Summary: This is a study of the Sermon on the Mount. This is the 3rd sermon in the series.

Sermon on the Mount

Pt 3

Jesus and The Law

Matthew 5:17-20

Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. [18] For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. [19] Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. [20] For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. [NJKV]


A. Biblical Disillusionment

1. There is a movement today to discredit the Bible. Groups such as the Jesus Seminar have gone through and selected certain parts of the Gospels and have discounted them through their bead process as to what constituted the actual sayings of Christ. As with the example below it can be seen that this process has eliminated the majority of sayings attributed to Christ in the Gospel accounts.

Jesus Seminar Bead Example

In case you’re unfamiliar with the meaning of the Seminar’s bead game, let me explain. The beads indicated the extent to which a scholar believed a certain saying attributed to Jesus to be uttered by Jesus or not. According to the helpful paraphrase in The Five Gospels (the summary of the Jesus Seminar findings written by Robert Funk and Roy Hoover), the beads had the following significance:

red: That’s Jesus!

pink: Sure sounds like Jesus.

gray: Well, maybe.

black: There’s been some mistake.

Then, when the votes were in, they were given numerical value and averaged, so that each saying of Jesus ended up with a red, pink, gray, or black color. These results were published in The Five Gospels, with verses printed in the appropriate colors. This was, by the way, an intentional updating of the "words of Jesus in red" Bibles of the past.

Here is how "The Lord’s Prayer" in Matthew 6 appears in The Five Gospels. The translation is the so-called Scholars Version made by members of the Jesus Seminar.

The only words in red: Our Father

[No wonder its founder], Robert Funk, said this about Jesus:

We should give Jesus a demotion. It is no longer credible to think of Jesus as divine. Jesus’ divinity goes together with the old theistic way of thinking about God.

The plot early Christians invented for a divine redeemer figure is as archaic as the mythology in which it is framed. A Jesus who drops down out of heaven, performs some magical act that frees human beings from the power of sin, rises from the dead, and returns to heaven is simply no longer credible. The notion that he will return at the end of time and sit in cosmic judgment is equally incredible. We must find a new plot for a more credible Jesus. --- [ – Unmasking the Jesus Seminar, 2005, downloaded 01 September 2007]

2. There are some who believe that the Bible is only a historical human book, not divinely inspired, and that it only contains human words of different events and happenings recorded for prosperity sake only. Since it is not God inspired it does not require any adherence for not following its precepts. There are no eternal consequences attached to its writings. Being of a historical factor it is like all others from the past, was written with a bias in mind or can be found inaccurate from archeological findings.

3. This post-modern culture of ours says that the Bible is not a reliable source by which to judge men’s morals. This they say because there is no absolute truth. Since there is no absolute truth there can be no standard by which true judgment can be made concerning a person’s behavior. Thus the Bible is irrelevant.

Post-modernism has become much like it was in the days of Judges before Israel had a king. People just did whatever they wanted and if someone did not like it, too bad. For each person set their own standard of what was right and wrong. Post-modernism today is to believe or not to believe, to follow or not to follow, and to regard or not to regard absolute truth. They reason my interpretation is as good as another.

Judges 21:25

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

B. Biblical Correctness

John MacArthur

We continually hear the idea that because times have changed the Bible does not fit our day. The truth of course, is the opposite. The Bible always fits, because the Bible is God’s perfect, eternal, and infallible Word. It is the standard by which true “fit” is measured. It is the world that does not fit the Bible, and not because the world has changed but because the Bible has not changed. Outwardly the world has changed a great deal since biblical days, but in its basic nature and orientation it has always been opposed to God and has never conformed to His Word. --- [The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Matthew 1-7, Chicago: Moody Press, 1985, p. 250-251]

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