Matthew 5:17-20 “The Righteousness of a Disciple” part 1

My sermon/teaching notes for Wednesday, Aug. 26th.  Our current Wednesday Summer Series is THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT Remember, these are my personal study notes and not a manuscript of the sermon.  To see the sermon each week please visit

Matthew 5:17–20

The Righteousness of a Disciple and Follower of Christ

An Outline:

The Righteousness of a Disciple – vv. 17-48

The Standard of Righteousness – vv. 17-20

  • Christ and the law – vv. 17-18
  • A believer and the law – vv. 19-20

Six examples of the believer’s righteousness – vv. 21-48

  1. Anger
  2. Lust
  3. Divorce
  4. Oaths
  5. Retaliation
  6. Hatred

The Standard of Righteousness – vv. 17-20

Christ and the Law – vv. 17-18

[17] “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them

He did not come to destroy and create a new one.  Jesus came and FULFILLED.

  • The law is God’s truthful and eternal word that points to His character and His gracious and redeeming work among His people.
  • Jesus completed them.
  • He obeyed the law to perfection.
    • Moral – He lived a perfect live
    • Ceremonial – Tabernacle, Ark….Jesus is the perfect picture of all they stood for.
    • Judicial – He came as the perfect act of justice.

Let’s look at this Scripture as we consider this idea of a New Covenant:

Jeremiah 31:31–34 – [31] “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, [32] not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. [33] For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. [34] And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (ESV)

Luke 22:19–20 – [19] And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” [20] And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. (ESV)

Romans 3:21–26 – [21] But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—[22] the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: [23] for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, [24] and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, [25] whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. [26] It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (ESV)

1 Peter 2:24 – [24] He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed (ESV)

[18] For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished

Iota, Dot were small marks that completed Hebrew letters.  Like out doting of the it and crossing the T.

  • YET, the OLD points toward the NEW.
  • The truth remains, yet now revealed in Christ.
  • Every dot and iota points to what the Gospel means and has provided.

A believer and the law – vv. 19-20

[19] Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. [20] For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (ESV)

We must keep and teach

Do not add to or take away from)

  • To disobey – the least
  • To obey – the greatest

Our righteousness must exceed the Pharisees.

  • Pharisees was external
  • New Covenant/Gospel is eternal

2 Corinthians 3:5–18 – [5] Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, [6] who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

[7] Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, [8] will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? [9] For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. [10] Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. [11] For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.

[12] Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, [13] not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. [14] But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. [15] Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. [16] But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. [17] Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. [18] And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (ESV)

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