Jesus’ Bible, pt. 2
Jesus opens the scroll and preaches Himself. He is the promised One. He is the answer to their prayers. He is the fulfillment of all those prophecies.
Last time, He said, I am the…
I. Culmination of the OT
The Law & The Prophets. He kept the law to perfection, as no human could. And he fulfilled every prediction.
II. Appreciation for the OT
v. 18 Jesus is verifying the value and authority of the OT scriptures.
“Verily” = Truly or Amen!
Jot and tittle = heb. markings. Jot is the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet, and tittle is the smallest mark on a letter…so, cross every i, dot every t, the Word of God is perfect! God breathed.
The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
When the writers of the Bible wrote by inspiration of God, not only were their books inspired / chapters / paragraphs / sentences / words / letters / but the very markings of each letter were inspired of God…it’s absolute authority. It’s not just a good book, it’s God’s book…not just a good way to go, but the only way to go. It’s not just helpful suggestions, but holy commandments…not for our consideration, but our consecration. It’s not a cafeteria spread to pick and choose what you like and leave behind what doesn’t ‘agree’ with you [homosexuality/abortion/alcohol/modesty/purity], but it’s spiritual bread, it’s milk, it’s meat…worthy of meditation…chew on it day and night!
That’s Jesus’ appreciation He’s showing…and if that’s His opinion of the Bible, then that’s my opinion too!
I appreciate having my own Bible. In the history of Christianity, that’s a relatively novel thing to be able to say…that you have your own complete copy of the Bible. Even today in many lands, young believers clutch a Gospel of John they were lucky enough to receive when they got saved, or a small NT, but the whole Bible, inc. all those wonderful OT stories and teachings, wow…what a privilege! In the days of Jesus, the people didn’t have their own copies of the OT…they depended on the scribes and priests to read it to them in the synagogue. That’s why Jesus said, “You have HEARD that it has been said…but I say unto you.”
Do you appreciate having your own Bible? I know of a preacher who visited an underground church in a communist country, and all they had were photocopies of select passages stapled together, and those they had to share and take turns with--and they saw his Bible he was carrying, and asked to hold it…there a group gathered around that Bible, weeping!
We are a spoiled people with 3 and 4 copies each, mostly collecting dust on shelves, and preachers having to beg their people to carry one to church, and if they do, to be willing to turn to different passages, or know how to find them, let alone spend daily time reading the precious love letter in our laps!
It’s easy to say, I believe it from cover to cover, from Genesis to Concordance…and I believe the maps! But it doesn’t matter that you believe it, if you don’t read it!
Ill.—preacher’s son was heading off to a liberal college / Pastor was afraid his son’s faith would be shaken / said, they’re gonna question the Bible, and tell you it’s all fairy tales…don’t let ‘em take Jonah out of your Bible [figured they’d attack that account] / gone for 2 yrs., came home / dad said, they didn’t ruin you did they? / I hope not, dad / they didn’t take Jonah out did they? / aw, dad, Jonah’s not even in your Bible / dad looked to show him…it wasn’t there / son had torn it out 2 years before and his dad never even noticed. / Son asked, what’s the difference between a liberal professor denying it’s true and you failing to read it?
v. 19 Jesus places a tremendous responsibility on those of us who teach and preach the Word of God…and woe to the one who sows seeds of doubt in the minds of his hearers, or fails to practice what he preaches to his people!
We’ve seen Jesus as the culmination of the OT, and His appreciation…
III. Interpretation of the OT
v. 20 The following verses Jesus shares 6 illustrations of ‘ye have heard, but I say…’ He has already said His teachings are in line w/ the OT, but now He’s saying, my teachings will sound different to you than they way you’ve been hearing it! [murder/adultery/divorce]
Jesus says, my interpretation doesn’t agree w/ their interpretation, and if you don’t get in line w/ these things, you won’t make it to heaven, or truly be my disciple on earth.
What was wrong with the scribes and Pharisees’ interpretation?
They were hypocrites, making Christianity outward rather than inward. Reputation more important than character. One is what people think you are, the other is what God knows you are!
