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Welcome to Refinery Life Australia.

This week we are continuing our series titled Listening To Heaven’s Infallible Teacher.

The messages for the next couple of weeks will be coming from the Sermon on the Mount..

Today we are talking about A Reliable Guide For Successful Living.


Matthew 5:17 AMP

17 “Do not think that I came to do away with or undo the Law [of Moses] or the [writings of the] Prophets; I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.

Scripture Reading

Matthew 5:17-20 (AMP)

17 “Do not think that I came to do away with or undo the Law [of Moses] or the [writings of the] Prophets; I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 

18 For I assure you and most solemnly say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke [of the pen] will pass from the Law until all things [which it foreshadows] are accomplished. 

19 So whoever breaks one of the least [important] of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least [important] in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever practices and teaches them, he will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

20 “For I say to you that unless your righteousness (uprightness, moral essence) is more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.


In Jesus name we pray.



Success in life is no accident, it does not just happen.

We must intend to live successfully, but even strong intentions are not enough.

We need a reliable guide that we can safely follow.

Such a guide is offered in this portion of the sermon on the Mount.

Christ contended that the law is nothing less than a reliable guide for successful living.

  1. The meaning of the law.

When Jesus spoke of the law as a reliable guide for successful living, He was not referring to the burdensome additions the scribes had added.

Rather, He was speaking of the heart and essence of the law itself.

Jesus simplified what others had complicated when He made love central to the law.

In doing so, Jesus reduced the 613 laws of the scribes to the law of love for one’s Lord and one’s neighbour.

In doing this, He retained the real meaning of the law, which was reverence for God and respect for others.

In this sense Jesus offered the law as a reliable guide for successful living.

In explaining the meaning of the law in verses 17 and 20, Jesus stated a fact, realised a fulfilment, and refuted a fiction.

  1. In verse 17 there was a fact stated.

Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to do away with or undo the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.”

Two occasions are recorded in the Gospels in which Jesus warned people not to misjudge.

The first is this occasion, the other is when He said in Mathew 10:34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword [of division between belief and unbelief].”

On both occasions He was issuing a disclaimer to popular beliefs concerning Him.

Here Jesus disclaimed that He was a mere deconstructionist.

No one was ever sent of God to do nothing but to destroy.

To destroy requires little intelligence or compassion.

The most unschooled person can destroy more in an hour than a great person can create in many years.

Therefore Jesus stood as one who would fulfil rather than destroy the law.

In this statement Jesus avoided two dangers.

First, he avoided the danger that He was a negative God.

Second, He avoided the danger of having no standards or expectations of His followers.

Many people still think of Christ as a great destroyer.

Their religious life appears to be one of simply giving up things.

Renunciation seems to be their motto.

Such people forsake their passions, deny their tastes, punish their bodies, and isolate themselves from the better things of life.

Here Jesus was saying that He did not come to preach the renunciation of such things, but rather the consecration of them.

Christ was no anarchist.

Christ clearly avoided taking a position that would cause anyone to say, “Christ is the end of the law, now I can do whatever I please.”

All duties, all responsibilities, and all demands are not gone.

We need the law for successful living, no the kind of burdensome laws the Pharisees and scribes created, but the law that Christ came to fulfil.

B. There was a fulfilment realised in verse 17.

Jesus contended not to destroy but to fulfil the law.

To “fulfil” means to “express” the law.

Jesus came to save the law from its oral distortions, to clarify its purpose, and to redefine its application.

For example, when a young person completes high school and goes to university, they doesn’t destroy all they they have learned in their earlier years.

As they enter college, they are endeavouring to carry the already acquired knowledge further toward completion.

In this way Christ fulfils the law.

The old law was good, but it was not perfect.

It had value, but it was not complete.

Had this not been the case then, there would have been no need for Christ’s ministry.

The question is, how then did Christ fulfil the law?

  1. Jesus fulfilled the law in His own person.

Jesus dramatised in His own life what in means to revere God.

That reverence did not consist in laboriously following rules and regulations.

It expressed itself mot in sacrifice but in mercy, its pattern was not legalism but love.

2. Jesus fulfilled the law by giving it inward meaning.

Prior to the coming of Christ, the law related primarily to the externals of life.

It concerned itself chiefly with conduct.

Jesus took us to a deeper meaning of the law than simply the external actions of people.

He realised that people are not always known by their actions.

To know people as they really are, we must visit the inner chambers of their thoughts and imagination.

3. Jesus fulfilled the law by giving it a positive application.

Jesus made the law constructive.

For years the dominant theme of the law was “Thou shalt not.”

By the time the rabbis had superimposed their own meaning on the laws, there were so many things a person was not allowed to do that little time was left for positive thinking.

