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May 21, 2017 Service

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First Baptist Church of Manchester The Sermon that Jesus Preached Matthew 5:18-20 Righteousness and the Law Pastor David Saylor May 21, 2017 Matthew 5:17–20 INTRODUCTION If I were to go out on the street somewhere in our city (and I have done this), or speak to a friend or acquaintance and ask them, “Do you think you will go to heaven when you die?” And if they said “Yes.” And then I asked them “Why do you think you will go to heaven?” I guarantee you that many would say something to the effect: “Well I think I am a good person. I try to help others. I try to make the world a little bit better than it would have been.” Then if I asked, “Ok how good do you need to be to get to heaven?” “I don’t know….pretty good.” Pretty good? “Well, I don’t know, maybe a little more than pretty good. Probably very good. Look I don’t steal or rob or hurt people. I am not a killer. I don’t harass others.” Jesus gives us the real ansert to that question in our text today. If you want to hear it I’ll tell you. Matthew 5:20 (NIV)20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness (things you do, way you live, i.e., “how good you are”) surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. Let’s understand that. Righteousness. That is actually the theme of the Sermon on the Mount - Two main uses … Pharisees and Scribes PERTINANCE. What areas apply today? “Do your own thing” - and antinomian mentality. Some act/believe that grace frees us from keeping the Law of God. What is our responsibility to God’s law? Will we come in “by the hair of our chinny chin chin.” By how you handle the Law you will be either the least or the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments Civil law, ceremonial law are fulfilled and over. Moral law is not. It is the law under all the rest for it is based on the character of God. Matthew 22:35–40 (CSB)35 And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test him: 36 “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and most important command. 39 The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” Murder is worse than not giving your offering. I’m glad it doesn’t say you’re out. But you will be least. James 2:10 (NIV)10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. Consequence 1 – you break it you’re the least Consequence 2 – you keep it you’re the greatest. but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Clarification - Two paradoxical truths in the Epistles 1. In some ways the Law is no longer binding. Civil, ceremonial law all fulfilled. Eph. 2:14 - what was the middle wall, the civil, ceremonial law of Israel. Made us all one in Chirst. Moral area – yes in one sense. The sense of the penalty of the law. It was paid for by Christ. Romans 6:14 (NIV)14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. Romans 10:4 (NIV)4 Christ is the end of the \everyone who believes. Galatians 5:18 (NIV)18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. Romans 7:1–2 (NIV)1 Do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to men who know the law—that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? 2 For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. The power and penalty to condem is over for the person in Christ. 2. In another sense it is binding on us. 1 Corinthians 9:21 (NIV)21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. Romans 7:12 (CSB)12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good. Romans 7:16 (CSB)16 Now if I do what I do not want to do, I agree with the law that it is good. Pauls desire is to obey his law. 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. PURPOSE of the Law – to show you that you have to have more righteousness than you can come up with on your own. HOW GOOD DO YOU HAVE TO BE TO GO TO HEAVEN? Very, very good. Galatians 3:24 (NIV)24 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Theme of his sermon is “true righteousness” What was the nature of their righteousness? What were they depending on for their salvation? The externals. Their righteousness was external. Didn’t murder but hated. Didn’t commit adultery but did lust on the inside. Matthew 23:25–26 (NIV)25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. Matthew 23:2–3 (NIV)2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. Galatians 2:16 (NIV)16 know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified. Mark 7:7–8 (NIV)7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’ 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” What is the nature of the righteousness that Christ expects? Absolute holiness. Internal and external righteousness. You have to be as good as God to get into heaven. Wow! How is that obtained? Can’t get that on our own. Galatians 2:16 (NIV)16 know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified. Romans 3:21–22 (NIV)21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, Romans 4:3 (NIV)3 What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Romans 5:17 (NIV)17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:21 (NIV)21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom. 3-4-5-6-7-8 is all about “how to obtain a righteousness that is unobtainable. This is the imputed righteousness of Christ. By having God give you his goodness. Phil 3:4- NOTES unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. This is an enormous statement. It would have shocked Jesus’ listeners, because the scribes and Pharisees were considered the ultimate example of righteousness. To the Jewish listener, Jesus’ statement meant that no one could enter heaven. To the average person trying to eke out a living, the Pharisees were the truly holy people. Jesus claimed that even they were not good enough! No amount of lawkeeping was good enough because the problem is the human heart. Jesus went on to illustrate how bankrupt their understanding of the law was by making comparison after comparison (you have heard that it was said … but I tell you; 5:21–22) Stuart K. Weber, Matthew, vol. 1, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 64–65. A careful examination of the remainder of the Sermon on the Mount reveals that virtually every point Jesus made draws a contrast between the pseudo-righteousness of the religious leaders and the true righteousness that God desires. The person who discovers and appropriates true righteousness will manifest the character qualities described in the Beatitudes (5:3–12) and will impact the world as described in 5:13–16. The Pharisees did not. Stuart K. Weber, Matthew, vol. 1, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 