

Often our anger is tied in with a desire for revenge, that is not ok.

There are four unhealthy ways in which we express anger

  • Pressure Cooker
    Blowing up easily at anything, running on a short fuse.
  • Passive-aggressive
    Won’t express anger in public, bottling it up so our bodies have to deal with it, both physically and mentally, leading to resentment.
  • Martyrs
    Thinking everything is their fault, life is a pity party to which only they are invited.
  • Manipulators
    This could come in many forms, silent treatment, sabotage, little comments, deliberately forgetting things.

We’re capable of any of these!

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” – James 1 v 19
This indicates that we will become angry.

When we are angry with someone we should go to them, but not to explode at them. It’s biblical to describe the hurt we feel and talk it through. We should do this before coming to the Communion table.

It’s not easy! We’re works in progress, and need to work on it.

The bible teaches us not to take revenge or bear grudges.
“See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” – Hebrews 12 v 15

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” – Matthew 6 vv 14-15

When we’re looking to deal with a broken relationship we need to do it slowly and humbly.

We’ve all broken this commandment, Jesus never did. Through Him we find forgiveness.



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