Law & Relationships pt. 1

Men’s Small Group // October 4, 2021

This is a lesson I prepared for a men’s small group working through the Sermon on the Mount and is based on the book The Sermon on the Mount: Kingdom Life in a Fallen World by Sinclair B Ferguson.

Matthew 5:21-30

Fulfill the Law

  • Christ came to fulfill the law. All of the law finds its ultimate fulfillment in Christ.
  • “You have heard that it was said” (v.21 & 27)
    • Notice that Jesus did not say, “It is written.”
    • This is Jesus expanding on verse 20. He is speaking directly to the oral traditions of the scribes and Pharisees that was imposed on the people.
    • These traditions had the effect of turning the law into a list of do’s and don’ts that were focused on external observable actions.
  • Jesus is teaching on the true nature of the law… As it exposes the motives and intents of our heart.
  • KEY POINT: “When an activity is forbidden in God’s word, its positive counterpart is commanded.” p.84

Animosity of the Heart

  • Just like the scribes and Pharisees, we too want to have a list of rules that will help us stay within this commandment.
    • We want to be able to look at the observable actions of ourselves and others and know if we are obedient or disobedient.
    • Jesus is telling us that this commandment should lead us to have right relationships with everyone.
    • We are to actively promote the opposite of murder… Reconciliation.
    • An example is the deliberate belittling of a person because of animosity and hatred in our own heart.
      • We want to have mastery over them.
      • Seeking the “truth” to actually ruin someone’s reputation.
  • Our words are the index of our true spiritual condition.
    • We do not take seriously our careless speech because we do not see the trail of broken relationships we leave behind.
    • Jesus uses strong words to emphasize the seriousness of our words.
  • Key Points: Necessity and urgency
    • We are to promote the positivity of the commandment once again. Not verbal or physical murder, but reconciliation.
    • Right relationships with others. Seek reconciliation… NOW.
    • Illustrations of how vital it is to have right relationships
      • Man in church – necessity of reconciliation
      • Man going to court – urgency of reconciliation
    • “Most human relationships that are destroyed could have been preserved if there had been communication and action at the same time.” p.85

Adultery of the Heart

  • Again, Jesus is emphasizing that this is all about the promotion of right relationships.
    • Purity and integrity in our hearts and thoughts.
    • No man is free from this temptation or indwelling sin.
  • Sexual relationship is a good thing… A gift from God.
    • Companionship: the supreme reason for the gift.
      • “It is not good that the man should be alone.” Genesis 2:18
    • Commitment: the heart of the relationship.
      • “…they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24
  • Breach of several commandments
    • Shall not commit adultery.
    • Theft of another person’s companion
    • As a result of coveting what belongs to another
    • Idolatry
  • Adultery’s impact
    • Shatters people lives, disrupts families, despises God
    • Sexual infidelity is a sure way to ruin marital joy
    • God indeed forgives, but we will probably never forget
  • How do we keep pure?
    • Remember where lust will lead… Hell
    • Deal with the root cause… Tear it out (gouge it out)
      • Don’t increase your external obedience to the expense of the true issue in your heart.
    • Act now and be decisive.
      • It will be painful, but the danger involved requires action and not negotiation.
    • Lust is not the whole of your life or who you are. Carve it our and see the full potential of all Jesus provides.
  • “Such is the nature of the attraction and bondage of sin that it becomes all-consuming. It demands all we can give.” p.90


  • What are some of the ways that you tend to turn God’s law into a list of do’s and don’ts instead of evaluating your heart motives?
  • Talk about a time of reconciliation in your life. What are some of the lessons you have learned from that experience?
  • How is your battle with lust? Do you find yourself focusing exclusively on the observable acts and neglect your heart?
  • How can you be decisive and “tear out” what is causing you to sin? (e.g. internet, tv, friendship, routines)
    • If you don’t want to share, maybe take some time and pray for each other in this area.

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