Kingdom LawsJanuary 28, 2024 | Brandon Cooper
The passage discusses Jesus’ teaching on fulfilling the law of Moses and bringing a new law for his kingdom. Jesus emphasizes the importance of obeying his commands and having a righteousness that surpasses the Pharisees by coming from a pure heart. True Christians are set free from the law’s condemnation through Christ and empowered by the Spirit to joyfully keep God’s law. Entering God’s kingdom requires relying on Christ’s righteousness and being transformed inwardly to obey the King’s rules.
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If you want to go ahead, grab your Bibles, you can open up to Matthew chapter five will be in verses 17 to 20. This morning, Matthew 5, 17 to 20 is your turn in there. There’s a familiar phrase perhaps you’ve heard before, perhaps you’ve even uttered it at some point or another that phrase is my house my rules. When we hear that phrase, of course, we picture usually it’s you know, kind of a stern father and probably dealing with maybe a rebellious teenager or something like that my how you’re gonna be in this house under this roof, you’re gonna live by these rules, we could picture that same phrase in a really different context, another home. Imagine here, it’s an orphan who has been plucked off the streets in his teenage years, he grew up knowing a life of poverty, but of violence of drugs, whatever else it may be. And now he’s in a new home with an adoptive father who loves him. And he loves this dad, he’s thrilled to be in this home. Now, again, maybe it’s not phrased in quite the same way my house my rules, maybe it’s more of a hay in this house. You know, we don’t use those sorts of words, or whatever it may be. It’s a really different. I mentioned this, because Jesus is about to give us the rules of the house, the rules of his house, his kingdom, He is the king, he has every right and authority to lay down the law for us. But how will we respond like rebellious teenagers or like children, struck by the love of an adoptive father, we have a good father, who loves us, despite our manifest and loveliness, and calls us to a better life, the blessedness the flourishing that we saw in the Beatitudes, this is good, that we get the rules of his house. But before we start, before we dive into the passage, just wanna make sure we know where we are in the Sermon on the Mount, we just finished the introduction is what happened. So the Beatitudes that description of Kingdom people, and then the effect that kingdom people will have on the world, we will be salt and light, that kingdom witness. So that’s the introduction kind of prepping us for what’s coming today, we get the thesis statement. So Matthew 570 to 20. That’s the thesis statement for really the rest of the Sermon on the Mountain. The main argument takes us through chapter seven, verse 12, and it’s all about the greater righteousness of those who are in the kingdom. Really, the whole sermon is going to be unpacking this unpacking that description of Jesus and ministry that we got back in chapter four, where he began preaching, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. So what does that look like? What does repentance look like? What does kingdom life look like? What does it mean to live with wholeness, integrity mean his key word we’ll see a little bit today. So that’s what we’re talking about, which all seems easy enough for sure. Except that these are some of the most difficult verses in the New Testament. So just gotta warn you up front. This is a brief but weighty passage, it’s similar to poetry really, you know, he could read like a chapter of a novel in about the same time that it takes to read a 15 line poem. Yeah, this is the 15th line poem, big terms, you’ve been used in unclear ways where we really got to think and engage, we’re going to work hard to unpack it means we’re going to need to learn some stuff today, we’re going to engage our minds, they’re going to get some exercise. And that’s a good thing, right? We want to know more about I hope, that’s why you’re here. You want to know more about God, and the word that He’s given us. But you know, if at the end of it, you’re not sweating, and your muscles don’t hurt, was it really exercise. That’s how it’s gonna be for our brains this morning. So buckle up, let’s dive in. Because this is the seat thesis statement. By the way, we’ll be a little bit later on application, because Jesus is going to give us the application and the rest of the chapter. So we’ll, we’ll keep going the next few weeks just going to speak in broad terms this morning, but I want to give you the main idea up front. It’s actually been on the screen for about five minutes. So you know it by now. So main idea up front so you can see it and follow along. I don’t want you to kind of where are we going with this? I want you to know exactly where we’re headed. You’re gonna