Matthew 5:17-20 Study Notes

“Do not think…” v.17

Two Major Components of the Old Testament:

  • Law—“Torah”

  • Prophecy

“To fulfill…”— plerosai (aorist, active, infinitive) - because of the disjunction (“or”) between “law” and “prophets,” it implies that this phrase has a double meaning. He fulfills the law in one way, and the prophets in another way.

Jesus’ Fulfillment…

  • Fulfillment of the Law

  • ulfillment of Prophecy

“Till all is fulfilled” v.18—

"Jot" – Yod — The "y" sound in Hebrew – the smallest letter in the Hebrew Alphabet. Basically, it's the equivalent of the English apostrophe: '

“Tittle” – (Greek keraia) — this is the smallest distinguishing mark in Hebrew letters, similar to the mark at the bottom of the letter "Q." In Hebrew, that mark is the difference between the equivalent R and D sounding letters in Hebrew. This mark is small but still very significant. In Deuteronomy 6:4, this mark distinguishing these two letters is the difference between the verse saying "The Lord our God, the Lord is one," and "The Lord our God, the Lord is another." Those are very different messages, so this tiny mark is critical to the preservation of the truth.


“These commandments” v.19, 20 —

Moral, ethical demands·

The result of disobedience

This is not imputed righteousness as an abstract idea, but practical righteousness, worked out in daily life.

Fellowship Bible Church - 04/01 - 04/02/2017

This week, we concluded our Way of Life series through the Sermon on the Mount. It was a great study, and I think we all were impacted in some way by the life-changing contained in these powerful three chapters of the Gospel of Matthew.

This week, we were looking at the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 7:24-29, where Jesus describes the wise man who builds his house on the rock (Jesus), and the foolish man who builds his life on the sand. The first two songs that came to mind when we were looking ahead to this weekend were the great hymn "The Solid Rock" and "Two Sets of Jones'" by Big Tent Revival. I hadn't played the latter in probably close to two decades, so it was fun to break it out and share it with our congregation, many of whom were very young when it was originally released. It was a last-minute addition to the set after we had some late illness and injuries take out one of our leaders for the weekend, but I'm glad it made it in. I heard quite a few nostalgic comments, where people shared the impact that the song or the band had on their formative years in their walk with Jesus.

Here's what we sang together:

Pre-service - "Two Sets of Jones'" [Big Tent Revival]
"Grace Alone" [The Modern Post, Dustin Kensrue]
"The Solid Rock" [Edward Mote, arr. by The Dispatch]
"Jesus Take All Of Me (Just As I Am)" [Charlotte Elliott, Brenton Brown]
"Because Of Your Love" [Phil Wickham]

It was a great weekend, and a great way to conclude this series. I'm looking forward to Easter in two weeks!

Have a great week!

in the Son,


Fellowship Bible Church - 02/25 - 02/26/17

We had a great weekend together as we continued our series through the Sermon on the Mount, The Way of Life. This weekend, the focus was on our secret practices, and how God is more concerned with our relationship to Him and who we are in private than with how we seek to impress other people. It was a great weekend, and I think we were all challenged to focus more on our internal lives and private practices than performing for others.

Here's what we sang together:

Pre-service - "Your Love is Strong" [Jon Foreman]
"Rejoice" [Dustin Kensrue, The Modern Post]
"Your Great Name" [Michael Neale]
"Hosanna" [Hillsong United]
"Lord, I Need You" [Chris Tomlin]

Fellowship Bible Church - 01/21 - 01/22/2016

This weekend was our second in our Way of Life series, and Pastor Joe dug into Matthew 5:17-20 to highlight the difference that Christ has called us to be in our identity and impact in this world. 

Here's what we sang together:

Pre-Service - "A Mighty Fortress" [Christy Nockels]
"This is Amazing Grace" [Phil Wickham]
"Hosanna" [Hillsong]
"God With Us" [All Sons & Daughters]
"Forever Reign" [Hillsong]

It was a great weekend. Our leaders and team did a great job giving their best and helping the congregation sing together in worship. Our songs focused on the character of God, which is what He calls us into by extension. He wants our lives to reflect His glory and character to the world around us, and He is the one who makes that transformation happen as we open our lives to His influence and walk in step with the Spirit. We closed with "Forever Reign" because it highlighted the contrast between God's character and our own apart from His work in our lives. It gave us an opportunity to confess our hearts to God and call each other to run to Him and to make Him the sole recipient of our lives' devotion. I think it was a fitting response song for Joe's message this weekend.

