The Sermon on the Mount
Matthew Chapter 5
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
- Matt. 5:5: The ungodly are not meek and lowly of
heart. Their sinful condition is described in Romans
- 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
- 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."