“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.”
We’re rejoining Jesus. And the story of Jesus on the mountain. Matthew chapter five. Through seven is the story of the sermon on the Mount. It’s an actual amount was in Capernaum or near Capernaum and in Galilee, which is in the north.
And Matthew presents to us at the end of chapter four, what has just taken place? And what’s just taken place. He says at the end of chapter four, is these hoards of people from all over Israel, from the oldest Southern areas to Jerusalem, Judea, the Northern areas above Galilee, even the Eastern side, beyond the Jordan river, people are coming from everywhere to be around Jesus.
They’ve heard of his miracle. Some of them are coming to help people get sick healed that are sick. Many of them are coming just to be around this miracle worker. Others are drawn to, to hear him and to learn from him. And they’ve gathered together at this moment. And at this apex moment in the ministry of Jesus, he pulls them aside and does this remarkable sermon body of teaching called the sermon on the Mount.
It’s striking. He’ll go through Matthew chapter five through seven, and then in chapter eight and nine, Matthew will present to us Jesus in some of his continually astounding works. He will see him casting out demons. They’ll see it. We’ll see many healings that take place. And after all this body of work is done, where Jesus has presented his, his ultimate teaching in Matthew five through seven.
And then he has demonstrated his power in innumerable situations. In Matthew chapter 10, he sends his disciples out for the first time to go out on their own. They’ve got the truth. They’ve got the message of the kingdom. They’ve got the visual of the power of the king, and then they’re going forth. And here in this passage in Matthew chapter five through seven, we have this remarkable teaching about the kingdom.
Of heaven and this term kingdom of heaven, I think pastor Ben did a great job. If you haven’t seen that sermon last week sermon, he, he, he, he unpacks the whole concept of what it really means this kingdom of heaven, but basically the idea of it is it is not a king. It’s not a geographic location. It is a Kings dominion.
It is the king that is ruling over the lives of his children. And he is describing her in Matthew five through seven, the lifestyle that he expects them to have as subjects, citizens since of his kingdom in the first part. And he gives the values they’re going to have, we looked at those to be attitudes, and then he’s turning.
Now he’s turning to begin to talk about the practice of their lifestyle, the way they behave, the way spun last week talked about the, the influence of this kingdom being salt and light today. Jesus presents to us. A message about connection with the old Testament scriptures. Now, this passage that we’re going to read in a moment has great relevance to us.
It enables us to understand how to benefit from the old Testament, how to read the old Testament, how to look at Jesus in light of the old Testament and how to understand the role of his commandments in our lives. But for the people that were listening, it was utterly foundational. It was life-changing because their entire lives, they had lived in light of the old Testament scriptures.
That’s all they had. And Jesus is now saying, here’s how I connect the two, how I connect the profits. Most specifically, here’s how I connect the law that you’ve lived your lives under and how my principles relate to that. It gives us great understanding of how the read the old Testament for ourselves.
So it’s, it’s a pregnant passage and here’s what we read in Matthew chapter five, verse 17 to 20. 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 for truly, I say to you until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot will pass in the law until all is accomplished.
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. For, I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and the Pharisees, you will never end dear the kingdom of heaven.
We’re gonna look this morning in a moment at five things, we learn about Jesus and the law of God, but first let’s pray together. Lord we gather in this place or watching online and this beautiful Sunday morning, Lord, thank you for all that. You’ve shown us already this morning, that reminds us of your love of beauty, your value of giving a creation that we can enjoy, because it is your desire that we know and enjoy you.
Lord teach us today. This is a confusing topic. How do the commandments, the law relate to Jesus? How do we understand the old Testament? How do we understand Jesus commands? And Lord, I pray you teach us changes. In Jesus’ name. Amen. We’re five things we find here in this passage. The first of which is Jesus’ kingdom is not about new priorities for human behavior.
Jesus says this don’t think I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I haven’t come to abolish them, but to fulfill them for truly, I say to you until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot will pass no law until all is accomplished. Now, this statement, I don’t think that I’ve come to abolish.
The law was important because that is exactly what a lot of his listeners thought. They thought he had come to abolish the law. This is the main criticism of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. This guy is disregarding the law of Moses. Jesus gathers on his own Mount in order to look back to Mount Sinai and say, no, no, I haven’t come to abolish these.