have it in your mind as we go. The main idea to enter the kingdom. We must obey the Kings law. I know some of you here are going huh, that sounds like works. What about grace? We’ll get there. We’ll get there I promise we’re going to move in stages. We got three points that do build on each other as we go. So first point, first point the king fulfill Use the law of Moses. That’s where we start the king fulfills the law of Moses, Matthew five, when we read verses 17 and 18. For us do not think that I’ve come to abolish the law or the prophets have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen well, by any means disappear from the law until everything is accomplished. So he begins by saying, Do not think he’s got to correct a a possible misinterpretation straightaway. It it’s one that we see, really, throughout the New Testament, there’s always this danger, that if we’re saved by grace alone, well, then it doesn’t really matter what we do, we can just set the works to the side works aren’t actually necessary as long as we come, you know, poor in spirit, like we’ve been talking about, that’s good enough, just stay there. It’s this constant objection, Paul, in particular, because he preached this gospel of grace alone is always dealing with it. So he asked questions like, shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase Romans six, one? And you kind of go make sense, right? You know, I know Paul says, by no means no exaggeration to say that the books of James and Jude are written to correct a misreading of this gospel of grace. So James, famously, Faith without works is dead. Or Jude, he saying, look, there are false teachers who are using grace as a license for immorality. And so Jesus is correcting that misinterpretation at the start. Also. Plus, this would be the question on everyone’s minds at this moment. Jesus is this new Rabbi on the scene? What do rabbis do? Rabbis teach the law? What do pious Jews do? They keep the law. So talk to us about the law. This would be like, you know, some foreign affairs thing happens, and every politician is gonna be asked to comment. What do you think about what’s going on over there right now? That’s what Jesus is getting here. Well, what do you think about the law? What answer Does Jesus give? He says, I didn’t come to abolish the law, the prophets, but to fulfill them. These are big terms, big ideas, big questions attached to them. And maybe that first big question is, okay, but what about all the laws, you know, you kind of abolished? Like, here’s Mark 719. And saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean. So there go all the dietary laws? Well, I got questions, you got questions, or here’s Hebrews 813. Kind of summing up the whole idea, really, by calling this covenant new, he’s made the first one obsolete. That’d be the Mosaic Covenant. That would be you know, all the laws. And what’s obsolete and outdated will soon disappear. And we think of things that disappeared with Jesus’s coming like the priesthood, the sacrificial system, the whole temple complex, all abolished, right? So what does Jesus mean exactly? You got two key interpretive questions we want to ask and answer first one, what exactly does he mean by law? What exactly does he mean by law, law and prophets? For us, we hear the word law. And immediately we think of a list of rules and regulations. That’s what the law is you got to obey the law that’s so it’s stuff you’re supposed to do or not do. biblically speaking, we probably picturing you know Leviticus or something like that. Here’s a list of regulations. Here’s how you offer this sacrifice. Here’s how you, you know, deal with mold in your house or a skin disease, or here’s the dietary restrictions. But that word law in English, it’s translated in a Greek word, no moss, which is itself translating a Hebrew word, Torah. And what happens in translation is that shades of meaning are lost. I love the way Jonathan Pennington puts it. He says it’s a little bit like a ship that sets out on a long sea voyage. And when it gets from point A to point B, it picks up some unwanted barnacles along the way and springs, a few leaks. And that’s kind of what’s happened in our translation here as well. Because the Hebrew word torah is much broader than just law than just rules and regulations. It really means instruction. The law refers to the books of Moses, the first five books of the Bible, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Think about what’s in some of those books. Are there rules and regulations? Yes.
