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SPIRITUAL LEPROSY

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  • Ralph Bouma
    Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 26, 2013
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      "Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy
      brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go
      thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift,"
      MAT 5:23-24.

      The lesson our Saviour taught in these verses directs our attention to the
      cleansing of a leper in order to teach the spiritual leprosy of the human heart.
      MAT 8:1-3 teaches us that as Jesus finished His sermon on the mount, great
      multitudes followed Him, but one leper saw his uncleanness and came to Jesus to
      be cleansed.

      "Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou
      clean...Jesus saith unto him...shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift
      that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them," MAT 8:3-4.

      The gift Jesus speaks of in our text is recorded in LEV 14:3-7. This gift was
      two birds, one was to be slain, and the other was to be dipped in the blood of
      the one that was slain, and then turned loose into the open field. This gift was
      to "...shew the Lord's death till He come," 1CO 11:26.

      If we may believe we have been cleansed from the leprosy of sin, then when we
      bring our gift to the altar, "...and there rememberest that thy brother hath
      ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first
      be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift."

      We are not fit for communion with God until we examine our hearts whether we
      harbor anger against any person. If we are the offended one we are to make short
      work of it, "And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any:
      that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses," MAR
      11:25.

      The meaning of our text goes much deeper than this, "...and there rememberest
      that thy brother hath ought against thee."

      Before we are fit for communion with God, we must very carefully examine our
      hearts whether our conduct has given our brother just cause to be angry! Has our
      brother been wounded in fact or in what he has seen?

      We must prayerfully examine our hearts whether the quarrel or offense began on
      our side: is the fault either at first or afterward ours? EPH 4:26-27 says, "Be
      ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give
      place to the devil"; because we must go to prayer before we go to sleep.

      If our spiritual eyes have been opened to see our leprosy of sin, we will never
      be able to say, "Raca, or thou empty fellow", to a brother.

      After Jesus admonished against this heart and tongue murder, He held up the
      mirror of self-knowledge to see the spiritual leprosy of the heart as He did in
      JOH 8:7-11, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at
      her...And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out
      one by one."

      The word brother in our text means every human being, "Have we not all one
      father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man
      against his brother?" MAL 2:10.

      When prayers are offered with wrath or hatred in the heart, they are written in
      thy brother's blood, ISA 1:15. Our text says, "Therefore if thou bring thy gift
      to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
      Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to
      thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." Amen.

      Forgiveness! 'tis a joyful sound
      To malefactors doomed to die;
      Lord, may this bliss in me be found;
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