The word abolish actually means to destroy. It’s used in the new Testament of demolishing a house. He says, I haven’t come to bring an entirely new set of priorities. It isn’t like, you know, God had one thing that he gave to Moses. And now I’m giving you a whole new set of priorities. This is not a hostile takeover.
You know, a corporation buys at another corporation or, or a big company buys out another company and you have a S you have a company that has certain values and priorities, right? Maybe it’s a, a that they would say we are all about quality and relationships. We get our market share by, by knowing our clients, our customers, and treating them well for being known for quality.
We will sell less, but charge more or, and make it worth a desire. Something that has our, our customers want a bias because of the way we treat them the way we treat our employees and the standard of quality that we produce, we will sell less, but for more, and all of a sudden this company is bought out.
And now this small company is brought in under a new regime and this new regime has a totally different set of criteria. They say, we are not all about quality and relationships. We are all about numbers and well numbers, and we value different things. We will get our market share by cutting corners, a lesser product, but it will be cheaper.
We will charge less. But sell more. And quite honestly, they would not put this on their value statement on the core values. We’ll make it work by getting cheaper, largely unskilled employees and work them to the bone, two completely different philosophies and priorities of way of doing business. And we might say, well, I think you ought to merge the two and so to work well fine, but we understand that’s a hostile, that feels hostile when you’re an employee in that setting, maybe it would feel hostile to the customers that have been with the previous company.
And Jesus is saying, this is not a hostile takeover. I’m not bringing in a whole new set of priorities. I remember reading the story years ago of, uh, when Lou Holtz became the coach of the Notre Dame football squad, it was replacing a man named Jerry Faust. Jerry Fallis had been a high school coach before he went to Notre Dame, who was a, it was, uh, a real, uh, correct role.
They took a high school guy and put him in the story. Position of the coach of Notre Dame. It didn’t actually work out real well. He was a wonderful man, but, but he was a fairly loose loosey goosey type of guy. And they were barely above 500, which at Notre Dame at the time was not successful. And so he was let go.
And Lou Holtz was brought in or remembering the story of the first meeting you had with the team. The team had, you know, they had been now under the regime of the former coach for a number of years and it was very relaxed and, and, and, and Lou Holtz got up and the guys are sitting in the meeting and they’re all slouched there.
And, and some of them sort of bored and they’re slouching the chairs. They’ve got their legs crossed, sort of sitting there. And Lou Holtz came in and they introduced Lou Holtz. He didn’t even say hello. He didn’t even say, hi, I’m Lou. This is how he came up to the podium. He stood there and this little guy who describes himself as like a chicken and he looks out and he says, sit up straight.
And one of the big tackles recorded FL moment, we knew there was a new sheriff in town. Jesus is saying, I’m not a new sheriff. I’m not bringing in a whole new way of doing stuff. I don’t have a whole new bag of rules. I’m coming in with the same priorities. I am not abolished shame the law and the profits.
The second thing he says that we are taught here in verse 17 is Jesus himself. Is this righteous way of life that is required for his kingdom. He says, I am not come to abolish the law or profits. I haven’t come to abolish them, but to fulfill them. Now, it’s not hard to figure out what he means when he sits to fill the profits.
Right. We know there are so many, there are hundreds of old Testament prophecies about Jesus. It’s going to be born in Bethlehem. We know there are certain things he’s going to actually say upon the cross, he’s going to quote those passages and fulfill them. There are hundreds of, of, of, of old Testament prophecies, and they are fulfilled in Christ.
He himself did accomplished what they said would happen, but how does he fulfill the law? The commandments? Well, by accomplishing all, they required that they focused on him. Now, again, we might ask the question, wait a minute. This is the problem. I mean, it says to honor the Sabbath, but Jesus does things that we don’t think are appropriate on the Sabbath.
I mean, Jesus hardly ever washes his hands ceremony. I mean, we never see him washing his hands away. You’re supposed to, you know, wash your hands and they had all these rules of how many washed he, he, he does things that don’t, it seem appropriate with the law. What do you mean? He fulfilled them. He seemed, well, Jesus says I am the fulfillment of the law.
And I think this is what he meant. First of all, he’s saying there are things in the law that were uniquely given to Israel. There were civil laws because they were a nation, but he said, now the people of God are going to be a part of every nation. I will be their law. I will teach them how to live as citizens of my kingdom within the kingdom that they live there will be.
