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As We Come to the Table #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
May 6, 2022 8:00 am

As We Come to the Table #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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May 6, 2022 8:00 am

Today Pastor Don Green shows us what the Bible says about reconciling with others before approaching The Lord's Communion Table.--thetruthpulpit.comClick the icon below to listen.

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Talking about the guilt sends people to fill. This is a hellish sin.

This is a particularly devilish rebellion against God, to live like this. Hello and welcome once again with Don Greene, founding pastor of truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio today, Don shows us what the Bible says about being reconciled with others for approaching the Lord's communion table. Now as God continues teaching God's people. God's word. Let's join in for part two of a message called as we come to the table. You're fruitful what would a spirit of disunity look like in in your heart, what would it look like in your heart and I want to give you four days forays to help you identify a spirit of disunity in your own heart will number one is anger. Anger do you have an inward resentment against someone or something from the past that they said or didn't say did or didn't do know is there an inward resentment in your heart toward someone else in the body. Is there anger in your heart. Is there resentment is there bitterness toward another person in your heart that's that's a bad sign. Secondly, there's this matter of accusation accusation you complain verbally to other people about the person may be bypassing. Addressing the person directly as Matthew 18 would call you to do and instead you just complain that you do know what this person did you know what he did to me. You know what he said do you know what they did there were accusations that are made, and sometimes maybe it's maybe it's nothing more than than simply simply having these conversations around your own dinner table and just feeding off of that with in the confines of your own family. That's not okay. Those words are an expression of what's in your heart and that's very possible for people to turn their family against others through the poisoning words that they injected you know, in the context of your own home, so anger accusation. Thirdly, avoidance avoidance, you won't talk to the person you see them, and you walk the other way pretend like he didn't see him you won't engage them and fourthly, here's the worst one of them all.

Here is the climax of it all. Alibi alibi.

You justify your behavior to yourself or to someone else. If your question about it.

So you go from from anger to accusation to avoidance and then alibi and you start to justify yourself and what you're doing you justify your inward grudge you just justify your avoidance and listen. I'm saying this because look for all on the same side here the peril of self-deception in that condition is is unbelievably great. It is unbelievably great. It's not simply that others can't draw it out and help you see it clearly. You don't see it clearly yourself but how do you examine your heart to identify the spirit and in yourself. You hear yourself saying and thinking things like that. I just will not talk to him after what he did to me what she did was wrong and I won't forgive him for that. I won't forgive her for that really silly you would claim to know Christ and you would have an attitude like that in your heart really really do not know the first thing about the gospel and about your own sin against God. To claim to know Christ to claim the Christ has forgiven you, and you won't forgive someone else of a lesser offense.

Scripture is filled with warnings and rebukes about this. It's filled with it, and yet we are so capable. Our hearts are so deceitful that we can think we're walking well with the Lord. While we've got that side-by-side in our heart that that kind of bitterness is in your heart then then you need to repent and you need to make it right and you need to do it now brings us to our second point. How do we respond if that's the case, how do we respond if that's the case we say. You know that. What do we examine we examine our hearts for that spirit of disunity and resentment.

The question then is how do we respond here's the question that matter what pastor says in one sense here as I know you people that want to can dismiss anything that a human being, says to them, but what does God call you and me to do. If we find that in our hearts. In this process of self-examination strikes us with the with the recognition that the word of God has appointed us and said you're the man you're the woman here that the word of God is describing how do we respond. This brings us into a test of whether our profession of faith is genuine or not, or whether we are simply a hypocrite that does not have them participate in the realities of spiritual life that the Spirit produces and the true people of God, the true people of Christ.

What does God call us to do when we find that in our heart. Turn to Matthew chapter 5 Scripture could not be more clear, more explicit about this, then it is Matthew chapter 5.

What does God call us to do when we find that devices spirit in our own heart that resentful spirit in our own hearts well in Matthew chapter 5. This is of course in the in the sermon on the Mount, and Jesus is teaching what the fruit of true repentance looks like when the spirit of God has saved someone he produces certain characteristics in their heart that are placed there in seed form and then they then they grow and flourish and blossom over the course of time, as the Spirit of God works in their heart and it's a matter of righteousness you see in Matthew chapter 5 verse 20 and this is this is just so compelling to me as I contemplate these things Jesus says in Matthew chapter 5 verse 20 I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven, scribes and Pharisees, of course, were the religious leaders. They were thought to be at the time the spiritual elite in society. And Jesus says you gotta be better than them and and so he setting a very high standard of righteousness setting a very clear idea of what the fruit of true repentance looks like and then in the rest of chapter 5 he gives a series of six illustrations to show what that righteousness looks like and what is the righteousness that God requires. And here's the thing that I want you to see. Having said that standard.

Having emphasized how important this righteousness is as he speaks to his disciples as he speaks to those who who would claim to know him.