I hope you had a great weekend of worship!

in the Son,


Matthew 5:3-12 Study Notes

Blessed (gr. makarioi) — blessed, with an internal emphasis, happy (external blessing – Mt. 25:34)

  • OT – offer of blessing but warning of curse. 
  • NT – no warning of curse. The New Covenant is greater than the Old because it is effective. It will transform and change. No curse need be threatened. Blessings alone are promised!            

is the kingdom (v. 3, 10) — Present tense. The kingdom of heaven begins when Christ rules in the hearts of His followers.

Shall  be... (v. 4-9) — Future tense. Fulfillment in part right now, but complete fulfillment in the eschaton, the end.

1. the poor in spirit — The word for poor comes from the word which means to crouch or to cringe, to shrink with fear, usually in association with utter destitution, poverty, and therefore begging.

2. those who mourn ­­— Those who lament over their spiritual lack, and recognize their sickness and their need for the Lord. They mourn not only for their own sin, but for the sin of the world around them. (2 Cor. 7:10)

“Confession is one thing, contrition is another.”
John StottThe Message of the Sermon on the Mount, p. 41)

3. the meek — Those who have a proper perspective of themselves because of poverty in spirit and resulting mourning; they are gentle to those around them, they treat others as they have been treated.  We have lost both the right and the material to boast.

4. those who hunger and thirst for righteousness — Progressive present, which could be properly translated as “those who are hungering and thirsting for righteousness."

We need God’s righteousness to fill our lives, because we lack righteousness altogether.

5. the merciful — When we are poor, mourning, meek, hungry and thirsty, we will be merciful with others, who—knowingly or not—are in the same spiritual condition as we are. We must recognize that God has been extremely merciful to us, and share that mercy with all, just as God has done. (Titus 3:3)

6. the pure in heart — The idea of purity is that of being undivided, unmixed, focused on only God. Soren Kierkegaard entitled his book about spiritual preparation Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing, which is a fitting picture of the biblical concept of purity. (James 4:8) 

7. the peacemakers — We are to be like Jesus Christ, who has made peace on the cross. We are not only to receive peace, but actively pursue peace. (Heb. 12:14, 2 Cor. 5:18)

The Result of truly following Christ is persecution (v. 10-12). Notice it is blessed when we suffer for Jesus’ sake. It is only for His sake when we are following Him. People will attack what they don’t understand. We are no longer of this world, so they will reject us like they rejected Jesus. When they reject us, we are to “jump and rejoice” because of our reward in heaven, for we are being likened to the prophets.

7 character traits—a symbol of complete Christian character.

Fellowship Bible Church - 01/14 - 01/15/2016

We had an interesting week, to be sure. There were many weather-related questions concerning the weekend, with a looming ice storm that threatened to hit right in the middle of our Saturday evening services and run through the night into Sunday morning. Because of the potential storm, we pre-recorded the service on Thursday afternoon so we could share it with the congregation just in case. However, we were able to get our Saturday 5 PM service in, but we canceled the remaining services to be safe and to keep our people off the roads as much as possible to prevent accidents due to icy conditions. As it turned out, the temperature danced around the freezing point, and the ice was minimal, but when we had to make the call, there was no way to know that for sure. Hindsight...

All that considered it was a great weekend. David Hinkle's message from Matthew 5:3-12 and the Beatitudes pointed us to the truth that our blessing comes to us externally because of what Jesus has done for us. His life, His righteousness, His character–they are shared with us as we depend on Him and look to Him for our satisfaction and our identity. It was a powerful message of the grace of God and being clothed in Christ.

For our singing, we focused on dependence, on the truth that we are children of God and He is our faithful Father, and on how we desperately need Him to lead us and guide us.

Here's what we sang together this weekend:

"All The Poor & Powerless" [All Sons & Daughters]
"Rejoice" [Dustin Kensrue/The Modern Post]
"Your Great Name" [Michael Neale, Krissy Nordhoff]
"Good, Good Father" [Housefires II]
"Lord, I Need You" [Chris Tomlin]

I hope you had a great weekend, whatever weather you were experiencing!

in the Son,


Matthew 5:1-2 Study Notes

“Seeing the crowds…” v.1

  • Jesus went “into the mountain” in order to get away from the rowds, or to get some relief from the crowds, where He could teach His true followers (see v. 2).

