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"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"
Righteousness Of The Scribes And Pharisees (5:20)
1. As Jesus prepares to contrast the righteousness of the kingdom with
the traditional interpretation and application of the Law, He does
so with a strong warning to those who would enter the kingdom of
2. Found in Mt 5:20, Jesus warned that...
"unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes
and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven"!
[To appreciate and apply what Jesus said, it might help if we first
I. THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES
A. THEY WERE KNOWN TO "SAY AND DO NOT" - Mt 23:1-4
1. Though they often taught the truth, they did not often
practice what they preached!
2. From them many parents got the saying "Do as I say, not as I
B. THEY WERE KNOWN TO DO THINGS TO BE SEEN OF MEN - Mt 23:5-7
1. They enjoyed wearing religious garments that separated them
from others, and delighted in places and titles of honor
2. Does this sound like any religious leaders today?
C. THEY WERE KNOWN TO NEGLECT PARTS OF GOD'S LAW - Mt 23:23-24
1. In their case, they would emphasize the "lighter" matters of
the law, while neglecting the "weightier" commands
2. Or as we would say today, they "majored in minors and minored
D. THEY WERE KNOWN TO BE LOVERS OF MONEY - Lk 16:13-15
1. "Mammon" was their god, though they would be quick to deny it
and try to justify themselves before men
2. Does this sound like any "prosperity preachers" we see and
[Such was the level of "righteousness" the scribes and Pharisees as a
group. Not all scribes and Pharisees were guilty of such things (e.g.,
Nicodemus, Jn 3:1; 7:45-52; 19:38-42).
Why must our righteousness exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees?
The righteousness of the kingdom demands more!]
II. THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE KINGDOM
A. WE LEARN IN THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT THAT...
1. We cannot "say and do not" - Mt 7:21
2. We cannot "do things to be seen of men" - Mt 6:1
3. We cannot "neglect" ANY commandments of God's law - Mt 5:19
4. We cannot be "lovers of money" - Mt 6:24
B. THIS SHOULD SERVE AS A WARNING TO ANY WHO THINK THEY CAN BE
FAITHFUL CHRISTIANS, BUT DO NOT...
1. Combine their profession of faith with suitable deeds - cf.
Ja 2:14-17; 1 Jn 2:4-6; 1 Jn 3:18
2. Keep their personal, private lives consistent with their
public appearance and profession - cf. Mk 4:22
3. Make diligent effort to observe ALL that Jesus commanded - cf.
Mt 28:20; Jn 8:31-32; 2 Jn 9
4. Remain free from the enticement of materialism - cf. 1 Ti 6:
9-10; 1 Jn 2:15-17
1. Without question, our righteousness as citizens of the kingdom must
exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees
2. But how can our righteousness be consistent with that demanded by
our King? It is possible only by the grace of God...
a. Whereby His mercy provides forgiveness to those in Christ - 1 Jn
b. Whereby His strength makes it possible to live according to the
"righteousness of the kingdom of heaven"! - Ph 4:13
In our next study, we will begin to notice the various examples Jesus
gave as to how our righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and
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Executable Outlines, Copyright
© Mark A. Copeland, 2001