The very first illustration that he uses deals with this matter of holding grudges against someone else.

The very first one look at it there in verse 21 it goes down through verse 26 he says, you have heard that the ancients were told, you shall not commit murder, and whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court but I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court and whoever says to his brother you good for nothing shall be guilty before the Supreme Court. And whoever says you fool, shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell pause there for just a moment. Jesus here is giving repetition to emphasize his point is not so much that there is a big progression from the court to the Supreme Court to fiery hell it's it's rather a matter that he's emphasizing how important it is to address this sin in your heart and noticed that what it whatever else he saying about this anger.

Whatever else he saying about this kind of resentment. He says this were talking about the guilt that sends people to hell. This is a hellish sin. This is a particularly devilish rebellion against God, to live like this. And so he goes on to say how is it then that your to respond.

If you're angry with your brother. Well, you don't let it rest. Verse 23 says therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, in other words, if you are coming to God to worship and you're right there you're ready to offer in that Jewish context you're ready to offer your hand your sacrifice over to the priesthood can be offered a says at that moment, and you remember that something is wrong, you stop everything you turn away from your outward act of worship and you deal with the issue with your brother.

Let's look at verse 23 again. Therefore, if you are presenting your offering at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go first be reconciled to your brother, and then calm and present your offering. Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last sent Jesus gives to principles here in responding. When you find this in your heart are in a relationship. He says this he says seek peace first and seek peace fast seek peace first and seek it fast is what he is saying no, Jesus had already emphasize the importance of peace and being a peacemaker in the sermon on the mount look back in chapter 5 verse nine where he says this, Matthew chapter 5 verse nine he says blessed are the peacemakers, for they the ideas this day and they alone shall be called sons of God. It's those who make peace that are called the true sons of God. They're the ones who manifest the true peacemaking character of the very nature of God. What was Christ doing when he came into the world except he was making peace with those who were in rebellion against him.

He came on a mission of reconciliation became on a mission of restoring harmony to a broken relationship. That's at the that's at the core of the incarnation.

That's at the core of the atonement is reconciliation between sinners in a holy God. And so obviously only the people who share something of that peacemaking spirit could truly belong to him.

Somebody that cast it aside someone that does not practice peacemaking. Someone that resists it could not possibly could not possibly have the spirit of God inside them.

If that is a settled hardened refusal to make peace.

This being manifested in their heart. Now somebody could hear that and say what you know, I've been around a few churches you might say if that's true then that means that there's a lot of people in the church that aren't even Christians have a day that may be the application. What does it have to do with the truth of the matter. You can't reject the truth simply because of what its implications might be you just look at the word of God and see what it says. Jesus said blessed are the peacemakers, for they and they alone shall be called sons of God.

Now the peace here of which Jesus speaks is not that inner tranquility that modern evangelicals are so fascinated with what I feel peace about this. It's not what he's talking about talking about harmony in relationships, peace makers, not peace feelers and 11. Here's a very important point as were contemplating this what Scripture tells us is that those who have received forgiveness from Christ.

Forgive others. Those who have received forgiveness from Christ. Forgive others. Matthew chapter 6 Matthew chapter 6, verse 12, Jesus taught us to pray said forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors that that guarantees integrity in your request for forgiveness. If you are stingy. Forgive her and you pray. That way you're asking that God forgive me in a stingy way, if you're a generous forgive her, God gladly forgives you. Verse 14 he says, for if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

But if you do not forgive others. Then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

Look at Ephesians chapter 4 Ephesians chapter 4 verse 30 apostle Paul says do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

What comes next. What does he say next. After he says do not vertically grieve the Holy Spirit of God. He says this in verse 31 goes directly to this issue of relationships and unity says let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. 11. Ask yourself this question. If you find yourself trapped in this in the spiritual condition what you believe about the forgiveness of God in Christ you he forgave if you're Christian you should know God forgave all of my sins and Christ the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. First John chapter 1 verse seven. Well then if you been completely forgiven, then your perspective on horizontal wrongs is that you completely forgive them all and hold nothing against the one who wronged you. I can't tell you how many times over the years we as elders of talked about matters in the church Henry and we just shake our heads and say that person would just forgive and move on. This whole situation would go away and strew look over at Hebrews chapter 12 Hebrews chapter 12 verse 14 pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.

See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble and by it many be defiled and so this is a priority for true Christians. This matter of peace of reconciliation. This is a high priority far more important than your earthly job is far more important than extracurricular activities is far more important than you know your Christmas celebrations. This is a high priority to God is shown by how many times it's addressed in the word and shown by how it reflects the spirit of the sacrifice of Christ himself.

