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.