Sunday Sermon Matthew 5:21-26
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Are there any announcements?
Communion will be next week.
There will be a baptism and potluck in the month of October and this will be the beginning of potluck season.
If anyone is considering being baptized, please see Pastor John.
Good morning and welcome to FCC, where we worship God in Spirit and in Truth, one verse at a time, one Book at a time.
We grateful that you have joined us today here in person and online as we make our way through the Greatest Sermon ever taught, by the Greatest Bible Teacher the Lord Jesus Christ himself.
But before we dive into the Word, I wanted to say thank you for your prayers, texts, emails, cards, and calls during this difficult season of life and a special thank you to Kevin and Brent for covering the pulpit in my absence.
Our father passed away on 9/8 and then one of my childhood friends who many of you know (Scott Fahey) passed away on 9/10. But before they passed, I had Covid after retuning from Israel.
So thank you from the bottom of our hearts for everything!
We have come as far as Matthew 5:21, so let us open our Bibles there to see what nuggets the Lord has planned for us today.
Read Matthew 5:21-26
Read Matthew 5:21-26
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.
Lord, thank you for the cross, thank you Jesus and your living Word. There are many of us sitting here today that are in the midst of a difficult season of life, struggling in our relationships at home, with our children, and even at work. Our finances are stretched, but even in the midst of it all Lord, we trust you, and we know that you are with us. So please rain down nuggets from heaven today that will lift us out of the miry clay and make us more like You!
In Jesus Name, we Love You! Amen and Amen!!
We are getting ready to look at several contrast with regards to the traditions that Rabbi’s of old were teaching and the Word of God.
And it is not accident that theses contrasts are set in the context of Jesus as the fulfillment of Exodus:
He is the Son of God called out of Egypt (Matthew 2:15), just like Israel.
and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”
2. He passes through the waters in baptism, just like Israel passed through the Red Sea when exiting Egypt.
3. He is tested in the wilderness, like Israel was.
4, He expounds the Law of God in the mountainous region, like Moses, Ezra, Nehemiah, and the prophets did.
We ended at verse 20, the last time we met a few weeks ago, and I wanted to pick up there.
For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
Can you imagine what Jesus’ listeners were thinking?
In the eyes of the people, the Scribes and Pharisees were the most righteous people around, they kept the letter of the law, at least they thought they did. Therefore, everyone looked at them as being holy.
So I am confident that the people that were listening thought, that there is no my righteousness will exceed that of the religious leaders!!!
Guess what, they were right!
Church, Isaiah wrote:
But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.
Therefore, it is not our righteousness, but the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ that makes us righteous in the sight of God and even man.
This is not external righteousness only, but internal righteousness.
See the Pharisees and the religious folks of the day tried to keep the letter of the law by adding their traditions to the Law itself and although they looked good on the outside, inside they were full of dead men’s bones.
When Jesus showed up church, he said it is not only external adherence to the letter of the Law, but much more important to the Spirit of the Law which is internal and of the heart.
See, the bottom line is righteousness begins in the heart and flows out of the heart!
So over the next few weeks, we will be looking at several contrast or illustrations of how our righteousness can exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees.
And it no accident that these contrasts are set in the fulfillment of the Exodus:
Jesus is the Son of God, called out of Egypt (Matt 2:15), just like Israel was called out of Egypt and he calls us out of Egypt as well.
Jesus passed through the waters of baptism, just like Israel passed through the waters of the Red Sea and we are called to pass through the water of baptism too (Matt 3:13-17)
Jesus was tested in the wilderness, just like Israel got tested there and so do we (Matt 4)
Jesus expounds the Law of God in the mountainous region of Galilee, just like Moses, Ezra, Nehemiah, and all the great prophets did, and teachers of the Word are called to do today.
So as we open up this section of the Sacred Text, may our hearts be listening, and our minds grasp the nuggets of the truth God has for us today.
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’
We Jesus use the phrase “You have heard that it was said to those of old,” or a similar one depending on your translation, to introduce each of the six corrective illustrations He gives in this part of His sermon (see vv. 21, 27, 31, 33, 38, 43).
So in verse 21, 27, 31, 33, 38, and 43, Jesus begins with You have heard that it was said to those of old!!!
This phrase has reference to rabbinical, traditional teaching, and in each illustration as we move through our text over the next few weeks Jesus contrasts that human teaching with the divine Word of God.
These examples show ways in which God’s righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees .
Thou shall not murder is the sixth commandment that is found In Exodus 20 and throughout the OT and NT.
But before I expound this text I wanted to share something that will help us to understand why Jesus gave the six illustrations that we will cover over weeks to come.
As Martyn Lloyd-Jones has pointed out, the condition of Judaism at the time of Christ was remarkably like that of the church in the early sixteenth century. The Scriptures were not translated into the languages of the people. The liturgy, the prayers, the Scripture reading, and even most of the hymns and anthems were in Latin, which none of the common people knew or understood. When a priest gave a sermon or homily, the people had nothing by which to judge what he said. They had no idea as to whether or not his message was scriptural, or even whether or not being scriptural was important. The Bible taught what the church said it taught. The church, therefore, placed its own authority over that of Scripture. Over the centuries the Roman Catholic church had developed a system of religion that departed further and further from Scripture. It was a system that the common man had no way of investigating or verifying. The greatest contribution of the Protestant Reformation was to give the Bible to the people in their own language. It put God’s Word into the hands of God’s people. It was the truth of Scripture that brought light to the Middle Ages and consequently an end to the Dark Ages.
