2020 02 16 Chris Khoury BREATHE DEEP

2020 02 16 Chris Khoury BREATHE DEEP
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Create DateFebruary 19, 2020
Last UpdatedFebruary 19, 2020

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Carbon monoxide is a poison that is often called the silent killer. It has no smell, no taste, you can’t see it. If you breath it in, it can be fatal. It is a gas produced from burning things like coal, generators, petrol lawnmowers. Car engines when they are running produce this poison.



Carbon monoxide attaches itself to the blood cells and suffocates them so that oxygen can’t bond to the cell and support your organs. When you breathe in Carbon Monoxide it replaces the Oxygen in your bloodstream which causes your body tissue and cells to die – the effects of which can be fatal.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a good illustration of what Jesus was talking about in what is called the Sermon on the Mount. Here, Jesus is telling us what life would be like in the kingdom of God if we put into practice the principles contained in the sermon.



He talks about not just the symptoms of sin, but the root causes—the deeper work of sin (like poison) that goes on inside each one of us. In Matthew 5:21-37 Jesus points out that the obvious sins—like murder and adultery—are just outward symptoms of a deeper poisoning going on inside. The sickness needs to be cured.


Matthew 5:21-22 NRSV

You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, “You shall not murder”; and “whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.” But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, “You fool,” you will be liable to the fire of hell.


Jesus is getting to the root cause of the sin. Where does murder come from?

It starts with anger which leads to judging, name calling, hate and sin.

You can’t make it very far through life without being at least tempted to hate someone. Or, to call them a fool. But Jesus is talking about the poison of hate and anger and prejudices that runs inside of us. Jesus is getting to the motivation of the heart. This is thinking we are so wise and so all-seeing that we can call someone “nothing.” It is saying that a person, whom God created and dearly loves, amounts to nothing. Like calling someone, an “idiot”! It is always believing that you are right and everyone else is wrong. Those that don‘t do it my way,  are the ‘fools’. Empty headed, good for nothing. Jesus says, when we think like that, the poison of sin is running through our veins.


Jesus says it’s great that you’ve never murdered anyone, congratulations! However, hating and hurting others leads us to that slow and torturous sin that eventually leads to murder. Most of us haven’t murdered anyone, but all of us have disliked or insulted someone or thought that their lives amount to nothing.


In Matthew 5:23-24 Jesus adds another dimension to the equation.


(Matthew 5:23-24 NRSV) So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.


If you have something against a brother or sister it is of utmost importance that you be reconciled to each other even before you kneel down to pray or come before God to make an offering. If you do not, the poison of sin will choke the good stuff inside of you. Your faith and your relationship with God will be affected. You might not have murdered someone literally, but have you been responsible for the breakdown in relationships. Leave your gift at the altar, Jesus says and go and make peace. Jesus is connecting the two realities he said sum up all the law: love the Lord your God and love your neighbor. We cannot do one without the other. Reconciliation with a brother or sister is a positive, action.




Matthew 5:27-30

You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.” But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell.


Here Jesus is addressing another of the obvious symptom of sins—adultery. This is a life-wrecker that’s been around since marriage has been around. Again, the temptation here is to pat ourselves on the back and say: “Been faithful for twenty years!” But Jesus goes deeper to show the root cause behind the adultery—the lustful thoughts of the mind and heart. Let’s look at the context. In the society at that time, a husband could have a little bit of something on the side with an unmarried woman. But, if she was married, the problem he faced was with her husband. Essentially, a married woman was the property of her husband. It was a matter of the offended husband’s honor. Into this sickened system Jesus presents a radically different idea. If you lust after a woman, your problem is with God and with the woman. Not just the married womans husband. That was revolutionary for that time. Jesus essentially says that honor isn’t the issue here, the issue is your relationship with God and others. When you exploit someone made in God’s image—even mentally—you break those relationships. Jesus uses hyperbole (exaggeration) to say that it would be better to lose your right eye if it gets you into trouble. In that society, it was dishonoring to have lost your right eye. This was punishment used to dishonor a defeated enemy (see 1 Samuel 11:2). Jesus says that your relationship with God and others matters more than your honor. Again, Jesus exposes the sin. This odorless, colorless poison of sin that gets into our system long before the obvious symptoms appear.


So how do we get the poison out?

We put the good stuff in. Jesus breathes his life into us. He breathes his Spirit into us and continues to do so through the church community, his Word, and service in his kingdom.

If your vertical relationship with God is not in good shape, you need Jesus!

Jesus’ message over and over is that he is the Savior and that we NEED one.

The Law of Moses showed us in vivid terms how badly we need Jesus! As soon as Moses came down the mountain and presented the commandments, we started breaking them.


The good news is Jesus. Now Jesus tells us the heart and mind behind those sins is where the real problem lies. Who’s safe? Who’s sinless? No one! Except Jesus!  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! We have a Savior! The only solution to sin is to put something good in—to breathe in the Spirit of God. We can’t heal ourselves by our own positive thinking or determination, we need something—in this case someone—new to come in.

Only when you do that will your horizontal relationship with others

be healthy. The poison of sin is always waiting and can enter and choke us at any time, but the divine resuscitation of God is more powerful than you can ever imagine.


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