Category Archives: Matthew

Commandment #6 – Do not Murder

Opening Question

“Each and every commandment exposes the inclinations of our evil hearts.”  Discuss.

Exodus 20:13

You shall not murder.

In the beginning (5 mins)

Genesis 1 and 2 contain the absence of murder. Death is mentioned here only as a warning (Gen 2:17). Rather, the chapters are filled with life! Genesis 3 describes the Fall when the serpent sows doubt with regards to God’s death threat! (Genesis 3:4)

It is Genesis 4 where we read of the first murder. Read Genesis 4:1-16. Verse 8 describes the murder, but what is the warning in Verse 6-7? Focus on those two verses and discuss.

Before the actual murder, Cain has anger brewing in his heart. God warns him to change his thoughts – focus on what is good and not what is evil. Sin is like a dog that if you let it off the chain it will overpower you. The problem was with Cain before the actual murder took place.

Genesis 4:23 describes a man who boasts in his ease of killing others in revenge.

See also Genesis 9:6. What does this tell us about the significance of murder? 

Being made in God’s image is important. We are not equal with the animal kingdom. See Genesis 9:1-6 – eating meat is not murder – although there are still regulations around that.

The command to Israel (5 mins)

What does the 6th commandment presume about life?

The key word in this commandment is ‘murder’ rather than ‘kill’. The Penteteuch contains many occasions when putting a person to death is called on (this is a civil rule given to the nation of Israel). No person has the right to take another person’s life for personal reasons.

Israel’s history (10 mins)

Read over Exodus 21:12-32 to get an overview of how various situations are dealt with.

Note also Leviticus 19:18

The Gospel (10 mins)

Read Matthew 5:21-26

To what extent does Jesus broaden this commandment?

He would declare Cain guilty even before he struck a physical blow to Abel. ‘Raca’ might be like saying ‘go to hell!’ Ironic that this is exactly where a comment like that might take you!

Discuss what is said in Verses 23-24.

Jesus may be inferring that Abel could have done more in the Genesis 4 account!

What are some counter moves to keep this command?

Be proactive in love. Don’t simply avoid killing people out of passion, but work on our love for one another – mend relationships soon.

See Matthew 7:12

Note that Jesus puts our behaviour toward others as the primary agenda for fulfilling the laws. 

Christian Living (15 mins)

The Christian way is to love as demonstrated by God’s love for us. Romans 5:8 teaches us that God demonstrates his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Christ himself, left his throne – the ultimate altar – to make reconciliation with his enemies – you and I! While we were haters of God, Christ came and made peace between us and God. Christ’s fulfillment of this command is to demonstrate the ultimate gift of life. Rather than taking life, he brings us to life! (see Ephesians 2:4-5)

Look up some or all of these passages to spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Perhaps challenge one another to pick one reference and make it your memory verse for this week.

  • Colossians 3:12-14
  • Galatians 5:22-25
  • Romans 12:9-21

Study 5 of 6 – Faith goes “all in” – Matthew 6:19-24

Discussion question

If someone looked at your bank and credit card statements this year, would they see Jesus‘ kingdom as the one thing you treasure the most?


Our investigation into ‘faith’ has taken the following shape.

  • FAITH… is being sure of what we believe 
  • FAITH… is observable (faith produces works)
  • FAITH… is about entry into Jesus’ kingdom (works don’t save)
  • FAITH… is accompanied with love on the basis of what God is like, not on the basis of what humans like.

We have two more studies on the topic of faith but it is good to reflect on where we have come from in order to see how central this word is to Christians. Jesus is at the centre of it all. But we don’t worship a Jesus who is ‘out there’ away from us, but God who became man so that we can be relieved of our anxiety and doubt about our existence and eternal future. Faith is not a magical word that takes away suffering and pain – but gives us the foundation (our sure hope and trust in God) to lean into suffering and know that it is all in God’s hands.

This week, we turn to Jesus’ own words in Matthew Chapter 6 and see how far we ought to lean into faith. This is part of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).

Read Matthew 6:19-24

Matthew 6:19-24 are a series of short sayings which are our focus in this study. Matthew 6:25-34 continue with the same message and are an extended argument on the same theme. You may extend the study through to verse 34 but I won’t fill these notes with explanation.


