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Pratice What You Preach



"17 "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

20 "For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven."
Good Morning my beloved,

We welcome you to worship in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is my honor and privilege to have you here with us today. We are especially grateful for those of you who have been sharing the ministry website, and social media platforms with all of your family and friends. Your faithfulness and commitment to share God's Word with others continues to bring about tremendous results. People are responding to God's Word! This is all so amazing. We ask you to pray that God will continue to give us boldness to speak the truth in ministry in the face of adversity in the coming days! As you may have noticed, it's becoming more and more challenging in the day in which we live. 

I want to let all of you know how grateful I am for all of you. We are so thankful your prayers and continue to pray for all of you. Prayer is such a powerful tool, and a mighty weapon against the adversary. As we continue to work with a number of Middle-Eastern and Asian countries to introduce the Gospel and Jesus Christ, please continue to keep this ministry and those on the ground in these countries in your prayers.

And through your sharing, God continues to bring a number of people to faith in Jesus Christ. Praise God! May He continue to use you and this ministry mightily to effect change in even more lives. Let's give God some praise for all He has done! 

As we continue to live a kingdom life, our influences, however small or great, will be seen by the world. Great effort is being made to cover up the Light we shine in the darkness of the world. The Gospel promises to make men different, that in Christ, we are a new creation. When we live our lives in contrast with the teaching of Scripture, it looks to the world that promise goes largely unfulfilled. It is by the transformation of our lives, we will point others to Christ. There is no hope in any other form of preaching unless we can demonstrate a change in our own lives. I believe that indifference has caused the number one issue in the church's influence today, irrelevance. Rather than demonstrating the goodness of God, we have displayed our own inferior character qualities.

In the Christian life, we are called to follow the law of God. Throughout the book of Matthew, Jesus has been laying out the way He wants us to live. Contrary to what is often being taught in church today, Jesus hasn’t relaxed the standard for God’s law, not even a little. As we will discover in our text, He clarifies that we are called to ultimate righteous living.

First, let us pray

Heavenly Father,

Father, we are thankful for Your Word. You paid the ultimate price to make us different. Lord, penetrate our hearts, so that by our transformed lives, we will make a difference in the world, not for our own glory, not for the glory of this ministry, but for the glory of God the Father. Help us to be faithful to that end. Stir the embers of our hearts, fan the flames that our passion may burn brightly. 

What a great honor You have given me to preach the Word, for the sake of Jesus Christ, help me to be faithful and not conform to the demands of this world to compromise the truth. Words cannot express how grateful I am to You for such a high calling. My life has been wonderfully blessed in so many ways. I confess that I am undeserving. Thank You for these faithful believers, who week after week, tolerate my long winded messages.  Lord, I pray that You would help us to be able to comprehend this deeply profound message. May our lives be greatly enriched and richly blessed. All for Your glory and for Christ's sake.
It is in His precious name we pray
Today's Message: Practice What You Preach
As I was studying and preparing for our message, I began to think about Jesus, who must have sat there  on the mountainside and given the Sermon on the Mount, in one whole, phenomenal sermon. And I am in awe of Him. I consider how the content that Jesus is teaching is counter cultural to His listeners, how  unusual it must have been to them. How it must have seemed to them as though He was teaching against the law and prophets. By the way, the "law and the prophets" referred to the historic teachings of what the Jews call the first five books of the Bible the "Torah," which means "Law," the Old Testament was the only Scripture they had in those ancient times. But Jesus did not come to work around or abolish the law, He came to perfectly obey and fulfill it. In fact, Jesus said that every little detail matters in the law. 
Because our society has broken away from the concept of God, we have broken away from the concept of absolute truth. In order for our society to function, there must be a rational absolute standard. The truth has largely become a pragmatic human process of relativism, it lays no claim to divine origin or eternal validity. The law is now generally recognized as existential. For a society to endeavor to have rules without an absolute, attempting to make and uphold laws without truth, without an absolute value, is surely doomed to fail. You simply cannot build a legal system on fluctuating human philosophies, and changing cultural principles. I believe we are witnessing the result of that today. There is only one absolute unchanging authority, one absolute unwavering law, and that is the law of God.

I am often told, " Well I don't believe that, I know you say that it's God's Word, that’s your interpretation. I do not believe that about Jesus!" Or "You can’t take everything in the Bible as literal." I've come to realize the general consensus today is, if the Bible confronts you where you don’t want to be confronted, if God's Word causes you to feel the least bit uncomfortable, than it needs to be reinterpreted. People today, including many Christians, want to deny the Scriptures authority if it conflicts with the evil of today. Because we don’t agree with what God's Word says, we want to blame it on misinterpretation. In other words, we want God's Word to say what we want it to say. And, we are unwilling to accept anything else. That is exactly what is happening in our society today with Cancel Culture. Though society and the culture changes, nothing in the Bible ever changes, and I do mean nothing! We do not get the privilege to re-imagine the pages to suit our wanton needs and desires. In our text today, we will see what is Jesus’ view of God’s law. Jesus is wanting to make sure we know that God's Law matters. The Old Testament teachings matter. Modern Christianity is laborious about denying the authority of the Bible.
Open your Bibles with me to the Gospel of Matthew chapter 5. As we continue in our study of this magnificent passage, we come to verses seventeen through twenty. This is very rich and very profound teaching by our Lord. By the way, whatever Jesus thinks of the Bible is what you and I must think of the Bible, lest we deceive ourselves! I invite you to follow along with me as I read these four verses, as we prepare our hearts for the Spirit of God is saying to each of us. Matthew 5:17-20. Listen for the voice of our Lord.
"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

"For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven."

