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1. Jesus describes kingdom citizens (5:3-16) (5:3 - key)
2. Jesus requires perfect righteousness (5:17-48) (5:48 - key)
3. Jesus explains practical righteousness (6:1-7:12) (6:1 - key)
4. Jesus presents entry requirements (7:13-27) (7:13-14 - key)

 

I'd like to begin this morning by giving you a quiz. I will give you a few famous quotes. You tell me who said it.

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

"My fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you- ask what you can do for your country."

"I have a dream today. ... I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

"Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

(Click here for answers)

Obviously the last quote was spoken by Jesus Christ. This phrase begins the teaching of Jesus Christ commonly called, "the Sermon on the Mount." This sermon gets its name from the first two verses in chapter 5, "And when [Jesus] saw the multitudes, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. And opening His mouth He began to teach them," The sermon was preached on a hill or a "mount," hence the name, "The Sermon on the Mount." Jesus was probably not at the top of the mount, but at the bottom, where He could use the elevation of the land as a natural amphitheater.

This sermon is, arguable, the most famous discourse that Jesus ever gave. In Matthew, by the way, there are four other lengthy teaching sessions given by Jesus. They are found in chapter 10, 13, 18, 24-25. It has been read and studied by Christians and by non-Christians down through the ages. Perhaps this one is the most famous because it is the longest of any of His discourses we have recorded (three entire chapters of the bible). Perhaps it is most famous because it deals head on with the greatest issue in life: entrance into the kingdom of heaven. Perhaps it is most famous because of it's depth of insight into the human heart and its incredible demand placed upon us. As we exposit through this sermon, it will pierce our hearts with conviction of sin. It will challenge us in our walks with God. It will bring great comfort. It will bring great guidance into the greatest matters of life.

Notice that this sermon was immediately acknowledged as powerful. "The result was that when Jesus had finished these words, the multitudes were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes" (Matthew 7:28-29). In other words, you might say that "it blew their minds." They had never heard this type of teaching before. Jesus didn't quote Rabbi so and so. Jesus didn't duck away from the hard issues of life. Jesus didn't simply quote pious platitudes. Rather, Jesus took the challenge head on and boldly taught the truth of God with authority and clarity. He was bold in His preaching. What He said was true. He cut it straight. It was a powerful sermon.

Notice also that Jesus addressed a mixed crowd on that day -- those who believed and those who didn't. His sermon was appropriate for the multitudes (7:28) many of whom were certainly not believers in Jesus. His sermon was appropriate for His believing disciples (5:1). The picture is that Jesus was primarily teaching His disciples, but His teaching over-flowed to the multitudes that were interested in hearing Him. So is our preaching at Rock Valley Bible Church. It is primarily addressed to those who have come to believe in Jesus as the Messiah. Though when those who don't believe come and hear, the message we preach also applies to them as well.

The topics that Jesus covered in His sermon were varied. I have listed thirty of them that Jesus covered ...

  Happiness     Swearing     Praying     Obedience    
  The kingdom of heaven     Sexual immorality     Fasting     Disobedience    
  Persecution     Adultery     Money     Belief    
  Evangelism     Divorce     Anxiety     Unbelief    
  The role of the law     Taking oaths     Judging     Wisdom    
  False teaching     Justice     Discerning     Foolishness    
  Murder     Love     Heaven          
  Anger     Giving     Hell          

This sermon is literally packed with truth. I have read several men, who commented on how this sermon presents a summary of Christianity. It does! This sermon really addresses all of life. In chapter 5, it will address our morality (i.e. how to live). At the beginning of chapter 6, it will address our religious life. At the end of chapter 6, it will address our normal life (i.e. our eating, our clothing, our money). In chapter 7, it will address our destiny (i.e. where we go after we die).

With this sermon being so exhaustive, our danger will be to miss the forest among the trees. Our danger will be to involve ourselves so much in the minutia of the details that we can easily miss the big picture. This morning, I would like to preach through the entire sermon on the mount. All of it. Jesus did it in one setting, I hope that I can. My aim is to give you the big picture of what Jesus said. In weeks to come, we can pick up on the details (which are of importance).

As we begin, let's remind ourselves where we are in Matthew's gospel. We have seen Jesus Christ, prophesied from long ago, born of the Son of David (chapter 1). We have seen Jesus Christ fulfilling Scripture as he was protected from the evil intents of Herod the Great (chapter 2). We have seen John the Baptist identify Jesus as the Messiah (chapter 3). We have seen Jesus being tempted and beginning His ministry (chapter 4). Up to this point, Matthew's purpose has been to pave the way for Jesus Christ to come on the scene. Matthew's purpose in writing is all about Jesus Christ. This can be seen in the titles to my sermons over the first four chapters.

