Matthew 5:16-20
Mat 5:16 (KJB)
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Not only does the believer proclaim the Gospel verbally, there has to be an action on the part of the believers confirming their belief in what they preach. (James 2:17 KJV) Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. How can we show that we believe our own Gospel if we do nothing to act upon the very words we bring to others. If we lack any works, then we are touting a dead Gospel. (Eph 2:10 KJV) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. When we have become saved, God has already prepared some types of works for us. Whatever He prepares for the believer, He will empower them to do it. History is replete with the works of true Christians who have had an impact upon the world. Companies such as Welch’s Grape Juice, Tyson Foods, Chick Fil-A, Interstate Batteries, Palmolive, Service Master, George Foreman Cooking, Curves, are businesses that have been started by Christians and are run with a biblical view. We need to mention but unable to list the many hospitals that have been started by Christians. I will mention just one. It was the hospital started by Dr. Ida Scudder in 1918 called “The Christian Medical College and Hospital.” As a result of her step of faith, hundreds of physicians and medical personnel have been trained.
Missionaries went to other countries and immediately starting helping the people where they were. There are also many good works which Christians have done throughout the ages which will never be known but has brought glory to God. You see, when we trust the Lord and seek those works which He has for us, then people in this world, both believers and unbelievers, will bring glory to God. Another good work which Christians have partaken in is the founding of rescue missions. Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago, Illinois has been active since September 15, 1877. It was started by Sarah Dunn and soon after she married Colonel George Clark and he too joined her in this venture. Their step of faith has caused thousands to be saved and has glorified God and the salvation He brings. So we must never say that we do not have a ministry or a purpose, because every single believer does.
Mat 5:17 (KJB)
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Destroy - Abolish (both uses)
Jesus now changes direction in His sermon. Many may have thought that He was attempting to preach a Gospel which would contain a destructive element concerning the teachings of the law and the prophets. The Mosaic ceremonial law with all its feasts and sacrifices had looked forward to the coming of the Messiah and Jesus would be the anti-type of those sacrifices thus fulfilling their true meanings. If the feasts and sacrifices stood alone without any fulfillment, they would be meaningless, repetitive rituals. If they are fulfilled in the one sacrifice of Christ, then one can easily see that He has come to fulfill the requirements of the law and the fulfillment of the reason or purpose behind each offering or feast. He also did not come to contradict anything the prophets of old spoke since it was He who dispatched them. He also did not come to contradict what was written in the Scriptures through those prophets. (Psa 119:89 KJV) LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. The word was already settled in Heaven and now it was only left to fulfill what was written. The word of God could never be abolished or destroyed because of its eternality and its source.
Mat 5:18 (KJB)
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
(Isa 65:17 KJV) For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. In Isaiah, which was written 750 years before Christ, it was already written that God was going to create a new Heaven and a new Earth. Therefore, the word of God in its entirety will remain intact until such a time that the present Heaven and Earth pass away. In other words, not one word in the Bible will ever be negated nor deleted. This is emphasized by the examples that Jesus uses. The “jot” is referring to the Hebrew letter “yod” which is the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet. The “tittle” is like a horn or a hook which either decorates a letter or distinguishes between two letters. This is why the modern versions of the bible are very dangerous because they leave out thousands of words and change hundreds of others. If Jesus states that the smallest of marks will never be removed from the word, how do you think removing thousands of words actually violates this verse? Also the word of God will be fulfilled in every prophecy that was ever written, even the most smallest one.
Mat 5:19 (KJB)
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
There are two groups in view in this verse. The first one is the Scribes and Pharisees who had divided the law into two categories. One was the commands normally preceded by the word “do.” The second category was the prohibitions, “thou shalt not.” There was always serious debate among them as to which commandments were the greatest and which ones were the least. This is because they held a very poor view of Scripture. This why Jesus received questions such as the following. (Mat 22:36 KJV) Master, which is the great commandment in the law? When the Scribes and Pharisees would determine that one law was less important than another one, they in essence, became judges of the law. They would especially deem a law lower than another one if it conflicted in any manner of profit for them and when they did this, they were also teaching that same thing to others and that is why Jesus stated that they would be least in the Kingdom of Heaven, not that they were saved but that they were representatives of the Kingdom here on earth and their low view of Scripture would cause them to be the lowest esteemed teachers. However, on the other hand, if they taught that all laws were equal and to be obeyed, then they would be considered great because their understanding of Scripture was correct and they would not cause their hearers to stray from the truth. It must be realized that salvation is not in view here but the teachings of the word of God is.
The second group is those who are saved and have stated that the teachings of the Old Testament are null and void for our day since we received the new Testament. Since Jesus came to fulfill, and the Hebrew scriptures are forever settled in Heaven, means that they are not voided but are now guidelines for moral living. The Hebrew Scriptures are as much a part of the Bible as the Greek Scriptures of the New Testament. There are churches out there that consider themselves to be New Testament Churches not realizing that the church has been around since the family of Adam and Eve. A person who rejects the Hebrew Scriptures will be considered lower in the Kingdom of God and therefore may receive no tasks or ministry. Those who teach that the whole Bible is for today, realizing that Christ fulfilled the requirements of the salvation aspects of the law, will be considered great and will have ministry involvement because they have a good understanding and handling of the word of God.
Mat 5:20 (KJB)
For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Here Jesus points out the fact that there are two types of righteousness. The first type is that of the scribes and Pharisees. For hundreds of years, they had taken the word of God and created their own commentary system whereby they would follow the traditions of men in their own works rather than the Scriptures themselves. They had indeed set up a system of righteousness but it was self-righteousness according to their own system. (Mark 7:9 KJV) And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. This type of righteousness is based upon their own works making it a works gospel which will never get one into heaven. The second type of righteousness is the imputed righteousness which Christ gives to His children upon salvation. Once a person becomes saved, they now have the righteousness of Christ which means they are now in the Kingdom of Heaven. (Rom 10:4 KJV) For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. No pre-salvation righteousness of any kind, will ever ready a person for Heaven. We receive the imputed righteousness of Christ upon the moment of salvation. Jesus is warning the people that self-righteousness will never allow a person to gain Heaven because it is works.