Tim Keller | June 25, 2000
Today’s sermon comes from a series on the hard sayings of Jesus. We find many of these throughout the New Testament — sayings that are difficult to understand or accept or both. Jesus says in verse 18: “I tell you the truth … not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” If Christianity is about grace, then what does Jesus mean by not a stroke of the law can be disregarded? How does that fit in with the rest of the Bible?
We’re going to see that it tells us a great deal about the Bible itself: It’s going to tell us three things: 1) the whole Bible is absolutely true (verse 18); 2) it’s all about Jesus, not about us (verse 17); and 3) if you learn to read it that way, it changes your life (verses 19 and 20). It changes everything.
When Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-20 that he didn’t come to destroy the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them, he was sharing three essential truths. The Bible is always true, it’s about Jesus not us, and, when we see it through this lens, it can transform our lives. These truths can be tough to understand, especially when we think about how central love and grace are to Christianity.
1. The whole Bible is absolutely true
Jesus highlights the divine authority of the Scriptures and their timeless importance. He challenges the idea of ignoring or considering any part of the Bible outdated, and encourages us to live by its teachings, even when it’s tough. The Scriptures are true, centered around Jesus, and we are warned against picking and choosing what parts to accept.
2. The Bible is all about Jesus, not about us
Jesus tells us that he is the fulfillment of the Old Testament. He challenges the Pharisees’ interpretation and emphasizes that everything in the Bible points to him. While some Old Testament laws and practices might not apply to Christians today, the Old Testament is still important. The Bible is about Jesus, not us, and through him, we can truly understand and be transformed.
3. The Bible changes your life
Seeing the Bible through Jesus leads to a deeper righteousness, beyond just being religious. Unlike the Pharisees who acted out of insecurity and desire for approval, Christianity promotes a transformation from the inside out, based on understanding God’s actions and our identity. Focusing on Jesus and accepting the gospel can bring about significant change in our lives.
February Book Offer
In his book Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller shows us how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the truth about societal ideals and our own hearts — and that there is only one God who can wholly satisfy our cravings and fulfill our hopes.
February Book Offer