The Heart Of Sin

Murder Begins in the Heart

Matthew 5

21 “You have heard that it was said to our ancestors, Do not murder, and whoever murders will be subject to judgment. 22 But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Whoever insults his brother or sister, will be subject to the court. Whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be subject to hellfire. 23 So if you are offering your gift on the altar, and there you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled with your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Reach a settlement quickly with your adversary while you’re on the way with him to the court, or your adversary will hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will never get out of there until you have paid the last penny.


Everything we are going to say in the next few weeks springs from Matthew 5:20… For I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven. Today’s message is a homiletic nightmare but bear with me.


Fast forward to Matthew 7:28-29

When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

Jesus is not changing the LAW, the LAW is perfect. Nothing wrong with the Law, it was man’s perversion of the LAW. The Jews never really practiced the LAW, they looked for loopholes so they could say they were obeying the law when in reality, they were not.

The scribes and Pharisees did not love God with all their heart or their neighbor as much as they loved themselves. The Pharisees loved money and the praise of men.

You have heard that it was said to our ancestorsJesus did not say, “It is written.” If what the Scribes and Pharisees had been teaching was purely scripture, Jesus would have used His normal phrase, “It is written.” Jesus is not refuting the LAW, He is simply clearing up some misunderstandings about the law. The Jewish religious leaders had misinterpreted the LAW and therefore had misrepresented the Law. Jesus is setting the record straight.


The law has two aspects: like a coin, it has two sides. On one side, we have the LETTER of the Law and on the other side, we have the SPIRIT or INTENT. The Pharisees and Scribes focused on the LETTER and completely missed the SPIRIT.

Let me illustrate: Jesus said, You have been taught that MURDER is wrong and will be punished but there is more; you will also be judged for ANGER. Murder is the legal aspect but Anger is the spiritual aspect.

This is illustrated in the story of Cain and Abel…

Adam and Eve had a son. Then Eve said, “I’ll name him Cain because I got him with the help of the Lord.” Later she had another son and named him Abel. Abel became a sheep farmer, but Cain farmed the land. One day, Cain gave part of his harvest to the Lord, and Abel also gave an offering to the Lord. He killed the first-born lamb from one of his sheep and gave the Lord the best parts of it. The Lord was pleased with Abel and his offering, but not with Cain and his offering. This made Cain so angry that he could not hide his feelings.The Lord said to Cain: What’s wrong with you? Why do you have such an angry look on your face? If you had done the right thing, you would be smiling. But you did the wrong thing, and now sin is waiting to attack you like a lion. Sin wants to destroy you, but don’t let it! Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go for a walk.” And when they were out in a field, Cain killed him. [this is the first murder]

Where did Cain’s sin originate? In his heart, in his attitude. His anger and jealously turned to hate and he murdered his own brother.

The Pharisees and Scribes didn’t worry about the heart [they could conceal the heart], they were only concerned with the externals, the LETTER of the LAW but Jesus reminded us that God is concerned with the heart and will hold us accountable for bad attitudes whether we act on them or not.


Just as the LAW has two aspects, so does sin. If you think people are confused about the LAW, just wait till you hear about SIN. Sins two aspects are SOCIAL and SPIRITUAL. These are my terms but I think you will understand them. The first two of six examples that Jesus will use are MURDER and ADULTERY. Just as murder originates in the heart with anger and jealously, adultery originates with lust.

The SPIRITUAL aspect of Sin is ANGER and LUST. This is what God sees and we are held accountable. This is where we get the proverbs like “Sin is a sin,” and technically speaking, lust is equal to adultery. The fact that you don’t act out your lust does not mean that God will let you off the hook. In His eyes, lust and anger are the problems and we will be judged accordingly.

The SOCIAL aspect deals with the actual act of either murder or adultery. From the social standpoint, I can honestly say, murder is worse than anger and adultery is worse than lust.

Anger and lust hurt us and they are offensive to God but they do not hurt others until we act them out. Trust me, I have been hated but never murdered and I am thankful. I can live with your anger but murder is a different subject.

