"The Law Upheld."


This is the third message in a series on the "Sermon on the Mount" preached by Jesus.

Matthew 5:17-21

Date: 31 August, 2015

Text:  Matthew 5:17-20

Title:  The Law Upheld



Jesus is still preaching on the mountain to the disciples and the multitude. He began with attitudes and actions. Now he is going to deal with our relationship to the law.

Until Adam and Eve sinned there was only one law.  With the knowledge of good and evil and the revelation of God's Word, we have an abundance of laws.


·         Some people mistakenly think that the law will defend them before God someday and declare their goodness.

·         Others think that the law is unimportant because they have been saved by grace.


Jesus is THE TRUTH. He is the LIVING WORD. He is not going to set aside the law because of grace. He is going to uphold God's law. Matthew 5:17-20


I. Jesus would build upon the foundation of God's Word.

            A. The Messiah's coming did not end the law.

17 ¶  Think not that I am come to destroy the law,

exp.  Jesus did not end the law at His arrival. The law is as important as it has always been to point people to Christ.

ill.  God would ask the law, "Have you any proof of the unworthiness of this individual to enter my Heaven?"

                        1. Did they worship anything other than me?

                        2. Did they build any false gods?

                        3. Did they vainly use my name?

                        4. Did they honor the Lord's day?

                        5. Did they honor their parents?

                        6. Did they kill?

                        7. Did they commit adultery?

                        8. Did they steal?

                        9. Did they falsely accuse their neighbor?

                        10. Did they covet?

exp. Some people trust in their "self" righteousness to get them into God's Heaven. But, the law which Jesus never destroyed will stand and say, "Unworthy of glory because...."

James 2:10  For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

app. Friend, the law of God's Word has not been diminished since the coming of the Lord Jesus. It will stand and give it's voice against you in Heaven as it does now. It was given by God to reveal our failures and to point us to Jesus for salvation. LET IT POINT YOU TO JESUS.

Galatians 3:24  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

            B. The Messiah's coming did not make the OT outdated.

or the prophets:

exp.  The prophets were the authors of the OT. Jesus would not destory their writings by His coming.

ill. The OT comprises 75 percent of the Bible. It has 36 of the 66 books of the Bible. *The marvel of Scripture is that the Bible is written over approx. 1600 years and yet it all agrees.

app. The Old Testament is the foundation upon which the whole of Scripture rests. Jesus didn't come to start something new. He came to fulfill something old.


II. Jesus arrival verified the law and the prophets.

            A. He would not abolish but establish.

            I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

exp. Consider what Matthew has already recorded.

·         Matthew 1:22-23  Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,  Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Isaiah 7:14  Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

·         Matthew 2: 14-15  When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:  And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. Hoseah 11:1  When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.

·         Matthew 4: 13  And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: 14  That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,... 16  The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. Isaiah 9:2  The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

app.  Jesus would not show the law and the prophets to be worthless. He would reveal their value.

To fulfill God's Word Jesus would have to meet every prophecy of the Messiah's coming. That would include his birth, his birthplace, his travels in infancy, how he would die, who would kill him, etc.

app.  The Old Testament is of greater value today than ever because it is complemented by the revelation of Jesus Christ in the NT.

            B. He would take "NOTHING" away from God's revelation.

18  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

exp.  The "jot" or "tittle" were the smallest markings in the Hebrew language.

question: If a literal interpretation of Scripture is not intended by God, why would Jesus say that every single marking would remain until the end of time?

2Pe 1:20  Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

note: Private interpretations are non literal. I know what that means. How do you know it? Because it has been revealed mystically to me? And it doesn't mean what it seems to mean when you read it right off of the page? Ridiculous.

ill. If I wrote on the school board, "You are required to bring your homework tomorrow." What do I mean? If a student changed the period to a question mark they could then say that I meant to ask if homework was required tomorrow. But if the punctuation is forbidden to be changed - IT IS BECAUSE THE MESSAGE WILL REMAIN THE SAME AND MEAN WHAT IT SAYS. My instruction as a teacher is not be interpreted and so I uphold the integrity of what I write.

app.  The integrity of God'sWord is the same today as it was back then and the same as it will always be - NO MATTER WHO WANTS TO CHANGE THE PUNCTUATION!


III. Jesus related God's view of His law.

exp.  Now before anyone defends their views of God's law, it would perhaps be best to continue to examine what Jesus has to say about OUR VIEWS of his law. In doing so, he reveals God's view.

note: The kingdom of Heaven is what it sounds to be. It is everlasting life in God's Heaven. We get our citizenship as soon as we get saved not when we die or are raptured. (We'll see that more clearly in vs.20)

Hebrews 11: 13  These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

14  For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.

15  And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.

16  But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

app.  But, in God's kingdom entered into by righteousness by grace through faith.

            A. Lowly regarded citizens in heaven are law BREAKERS.

                        1. They took a low view of God's law.

19  Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments,

exp. Jesus suggests that there are greater and lesser commandments. For the sake of argument, let's say, "Lying" and "Murder." I have not met anyone who defends murder but I have met some who defend lying.  Some would perhaps justify lying for tax evasion or lying for benefits (which is also in both cases stealing.)

note: Believers can diminish the authority of God's Word. Jesus would not have us to do that, but it can happen.

