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Introduction

    1. Have you ever murdered anyone?

      1. If you are like the majority of people whom we could poll on the streets of Limerick, you would say, “Of course not, I would never do that!” Let me, however, ask different questions:

        1. Have you ever wished ill upon someone or even expressed that ill will in words?

        2. Have you ever in anger written a nasty e-mail, text message or post on Facebook?

        3. Have you ever cursed at someone, even under your breath, because they did something to upset you?

        4. Have you ever held a grudge against someone?

      2. The 6th Commandment, “Thou shalt not kill” includes more than a commandment against shooting, stabbing, strangling, poisoning or drowning a neighbor.

        1. Jesus Christ made that very clear in the Sermon on the Mt. He identified the root of murder as hatred and unlawful anger.

        2. The passage we read together identifies those who are not of God this way: 1) They do not righteousness, 2) They do not love their brethren.

        3. And murder, acc. to the same chapter, is hatred of the brother.

    2. The first murderer in Scripture is Cain, and in fact, Cain’s sin is the first recorded sin after the Fall itself.

      1. Cain’s calling, although he denied it, was to be his brother’s keeper.

      2. Cain’s calling was not only not to murder Abel, but to watch for him and protect him.

      3. That’s our calling toward our neighbor’s life: we are to prevent his hurt, promote his welfare and refrain from harming him.

      4. And we are to do that because God saved our life by giving the life of His Son for ours. Because Christ laid down His life for us, we ought (3:16) lay down our lives for our brothers. Consider.

 

OUR CALLING TOWARD OUR NEIGHBOUR”S LIFE”

I. The Principles

II. The Prohibition

III. The Command

 

  1. THE PRINCIPLES

    1. The principle behind the 6th Comm. is the perfect character of God, the Lawgiver. Remember that this is true for each of the 10 Comm. The Law is a reflection and revelation of God Himself.

      1. The 6th Comm. is rooted in God’s sov., His control of and rule over all things.

        1. God, not you, not me, not any creature, is sovereign over life and death.

          1. Each man comes into this world acc. to the sovereign will and purpose of God, and each man leaves this world acc. to that same will and purpose.

          2. There are no accidents. No man dies “before his time.” God not only knows how long or how short a person’s life is, He determines the when and how of man’s birth and death (Acts 17:26).

          3. For some God has determined a long life, for others a few years; still others, He takes before they are even born.

        2. The murderer says in effect, “I do not believe that my neighbor should live. I will decide the moment of his death, not God.”

          1. You and I do not have power or authority over the lives of our neighbors, to say whether they should live or die. We may not determine that for ourselves or for any other.

          2. Our society has lost sight of that: man determines whether a person shall live or die, whether an unborn infant in the womb, or an old person whom society deems has lived past his usefulness or a man who kills himself because, he says, I can determine my own life. But to end another man’s life or my own is sinful, it is murder.

          3. Those who play with life and death are playing God; they try to act in the place of God, I Sam. 2:6.

      2. God’s sovereignty also means that He purposely places each neighbor before a man with the command to love those neighbors.

        1. Your neighbors are in your life, not by accident, but by the sovereign decree and providence of God.

          1. Your neighbor is your spouse, your children, your fellow church member, your coworker, your fellow student or anyone else who crosses your path.

          2. Our calling is to seek our neighbor’s good, esp. his spiritual good.

          3. Our calling is to promote our neighbor’s welfare, and in terms of the 6th Comm. to protect him from harm.

        2. Often there are neighbors in our life, who encroach upon our life, and our a hindrance or an annoyance to us. We are called to love them too.

          1. God does not simply put pleasant people in our lives; many neighbors take our money, cause us misery and pain, and get in the way of our desires and plans.

          2. Our sinful desire is to get rid of such neighbors, and the most extreme way to get rid of a neighbor is murder.

          3. Read any detective novel and you will see that the motive for murder is usually that the victim stands in the way of the murderer’s happiness or welfare.

      3. Second, God forbids murder because He is the living God of fellowship and love.

        1. God does not simply exist – He lives

          1. He lives, knows and delights in Himself as the One True and Triune God.

          2. His life is one of bliss and blessedness and therefore He created man to reflect that life and to taste and know that life.

          3. But death is the end of life, fellowship and bliss. It only entered the world as God’s just judgment on sin, but it is not part of God’s nature, He is Life.

        2. Besides, murder is an attack on man made in the image of God (Gen. 9:6)

          1. God originally made man in His own image, to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him. That image was lost in the fall into sin and has been so corrupted into the image of the devil.