The original Hebrew language would have spoken to some very distinguishing marks. Jesus is saying that every detail matters! They mattered during the time of Jesus, and they matter today. All Scripture is beneficial for us!

In II Timothy 3, Paul wrote "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness." Let the Word of God crush our evil ways and overturn our disobedient lives.As Christ followers, that has to be our view. No matter how uncomfortable it may be. Jesus not only obeyed the law, He fulfilled them. He brought clarity to them. He is the only one that could. And, that He did! Just as today, at the time of Jesus, God’s Word really was comprised, by those who misunderstood the law. So overwhelming was Jesus' proclamation of God’s Word, He didn’t echo the prevailing theology of His day. This passage is complex, it can be difficult to understand and quite frankly, because it is so deep theologically, I can be difficult to explain.

Notice in verse 17, He begins with "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill." The Word of God gives us the guidelines, the principles, and the requirements for the way we are to live righteous lives. Jesus is saying, here is the standard for righteousness. Jesus' view of the Word of God is unequaled. In other words, He is saying this is what God's Word says, "Don’t be misinformed; I will not lower the standard one whit." By the way, the word whit means even the least bit, the smallest amount.  Or, as my grandmother used to say "Not one iota!"

By the way, the word "abolish," is the Greek verb "kataluó," means to overthrow, destroy or to nullify, to demolish what has been joined together. He's saying He didn’t come to break the Old Testament into pieces. By the way, the Apostle Paul used the same word in II Corinthians 5, when He said "For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." It is also the same word Jesus used in Matthew 24:2 when He came out from the temple, "Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down." This is contrast to what most Christians say, that Christ came to do away with the Old Testament laws. Allow me to point out that the God of Genesis is the same God of Revelation. Every single thing in the Old Testament points to Christ.

When Jesus said "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets;" they knew which law He meant. It goes without saying, He meant the law that was authored by God. The Ten Commandments. Then, He adds "I did not come to abolish but to fulfill." By the way, allow me to add, the law of God is not something you just reinterpret and adapt to whatever sin is going on in your day. God's law never changes, regardless of the culture. He is the One and only holy God. He has created all things. His law is binding. For the record, God is still alive, He is the living God, therefore, His laws remains the absolute standard. Jesus’ affirmation of the Law is even stronger than before.

I believe that the reason is because Jesus said in Luke 10:26-27, "And He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How does it read to you? You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." All the law hinges on love, if you love the Lord God with all your and with all your soul and all your strength and with all your mind, you're going to obey God's commands, you will not sin against God. And, if you love your neighbor as yourself, you will not sin against your neighbor. 

In Romans 13:10, Paul wrote "Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." 

In Matthew 15, He said "You have substituted the traditions of men for the law of God." When they used the word "law," they weren’t speaking of the Ten Commandments, they were referring to the oral, scribal traditions, handed down by various rabbis. And, when you have  a bunch of rabbis making up a bunch of rules, you can convince yourself you’re all right. Then they were patting themselves on the back as if they were godly. For example, the law said "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Rest from your labors" 

So they decided you have to determine "What is work." We will create some new laws to determine "What is work?"  So, they decided work was to carry a burden, and they decided that you couldn’t carry a burden on the Sabbath day. Then, they decided they needed to determine what a burden was, "A burden is food equal to the weight of a dried fig, enough wine for mixing in a goblet, milk enough for one swallow, honey enough to put on a wound, oil enough to anoint a small member, water enough to moisten an eye salve, paper enough to write a customs house notice, ink enough to write two letters of the alphabet, reed enough to make the pen," and so on. It became utterly ridiculous. In fact, they spent hours arguing about these little laws. And, the scribes were the people who wrote all of this out. The Pharisees were the ones who tried to keep it. 

As a footnote, we can take the law of God and divide it into three parts: the moral law, the judicial law, and the ceremonial law. Now, to be clear here, the moral law was for all men; the judicial law, was just for Israel; and the ceremonial law, for Israel’s worship of God. So the moral law encompasses all men. The moral law is based in the Ten Commandments, the moral principles laid down once, always and forever. All of the rest of the moral law is built upon that, you see. True Christians, those genuinely follow Christ,  hold Scripture above everything else. They would never desire to disobey it. Now, that does not mean that we never struggle with the old habits of this life, but they certainly no longer enjoy sin and feel utterly horrible about it when we do. We immediately turn to Christ in true repentance.