There’s also story like the creation, or Noah, Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. You get covenant of course, and you get redemption. And things like the Exodus event, mean even the 10 commandments, which are you know, the clearest The regulations that we’ve got begin as we saw last fall with redemption. I’m the Lord your God who brought you up out of Egypt. Now let’s talk commandments. So there’s all of this in there as well. And that’s even clearer when Jesus adds the prophets to the phrase, the Law and the Prophets. There’s what are the prophets? Do the prophets simply interpret the instruction that we were given in the first five books of the Bible, they they’re constantly calling Israel back to obedience to that instruction. They’re calling them back though, to covenant living, not commandment keeping. It’s a subtle difference, but it’s important. In fact, often the prophets will go I think you’re getting caught up a little bit too much in the rules here. You might have missed the heart behind it. Jesus will quote prophets like Hosea, chapter six, verse six, where it says, For I desire, mercy, not sacrifice was going to see you’re paying too much attention to the regulations, you missed what it’s all about, there are weightier matters. So put all that together. What do we get them with the law and the prophets? Were talking about the whole story of redemption, the mosaic and the Davidic covenants? We’re dealing with ethics. Yes, absolutely, but also with a relationship. And that will help us then when we get to the second big question, we got to answer. What does it mean that Jesus fulfills the law and the prophets. This is more than his keeping all the laws, then it’s about the story. Actually, the word fulfill has already been used seven times and Matthew’s Gospel, just kind of crazy, because we’re not that far into Matthew’s gospel at all, already been used seven times. That means, first of all, this is an important term for Matthew. And second of all, he’s given us lots of hints as to the meaning already, so we don’t need to guess here. Now some of these uses make intuitive sense. Matthew will say things like, you know, this happened to fulfill what the prophet Isaiah said, you know, a virgin will conceive and give birth to a child and he’ll be called Emanuel. Okay, real simple, predictive prophecy. Or we saw that in chapter four as well, he moves to Galilee, right, so that he can be there in Galilee, where this you know, people walking in darkness are gonna see a great light. Some of them are a little bit harder. We get in Matthew two, it talks about out of Egypt, I called my son that’s after Jesus, and Mary and Joseph, flee to Egypt, to get away from Herod the Great, who’s trying to murder them, and then come back after Herod dies. The only problem there is that that’s not what that passage is about in Hosea. So a little trickier, or the passage that Kyle took us through at the end of last year where this took place to fulfill you know, Jesus tells John the Baptist go ahead and baptize me to fulfill all righteousness. So we’re getting there maybe with what fulfill means, except that those were mostly prophecies that I was talking about. And it makes sense how you would fulfill prophecies, but how do you fulfill law because that’s what’s being talked about here? Well, Jesus himself helps us out in Matthew’s Gospel. In Matthew 11, verse 13, Jesus says, For all the prophets, and the law, prophesied until John, John the Baptist, came, so even the law prophesize In other words, the entire Old Testament has a prophetic function. It does not all prophesy point to Jesus in quite the same way though. Some are simple predictions like we saw the the Virgin giving birth to a son or you know, somebody being born in Bethlem. Okay, those are easy. Some are a little bit more like images almost, that Jesus fulfills Out of Egypt I called my son Well, that was Israel being carried off into Egypt. And then God brings them out of Egypt in the Exodus event will Jesus’s the true and better Israel. So he also goes down to Egypt and is brought back out. All of Israel’s history prepares us for Christ. Jesus fulfilled the law by his perfect obedience, including his baptism to identify with us so he can keep the law in our place, His perfect obedience in life and then His substitutionary death and in so doing, he fulfills the laws, demands and is able to give us his righteousness as our own. He fulfills the sacrificial system, of course, the temple and the priesthood. In his sacrifice. He is the great high priest who offers himself as the sacrifice in the heavenly temple. And so every sacrifice prior to that was little bit like Pavlov. You guys remember Pavlov? He’s willing to train the dogs. He’d ring a bell And then he’d feed them and he’d ring a bell, and then he’d feed them. And so eventually you could just ring the bell and they’d start salivating. They knew what was supposed to be coming. That was what the sacrificial system was, it was to train us, we’d see the sacrifice and you go, that’s right. Without the shedding of blood, there can be no forgiveness, we need a sacrifice in order for there to be atonement with God. So he’s fulfilling all of that. And this way, this whole idea of fulfilling