(This message may be used as an individual sermon or as part of the series.)

Matthew 5:17-20 – GOD’S WORD AND ME


The fact that we in this church teach and preach the Bible means very little to you, unless you accept, believe, and practice the teachings of this Book. I am calling this message “God’s Word and Me”, and thinking about the impact that the Word of God has on my own life and yours. (The title comes from a series of lessons produced by Child Evangelism Fellowship.) 

Jesus’ teaching sounded so radical and different compared to what the people had heard in the past, that He made a very important statement.

Matthew 5:17 – Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 

Jesus is saying here, I did not come to replace the Old Testament Scriptures, I came to complete them! In Matthew 5:17-20 I find four principles that relate to God’s Word and me.

This morning I ask that when I use the words “I” and “me”, that you think of yourself. 


There were those in Jesus’ Day who tried to undermine God’s authority in His Word.  As I have explained before, most of the Scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day followed teachings from other writings that interpreted God’s Word.  In reality, what these writings often did was give the Jews ways to break or undermine God’s law. 

Jesus said, Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets…

Jesus did not come to undermine what God had said.

All through His ministry Jesus attested to the authority of God’s Word. He taught and quoted God’s Word.  He upheld it as true.  He lived by it. 

We must attest to the authority of God’s Word today.  The Bible is God’s Word because God inspired it and has preserved it for us. 2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20-21 

Most of you can probably say, “I’m with you Pastor. I believe in the authority of God’s Word.” That’s Great! 

But do you and I really attest to the authority of God’s Word?

How do you react when you find something you don’t like when you read God’s Word or God’s Word is taught to you?

If you really attest to the authority of God’s Word you will do what God says no matter how you feel about it.


The law and the prophets refers to all of the Old Testament Scriptures, and would today of course, refer to the New Testament as well. 

The Old Testament Law had three parts.

There was moral law. That is how people are to behave before God and to treat other people. The moral law is summed up in the Ten Commandments.  

There was ceremonial law – These were the things done in worship of God, including the sacrifices that were offered for sin.

There was the judicial law.  These laws referred to the government of Israel. Israel was to govern itself like no other nation on earth and was to influence other nations with its Godly government. (John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Matthew, Volume 1 {©1985 Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, Moody Press} pages 255-259) 

Jesus said, I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

Jesus said, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 

The jot and title were tiny accent marks in the Hebrew Language.  Jesus promised that all would be fulfilled in the Word of God, down to the tiniest accent mark, and that He was that fulfillment. 

Jesus fulfilled every detail of what was prophesied about Him in the first coming.

Jesus will fulfill every detail of what is prophesied about Him in the future. 

Jesus fulfilled the moral law.

He is the only one who kept all of the laws of God perfectly without sin. That is why He can help us to live righteously today. Hebrews 4:15 

Jesus fulfilled the ceremonial law.

The purpose of the ceremonial law was to cleanse from sin.

The animal sacrifices were mostly offered as atonement for sins. 

These animals, which were to be without spot or blemish, were, in a sense, a down payment for the ultimate sacrifice.

When Christ came to earth he came as “the lamb of God”.

He came as the perfect lamb that could and would atone for the sins of the world.

That’s why John the Baptist cried, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 

Not only has Jesus fulfilled the moral and ceremonial laws, He will fulfill the judicial law.   

He will return to earth and establish His earthly Kingdom through Israel. Then the judicial law will be fulfilled.  All that God wanted Israel to be as a nation will be fulfilled in Christ’s reign. Isaiah 11:3-5 

Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s Word.

Have you accepted Him as such?

Jesus is the fulfillment of the ceremonial law, the sacrifices.

Have you accepted Him as the sacrifice for you sins and received Him as your Savior? 

Jesus came to do what we could not do for ourselves. He came to cleanse our sins so we could stand righteously before God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 

Jesus already died for you so that you can stand righteously before God.  All you have to do is accept what Jesus has done for you and believe on Him for righteousness, forgiveness and eternal life. Romans 5:1 

Jesus is the fulfillment of the ceremonial law. Have you accepted Him as the sacrifice for you sins and received Him as your Savior? 

Jesus is the fulfillment of the moral law, righteous living.

Christian, have you accepted Him as such?

Through God’s Holy Spirit, the Lord Jesus lives inside of you.

He wants to live His righteous life through you, allowing you to fulfill the righteousness of the moral law. Romans 8:3-4 

As you accept the control of God’s Holy Spirit in your life, Christ will fulfill His righteousness in you.  

Jesus is the fulfillment of the judicial law.

Have you accepted Him as such?

Look for the return of the Lord Jesus as the coming King! Titus 2:11-13 


Matthew 5:19 – 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…                          

Matthew 5:20 – 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. 

The crowd would have been shocked to hear what Jesus said about the scribes and Pharisees. They would have been looked up to as such righteous people, that if they weren’t going to make it to Heaven, who could? 

What was the problem with the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees?

Their religion was all outward appearance.  There was no cleansing of the heart!  Matthew 23:27-28  

Why is this a warning for us?

We can appear to be Christians on Sunday and live for ourselves during the week.

We can pretend to be righteous, but have a secret life filled with filthy habits.

Our religion can be outward appearance with nothing going on in the heart!

Our righteousness needs to be better than the bad example of the Scribes and Pharisees.     


Matthew 5:19-20 – …but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. [20] 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. 

You are to be a doer and a teacher of true righteousness.   

It is a righteousness that begins with accepting the fulfillment of God’s Word, the Lord Jesus, as Savior.

It is a righteousness that continues with the control of the Holy Spirit in the life. It is a righteousness of heart that leads to a righteousness of living.