Follow God Up The Mountain To Be Saved

Follow Jesus up the mountain!
Photo by Matteo Catanese on Unsplash

Turn with me in your Bibles to Matthew chapter five. Today we’re going to look at what Jesus taught about the Law. As we come to Matthew chapter 5, we read:

Matthew 5:1-2 And seeing the multitudes, he {Jesus} went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2 and he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying…

The Saved Believer Follows God

It is become fashionable today to say that you can be a Christian, and yet there be no obligation to follow Christ. Some “preachers” have invented the title, “Nominal Christian”, to apply to those who profess to be Christian, and yet have no evidence of Christlike works in their lives. In many cases the “Nominal Christian” is, in outward appearance, no different than a lost person. Some who profess to be “Pastors” and “Evangelists” who confuse the free gift of salvation with lawlessness. They say, “You can be saved by faith in Jesus – but then God expects nothing else of you”. This is a lie from the pit of hell. You will never find such a salvation in the Bible.

Under the Old Covenant God saved Israel by faith … but Israel had to do what God said to be saved. The Lamb without spot or blemish had to be killed. It’s blood had to be placed on the doorway of the home. The Covenant required a following. After God worked through Egypt that night, bringing death where the Blood was not, Israel had to follow God out of Egypt. Israel followed God by faith, and was saved by faith. Saving faith follows God. Always.

God did not give Israel the Law until they repeatedly refused to follow Him. Israel was saved by faith, by following God up to the giving of the Law. The Law did not save Israel. Following God saved Israel.

When God gave Israel the Law, He had Moses, the Leader of Israel, go up Mount Sinai to receive the Law. When God gave Moses the Law for Israel, God gave Israel the Ten Commandments, sanitary Laws, ceremonial Laws, and Laws governing the Priesthood. Only Moses was allowed to go up Mount Sinai to receive this complex Law. Mount Sinai is NOT found in the Promised Land. It is found in Arabic territory. What does this have to do with our text today?

Moses left the multitudes in the valley, and went up Mount Sinai (in Arabia) to receive the Law. Now Jesus “seeing the multitudes … went up into a mountain”. This is not Mount Sinai, but Mount Eremos (in Hebrew, הר האושר‎, Har HaOsher), located in the Promised Land. When God spoke to Moses in the giving of the Old Covenant, Moses was by himself. As God the Son (our Lord Jesus) speaks on the Mount, “his disciples came unto him”. The Bible says:

John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

The Old Covenant Law was given to Moses for Israel, but salvation was still only by faith in God. The Old Covenant said:

Habakkuk 2:4 …. the just shall live by his faith.

Faith follows God. Faith always follows God. Under the Old Covenant, salvation was by faith in God. Now God the Son speaks, and brings in the NEW Covenant. What is the difference between the New Covenant and the Old Covenant? Now Jesus’ disciples – not just Moses, but every follower of God – goes up the Mountain to hear what God the Son has to say. Does Jesus wipe out the Law of God? Well, what does Jesus say?

Matthew 5:17-20 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus Came To Fulfill The Law

Jesus said in vvs 17 I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.

Word Study The word rendered destroy is the Greek καταλύω katalýō, {pronounced kat-al-oo’-o}, which means “to subvert, overthrow, to bring to nothing, annul, to tear down”. Jesus did not come to destroy or overthrow the Law of God, but He came to fulfill {the Greek πληρόω plēróō, {pronounced play-ro’-o}} or “COMPLETE IT” it. As I said before, the Law was:

Ten Commandments
sanitary Laws
ceremonial Laws
Laws governing the Priesthood

Jesus did not come to erase the Law of God. The Law never saved anyone – but it was followed by those who were saved. You were saved by following God. The Apostle said, “the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Romans 7:12). The sanitary laws were in place to protect the life of the Israelite. The ceremonial laws were but shadows given until the Messiah came. The Law’s requirement to “go to the Tabernacle or the Temple with a lamb without spot or blemish, and to sacrifice that lamb on the altar” (Leviticus 1; Leviticus 14; Leviticus 16; Exodus 12) was done year after year under the Old Covenant. Jesus Christ came to be …

the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world
(John 1:29)

Jesus is THE Fulfillment of every animal sacrifice under the Old Covenant. The Book of Hebrews tells us:

Hebrews 10:1-4 the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshipers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

The animal sacrifices under the Law were temporary, until Jesus Christ came. Jesus fulfilled the Law of sacrifice. The writer of Hebrews, speaking of Jesus, said:

Hebrews 10:5-10 when {Jesus} cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6 in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. 8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 9 then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Jesus Christ, God the Son, our Messiah came to be the fulfillment of the Law. He is the “Lamb of God” (John 1:36). It is because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross that we can stand right with God. We can approach God because Jesus, like the Old Covenant Lamb, is without spot or blemish. Jesus went to the Cross – a wooden altar – to die for our sins. We now cry out with Heaven:

