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Summary: A consideration of the nature of the Old Testament law, and how Jesus fulfills it for us.

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TITLE - Jesus: The Fulfillment of the Old Testament Law for Us

SERIES - Matthew’s Portrait of Jesus As The Fulfillment of God’s Promises

(Sermon # 5)

TEXT - Matthew 5:17–19

DATE PREACHED - February 22, 2009




A. I want you to imagine that the president and Congress decided to encourage Americans to become physically fit. They made a law requiring every American to run fifteen miles, and then swim five miles, every day. Oh, and one more thing: If you fail, you’ll be shot. Congress and the president are not playing around on this one. Get into shape, or get shot. Run fifteen miles, then swim five miles, every day, or pay the price. That’s the new law.

Now, some of us would be shot pretty quickly. Take me, for instance. I have bad knees that prevent me from running. So, they would just take me out and shoot me right off the bat. And some of you might be in the same boat. We would not last too long under this type of law.

Others here this morning might fare a little better. Perhaps you are semi-physically fit, and you might be able to run a mile or two. But fifteen? That would be a challenge for most people. Unless you were already doing serious training preparing for a marathon, you would probably find that you tired out, cramped up, and collapsed long before you hit the fifteen mile mark. You would last longer me, but not by much. You would shot, too.

But, we may have a few athletes here this morning. You would better than most of us. Let’s say that we actually have someone who was able to run the fifteen miles, and then swim the five miles. And then, at the end of the day they come back home, exhausted and dead-dog tired, only to find the police waiting at their house. One of the policemen says, “Good job. You made it today. Get a good night’s rest, because you have to do the same thing tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, and the one after that. You have to run fifteen miles, and swim five miles, each day—every day!—or suffer the consequences.”

How long do you think anybody will last under that type of law? I suggest the answer is: Not very long.

B. Thankfully, the situation I just described is not real. However, there is an analogous situation that is real, and that’s what we’re going to talk about this morning.


A. When God created our world and gave life to humanity, he imposed certain laws. He said, “Keep my laws perfectly, and live. But if you disobey them, you will die.” That’s what he told Adam and Eve when he created them. And back then, there was only one law. In Genesis chapter two, we read how God put Adam and Eve in the midst of an amazing garden, and he said to them, “16You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” (Gen 2:15-16, NIV).

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