Letter vs. Spirit
Ill.—episode of Leave it to Beaver where Wally is told by June not to take his brother to a certain horror movie. Eddie Haskell later suggests, she didn’t say Beaver couldn’t take you…give him the money!
As kids we all tried to find ways to be able to say we were in compliance, when we truly were not. “Stand up, son” “I may be standin’ on the outside, but I’m sittin’ on the inside!”
That’s what the Pharisees did, but in much grander fashion. They may have had the details down, but the principles were long gone. Outward actions were right, but the inward motives were wrong. They did the right things, but their heart was not right. They reconciled things thru loopholes, subtleties, traditions, and man made rules. They completely perverted the OT law…they misapplied, misappropriated, and misinterpreted it.
So, Jesus says, ye have heard, but I say…sweeping away years and years of religious garbage that had built up.
Then the 6 illustrations start, and when Jesus says in each of them, ‘but I say’ He’s not correcting the OT law at all, but the false interpretations that man had brought out.
Here in this passage we have the original lawgiver expounding His law, cleaning up His intentions, and correcting the perversions of men.
Please don’t even read ahead to these 6 illustrations…I don’t want us to miss the forest for the trees. The concepts Jesus is trying to teach aren’t about these 6 things alone, but are huge principles that apply to everything of this life, not just murder and hatred, adultery and lust, divorce, swearing, lawsuits, and our enemies.
Jesus teachings on how to interpret the Law:
A. Outward conformity is not enough, motives are equally important.
The Pharisees only had 1 motive, the praise of men. It was all for show. The fasted and prayed and gave offerings [stimulus] in a very public way. Christians will stand in a judgment at the seat of Christ, and our works will be judged of what “sort” they are, indicating motives…and only what works were done for the right motive will survive the fire and be rewarded. It’s not enough for me to preach a sermon, I have to preach it for the right reasons.
Teach a class / sing a special / perform a duty …it all has to be from the right heart motive.
B. Outward conformity is not enough, thoughts and desires are equally important.
Jesus knew that murder begins in the heart, and so he condemned hatred and anger.
Jesus knew that adultery begins in the heart, so he condemned lust.
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
Our thoughts can be like termites working away on the inner structure of our spirits until one day it all crumbles/comes toppling down, and then people will say, oh my, they ‘fell’ into sin. No! They slid into sin gradually, subtly, on wicked thoughts and imaginations.
C. The law is not just negative, but also positive.
For example: We’re not only saved FROM sin, but also saved UNTO righteousness. Not just from hell, but to heaven. The law isn’t just a list of don’ts, but also “do’s”…not just about what’s wrong, but about what’s right!
Jesus challenges us, saying, don’t just hate adultery, but fall in love w/ purity. Don’t just hate lying, fall in love w/ the truth.
To some, Christianity is simply, “I don’t cuss, chew, or kiss the girls that do!” Well, aren’t you spiritual! Let’s not just approach God’s law as a bunch of negatives, but truly in its fullness, it’s totally positive! Truly, there’s no good news w/out bad news, and no positives w/out negatives, and the preacher HAS to step on toes, but Jesus urges us all to go on farther than that, working on the practical application of these things unto a happy, healthy Christian existence!
D. The law is not to oppress us, but to free us.
It’s not there to bind us unto obedience, but to set us free for spiritual growth. Living a holy life is not a grievous, restricted existence in which you cannot smile, laugh, and enjoy life.
1 John 5:3
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
Some Christians have a bad case of stinkin’ thinkin’, and never seem to grasp the concept that the gospel is…what? Good news!
E. The law is not the end in itself, but is an expression of our love for God.
Ill.—a Pharisee is ready for bed / walks over to a wall on which hang the 10 commandments / reads them, checks them off 1 by 1, saying, I didn’t do this today, or that / all is well between me and God. Jesus says no, here’s your checklist as you pillow your head: “Dear Lord, have you been supreme in my life today? Have I brought glory and honor to you? Do I know you better today? Have I deepened my relationship with you? Are there wicked thoughts in me?”
Ill.—C.H. Spurgeon, “I want to live my life in such a way that when I lay my head on my pillow at night I can say ‘Jesus, I love you,’ and for the Lord to be able to say, ‘I know you do, Charles, I know you do’.”
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