Revelation 5:13 … Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

We are saved by receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Salvation belongs to our God Who sits upon the Throne in Heaven, and unto the Lamb (Revelation 7:10). Jesus fulfilled the Ceremonial Laws. Jesus told His disciples on the Mount:

Matthew 5:17-18 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Jesus uses two terms that we as Gentiles are probably not acquainted with. He speaks of the jot and the tittle. These are terms that refer to Hebrew writing. The jot is the tenth letter in the Hebrew alphabet – it looks like an apostrophe. It is the smallest letter in the Hebrew. The tittle is a tiny extension placed on a Hebrew letter. What Jesus is saying is that the smallest part of the Law and the Prophets may not be removed unless He as Christ fulfilled it. Jesus fulfilled the ceremonial portions of the Law. He died as the Lamb for us all. The Apostle said:

1 Peter 1:18-22 … ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

When Jesus died on that Cross, had He remained dead then His death would have meant nothing. But Jesus died and ROSE AGAIN. Jesus as SAVIOR died for our sins. God accepted Jesus’ sacrifice, and caused the Son to RISE FROM THE GRAVE. If you are saved, the Scripture says:

Romans 14:7-9 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

Jesus died to be your Savior – and rose from the grave to be your Lord. Every believer is called to follow Jesus by faith. We are to do as He says, to live as He says. Listen Beloved, the Christian is not without Law. Christ is our Law. Christ is our Savior. Christ is our Leader.

You cannot be saved and NOT follow God the Son.
The Scripture does not allow for such a fantasy!

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

The love of Christ holds us fast{Greek συνέχω synéchō, {pronounced soon-ekh’-o}}. Because Jesus died for me I am saved. Because Jesus rose from the grave for me, I must follow Him – and you must, too, if you are saved. The great preacher C.H. Spurgeon said:

If Christ is not all to you He is nothing to you. He will never go into partnership as a part Savior of men. If He be something He must be everything, and if He be not everything He is nothing to you.”

The works of the Law – especially the ceremonial portions – could not save. They were but shadows, temporary adjustments made until Jesus Christ appeared. But with the coming of Christ the ceremonial and priestly laws are fulfilled. You no longer need to sacrifice animals to God.

You as Christians are under a High Priest
named Jesus Christ! All Christians are priests unto God.

Hebrews 2:16-17 … {Jesus Christ} took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 17 Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

Following The Law Does Not Save You,
But Following Jesus Does

Jesus is the fulfiller of the Old Covenant ceremonial laws. Within the Old Covenant there are not just ceremonial laws, but also the moral code we call the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments are still in effect, but following them does not save you. Only following Jesus saves you. Notice what our Lord says:

Matthew 5:17-19 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Please notice what Jesus said. He did NOT say Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so” SHALL GO TO HELL. Jesus said, Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.What are the “least” of the commandments? Every commandment has value, for it comes from God. But I think the commandments with the most weight are those that either deprive someone of their life, or deprive someone of their spouse. The Ten Commandments are:

1 – No other gods, but GOD (Exodus 20:3)
2 – No creation of or worship of idols (Exodus 20:4-6)
3 – Do not take God’s name in vain (Exodus 20:7)
4 – Remember the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11)
5 – Honor your parents (Exodus 20:12)
6 – Do not murder anyone (Exodus 20:13)
7 – Do not take someone else’s spouse (Exodus 20:14)
8 – Do not steal (Exodus 20:15)
9 – Do not lie about your neighbor (Exodus 20:16)
10 – Do not covet what your neighbor has (Exodus 20:17)

When I think about these commandments, God never made one greater than the other. But in the human frame of reference I would suspect the least of these ten commandments is lying about your neighbor. As humans, we often view gossip as harmless, the least of all things. But Jesus said “if you do it and by example, teach it then you will be the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. There is a penalty for gossiping.

To God, there are no “little white lies”.

Jesus then says something very telling. He says:

Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Word Study The word translated exceedis the Greek περισσεύω perisseúō, {pronounced per-is-syoo’-o}, which means “to SUPER-ABOUND” or “to be much, much better than”. Why is Jesus picking on the scribes and Pharisees? Why does Jesus say “if you break the least of the commandments, and teach others by your example, you will be the LEAST in Heaven”, but now say “the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees will only get then into HELL”? It is because KEEPING THE LAW DOES NOT SAVE YOU – BUT FOLLOWING JESUS DOES.

If there was any two people’s who constantly harassed Jesus, it was the scribes and Pharisees. The scribes and Pharisees kept the Law of Moses perfectly. They studied the Law. They were very careful to never murder anyone, or take another man’s wife, or make idols and worship them. By all traditional standards, the Scribes and Pharisees kept the Law perfectly. But they failed in a very critical point.

They would not follow Jesus.
They would not go up the mountain and sit at the Master’s feet.
They followed the outward form of religion.
But had no relationship with God.

The Christian Lives To Fulfill The Law

Illustrate One day a man came running after Jesus. He said:

Mark 10:17 … Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?

He’s asking Jesus “How can I get to Heaven?” Jesus replied:

Mark 10:19 … Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honor thy father and mother.