Do you see what I’m talking about? Do you see the difference? Spiritually, all sin, in attitude or action, is sin and it hurts God but until we act out our sin, man is spared of pain.


Psalm 11

Refuge in the Lord

For the choir director Of David.

I have taken refuge in the Lord. How can you say to me,
“Escape to the mountains like a bird!
For look, the wicked string bows; they put their arrows on bowstrings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart.
When the foundations are destroyed,
what can the righteous do?”

4 The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord—his throne is in heaven. His eyes watch; his gaze examines everyone.
The Lord examines the righteous, but he hates the wicked
and those who love violence.
Let him rain burning coals and sulfur on the wicked;
let a scorching wind be the portion in their cup.
For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds.
The upright will see his face.


What do you do when the foundations are shaken? Any strong or enduring society is built on three things: Truth, Righteousness and Justice. These three pillars are the foundation that supports everything.

Psalm 89:14–Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; faithful love and truth go before you.

Isaiah 59:14–Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far off. For truth has stumbled in the public square, and honesty cannot enter.

Jeremiah 4:2– “As the LORD lives,” in truth, in justice, and in righteousness, then the nations will be blessed by Him and will pride themselves in Him.


We don’t know what the crisis was but something had happened that threatened the kingdom. Some think maybe this was in the early stages of Absalom’s rebellion. It was a THREAT of some kind. We are going to follow Steve Lawson’s outline found in the Holman commentary.


David declared emphatically, “I have taken refuge in the LORD.” David said, “I am not running away, I am running to… God.” David had an incredible faith. When I read this, a song came to mind…
In Christ alone, I place my trust, And find my glory in the power of the cross. In every victory, Let it be said of me, My source of strength, My source of hope–Is Christ alone .

When a crisis comes…we don’t panic, we don’t look out or in, we look up.


David counselors advised him to flee like a bird, ESCAPE to the mountains. David said is Psalm 55:6… I said, “If only I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and find rest.” I know the feeling and I’ve been dreaming about the wings of a dove lately. Warren Wiersbe said, “We don’t need the wings of a dove, we need the wings of an eagle…we are not to flee but to rise above.The Temptation is always to run from our problems. Our instinct for self-preservation is strong. My first church out of seminary was conflicted and after four and half years I threw in the towel. In almost no time, the church where I moved to began having problems. I may have had a honeymoon of sorts but it was brief. Again, I thought about resigning but I knew for a fact that would not solve any problems, their’s or mine. I decided to trust God, to stay and weather the storm. The best years of my life came as a result. I know we want to protect ourselves from hurt and harm but running is seldom the answer. We must face our problems…running will not solve anything.

David counselor were also giving in to despair…When the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” It is hard to live in a culture where wrong prevails and truth and justice are under attack. I agree that it is discouraging but we cannot give in to despair.


Look at verse 4-7 and you will see the TRUTH that kept David going. It is the TRUTH that sets us free….4The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord—His throne is in heaven. His eyes watch; His gaze examines everyone.
The Lord examines the righteous, but He hates the wicked
and those who love violence.
Let Him rain burning coals and sulfur on the wicked;
let a scorching wind be the portion in their cup.
For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds.
The upright will see his face.

Did you note those attributes?


[2] THE LORD IS OMNIPOTENT…He is on His throne, He is is full control.

[3] THE LORD IS HOLY/RIGHTEOUS...He sees all and all evil and wickedness will be judged.

The truth that kept David from getting discouraged is that nothing has changed in heaven. Have the democrats deminished God; do the evil ways of the wicked make Him less? David’s thinking was: “It doesn’t look good here but back at headquarters nothing has changed.”

God is good and God is great: His greatness is dominant; it is overwhelming. Evil has no future, eventually God is going to be dominant. The LORD is righteous and His Righteousness will ultimately prevail. Those who love HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS [Jesus] will see His face. The Kings enemies were seldom granted audience, it was those who were loyal subjects.