THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM #2
Matthew 4:23 ¶ And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
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. 18 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. 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: 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.
We are instructed that after all the healings of all the diseases of all the masses of people, the Lord Jesus turned from the multitudes, went up into a mountain, and sat down as his recently chosen disciples came unto him. Then we are told that he taught them – that is, the disciples. For before he launches them out into the task of being “fishers of men,” they must come to understand the now, newly present, kingdom of God, as opposed to the old economy under the Pharisees interpretation of Moses’ law!
And as previously stated in our first article, the first thing he teaches them as he preached The Gospel of the Kingdom (4:23) was just who the blessed ones are who truly enter the kingdom by the new birth. John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
And the very first characteristic of one having being inducted into the kingdom by the Holy Spirit’s birth is being humbled in heart. Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
They needed to know this, again as has been previously stated, for their gospel net, as ‘men fishers’ would gather in both good and bad “fish.” Matthew 13:47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: 48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. 49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, 50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Then one of next things he would have them instructed in is his relationship to the law of Moses. And as stated in verse seventeen of our text, he clearly sets forth that his relationship to the law was not to destroy, but to fulfill it! This would be a great misunderstanding with which the ministry of the Apostle Paul would be concerned. Carefully consider the following verses he wrote to the believers at Rome. Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Our relationship to the law, which is holy and just and good, (Romans 7:12), is that the Holy Spirit fulfills the righteousness of the law in our hearts. He makes application to the believer’s souls of the character of the Lord Jesus who kept the law perfectly.
The Hebrew writer brings this forth most clearly, even giving us the attitude of the Lamb of God himself, upon the outset of his Incarnation. Hebrews 10:5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. 8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
The “offering of the body of Jesus Christ” forever ends the entire sacrificial under the mosaic law! And this brings us to the Lord’s statements in these teachings of his disciples, and to all of us today. For he now states, “Ye have heard,” and then adds, “But I say unto you.” In these verses (27, 31, 33, 38 & 43), he is revealing the faulty interpretation of the law, and not that the law was faulty. Romans 3:20 “…for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” He was revealing that the law was not ever given to establish a religious system of legal morality. For legal morality is but a ‘filthy rag righteousness!’ Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; And as we have already shown, it is the Holy Spirit in the application of Christ’s righteousness into the believer’s hearts which fulfills the law in us. Therefore the law of the Spirit of life in Christ’s law within us, causes us to have knowledge of both our possession and development of sanctification!
Therefore, as there was a change in the priesthood, from Levi who represented the nation of Israel, to Christ, our great High Priest, who represents and intercedes for all true believers, there was also a change in the law. – NOT a discontinuing of the law, but a change. Hebrews 7:11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? 12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. 13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. 18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. 19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
So here the Lord is revealing the difference in his disciple’s understanding of the law under the false interpretations of their religious leaders, from the spirituality of the law which the Lord God intended from the beginning! John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. Therefore, being Spirit, he cannot properly be worshipped in the practice of legal morality! So upon the coming of the eternal Son of God into the world, He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. (See Hebrews 10:9 listed above.
Reread Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. The old economy of the “law of sin and death” has been permanently taken away. And the “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” has been forever “established.” For it is only Christ within the believer that gives him any hope of eternal glory! Colossians 1:27 …Christ in you, the hope of glory:
“He opened his mouth”
There is this little phrase in Matthew 5:2, which is mainly overlooked. But why did the Holy Spirit see fit to include it in our scriptures? Matthew 5:2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, But there was another time when he did not open his mouth and great instruction was even received then.
Acts 8:30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? 31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. 32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: 33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. 34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
The Ethiopian eunuch was rich enough to own a copy of the Book of Isaiah. There was no printing press back then, so this copy had to be hand copied, which would make it too expensive for the common man. And he just happened to be reading the portion which stated, “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7) Yet in Christ’s silent submission to his Father’s will for his death, in that he opened not his mouth, he opens Philip’s mouth as one who is blessed in his hunger and thirst for righteousness. Psalm 81:10 … open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.
And we are afforded opportunity to read of the eunuch’s strong confession, from his mouth that which was the very belief of his heart. Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Here is that confession given upon his request for baptism: Acts 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And all that came as the Lord opened not his mouth, receiving the law’s full punishment. But he opened Philip’s mouth in the new era of gospel righteousness, to the belief of this spiritually hungry soul. For salvation is sent forth from faith in one, to the God-granted faith in another’s hearing of the gospel. Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
For the law, being that which reveals the knowledge of sin, brings every mouth to be stopped before God! Romans 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore in the time of Christ’s humiliation with the law exacting the payment of all the church’s sin upon him, he opened not his mouth!
But here in Matthew chapter five, in the time of his Incarnation he opens his mouth to teach of what it is to be one who is received into his gospel kingdom. – Even opening Philip’s mouth and those of his other disciples. Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, (that is, ‘make disciples’), baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
And the Apostle Paul sought the prayers of the Ephesian believers in regard to his ‘opening his mouth’ to boldly preach the gospel. Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Also the Apostle Peter leaves us with specific instructions as to Christ’s example in our sufferings. 1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
We have the perfect Saviour! None but he could perfectly control his tongue! In his humiliation, he opened not his mouth. But in his teaching of all his believers, opened his mouth, and taught! James 3:2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.
But this is impossible for any human to attain! James 3:8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
Blessed by the Lamb of God! For he attained a perfect righteousness for us, even in the unruly tongues which we cannot control without him! 1 Thessalonians 4:11 And that ye study to be quiet, … gb