Jesus quotes the Ten Commandments. Not all, but six of them. If you are a believer in God, you will follow His moral codes. The man replies:

Mark 10:20 … Master, all these have I observed from my youth.

The Bible says that “Jesus beholding him, LOVED him”. Jesus looks at this man, and looks through this man. Outwardly he has kept the commandments of God. However, his heart was not sold out to God. He was not in love with God. His heart belonged to another. Jesus tells the man, tenderly,

Mark 10:21-22 …. One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. 22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

The Bible says “the Lord sees not as man sees. Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). Jesus looked into this man’s heart. He outwardly looked like a follower of God, just as the Scribes and Pharisees looked like followers of God. But the man’s heart was bound to his things, to his riches, to his possessions, and not to his God. Jesus told him, “sell what you have”. Get rid of your idols. Then Jesus told him, come, take up the cross, and follow Me. Outwardly following the Law while inwardly following the world will not get you to Heaven. You must follow Jesus. You must fall in love with Jesus.

Love Is Our Fulfillment Of The Law

Jesus fulfilled the ceremonial Laws so that we who believe in Him need never do these Laws again. We do not need to be circumcised. We do not need to sacrifice animals. We do not need restricted diets, nor do we need to keep Jewish festivals. Jesus fulfilled these shadow laws. He is the Lamb of God. He is our High Priest.

Jesus did not wipe out the Ten Commandments. He expanded them. Addressing the sixth commandment, Do not murder anyone (Exodus 20:13)”, Jesus said:

Matthew 5:21-24 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22 but I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24 leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Among religious people like the Scribes and Pharisees, I daresay that none of them actually murdered someone in the traditional sense. If I were to ask “Who in this room has actually killed someone with malice”, I’m sure no one would raise their hand. But the sixth commandment is violated when you kill someone in your heart, when you carry grudges and hurts. The Ten Commandments are still in effect today. The only way you can fulfill them is by giving yourselves to Jesus. Take up His Cross and follow Him. When you give your lives to Jesus Christ – when He becomes your Lord and Savior – then Jesus begins to fulfill the Ten Commandments in your life. You do not just NOT commit adultery (a violation of the 7th commandment), but you do not cherish adulterous thoughts in your mind. Giving yourselves to Jesus, you begin to love as Jesus loved.

It is through love that ALL of the Law is fulfilled. The Apostle Paul wrote:

Romans 13:8-10 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

The Christian way of life is NOT lawless, but it is very simple. When you love and follow Jesus, God saves you. When God saves you, you love others. You live a life not for yourself, but for the Lord Jesus. You pick up His Cross and follow Him. You do not follow like the multitudes, but you follow Him up the mountain. You sit at His feet. You love others because you love Him.

Illustrate I will close with this. I was reading an article written by Rebecca McLaughlin the other day called “Why It Is Unloving To Preach #YouDoYou”. In the article she talked about the sinking of the Titanic. In 1912 the Titanic – a supposedly unsinkable ship – sank, killing around 1500 people. Sadly, when the ship hit the iceberg, it was about an hour before anyone was told the ship was sinking. Had the word gotten out sooner, a lot more people could have been saved. Rebecca wrote:

When I was a teenager, I heard a man named Rico Tice explain that if the message of Jesus is true, it’s like we’re all sailing on the Titanic. Jesus warns us that without His offer of salvation, everyone is facing God’s judgment as surely as the people on that ship were facing drowning if they didn’t get to a lifeboat. The people on the ship are just going about their daily lives and don’t think they have a problem.”

If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have no hope of ever entering Heaven. Salvation is a free gift from God. In order to receive that gift you must lay your life down at Jesus’ feet. You must receive Him as He is – both Lord and Savior. If you do not – if following Jesus is not part of your life – then I am not loving you by telling you everything is OK. Everything is certainly NOT OK. You need to follow Jesus in life, where ever He leads, if you expect to follow Him to Heaven.

Choose Thou My Sacrifice – Dennis Martin (Still Waters Ministry)

To Abraham of years gone by,
God called and he said, “Here am I”.
“Go offer Isaac – don’t ask why” –
The Lord God chose his sacrifice.

As Israel out of Egypt came
They sacrificed a lamb not lame.
For years to come they’d do the same –
The Lord God chose that sacrifice.

When God with meekest Moses met
Upon the mount where laws were set,
The off’rings He did not forget –
The Lord God chose each sacrifice.

When fullness of the time was come,
God sent forth His only Son
To shed His Blood for everyone –
The Lord God chose His sacrifice.

If we are saved, God wants our praise,
To Him that sacrifice we raise
And worship Him through all our days –
The Lord God chose this sacrifice.

Since Christ hung on the cruel tree
To be the Sacrifice, shall we
Not living sacrifices be?
The Lord God chose our sacrifice.

And as through life we go our way,
We make some sacrifice each day.
And we in full surrender say,
“Oh, Lord God choose my sacrifice.”

May God touch your hearts with His Word and His Spirit. Amen and Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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