January 10, 2010

Sermon on the Mount, #7

Matthew 5:10-20

Isaiah 33:22 For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.

We have discussed the fact that Christ, as the Divine and only lawgiver, pronounced through Moses the curses and blessings found in Deuteronomy 27, 28. Now, Christ as King of the Kingdom of God, again speaking as the Divine and only lawgiver, continues the message he started through Moses in Deuteronomy 28.

Though the 7 Beatitudes are blessings, we see that he does add a curse in v. 13.

Deuteronomy 28:43 The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low. 44 He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail.

How much clearer can it be that the Lord is simply continuing the message he started through Moses? Only now he is here in person to deliver the conclusion of the Deuteronomy 28 message.

Chapter 7 also contains the Biblical doctrine of anger, v. 21, and the Biblical doctrine of hatred, vv. 43-48. But we will get to neither today.

We are between the seven Kingdom Laws and the first set of illustrations of those laws, vv. 10-20, which can be divided into three sections:

Vv. 10-12. Personal results. This point can be summed up with We will either be PERSECUTED for being a godly Christian, or we will be OPPRESSED by paganism for not being a godly Christian, as we allow our society to sink into paganism.

Vv. 13-16. Social results. Christians will either be salt and light, or Christianity will be overrun by the world, as it is in our day.

Vv. 17-20. The validity of the law. We started covering this point last week, but let me quickly review:

First, with this Sermon, Christ publically identifies himself as the King and Lawgiver who met Moses on Mt. Sinai. Isaiah 33:22. He clearly establishes that He alone is the source of all law, blessings and judgment. He is the Sovereign and Universal King, whose word is law, and rules heaven and earth.

In fact, all who heard him were astonished at his doctrine, and the authority with which he spoke.

Second, the religious leaders had throughly corrupted the Commandments. The Lord came to give His Commandments their proper application. He came to enforce His kingship. He came to judge and thoroughly purge His kingdom.

Third, the Lord came to give His people both the desire and power to fulfill the law, which enables them to inherit the promises of God according to the prophets.

V. 17 is one of the most misused verses in scripture. Fulfill is corrupted to say the Christ kept or fulfilled all of the law for his people, so his people would not have to keep the law nor be controlled by the law.

He said, think not.. Don't even let it cross your mind that He came to alter any of the Old Testament Mosaic Law.

Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

Added to Matthew 5:14, Romans 10:4 seems to confirm the unholy premise that the law brought righteousness in the Old Testament. Added together, unholy men can teach that since Christ, the law is no longer needed to define righteous living to please God. But such an understanding is anti-Christian.

From the very beginning, the end purpose of the law of Moses, including the all the ceremonial laws given after the Commandments, was to drive people to Christ. The ordinances, ceremonies and sacrifices were not part of the Commandments. Exodus 20:18-26. Rather, they were added when the people saw God's holiness and their inability to measure up to his holiness. All of those mediation laws show the need of a Mediator, and were done away with in Christ's work of mediation between God and man. Colossians 2:14.

The Jews, Israel, ignored the purpose of the law, and set about to establish their own righteousness. They had a great zeal, but refused to submit to the purpose of the law. The law was never meant to provide righteousness for the unbeliever.

Sadly, many confused Christians use Romans 10:4 to accomplish the same things the pagans try to do. That is, they try to use it, and many other verses, in their vain attempt to throw off the bands and cords of Psalm 2. They are called Antinomian, or anti-law Christians. God sits in the heavens and laughs at those confused Christians, the same as he laughs at the pagans.

V. 17, fulfill in this verse means:

First, to cause God's will (as made known in the law) to be obeyed, or fulfilled, in the lives of his people as it should be. Grace and truth came by Christ Jesus, and works in us, giving to his people both the desire and the power to fulfill his word, Romans 8:4, Philippians 2:13.

Second, Christ came to fulfill God's promises as given in the law and the prophets. According to the prophets, e.g., Isaiah 11, the law of God will one day become a reality and cover the face of the earth.

He not only fulfilled the law in keeping it perfectly so he could become the substitute for his people, but he fulfilled the sacrificial laws and ordinances, totally replacing them. Ephesians 2;15.

V. 17, destroy... Twice in this one verse, the Lord said that He did not come to destroy the law, or the prophets. That is, he did not come to remove the requirements of the Law he gave through Moses for mankind.

Then He gives the answer to the question, "Since I did not come to destroy either the law of Moses or the prophets, what did I come to do?"

He says that He came to fulfill both.

V. 17 has been totally corrupted by Antinomianism, those who are against the law, to say that Christ fulfilled the law for us; meaning that his people no longer are required to keep the commandments.

Christ has some harsh words to say to them in v. 19.

V 18, three points:

First, rather than saying, Thus saith the Lord as did the prophets of old, Christ said, I say unto you. He made it clear that He was greater than Moses, and greater than the prophets. Rather, they spoke for him. Jesus was indeed God With Us, and the King of God's kingdom. He alone has the proper authority to define the Kingdom laws.