These laws of the Sabbath. And he says the whole principle of Sabbath was to have one day that was different of the seven. It would be in the word Sabbath, Sabbath, Shabbat means rest. And Jesus says, I will bring you wrist. You will find that rest. Ultimately, relationship with me practicing one day of seven of being different from others is, is, is wise.
That even goes back to the creation account in some passages, God rested on the seventh day. There’s value in that. But he says, as far as the command, the way that they will experience rest is in me. In me, you will find your rest. He makes that specific state. He talks about how he will be the fulfillment of the sacrificial laws, which are part of the law.
He says, you, you had temporary. Coverings for your sin. And you would do this by sacrificing animals, particularly lambs. I am the lamb. I am the one these commandments ultimately says are fulfilled in me, but there are commence the moral law of God that are universal. And I will reiterate those in my teaching.
I will present them and embellish them and, and, and, and unpack them them for you. But this is what he says. And this, this to me is one of the most powerful things of his statement he says, but I am the fulfillment. Those laws are fulfilled to me. What’s he saying this, those laws describe the way I live.
Those laws. Describe what God looks like in human form. He said, if you want to describe, how would God live if he walked on planet earth, read the Bible, read the commandments because God’s incarnated form lives the way of the commandments. And so he says the very way I believe humans are created in the image of God to live is the way I live.
I come among you. The laws are fulfilled in me. They visualize me, me. I live those laws. They are my laws. Now, what is Jesus telling us when he says the law is fulfilled? Yes.
Well, one thing is telling us is how to read the old Testament. Because from a read from this point on reading the old Testament from a purely historical rendering, what it meant to the people of that time will be unsatisfactories. If things have changed, Jesus says, if you really want to understand the profits and understand the law, you must read toward Christ the way someone has learned to read a good novel.
If you’ve read the Lord of the rings or really any great novel, and you read through it once the whole time you’re reading the story, you’re reading towards the end, right. You know, what’s going to happen. What’s going to happen. What’s going to happen. What’s going to happen once. You’ve read it once, once you know the ending.
And if you’re like, uh, a number of, of us, a lot of us have read the Lord of rings a number of times, but I know how it’s going to end. And now I read and, and I’m engrossed in the story and said, oh, I didn’t, I didn’t pick that up the first time. Oh, I see how that, but all the while I’m reading it with the end in view, I know where it’s going.
I recently been reading a book, one of the guys in our church road, Mike McNair, maybe it’s a story about the Phillies in 2008. And I think I have that there. Yeah. Hard to believe this is, there’s a promo for Mike’s book, but, uh, he doesn’t know I’m doing this, but it’s a story of the Phillies championship.
Why does anybody want to read Mike’s book? Because they won the championship. I mean, if he wrote a different year, but you go at it and you hear the groundskeepers stories, you hear the reporter’s stories, your players and coaches, you hear the guy that sells hotdogs. You hear all their stories to the year and it all is interesting.
Because it gives you a feel of what was going on, what was going on, what was, but the reason it matters is because you know how it ends, what Jesus is saying. When you read the old Testament, you now read it differently. You sort of read the story with the end. He says, they all point to me. I’m the center of it.
Even those, the ceremonial action, even though civil laws, even those moral laws, I would be, you’re really reading about what does God looked like in human form? When Jesus, when the, when, when Moses says you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re not to commit murder or commit adultery. When, when you’re to live in faithfulness, what does God look like?
What does it present about Jesus? When you’re reading those, those different sacrifices, because they’re all foreshadowing Christ. Jesus says it’s all my story. And so we read the story from the end, through the beginning laws, these laws, Jesus said a describing my life, the lifestyle, and both advocating and practicing they’re describing me and anyone that is building their lives around me as their center.
The third thing he tells us is in verse 19 greatness in this kingdom is living this righteous way of life and helping others do the same verse 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.
He says, I’m not trying to dumb down the laws. I’m not trying to diss these standards of righteousness. I do believe this is a particular way to live and I’m commanding those that commending, those that seek to live at this way. It’s how I live as a human. He says, it’s the best way. It’s the most normative way.
It’s the most holistic way to live a truly Schumann experience. So those that are great in the kingdom are those that live that way. And those that command others to live that way. He says the laws are important. The scriptures then old Testament scriptures are important. My principles of godliness are important.
