Sermon on the Mount 11
Sermon on the Mount 11
This evenings sermon is incredibly relevant today.
Andy Stanley, a pastor from Alpharetta, Georgia, stirred a hornet’s nest several weeks back when he said in the third installment of a sermon series that we must unhitch ourselves from the Old Testament. His proof text was Acts 15. He said that Peter, James, John and Paul’s messages were aimed at removing the Jewish worldview, value system, OT regulations etc. from the church (His view of the church is universal; this is an incorrect view of the church. The church is local, visible, called and assembly of like-minded believers). Further, he said, we cannot go to the Old Testament regarding behavior for the church.
In his sermon, he made three points:
- You do not see much grace in the Old Testament - Just the opposite is true:
- Adam and Eve had grace
- Noah had grace
- Abraham had grace
- Ruth had grace
- Nineveh had grace
- Every single sacrifice pointed to grace.
- The Old Testament is not about Jesus
Luke 24:27KJV 1900
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
Romans 15:4KJV 1900
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope
- The Old Testament makes it difficult to have faith in Christ
- We cannot have saving faith in Christ without the Old Testament
Galatians 3:24KJV 1900
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring usunto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.Many of the faith stories I use in sermons come from the Old Testament
Andy Stanley is not alone. More and more pastors are dismissing the value and importance of the Old Testament for the local church age. However, how does this view compare with Jesus’ words?
There is an important aspect of the law that must be discussed. The law is broken into two categories:
- The Ceremonial law - Sacrifices
- The Moral law - Ten Commandments
It seems that Jesus is inclusive when referring to the law. Meaning that He lumps in both aspects of the law in this portion of the sermon.
The word “destroy” in our text means:
- To loosen down - By implication demolish
- To halt for the night - To stop the progress
Jesus did not come to destroy either part to the law. He did not come to demolish the law; nor did He come to halt or slow down the law of God.
If He did not come to destroy the law then why did He come?
The word “fulfill” has as a concept “to satisfy.”
Jesus Christ did not come to destroy the law but live by the law. To satisfy the demands of the law. The aspect of the law that would be in mind here is the moral law. Jesus Christ kept every aspect of the moral law of God. At no point in time, did He ever rebel against the law of God. He fulfilled the demands of the law of God perfectly.
1 Peter 2:22KJV 1900
Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
2 Corinthians 5:21KJV 1900
For he hath made him to besin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Never think for a moment that we have liberty in Christ Jesus to sin or rebel against the moral law of God. Jesus did not come to give us liberty from the moral law of God but to free us to the moral law of God. When we were lost and undone, we could never keep the moral law of God; nor, in our fallen state, did we desire to keep the moral law of God (for the right reasons). But now we are made alive through the Holy Spirit and our desires and abilities have changed. Now we have joy in keeping the moral law of God and with the Holy Spirit’s help, the ability to live by the moral law of God.
The essence of the moral law of God hangs on two wonderful truths:
Matthew 22:37–40KJV 1900
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second islike unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
The Law’s essence is twofold:
- Love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul and mind.
- Love our neighbor as ourselves.
A lost person cannot live this out. They may be like the Jews and keep many aspects of the moral law of God but their essence is corrupted. Only a saved person can live the essence of the law! We cannot have the essence of the law, without the law. The one produces the other.
Galatians 5:13KJV 1900
For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only usenot liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
We cannot in love serve one another if we are lying, stealing, murdering, coveting, committing adultery, anger, hatred or bitterness in our heart.
Another aspect of the word “fulfill” is “to finish.”
Jesus Christ came to finish the ceremonial aspects of the law. The ceremonial aspect of the law was symbolic of Jesus Christ. He came to fulfill those sacrifices in His life, death and resurrection. If we truly want to understand the intensity of the cross, all we need to do is read the first half of Leviticus. We cannot fully appreciate the destruction of the cross without the description of destruction of the animals during the sacrifice.
Further, the ceremonial law paints an awful picture of us. Jesus was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelations 13:8). He fulfilled all those different sacrifices; yet, never forget who He fulfilled them for. They are us! He is taking our corruption and punishment. It is easy to generalize and make generic Romans 3:23, but we cannot do the same for the burnt, peace, sin and trespass offerings. They speak of our dire situation created by our sin.
Praise God Jesus came to fulfill and not do away with!
God’s plan for the law:
- Verily - This is important
- Extent - How much of the law of God is relevant and will be preserved?
- Jot - an apostrophe, comma or the least letter in the Hebrew alphabet
- Tittle - the smallest distinguishing mark between two Hebrew letters
Regardless of the attempts or effort from the world, they will never be able to remove any aspect of God’s law.
- Pass - The word “pass” means “to perish or neglect.” None of God’s law will perish or be neglected. By whom? By God!
- Time - Until all is fulfilled - The Great White Throne Judgement. For those in Christ, Jesus has fulfilled all aspects of the Law of God - both ceremonial and moral. But for those outside of Christ, the fulfilment of the law will take place at the Great White Throne Judgement.
Jesus sums up the position the law has in the New Covenant
- All commands of God are equal.
- With God, there is no great commands or small commands. Remember, Adam and Eve plunged humanity into sin by eating of the forbidden fruit, not murder, theft, vandalism, assault etc.
- The commands of the Old Testament are not inferior to the commands of the New Testament. Today, as I mentioned earlier, Andy Stanley and others are diminishing the commands of the Old Testament. They view them as small or insignificant to the perfect law of liberty. Joseph Prince wrote:
What laws was God referring to when He said, “I will put My lawsin their mind and write them on their hearts”? He was certainly not referring to the Ten Commandments, known as the laws of the old covenant, since He said that He found fault with that covenant and declared it obsolete (see Hebrews 8:7–9, 13).
He woefully and incorrectly divided the truth of God’s word. The New Covenant is better than the Old Covenant for us. The Old Covenant (During the time of Moses) was conditional – If we. The New Covenant is unconditional - God will. The reason God found fault with the Old Covenant was not the Covenant - if so, then there is fault with God. The fault was people were unable to keep up their end of the bargain and enjoy the rewards of God. The Old Covenant was not the ten commandments but the blessings or punishments predicated upon keeping or rejecting the commands of God. The commands of God still stand today and we should lift them up.
- Teachers who do not live out the least of the commands or teach people to dismiss the importance of the commands are least in the Kingdom of God. However, those who practice what they preach and preach the value of all commands giving by God is great in the Kingdom of God.
- In verse 20, Jesus gives context to verse 19. Jesus is not saying that if you live a moral life then you will be righteous before God. Nor is He saying that if you dot every “I” and cross every “T” then you will be in good standing with God. This is what the Jews believed and taught. Therefore, Jesus said that our righteousness must exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees and Scribes if we are to have hope in eternal life. But how can our righteousness exceed their righteousness?
Philippians 3:6–9KJV 1900
Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things butloss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them butdung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.