The Genealogy of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:1-17)
The Birth of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:18-25)
The Worship of Jesus Christ (Matthew 2:1-11)
The Protection of Jesus Christ (Matthew 2:12-23)
The Forerunner to Jesus Christ (Part 1&2) (Matt. 3:1-12)
The Baptism of Jesus Christ (Matthew 3:13-17)
The Temptation of Jesus Christ (Matthew 4:1-11)
The Ministry of Jesus Christ (Matthew 4:12-25)

Jesus is now on the scene, and for the first time, will begin to expand upon His message to the world. Appropriately, I have entitled my sermon this morning, "The Teaching of Jesus Christ." We have seen the summary of His message in chapter 4, verse 17, when Jesus proclaimed, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." We will see Jesus go deeper into His meaning of this phrase.

Before we jump into the sermon, I would first like to focus on a theme verse for this entire sermon. We will come back to it often. It is found in Matthew 5:20, "I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven." In this verse, Jesus sets forth a goal and a standard to reach that goal. The goal is entrance to the "kingdom of heaven." The standard to reach that goal is "righteousness." Both of these words are key concepts within the sermon on the mount.

This sermon is saturated with references to "the kingdom." I have listed the nine references to it below.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (5:3).
"Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (5:10).
"Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, 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" (5:19).
"For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses [that] of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven" (5:20).
"Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven" (6:10).
"And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen" (6:13).
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven" (7:21).
"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you" (6:33).

It is appropriate for us to "seek first His kingdom" (6:33). The kingdom is to be the first priority of what we seek. It is a central theme in the Bible and it is a central theme of Jesus in this sermon. But notice also that Jesus tells us to "seek ... His righteousness" (6:33). This also is another key concept in this sermon. Though this word is used only five times, the concept of righteousness saturates the sermon. This entire sermon speaks of righteousness (i.e. right living). I have listed those references below.

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied" (5:6).
"Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (5:10).
"For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses [that] of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven" (5:20).
"Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven" (6:1).
"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you" (6:33).

Let me emphasize again that Jesus exhorts us to seek His kingdom and His righteousness (in 6:33). In our key verse, 5:20, we are told that our righteousness must surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees. To understand Jesus' sermon, you really need to understand these characters.

The scribes and Pharisees were the religious leaders of the day. They had become experts in the Old Testament Law. They sought to keep the law with their whole being. They were consumed with this quest. As such, they sought to protect themselves so as not to come near the law. So they established many traditions, which were an attempt to keep them from approaching the breaking of the law. You might think of their traditions as a fence around the law. Their traditions would insure that they would keep the law. The intent was good (as with all legalism), but the result was bad (as with all legalism). The scribes and Pharisees were legalists, who focussed the whole of their religion upon external law keeping, which gained their righteousness.

The scribes and Pharisees were also separatists. The word Pharisee, means, "separated one." These Pharisees and scribes were indeed separated. Their separation was motivated by an attempt to keep the law -- they didn't want to be stained by the world, or by its practices. Again, the intent was good, but the result was bad. In their separation, they became proud hypocrites who looked disdainfully at others, who didn't quite match up to their religious standards.

And Jesus says (in 5:20) that your righteousness must exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees. On the one hand, this was a very difficult job. Who can be more righteous than those who spend their whole lives in seeking to be righteous? On the other hand, this was a very easy job. The scribes and Pharisees were focussed almost entirely on externals. They missed the spirit of the law, which focussed upon the heart. This is exactly how Jesus evaluated them. He called them "whitewashed tombs" (Matthew 23:27). On the outside they were clean and spotless. However, on the inside they were to be compared to decaying bodies. Jesus denounced them saying, "you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence" (Matthew 23:25). Again, the picture is the same. They are blameless and pure on the outside, but on the inside there is corruption to the core.

Though they sought to keep the letter of the law in every detail (and thus, appeared to be very righteous), they transgressed the spirit of the law in their efforts (and thus, were very unrighteous). In this sermon Jesus will press the priority of your heart before the Lord, rather than merely the externals.

Finally, let's begin diving into this sermon.

