This sermon not only reveals God’s divine nature, it puts into our hands the most powerful of evangelistic weapons. It is the greatest evangelistic sermon ever preached by the greatest evangelist who ever lived.
The straightedge of God’s Law reveals how crooked we are:
- Matt. 5:3: The unregenerate heart isn’t poor in spirit. It is proud, self-righteous, and boastful (every man is pure in his own eyes—Proverbs16:2).
- Matt. 5:4: The unsaved don’t mourn over their sin; they love the darkness and hate the light (John 3:19).
- Matt. 5:5: The ungodly are not meek and lowly of heart. Their sinful condition is described in Romans 3:13–18.
- Matt. 5:6: Sinners don’t hunger and thirst after righteousness. Instead, they drink iniquity like water (Job 15:16).
- Matt. 5:7: The world is shallow in its ability to show true mercy. It is by nature cruel and vindictive (Genesis 6:5).
- Matt. 5:8: The heart of the unregenerate is not pure; it is desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). Those who are born again manifest the fruit of the Spirit, live godly in Christ Jesus (Matt. 5:3–9), and therefore suffer persecution (Matt. 5:10–12). However, their purpose on earth is to be salt and light: to be a moral influence, and to bring the light to those who sit in the shadow of death (Matt. 5:13–16).
Look now at how the Messiah expounds the Law and makes it "honorable" (Isaiah 42:21). He establishes that He didn’t come to destroy the Law (Matt. 5:17); not even the smallest part of it will pass away (Matt. 5:18). It will be the divine standard of judgment (James 2:12; Romans 2:12; Acts 17:31). Those who teach it "shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:19). The Law should be taught to sinners because it was made for them (1 Timothy 1:8–10), and is a "schoolmaster" that brings the "knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:19,20; 7:7). Its function is to destroy self-righteousness and bring sinners to the cross (Galatians 3:24). The righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees was merely outward, but God requires truth in the inward parts (Psalm 51:6). Jesus shows this by unveiling the Law’s spiritual nature (Romans 7:14).
The Sixth Commandment forbids murder. However, Jesus shows that it also condemns anger "without cause," and even evil- speaking (Matt. 5:21–26): "Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give an account thereof in the day of judgment" (Matthew 12:36).
The Seventh Commandment forbids adultery, but Jesus revealed that this also includes lust, and it even condemns divorce, except in the case of sexual sin of the spouse (Matt. 5:27–32).
Jesus opens up the Ninth Commandment (Matt. 5:33–37), and then shows that love is the spirit of the Law—"The end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart . . ." (1 Timothy 1:5). This is summarized in what is commonly called the Golden Rule: "All things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them: for this is the Law and the prophets" (Matthew 7:12, emphasis added).
"Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loves another has fulfilled the law. For this, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, You shall not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law" (Romans 13:8–10).
When a sinner is born again he is able to do this (Matt. 5:38–47). He now possesses "the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4). In Christ he is made perfect and thus satisfies the demands of a "perfect" Law (Psalm 19:7; James 1:25). Without the righteousness of Christ he cannot be perfect as his Father in heaven is perfect (Matt. 5:48). The Law annihilated his self-righteousness leaving him undone and condemned. His only hope was in the cross of Jesus Christ. After his conversion, knowledge of the Law that brought him there keeps him at the foot of the cross. John Wesley said, "Therefore I cannot spare the Law one moment, no more than I can spare Christ, seeing I now want it as much to keep me to Christ, as I ever wanted it to bring me to Him. Otherwise this ‘evil heart of unbelief’ would immediately ‘depart from the living God.’ Indeed each is continually sending me to the other—the Law to Christ, and Christ to the Law."
Excerpted from The Evidence Bible