Clearly, people today have a limited understanding of the term "moral law." Many Christians want to hold onto their sin and keep their salvation and have no limits to how they live. In other words, they do not want to be held accountable to the moral law of God. These aberrant beliefs are rampant in the church today. Let me very clear, genuine salvation brings obedience.

After declaring that He came to fulfill, Jesus proceeds to affirm the value of the Law. Notice verse 18, "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished." Here, Jesus is confirming the fact that He came in fulfillment of the Law. In the original language, Jesus said every "jot" and "tittle." A "jot" referred to the smallest Hebrew letter, while a "tittle" referred to a stroke that would distinguish two different letters. In today's vernacular, we would say dot every "I" and cross every "T." 

By the way, all throughout the Sermon on the Mount, that Jesus doesn’t appeal to the authority of the Law. He appeals to His own authority as One who speaks the Words of God. In many respects, this was prefigured by the events at Mount Sinai. Where Moses went up, came down with the Ten Commandments, and taught Israel. Here, Jesus also ascends a mountain and teaches Israel gathered at His feet. It can be understood as foreshadowing the events of Christ. Jesus is proclaiming the enduring quality of the Law by saying that all of it must come to pass. 

Do you realize that means God's law is still in force today? It has not been done away with. We cannot manifest righteousness unless we know and obey the principals of God. And, let me tell you this, that's how you have an effective testimony in the world. By living a life that manifests righteousness. That is the problem today, the church does not live separated from the world.You can't tell Christians apart from sinners. They go to the same places, they do the same things, they watch the same movies and television shows, listen to the same music. The church is no longer indistinguishable from the world. We do not have a believable testimony, because we refuse to abide by the righteous standards that God has set forth. That kind of righteousness is only born out of a faithful commitment to the Word of God. If you’re going to live a kingdom life, you're righteousness can only come through obedience, no matter what that costs. You can't go around breaking the moral law. He's talking about obedience characterized by the love for God. That must be taught in today's church.

In Romans 6:1-2, Paul said "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?"

In Isaiah 55, the Lord said "So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it."

In verses 19-20, we see that greatness follows obedience. "Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." Jesus makes it very clear, if we don’t obey the law we are least in the kingdom of heaven. 

Some have misinterpreted this to mean obedience to the Law is a means of salvation, that's not what He's saying here. Rather He's focusing on the connection between faithful, heartfelt obedience and those who assume they will have a position in the kingdom because of their own self righteousness. Jesus said if you even loose your obligation from the least commandment and teach somebody else to do it, you’ll be called the least in the kingdom. 

Anyone who believes they can earn a place in the kingdom by self-justification, instead of with heartfelt obedience to God, is dead wrong. Jesus is saying the scribes and Pharisees aren’t righteous because they don’t believe in what they do, and they don’t do what they preach and they don't believe in me, so you better exceed their righteousness. You better believe in me. They were always dealing with the external. He was always talking about the internal. The scribes and Pharisees have not lived up to The Old Testament standard. The Bible doesn’t make suggestions, it gives commands. How we deal with God’s law will directly affect us. If you go around breaking God’s command, you won’t be necessarily be kicked out of His kingdom. That’s not the idea here.

The purpose of God's law was to show you that you had to have more righteousness than you could come up with on your own. That’s the purpose. In other words, the law was given with the purpose of revealing our inadequacy. The law wasn't to show how good you are, it was to show you how rotten you are. The best men among us can't make it into God's kingdom on their own.  I have heard a number of people claim they think they'll make it to heaven because they're basically a good person. If you're depending on your goodness, you would be excluded from the kingdom. This is the standard of true righteousness.

If you remember, in verse 3, Jesus said "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." These people weren't mourning. They were patting themselves on the back and blowing their own horn. Announcing their greatness to God. They were neither meek or merciful. They didn't hunger and thirst for righteousness. They were too full of themselves. They couldn't live up to the Biblical standard, so they dragged the standard down to their level. You can imagine the shock because Jesus doesn't talk in generalities. These people looked up to them. And Jesus says they're not going to make it!

In verse 21, He illustrates the phoniness of their external religion. But we'll look at that next time. So be sure and come back. 

In Closing..

Many Christians have turned from God and from His standard of righteousness to their own. Their heart for Him has been removed, they're are falling further and further away from the Lord. You cannot make up your own standard and then present that before the Lord as a righteous life. Your best is God’s righteousness watered down. God knows your heart. And what men highly esteem about you is an abomination to God. Jesus teaches us it’s serious enough to break God’s law, but it’s more serious to teach somebody else to do that. By the way, you can teach someone else in two ways, you can teach by what you say, and you can teach by what you do. In other words, not just by your words, but by your example. If you are going to claim to be a follower of Christ, live it!

May it be so..

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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