  • 19-21 – The logic of faith
  • 22-23 – A lesson on clarity
  • 24 – An ultimatum

19-21 – The logic of faith

“…treasures on earth…” Jesus identifies the treasures in the broad sense of anything that can be stolen by human or rodent. Food and money fit clearly into these categories. Two things are paramount about what he says: Firstly, they are called ‘treasures’ and secondly that he is warning against storing up. These are investment terms where we are thinking about our future. He reminds us that there is no eternal future for these things. So, we can gather daily for our needs and we can be prudent about forward thinking but he tells us that our investments will be stolen from us. We cannot build a security system that will defend our wealth against the thieves of the next generation. That is, we must eventually give up everything for the living.

“…treasures in heaven…” But there are treasures which are untouchable by vermin and thieves. Here is good economical advice. What is the ultimate retirement plan? The question to ask of this passage (or of Jesus) is: what is this treasure? It is not heaven because the treasure is in heaven. The answer is not a place but a person: God himself. A person who gathers treasure around them is seeking to make themselves king. But a person who recognises Jesus as king and knows that he is a generous and gracious king will learn to stop hoarding, and striving for self reliance and trust God with everything. We don’t need to wait for heaven to come in order to enjoy the kingdom of God now. Matthew 6:32 concludes this whole theme on possessions and tells us to possess God above everything else.

“…where your treasure is…” Jesus finishes this first section with the question: what is it that you treasure. You will sacrifice things for whatever it is that you treasure. If you spend on X, you are not spending that amount of money on Y and Z. That’s just maths. If the spending is money, that’s clear. But the spending could be your time, energy, sleeplessness, mental focus. What is it that we are actually striving for? Jesus wants to know if you want to be in his kingdom or not? If you do, do you treasure it?

Side note: The word for treasure in the Greek is Thesauros. Firstly, isn’t it great that when we need to use an alternate word for something, we can go to a great treasure store of words in a thesaurus – but secondly, our local finance advisors who are gospel minded with their thinking on money have called their company Thesauros Consulting. They were interviewed this year on The Pastor’s Heart and you can see this excellent 30 minute presentation here:

22-23 – A lesson on clarity

“…the lamp of the body…” I would treat these verses a little like a riddle from Jesus. It is less like an easy illustration and more like an “aha” moment when you finally understand what he is saying. The eyes of a person who treasures the kingdom of God above all else has healthy eyes and their body is healthy. But if you have an eye for God and an eye for the things of this world, then you are darkening the health of your body and, as Jesus describes it, the darkness is strong! He uses the eye because it describes the direction of our attention. He is not talking about how we actually use our eyes but where our focus is. I was learning about dogs recently, and how the dog brain works, and the first thing you need to know about dogs is that their sense of smell is amazing! They use their noses, like we use our eyes. Where their nose is at, that is what they are focused on. They observe the world and interact with the world through their nose. We, on the other hand, have our eyes as the key input device for our minds. Even when we have them closed, we think about our desires in visual ways – through our mind’s eye! So, Jesus is asking us to be a one-eyed-supporter or lover of God’s kingdom.

24 – An ultimatum

“No one can serve two masters.” Jesus gives us a third way of thinking about our hearts. The first was about what we treasure the most. The second was about what we are focused on. The third is about slavery. What or who are we a slave to. If we are a slave to money then that is our god. If we are a slave to God, it does not follow that we will give away all of our money, but it will not be our master – we shall master it for the glory of God.

“…hate…love…devote…despise…” We might fool ourselves to think that we can do God well and do this world well also. Jesus says, choose. You may have heard something like this, “you can have heaven now or heaven later, but you can’t have both.” That’s not bad if it works to motivate you. The question of ‘what do you treasure’ comes back again: is it God or is it not God. Can you drop everything and commit your life to God? Or is he contingent on whether you are doing well elsewhere first? Is security in this world your goal? And God gets a say when everything else is sorted. Or can you sacrifice everything else for the sake of following Christ? Put this another way: what are you unable to remove from the grip of your hand, no matter what?

My hope is that Christ and his kingdom is what we desire, love and are devoted to. I confess that this is tested in me regularly – and I fail. I want to despise the things of this world because of my love for God and his glory. I need forgiveness. I ask for it and I get it and I keep working on making eye healthy.


Jesus calls us to look out our hearts, our eyes and our master. Food and money can become tools for us if we learn to treasure God above all else. Our spiritual health can be measured on the things that we pursue, the way we spend our money and the focus of our mind and energy. We are all slave to something. If it is money and pleasure, repent and turn to Christ. Jesus offers us the kingdom of God – do you want to settle for less?