65. That does not mean that everything was to continue as it was before. By fulfilling the Law, some aspects of Old Testament legislation were to be rendered obsolete. For example, the sacrifices and ceremonies associated with redemption and atonement were, in fact, to be done away with because Jesus came to fulfil them and to usher in perfect righteousness. Much of the letter to the Hebrews is taken up with precisely that theme. On the other hand, extracting the true meaning of Old Testament law meant a break with the received Jewish, rabbinical teaching of the day. So when Jesus says, ‘But I say to you’, he is not setting himself over against Moses, but over against those whose interpretations of the Law had turned God’s covenant of grace into a covenant of works. For too many people, righteousness was a matter of obeying all the rules; no, says Jesus, the rules require us to go deeper than the shallow religion of the rabbis might suggest. Iain D. Campbell, Opening up Matthew, Opening Up Commentary (Leominster: Day One Publications, 2008), 44–45. BOICE I taught that the righteousness referred to in verse 20 is the divine righteousness that comes to us by God imputing it to us on the basis of Jesus’ death. Nothing I said about the need for imputed righteousness was wrong in itself. We do need that righteousness. Without it we are lost. But as I have indicated several times earlier in this series, this is not the way “righteousness” is used in Matthew’s Gospel. In Matthew, “righteousness” means an actual conformity to God’s demands in Scripture, both externally and also internally, as the next verses in the Sermon on the Mount will show. But how are we to match that to what we have heard about justification through Christ’s work on our behalf? The answer is that although justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ is the core of the gospel and utterly essential—Luther called it “the doctrine by which the church stands or falls”—it is not the whole of the gospel, and it is not what Jesus is talking about here. It is true that God justifies the ungodly on the basis of Christ’s work, but that is not all God does. God also regenerates the one who is being justified. Thus, there is no justification without regeneration, just as there is no regeneration without justification. The important point is that the re-created person will actually live a moral life superior to that of the Pharisees. Regeneration is what Jesus was talking about when he told Nicodemus, “You must be born again” (John 3:7). It is what Paul was writing about when he told the Ephesians, “God … made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions” (Eph. 2:4–5). On the basis of this distinction, Paul then speaks of two kinds of works, those we are capable of by ourselves (like the righteousness of the Pharisees) and those that are produced in us by the new life of Christ within. Paul wrote, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:8–10). As D. A. Carson rightly observes, “Verse 20 does not establish how the righteousness is to be gained, developed or empowered; it simply lays out the demand.” How then is this superior, practical righteousness to be gained, developed, and empowered? It is by coming to Christ, finding both justification and new life in him, and then by obeying and serving God by God’s own power. We are not capable of obeying and serving God by our own strength. We will be able to do it only because “it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Phil. 2:13). The wonderful thing about this is that when we find ourselves doing good works, we will not take credit for ourselves (which is what the Pharisees did, judging themselves to be persons who were morally superior to other people). Instead, we will give all the glory to God by whom this righteousness is attained and by whose power alone these good works can be done. Moreover, we will marvel at the wisdom of God, which made such a great salvation possible, and we will say, as Paul did in Romans, “To him be the glory forever! Amen” (Rom. 11:36). James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2001), 85. James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2001), 84–85. Here he does not challenge their scrupulous attention to the law; but as the subsequent antitheses will illustrate, he simply observes that now, with the coming of a new age, more is required to be in fellowship with God and in conformity to his will. People must follow Jesus in discipleship, which for the most part these Jewish leaders refuse to do. Harking back to vv. 6 and 10, Jesus thus introduces the thesis statement that unifies his entire sermon. Christian discipleship requires a greater righteousness Craig Blomberg, Matthew, vol. 22, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 105. Accordingly, the statement made in verse 20 is definitely basic for what follows. The righteousness demanded by Jesus is nothing less than complete conformity with God’s holy law (cf. Matt. 22:34–40, especially verse 37) in all that a person is and does. Such a righteousness means that the heart, not only the outward deed, is right, yes right as the holy God himself views it. This righteousness, moreover, is God-given, here below in principle, hereafter in perfection. On the contrary, the scribes and Pharisees accepted a righteousness of outward compliance, and they believed or pretended to believe that by strenuous exertion they would be able to achieve their goal, and that they were in fact on the way to its realization. William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew, vol. 9, New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 293–294. Having then laid down the underlying principle (verse 20: in a sense verses 17–20), that basic truth is now going to be applied to various commandments. Six times Jesus is going to place his own authoritative pronouncement over against the teaching of scribes and Pharisees, and, going back beyond them, over against the misinterpretations of the sages of long ago. Six times he is going to say, “It was said … but I say” (5:21, 27, 31, 33, 38, and 43). We may call these The Six Antitheses. William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew, vol. 9, New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 294–295. Jesus presents six antitheses—statements using opposites to make a point—to illustrate what it means to have a righteousness that surpasses that of the scribes (teachers of the law) and Pharisees John D. Barry et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016), Mt 5:21–48. Page 5 of 5
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