Summary: Continuing series on Matthew, this message dealing with Jesus’ words about the Law.
The Place of the Law
October 3, 2004
It¡¦s good to be back here with you today. Last week I was the guest speaker at Lowry Pilgrim Church, for their MissionFest, and I had a good time.
But like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, I, too, feel that there¡¦s no place like home. I enjoy speaking at other places at times, but I love it hear, and I love you dearly.
This morning we continue to work our way through the gospel according to Matthew.
We finished looking at the Beatitudes a few weeks ago, then the issue of being salt and light in the world.
Today we pick it up in chapter 5, as Jesus continues the Sermon on the Mount, and today He turns His attention to something we don¡¦t talk a whole lot about, and that is the Law of God.
We tend to think as New Testament types of folk who love Jesus, that we don¡¦t need to think much about the Law, because we believe that Jesus took care of all that.
Well, that¡¦s true to an extent. But Jesus feels that the Law is important, and that He has an important part to play in seeing it accomplished.
Please follow along as I read Jesus¡¦ words in chapter 5, verses 17-20, which are printed in your note-taking guide.
"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 I 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. 19 Anyone 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. 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.¡¨
Jesus says that the law is still relevant to those who follow Him. In helping to show you how and why that is, I want us to look at some facts concerning the law, and then it¡¦s application in the lives of people who call themselves Christians.
Ready? Here we go. Let¡¦s look at ¡K
Three Facts concerning the Law
1. God established the Law.
The Law is generally considered the first five books of the Bible, Genesis through Deuteronomy. And of the course the Prophets are¡Kthe prophets.
But we can look at the whole OT as the Law and be safe.
There are three main purposes for the law that I think all people need to recognize, and the first purpose is¡K
„Ï To honor God.
Look through the Old Testament and you will find a number of places where God says, ¡§Because I am your God, do this, or don¡¦t do that.¡¨
God is jealous for His glory, and wants us to reflect that concern in our conduct and attitudes.
Obedience to God honors Him. When we see children obeying their parents, it is easy to see that they respect and honor their parents, especially if that obedience is done quickly, and not done grudgingly.
The second purpose of the law is¡K
„Ï To protect His children.
Parents, raise your hands. Let me ask you something. Do you have rules in your house that govern the conduct of your children, no matter their ages?
(Nod head) ¡V This means, ¡§Yes.¡¨
Let me ask you another question. Are these rules in place just to aggravate your kids?
The teenagers are saying yes, but what do they know?
The rules in your household are meant to protect your kids, right? And save you no small amount of embarrassment, no doubt.
Folks, God cares for us and seeks to protect us from not only our own bad decisions but from the bad decisions of other people, as we hang out with people who love Jesus.
One of the purposes of the law is to protect the children of God. The third main purpose of the law is¡K
„Ï To point to Christ.
He says that the Law would remain until everything has been accomplished. Jesus is the main thrust of what the law is meant to accomplish.
This is the main purpose of the law and the prophets, and that¡¦s where I want us to spend the next few moments as we look at the fact that¡K
2. Jesus fulfilled the Law.
Jesus claims that pretty much the entire Old Testament points to Him and that He is the fulfillment of the Old Testament.