Please listen to the sermon. Click the play button to the right in the "Law of Moses and the Ethic of the Kingdom" link. You can listen to it here, or you can download and listen later.
As I say in the title, this is the single best one-off sermon that I've ever heard on the role and purpose of The Law. I've spent some time in my own writings as well as linking other sites, articles and audio trying to show that Jesus has completely fulfilled the Law or Torah (which is to say, the entire Scripture) in Himself. By doing this, by fulfilling the Law in Himself, He shows Himself to be the true "Israel" (the One that the Law prophesied of). Jesus has fulfilled the calling of "Israel" because He is the true "elect" Son of God who is, in Himself, what Israel was called to be--the faithful son, servant, disciple, and witness.
We misunderstand the purpose and role of The Law because we misunderstand the purpose and role of Israel--and they are intimately connected. As our Pastor states in his notes (and the full PDF link will be provided as with the previous Sermon on the Mount Series posts): The Law defined "Israel" and demanded that the convenant nation be "righteous" by authentically and faultlessly fulfilling its identity and calling; (by) being God's son, servant, disciple and witness.... The Law demanded that Israel be Israel....
Remember, Paul tells us (in agreement with the whole of the Scripture) that the Law served the Promise. This tells us that the Law was not intended to behave in any way that did not directly implicate the promise. So the question becomes...what promise? Paul tells us that the promise is the covenant that He made with Abraham. And since the Law, which came well after the promise, "does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise" (Gal. 3:17), it is the promise, the Abrahamic Covenant, that is the progenitor or source of the Law (and thus Israel) which, Paul says, only serves to bring the promise to its fulfillment. In other words, the Law is the means by which the promise moves forward (as a first-level fulfillment) and is but one stage along the path of the ultimate fulfillment of the promise. And that fulfillment, as Paul says, is coming of the (singular) Seed to whom the promise had been made--Jesus, the Christ.
So as you can see, the Law served the promise by prophesying of the One to whom the promise was made. The nation of Israel, as the "first-level" fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant (as the "seed" of Abraham and the (elect) "son" of God), was also prophetic as it spoke (in and of itself) of the One who to come who is the true "Seed" of Abraham and the true (elect) Son of God. The New Testament (especially Paul) has never viewed the nation of Israel as the heir of the promise, as the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant. Jesus Christ is everywhere understood in the NT as the true Israel and the One to whom the promise was made; and that's because Christ is the One who is the fulfillment of all the Scripture. It is Christ alone who has accomplished the purpose of God; and He does so not primarily because of what He does so much as who He is! He fulfills the Law not simply because He perfectly obeyed the commandments (which is how contemporary Christianity so often understand this); He fulfills the Law because He is the One of whom the Law spoke of as the true and perfectly righteous human being ("Israelite", in the redemtive historical context). Jesus is the "seed" of Abraham and the Covenant (promise) is fulfilled only in Him!
Here are the notes and brief summary of this message which is a continuation of our Sermon on the Mount series at SGCC. Please read the notes (click the "Part 19" link) in conjunction with listening to the sermon. The notes only go so far; the audio fills in the spaces.
Part 19: The Law of Moses and the Ethic of the Kingdom
Brief Sermon Overview:
In Matthew 5:17-48 Jesus addressed in broad terms the relationship between the ethic of His kingdom and the Law of Moses. That relationiship follows the larger biblical structural pattern of promise and fulfillment (5:17-18), and this message considers and summarizes the core aspects of that pattern as applied to the Law of Moses by Jesus in this context and throughout the New Testament.