1. Jesus describes kingdom citizens (5:3-16) (5:3 - key)

Jesus begins in the first twelve verses with a section we call the Beatitudes, from the Latin translation of the word, "blessing." He gives eight statements regarding the characteristics of those who are truly blessed (i.e. the kingdom citizens). Our American culture looks at these statements and laughs. Our Beatitudes in America go something like this, ...

"Blessed are the rich, for they have it all and have it all now;
Blessed are the happy, for they are content with themselves and don't need others;
Blessed are the arrogant, for people defer to them;
Blessed are those who fight for the good things in life, for they will get them;
Blessed are the sophisticated, for they will have a good time" (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Volume 1, p. 74).

But Jesus paints an entirely opposite picture. Jesus says that the lowly, humble, and merciful are blessed.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when [men] cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matthew 5:3-12).

You want to get into the kingdom of heaven? You want to be a citizen of the kingdom? Don't do it through proud boasting, like the scribes and Pharisees. Be poor in spirit, broken over your sin (verse 3). Suffer persecution for the sake of righteousness (verse 10). The key verse to this section in verse 3, because it the fundamental attitude of all kingdom citizens.

Right from the outset of this sermon, the religious world was rocked. This wasn't the theology of the scribes and the Pharisees! They taught that you enter God's kingdom by fastidious obedience to the law, which often promoted in them a pride and arrogance (case in point, the proud Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14). But Jesus says that the citizens of the kingdom are lowly and humble.

After Jesus finished describing who these kingdom citizens are, he proceeds to speak about their impact upon the world. Indeed, these types of people will make an impact in the world! In the next four verses, Jesus describes these individuals. He says that they will be salt, which will savor the world. He says that they will be light, which will illumine the world. These sorts of people will not attract attention to themselves in their religiosity. They won't put their religion on display to be seen by all. Rather, they will direct the focus of men away from themselves, and upon God, from whom all blessings flow. As Jesus said, "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (5:16). This is genuine religion. These are those who will be citizens of the kingdom.

2. Jesus requires perfect righteousness (5:17-48) (5:48 - key)

In this next section Jesus pointed out that the scribes and Pharisees didn't understand the law (i.e. 5:20). They used the law to create all types of religious regulations -- hoops to jump through. They thought, "as long as you follow all the rules, you are in." They made their religion out to be merely an external code of conduct. But they misunderstood that the law was to break you and to humble you.

Sure, the law is a code of conduct. The instructions that God gave to Israel are to be heeded and obeyed. They weren't to be neglected. This is the point of Jesus when he said, "Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (5:18-19). But they were never meant to be qualifications to enter into the kingdom of heaven.

On several occasions, I have renewed my driver's license. At that time the attendant checked my driving record. When discovering that I hadn't received any tickets since I last renewed my license, I received a small certificates from the state of Illinois as a reward for my spotless driving record. By not receiving any tickets, I was given this reward. But this isn't how the law was ever intended to work. The law was never given so that those who kept it would be rewarded with eternal life. Paul said that the law is not able to impart life (Gal. 3:21). He said that "through the law comes the knowledge of sin" (Rom. 3:20). The law was intended to break you and to humble you. The law was given to "shut up all men under sin" (Gal. 3:22). When you tie Paul's teaching with the Beatitudes, you quickly realize that it is the broken and humble ones who enter, rather than the proud and religious scribes and Pharisees.

Beginning in verse 21, Jesus will begin to explain what the law really requires. He will present six statements of what the scribes and Pharisees taught. In each instance Jesus will tear down each of these statements as traditions, which missed the intent of the law. Jesus will then proceed to press the law deep into the heart of man, which is what God requires.

In this section, Jesus will use a familiar and repeated formula to expose them. "You have heard that it was said, .... But I say to you, ..." (found in verses 21-22, 27-28, 31-32, 33-34, 38-39, 43-44). Six times Jesus repeated this formula (or some close derivation to it). Jesus will say, "You have heard the Pharisees teach this. But they are wrong.... Let me tell you what is right."

In each of these statements, Jesus takes the teaching of the Pharisees, which remained on the external and brings it into the heart of each us. Jesus will say that true religion doesn't happen merely on the externals, but on the internals. It is our hearts that matter, not our hands. Jesus will bring out the true spirit of the law, not simply the letter of the law.

