Sermons

Summary: In the cross, Jesus illustrates the relationship that we have with God (the vertical) and others (the horizontal). It appears that God places a much higher emphasis on the horizontal than we may realize.

1. [Angry Toddler https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_UVgmPDMRY

2. Matthew 5.21-24

a. Remember WE have offended someone in this Scenario

b. "Coping with difficult people is always a problem; especially if the difficult person happens to be you." -John Maxwell

3. Anger is one thing that Jesus describes, but he also gives us some key direction that he demonstrated for us

a. Questions about the cross -- was it a whole cross or just the cross beam? [Pics of cross in Jerusalem; crossbeam; tree with cross beam; was it attached to a stake or a tree? (Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us--for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree"-- Galatians 3.13 cf. " a hanged man is cursed by God" Deuteronomy 21.23c)

(Curse of Law is condemnation because we cannot keep it -- Jesus did it for us and took our punishment/curse).

b. Vertical aspect of the cross is a reminder of his (and our) relationship with the Father (I and I and the Father are one. John 10.30; Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. John 14.9b)

c. Horizontal aspect of the cross is a reminder of the relationship Jesus (and we) have with People -- For Jesus, this was the imperfect side

* Ire of the Jews

* Indifference of the Pagans

* Insecurity of the Disciples

4. Jesus bore the imperfections of the horizontal in order to remove them

I. The Heart FOR God in the Vertical

A. Greatest Command -- Luke 10.25-28; Deuteronomy 6.4-6

1. Expect to see it in worship

2. Seen in offerings and the altar at the temple

B. A Pre-requisite to Acceptable Worship -- Dealing with Others Properly

1. [Servant Leadership: It's not about "I" or "We," it is about "Them"

It was a sunny Saturday morning, and Joe was beginning his pre-shot routine, visualizing his upcoming shot when a voice came over the clubhouse loudspeaker - "Would the gentleman on the woman's tee please back up to the men's tee, please!"

Joe was still deep in his routine, seemingly impervious to the interruption. Again the announcement - "Would the man on the women's tee kindly back up the men's tee!"

Joe had had enough. He shouted, "Would the announcer in the clubhouse kindly shut up and let me play my second shot!"

I played golf as a teenager. I am very familiar with not being as far down the golf course as I am expected to be after my first shot! And sometimes, I'm not as far along spiritually as others think I should be. There are some others who are not as far along spiritually as I think they should be.

What is to be our attitude toward these "weak" brethren? Sometimes the situation calls for some words of gentle rebuke (Heb. 5:12-14). Sometimes the situation calls for patient forbearance (Rom. 14:1). In all things, our goal is to encourage and build up.

"We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up." (Romans 15:1-2).

2. God: "People are of more importance than gifts, even to him."

13 Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners." (Matthew 9.13 cf. For what I desire is mercy, not sacrifices, knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. Hosea 6.6)

3. We are in powerful positions -- we have a hand in determining the eternal destinies of people

a. We can cause people to sin -- 5 "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Matthew 18.5-6

b. We can inflict angry words -- Matthew 5.21-22

c. We can Restore -- Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6.1-2

[I read that when President Bush was governor of Texas he had to deal with a lot of conflict. He came into office with a legislature that was in the opposite party. Early in his term he met with the opposition leader of the legislative branch with the hopes of building a cooperative coalition for the future.

The meeting was a failure. There was no trust and no agreement. There was plenty of conflict.

At the end of the session as Bush got up to leave he suddenly reached over and grabbed the opposition boss with both hands on his neck and gave him a big kiss on the cheek.

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