Summary: Jesus was well known for upsetting people's "apple carts." In this sermon He challenges us to go beyond the obvious sin of murder and to dwell on anger, judgment, and provoking others.
Don’t you hate it when someone comes along and “upsets the apple cart?” This saying originated sometime in the 1800’s. The idea behind it was that a farmer had carefully loaded his cart with apples to take and sell at the market place. However, some clumsy oaf would come along and hit the cart, causing it to turn over and spill its contents. The apples would be bruised and not sellable.
So when some one “upsets your apple cart” it means to upset things and create disorder.
Jesus was really good at upsetting apple carts but He wasn’t a clumsy oaf. Instead He was God in flesh. When Jesus upset apple carts man’s preconceived notions were often damaged with drastic results. John 6:60, 66 “Many of his disciples said, ‘This is very hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?’ At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him.”
His desire was for man to be shook from his preconceived stance on God and God’s commandments. His desire was to turn over man’s opinion so that man could begin to see the truth as his Father had intended. He desired to dump the apples of religion and ritual to the point they were damaged and useless. Some of his followers decided it was more than they could comprehend so they left. Over the next few weeks we are going to examine some of these carts He overturned. Perhaps our apple carts will get upset. But if they do it’s okay because He has something better for us.
There have been 25 murders in Charlotte from January-June of this year. There have been 108 domestic murders in North Carolina this year. The latest statistic stated there have been 14,478 murders in the United States. I am sure that the vast majority if not all of these murders began with anger.
Murder has been in existence almost as long as man. We can read about the first recorded account of murder in Genesis 4:3-8 “When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. Abel also brought a gift—the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected.
‘Why are you so angry?’ the Lord asked Cain. ‘Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.’
One day Cain suggested to his brother, ‘Let’s go out into the fields.’ And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him.”
Cain was angry. He was angry at God. He was angry at the circumstances. He was angry over being rejected. He took his anger out on his brother and killed him. I am sure he felt justified.
In Genesis 34 we can read the story of Jacob’s daughter, Dinah. She was raped by Shechem, a Hivite. Although he had forced himself on her, he wanted to do the honorable thing and marry her. He talked to her father and brothers, offering them a dowry for her hand in marriage. The brothers concocted a plan. They would agree if all the men in town would be circumcised. While the men were in pain from the procedure two of Dinah’s brothers killed every man in the town and looted it. They were angry. They were angry over the violation of their sister. They took out their anger on not only Shechem but every man around him. I am sure they felt justified.
In Exodus 2:11-13 we read this account of Moses. “Many years later, when Moses had grown up, he went out to visit his own people, the Hebrews, and he saw how hard they were forced to work. During his visit, he saw an Egyptian beating one of his fellow Hebrews. After looking in all directions to make sure no one was watching, Moses killed the Egyptian and hid the body in the sand.”
Moses was angry. He was angry over the mistreatment of his people. He took out his anger on a servant doing the Pharaoh’s bidding. I am sure he felt justified.
The problem in each case was the fact they no precedence has been established by God that warranted death of these individuals. God established a principal with Noah concerning the justification of taking someone’s life.
Genesis 9:5-6 “And I will require the blood of anyone who takes another person’s life. If a wild animal kills a person, it must die. And anyone who murders a fellow human must die. If anyone takes a human life, that person’s life will also be taken by human hands. For God made human beings in his own image.” Only the killing of a person would justify the death of the offending person.