We are so good at manipulating the rules so that we might be able to disobey the rules, while technically, we are following them. We are experts at this sort of reasoning in our hearts. We learn it while we are children. Perhaps you tell one of your children to go to bed at 8 o'clock. So they march up to their room. You check on them at 10 o'clock and find them in bed reading a book! Shocked, you say, "Didn't I tell you to go to bed two hours ago?" Your child says, "Dad, I am in bed! You didn't tell me to go to sleep. You just told me to go to bed!" Perhaps you tell your child to clean his room. You visit him a few minutes later to find the room spotless, but his closet is a mess. "Dad, you said, clean my room, not my closet!"

I have been talking with my daughter about this in recent weeks. She is quite excited for me to share this illustration of how she can be a little legalist. I told her recently to "crawl into bed." I found her a few minutes later on all fours, trying in vain to crawl into bed. I told her recently to "slide into bed." Do you know where I found her? Under her bed, because she couldn't slide into bed. She could only slide under her bed. She obeyed the letter of the law, but disobeyed the spirit of the law. This illustrates perfectly what we are so good at doing with God's commands.

The Pharisees were experts at technicalities like this. For instance, in Matthew 15, we find Jesus rebuking the scribes and Pharisees for paying attention to the technicalities of their traditions, rather than the commands of God. They taught that if a family swore that some of their material possessions were to be given to God, they could never use them to help their parents. This was true even in the case of a desperate need! They kept their traditions, rather than honoring their parents, which was the fifth commandment. Jesus called their bluff, by focussing on the spirit of the law, rather than upon the letter of the law.

Rather than dealing only with external murder (and pulling the trigger), Jesus took murder to the heart and addressed the issue of anger. Rather than dealing only with the actual act of adultery, Jesus pressed it to the heart and said that thinking about adultery is sin. Rather than dealing with your speech merely when under an oath, Jesus pressed it to the heart and pushed for truthful words in all circumstances. Rather than dealing with your legal rights for vengeance, Jesus pressed it to the heart and called for a heart of compassion and love, in accordance with the spirit of the law.

In their attempt to interpret the law and regulate the affairs of men, these scribes and Pharisees missed the intent of the law as it dealt with others. Jesus exposed their error. Jesus brought a new standard to live by: perfect righteousness, which transcends deed within the heart. This is best shown in verse 48, "You are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." This is why I have identified this verse as the key verse to the section.

This is the standard: perfect righteousness! Who can keep this standard? Nobody. When you attempt to keep this standard, you will find yourself poor in spirit, mourning over your sin, and gentle, in realization that you can never keep this (as the beatitudes have shown us). The good news of the gospel is that Jesus did fulfill this perfection (verse 17). Our perfect righteousness can be found only in His fulfillment of the law. Just as the prophecies concerning Jesus were fulfilled in His genealogy, birth, childhood, and ministry, so also did Jesus fulfill the law. "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill" (5:17). Jesus fulfilled the law in that He kept all the laws perfectly! Indeed He was "perfect" as our "heavenly Father is perfect" (5:48).

3. Jesus explains practical righteousness (6:1-7:12) (6:1 - key)

Beginning in chapter 6, Jesus will continue his emphasis on perfect righteousness by explaining how this focus on the heart works itself out practically. The key verse is found in verse 1, "Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them."

When you perform your religious duties realize that you have an audience of One. Seek to please God only. Don't perform your religious duties to be seen by men. Don't serve God with a view to begin rewarded by others. This is the key to all of our practical righteousness. Your motivation is key. As you are a genuine worshiper of God, you will naturally express yourself in ways that will be salt and light before others (5:14-16). However, this ought never to be your motive (i.e. "to be noticed by them."). Never pray to God with one eye closed and one eye opened to see whether others are looking at you praying or not.

Jesus addresses three areas: giving, praying, and fasting. "When you give alms ... When you pray ... When you fast ..." (6:2, 5, 16). With respect to our giving, it works out like this. If you are giving to the church to further God's work, great! If you are giving to the church to be noticed by others, you already have received your reward. The reason we have an offering box is to help with this attitude. With respect to our praying, if you are praying to God as if the people aren't even here, great! If you are praying that others might see you as godly or spiritual, you already have received your reward. For fasting, I could say the same thing.

We need to every focus our minds upon God, rather than upon us. This is practical righteousness. Jesus says, when you perform your religious duties, don't seek to be a man-pleaser, but a God-pleaser. Tune people out. Genuine practical righteousness comes to the one who has an internal focus upon God, apart from the praise of men. God isn't into religious displays of righteousness. God is into the penitent sinner, who beats his breast and cries, "God be merciful to me the sinner" (Luke 18:13). It all goes back to the humble perspective of the Beatitudes.

