Robert Morris — The Principle of Love
We are in a series called "Relationship Through God's Top Ten", so we're talking about that God gave us the Ten Commandments, but I believe there's a principle behind every commandment, and it's a principle of relationship. And so, this week I want to talk to you about "The Principle of Love", and we are now on the sixth commandment, and the sixth commandment, in Exodus 20:13, "You shall not murder".
I want to explain something about this, by the way, that this is different from you shall not kill. The Bible doesn't say thou shalt not kill. The Old King James translated it that way, but there's a difference between murder and killing, and murder means that you take a life when you don't have the authority to take that life. But, there are times when law enforcement, military engaged in war, the judicial system, takes a life, and that is different than murder. Even the Bible implemented capital punishment.
So, please understand that we are free today in America because men and women fought for our freedom, and they were not violating the sixth commandment when they were fighting for our freedom, because they weren't murdering, okay? So, I'm calling this "The Principle of Love", and the reason I'm calling it "The Principle of Love" is because love is the opposite of murder, because the Bible links murder to hate, and I'm going to show you that, all right? So, I'll get to Luke 7 in a moment. I'll show you a couple of Scriptures.
1 John 3:15, "Whoever hates his brother is a murderer". And then to show you how it links the opposite of these principles here of murder, the opposite to love, it lists the last five commandments, which we're on now, starting the sixth through the tenth, in Romans 13:9. "For the commandments, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, You shall not covet", those are six through ten there, "and if there is any other commandment, they are all summed up in this saying, namely, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself". Now, I normally have three points. I have a rhythm, kind of, that I go through. But I have five points today. But I'm going to have to move kind of quickly through the first three to set up a foundation for the last two, all right?
So, "You shall not murder". I'm really not worried about someone in our congregation murdering someone. I know I heard this one lady. She said that she'd been married for 60 years. Her husband passed away and someone asked her, did you ever think about divorce? She said, no, I never thought about divorce. Murder, yes, but not divorce. But she was just joking. So, I'm not worried about you committing murder. I'm worried though, and concerned, about the things that lead to murder, such as hate and unforgiveness, and that's what Satan's trying to do. There's a path. So, I'm going to show you the path, all right?
So, here's point number one. Hate precedes murder. Hate precedes, goes before, murder. This is a story of Joseph, Genesis 37:4-5. "But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him". So, the brothers of Joseph "hated him and could not speak peaceably to him. Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers, and they hated him even more". So, they hate him. Then you look down at Verse 18, "Now when they saw him afar off, even before he came near them, they conspired against him to kill him". Okay, so why did they conspire to murder him? Because they hated him.
Let me show it to you in the law. Deuteronomy 19:11-12, "But if anyone hates his neighbor, lies in wait for him, rises against him and strikes him mortally, so that he dies, and then he flees to one of these cities, then the elders of his city shall send and bring him from there, and deliver him over to the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die". Capital punishment for murder. That is a person... So it shows he hated him and here's what it's saying. We know he murdered him, because he hated him. Watch how it shows, again, hate and murder. Joshua 20:5, "Then if the avenger of blood pursues him, they shall not deliver the slayer into his hand, because he struck his neighbor unintentionally, but did not hate him beforehand".
See, the way they knew if you murdered someone was if you hated him, or if it was an accident and you struck him and he died unintentionally. So, hate precedes murder. So, what precedes hate? Number two, anger precedes hate. Before you hate someone, you get angry at them. The first murder in the Bible was because of anger, Cain and Abel. Genesis 4:3, "And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord". Notice, by the way, it was not a first fruit offering. "Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry", angry, "and his countenance fell". And then in Verse 8, "Cain talked with Abel, his brother. It came to pass when they were in the field that Cain rose up against Abel, his brother, and killed him". He was angry, so he killed him. See?
Now, let me explain something to you. Anger is an emotion, and you can actually be angry and not sin. As a matter of fact, there's a verse that says, "Be angry and do not sin". So, it's not that anger is a sin, it's what you do with the anger. Have you ever known someone that has a tendency to just kind of blow up at people? Don't punch anyone in the ribs right now! Or, let's just do it this way. Or have you ever blown up? Hello? You don't want to say amen right now, do you? Remember, this is church.
All right. So, we've all blown up. Let me tell you why you blow up, or why a person has a tendency to blow up a lot, because the person has anger that's unresolved. It's unresolved anger that's just sitting in you that causes you to explode. If we can get that anger out, then even when you go through a tough time, you won't blow up because there's not any anger in there for you to blow up. So, we have to resolve it. So, hate precedes murder. What precedes hate? Anger. Anger precedes hate. Here's number three. What precedes anger? An offense precedes anger. An offense precedes anger. Cain was offended at God and at Abel. That's why he got angry. It offended him that God accepted Abel's offering and not Cain's.
Okay, let me show you a couple of Scriptures. Matthew 24:10, "And then many will be offended, and betray one another, and will hate one another". They're offended, so now they hate people. We read last week where Jesus talked about a prophet, it's not without honor except to his own family and his own country, okay? And, they were offended. Let me read a little bit of that again and pick up on one of the words that we need to talk about. Mark 6:2-3, "And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished".
