Summary: Message explaining what Jesus meant when he said he came not to abolish but to fulfill the law.
THE LAW: RIGHTEOUSNESS GREATER THAN THE PHARISEES
INTRO #1: Explain why I am preaching today: head pastor and associate pastor is in Mexico serving at an orphanage and doing street evangelism.
INTRO #2: ST. LOUIS CARDINALS ILLUSTRATION: So instead of a big league pastor, they’ve called up some nobody from the minor leagues. Instead of getting a pitcher from the St. Louis Cardinals, you’re getting one from the Springfield Cardinals. Rather than seeing a home run hit, you’re seeing a really, really, really good bunt, & then a relatively slow big man run to first base.
So if you are a guest today, please don’t make any decision until you’ve heard from the big league player.
TRANSITION: THE TOPIC I WAS GIVEN. As many of you know, we are in the middle of a sermon series called Sermon on the Mount. Pastors Jeremy & David have been using the Ripley’s Believe It or Not theme. And there are some of the most amazing topics ever recorded. For example:
LAST WEEK WAS ABOUT LIGHT & SALT: Now I know this may sound silly. But I love salt. When I was a young man, I actually took a whole week and studied the Biblical significance of salt. Once I was asked to preach on it and even wrote a song about a salt.
NEXT WEEK: Now I don’t know for certain, but it looks to me like its one of the coolest topics in the entire Bible: Murder. Yeah, awesome! And though you think it’s a simple topic, there’s more to it than you think. And Jeremy will cover that awesome next week. And who knows what else: 21 people coming back from serving an orphanage in Mexico, it’s probably gonna be an awesome Sunday.
MISSIONARIES RETURNING, FATHER’S DAY, & MURDER…WOW!
SO WHAT’S MY TOPIC: OLD TESTAMENT MOSAIC LAW AS DESCRIBED BY JESUS. Fantastic.
All seriousness aside, there are some revelational consequences that we need to be aware of, some interesting details. So without further ado, let’s go to God’s Word.
BIBLE VERSE: Matthew 5:17-20
17 “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. 18 For truly I tell you, 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. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly 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. 20 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.
What does it mean that Jesus did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill them?
How does one set aside of these commands?
How would one’s righteousness surpass that of the Pharisees?
1) What does it mean that Jesus did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill them?
*Before I answer this question, I want to let you know that I have spent the majority of my week on this topic. Not that I didn’t understand it, but that I couldn’t explain it. But it’s clear now. Listen to what Pastor Denn Guptill says:
A. PASTOR DENN GUPTILL:
“I am convinced that Christ stated this specifically for all those well intentioned-people who are forever saying, "I’m not under law, I’m under grace." Somehow we seem to have gotten the idea that Christ stamped the Old Testament with big red letters that say "null & void." We have drawn the faulty conclusion that the Old Testament no longer matters, that it no longer applies, that it’s just a collection of historical books. Well except for the Ten Commandments, most of us would let those stand at least the two biggies, murder and adultery. And yet Christ plainly said I have not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. Can these words really be coming from the mouth of Christ?
B. TECHNICALLY SPEAKING. Technically speaking, the word abolish translates in the Greek to kataluo which literally means “to loosen down.” The word kataluo is found 17 times in the New Testament, including prophetic inferences to the destruction of the temple at the hands of the Romans. It has an extended meaning: “to overthrow, to deprive of success, to invalidate.”
C. NO MURDER/7 YEAR PUNISHMENT SCENARIO:
NO MURDER: Let’s say we had a law that stated “No Murder (hold up NO MURDER sign).” And then I went on a binge and committed murder…of some random person’s pet rat. Well, then I would receive a punishment. And in this case the punishment is 7 years (hold up SEVEN YEARS PUNISHMENT SIGN). So, because I did it, I am now serving my punishment. So…then someone calls along and pays off my debt…my debt IS FULFILLED (rip up the Seven Years Punishment sign). Nice, I’m Free!