Now, he’s speaking to the Pharisees and in a minute, he’s going to hammer these guys. She’s going to shock them actually by something he says, but at this moment, they would have been very excited because he he’s commending embracing the principles of, of godliness and building them into your life. I read, man.
It was actually telling me a story recently of an individual friend of hers who was raised in legalism and was talking to a Bible teacher. And she was grieving over what felt like lost years. And many of us have, have, have struggled with this last years. Cause she just lived so much in legalism and where those years just lost, you know, that I thought wrong.
And I, I majored on the minors and all the things we do is in legalism. And this wise Bible teacher asked her question. He says, when you were raised in a legalistic culture, did you learn the Bible? She said, oh yeah, everybody had to memorize all kinds of Bible. We did as kids, we did all the way through.
And, uh, we were always taught. Yes, got a lot of Bible. And he said, well, he said all that Bible that went in, all the truth that went in will be a bedrock for you as you live your life. I cannot tell you the number of people that I have, I have been involved with through the years, I’ve found a true in my own journey.
That would say I was raised in somewhat of a legalistic background, but I thank God for how much the Bible was built into me because now in the difficult circumstances of life, I just find, I have the scripture to flow back to I it’s the foundation that I’m grateful was built in for me, Jesus is here saying.
Those that, that, that build in a foundation, even some of it’s, if, if it’s tempered and he’s going to speak to this and it to the legalism, there is value. There is commensurability. There is honor. If we have embraced scripture and these truths, what Jesus is going to talk about is not that the law and the principles of godliness are wrong.
He’s going to talk about, I’ll tell you what, what he’s talking about in just a moment. He is about to give this shocking broadside to the legalist, but he is also saying that anyone that embraces the scriptures, all the scriptures, old Testament, new Testament, and helps others to do the same is honored.
The fourth thing, the standards of live living righteously are impossibly higher than you tend to imagine. This is where he, he knocked them right out of their socks. Verse 24. I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Oh my goodness.
I mean, this is like saying, um, unless your righteousness exceeds the CS Lewis and the Francis Chan and the Tim Keller and whoever your spiritual hero is today, uh, you got no chance being a part of the kingdom of heaven. I mean, this was, this was smoking hot statements. The Pharisees were, we’re not a political group.
The Pharisees were just a group of people that were known as the most devout and the most serious about their faith. The teachers of the law were the scribes. They were the ones that taught the scriptures. The priests were the ones that then led to the, but he says, unless your righteousness exceeds that.
You’ll never enter the kingdom of God. Jesus is prepping them for what he’s going to talk about in the rest of the sermon on the mountain. And this is really important. If you write anything down, write this down, that the problem with the people, if his day was not that they had a high view of God’s law, it was that their view of God’s law was too low.
They felt they could do it. They felt they could accomplish it, that they could. And if you went to a Pharisee and said, do you have a problem with anger? No. No. Do you ever problem with, with, with your language? No. No. Do you have a problem with, with, with, um, adultery night? I don’t, I don’t know. I’m I’m circumspect.
Many of them would have said I check off every one of them, 10 commandments. That’s why Jesus in the next few verses is going to unpack. What does it really mean when he says don’t commit murder? What does it really mean when he says don’t commit adultery, he’s going to take it heart deep and say, you guys think you’re keeping the law.
You’re not keeping the law because the law is he is going to present. It is continually speaking to a level where they had not taken it in order to make it obtainable and attainable. They dumbed down the standards, frankly, we all tend to do that. So in the next section, in the six sections of Matthews, chapter five, Jesus is going to address that.
And he’s going to address these topics. He’s going to say it this way, anger, I’m going to talk about anger and the next topic is going to, and the next statement is going to make is you’ve heard that they said that meant this. But I tell you, he’s going to do that with each of these teachings. First, he’s going to say anger.
You heard this, but I’m telling you it’s this, you heard last, you heard it was this. I’m going to tell you it’s this, you heard divorce. I’m going to tell you it’s this. You heard oath, retaliation love for enemies. He says, you’ve heard this, this perspective on it. I’m not froing out those laws. He says, I just want you to, to, to see what they really say, that when it says don’t murder and actually means if you’re ever angry at somebody, if he ever call him a harsh name, you’ve committed against the commandment, do commit murder.