                        2. They encouraged other's in their low views.

and shall teach men so,

exp.  Not only do they break God's law. They encourage others to do the same things. They do so by their ACTIONS and their INSTRUCTIONS.You don't just teach by what you say, you also teach by what you do.

1Co 8:10  For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;

app.  Sadly a low view of God's law impacts others. But, diminish God's law though we may, it will not be overlooked by Jesus.

                        3. They would be given a lowly place for their low views.

he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven:

exp.  I'm not sure exactly what this will feel like to those thus described by their God. These will not hear their master say, "Well done thou good and faithful servant."  They will likely have their rewards given to another.

app.  Is it enough for you to get to Heaven by God's great grace and yet to enter with no commendation?  You don't deserve - but Jesus gave it. You had heavenly citizenship and you lived as if you were a citizen of earth.

            B. Highly regarded citizens in heaven are law ABIDERS.

                        1. They obeyed even the least laws.

                        but whosoever shall do

exp.  This is a circumspect individual who has learned good and evil.

Heb 5:14  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

app. Do you have a clear conscience in that which you do?

Jas 4:17  Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

                        2. They taught others to obey all of God's law.

                        and teach them,

exp. Like the law breakers, the law abiders teach by  ACTIONS and INSTRUCTION.

queston: How do you think law breaking citizens treat law abiding citizens? How do you think they feel around them?

note: I've often been frustrated by the great differences within the body of Christ when it comes to holiness? How can a believer dress like that, listen to that, go those places, show no discernement etc.  Why are they antagonistic to our 'prudish' stand for God?"

app.  Perhaps a low view is best distinguished by our feelings towards those who teach a higher stand.

                        3. They would be given a high place for the high views.

                        the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

exp.  Jesus has not given recognition to those who trivialize his Word. He has recognized those who love his law.

Psalm 19: 7 ¶  The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

8  The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

9  The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

10  More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

11  Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.

app. Would to God the church would again exhalt the law of God. Are there any great citizens of heaven in our day or are we the generation that is going to be LEAST in God's kingdom?


IV. Jesus revealed the holy standard of heavenly citizenship.

            A. Thus saith the Lord!

20  For I say unto you,

exp.  Jesus is going to STAMP his authority upon this.

            B. Are you more circumspect than the pharisees?

That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees,

exp.  Jesus was not wasting his breath previously in exhalting the law. But, KEEPING THE LAW WOULD NOT GAIN  A MAN ENTRANCE INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.

ill. Jesus accused them of being meticulous in their self righteousness and yet they were entirely corrupt. Mt 23:24  Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

quote: Jamieson Faucet Brown " 24. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat—The proper rendering—as in the older English translations, and perhaps our own as it came from the translators' hands—evidently is, "strain out." It was the custom, says Trench, of the stricter Jews to strain their wine, vinegar, and other potables through linen or gauze, lest unawares they should drink down some little unclean insect therein and thus transgress (Le 11:20, 23, 41, 42)—just as the Buddhists do now in Ceylon and Hindustan—and to this custom of theirs our Lord here refers.

and swallow a camel—the largest animal the Jews knew, as the "gnat" was the smallest; both were by the law unclean.
app.  You better do better than these self righteous - AND YET THEY WORKED SO HARD. Can you do better than those who are seeking to do their best?

            C. Unless it does, you won't be given citizenship.

ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

exp.  As important as the law is and as highly as it is to regarded and how carefully it is to be kept. Your entrance into God's kingdom by keeping it, is not possible.

ill. Adam and Eve - "The day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die."  When we break God's Word, we can't turn around and undue it. We have broken God's law and we must pay the consequences.

question: Aren't you thankful this morning that "Jesus paid it all?"


app.  If you are trusting in your ability to keep the law,  you have failed. Won't you trust in Jesus who alone can make you truly righteous.

app.  If you are a citizen of Heaven? Have you minimized the law? Is it enough for you to go to Heaven or do you want to be A GOOD CITIZEN OF HEAVEN?



(Continued Next Week.)

I. Example 1: Thou Shalt Not Kill.

            A. The law deals with externals.

21 ¶  Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:

            B. Jesus deals with the source.

ill. Samuel's view of Eliab, David's brother.

1Sa 16:7  But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

exp.  Jesus isn't just concerned with murder. He is concerned about the source of murder.

                        1. Unreasonable anger.

22  But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment:

question: Was Able worthy of death because he obeyed God and offered an acceptible sacrifice?

                        2. Name calling anger.

and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council:

exp.  Raca was an armaic term meaning "Empty One." Believer's Bible Commentary

                        3. Cursing anger.

but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of @#!*% fire.

exp.  Again the Believer's Bible Commentary says, "Here the word fool means more than just a dunce. It signifies a moral fool who ought to be dead and it expresses the wish tha he were."  It is like our word " @#!*% ."

            C.  Don't try to worship God without repenting of the murder in your heart.

23  Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

24  Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

            D. Deal with your sin before it condemns you.

25  Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.

26  Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.


II. Example 2: Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery.

            A. The obvious reading of the law.

27 ¶  Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

            B. But, sin begins in the heart.

28  But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

            C. Sin in whatever form needs to be dealt with severely.

29  And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into @#!*% .

30  And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into @#!*% .

            Divorce and adultery.

31  It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:

32  But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.