Summary: If we will join ourselves to God’s words, our future will be secure.
The Reliability of God’s Words
Intro: Talk can be cheap, but it is how we communicate. We use words to give and receive information. We use words to communicate thoughts and feelings. We even use words to convey our wishes and desires, and at times to impose our will on others.
-God uses words as well. He is the one who invented language. He is the one who created us with the capacity to formulate words, as well as to comprehend them.
-For as long as man has been on this earth, God’s words have been available to us. Whether in story form, oral tradition, or in writing, God’s message to us has always been accessible to mankind. It amazes me (sometimes even in my own life) how the greatest message ever spoken or written can be so neglected and overlooked.
-Today I’d like to look at what Jesus had to say about God’s words in Matthew 5. The main thing I’d like you to receive today is this:
Prop: If we will join ourselves to God’s words, our future will be secure.
I. God’s words are forever (5:17-18)
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 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.
-After Jesus had ministered to multitudes of people in Matt. 4, and after teaching the beatitudes, showing how blessed the lowly, rejected, and overlooked are b/c the kingdom of heaven is wide open to them, it is natural for these Jewish people to begin to believe that Jesus is bringing something totally new. This isn’t the old way. This isn’t what the current religious leaders have led them to believe. Listen to what Dallas Willard writes in The Divine Conspiracy: “The Law and the Prophets had been twisted around to authorize an oppressive, though religious, social order that put glittering humans – the rich, the educated, the “well-born,” the popular, the powerful, and so on – in possession of God. Jesus’ proclamation [the beatitudes] clearly dumped them out of their privileged position and raised ordinary people with no human qualifications into the divine fellowship by faith in Jesus” (127). The powerful message that Jesus brought also brought some confusion. So Jesus assures them that the Torah is still to be respected. After all, it is what God spoke in the past. It is reality! Do this and you will live. Blessings and curses. Jesus was bringing a new order, a new way of living called Kingdom of heaven living. It sounded like He was replacing the Old Testament by which they had been living. Jesus assured them that the law was still good and to be honored. The disclaimer Jesus gives is also for what is to follow. “You have heard that it has been said” is replaced with what Jesus says. But what He is doing is getting to the heart issues behind the law. He is not simply after better behavior. He is after a better heart that is fully surrendered to the King!
-Every word that God speaks is strong and true, and it will last forever. Jesus is making reference to the OT in these verses. He is saying that the words God spoke over the period of a few thousand years still stand. Sometimes we get the idea that God changes His mind depending on the situation and the state of the world. However, if we view God’s revelation of Himself as progressive, then we understand that He gave us as much as we could receive throughout the various time periods of the world. Paul called the Law a tutor that helped people see their need for God and His grace.
-How reliable are God’s words from the past? Jesus said not even the smallest stroke of a pen would be changed or taken away. Some believe He is literally talking about serifs – the fancy tails on the letters. Some type styles have feet on the letters – those are serifs and some don’t - they are called sans serifs. Jesus says God’s rules are so unchanging that even the serifs won’t be taken away. The smallest letter of the Greek alphabet is the iota, and the smallest Hebrew letter is the yod. Not one letter or stroke of the pen will remain unfulfilled from what God has said.
-Isaiah 55:10-11 10 “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”