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Chuck Smith :: Sermon Notes for Matthew 5:17

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I. Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets.
A. This will be a assertion that some will make.
1. Jesus will be accused of breaking the law of Moses, especially the law of the Sabbath day.
a. It should be noted that He did not break the law, only their traditional interpretation of the law.
b. Jesus healed on the Sabbath day, according to their tradition that constituted a violation of the law.
2. Jesus will say many things about the keeping of the Sabbath day.
a. Is it lawful on the Sabbath day to do good or to do evil? To heal or to kill?
b. My Father works today, and I work.
c. The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
B. They sought to put the teaching of Jesus in opposition to the law of Moses.
1. The question of divorce. Matthew 19
2. The woman taken in the act of adultery. John 8:4
C. One of the accusations against Paul by the Jews was their misunderstanding of Paul's teaching concerning true righteousness and the law.
1. James said to Paul when he came to Jerusalem,
Act 21:21 And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise [their] children, neither to walk after the customs.
2. The accusation of the crowd against Paul was,
Act 21:28 Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all [men] every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place.
D. Some people today think that Jesus came to destroy the law of Moses.
1. They quote scriptures like John 1:17, "For the law came by Moses but grace and truth by Jesus Christ."
2. They misquote Romans 10:4 "For Christ is the end of the law to everyone that believe." They leave out the important words, "for righteousness."
II. "I did not come to destroy, but to fulfill."
A. The law looked forward to the coming Messiah.
1. All of the sacrifices were but types and shadows of things to things to come.
COL 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]:
COL 2:17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Christ.
2. Jesus one day said to the Jews,
JOH 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
3. Luke tells us that on the road to Emmaus Jesus talked to the two disciples and:
LUK 24:27 Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
4. Later that same evening back in Jerusalem Luke tells us that
LUK 24:44 Jesus said unto them, These [are] the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and [in] the prophets, and [in] the psalms, concerning me.
B. Paul makes a fascinating statement in Romans 8, he there declares:
ROM 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
ROM 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
ROM 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
1. The statement is made that the law was fulfilled in us. He did not say that it is fulfilled by us.
2. Jesus is the only one who ever fulfilled all of the law.
a. He said, "I do always those things that please the Father."
b. He asked the Jews one day, "Which of you convinceth Me of sin?" "Which of you can find a fault in Me?"
c. John said of Him,
1JO 3:5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
3. Yet He took upon Himself the guilt of our sin.
a. "All we like sin have gone astray, we have turned each one of us to his own way, and God hath laid on Him the iniquities of us all."
b. And God has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
4. Thus the law and the prophets were fulfilled in Jesus.
III. Till heaven and earth shall pass, not one jot or tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, until all be fulfilled.
A. The word translated jot was the Hebrew yod, it was like an apostrophe. The tittle was the serif, the little foot at the bottom of the letter.
1. These words of Jesus concerning the law are remarkable indeed.
2. What a strong affirmation of the law, stronger than any Rabbi had ever dared to make.
3. The Pharisee's spent their lives trying to fulfill the law, but they missed the fulfillment by a mile.
a. In fact in just a moment Jesus will shock His disciples in the declaration, "Except your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and the Pharisee's, you will in no wise enter the kingdom of heaven."
b. The reason they missed more than just the mark, but the whole target, we will discuss in a subsequent study.
B. How important it is to know that Jesus was not talking of our fulfilling the law, but His fulfilling the law.
IV. Whosoever shall break one of the least of the commandments and teach me so, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.
A. The law of God has not been abrogated.
B. It still sets the standard by which God wants us to live.
C. John said:
1JO 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
D. The prophet Micah said, "He has shown thee O man what is good and what the Lord requires of thee."
E. Paul said, "I consent to the Law, that it is good."
F. David said, "The Law of the Lord is perfect."
G. Our fleshly sin nature fights against the law of God.
1. The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh and these two are contrary.
2. The Spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
3. Do not think that because Jesus is fulfilling the law in us, that we have nothing to do with the law.
4. As Paul said, "The Law is holy, righteous, and good."
5. Look at the pain and suffering that the breaking of the law brings to mankind. (Littleton, Colorado)
6. The law is good for what? For the purpose for which God intended it. To show us our sinfulness and as a schoolmaster drive us to Christ.
H. What is the result of my coming to Jesus Christ?
1. As I yield my life to Him, He gives me the power to keep the law.
2. It is not that as Christians that we are lawless. That is free to live any old way, to indulge in our fleshly appetites.
3. We are free not to live any old way, but free to not live the old way.
I. Half truths are very dangerous.
1. They can be the worse form of a lie.
a. Christ has freed me from the curse of the law, true.
b. Keeping the law will not justify me before God. true
c. The law expresses God's desires for me, how He would have me to live. true

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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