the law and the prophets and in different ways and answers are common but silly objection that is often made against Christianity, which is that we only keep the laws that we like. So you set aside the whole, you don’t get to eat bacon wrapped shrimp, because no one likes that law. But you know, some of the other ones, especially around say, a sexual ethic, those we’re still going to keep No, that’s not it at all. It’s that these laws have different fulfillments. And so sometimes fulfilling the law means it comes to an end. And sometimes it means the the ethical heart of the law is absolutely still, in effect, different fulfillment. Even in the Sermon on the Mount, we actually have fulfillment, because Jesus brings to fruition what Moses began. We didn’t talk a lot about this when we were introducing the Sermon on the Mount. But chapter five, verse one, when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountain side. Why does he go up on a mountain side? Isn’t that interesting? I mean, partly, it’s so people can see and hear him probably. But more than that, it’s because he’s doing what Moses did. Moses went up on the mountain to receive the law, and then proclaim it to God’s people, Jesus is the new and better Moses, the deliver, but the law giver as well. And so the sermon on the mount is really the New Testament version of the Law of Moses. Just by the way, so last semester, we did the 10 commands, we call it the big 10. What’s the name of this series? The big talk, that’s not coincidental. That was silly, you’d have the connection in your mind, this is the new bat, not substituting it, but fulfilling the 10 commandments. So Jesus fulfills the entirety of the Old Testament in diverse ways, all of it, all of it points to him, and prepares us for him. So of course, he doesn’t abolish it. Why would he abolish all this preparations to be like somebody finishing up their their college education, they’re finally certified. They set out in their career, what does that do to their education? Do you get rid of it all? Like with your doctor, at least I really hope not. Right. I hope they’re hanging on to that education. But it’s the fulfillment of it. This is why all of that happens so that this could now happen. But some things change. You don’t go to class anymore. You don’t have to take tests or turn in homework. So you know, Yeah, something’s changed, but it’s not abolished, but fulfilled, but fulfilled. That’s the idea, not a single word will fail. Jesus says, it will all be fulfilled. Not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen. That’s a jot and tittle in the old versions, right to jot Yoda is the smallest Hebrew letter, it looks like an apostrophe. It’s tiny. tittle is like a serif for us today. And so just that little bit that comes out of a letter, but in Hebrew, it’s necessary to distinguish letters that look very similar otherwise. So you say right down to the letter itself, this won’t pass away until heaven and earth disappear. And heaven and earth don’t disappear, of course, and toe will never write not until the end of time, not until Jesus comes again. Did you notice that that’s set in parallel with something so until heaven and earth disappear, not one jot, not one title, all that stuff until everything is accomplished or two until it’s done. So not until everything is in accomplished, not before the full and final fulfillment, in His Second Coming to remake the world. So let’s sum up because that was a lot. That was the hard part, by the way. So if you’re tracking with me now, we should be okay. When we go from here. To sum up, Jesus is not opposed to the Old Testament.
Though he brings to fruition all that it points to. So there’s this sense of continuity and newness all at the same time. Certain details cease. Yes, absolutely. They’re superseded in the new covenant. Because as Don Carson reminds us, whatever is prophetic must be in some sense, provisional, it’s going to give way I love the way Bishop Ryle put it to little more than a century ago. He says the Old Testament is the gospel in the bud. The New Testament is the gospel in full flower. The Old Testament is the gospel in the blade. The New Testament is the gospel in full year speaking of corn. That’s the idea right newness and continuity. The bud gives way to the flower in continuity with a but it is something new at the same time because the flower gives way to fruit. We’re grateful for that. But it newness and continuity all at once. One last point before we press on to the next part. So if all the Old Testament is pointing to Jesus, that means that Jesus is the center of attention. Even in this passage, these verses are about Jesus, not about the law. Not really. Did you notice actually, this is the first time in the sermon on the mount that Jesus shows up. The first time he talks about himself in verse 17. When he says, Do not think that I have