“He went into the mountain…” v.1

  • anebe eis to oros – “he went into the mountain” (see previous post)
  • Matthew was using a particular, uncommon phrasing in order to make a point.
  • This particular phrasing is only used in two other places in the Bible, in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament).  Both of these occurances are in reference to Moses receiving the Law from God in Exodus 19.3, and Ex. 24.18.  Moses had prophesied of a prophet like him, but greater than him (Dt. 18.15, 18), and Matthew is making the case that Jesus is that one.  There are similarities throughout Matthew’s Gospel, which compare Jesus to Moses, as the bringer of the New Covenant Law.

“…and sat Himself down.” v.1

  • The posture of the teacher: seated, imparting knowledge to His disciples.

“His disciples came to Him…” v. 2

  • Note that His disciples came to Him, not just anyone who happened to be following Jesus around, as spectators.  These were the ones that believed in His teachings and sought to follow them.

“He opened His mouth and taught them.” v. 2

  • A Jewish idiom found elsewhere in the New Testament (Mt. 13:35; Acts 8:35, 10:34, 18:14), and in the Old Testament (Job 3:1, 33:2; Dan. 10:16). According to D.A. Carson, “it is used in solemn or revelatory contexts.”

Matthew 5:13-16 Study Notes

”You are”

  • In the Greek, Jesus is emphasizing the "you" part of this statement ("You, you are..."). He is making sure that we understand that it is solely the role of His followers, and no one else, to be the salt and the light of the world.

Salt — uses:

  • Preservation, purification (Ex. 30.35, Ez. 16.4)
  • herbicide or a destructive agent  (Deut. 29.23, Judges 9.45, Psalm 107.33-34, Jer. 17.6, Zeph 2.9)
  • seasoning (Mark 9.49)

What function are we supposed to serve here?

  • We are to be the purifying agent of the earth and the preservers of the truth.
  • We cannot be the preservers of the earth, because the earth is corrupt and decaying.

“of the earth” – of (genitive of reference), meaning salt as far as the earth is concerned.

  • We are to be in the world, but not of the world.

“loses its flavor” –to be made foolish, to be defiled. 

  • This expression suggests an Aramaic background.
  • What happens as a result of this?
  • If we lose our saltiness - or purity - how will we be purified?
  • When we lose our purity, we become counter-productive, and we become an agent of destruction rather than healing and purifying.

“thrown out and trampled underfoot” (katapateo) – walked around on, trampled with scorn and shame

  • When salt became impure or mixed with sand, it was good for nothing but to be thrown out.  It could not even be thrown in the dung heap because it would destroy what little value that the dung had as fertilizer, because it would kill the grass.
  • Therefore, it must be thrown on the heavily beaten path, where nothing grows anyway.  There, the “salt” becomes an object of scorn, because all it will do is destroy. 

Light Isaiah 9.1-2, Matthew 4.15-16

  • giving hope, and joy to those who are in darkness and gloom.

The City on a Hill: The glow of a city upon a hill in the night skyline.

A Lamp: in complete darkness (minus electricity) the slightest light is sufficient for all who are in the house.

“Let your light so shine”—before men, in the presence of, in front of men.

  • To glorify God our Father, not ourselves. This idea counters the exaggeration (by many) of chapter 6, saying that all good works should be hidden.
  • This is not righteousness for the sake of being righteous, nor is it righteousness in order to be seen by men.  It happens that we are seen while obeying our Master and Lord while we are in this world.

Ultimately, Jesus is calling us to remain pure and unmixed with the world so we do not lose our purifying and preserving function on the earth through the clear and faithful proclamation of the true gospel. He is calling us to also proclaim the gospel with hope, love, and grace, so that the world would see what we do and how we treat them, and give glory to God our Father.

Jesus, The Prophet Greater Than Moses

Last week our church, Fellowship Bible Church, began reading in the Gospel of Matthew as we introduced our new series, Way of Life, which will go through Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. Because of a great professor in seminary, Chuck Quarles, this passage of Scripture has become one of my favorite and most studied passages. Over the course of the series, I will share some of my study notes for those who might be interested.

The Gospel to the Hebrew People
Matthew's Gospel is often considered to have been written to the Hebrew people, with the aim of demonstrating that Jesus is the Messiah, promised in the Hebrew scriptures. Part of Matthew's tactic is to compare Jesus with the greatest prophet in Jewish history: Moses. While all other prophets heard the voice of the Lord through dreams and visions, Moses spoke with God face-to-face. He performed the greatest miracles in the history of the Hebrew people, freeing them from slavery in Egypt, providing food in the desert, and giving them the guidelines that would direct their walking with God for centuries.

