Matthew 5:17-30

Talks for Growing Christians

Jewish Leaders’ Misinterpretation of Commandments of the Law

Matthew 5:17-30

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Lesson Number 9

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Hate is the seed of murder.
  2. Lust is the seed of adultery.

Practical Application

  1. Don’t have a litigious spirit.


  1. What is the “Law and the Prophets”?
  2. How did the Lord come to “fulfill” the Law and the Prophets?
  3. To what level did God inspire scripture?
  4. How did the Pharisees distort the command “You shall not murder” ?
  5. How did the Pharisees distort the command “You shall not commit adultery” ?
  6. What did the Lord mean by “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you.” ?


  1. This refers to the entire Old Testament scripture.
  2. Through the Lord Jesus, every single prediction in the Old Testament would be fulfilled. The Lord Himself would obey the Law perfectly. He was the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies. What has not been fulfilled yet will be fulfilled in the future.
  3. God superintended the writers and writings of scripture not just to the level of the writer’s thoughts and concepts, but right down to the very words and letters.
  4. The Pharisees had watered down the meaning of God’s law. They said it was okay to be angry with people you didn’t like, call them derogatory names, even damn them, as long as you did not kill them. You could hate all you wanted. This missed the point of God’s law.
  5. The self-righteous Scribes and Pharisees said you could look and lust all you wanted, as long as you did not commit the act of adultery. But the Lord is saying both are sinful. The Pharisees were wrong to condemn the act, but not the attitude of lust.
  6. The Lord was not suggesting self-mutilation. Drastic action should be taken to address the problem of lust. See Job 31:1


  1. “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:20 The Pharisees seemed to be very righteous. In fact, they strived to obey extra rules that they added to the Law (although they did not obey the Law itself). But their righteousness was not from the heart. They actually twisted God’s true intent of the Law by their unbiblical traditions and practices. The righteousness the Lord requires is not just external, but internal as well, based on true faith and conversion. God’s law extends beyond the external act, to the internal attitude behind the act. Consider the motivation of your heart.
  2. Don’t have a litigious spirit. What a relevant lesson in today’s lawsuit crazy society! Even Christians are caught up in frivolous lawsuits. Look at I Corinthians 6. It is wrong for believers to fight one another in court. This attitude is a terrible testimony to unbelievers. Settle your disputes with believers outside of court.


  1. When you have wronged or been wronged by a fellow believer, do everything you can to be reconciled to him. Take the first step.

Key Verses

  • “One jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” Matthew 5:18
  • “But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.” Matthew 5:22
  • “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28

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