Jesus changed this dramatically.

He turned our attention, not so much to what we are not to do, as to what we are to do.

Jesus seemed to define goodness, not so much in terms of abstaining from vices, but in obtaining virtues.

C. In verse 209 a fiction was refuted.

It seems as though Jesus is asking us to do the impossible.

He challenges us to exceed the righteousness of the Parisees and scribes.

In reality the Pharisees had an extremely high standard of righteousness.

Why would Jesus issue such a challenge?

He did so because, in their commitment to the law, the Pharisees had made the law purely external and mechanical.

It lacked the inner dynamic of a religion of heart and soul.

A common fiction accepted as fact was that righteousness consisted of keeping the mechanics of the law.

Christ clearly denied this thinking.

In the Old Testament we find great and universal principles by which we are to live.

In contrast we find very few rules and regulations.

For instance, the ten commandments provide us with great principles, out of which we must find our own rules for life.

The maze of rules and regulations with which Jesus had to contend is illustrated by an eight hundred page book called the Mishnah that the scribes had written interpreting the ten commandments.

As though this was not enough, later Jewish scholars busied themselves making commentaries explaining the Mishnah.

Today we know these commentaries as the Talmud.

They consist of twelve printed volumes!

And all this started with ten simple guidelines for successful living!

2. The immutability of the law.

Here Jesus said that if heaven and earth pass away, not even a small jot or tittle of the law will pass away until it has all been fulfilled.

Since situation ethics and moral relativity are the theme of many self styled free thinkers, this statement of Christ must come to them as shock.

The smallest letter, the jot, was like an apostrophe.

The smallest part of a letter, the tittle, was a small projection on the foot of a letter.

Christ is saying that the law is so sacred that not even the smallest detail of it will ever pass away, it is immutable!

The ten commandments are the permanent stuff on which our relation to God is built.

And if we are to experience successful living, we must adopt these as our guide.

There are several reasons why the law is immutable.

  1. The law is immutable because God does not change.

Malachi 3:6 quotes God as saying, “For I am the Lord, I do not change.”

Why should God change?

He is perfect.

He made us, and as our makerHe alone knows best how we can live successfully.

Therefore He gives us His laws, not to limit or restrict us, but free us to become the best we are capable of being.

B. The law is immutable because humankind does not change.

Jeremiah 13:23 AMP says, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin

Or the leopard his spots?

Then you also can do good

Who are accustomed to evil and even trained to do it.

If we remember what a man is, we should never be surprised what a man does.

This reminds us that human nature still requires a clearly defined, reliable guide for successful living.

C. The law is immutable because rich and wrong do not change.

Psalm 19:7-8 AMP

7 The law of the Lord is perfect (flawless), restoring and refreshing the soul;

The statutes of the Lord are reliable and trustworthy, making wise the simple.

8 The precepts of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart;

The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.

The law is valuable , not because it is law but because it is right.

Right and wrong do not change.

The Roman Empire fell not because it was overwhelmed from without but because it decayed from within.

Today society is following that same pattern, yet Gods guide for moral recovery is still the immutable law He have us millenniums ago.

3. The measure of the law.

Jesus said that we are measured by the law, we do not measure the law.

We must remember that we must sit under the judgement of the law, we do not sit in judgement of the law.

We, not the law, are on trial.

History documents the fact that no person can break the law, for the law still stands.

Rather, people are broken as they violate the law.

  1. The law measures us on the basis of what we do.

Jesus warned us against the so called breaking of the law and of influencing anyone else to break it.

The law serves as a reliable point of reference from which we get the direction and proper course of our lives.

The law is the only reliable measure for what we do.

B. The law measures us on the basis of what we teach.

Jesus further warned us against teaching or in any other way influencing people to violate the law.

It is bad indeed to do wrong, but it is even worse if we also lead others to do wrong by what we teach.

C. The law measures us on the basis of what we are.

What we do and what we teach reveals what we are.

And we are called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

How we handle the Word of God and His commandments reveals the genuineness of our Christian character. 


We can easily get distracted by what is going on around us and trying not to upset people, but we must keep our eyes focussed on God we can stay on the path He has for us.

In the storms of life, it is the law of God that gives us clam and safety and balance.

As we fix our eyes on Jesus and God’s eternal laws, we, too, shall stay on the path He has for us undisturbed by what the world has going on around us.

Until next time

Stay in the Blessings

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I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.

When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.

Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!

You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at

When it comes to prayer, we believe that God wants to meet your needs and reveal His promises to you.

So whatever you’re concerned about and need prayer for we want to be here for you! Or even if you just want to say Hi, you can contact us


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Gary Hoban

Refinery Life Church Australia

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