V. 18, second point: We are shown the everlasting character of the law. Notice the firmness of Christ's words, in no wise pass... Heaven and earth will pass away before any part of God's law passes away. Also, the law and the commandments are considered one and the same.

Third, fulfilled... This is a different word than is used in v. 17. Here it means To become, to come to pass, happen... Christ is speaking of events with are coming to pass, such as the destruction foretold in Matthew 24:6, 34, and the promise of victory in Isaiah 11: 9 Then shall none hurt nor destroy in all the mountain of mine holiness: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters that cover the sea. He will bring to pass the final judgment at the great white throne of Revelation 20:11-15.

Though many of the Old and New Testament prophecies seem impossible to us, the King said With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26

It is God who must bring these things to pass, not men.

The Lord said that not the smallest part of God's law will pass away until everything which the law and the prophets promised comes to pass. In other words, the law of God shall become the reality of the world's life, and shall remain as such until the end of the world.

Vv. 17-20 imply that there was a false teaching going around even in Christ's day that the Messiah would break the bands and cords of the Mosaic Law. At the very least, these verses show us that the Lord knew that sinful men would try to remove the binding cords of his Commandments.

Rather than voiding any of the Commandments, the Lord does just the opposite–he broadens them.

Psalms 119:96 I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad.

Biblical law defines God's character. Biblical law covers absolutely every area of life and thought. These six but I say unto you gives us a glimpse of the broadness of the law.

The law defines the highest standard of perfection, for it defines the Thrice Holy God:

The commandments reveal man's sinfulness in every area of life and thought, forcing him to Christ. Romans 3:19, 10:3, 4 & Galatians 3:24. And then they tell us how to be holy even as he is holy, as required in 1 Peter 1:15, 16.

No matter what Old Testament law, commandments, ordinances, rites, rituals or signs we might name, their purpose was to point sinners to Christ. The kingdom of heaven is based upon regeneration. All the law and the prophets spoke of this fact, and it will never change, Luke 24:25-27, 44-48.

V. 19, the King establishes the standard for eternal rewards, and speaks harshly against those who teach that the law is no longer in effect. Here we see at least two things about the kingdom of heaven:

A) in the kingdom.. one can be saved, and still be Antinomian. The King warned us of the social results, trodden under the foot of the pagans.

Implied here is that even a saved person can believe that "we are under grace and not law." That is, separate the law from grace or from Christ. The result though is that they shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.

The bad guys are those who intentionally or unintentionally (taught that way) hold the law of God in disrespect, and pass that disrespect on to others.

B) There are degrees in the kingdom of heaven, from the least to the greatest.

Clearly, one's relationship to Christ and not his relationship to the law determines heaven. However, status in heaven will be determined by one's attitude and actions according to the total of God's law in this life, not by any of the world's standards, e.g., large churches, many good works.

In fact, in 7:21, the one who pleaded his good works was told to depart from the Lord.

Shall be called.. The King is doing the calling.

V. 20.

Christ alone establishes the standard for entrance into his kingdom
Christ alone has the authority to develop the full implication so the laws of his kingdom.
Christ alone holds the keys to heaven, and no one will enter without his applied righteousness.

The Pharisees had great works of the law: They were circumcised and professed great love for the law. They were proud of their spirituality, and wanted every one to recognize how much they loved Moses and the traditions of the elders. Yet they rejected the righteousness of Christ.

The law was never meant to save anyone.

Now we come to 5:21-48. This is the "Ye have heard" section, and has 6 obvious divisions:

1) Vv. 21-26
2) vv. 27-29
3) vv. 31-32
4) vv. 33-37
5) vv. 38-42
6) vv. 43-48.

Though the chapter stops with v. 48, it seems that 6:1-4 goes with the sixth "ye have heard." 6:5 starts his discourse on prayer.

The Lord's message in this section reveals one of man's most troublesome problems. That is, because man is a sinner, he desires to take God's word in the least possible meaning. I can say from my own experience in my life as well as what I have found in teaching—The natural man does not want to closely examine God's word and find its implications.

On the other hand, he will examine all kinds of man-made documents for their implications, particularly to justify his opinions. As we see here in these passages, when the law says, "Thou shalt not kill," sinful man desires to restrict the definition of kill as much as possible.

Each Ye have heard, is answered with, But I say unto you. Ye have heard speaks of the mixture of law and tradition passed down from the preceding generations. With each But I say unto you, the Lord separates men's tradition from the proper understanding of the law. Christ does not say one thing that was not already required under the law.

1) Vv. 21-26. The first Ye have heard corresponds with the first beatitude, v. 3, Blessed are the poor in spirit.

Quick review:

The Lord started right at the root of the blessings of God with humility before God for salvation, vs the world's gospel of self-love, self-esteem, self-worth and self-acceptance. We are living in the results of the gospel of self have come to pass, as promised in v. 13. The earth that is to be claimed for the Kingdom of God has been willingly turned over to the enemy by those who preach or teach the gospel of self.

