One of the things we are learning in the Alpha Course is the interest there is in practical teachings on Christianity. Each week we have a teaching on an important life question. After my teaching on Righteousness at Ascension last week my wife reminded me to explain why we try to live our lives in right-relationship with God. So let me begin by stating the reason is not to make people feel guilty for their sins, but to teach them how to identify, repent and confess their sins so they can be free of guilt and shame and live a life of Joy. In the Gospel Reading (Mt. 5.21-37) Jesus is continuing a sermon that began with the Beatitudes, challenged us to be like salt and light in our righteousness in keeping the Hebrew Law. This is an Epiphany Moment for many people who assume Jesus came to replace the Law of Moses. Last week (see www.spirituallieteaching.info) I explained how the Ten Commandments are tests of our love of God and our neighbour. This week we are focussing on Jesus teaching on Murder, Adultery and Oaths.
1. Murder in the heartMost of us skip over this command – we have never murdered anyone. But we forget Jesus is almost always talking about the spiritual dimension. As Jesus teaches, if you have been angry you have committed murder in the heart and need to repent.
· If you do not repent and confess, your anger turns to guilt and shame that remains like pollution in your soul.
· This pollution poisons your soul, prevents having a life of joy
· Gossip for example can murder a reputation – Bible Study example of ‘why I did not attend services in the Cathedral’ (I was leading worship in a sister church)
2. Adultery in the heart
· Adultery is the sin of betraying a sexually exclusive trust and breaking a covenant with God – to love and obey God
· Cost of impure thoughts is a personal spirit polluted with guilt and shame that cannot experience love, joy and peace
· Need to repent both the betrayal of the Marriage vow – and rebellion against God’s Law before we can be restored to right relationship with God
3. Oaths – dabbling in witchcraftMany people do not understand the power of words in the spiritual dimension. Jesus point is that by calling someone a fool you are putting a real, effective curse on someone. That person will, to some degree become more of a fool. Just as words spoken in prayer, Baptism promises and Marriage vows have power for good – other words spoken in anger have power for evil. Healing Ministry often involves freeing people from inherited oaths and curses or believing a lie spoken in childhood – even if they could not have understood!
· Oath (i.e. Masonic Oaths) or lie needs to be repented, confessed and forgiveness accepted, before the person can be freed for a life of joy
· Person needs to ask Jesus what the truth is – and hear an answer that they were wanted, are beautiful, smart etc.
· Renouncing breaks power of oath / lie, frees, changes lives
Question: Have you inherited a Spirit of Slavery?The Dean (St. George's Cathedral, Kingstown, St. Vincent) has been writing on the cultural impact of slavery in the Caribbean. This was a traumatic experience – it would have opened a spiritual doorway for lying spirits.
· Slaves would have believed the lie that they were inferior.
· Lie may have been inherited spiritually and never repented, confessed and had its’ spiritual power broken.
· May be blocking some people from reaching their full potential and coming more fully into a life of joy.