The sermon I preached this past Sunday was on a text that was almost completely law. Matthew 5:21-37 is a part of Jesus’ sermon on the mount saw Jesus expanding on a few of the Ten Commandments. He showed that God wants us to obey not just the letter of the law, but to obey the law in our thoughts, words, and actions. In some ways, this is a very uncomfortable, even painful, message.
So that’s how I wanted to preach it. I wanted it to be a knife to my hearers’ hearts. After all, that’s what the law is supposed to do. It’s supposed to destroy our excuses, shatter our pride, and leave us defenseless before God. The law isn’t meant to give a slap on the wrist; it’s meant to kill.
Only then do we truly grasp how much we need Christ to bring us to life. Without the full force of the law, the gospel cannot have its full force. Without knowing we are lost and dead in sins, we can’t ever understand how Jesus found us by faith and brought us to life in the gospel now and forever. Without the law killing me and making me see I have nothing to offer to God, I could never see that it’s what Jesus did in his life, death, and resurrection that counts for me — not what I have or haven’t done.
I guess I can’t say how successful I was at trying to preach the law like this last Sunday. (Though I’m confident that God’s Word was successful!) But I do want to purposefully preach the law like this in the future. Shame on me if I don’t! God’s given me a knife to use to kill the sinful self in all my hearers, so that the Holy Spirit can bring them to life in the gospel. May God help me to do this!