In verses 19-24, Jesus continues His focus upon areas of practical righteousness by addressing the issue of dealing properly with your physical resources. He instructs us away from slavery to money. "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon" (6:24). Again, it is an issue of the heart. Set your heart upon God, not on the riches of this world.

In verses 25-34, Jesus addresses practical righteousness when your resources aren't quite enough: the issue of anxiety. Three times, Jesus says, "do not be anxious" (6:25, 31, 34). The solution to anxiety is to focus your heart upon God, not upon your circumstances because, "... your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things" (verse 32). Therefore, "seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you" (verse 33). Don't be proud, as if you need nothing, but rather, righteous living consists of being humble and merciful, look to God for all things.

In our religious exercises, we focus entirely on God, because we are humble. In our physical needs, we focus entirely on God, because we are humble. In our attitudes with others, we focus entirely on God, because of our humble position before him. In chapter 7:1, we are told, "Do not judge lest you be judged." God has been merciful to us, so we will be merciful to others. In chapter 7:7, we are told, "ask, and it shall be given to your." We ask, because we know that we deserve nothing.

4. Jesus presents entry requirements (7:13-27) (7:13-14 - key)

Up until this point, Jesus has focussed His attention upon ethical issues (i.e. how to live). He will now turn his focus directly upon eternal issues (i.e. where you will spend your life after you die). He will bring his sermon to a close by focussing upon the destiny of all men. Some will enjoy life in the kingdom of heaven. Others will perish forever. The key verses are 13 and 14, "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it." The repetition of the idea of entrance into the kingdom is why I entitled this point, "entry requirements".

At this point, Jesus presents two options. You can enter the narrow, difficult gate (which few enter), or you can enter the wide, easy gate (which many enter). The alarming point about this passage is that there are many who think themselves to be on the narrow road to life, who are actually on the broad road to destruction. This is demonstrated in verses 21-23, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'"

Notice that these are people who have done great religious deeds (prophesying, casting out demons, and performing many miracles). Yet, the inner knowledge of Jesus Christ wasn't present within them. Again, these are like the Pharisees, who performed many religious and righteous deeds externally, and yet, were bankrupt in their hearts. This is the scariest moment one could ever imagine: to come before Jesus, expecting to arrive in glory because of all the externally righteous things you have done, only to find yourself banished from Him forever.

Notice also that these people are appealing to Jesus to enter into the kingdom. They say, "Lord! Lord!" They are pleading for entrance, yet, they are turned away, because Jesus never knew them. Their righteousness was just a show, just like the scribes and Pharisees.

So, what does the life look like that actually enters the kingdom?

It all starts with the beatitudes. These describe the kingdom citizens: poor in spirit, mourning over sin, gentle, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, persecuted for righteousness sake. It continues with an understanding of the perfect standard of righteousness to which we are called (i.e. perfection in every detail down to the heart). You realize that perfect righteousness escapes your grasp, which leads to more humility and brokenness. Sure, you hunger and thirst for perfection, but you will never find it. As a result, you are completely dependent upon the Lord in all things. When it comes to your practical righteousness, you "seek first His kingdom, and His righteousness."

Such people will seek the spirit of the law, not merely the letter (chapter 5). Such people will not seek the praise of men, but the genuine heart of worship to God (chapter 6). Such people will come to God as beggars, realizing they deserve nothing (chapter 7). I believe that this is what Jesus means when he says that it is the one who "does the will of My Father," who will get into the kingdom (7:21). I believe that this is what Jesus means when he says, "everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock" which withstood the storm (7:24).

Such people will look at the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ as the only way to obtain their perfect righteousness. Not with the arrogance of the Pharisees, who were proud of all of their accomplishments, but with the humility of the publican, who beat his breast in agony over his sin. Such will be those who will be justified and will enjoy Him forever. We enter into the kingdom of heaven one way -- through the blood of Jesus Christ, by faith, apart from the works of the law (Rom. 3:27). It all begins with a brokenness over our sin. It all culminates when we see in Jesus the fulfillment of the law. It all continues as God bears fruit in our lives and we walk before Him in accordance with the words of Jesus in this sermon.

 

This sermon was delivered to Rock Valley Bible Church on March 17, 2002 by Steve Brandon.
For more information see www.rvbc.cc.

 

Answers to quiz at the beginning:

#1 - Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, Nov. 19, 1863.
#2 - John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961.
#3 - Martin Luther King, Jr., Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963.
#4 - Jesus Christ, Sermon on the Mount, circa 30 A.D.

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