OLD v. NEW / LAW v. GRACE
In the past couple of weeks we have been speaking about the Be-attitudes and being Salt and Light.
How that happiness came to us, through receiving the words written in red, about the attitude and actions of Jesus Christ and how happiness comes to others by our expressing His attitude and actions by passing that Salt and turning on that Light to a season less dark world.
Well, this morning, we are going to continue to teach from Matt. 5 on Jesus first sermon, what is known as the “Sermon on the Mount.”
And the startling truth’s that Jesus would bring forth, that would “BLOW THEM AWAY” and much of the church has continued “BLOWING THEM AWAY”, in their attempt to be everything to everybody!
** This is why I make no apologies to what I serve and how I serve the message around here; yes we will continue changing our methods, yes there are many things when it comes to traditional church, religious hoops and outward appearance we don’t give much attention to.
But we will never compromise the message or avoid passages for the sake of keeping or drawing someone.
Today, who are you going to appreciate the most; someone who in deception says, to just live any old way you want, it doesn’t really matter or makes little difference.
Or someone who tells you the truth and by telling you the truth, that could keep you from a lot of heartache, harm, and possibly even Hell?
When Jesus came on the scene, he spoke truth, we can say he shot straight not safe!
Meaning, He knew his message was going to be offensive to most but His mission would not be compromised, into trying to coral a bunch of people verses having genuine concern, care, and compassion for those who He came for.
Listen, to Christ’s message; and in your mind begin to picture yourself being on the side of that mountain with them and what your response would be to the words spoken by Jesus, the word’s “Written in Red!”
Hopefully they will be one of reception not rejection, because these are not just any words, they are the “WORD OF LIFE.”
The Fulfillment of the Law
Matt. 5:17-20 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18I 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. 19Anyone 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 practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For 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.
** Jesus wanted them to know he wasn’t just another false prophet who came into town, but he took the law serious and he was serious about seeing it fulfilled.
It was not his intention to deny their divine authority; or to set people free from the obligation to obey them, but to accomplish and teach them to his Followers even in a bigger and better way.
So, when reading these verses it kind of “Blows Away”
Statements we have heard and agreed with and even stated like:
Well that’s Old Test. and we are a New Test. church!
Or were not under the law anymore but under grace! (AMEN!)
Where they were unwilling to accept anything new, today we are unwilling to accept anything old.
Where they had no room for grace we don’t have room for law. (in the church that is)
And all along, what Jesus was trying to say was this; it is not about Old v. New or Law v. Grace: but it is about the SPIRIT of the law not the letter of the law, it’s about a RELATIONSHIP not a Religion, it’s about the INTERNAL not the external, what’s in our HEART not what’s just in our head!
What Jesus was going to do in fulfilling the law, would bring a great change of events in how we could live it and why we would even want to!
Jesus said in no way have I come to do away with anything, and shame on you if you break or teach others to do so!
But your righteousness must succeed that of the Pharisee’s! It must go beyond just the written letter and take on the Spirit of the letter.
The Pharisee’s intent was good, they wanted a Holy Place of worship for there God, but some how there “Intent got Bent” into ceremonies, rituals, and traditions of men!
In other words:
What started out to be a God thing turns out to only be a good thing! (How many can relate to what I am saying?)
You started out in a love relationship with the Lord, but for whatever reason, you are now satisfied with the keeping a few religious rules.
What do I mean? Let’s look at Matt. 5:21 for an answer! Let’s take: Murder 21"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ’Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’
What Religious person has a problem with that? I mean we aren’t going to go out and kill nobody, no Pharisee in Jesus day or religious person in our day would jump at that, Amen! We can follow the letter but how many are willing to follow the spirit of the letter?
22 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.
You see here, what Jesus is doing? He came to fulfill something even greater, to fully explain, to equip, to teach His people not to follow just the letter but the spirit of the letter!
No, don’t think he came to do away with anything, but he did come to bring revelation and life to the letter that is written not just on paper but in our hearts!
What the letter by itself could not & can not accomplish, his fulfilling and finished work in our lives, would compel us as followers, not to murder (which none of us would have a problem with anyway), but better yet not to even get angry!
The Spirit of the letter goes farther then the 10 commandments, it branches out into ever avenue of the letter giving us more then a law, but a principle to live by.
It goes father then an External action of the basics, but it brings us to the internal conviction of the meat of what Jesus came to do!
Does what I am contemplating of doing:
1. Exalt our Savior
2. Expedient for getting me to my destination
3. Edify my brethren
4. Being a example to the lost around me
**Then he continues to go down a list of things, that the Christian would be able to fulfill, by the grace of God, contrary to those just keeping the letter of the law.
Such as Adultery, Divorce, Promises, Retaliation…
Hey, what we could be doing today might be justified, accepted, and even ignored by the world or the majority of Religious circles of our day but what does Jesus teachings show and say! That’s what counts, AMEN!
Today, many Christians are unaware of this teaching and live a lawful life by standards of the prophets, but not a liberated life by the salvation of Jesus.
He made it possible for us to go beyond the demands of the law, even into a more fulfilling life!
As one man said, God loves you just the way you are, but He loves you to much to leave you the way you are!
Jesus expected His teachings to take us to a higher plane then that of the Pharisee’s.
That they would make such a difference in how we related to one another and the world and how we would handle conflict from within and with out! That the world would see it a “Glorify God”!
What a difference this world be, if the Christians would live past the letter of “You have Heard” of v. 21, 27, 33, 38, 43 7 start to live the fulfillment of Jesus teachings, the spirit of the letter “But I Say” of v. 22, 28, 32, 39, 44.
The key here is not if we have failed in one or more of these areas, because we all have; but after hearing and reading these scriptures today, will I let Jesus fulfill in me His message?
The last thing Jesus said in this part of the sermon was this; Matt. 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Folks in no way did Jesus come to destroy the law but fulfill it in the life of every believer!
Folks, as the old saying goes; I am glad I’m under grace instead of the law, but don’t think for a minute it means my lifestyle and commitment it not to be at the highest level!
Knowing we are under grace should compel us to go much more farther then the law ever demanded!
How can I live it? By the Spirit of the living God living in inside me!
Why would I want to? Because of His willingness to fulfill the promises of paying in full the penalty of my sin debt!
To simplify it, He LOVES me!
2Cor. 5:21 For He has made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.