And people are sitting there and going to have a Hama Hama, Hama, Hama, what? And he says, don’t commit adultery. And they’re saying to say, what are you talking? And then he says, don’t look at a woman with lusting highest. What are you talking about? Jesus. He says, you guys think you’re not an adulterer. You think you’re not a murderer, understand what the law is really saying?
Jesus is, I’m not abrogating. I’m not abolishing. I’m not demolishing the law. I’m just keeping it real guys. And I’m telling you what it’s really saying. And I’m saying to you, if you think you are attaining a relationship with God, if you think you are attaining entrance into heaven, by your ability to keep the law, then you better be a lot farther along than the Pharisees and the scribes and the, and the most godly people.
You know, if that’s the basis on which you’re living your Christian life and, and expecting your spiritual. Verdict of acceptance. So he says things like this to the Pharisees who were external focused, who are not thinking about motives, thoughts, desires, Matthew 23, verse 13, whoa, do you, teachers of the law enforce the same group of people.
You’re hypocrites. You shut the kingdom of heaven and men’s faces yourselves. Don’t inter no. Where you let those enter, who are trying to, why is that local 1152 tells us here’s what he says. What are you experts in law? Because you’ve taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have an entered and you have hindered.
Those who are entering. He says the keys to entering into the relationship are understanding. The laws are understanding the standards of righteousness. You’ve dumb them down to a way that, that people think they can meet them. You think you can meet them. You’ve taken away. The very key that opens the door to life.
By communicating to people you can measure up in your own righteousness.
Jesus says you got to understand it’s righteousness from the inside out. It’s a righteousness that in your own resources, you cannot and will not attain. All of this is preparing us for the alternate message that Jesus is trying to present in saying this. When he says the laws fulfilled in me, it’s centered in me.
Jesus is the only one who lives righteously and he is willing to do so through broken people. Here’s what he’s saying. These laws are fulfilled in me. They are not fulfilled in you. Without me. That’s why we read this in Romans chapter eight for God has done what the law weakened by the flesh could not do, but sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.
Listen to this verse in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us. Walk, not according to the flesh, but according to the spirit in Romans chapter seven, Paul is talking about living the Christian life in your own strength. He never mentions the word, the holy spirit in all his Roman seven.
It is a total picture of defeat of somebody trying to live. The Christian life. Romans six is it’s a person that has embraced Christ as savior. Romans seven is this sad defeatist view of the Christian life. And he says what I want to do. I don’t, I don’t do what I don’t want to do. I ended up doing, I mean, I, I can’t do it.
I can’t do it. I can’t do it. And then he comes to Romans chapter eight and I believe it’s 21 times the holy spirit is presented. In other words, he’s saying, how do you live the Christian life? How do you fulfill the law of God? How do you fulfill the standards of God’s righteousness? They are fulfilled in you by walking in the power of Jesus spirit.
The only, the, the greatest heresy in the Christian Church is this somebody other than Jesus Christ can live the Christian life. There is nobody else only. Jesus Jesus’s. Aye. Fulfilling. I live the life I live righteously and those who live, not according to their flesh, their own resources, but live in dependence on me.
They also are fulfilling that law in their lives, but it is the only way. And so what Jesus is going to do in the next few passes is going to help us understand, well, what does it mean don’t murder? And I would guess most of us here today would say, well, as I understand the world’s co you know, the concept of murder, I haven’t killed anybody.
No, maybe you have, uh, there’s grace for that. If you have, but most of us would say, no, I have not murdered anyone physically volitionally, but just going to say, well, yeah, let me just tell you, what’s really behind that statement. Don’t murder. Let me tell you what it means to not be an adulterer in the true spirit of the commitment.
The whole purpose of what Jesus is going to say is to be drying, to drive us to one place. We can’t do this on our own. We need to not be Roman sevening it, which we all try cross over to Romans eight and say only as I’m living and walking in the power of the spirit, can I fulfill these principles of righteousness, but that Jesus who is the fulfillment, this whole life fulfills, the law is willing to fulfill that in me.
I want to close just with a short story. I’m not going to read the whole story. I’m going to highlight it. Try to tell it to you. It’s a story that the first time I read it, it blew me away. It’s a, it’s a story by Flannery O’Connor it’s called revelation and Flannery O’Connor. She wrote a number of unique stories.
