[EDITOR'S NOTE: I had the privilege of preaching at the north campus of New Life Church on May 27, 2013. Because they have a video podcast, I decided to post the video of the sermon along with my full, unedited sermon notes on my blog. This is week 4 of our series on the Sermon on the Mount, called "Arriving." The text is Matthew 5:17-20.)
ARRIVING, Pt. 4: “Righteousness From Within” (Sermon Notes)
How good is good enough? What does God require?
- The Grace crowd: “No rules! Don’t give me that legalism!”
- The Correctness people: “What do we technically need to do to be saved?”
- The Skeptic: “Why do you pick and choose what we obey from the Bible?”
The Sermon on the Mount
- Matthew 5-7; Most taught on, written about passage of Scripture
- Arriving: God’s Kingdom is arriving; His reign. This is about how to live in light of it
Jesus is setting up the body of the sermon; He's told us who/what we are
- the called (like the dsciples)
- the blessed (the beautitudes)
- the salt of the earth and the light of world
Now he's about to tell us who He is.
- There were questions about his authority, his legitimacy (is he following Torah or dishonoring it?)
Matthew 5:17-20 ESV
“ ‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’ ”
Is the OT about law and the NT about grace?
- Torah = Teaching/instrctions not rules; (Jewish law not generic rules!)
- The order of things: chosen by grace, saved by grace, then given 10 Commandments
God has always been the God who calls and saves by grace!
- He has always been the God who would send Jesus! It’s completely consistent with His character (“You would!” not “You did what?”
- Even now: this isn’t how we are saved, but how to live since we are saved (“dearly loved children of God”); don’t frame everything through “acceptance and rejection”!
What does Jesus do to the law?
- Cancel it? (God: “Just kidding!”)
- Change it? (God: “OK, that didn’t work…let's tweak it a bit!”)
Jesus fulfills the Law by bringing it to its intended goal.
“Law and the prophets” = whole OT; The OT points to Jesus!
- Don’t jump in the middle of the Bible and look for principles; look for Jesus!
- The OT is not the last word on God; Jesus is!
- STORY: Sophia, “How long til we see a good marriage?”
- The OT is not Aesop’s fables, full of morals and principles
- It’s more like Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”
Jesus is faithful on Israel’s behalf
- God chose Israel by grace but they couldn’t be faithful to the covenant!
- Jesus re-enacting Israel’s story:
- Matt. 2 “…out of Egypt”;
- Matt. 4 Temptation in the wilderness, etc
- Jesus’ faithfulness opened up the way for all! (What Israel was supposed to do!)
- Turns out He wasn’t just re-enacting the Israel story but Human story!
What does this mean for us?
- Because Jesus brings the Law to its intended goal, He can show what the Law is after.
- Torah is like a parent’s instructions to a young child (ex. talking to strangers)
Jesus shows the kind of righteousness God is after
- Righteousness from the inside-out!
- His commands are the ones we are not to ignore (ref. Matt. 5:19 and Matt. 28); Jesus really means for us to live this way!
- The SotM is not new law, but the true Law
When you live this way, you’ll be exceeding the righteousness of the Pharisees…
The righteousness of the Pharisees
- These guys were the religious heroes, the radicals!
- But their righteousness was
- built on exclusion (vs. Inward)
- focused on self (vs. the Other)
- driven by “No” instead of “Yes.”
Can you imagine a people who live this way?
- No fakes, no hypocrisy; from the inside-out
- People who live this way because they love one another!
- All of us wants friends like this; we want to be these kind of people
We get excited…until we realize…but I can’t live this way!
- The SoTM is more demanding than ever!
- We cannot change ourselves; we cannot make ourselves different
- The Gospel says: “You’re right!”
The situation is worse than we imagined; but the Hope is better than we’ve dreamed.
“Run, run, the law commands
But gives us neither feet nor hands
Far better news the gospel brings
It bids us fly and gives us wings.”—John Bunyan
Gal. 2:16, 20b (Kingdom New Testament)
“16 But we know that a person is not declared ‘righteous’ by works of the Jewish law, but through the faithfulness of Jesus the Messiah. That is why we too believed in the Messiah, Jesus: so that we might be declared ‘righteous’ on the basis of the Messiah’s faithfulness, and not on the basis of works of the Jewish law. On that basis, you see, no creature will be declared ‘righteous’….20b …And the life I do still live in the flesh, I live within the faithfulness of the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
- Jesus is doing this on our behalf
- His faithfulness becomes our faithfulness
The question is not, “How good is good enough?” BUT “Whose goodness do we trust?”
- Because of what Jesus has done, we are declared righteous! (Justification)
- AND: the Spirit of God is in you, transforming you!
- Pentecost Sunday: in OT—giving of the law; in the NT—the pouring out of the Holy Spirit!
- STORY: Eustace and the dragon skin
- When our exterior life reflects our interior life; (apples and apple tree)
- only Aslan can change us from deep within.
- “…he began to be a different boy…the cure had begun.” (diagnosis: sin’s death)
Do you want to made new from the inside-out?
Do you want live in this new way?