Picture of Pastor Gettys

Sermon delivered September 7, 2002 by Pastor Donald J. Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version NIV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

Loving Your Enemies

Exodus 20:13 - Sixth Commandment

We are continuing our series on the Ten Commandments today. This is the Sixth Commandment: "Thou shalt not kill."

There was a gentleman by the name of Clarence Darrow who was a famous criminal lawyer. And he said, "Everyone is a potential murderer. I have not killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction out of obituary notices." You know, life is a quality product that killing can take away very quickly. Just what does it mean, this commandment, "Thou shalt not kill?" The Hebrew is a verb and it means "Thou shalt not murder," primarily talking about human life. Premeditated murder, the deliberate taking of human life. It's forbidden.

Revelation 11:18 talks about a time that will come in the history of this world when God will come and destroy human beings. It says here that God ...destroy them which destroy the earth. Obviously, we area bunch of killers. Have you murdered someone this week? What does this commandment really mean? Maybe we have murdered someone this week. I would think that mankind, left to itself would self-destruct after a certain time. Had God s grace not been evident upon this earth the human race would have long since disappeared.

We love violence and death. Yes, even we Christians love it! We shouldn't, but we do. By the time a Christian child grows to eighteen years old in America, the Christian child will have witnessed thousands of murders on television, movies, and so forth. It s too bad. My wife and I were watching the evening news recently and the commentator was describing the brutal kidnaping and rape of a young girl. They were showing pictures and everything. I happened to look over at my three year old grand daughter. She was kind of hiding behind the couch and looking wide-eyed at the television. She was picking up what they were saying. I went over and turned the news off. I thought, "That's too bad." We see a lot of that. It's still in the news. To top off the news of terrorism and school shootings we adults sit there after the news and watch our favorite programs on murder. If nothing bad is on we crank up the violent videos from the rental house. We surely must love violence and murder or we would not sit there and watch it. We do that. I think we might enjoy that. I don't know. Surely we need to stop this type of stuff. And that is what the Sixth Commandment is all about.

Everybody in society is doing the same thing, and it seems to me like if we're all doing the same thing and we're all interested in murder, we watch it, we see it, we're going down the moral tubes. I don't see how it could be much longer before Jesus comes. It seems to me that the end is here.

If time should last another fifty years I shudder to think what all these kids raised on all these video games are going to be doing.

Americans love murder so much that we even buy video games of murder and violence for our kids. Our kids sit there by the hour and run that joy-stick to accumulate points by shooting people. The more people you can murder the more points you can get. Have you played those games? I haven't. I don't want to. They claim the blood squirts out. Is this good? More points are gained by driving the car over people walking down the sidewalk. Perform a hit and run to an elderly lady and you gain even more points. So we train our kids on how to be violent. Murder becomes common practice.

God says: "Thou shalt not kill." And there are different types of murder. Did you know that some murder is good killing and some is not good murder, if you can imagine that. It's not all equal. You won't go to jail if a life is lost in self defense. In Luke 11:21 - Jesus talks about killing: "When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe." In other words, you won't go to jail for defending yourself. You have the right to defend your life. If one is accidentally killed there is no punishment. But the plot thickens if you fail to replace the batteries in your smoke detector and fire takes the life of someone in your home, potentially you could go to jail for not replacing the battery, for being negligent. Maybe they keep you there and don't let your relative get you body until you've served your time. I don't know how they work that out.

Some killing is caused by twisted ideas. We have the wrong ideas os it results in killing. We call this, Ethnic Cleansing. And this is going on today. I understand that in some so-called holy writings, that some religions are encouraged kill unbelievers. If you don't think the same as I do I slit your throat because we disagree on where you go once your throat is slit. That s just too bad. If they lose their life in the process of killing some unbeliever, they believe they go straight up to Allah. And waiting for them are maybe a dozen or two virgins, beautiful young women waiting to serve them twenty four hours a day. No wonder they strap these bombs to their bodies, they're so willing to do this type of stuff. Twisted ideas result in twisted consequences.

It is just plain wrong to take human life! And why is that? Genesis gives us the reason. It's because of the way that God made us. Genesis 9:6 "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man." We are made in God's image. That's why were are not supposed to take life because we are made in His image.

