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The Kingdom Bullseye

• Greg Boyd

Jesus announced that he came to fulfill every part of the law. How was he able to do this when he was accused of breaking the law? He did this by redefining the law of God around the law of love. This is the bullseye of God’s Kingdom.

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In these verses, Jesus makes a big-picture statement about how he views the scriptures, understands the law, understands “righteousness,” and views himself as the fulfillment of the law. It sets the framework for all that is to follow. In addition, it is the most foundational teaching of Woodland Hills.

Jesus begins with, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets,” referring to the entire Old Testament. Jesus’ statement indicates that this is what Jewish religious leaders thought Jesus was teaching and doing, abolishing law and prophets. People would assume this for three reasons: 1) because Jesus taught that loving God and loving neighbors fulfills the entire law, 2) Jesus shared meals with those viewed as the worst of sinners, and 3) Jesus sometimes acted in ways that could be interpreted as setting aside, or at least relaxing, the law.

Jesus insists he’s come to fulfill the Old Testament, and fulfill it completely. He hyperbolically says “not one letter or stroke of the pen will pass away until I fulfill it.” He’s going to fulfill the law in a way that goes beyond the righteousness of the Pharisees, not by literally adhering to ever letter or stroke of the pen—something Jesus obviously didn’t do. Jesus fulfilled the law by embodying the ultimate intention of the law. Jesus assumes God’s ultimate goal in giving the law wasn’t to simply get people to comply with behavioral rules. The ultimate goal behind the law was to establish people in “righteousness,” which means right-relatedness, or love.

Jesus is saying, shoot for this bullseye, and all you need to get done will get done. If you shoot for anything other than love, it doesn’t matter what else you get done, you won’t do the one thing that is needful, which is love. Love is the center of the center, the beginning, middle and end of what the Kingdom is all about. This is confirmed in Scripture passages like Romans 13:8-10, Colossians 3:14, 1 Peter 4:8, and 1 Corinthians 16:14.

Then, we read in 1 John 3:16-17 what love looks like. God illustrates love for us so that we can live in it. Our most central job is to receive this love, yield to this love, be transformed by this love, and then to imitate this love, as we read in Ephesians 5:1-2. This is the bullseye of the Kingdom and the bullseye of Woodland Hills Church. All else is worthless unless we do everything in love. As we say often around here, we are “Learning to LOVE together.”

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Topics: Kingdom of God, Love

Sermon Series: Sermon on the Mount, The Law of Love

Downloads & Resources

Audio File
Study guide
Group Study Guide
The MuseCast: February 2

Focus Scripture:

  • Matthew 5:17-20

    Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

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4 thoughts on “The Kingdom Bullseye

  1. Stephen El says:

    Long time podrishioner here, and have noticed that the audio and video quality of the broadcast has diminished somewhat the past couple of weeks. The panel in last week’s service sounded like most of the participants were off mike, and this service both audio and video quality were subpar. Not sure if it’s a recording issue or posting issue?

    1. Ruth Iverson says:

      I cant hear it either

      1. Paige Slighter says:

        Hey Ruth,
        What device are you listening from?
        – Paige from the Communications Team

    2. Paige Slighter says:

      Hey Stephen,
      Thank you so much for your feedback. Yes, we are working toward solving that issue.
      – Paige from the Communications Team

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