come. He’s finally there on the scene before it was blessed are these people and then you are salt and light. And now at last we get I, Jesus is speaking in the first person I Bonhoeffer helps us understand why that is, he said, now we can see why up to now Jesus has said nothing about himself. Because between the disciples, the ones the Beatitudes are about between the disciples, and this better righteousness demanded of them that we’ll see in a moment stands the person of Christ, who came to fulfill the law of the Old Covenant. This is why we preach the Old Testament here. We’ll keep preaching we’re doing this year for them. We’re gonna do Joel in the summer, when do Daniel in the fall we’re gonna be in the Old Testament says why you should study the Old Testament. Because it’s all about Jesus helps us prepare for His coming, understand who he is, and what he came to do, it all finds fulfillment in him. We got to know the Old Testament understand the new Jesus brings the Old Testament to fruition, the king fulfills the law of Moses, and so prepares us for a new era, and a new relationship to the law, which is where we’ll go next. So next point in verse 19, the king brings a new law to teach, and obey only read it for us verse 19. Therefore, anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands, and teaches others accordingly, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. So how do the Old Testament and the New Testament relate? What is a Christians relationship to Old Testament law supposed to be? These are big questions, and points of intense debate throughout the centuries probably will not solve it all for you this morning. But let’s look at some of the options at least. So there are some notably the Reformers guys like Luther and Calvin, who see the New Testament as in perfect continuity with the Old Covenant. So that what Jesus does next, for example, when he starts to say things like you’ve heard it said, but I tell you, all he’s doing is correcting rabbinic misinterpretations of the law, that we are still under. There are others, like the the Anabaptist. At that time, who saw major discontinuity between the two covenants, there’s the old covenant, there’s the new covenant and kind of never the twain shall meet. And there are a whole parts of it that are just done away with like, truly abolished. When you get that kind of tension, looking at scripture, when you kind of go yes, this versus that. But this versus that. What are we what about this one? What about that one? Usually, it’s best to land in the middle, because you’re trying to make sense of all the data, not just half of it, of course. And so what would that mean? It means we’re dealing with radically new teaching, that supersedes the old Yes, but in continuity with it, like the flower in relationship to the BoD. Here’s the way Jesus himself said it makes me think we might be on the right track here. Here’s Matthew 13, verse 52, every teacher of the law, okay, there’s the law, the Old Covenant, right? Who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven. Okay, that’s important. That’s the switch to the new. It’s like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom, new treasures, as well as old continuity, and newness all at once we have a fresh a new approach to the Old Testament. What we saw in Matthew 1113, also, the Prophets the law, they prophesy until John, John’s the last of them, then Jesus comes and what happens after Jesus, the prophetic function is fulfilled and now it’s the kingdom that is advancing. That’s not the Old Covenant, the new kingdom that has come Did you notice that? That’s the shift we have in these verses also. How many times does he say the kingdom of heaven here and 19 and 20 says it three different times we called least in the kingdom of heaven be called great in the kingdom of heaven. You certainly can’t enter the kingdom of heaven. What do you think this passage is about? The kingdom of heaven? That’s where we are at this point. It’s all about life in the kingdom of heaven. Which is why I said, the king brings a new law. When he says these commands anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands, I don’t think we’re talking about Old Testament law. At this point, I think we are talking about Jesus’s commands, which include large chunks of the Old Covenant, of course, like the 10 commandments, which he repeats, over and over again. These are the commands though that he’s already given commands that he’ll give in the Sermon on the Mount, like the ones that we’re going to see in the rest of the chapter. These are the commands of the kingdom. Jesus is after all, the one to whom the whole Old Testament points. So it’d be the height of folly, not to listen to him. He’s the King, bringing in the New Kingdom. This is the king’s law, my house, my rules. This is the same drift we get as in Hebrews chapter two. So I think we’re