Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Commands of Christ - Matthew 5:23-24

"Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift." -Matthew 5:23-24

Who is this command to?

Spoken to the multitudes, this command serves as a general principle to all mankind. However, this command is especially those who are God's people because it is in reference to offering gifts to God on the altar.

What does this command require?

This command requires reconciliation with a brother whom I have offended. Christ commands us to leave the holy, solemn act of worship to restore a broken relationship. Only after we have made things right are we to return to our worship.

What truths do we learn from this command?

We learn that restoring broken relationships is a priority to God, even above worship.

“The interruption of so solemn an act (worship) emphasizes the importance of reconciliation….He must take whatever steps are needed to restore harmony, and only when this is done may he come back and resume his offering.” -Leon Morris

Your worship is of no value to God if you have a broken relationship with a brother. This is a hard concept to grasp when you are completely focused on yourself in worship. Though hard to admit, most of us would have to say we have a hard time keeping our worship focused on God. It’s nothing new. The Israelites lost 
sight of their worship of God (Malachi, for example) and so do we.

We also learn that the offending brother has the responsibility to make things right with the offended brother. This is a hard pill to swallow. Often, we want to sit back and put the responsibility upon the offended brother to make things right. While that is true (Matthew 18:15), Jesus says that if you have offended your brother your responsibility is to go to him.

What are the consequences for disobeying this command?

Useless worship, broken relationships, unconfessed sin, interrupted prayer

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