Summary: In the sermon on the mount, Jesus reveals what needs to be the character of those who follow Him, how that character will influence the world, and how it need play out in their lives.
The Fulfillment Of Law
Reading: Matthew 5:17-20
This morning we continue a sermon series on the Sermon on the Mount. This series of messages, titled “Jesus began to preach,” encompasses the teachings given by Jesus as recorded in Matthew chapters 5, 6, and 7, the longest uninterrupted teaching by Jesus in all the Gospels.
In the sermon on the mount, Jesus reveals what needs to be the character of those who follow Him, how that character will influence the world, and how it need play out in their lives.
We began this series with the lessons given to the blessed found in Matthew 5:3-10. These words given by Jesus address the heart of those who would be His disciples, illustrating the characteristics of those who are approved and favored of God, the blessed of God. The blessed of God they are spiritually destitute and sorrowfully seek His grace and His mercy. The blessed of God hunger and thirst after righteousness. They are the meek and the merciful, they are the pure in heart and the peacemakers. And they will be persecuted but in this the blessed of God may also rejoice.
This is the heart of the disciple of Jesus, this is our heart and with these attitudes we have a mandate to influence the world. The Beatitudes are not to be lived in isolation or only among fellow believers, but everywhere we go. We His children are God’s only witnesses and we are to bring salt and light to the world. The figures of salt and light emphasize different characteristics of influence, but their basic purpose is the same, to show His savor and His light and bring glory to God.
Matthew 5:16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
And it is with these words that we pick up our lesson today for Jesus is now quick to address the thoughts these words were sure to evoke in the minds of those hearing them spoken. For in the minds of those listening works done for the glory of God would be linked to the words of the Law of God.
I. The Law Of God
A. In the time of Christ, the law had become layered by the requirements and traditions of men
1. Jesus addresses this with the Pharisees and scribes:
a. Matthew 15:1-10 They transgressed (sinned) against the Law and invalidated the word of God for the sake of tradition.
b. Paradoxically, they would adhere to the letter of the Law while ignoring it's intended spirit. Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.
c. Jesus addressed the hypocrisy of the Jewish leaders and it's effect on the people of God earlier in the gospel of Matthew: Matthew 23:1-4
d. Those listening to Jesus that day had to be primed for a change from the stringent burden that the Law of God had become and knowing this, Jesus spoke directly to their thoughts.
B. Jesus came to fulfill the Law
1. 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.”
a. Christ states that His goal in coming is not to destroy God’s Law. He’s not replacing it or minimizing it or creating loopholes for folks who can’t seem to live up to it.
b. He came to fulfill the Law. He came to meet the requirements and standards of the Law.
c. The requirements of the law could not be met by the works of men. Hebrews 10:1, 11-13 but were met by Jesus.
d. The standards of the law could not be met by the works of men.
1) Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
2) But were met by Jesus: Hebrews 4:15c ...tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
e. He met every prophecy made concerning the Messiah and will meet the prophecies spoken of things still to come.
II. The Law Will Not Pass Away
A. Until all is done according to the plan of God, the Law will remain.
1. Matthew 5:18 "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
a. Jot and tittle (KJV) In Greek: iota and keraia. Iota is the smallest letter of the Greek alphabet, Keraia is a small hook or mark made to other Greek letters or numbers. It emphasizes that the entirety of God's Law will remain until all things come to pass.