So Jesus going back to Matthew chapter 5. Now, after we've illustrated with from those verses go back to Matthew five Jesus says that this condition of heart is to be addressed first. It just became your highest priority under the authority of Christ when he says there in verse 23. If you are presenting your offering at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go first be reconciled to your brother so you seek peace first and you we see something of the priority of God. You seek resolution first before you go to worship and over these next 48 hours. I would venture to say for some of you are dealing with things in your heart and maybe you need to you need to seek someone out and talk to them and say this isn't right. I want to make it right. I've been wrong in the way that I have held something against you, and this is the spirit of it it's it's not you saying you did me wrong, I'm here to fix it. Now it's it's you going and saying I've I've been in the wrong toward you and I am so sorry I've betrayed my Lord with the bitterness that I've cultivated and held my heart. Please forgive me.

I'm not here asking you to repent. I'm here asking you to forgive.

That's the spirit of it so you seek resolution first before you worship the greater priority is reconciliation 11 to sit at the Lord's table, you must first clear the air with men. Jesus says it's more important to reconcile that relationship than to be present at worship. This is just the word of God. This is me trying to protect turf and in truth, community church, this is the word of God to his people. This is a natural consequence of salvation forgiven vertically now forgiving horizontally without that you have to go back to whether the first principles in place are not to seek it first second point.

In terms of what you do in response you seek peace, fast seek peace. First, we saw that from Jesus's words you seek it fast. Look at verse 25 Jesus says in verse 25. Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way.

So your opponent may not hand you over to the judge and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you've paid up the last cent they had debtors prisons in those days and if you owed a debt to someone they throw you into prison, until the debt was paid off as a means of motivating the family to contribute in order to seek the release of their loved one.

What Jesus is talking about here is that it is these picturing litigants on their way to courtroom could put it that way and the ideas is that once you get before the judge. You don't know what's going to happen. Judge my rule completely against you, and rule completely in favor of your opponent. There is real genuine risk here in the picture that Jesus uses and those that have any acquaintance with the legal world and with litigation. They know and understand that the closer that the trial date gets, the more likely settlement is to come because people want to control the risks and so people get a lot more tolerable people start to work together. The closer the judgment day is coming and Jesus says you let that picture of avoiding the risk of an uncertain outcome. Let that picture inform the way that you seek reconciliation with others.

There is a coming judgment day were rural going to stand before the Lord were going to give an account to him and won't take the time to develop this any further. The Scripture gives us the sense that somehow the Lord will dispense rewards and in proportion to the manner in which we have been generous in dealing with others and being gracious toward others and what you want from God. You want God to deal with your reward strictly and harshly as you deal with those people you refuse to forgive.

You want God to treat you like you treat people who offended you or do you want to treat people now like God has dealt with you in Christ and and trust the Lord to sort that out in and forgive us freely and generously as you want the Lord to freely and generously forgive you believe there's gotta be an internal integrity. There has to be consistency here about it. And Jesus says Jesus says to seek it fast. He says verse 25. Make friends quickly. Do it fast that the commands emphasize the form of the commands in the Greek text, communicate urgency, says this is a mat in an urgent matter and beloved, I want to tell you that this mindset I'll do it later. I'll do it later. That is lethal to spiritual life, you resolve that relationship now before you feel the discipline of God on your life or failing to do it. That's the instruction and wisdom of our Lord.

So beloved churches divide churches divide because individuals disobey these words from Matthew five individuals get self-righteous in the midst of a perceived offense. They justify themselves and accuse others. Then when it finally comes out weeks, months, years later there to harden to reconcile the refused to listen in on the pack up their bags and walked out the church seen it so many times people the people to prefer their anger to sitting down and trying to work something out. They preferred their self-justifying resentment and misunderstanding and sometimes lies to just sitting down talking and obeying Matthew five Sinclair Ferguson says this in his book on the sermon on the Mount. He says animosity is a time bomb. We do not know when it will go off.

We must deal with it quickly before the consequences of our bitterness get completely out of control.

Most human relationships that are destroyed could have been preserved if there had been communication at the right time. Jesus says the right time is as soon we are conscious that we are at enmity with our brother." Our response will reveal the reality of our gratitude for God's grace to us in Christ in our gratitude for his grace to us in this church or show something else so beloved, if you're upset with someone under your roof or outside the roof within the body of Christ, seek peace, first seek it fast.

May the Lord humblest to respond in repentance and then by grace restore us were needed to Christ and to each other that's done green and friend you're listening to the truth. Pulpit art teacher will continue in our series called reflections on our Lord. Next time. Meanwhile, if you'd like to find out more about this ministry.

Just go to the truth. While you're there you'll find all of God's teachings along with a host of other study resources. That's the truth. now before we go. Here's done with the closing word I want to let you know that we have a number of topical series available for download or CD request at our website. The truth issues like the place of Roman Catholicism, anxiety, transgender-ism, homosexuality in the charismatic movement.

You'll find series on those topics and so many more at our free offers, like at the truth. I invite you to take advantage of them all. God bless you will see you next time on the truth pulpit I build right join us next time on the truth pulpit is done. Green continues teaching God's people. God's word

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