This is my favorite. At least of the ones I have read of hers. And it’s called revelation because it is about what was revealed to a woman named Mrs. Turpin. Mrs. Turpin was a good Christian woman and she attended a good Christian Church in the south. And the story is about her in a doctor’s waiting room.
And Mrs. Turpin goes in and she’s with her husband, Claude, who never says a word the whole time. They’re there, but. She’s there and she’s analyzing the room and everything’s sort of through the eyes of Mrs. Turpin. And she looks at the other people in the room. She sees another woman there who is, um, lower class.
She believes in her son is dirty and he’s sniffling and not really clean. And, and there’s another lady there. That’s an obviously put together woman and nice clothes and she connects with her. There’s a number of other people in the room. There’s one older woman there who has a college aged daughter.
And, and she’s just sort of reading the room she comes in and she’s frustrated because the only seat would have been on the bench with the woman, with the, the, the, the little boy and the little boy is sorta taken up two people see, and he does slide over and impolitely is unaware. And Mrs. Turpin is irritated as she looks at this kid and catches the eye of the nice appearing woman.
Uh, and, and the, the Pullman basically looks back at her sympathetically as if to say, well, if that was my son, he certainly moved over. I understand your frustration just to sit in a wooden chair off to the side, as you go through the story, I just want to highlight a couple of things. She’s, she’s thinking she looks at this little boy, if, if that were my child, he’d, he’d certainly make room for a person.
As she’s making these assessments, she’s sitting down now and show she addresses the woman that she connects with. Um, and so she talks about the clock and she says, wow, that is a nice looking clock. And the other woman responds to her. Yes, very accurate, perfect time. And then what, then the woman with the little boy wants to get in the conversation and she says, you want to know why you can get one of them, their clocks.
And she says to herself, no, I have a clock, but she says to Mrs. Turpin, you can get one with green stamps. That’s most likely where he’d gotten his save you up enough. You can get most anything. I got some jewelry through migraine stamps and Mrs. Turpin of course looks at her benevolently, but actually is saying inwardly, you ought to have bought yourself a wash, Ragen, some soap.
She then talks in the course of the conversation. She and her husband are pig farmers. They have a very successful farm. They have other things as well, but it’s her pig she’s most proud of. And so she’s talking with this other lady and they’re talking about how it’s important to diversify. We have pigs, but we also have cows.
We also do, uh, crop, uh, for, for, you know, for sale. The mother of the little boy says, one thing I don’t want is Hawks, nasty stinking things, a grunting, and a rutin all over the place to which Mrs. Turpin replies, our hogs are not dirty and they don’t stink. We host them down every day. They’re far cleaner than some children.
I know the woman catches this one and she looks towards the wall and then she looks to the wall. She just mutters. Well, I know I wouldn’t scoot down, no hugs with water. All this is continuing to go on. And of course, Mrs. Turpin is internalizing this statement. You wouldn’t have no hog to scoot down. Mrs.
Turpin said to herself again, she’s not saying this out loud. This is internalized, right? All the while there is a woman with a college aged daughter and this college aged daughter is reading a book, but she is beginning to be an issue to Mrs. Turpin, because she is sensing that particularly when she’s Mrs.
Turpin is talking, this girl looks above her book. And just as a hostile expression, she’s a student at a liberal college, actually Wesley college. I think it’s Massachusetts. If I know where it is, but she’s looking and she is glaring at Mrs. Terpenes, patronizing demeanor, her name, the young girl is Mary grace.
And so this is going on and, and every little while Mrs. Turpin and the well-dressed lady are giving each other a knowing, look at that same moment, she’s getting a glaring. Picture a glaring response from the college age girl. All right. Let me just get to the end. Mrs. Turpin says this one time that she sensing all the night, she just feels led to say this.
She said, if it’s one thing I am, it’s grateful when I think all who I could have been besides myself and what I got a little of everything in a good disposition besides I just feel like shouting. Thank you Jesus, for making everything the way it is. I could have been different for one thing. Somebody else could have got Claude who has not said a word at the thought of this.
She was flooded with gratitude and a terrible Pang of joy ran through her. Oh, thank you. Jesus. Jesus. Thank you. She cried aloud. And at that moment, the book hit, uh, right above the eye. The college girl lost it and flung it. Mrs. Turpin is. Stunned falls to the ground. Cause everybody in the room rushes to care for Mrs.
