Summary: Verse by verse study of the book of Matthew: Jesus shows us that the New Testament law actually expands on the Old Testament Law; It is a reminder that God examines our hearts and intents and that sin is not restricted to the external.

The Christian Righteousness: Jesus’ Expansion of the Law

Matthew 5:21-32

OUTLINE: The Christian Righteousness: Jesus’ Expansion of the Law

Matthew 5:21-32

I. Jesus’ View of Murder (Jere. 17:10, Matt. 15: 18, Luke 6:45)

A. ANGER or an unforgiving heart is a crime of HIGH TREASON in God’s Court.

B. Character assassination is committed with murderous thought AND words.

C. Your ACTIONS are the externalized by-product of what is actually in your heart.

D. Two little parables to prove Jesus’ Point

1. Followers of Jesus pursue reconciliation. (5:23-24)

2. Anger and love cannot coexist and anger and worship cannot coexist.

3. Settle differences quickly and before trial. (5:25-26, 1 Peter 5:8

II. Jesus’ View of Adultery (5:27-32)

A. Two ingredients for committing adultery without ever touching someone:


B. Jesus demonstrates the seriousness of sin externally as well as internally.

1. Sin is destructive.

2. “Sin” should be understood apart from “sins”.

3. Sin must be “torn out” with the help of the Holy Spirit.

4. Recognize the price that was paid for “sin”.

C. Divorce is not legal: Marriage is to be the unity, not only of a husband and wife, but the very picture of Christ and His Church.

We live in a world which has changed so dramatically over a very short time, and often we have seen how “law” actually changes when the Supreme Court “interprets the law”; they can actually CHANGE the intent of the law. In our text today, Jesus, Himself, broadens the spectrum of the Old Testament law and shows, not the Supreme Court’s version, but the HIGHEST COURT’S VERSION…God’s INTERPRETATION and INTENT.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:17: "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill (the law).” He now gives concrete examples of how the Old Testament interpretation of the law was inadequate.

Jesus’ View of MURDER

Matthew 5: 21"You have heard that the ancients (Old Testament prophets) were told, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER ' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.'22"But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court ; and whoever says to his brother, 'You good-for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the supreme court ; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.”

We are so quick to apply SELF-righteousness to ourselves, while being judgmental toward others. We are quick to offer a guilty plea to a murderer without seeing the sin of anger or bitterness WITHIN OURSELVES as sin. There certainly are so-called “degrees” of sin in society: For instance, you won’t be jailed for not forgiving or being angry with your brother, but you WILL BE tried for assault or murder. Jesus in no way justifies murder, but if it only takes one sin for a person to become UNPERFECT and so be condemned to hell, then even ANGER or an unforgiving heart is a crime of HIGH TREASON in God’s Court. In God’s framework, anger is punishable by eternal death as well as murder.

God has only righteous anger; His anger is perfect because His Justice is Perfect. IN the HUMAN HEART, anger and love are not compatible; those two emotions can seldom live side by side.

A FEW NOTES ON SOME OF THE WORDS in these verses: (The word for “Good for nothing” is “Raca”-It was a saying by the Jews of Jesus’ time meaning, “empty-headed”; the increased idea of the word follows with “You fool” (moron), which carries with it, contempt for someone’s CHARACTER!) shall be guilty before the supreme court; (the Sanhedrin, the highest court of the Jews). “Shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell’ (gehenna- recent reformed theologians say that there has never actually been evidence of gehenna being a smoldering garbage dump, however, this Valley of Hinnom outside of Jerusalem; was where they sacrificed children by fire to the Ammonite god, Molech. Worshiping false gods leads people to do even MORE abominable things. This place was where, supposed “Children of God”, Israelites sacrificed their own children to a false God. Hell will be an appalling place because people have chosen to serve the devil instead of the True God.)

In God’s Court, CHARACTER assassination is contemptuous. In God’s Court, wicked thoughts are sinful. Not being tender-hearted and loving toward others who are made in God’s image, displays your own hateful PRIDE and PREJUDICE. Character assassination is committed with murderous words and even thoughts toward others.

Remember where sin begins: It begins (it’s born) in the heart, and God examines the HEART where evil is conceived, not just your EXTERNAL ACTIONS. Your ACTIONS are the externalized expression or by-product of what is actually in your heart. Jeremiah 17:10 says: “I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.”

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