[SW334] 7/7/2018 message notes by
Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2018
Text: Matthew 5:13-20
Those who are filled with the Spirit rejoice and say, “The Law is fulfilled!” That is why Jesus came! Oh, if you will heed His words, see your heart’s poverty, and cry out to Him, He will fulfill the Law in you, too!
Verse 13 —
From the beginning of His ministry, Jesus called God’s people to repent and believe the gospel (see Matthew 4:17). And He is still calling!
Now, for all of us, He unfolds the full purpose of His coming — that we be filled with His Holy Spirit. He commands it, for it is the only way we are able to fulfill the Law.
In this section of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus describes the effects of being filled with His Holy Spirit, in these verses from the Sermon on the Mount. What are the effects, in our hearts and actions?
You become and remain salty! You detect salt in what you eat, don’t you? You can taste it! So it is with those who have believed all of the gospel and been filled with the Spirit. Just as you can readily detect salt in food, you can readily detect the “salt” of one who is filled. Such “salty” ones are different from everything else that is around them. And they never lose their saltiness.
But if you are not filled, Jesus warns that it is possible to lose your saltiness, thereby becoming tasteless. Salt that has lost its flavor cannot be made salty again. And so it is not good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. Beloved, heed, see, and cry out, if you are not salty! But how does something that was salty become tasteless and worthless?
How does the salt in a saved person become tasteless? When Jesus walked the earth, salt was harvested from salt marshes. It was a mixture (admixture) of salt and other minerals. Over time, that mixture destroyed the saltiness of the salt. Then, the “unsalty” salt would be thrown out into the dusty streets.
In the same way, believers can become tasteless, if they have an admixture in their hearts. Do you just worship on Sundays, and the rest of the week, serve yourself? Do you go to church to get blessed? Then the god of self is large and in charge in you! Your heart is devoted to you! Your affections are mixed — you are first! And Jesus says you will be trampled under foot by men. Heed, see, cry out!
But if you have believed all of the gospel, then your heart has been completely changed, and your desires are no longer divided. You are salty, and you remain that way! You are filled with the Holy Spirit, your sin nature has been crucified so you no longer willfully disobey God, and you are filled with God’s actual love, the same love with which He loves His Son!
Verse 14-15 —
When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you are continually the light of the world. You never lose your light, because you are filled with His light! Just like the lights from a city on a hill can be seen from a great distance, so the light of Christ within you cannot be hidden. You do not hide His light — you cannot hide it! You shine!
Listen to Paul —
Philippians 2:14 (NIV) Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16 as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
Once His light fills you, He does not put you under a basket, so your light cannot be seen. No, he puts you on a lamp stand, where you give light to all who are in the house!
But some believers hide their Christianity. They are quiet, never speaking of Jesus, except in church. They hide behind locked doors, so to speak, fearful that they might be rejected if they speak of Him. They do not yet have the light of Christ within them.
It was the same for the disciples, after Christ was crucified, but before Pentecost. They hid behind locked doors for fear of the Jews, who hated them.
They were not yet able to boldly speak of what they had seen and heard (Acts 4:20), because they had not yet been filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. And their hearts were still darkened by their sin nature, because their hearts had not yet been filled with His light!
For those who hide their Christianity, a personal Pentecost is the cure! He came to fulfill the Law, so your heart is entirely changed when you are filled with His Spirit! Then you are filled with His light, and it will never be hidden! Hallelujah!
Have you had a personal Pentecost? When the Lord fills you with His light, you will give light to everyone who is in the room, on the street, in the store, on the airplane — everywhere you go, because the Light of the world, Jesus Christ, is in you, large and in charge!
Verse 16 —
There is no “let” in the original Greek. “Shine your light!” It is a command. To translate it as, “Let your light shine,” may very well lead you to believe that you are able to make yourself shine, or that somehow His light is bottled up in you, and you just need to uncork it! Beloved, you cannot shine until Christ fills your heart with His light!
Are you the light of the world? When you enter a room, does Christ’s presence in you — His light in you — shine? Heed Christ’s words, see the poverty of your heart, and cry out to Him!
What is the purpose of shining your light (His light in you) before all men? When His light fills you, He will make you shine “in such a way” that men may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven!
What are these “good works?” Here are just a few —
— Jesus Christ is seen in you, as a reflection is seen in a mirror.
— God’s divine influence on your heart, and its reflection in your life, is unmistakably evident.
— His light in you is obvious to everyone around you.
— His light in you is seen from a great distance.
— His light in you cannot be hidden!
— You are like Jesus Christ in this world!
1John 4:17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.
And because you are like Him in this world, you do what you see your Father doing, and say what you hear Him saying —
John 5:19 Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.”
John 14:10b “The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.”
When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, the words that you speak are the work of your Father — He speaks through you! And men recognize that they are His words and will glorify your Father in heaven, praising and honoring Him!
Likewise, there are great miracles He will do through you, and men will recognize His works! Then men will glorify your Father in heaven, praising and honoring Him!
