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SERIES: The Sermon On The Mount

TEXT: Matthew 5:20-26; Matthew 18:15-17

MESSAGE: How God Heals Our Relationships


  • “We must allow the Word of God to confront us, to disturb our security, to undermine our complacency and to overthrow our patterns of thought and behavior.” ― John Stott


TEXT: Matthew 5:20-26; 18:15-17

“For centuries the scribes and Pharisees had been teaching that to avoid murder was to keep the sixth commandment; Jesus teaches that men have broken the commandment even if they have only been angry with another or called one another a fool…True Christian morality must arise from the heart; and, as a result of this, no one but God can provide it.”  — James Boice

Q: How does God heal our relationships? 

In today’s text, we learn three ways. By…(1. Defining True Righteousness 2. Examining Us Inwardly 3. Restoring Broken Relationships)

1. Defining True Righteousness (v. 20)

“For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

What does Jesus mean by this?

First, we must understand the term “Self-Righteous.” 

Luke 18:9 — “…people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt…” 

“…the human heart’s default mode is self-justification – a desire to put forth our own righteousness in order to maintain our standing before God and others.” — Trevin Wax

I Cor. 1:30:  “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption…” 
…how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” — Romans 5:17

2. Examining Us Inwardly (v. 21-22)

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

“Indeed there is a place for burning with anger…Our problem is that we burn with indignation and anger, not at sin and injustice, but at offense to ourselves…Let us admit it —by and large we are quick to be angry when we are personally affronted and offended, and slow to be angry when sin and injustice multiply in other areas…Jesus forbids not all anger but the anger which arrises out of personal relationships.” — D.A. Carson

“For Jesus, to kill with a knife, or to engage in character assassination, or to belittle another by calling him ‘fool’ is part and parcel of the same spiritual sickness. Clearly, he does not mean that it makes no difference whether we gossip or stab, but he does mean that both activities reveal the same animosity of heart to our neighbors…Our words are the index of our true spiritual condition.” — Sinclair Ferguson

3. Restoring Broken Relationships (v. 23-26)

“So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.”

Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” — 1 Samuel 15:22 (NIV)

“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.” 
— Luke 8:17 (NIV)
TAKEAWAYS: How should you respond?
  1. Allow the Gospel to humble you
The Christian Gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less.” — Tim Keller
  1. Embrace God’s steps towards reconciliation
“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.” 
— Matthew 18:15
Gospel steps toward reconciliation (Gospel Centered Life)
Heart — Repentance, forgiveness // Power — The Holy Spirit //Commitment — To understand & engage // Direction — To convey & invite // Feeling — Life is challenging // Goal — God’s glory, the other person’s good // Result — Healing, reconciliation
  1. Receive your strength from God
“Remember, it is not your weakness that will get in the way of God’s working through you, but your delusions of strength. His strength is made perfect in our weakness! Point to His strength by being willing to admit your weakness.” Paul David Tripp