          2. To kill a man is to attack God in whose image man was made; it is to attack the crown and delight of God’s creation.

          3. And Genesis 9 tell us that God will require that at the hand of the murderer.

    2. The second principle behind the 6th Comm. is that murder is not simply in the deed, but the root of murder is hatred. “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer; and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him” (I John 3:15).

      1. There are many people walking our streets – and indeed sitting here in church – who might never go to prison for actual murder in the deed, but who are guilty of breaking this Comm.

        1. Many people have the seed of murder in their hearts, although for various reasons (the fear of being caught and punished) the seed never bears the evil fruit of actual homicide.

          1. How many of us have wished a person dead, how many of us have looked at a person with such hatred in our hearts that someone has said, “If looks could kill,” and how many in a moment of anger have said, “Drop dead.”

          2. All such attitudes are murderous, ill will, a desire to hurt or harm a neighbor is murder.

          3. Thus the HC says “that neither in thoughts, nor words, nor gestures, much less in deeds, I dishonor, hate, wound or kill …”

        2. First John 3 speaks of Cain, the first murderer.

          1. Cain began to be guilty of the 6th Comm. before he shed his brother Abel’s blood in the field.

          2. Cain hated his brother because “his own works were evil & his brother’s righteous;” when God made that clear by accepting Abel’s sacrifice & rejecting Cain’s, Cain was filled with bitter hatred & envy that he killed Abel.

          3. And we must be warned from the example of Cain: stop murder at its root; do not hate your brother, but love him.

      2. Hatred comes in various forms, anger, envy, desire of revenge.

        1. Envy is a feeling of resentment caused by the success of others. Instead of being happy about the success of another person, an envious person wants what that other person has and wishes him ill. Prov. 27:4, “Wrath is cruel and anger is outrageous but who is able to stand before envy?”

        2. A desire of revenge is a desire to repay someone for the wrong (real or perceived) which they have done to you. Often such feelings are nursed for a long time before they are acted upon.

  2. THE PROHIBITION

    1. The 6th Comm. forbids murder, the willful taking away of the life of a human being.

      1. Murder comes in many forms.

        1. The HC speaks of killing my neighbor “by myself.”

          1. In such a murder, I pull the trigger, I plunge the dagger, I strike the fatal blow by whatever method.

          2. We live in a society today where, not only life is cheap, but killing is glamorized and has become so commonplace that we are not even shocked by it any longer. It is also popularized by movies, TV and video games.

          3. Life is so cheap today that murder happens for the most trivial of matters, for nothing, even for a joke or a bet, and men no longer fear punishment for murder.

        2. There is also murder “by another.”

          1. David killed Uriah although he did not strike the fatal blow himself. He used the sword of the Ammonites and the willing connivance of Joab but was guilty of murder just the same.

          2. Ahab and Jezebel plotted and executed the murder of godly Naboth, neither of them threw the stones which shed Naboth’s blood but God held them responsible for his death.

          3. Today, a person might hire someone to murder an enemy, but in the eyes of the law, he and the contract killer or hit man are both guilty.

      2. Our modern society is a society of death at both ends of the spectrum. At one end, there is the evil of abortion and at the other the evil of euthanasia.

        1. Abortion, for all attempts to sanitize it, is the murder of unborn children.

          1. Most abortions are performed because the pregnancy is unwanted and is the result of fornication. The solution, legal in many countries, is to terminate the pregnancy by an abortion (“the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo before fetal viability”).

          2. Pro-choice advocates try to argue that an abortion is the removal of unwanted tissue, something like the removal of a tumor, or the removal of tonsils or an appendix. They also argue that the woman has the right over her body.

          3. However, God opens the womb, and God creates the life in the womb, whether wanted or not, and no one has the right to end the life of that child but God Himself.

        2. At the other end is euthanasia which means good death, or mercy killing.

          1. When a person is old or terminally ill, he or his family are now demanding the right to die: they say that human dignity demands a quick and painless death, in a similar way that one puts down a sick animal. Should you not put a person out of misery?

          2. Patients demand the right to have assisted suicide and some even travel to foreign lands, but to end the life of another person is murder, even if it is called “mercy killing.”

          3. Besides such a system is open to abuse – old people who linger on can be viewed as a hindrance to their children who want their inheritance. [The point is, we do not have the right to die. We must die when God determines it].

      3. Another evil against the 6th Comm. is self harm and suicide (“that I hurt not myself nor willfully expose myself to any danger …”).