Now, in my opinion I believe abortion is murder. I think that is wrong unless it is done to save the life of the Mother. Did you know that in Hamilton County and the surrounding area that thirty seven percent of all the births are to single mothers. That number would be substantially higher were it not for abortions. So, we really need to think about this. People have told me that after just three weeks the unborn baby has a detectable heartbeat! There is life there after three weeks. Almost all abortions are performed after seven weeks. Now, if you had an abortion performed you can ask God to forgive you, and you can never do it again. And God will forgive you. That's a prayer He always answers. But I believe it is not good to do. Psalm 139:13 says, You knit me together in my mother's womb. That's a special thing, isn't it.

On the other side of life, over here is abortion at the beginnings of life, and over there is euthanasia near the end of life. We are living somewhere in between abortion and euthanasia. We must protect the edges or we will be next in line. I think we should let God determine the death date.

Suicide is another form that would be covered by this commandment. Thou shalt not kill thyself! I think that would be covered here. We could call this commandment "Loving Yourself." That would be the positive of it. God loves us with an unlimited unconditional love. Surely we ought to love ourselves that same way. We ought to take care of ourselves. So, using tobacco or using alcohol is sort of like suicide on the installment plan. Slow-motion suicide. So is a lifetime of overeating, drug abuse, or any other thing that cuts your life short. That would be covered under the Sixth Commandment. So, you see, the Sixth Commandment goes with us all the way to the refrigerator. It's and all-inclusive commandment. God wants us to have good health. He wants us to live a long life on the land He gives us. We shorten our life by not exercising. That's covered under this commandment as well. Having promiscuous sex in this day and age is like playing Russian Roulette. The Bible says: Do thyself no harm. - Acts 16:28. We're not to harm our bodies.

You see, God is sort of like an automobile dealer. Now, you think about this. At Birth He loans each of us a brand new body. It's shiny, it's new, it's wonderful, there's not a blemish on it. It's in mint condition. He gives this body to us on a lease plan. We're leasing this from God. We are responsible for all the upkeep and when the time comes for its return we should give it back in as good a shape as possible with only reasonable wear and tear. You understand how a lease works. have you ever leased an automobile? The entire time of the life lease we realize our body actually belongs to God. If we terminate the lease prematurely there could be eternal consequences of that.

So, we need to take care of our body, it's not ours, it is on lease from God. Imagine returning a leased automobile that the day before, you went around with a ice pick and punctured it full of holes. Wouldn't that be grand when you go to return it? Would you get your money? Do you know what we call that? Let's return our body in good shape. Some do poke it full of holes, other wise known as Body Piercing. Return it to God without tattooing or branding. Return you body to God in as good a shape as possible. Isn't that fair? Using the correct fuel would also help. Avoid pouring diesel or sand in the tank of your leased car. God's body does not run well on alcohol or drugs. I Corinthians 6:19,20 says, You are not your own; ... you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. You need to take care of the body. It doesn't belong to us. It belong to God.

Jesus amplifies the Sixth Commandment in Matthew 5:21,22: "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell."

The modern world we live in is a very angry place. Anger is the source of a lot of intentional murder. That's where it come from. We begin to kill someone when we begin to hate them in our heart. Hatred produces a constant flow of blood from Afghanistan to Chattanooga. From Zimbabwe to Zanzibar. It's all through the world. It comes from hatred. Humans are a unique breed of cannibals. Hate is the embryo of anger.

Physical Abuse is a next door neighbor to Murder. Have you ever been out of control? Maybe your son or daughter unashamedly disobeyed your clear command and you yell out, "I'm going to beat the tar out of you!" Then you give them the spanking of their life. You spank in anger. You're out of control. You should never do that. Never. When we withhold the basic necessities of life when we have the power to provide them, we come close to killing. When you have the power to provide it but you withhold shelter, clothing or food you are on the edge of the Sixth Commandment. Intentional reckless driving is right on the border of the Sixth Commandment. When you go out here and you're driving, and you are sleepy, and you can hardly stay awake, you are on the edge of the Sixth Commandment.

Extreme anger exhibited itself in the beginning with the first two brothers. Cain killed Abel because of sibling rivalry. As Cain shouted at Abel, the blood vessels on his neck stood out. Anger took charge of Cain and murderous looks shot daggers at Abel. Soon blood flowed as Cain killed his brother. God personally tried to stop it. But Cain had lost control.

I was driving on the freeway a while back. There were six lanes, three in each direction. We were making great time. Everybody was going sixty five or seventy or more, and all of a sudden we came around a curve only to meet a sea of red brake lights. Have you ever been in one of those situations? I hate that. You don't know if it's going to last for a minute or if it's going to last for an hour. Well, this one lasted for an hour. Things got wild. Cars were getting off on the shoulder and driving along the shoulder, thus making more lanes that way, and a truck saw them doing that so big trucks pulled off onto the shoulder and stopped and everybody was just shut down. Fists were waving. People were shouting at each other. Cars were pulling in and out. Finally the three lanes came down to one lane. it was a mess. We were basically turning into a pack of wolves pretty quickly. You could almost see the fangs starting to erupt. You could see the little horns starting to come. It didn't take long. And after just an hour, there we were. Human beings descending toward hell. Uncontrolled anger! Fingers pointing.