Do people see God’s works in you? Do they see that you are salt and light? Are they drawn to you as they were drawn to Jesus?
Are you doing what you see your Father doing, and saying what you hear Him saying? Do men see, and glorify your Father in heaven? Are you like Jesus in this world? Heed, see, and cry out! He will do it in you!
Verse 17 —
Jesus clearly states that He has not come to abolish the Law. He has come to fulfill it! By His Holy Spirit, He empowers humans to faithfully do the Law of Moses. How? It happened after He died and rose from the dead, ascended to heaven and was glorified.
What is the Law? Jesus tells you, and the expert in the Law of Moses who asked Him what was the greatest commandment —
Matthew 22:37 And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ 38 “This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ 40 “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
Beloved, the whole Law of Moses, and all of the exhortations of the prophets, can be boiled down to these two commandments. Let me explain.
If you love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, if you love Him with His divine love, you will do the first four of the Ten Commandments. They will be as natural to you as breathing, because you have been filled with His Holy Spirit, and His love will compel you in everything that you do (2Corinthians 5:14)!
And if you love (with His divine love) your neighbor as yourself, then you will do the last six commandments! They will be as natural to you as breathing, because you have been filled with His Holy Spirit, and His love will compel you in everything that you do (2Corinthians 5:14)!
Verse 18 —
Jesus says the Law will certainly not be done away with — not even the smallest jot or tittle — for the Law is a tool used by God to show you the poverty of your heart, so you mourn over it, are humbled by it, and hunger and thirst for His righteousness! Oh, He will fill you when you cry out!
Verse 19 —
Some teachers say you no longer need to do the Law of Moses, the Law that Jesus boiled down to those two commandments. But if Jesus Christ said the Law will not be done away with, it will not! Run from such a teacher!
Jesus says the Scripture cannot be broken (invalidated) — none of it can (John 10:35)! Such teachers nullify the least of the commandments by breaking the Scripture and thereby defying the Lord. Jesus says they pervert the Word, spinning it until it becomes like cotton candy! How can they belong to Him, when they teach as they do?
Many teach that breaking the Law of Moses is “normal” Christian living! But Jesus Christ says He will set us free from slavery to sin (John 8:31-36). So, who will you believe?
Jesus says such teachers will be called least (ultra-microscopic) in the kingdom of heaven. I prayed long and hard about this verse. I believe Jesus’ statement means that such a teacher will not enter heaven. Such ones defy God and His Word. God looks down from the kingdom of heaven and calls that one worthless.
But teachers who do the Law are filled with the Holy Spirit. It’s the only way they can do the Law! AND they teach others the Law, as boiled down by Jesus Christ, and exhort believers that they must ask the Lord to change their hearts.
Do not misunderstand, beloved. I do not teach that you must believe into Jesus and do the Law in order to be saved. That is what the Judaizers taught. When you believe into Jesus, you are saved from God’s wrath and reconciled to God.
But like the man in Romans 7, after you are saved, you will find yourself still struggling against sin, just as I did. Who will save you from that wretched condition, where you want to obey but don’t? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord (see Romans 7:25)!
So I, and all who are Spirit-filled, teach that when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, He writes the Law on the tablet of your heart (see 2Corinthians 3:3). Then you no longer view the Law as a burdensome, impossible list of do’s and don’ts, but a joy, and you will continually respond, Yes, Lord!
Those who teach in this way will be called great (exceedingly great) in the kingdom of heaven. And those who teach in this way give all glory to the Lord, who did it in us!
Verse 20 —
In His conclusion of this section of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives a seemingly impossible standard for entering the kingdom of heaven. Your righteousness must surpass that of the scribes (experts in the law of Moses) and Pharisees.
What? There are none who follow the Law of Moses more closely. They are like the orthodox Jews of today. They are extremely righteous, dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s of the Law of Moses!
But here is what Jesus said to them —
Matthew 23:27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”
It is possible to be outwardly obedient and still have an unchanged heart. But the behavior of such ones is hypocritical and self-righteous. The scribes and Pharisees hearts were darkened. Their sin natures ruled. They congratulated themselves on how perfectly they followed the do’s and don’ts of the Law. Yet they crucified the One that the Father sent to them!
My heart was the same as theirs, until it was changed when I was filled with the Holy Spirit! But then, beloved, I was filled with God’s Holy Spirit and God’s righteousness. Now, my righteousness exceeds the self-righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, because it is not my own righteousness, but His righteousness in me!
How about you? Do you believe that your outward works and religious activities make you good and right in God’s eyes? Or have you heeded Jesus Christ’s impossible standards, seen that no one can be righteous without a change of heart, and cried out for Him to do it?
Thanks be to God, you will be blessed — supremely spiritually happy — when He answers and fills you with His Holy Spirit, His love and His righteousness!
May many heed, see, and cry out, Lord Jesus. Amen. So be it.