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Sermon on the Mount - Jesus and the Law

by Chris Dawson
July 26, 2009
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  1. We have looked at the Beatitudes (character of the citizens of Christ's kingdom)
  2. We have looked at the reaction of the world / relationship to the world
  3. Next we enter into a discourse on the righteousness of the kingdom citizens
  4. Jesus introduces His discourse on the law with these statements: Matt. 5:17-20
  1. What is the "Law and the Prophets"? (v.17)

    1. The Old Testament as a whole
      1. Matt. 7:12 - Do also to them, for this is the law and the prophets
      2. Matt. 11:13 - All the prophets and the law prophesied until John
      3. Matt. 22:40 - What is the greatest commandment... on these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets
  2. What is "destroy" and "fulfill"? (v.17)

    1. "Destroy" - To demolish, dissolve, overthrow, bring to naught (J.H. Thayer)
      1. Matt. 24:2 - Not one stone left upon another that shall not be thrown down
      2. Acts 5:38 - If this plan or work is of men, it will come to nothing
    2. "Fulfill" - To render perfect
      1. To cause God's will (as made known in the law) to be obeyed as it should
      2. To cause God's promises (given through the prophets) to receive fulfillment
    3. This is what Christ did:
      1. Fulfilled God's will (the law)
        1. Heb. 4:15 - A High Priest tempted in all points yet without sin
        2. John 8:46 - Which of you convicts me of sin?
      2. Fulfilled God's promises (the prophets)
        1. From His birth... (Mic. 5:2; Isa. 7:14)
        2. To His death... (Isa. 53)
        3. To His resurrection (Ps. 16:8-11)
        4. To His removal of the Old Covenant system (Deut. 32; Jer. 31; Isa. 65)
  3. What does "pass away" mean? (v.18)

    1. This term used in other verses:
      1. 2 Cor. 5:17 - A new creature, old things are passed away
      2. Jas. 1:10 - The rich man is like a flower that will pass away
    2. Parallel verses:
      1. Col. 2:14 - The law nailed to the cross, the "passing away" process was begun
      2. Heb. 8:13 - Becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away
    3. Either the law has passed away or we it is still binding today:
      1. Ex. 23:14-17 - Three feasts of the Lord must be kept
      2. Ex. 20:9, 10 - Seventh day (sundown Fri. to sundown Sat.)
      3. Lev. 11 - Dietary laws in place (shell fish, pork, etc.)
  4. What is "heaven and earth"? (v.18)

    1. There are 2 "till"s in this passage
      1. Till heaven and earth pass away
      2. Till all be fulfilled
    2. Is it the physical earth upon which Jesus was standing...?
      1. If so, the law is still in effect.
      2. And we would have a huge contradiction in God's word.
    3. Are these terms figuratively in other passages?
      1. Deut. 31:30-32:1 - Speaking to Israel, "Give ear, O heavens..."
      2. Isa. 1:1, 2 - Concerning Judah and Jerusalem, "Hear, O heavens..."
      3. Isa. 13:9, 10, 13, 17 - Note the figurative use "heavens and earth"
      4. Isa. 65:17 - God would create new heavens and new earth
  5. What are "these commandments"? (v.19)

    1. Could seem to be speaking of the commandments of the Old Law (vv.17, 18)
      1. But if so we are wrong for not keeping the commandments
      2. And we are wrong for teaching others not to keep them (animal sacrifices?)
    2. But seems fitting to say "these commandments" refers to the following words of Jesus
      1. This is an introduction to the following speech, which is an explanation of the heart of the law.
      2. Note: Matt. 7:24, 26 - Whoever hears these sayings of Mine and does them...
  6. Who are the "Scribes and Pharisees"? (v.20)

    1. Matt. 23:2 - The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses' seat (religious leaders)
    2. Luke 18:9 - They trusted in themselves that they were righteous
  7. What about "righteousness exceeds..."? (v.20)

    1. Not hypocritical, not self-righteous, but...
    2. Phil. 3:9 - To be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.


  1. Jesus came to fulfill all that God had said through the law and the prophets.
  2. Today we live in light of these fulfillments in the new heaven and new earth.
  3. Receive the blessings of the Lord by submitting to His gospel.