Application A: Consider what your treasure is. The starting point of application to this study is understanding what you consider as treasure. In other words: what do you pursue in life? What shapes your decisions – big and small – on how you spend your time, talents, and treasure? If it’s God and his desires, then you are investing well. 

If it’s not, then you are pursuing treasures that will have no value when you meet Jesus face to face in eternity. It’s like knowing that your shed will be bulldozed next month but you keep buying more and more stuff and storing them in the shed.

Application B: Putting money in its place. Watching the interview with Kevin and Arya would be very helpful as a starting point on working out how to think about the money you handle and your own personal growth in faith. Here is the link again: Who can you talk to about how you are going with your money? Managing your money is about telling your money what to do. It ought to be directed by your faith and not the other way around.

Applications C: Matthew 6:33 is a wonderful summary statement of Jesus’ point. Make this a memory verse.

Matthew 9:35-38

Praying for mission

“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” Matthew 9:37


Our church has set aside the next fortnight to heighten our work on spreading the gospel and calling people to return to God through Christ. In this week’s study, we will look at a short account from Matthew on spreading the gospel which will hopefully lead to praying for the week ahead.

In this passage in Matthew, Jesus, who began to gather his disciples in chapter 4 and tell them to be fishers of men, has been drawing in many people through his teaching and healing. While the disciples have been following Jesus and learning by watching, they are about to be sent out on their own to fish for men (chapter 10 following).


“Jesus went…proclaiming the good news of the kingdom…” This first sentence is echoing Matthew 4:23. Jesus is doing what he did from the beginning of his ministry. While he healed diseases and sicknesses, Jesus proclaimed the good news. By proclaimed, he declared, taught, and announced publicly. The good news is literally the gospel and the gospel is the good news about the kingdom. This is, of course, God’s kingdom. In Matt 3:2 he said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” The first good news about the Kingdom is that it has come near and it is not too late to repent. This is the primary message of the good news – it is good that the Kingdom has come near. In the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12), Jesus described the kingdom of heaven as for those who are poor in spirit and who thirst and hunger for righteousness. The Kingdom of God is open to those who seek it!

“When he saw the crowds…” People were flocking to see Jesus. He not only had a message that they wanted but he had the ministry of healing. Note that this healing ministry, though not undesirable, is by and large limited to Jesus and his disciples (see 10:1).

“…harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Perhaps harassed and helpless is related to the physical needs but it is more likely related to their spiritual needs because of the sheep metaphore. They need leadership into the kingdom of heaven. They are being pushed this way and that with no direction. They need to be shown the way.

“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” This is no longer a metaphor of shepherding but of reaping a crop. In Jesus’ message he sees that it’s harvesting time. It’s not time to plant or wait but to bring in the fruit. There is work to be done and the shortage is in the workers department, not in the fruitful crop.

“Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” God (the Lord) is the farmer here. His field. His crop. His work has come to the moment of harvesting. What he needs is labourers to go and reap. The prayer of Jesus is not for the lost souls. He has compassion on them. The prayer request is for workers to step up and collect what is waiting to be collected. Are there prayers in the bible that ask for people to be saved? Even if there are, aren’t there far more prayers directed to Christians to go, to minister, to be God’s ambassadors, to be bold and to raise up?


Jesus has called the disciples and taught them about the kingdom of heaven. He has modelled to them what it is like to announce the good news that God’s kingdom is ready to receive people who repent and desire it. Jesus expresses the need for more workers to do what Jesus is doing. His desire is for us to pray for more workers.


  • Pray for workers for the harvest. The week of mission is upon us and we need to pray for the following:
    • The clear announcement that Jesus is Lord.
    • The clear announcement that Jesus saves.
    • That our church community will want more people to join us.
    • That our church community will proactively and boldly speak to others about their trust in Jesus.
    • Thank God that we have good news to tell.
    • Thank God that this is his mission and that he is the Lord of the harvest who wants this work to prosper.
    • Thank God for the Lord Jesus Christ.
    • Thank God for one another and pray for one another for specific ideas and plans for mission.
    • Ask God to grow his kingdom through us.

Prayer of the Week

Father, please raise up more workers for the harvest and may we see fruit in your mission. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.