I actually said last weekend, now that's not a good word, astonished. That's not what you think as amazed. It's not amazed. It's a bad word, actually. And I had no clue I was going to use it this week, but I'm going to explain to you what astonished means. "Many were astonished, saying, "Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands? Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, the brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us"? So they were offended at Him". They were offended. Okay. This word, astonished, I'm going to give you the actual definition from the Strong's Concordance. Here's what it means. It means to strike, in other words, to hit someone. To strike someone, to expel by a blow, to drive out or away.
As He began to teach and have wisdom, they got angry. You want to know why? Because He was just a carpenter that grew up in their town. And it offended them that this guy had so many people following Him, and that He had such wisdom, and He was just a carpenter. And they got offended, so much so, listen to this. It says they were astonished, and this is what it means, that they wanted to hit Him. They wanted to strike Him. They wanted to drive Him out with blows. This happened another time, same word, astonished. I don't have time to read the whole chapter. You can read it. But in Luke 4, if you remember, He goes to His hometown. Hometown, and He goes in the synagogue, and He takes the Scriptures, and He reads from Isaiah, and this is what He reads. He reads a passage about the Messiah, and He reads, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor, to open the blind eyes, to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord".
Everyone knew that was about the Messiah. Here was the problem. It says that He closed the book and He said, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing". So, here's what He was saying. I'm Him. I'm the Messiah. And you know what they said? The exact same thing. They were astonished and they said, isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this the guy that built a patio for me? He thinks He's the Messiah? And He wears a tool belt? And now, watch, Luke 4:28-29. "So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath", remember, anger, "and they rose up and thrust Him out of the city, and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff".
Anger. Why? They were offended. Why were they offended? Because He didn't meet their expectations. He was saying something that they didn't understand, and that brings me to the fourth point. This is one we're going to really kind of drill down on. So, we've got hate precedes murder, so hopefully no one's ever going to get the point of murder, but you might hate someone. But what causes hate? Anger does. You get angry at someone and you don't resolve it correctly, so now you hate them. But what causes hate? An offense. But, what causes an offense? So, number four, unfilled expectations precede offenses. Unfulfilled expectations precede offenses.
Now, this is why I asked you to turn to Luke 7, because this to me is one of the strangest passages in the Bible, and one of the most enlightening. Luke 7:18, "Then the disciples of John reported to him", that's John the Baptist. "Reported to him concerning all these things. And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to Jesus, saying, "Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another"? Now, I want you to think about this really well for just a moment. John the Baptist, who's Jesus' cousin — John the Baptist was filled with the Spirit in his mother's womb, Elizabeth's womb, when Mary, Jesus' mother, walked in the room when Jesus was in the womb. John the Baptist is the one that when Jesus came to be baptized by him, said, no, I shouldn't baptize You, You should baptize me! Right? What was he saying? You're the One! You're the One! There's the One, the Lamb of God. There's the One. Jesus said, baptize Me. No, You're the One!
They came to John later, after Jesus began His ministry, and they said, do you remember that guy you baptized? He started a church down the road, and He's baptizing more people than you are. Do you remember what John's answer was? I told you I'm not the one. That's what he said! I told you I'm not the one. I told you He's the One. Let me put it another way. John's in prison for saying He's the One, and then He comes to his city to have a revival, and He doesn't even have time to visit His cousin in jail. And He could have got him out. He's the Messiah, He's the One. Everybody knows He's the One. And John's sitting there and he's saying, now, how long has Jesus been here? Seven days now. Seven days. Did you all mention to Him I was in jail? Yeah, we told Him. You go ask Jesus that John, cousin John, wants to know if He's the One.
Jesus said, you go tell cousin John that the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the Gospel preached to them, and blessed is he who doesn't get his feelings hurt — who doesn't get offended because of Me. It's pretty strong, isn't it? It's kind of a cool passage, isn't it? I'm sure one day I'll get to heaven and John the Baptist is going to say, why did you tell everybody that that's what I was upset about? Unfulfilled expectations cause offenses. He had an expectation that Jesus would come get him out of jail, or come at least see him. So when that expectation wasn't fulfilled...
Listen, I'm going to help you. We have an expectation that our friend's going to do something. He doesn't do it. We're offended. We have an expectation that our employer's going to do something. He doesn't do it. Now we're offended. We have an expectation that, you know, some spiritual leader is going to do something. He doesn't do it, and now we're offended. And we can get offended sometimes over silly things, you know? I mean, you know, all of a sudden your wife's upset and you say, what's wrong? Well, what's wrong? Jenny did not say one thing about the cake that I took to the party. Well, maybe she just had her hands full and she just forgot. She knows better! She knows better. All of the sudden, we're offended.