In a less extreme way church the Jews of Jesus’ day had been separated from their Scriptures. During and after the Exile most Jews lost their use of the Hebrew language and had come to speak Aramaic, a Semitic language related to Hebrew.
Parts of Ezra, Jeremiah, and Daniel were originally written in Aramaic, but the rest of the Old Testament was in Hebrew.
The Septuagint, a Greek edition of the Old Testament, had been translated some two hundred fifty years earlier. But though it was widely used by Jews throughout the Roman Empire, the Septuagint was not used or understood by most Jews in Palestine.
In addition to that, copies of the Scriptures were bulky, expensive, and far out of the financial reach of the average person.
Therefore, when the Hebrew text was read and expounded in the synagogue services, most of the worshipers understood little of the text and consequently had no basis for judging the exposition.
Their respect for the rabbis also led them to accept whatever those leaders said.
Church, it is important for us to hear what Pastor Lloyd Jone wrote, because although we have countless Bibles in our homes, on our phones, and computers, there are some of us sitting here today that do not study to show ourselves approved.
Over and over in God’s Word he exhorts us to study and meditate on the Word like:
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.
How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.
Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.
Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.
Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.
Church, this is just a few scriptures, but there are many more. Jesus shows up after 400 years of silence to Israel.
And he has the courage and authority to speak up about the teaching of the day, we should do the same. Is this negative? Is he being critical? Or is he Jus t speaking the truth in love....
The Jews in the day of Jesus and Christians today often believe what they hear, this is why we are to study.
How is you time with the Lord? When is the last time you picked up his Word?
Please church, study to show yourself approved so you will not be ashamed. Please check what I say and if I wrongly interpret the Biblical text, please let me know.
Do not take my Word for it, Take God’s Word for it!!
This is another reason we teach verse by verse, so we get the whole counsel of God in context!!!
But truth be told church, many today do not want the truth: Look at what the text says:
Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,
And then again in:
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
Do you think we are in latter times? Do you think Jesus is coming back soon?
Church, it is important now more than ever for us to know our Bibles and that we allow our Bibles to know us.
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’
Jesus in verse 20 said our righteousness must exceed the Scribes and Pharisees or we will not enter into the kingdom of heaven...
Here and over the next several weeks, Jesus is going to contrast God’s Law or God’s Word to the teaching of the religious leaders of the day because it was not completely true church.
Yes, commandment number 6 is true, if you murder without a cause, the Law says you will be judged. An eye for an eye.
‘Whoever kills any man shall surely be put to death.
“He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death.
Whoever kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death on the testimony of witnesses; but one witness is not sufficient testimony against a person for the death penalty. Moreover you shall take no ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, but he shall surely be put to death.
See the Pharisees became self-righteous because they were convinced in their own mind that they were keeping the letter of the Law.
The commandment is not in regards to wartime, not in regards to protecting yourself, your family, or others, it is dealing with premeditated murder. Taking someones life for revenge.
And yes, they were not killing anyone physically or literally by taking a life, but next week church, Jesus is going to say:
But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.
Come back next week and hear whaat Jesus says.
Ok, I will give you a glimpse. Jesus says if you are angry in toward a brother without a cause you are a murderer!
Therefore church, we have all murdered inside our hearts!~
I close with a simple, but yet profound illustration:
John Currier was found guilty of murder in 1949 and sentenced to life in prison. Later he was paroled to work on a farm near Nashville, Tennessee.
In 1968, Currier’s sentence was terminated, and a letter bearing the good news was sent to him. But John never saw the letter, nor was he told anything about it. Ten years went by. Then a state parole officer learned about Currier’s plight, found him, and told him that his sentence had been terminated. He was a free man.
Christians have been entrusted with the most important message in the world. Yet many of us never deliver that message to those who have the sentence of death in themselves (2 Corinthians 1:9).
My Dear brothers and sisters, Jesus died for us and has given us the most important message to share. May this week we share the gospel with many and pray for the lost!
Let’s not be the church, that stays stuck behind 4 walls, let’s become the church without walls this week.
Lord Jesus, as we make our way through the next several weeks, would you please show us our hearts and help us to lean not on our own understanding, but upon you. Father, please help us to leave here today with a clear understanding that it is not just about the letter of the law, but rather the Spirit of the law. Search our hearts over the next week and show us if we are angry toward any at all. And if so, in preparation for next weeks teaching may we go and make things right, because if not we are in danger. Thank you for the love, grace, and forgiveness you so freely give each day. Make us a church without walls and open the door for us to share the greatest news that you have given us all.
In Jesus Name, we LOVE YOU! Amen
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
THE LORD BLESS YOU!
YOUR MISSION STARTS NOW!