A Greater Prophet
In Deuteronomy 18:15-19, as Moses is recounting the law for the Hebrew people, he tells of a greater prophet that would come after him. This prophet would be greater because the people would actually listen to him, and for anyone who did not listen, God would have stiff consequences.

"The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers--it is to him you shall listen--just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, 'Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God or see this great fire anymore, lest I die.' And the Lord said to me, 'They are right in what they have spoken. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.'"

Making the Connection
In the first five chapters of this gospel, Matthew goes to great lengths to show the similarities between Moses and Jesus. While Moses delivered the first Law, Jesus brought the New Law--the Law that would be written on the hearts of believers. Here are a few of the connections that Matthew makes:

  • Both were descendants of Abraham (and therefore Jews)
    • Moses was the son of Amram, son of Kohath, son of Levi, son of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham (1 Chronicles 23)
    • Jesus genealogy in Matthew 1 shows that He is a descendant of David, Judah, Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham (see verses 1-6)
  • Both fled their homeland
    • Exodus 2:11-15
    • Matthew 2:13
  • A slaughter of innocent children surrounded their births
    • Exodus 1:16
    • Matthew 2:16
  • Both came out of Egypt
    • Exodus 13:3
    • Matthew 2:15
  • Both went through the water
    • Exodus 15 (the Red Sea crossing was considered a "baptism" in 1 Corinthians 10:2)
    • Matthew 3:13-17 (Jesus was baptized)
  • Both went into the wilderness immediately after going through the water
    • Exodus 15 and following
    • Matthew 4 (Jesus' temptation in the wilderness)
  • Both went "into" the mountain to deliver the Covenant Law
    • Exodus 19:3; 24:18 ("anebe eis to oros" in Greek)
    • Matthew 5:1 ("anebe eis to oros" in Greek)

Into the Mountain
This last point is possibly one of the most significant because it directly equates the authority of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) to the authority of the prior Old Testament Law of Moses. This is something that is not readily apparent in the English translations, but it something that happens in the original languages. In Exodus 19:3 and 24:18, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, uses a curious directional preposition to describe how Moses went up the mountain. It says that "he went into the mountain" ("anebe eis to oros"). This phrasing is only used in the Old Testament when referring to Moses and his receiving of the Law from God. Here, in Matthew 5:1, Matthew writes that Jesus, "seeing the crowds, went into the mountain" ("anebe eis to oros"). This is the only place this peculiar phrasing is used, and it is used for a special purpose. Matthew is telling us and all of his Jewish readers that Jesus is the prophet that Moses spoke of in Deuteronomy 18. Jesus initiated the New Covenant, and the new "law" that is a part of that covenant. 

The New Law
This new law is the law of the heart, which is impossible for man to fulfill on his own. It can only be accomplished through the inner transformation that God works in us through His Spirit, as we are born again through faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Notice two statements, in particular: Matthew 5:20 and 5:47-48, which bracket Jesus' discussion on the common perspective of the Old Testament Law as compared with His divine perspective on the Law.

Matthew 5:20 - "For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds (literally, "is more than") that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

Matthew 5:47-48 - "And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

The scribes and Pharisees stuck to every single letter of the Law. They were so diligent, they even tithed from their spices. Jesus told His disciples that their righteousness must exceed perfection as measured by the letter of the Law. It must be more than that. It must be a righteousness that pervades our being, and that comes from the inside out--the kind of righteousness that comes from love rather than fear.

May we trust Jesus' word. May we hear Him and follow. May we pursue the righteousness that comes from love and not from fear. May our righteousness be more, not for our own sake, but to honor the One who loved us and gave Himself up for us. 

Fellowship Bible Church - 01/07 - 01/08/16

This weekend we began our spring series through Jesus' Sermon on the Mount in the book of Matthew–The Way of Life. The message this weekend was an introduction about why and how to listen to God. I'm really excited about this series because the Sermon on the Mount is so powerful and shows us the righteousness of God in such a striking and challenging way. 

Here's what we sang together this weekend:

Pre-service - "Lead Me to the Cross" [Hillsong United]
"Jesus!" [Citizens & Saints / The Northwest Collective]
"Before the Throne" [The Modern Post]
"No Longer Slaves" [Bethel Music]
"Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" [Chris Tomlin]

I hope you had a great weekend and that you are resting in the finished work of Jesus as your hope!

in the Son,