on the right track here because we see it elsewhere in the New Testament, Hebrews 2123. If you don’t remember how Hebrews starts, it starts by contrasting the the, the two teachings that we get in the past, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets many times and in various ways, but in these last days, he’s spoken to us by his Son. So those are the two revelations that we’re talking about what is Hebrews to say, we must pay the most careful attention therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away for since the message spoken through angels was binding the message spoken through angels that the Old Covenant, Jews believed the angels gave Moses the Tablets that the law was written on all that. So if the message spoken through angels was binding in every violation and disobedience received, it’s just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? That’s the message of the sun. Now, the salvation which was first announced by the Lord, these last days, he’s spoken to us by his Son, salvation, which was first announced by the Lord was confirmed to us by those who heard Him that is the apostles. So like you paid attention to the Old Testament law, Hebrews is saying, the message of the angels, how much more important is it that you listen to the New Covenant to the Son himself, the king himself announced. In fact, if we ignore it, we ignore the Kings commands will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. And even worse if we teach others to ignore it, but if you want to be great in God’s kingdom, what did Jesus say we got to do? obey it, and teach others to obey it. How we say that here, by the way, is that we’re made to magnify and send to serve. That’s this exactly made to magnify Christ. One way we magnify Christ we glorify our Father in heaven is by joyfully keeping his law delighting in Christ so that we go his house his rules, and I’m so happy that I get to follow these rules. And then we’re sent to serve we teach others to do the same, the joy of obedience to the king. And of course, that’s exactly what Jesus gives us. Kyle mentioned it in the parent commissioning, but the very end of Matthew’s Gospel, go make disciples, okay? How do I do that? Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. The new covenant, the law of the kingdom.
So following Christ means keeping his commands, His commands, not our subjective impulses, self discovery, not just drifting with culture, but keeping his commands, we’ve got to recognize that there’s a temptation there, of course, the temptation for ourselves to go our own way, kind of look at Jesus’s law and go, I like that one. I don’t care for that one. That’s the rebellious teenager mindset. So to go our own way, but also to relax standards for others. Tremendous temptation in the name of very scruffy, squishy definition of love, stripping the commands of their force. Think of some big areas where Christians are tempted to relax God’s standards. The biblical sexual ethic is probably the main one. Divorce is another there are biblical grounds for divorce but not every divorce has biblical grounds we go we have but you over to make you happy. Or what about forgiveness, understanding supposed to forgive people used to love your enemies, but not that person that’s too hard. With a temptation to relax standards for ourselves and for others. Interestingly, those are all topics that Jesus is going to hit in the next few verses. We’ll hit them in the next few weeks. So there’s that temptation. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important that we read prayerfully and meditatively. The word, rebuke sauce Paul tells us in September At three rebukes us tells us you’re not going in the right way. You’re not living under the house rules at this point, and then it corrects us, here’s what you should be doing instead. So every time we engage with the Word of God, we’re asking those questions how how does it rebuke me here? How was it correcting me here? And then most importantly, how does the gospel that I see in this passage motivate that new obedience that my heart has changed that I want to obey, which we’ll look at in the next section even? So, before we move on to that next section, though, the questions there Right? Are you practicing Jesus’s commands? Are you following Him? Are you teaching others to obey his commands? Like your kids? For example, parent commissioning, great week for this? Are you teaching them but that is key to right? Because really, in a Christian home, it should not be my house, my rules, but the king’s house, the king has rules. And so I want to show you from scripture, why you’re being disciplined in this moment, you’re teaching your kids the goodness of God’s commands and what it means to follow them. But what about Christian community as well, places like community groups and journey groups? Are you teaching others to obey? Let