Turpin is furious at the young woman. And as she fired the book, the young woman says to Mrs. Turpin, go back to hell where you came from old warthog. Now Mrs. Turpin goes home to her farm. And this is the culmination of story. She’s very upset. She’s upset with the girl. Of course, she’s also upset with God and she’s out there by her hogs, looking over the hogs and looking up to the sky.
And as she’s there, she she’s angry for God allowing such a scenario with all she does to help people all she does for the church. And how could anybody see her the way this girl sees her?
Here’s the significance of the story?
The author gives the girl the name, Mary grace, because she is going to be the means of grace to Mrs. Turpin, Mrs. Turpin is there and she says this to God. Why did you send a message like that for? She said, how am I a hog and me both, how am I saved? And from hell too, how can you allow someone to say this to me?
And at that moment, at the end of the story, she’s looking up, God enables her to see a vision. And the vision is of this walkway that is going up to heaven. She’s standing there. And the end of the story is this. And the story is, as she’s watching, she sees all of these individuals, all the people around her, in her life, that, that, that she is aware of a great tribe of people.
And she recognizes them. And she sees her and Claude and others like her, but she also sees sort of before they come, she sees this great group of people that are laughing and jumping and cheering. And there’s sort of the, the lessons in her mind and they’re singing and it isn’t particularly on key, but it’s abandoned with joy.
And then she sees another group and she realizes it’s her people and they are going to heaven. But they’re walking with sort of shocked expressions on their faces. They’re singing to quieter, definitely on key,
but they look stunned because they realize there was a back and these crazy people are running ahead. The people that she would have called the broken people. People that really couldn’t quite make it in her estimation of life. And the whole picture that is presented there is that Mrs. Turpin and her friends were confronted with themselves and how little of grace they had really.
Yeah. Jesus wants us to hear in the sermon on the Mount, we are broken people. Okay. We are not people that are, are going to put ourselves together enough. And, and that being a Christian means I’ve got to have it together and I’ve got to, I’ve got to be a good testimony, which often means I gotta have it together.
And I don’t want anybody see me in my weakness. Usually Jesus will use your brokenness and your desperate need for Jesus to be a far louder message for him and all the times in your life. When you feel good about how together things are. In this sermon on the Mount, he’s going to remind us it’s all about Christ, the whole Testament story.
It’s just a prelude to say, we’re pointing the way to Jesus and everything about our lives is about Jesus. It’s really about broken, desperate, dependent people and all the things that are going on in your life. Now that make you feel like my life’s out of control. I, things have never been worse. I’ve never been uglier.
Maybe they’re the gift of a Mary grace of something that God is using to just say, it’s not about you. It’s about embracing Christ. It’s the freedom to say. Everything is designed to be centered and fulfilled in Jesus, all those commandments. They’re just pointing the way to the Jesus life, but they certainly weren’t presented to say, okay, now go and do this and be this.
They’re rather saying, Lord, I see myself and I’m not living like that. I need Christ. I need them every moment I need them every hour. I need them every day. The more God graces us with failure, the more it reminds us, how desperately we need him. He says the law and the profits. I’m not trying to get rid of them, not trying to demolish them.
Now there’s not a new, there’s not a new regime in town. There’s not a new sheriff. I’m bringing the same principles of righteousness, but I’m saying. You can live these, you can live differently, but not because of you because I come among broken people.
I come to live through them. I come to be with them
that we can live differently because we have Christ. Lord, we come to you today.
There’s so much of Mrs. Turpin in us. Lord. If we were allowed to have all of our thoughts, put on paper and all of our responses to others was recorded. In what we were really thinking in circumstances. I wonder how much of Mrs. Turpin would really be there. So Lord, we want to embrace the things you throw in our lives that humble us that are making us feel more dependent out of control, because Lord, it seems so common that those are things that drive us to Jesus, Lord Jesus.
We love you. We adore you. We’ve tried living without you. We’ve tried as Christians at times to live without you. You are our everything.
So Lord do what you need to do with, with us, to bring us as those people that skip and find our joy in Christ.
All right, thanks for coming that we can in Jesus name. Amen. Now go in peace to love and serve and enjoy this Lord. Amen.