David exhibits "road rage" in the psalms. In Psalm 10:15 he asks God to Break the arm of the wicked men. Would you do that? When somebody doesn't pull away from the stop light quick enough, and they're just sitting there, do you hit the horn or do you speak with your wife and say, "Boy, that person..." You know. In Psalm 12:3 David asks God ...to cut off all flattering lips and every boastful tongue. In Psalm 28:4 he asks God to repay them for their deeds. In Psalm 35:6 he asks God to make their path be dark and slippery. Psalm 35:8 May ruin overtake them and a net entangle them...May they fall into the pit to their ruin. David is very upset and calls upon God to Strike all his enemies on the jaw and break their teeth out. Psalm 3:7. I will tell you that David overcame that. Notice that at the end of almost every Psalm like this, David does simmer down and praise his God. Even Saints are not totally Saintly one hundred percent of the time. God can help us control our anger. There is no need to have this kind of anger in our life.

Another form of this Sixth Commandment is Killer Words. Words that we say to people to just cut them down. James 3:8 says but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. Well, if it is deadly it is a killer, isn't it. You kill people with your tongue. When you are quarreling and gossiping, you're speaking arsenic words that are laced with toxic criticism, toxic gossip, sarcasm, slander, tale- bearing you are destroying somebody else. God says in Psalm 101:5, "I will destroy anyone who secretly slanders his neighbor." (God's Word Bible, Grand Rapids, MI). So, be careful when you talk about the neighbors. Character assassination breaks this commandment. When you lose your good reputation you are as good as dead. All it takes is one sentence of evil words and a lifetime relationship can be killed. If you have killed someone in any way, ask God to forgive you. That is a prayer He always answers!

Back when I was a boy people used to call me names. Young people liked to pick on each other. As a child I was very shy but I had bright red hair. Some of the kids my age would pick on me and it would really bother me. I'd come in to the school or playground and the kids would shout, "Here comes Carrot Top." I can't tell you how much that bothered me. It really bothered me. "Here comes carrot top!" They don't call me that any more because I don't have red hair anymore. That will happen. I would walk several blocks out of the way to avoid one kid as I walked home from school. Cutting words can destroy. They really can. I think that words can hurt you more than sticks and stones.

Jesus pointed out the positive side of this commandment. He said, "What you really need to do is to love others instead of suing them and prosecuting them. Turn the other cheek." "Love your neighbor as yourself." Luke 10:28.

Instead of killing, Let's try to save lives. If you see a fellow church member who is slipping away, that hasn't attended for several weeks, call them. Write them a card. Pray for them. Let them know that you miss them. Contact them and encourage them. Don't just sit there and allow their spirit to die.

I think the Sixth Commandment stated in the positive would basically say, "Love life." Not just loving your enemies but loving life. Take care of life. Take care of your health. You could state this in eight different ways:

Eight laws of health. They're here in this commandment.

Jesus puts the Sixth Commandment in the positive in Matthew 5:43,44. "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."

Paul adds a statement over here in Romans 12:20. Paul says, "...If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink." So, let's not disconnect others from life by killing them, or disconnect ourselves from life by taking our own life. Let's regard life. Let's love the life that God gave us. Take care of it. And when it comes time for us to return that which we have leased from Him, let's return it to Him in good shape so that His smile can rest upon us. I long for that day when we shall see Jesus, and see His smile, and He will say, "Well done. You did a good job." I want that to happen to me.

We're going to take a break here in our series on the Ten Commandments, because next week we've got to start getting ready for the evangelistic meetings which begin in three weeks. Next week we're going to have Communion. Then we're going to have our health weekend and fellowship lunch, a general potluck. Then the next week our evangelist will be here to kick off the introduction of the meetings. Then the meetings will begin on September 28. After the meetings are over, we are going to continue with the Ten Commandments until we finish. So, don't think that we're going to leave this and forget it. We'll come back to it. In the meantime, may God smile upon us and may His sunshine fill our lives.

Hymn of Praise: #191, Love Divine
Scripture: Matthew 5:21,22
Hymn of Response: #470, There's Sunshine in My Soul Today


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