me put it to you like this? When was the last time you called someone out for their sin? Humbly, yes, lovingly, absolutely. But I find as Christians so often in community, we just kind of hope they’ll figure it out on their own. Instead of teaching others to obey all that he commanded us. Are there areas where you’re relaxing standards or relying on cheap grace may quote, Martyn Lloyd Jones here, it’s a strong quote, but it’s a strong passage. He says, holiness means being righteous. And being righteous means keeping the law. Therefore, if your so called grace, which you say you have received does not make you keep the law, you have not received grace. It is a subjective experience only. But there’s objective proof of that subjective experience, salvation is actually objective. So if you’re truly safe, you truly have received grace, you will know it, you will see it, and the fruit of a changed life and the holiness that results from it true grace delivers us from the curse of the law, but then enables us to keep the king’s law and that’s exactly what Jesus says next, when we read the last part, Matthew five, verse 20, last section, the king gives us His law keeping, and makes us law keepers. Here it is verse 24, 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. This would have been an absolutely shocking statement, and still is a shocking statement. Some of you are like, I am in trouble. I’m in big, big trouble. This would have left Jesus’s audience days like this is a punch to the gut. What do you mean my righteousness has to exceed that of the Pharisees and the teachers the law these are and Sally Lloyd Jones memorable words, the extra super holy people. So how can I be even holier than the extra super holy people? That’s not possible. And in many ways, they were extra super holy people. But another way is not so yes, they were in that they were scrupulous in keeping the letter of the law, but they also have this problem of hypocrisy, not hypocrisy, how we normally think of it hypocrisy you hear that word today, and you picture the pastor who’s railing against sexual immorality while also having an affair. That is hypocrisy. Sure, but the hypocrisy of the Pharisees is a lack of a wholeness. And that kind of key idea that we’re gonna keep seeing in the sermon on the mount everything matches in my life. The problem of the Pharisees and the teachers, the law is that their hands and their heart didn’t match their behavior. And their heart don’t line up. They did the right things, but for the wrong reasons, for selfish reasons. They were not truly Kingdom people. They quote Lloyd Jones again, Martyn Lloyd Jones, not Sally Lloyd Jones, no relation, by the way, to be holy does not just mean the avoidance of certain things, or even not thinking certain things. It means the ultimate attitude of the heart towards that holy loving God. And secondly, our attitude towards our fellow men and women. It’s an attitude of the heart. And so he goes on to say the trouble with the Pharisees is they were interested in details instead of principles, interested in in actions and not motives interested in doing instead of being we got to bring all of that together. And so we must surpass the Pharisees and the teachers law in our righteousness. That means now we can kind of understand that we’re talking about a difference in quality, not quantity. It’s a different righteousness, a greater righteousness in in kind, not degree. So it’s not like well, the Pharisees they were keeping 230 laws so we can get ourselves up to 240 because then we’ll be able to enter the kingdom of heaven no. Be quote John Stott here says Christian righteousness is greater than fair say of righteousness because it is deeper, being a righteousness of the heart. So it is a call to wholeness, purity of heart, we could use the language of the Beatitudes, which is much more challenging than ticking a few legal boxes. As we’ll see in the rest of the chapter, more challenging, more rewarding. Also, it is the rewards of the Beatitudes, but definitely more challenging. We can illustrate this even using Matthew’s Gospel, Matthew, chapter 19, a rich young ruler comes to Jesus. What must I do to gain eternal life? Jesus says, If you want to enter life, interesting, same word, right? Enter life enter the kingdom of heaven. If you want to enter life, you got to keep the commands and he starts rattling off the 10 commandments. And this rich young ruler goes, boom, nailed it. Did it kept all these since I was a boy, Matthew 1921. Jesus says this, Jesus answered, If you want to be perfect, should be up on the screen by now I want you to see this. Tom, there we go. All right, Jesus answered, If you want to be perfect, that’s that word whole or complete. We’re gonna talk about this word Allah, okay, if you want to be perfect, go sell your possessions and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven, then