Summary: What do we do with the OT law
Laying down the Law
Intro: Did you ever hear about the chicken who crossed the road? She laid it on the line!
Jesus lays it on the line too in the Sermon on the Mount. Look with me at Matthew 5: 17-48.
We just finished looking at the beatitudes, Jesus’ call for disciples who lived out their faith internally. Now Jesus goes on to expand upon the law and to show the need to go beyond the letter of the law and living out the spirit of the law. Let’s read the passage.
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practises and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
*jot/tittle - see Psalm 119 - Jot, Yodh - smallest Hebrew lettertittle - daleth, resh - distinction
not even the smallest distinction of the smallest letter of scripture shall pass away.
*to be great - we must fully follow the teachings of scripture. The Pharisees kept the letter of the law carefully, but failed to see the heart and spirit of the law. It is impossible to keep the law ourselves, we need a savior to give us his righteousness. We must keep the law in the spirit of the law. what Jesus demanded was the righteousness that the law truly taught, not the hypocritical observance of the Pharisees.
Areas of amplification:
Murder 21-26 -
"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, `Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, `Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, `You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. "Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.
Murder really comes from anger. We need to destroy anger before it destroys us. Not only is murder punishable, but the anger that brings it about is punishable even if the act of murder is never committed. Try to reconcile with any whom may be offended with you or whom you may have offended.
Adultery - (27-30)
"You have heard that it was said, `Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
Adultery ultimately comes from lust. Do what it takes to keep from lusting. Turn off the TV. Don’t read the books or magazines. Don’t go to the movies. etc.
Divorce - 31-32
"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 marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.
Divorce comes from an adulterous heart. Divorce is not an easy option to follow new desires of the heart. Divorce is allowable only for unfaithfulness - not for burning the toast.
Oaths - 33-37
"Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, `Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ But I tell you, Do not swear 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. Simply let your `Yes’ be `Yes’, and your `No’, `No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.