The Father's Safe Place / Matthew 5

Campus: Rooty Hill
Mar 20, 2022

Jesus wants us to see that His Father is good! He uses his sun and rain to create a safe space where all people can see his goodness. And this is how he wants us to treat others.


Today I want to begin by teaching you an Ancient Anglican Liturgy taken from our Scripture text: God is good… All the time… And all the time… God is good. In the sermon when you hear me say, “God is good”, then I want you to say the next line. This is the main message that Jesus wants us to see in this part of His sermon. 

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Jesus wants us to see that His Father is good! He uses his sun and rain to create a safe space where all people can see his goodness. And this is how he wants us to treat others. 

Why is Jesus the King calling God a Father? and why would he want us to be children of our heavenly Father? Why is it so important to Jesus that we see his Father as good? Why do we, in fact so many people, find it hard to see God as good? 

Jesus is going to answer these questions for us in three ways:

  1. Help us see the perversion of our hearts. 
  2. Help us understand the purpose of the law. 
  3. Show us the absolute perfection of His Father. 

God is good… All the time… And all the time… God is good.

So, what’s wrong with us? You can be excused for thinking the way we fix our problems is to try harder! Righteousness must exceed the scribes and Pharisees! Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect. Trying harder to keep God’s laws is not what Jesus is saying. 

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgement. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, Raca, is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, You Fool! will be in danger of the fire of hell. ~Matthew 5:21-22  (NIV)

What does it look like to be children of our good and loving Father in heaven? Not murder! Being children in God’s family looks like a relationship with God and others. Murder is the ultimate destruction of a relationship. Jesus uses the 6th commandment to show us the perversion of our hearts. There are other ways to kill a relationship than pulling the trigger. Raca! You Fool! I am most like this when I drive. When I am in my home! 

We are in danger of the fire of hell. Hell is eternal separation from God and others in a place of torment! Do you see what Jesus is doing? The purpose of the law is not only to show us the perversion of our hearts but to protect us here and NOW! When our anger turns to bitterness, we experience a destructive fire burning inside us. “Bitterness is a poison we drink hoping to kill someone else.” 

What do we do? We make restoring relationships a TOP priority. Settle matters quickly. Do it while you are still together! BEFORE you are locked up in the prison of your own self-righteousness, arrogance and conceit. Looking down your nose at others while blind to the fact you are looking down from the tower of your own prison cell. God NEVER treats anyone this way - not even his enemies. He is PERFECT. He sends his sun and rain on all people. He gives generously to billions who not only don’t know him but don’t even want to know him. 

God is good… All the time… And all the time… God is good.

We not only abuse anger but we twist God’s good gift of sexuality. 

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. ~Matthew 5:27-28, 31-32  (NIV)

Murder destroys lives and relationships while a divorce is always the tragic end of a relationship that started in love. 

“The man who divorces his wife does violence to the one he should protect.” ~Malachi 2:16  (NIV)

Whether it is the man or the woman who does the divorcing, it is always traumatic! If you have suffered the trauma of divorce and need help, please speak to me or our women’s pastor, Kim, so we can help you encounter God’s healing love. 

The marvel of God’s law is it gives protection to those who are victims of other people breaking God’s law. It also pulls back the protection we place over our hearts and exposes our deepest longing on the inside. God placed protective boundaries around our sexuality when he made us male and female. The latest statistics say 16% of American young people are now struggling with issues of gender. 

Our Bishop, Gary Cou, told us in a recent staff meeting that the number one reason people struggle to listen to the Christian gospel are concerns around issues of sexuality. As I have been speaking to others about God’s goodness over the past few months, I have come against this roadblock several times. We have been told by our culture that in order to have REAL life, to truly be satisfied, we must be free to pursue and express our sexual longings any way we want. God sends his sun and rain on everyone! GK Chesterton wrote, “The man who knocks on the brothel door is knocking for God.” Jesus tells us that even in our sexuality we are looking for relationship with God. Whether we look at porn, commit adultery, change our bodies from one sex to another, these actions will never satisfy the deepest longing of our heart for connection. 

Here’s the bomb of the sermon: If you keep this law 100% and you marry someone who does the same, sex will not satisfy you. “If you don’t sleep around before you are married you will have a great sex life.” As if a great sex life is the goal! What if you are single? In the eyes of the church, single people can sometimes be seen as second class citizens to those married with children. This is NOT the view of Paul who wished all people could be single like himself. 

Apparently, Jesus had a very successful life without ever getting married or having sex. In Augustine’s Confessions St. Augustine writes, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” Our sexuality is a precious, beautiful gift from God - that is to be made male and female. But to think we can find the answer to the longing in our hearts in God’s good gift would be to love the gift more than that Giver Himself. 

I don’t know where you have been knocking looking for God, but I do know this, Jesus is right when he says, do whatever it takes to get out of sexual bondage. Just as anger leads to the destruction of relationships in the fire of hell, so can twisting God’s good gift of sex.

Steve, I don’t know if I can trust you! A recent study of Americans showed that in 1964 77% trusted politicians. Today 16 % 

“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfil to the Lord the vows you have made.’ But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. ~Matthew 5:33-37 (NIV) 

These verses raise questions: Do I swear an oath in court? Do I sign a sworn document? 

Don’t make a promise you can’t keep. Trust is the essence of a relationship and it’s no different in our relationship with God. The original lie of Satan. We abuse anger, twist sexuality, break trust and fail to bring justice. 

 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.  And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. ~Matthew 5:38-41 (NIV)

It sounds like Jesus is advocating abuse! He stood up to the religious leaders and rebuked the high priest. So, what is he saying - we are the ones who act unjustly? Take my eye and I’ll take both of yours. Shame me on Facebook I’ll post photos on Facebook and Instagram! This may be how we treat our enemies but that is not how God treats His! His sun and his rain. 

God is good… All the time… And all the time… God is good.

 What is turn the other cheek all about? In Eastern culture when someone slapped you on the cheek they were not trying to hurt your body but your reputation. They were shaming or insulting you. When you are God’s dearly loved child - remember - This is my dearly loved Son? You are in a safe place. You are protected from all other insults and shame because there is NO condemnation. 

So you can give someone the shirt off your back, you can go the extra mile even for your enemies. That’s what God does for us and way more. While we were his enemies Christ died for us. We have abused anger, twisted our sexuality, broken trust, done violence to justice and now God sums up all his law by telling us to love our enemies. 

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? ~Matthew 5:43-47 (NIV)

Remember Jesus was asked, what is the greatest commandment of all? WE love people who are like us and we despise those who are not. The algorithms of social media are set up to feed this trait! Even in church it is easier to talk to people we know rather than those we don’t. Differences makes us uncomfortable. So Jesus says, Be perfect! We have to be made perfect, mature, complete. James tells us to rejoice in our trials and suffering because it makes us complete, lacking nothing, Jesus was made perfect in his suffering. 

When we see Jesus hanging on the cross we see more than a man dying. We see a man trusting as he cries out Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. Imagine the delight in Jesus when he comes out of the grace on Easter Sunday morning?! Yes!!! I knew my Father would not leave my body and soul in the grave. Jesus invites you to take time to enjoy God’s safe place and there come to know him as your Father. And in relationship with God.

get in touch