        1. There is a difference between necessary risk and willful exposure to danger.

          1. It is a necessary risk to get into a car or to fly somewhere: but a person does not willfully expose himself to danger unless he drives recklessly at speed or under the influence of alcohol.

          2. The same cannot be said of those who live for the adrenalin rush who engage in extreme sports.

          3. Some activities are simply foolish, reckless and dangerous, and should be avoided in obedience to the 6th Comm. [Each person needs to apply this to himself].

        2. Willful exposure to danger: suicide is the ultimate expression of self-harm, it is self-destruction.

          1. Suicide means “self murder” and the Bible has nothing good to say about it: the only examples of suicide in the Bible are of the wicked.

          2. One who commits suicide rebels against God, who has placed him in the world and says, “I am leaving,” instead of submitting to God’s hand. Suicide is selfishness.

          3. Suicide is the ultimate expression of despair of one who has no confidence in the goodness of God.

    2. Not all killing is a violation of the 6th Comm. Literally, it is, you shall do no murder.

      1. Obviously, the killing of animals in not forbidden, so hunting, fishing and eating meat are all permitted.

        1. We live in a society which values animal life equal to and even more than human life. This is a result of evolutionary thinking.

        2. Some radical animal rights’ groups even say, “meat is murder.” Meat is not murder, it is food.

        3. Vegetarianism is not a holier lifestyle – Christ ate meat [Passover, fish after resurrection] so we can eat in good conscience.

      2. The 6th Comm. does not forbid, but rather demands, the use of the sword by the civil magistrate.

        1. Crime must be punished, and the death penalty is an appropriate and necessary punishment, but it may not be inflicted by a private individual. God has given the state that power (Rom. 13).

          1. It is true, of course, that the state has the potential to misuse the power of the sword, but that does not invalidate its power. The officials of state are accountable to God.

          2. But, as Romans 13 puts it, the state does not bear the sword in vain. God gave the state the power and authority to put evildoers to death, and at the same time to protect the righteous and innocent.

          3. The state’s role is to punish, to inflict the wrath of God, “a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil” (Rom. 13:4). The state’s role is not to rehabilitate evildoers, and no executed murderer ever reoffends.

        2. In addition, the power of the sword gives the civil government the right to wage war to protect itself against aggressors.

          1. A soldier drafted by his government is called to obey, and to do his duty as a soldier, even when that involves killing, without fear of being guilty of this Commandment.

          2. The individual soldier is not expected to know all the reasons behind the war, so that he can decide on the justice of that war; that is for his superiors to decide, and the government itself is answerable to God in those matters.

          3. Nevertheless, the soldier must not kill out of personal hatred, but simply as an instrument of his government and he must not be guilty of atrocities in war – he must treat prisoners humanely, he must not rape, pillage or otherwise harass the enemy.

      3. Murder is also not committed when a person is killed accidentally or in self defense.

        1. Murder, remember, originates with hatred in the heart, a desire to do harm.

          1. In the OT, cities of refuge were set up in Israel, so that a person who accidentally caused the death of someone could escape vengeance from the victim’s family.

          2. It is expressly said in those cases, “he hated him not.” There was no premeditation, no malice aforethought, to use a modern legal term.

        2. Self defense is legitimate too, and if the aggressor is killed in the process, this is not murder.

          1. Should someone threaten us, our family or our property, we have the right to defend, even with force.

          2. If the attacker is killed in the process, we are not guilty of murder acc. to the 6th Comm. The Bible says, his blood shall be upon his own head.

  3. THE COMMAND

    1. It is not enough, however, to avoid murder, to avoid even hatred, ill will, malice.

      1. The HC calls us to replace ill will with good will and benevolence, anger and hatred with kindness and love, and envy with genuine joy in another’s good.

        1. What shall we do when we are tempted to anger? We must show patience, not lash out at others for the harm they do to us.

        2. What shall we do when we see others prosper and we are afflicted or denied the pleasures and joys of others? We must recognize God’s hand in another’s prosperity and be glad for them.

      2. This is the opposite of our tendency by nature. We see ourselves as first and anyone who stands in our way as an enemy who must be removed.

    2. By God’s grace, given to us in the cross, we can and we do love our neighbor, imperfectly, but truly.

      1. Christ was wronged, wronged by us, but He did not seek revenge, but forgave us.

      2. In fact, Christ was put to death unjustly by cruel and bloodthirsty men so that He could bear our sins.

      3. He is not only our example, He is the power in us. Christ lives in us by the HS, and so we love as He loved.

      4. Let us not hate and murder, but love and protect our neighbor. Amen.