Are you all following me? It's amazing what gets us offended. Did you know that someone in the Bible, is actually called a person, a stumbling stone and a rock of offense? Anyone know who it is? Jesus. Romans 9:33, "As it is written, Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and a rock of offense, and", and the word and is a conjunction in the Greek to be translated but, "but whoever believes in Him", in the stumbling stone or the rock of offense, "will not be put to shame". Let me put it another way. Jesus is either going to be in your life a stone you stumble over, or a rock you build your house on. That's tweetable! I don't care if you tweet it. No, I would just like to say that's a good statement. And I get excited because you think, he's bragging on himself. No, I was studying and the Lord gave me that statement, and I think, Lord, that is good, and that's going to make me look smart.
All right. So, Jesus will either be for you a stumbling stone, or a rock that you build your house on. He's one or the other. People either stumble over, or they build on Him. So, hate precedes murder, anger precedes hate, and offense precedes anger. You get offended. An unfulfilled expectation is what causes you to be offended. Okay, but we've got to get to love now. So, what precedes love? Here's number five. Forgiveness precedes love. Forgiveness precedes love. Matthew 5:43-44, Jesus said, "You've heard that it was said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you".
So, how in the world can you love someone that hates you, or that is your enemy? Simple. Forgiveness. You have to forgive them, and I'll tell you what the Greek word for forgive means in a moment. But let me show you how hate leads to murder, and how forgiveness leads to love. Everyone follow that? I'm about to wrap up the whole message with one story from the Bible, how hate leads to murder, but forgiveness leads to love — Jacob and Esau. Jacob steals the birthright and the blessing. Genesis 27:41, "So Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father blessed him, and Esau said in his heart, "The days of mourning for my father are at hand, then", in other words, when they're over, "I will kill my brother, Jacob". He hated him, so he was going to kill him. Hate leads to murder. Okay?
Watch how forgiveness leads to love. Years later, as a matter of fact, it's 20 years later. Twenty years go by, twenty years. Genesis 33:1, "Now Jacob lifted his eyes", he's going back to the land where his father was. "And there, Esau was coming, and with him were four hundred men". And when I say he was going back to the land where his father was, his father had already passed away, okay? All right. "Esau was coming, and with him were four hundred men". Now what would you think if a guy that hated you was coming to greet you with four hundred men? But watch what happens, Verse 4. "But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him, and they wept".
How does Esau go from hating him and wanting to murder him, to loving him, embracing him, and kissing him? Because he'd forgiven him. That's the only way. And I almost did a point six, but I just have never done a message with six points in my life, so let me just — I have, but. So, what precedes forgiveness, and that's grace. So, if you just want to make a note. In other words, how do you forgive? Well, forgiveness is giving grace. So how do you give grace? You have to receive grace. You can't give it if you haven't received it. If you have a problem giving forgiveness, you have a problem receiving forgiveness. Let me say that again. If you have a problem giving forgiveness, you have a problem receiving forgiveness. Here's Matthew 10:8. "Freely you have received, freely give". If you don't receive freely, then you don't give freely. In other words, if you feel like you have to earn forgiveness from God, you will make other people earn forgiveness from you. But once you catch grace and you understand, I'm forgiven freely and I did not deserve to be forgiven, then you'll forgive others who don't deserve to be forgiven.
Okay, what's the word forgive mean in the Greek? One word, it means release. That's what it means. When God forgave you, He released you from the punishment of the sin. He released you. He released you from judgment. He released you. So when you truly forgive someone, it means you release them. I was upset with someone one time, and I kept replaying it in my mind. Have you ever done that? We've got a lot of 'em. And it was about 2:00 in the morning, have you ever done that? About 2:00 in the morning, and I'm just replaying it, over and over in my mind. And all of the sudden, you know in your heart how you hear the Lord? Not audibly, but I felt like the Lord said, forgive him! Like that. It was almost like, I'm trying to sleep, pal, you know? I felt like I was keeping Him up, you know? He was just like, just forgive him! It's 2:00 in the morning. Forgive him! Let's get some sleep.
And I said to the Lord, but Lord, he was wrong! You know what the Lord said? I'll never forget this. He said, of course he was! You don't forgive people who were right! I baked you these cookies. I forgive you! But you don't forgive people who do good things to you. You don't forgive people who are nice to you. You forgive people who are mean and who hurt you, and who offend you. You forgive them. You forgive them. I'm really not concerned any of you are going to commit murder. I hope not, I really do. I don't think you are. But I'm concerned you could fall in the trap, you could get caught in a snare, and you could hate people, and you could be angry with them, and you could be offended, and you could not forgive them.
I'm enjoying this series so much, because I've never looked at the Ten Commandments like this, that there's a principle behind each commandment that helps our relationship with God and our relationship with others. And I think about the commandment we talked about today, "You shall not murder", but there's so much more that leads up to murdering someone, maybe in our heart, that hate, unfulfilled expectations, offenses. So I want to encourage you, if the Holy Spirit put His finger on something today, don't feel condemned about it. Let the Holy Spirit convict you, and in that area, let Him bring forgiveness and let Him bring healing.