come follow me. Do you want to be perfect, you gotta have a whole heart. It’s not enough to check legal boxes, you got to actually want me more than anything. And he left ejected because his heart didn’t match his hands. So in such contrast to the parable, Jesus tells him Matthew 13 of the two men who are willing to sell everything, to get the field that had the treasure and to get the Pearl of Great Price. In other words, to get Jesus to get his kingdom. I want it all. I want it all. And so you can have all of me in order that I can have all of you. That’s the idea here. It’s exactly what Jesus is saying in these tough, tough word. The law is an impossible standard for us because of our sinful nature. And so we read the lot casts us down, it humbles us. So that will fly to Christ. So that will give up everything in order to buy the field without treasures contain, will count it all loss because the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus our Lord, to borrow Paul’s words, or the passage that Clint read for us earlier, Romans 814. This is all of it. And this is this is just commentary here on this passage. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus, the law, the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death law that you could not keep. And that therefore condemned you for what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh weakened by our flesh. What was it powerless to do to save us to deliver us if we would have just kept it but we can’t because of our flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so He condemned sin in the flesh in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met. In us,
His law-keeping we receive the righteous requirement of the law is fully met in us who do not now live according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit, there is no condemnation; we get entrance into the kingdom entrance into life because Jesus did what the law could not. And so he fulfills the law in us. The king gives us His law, keeping the righteousness that we could not earn, and then makes us lawkeepers. Because He gives us His Spirit to dwell within us to change us from the inside out, so that we willingly and joyfully obey the rules of the house. Quoting John Stott, again, he says that he says, the law sends us to Christ to be justified. Right, the law, we read the log in, we feel our inadequacy. And so it sends us to Christ where we plead nothing but grace, the law sends us to Christ to be justified. And then Christ sends us back to the law to be sanctified. Now, we know what it looks like to live in the kingdom to be Kingdom people. That’s exactly what our new city catechism question said this morning. That’s why we did it here. Right. It’s to show us that we can’t keep the law. And so we got to go to the one who could but then it also shows us how to live the new life that we’ve experienced. And so it’s not I obey, therefore, I’m accepted. But I’m accepted. Therefore I obey. I’ve been adopted. I’m in this house. So now Yes, of course I want to keep the house rules. All this takes us back to where we began. We’re gonna keep doing this. By the way, it is no coincidence that Jesus opens this sermon by saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. The law will make us feel really poor in spirits. I can’t do this. And that’s why we had to start there. The entrance to the kingdom. So our keeping of the law is now in God’s eyes perfect. And you think how is such a thing even possible? The question Bonhoeffer asked, and he answers he says, because between the disciples, and the law stands, one who has perfectly fulfilled it, one with whom we live in communion, that’s the wonder of the gospel. We can’t keep the law so we can’t enter the kingdom. But Christ did, and we can enter through him. And then he lives in us and we live in him, drawing from his life like branches, drawing life from the vine, as somebody once said, The Spirit within us, so that we can keep his law in increasing measure to enter the kingdom. We must obey the Kings law, and in Christ we have and in Christ, we will, let’s pray. Father, we want our righteousness to exceed that. The Pharisees and the teachers of the law, because we want our lives to glorify you, we want people to see our good deeds and glorify You in heaven. We know our flesh, we know that we cannot do this on our own. We cannot keep the law we will not keep the law. We cannot experience that wholeness and perfection of life to which you’ve called us apart from Christ. But you sent Christ to do what we could not have made that reminder, create in us both the poverty of spirit that keeps us always running back for grace, and also a joy in spirit, knowing that we are no longer condemned but welcomed as sons and daughters, and therefore can freely and joyfully and willingly obey your good and perfect law, to the glory of your name. Amen.