Poor in spirit is opposite of pride, vanity and ambition. The poor in spirit will realize his need of forgiveness from the Father, and he will forgive others as he has been forgiven.

He will not seek vengeance, but will leave righteous vengeance in the Lord's hands.

Christ now applies the seventh commandment to the innermost being–the heart, with vv. 21-26. Personal poverty will have humility before God and before man. It will not be set on self, and will make things right when needed.

Observe:

Evil men from all ages have sought to separate the spiritual from the physical–that is, thoughts from actions. Fallen man sees the mind and body as two different realms. Such thinking is called dualism. One result of dualism is that actions are no longer seen as a result of thoughts. Here our Lord clearly tells us that the action of murder is the result of the harbored thoughts of anger and hate.

Up until the late 1800s, American Protestants believed in the conversion of the world to
Christ. They saw the application of the total word of God and Christian education as the answer to the new urban problems brought about by the industrial revolution.

The 1870s started bringing about the results of Darwin's Theory of Evolution. The most well-known and popular, preacher of the day was Henry Ward Beecher. He claimed to having never read a book trough. He interpreted God from human experience. At the 1873 Evangelical Alliance meeting, he offered a solution to the Evolution problem. His solution was "Leave the sensual areas to the scientists, and the spiritual things to the ministry."

Thus, he introduced modern dualism, which has taken over the Christian world.

The results of Dualistic thinking are seen all around us as lawbreakers are no longer held responsible for his actions. So called "Mental illness" is used as an excuse for every evil action.

Not long ago, a British citizen was beheaded for smuggling drugs. Britain raised a fuss because they did not check for mental illness. Guilt is guilt, they said.

Let me share a very distressing thought: What is to say that God will not turn anti-law Christianity over to the strict Muslim law?

Muslim law forbids abortions.
Muslim law forbids women from uncovering themselves.
Muslim law forbids adultery and fornication.
Muslim law forbids a great many things that the supposedly the western Christian culture has now turned a blind eye to.

(The Muslims find loopholes in there strict laws, the same as Christians seek loopholes in their laws.)

The fact is that the lawbreaker allows his heart and thoughts to be out of control, and the result is that he breaks the law. God will not allow anarchy to take over, and will raise up a oppressive power to prevent anarchy.

This separation of thoughts from action, or mind from the body, has resulted in a very irresponsible society, even among us Christians.

The connection of the mind with body actions is so important that the Lord gave two But I say unto you.. to it, v. 22 & v. 28.

Observe:

1) God's law deals with the root of the problem; God has a standard or a law for the mind of man. Basically, that law is found in Philippians 4:8, Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.

And according to our Lord's words here in His sermon on the mount, it is just as much a sin in his eyes to allow our mind to be out of control as it is to let our actions be out of control. The battle is over the mind–subjected to Scripture, or centered on self. 1 Corinthians 9:27. Admittedly, I would much rather have you hate me in your heart than to put that hatred into action.

2) Thinking we can be a law keeper pleasing to God without keeping the mind lawful is a false illusion. We must see that every act against God and man begins with a lawless thought. The two cannot be separated. This means that it is impossible to have any kind of return to a willingly law-abiding society without a return to self-control of the thought-life. Man made and enforced laws must increase as Christian, self-controlled culture decreases.

The founders of this nation knew that the Constitution would only work for a self-controlled government.

I do not see a change in self-control happening until there is a great Divine Intervention.

There are a lot of justly needed hostile words being said against oppressive government. But I hear no speaking about the true answer to oppressive government, and that answer is lawful thinking, and self-control. Without lawful thinking, oppression must increase.

Illustration:

China says 5,394 arrested in Internet porn crackdown [Thu Dec 31, 2009]

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese police arrested thousands in a drive against Internet pornography throughout 2009, officials said, vowing a deepening crackdown that critics say is being used to tighten overall censorship. ...
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60004220100101

No doubt China is increasing overall censorship, but China realizes that pornography undermines an orderly society.

3) God requires truth in the inward parts, Psalms 51:6. Lawless thoughts have lawless consequences. The Lord said that what comes out of the heart through the mouth is what defiles the man. Matthew 15:18-20.

4) actions cannot be separated from motives.

5) Christianity has been reduced to mysticism. That is, some kind of mystical attitude or feeling that is identified as a Christian experience. This is a total fallacy which borders on the occult. Every Christian virtue and doctrine translates into a physical action, both inside and outside of the home.

Love for the Lord is not some warm, fuzzy feeling. Christ himself defined it as action when he said, "If you love me, keep my commandments."

6) Dualism is only one reason why we must guard what goes into our mind through our reading and through what we see. It is a vain imagination to think that our enemy doesn't know that if he can get enough garbage into our mind, he can get our actions to be against God's word.

Christian Dualism is only one reason why statist anti-god education so evil.

The law of God holds us responsible for every thought because every thought has consequences.