"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" The Preaching Ministry Of Jesus (4:12-17) INTRODUCTION 1. In Mt 4:12-17, we read of Jesus' public ministry in Galilee... a. Which followed the imprisonment of John the Baptist - Mt 4:12 b. Which began at Capernaum, on the edge of the Sea of Galilee - Mt 4:13 c. Which fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah - Mt 4:14-16; Isa 9:1,2 2. His public ministry involved "preaching"... a. "From that time Jesus began to preach..." - Mt 4:17 b. Compare also Mt 4:23, "Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom..." 3. The word "preach" (Gr., kerux) means "to herald, to proclaim"... a. But what was the message Jesus was proclaiming? b. Is it a message that should be proclaimed today? [In this study our focus will be on Mt 4:17, as we seek to understand the message proclaimed by Jesus during His public ministry. From this verse we learn first that...] I. JESUS PREACHED REPENTANCE A. HE CALLED UPON PEOPLE TO REPENT... 1. Just as John the Baptist did - Mt 3:2 2. As Jesus would say later: "For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance." - Mt 9:13 B. WHAT DOES "REPENT" MEAN? 1. Many people have misconceptions concerning repentance a. E.g., that repentance is "sorrow" 1) But repentance is an outcome of sorrow - cf. 2Co 7:9-10 2) Sorrow leads to repentance; sorrow itself is not repentance! b. E.g., that repentance is "a changed life" 1) Thinking that repentance is a converted life 2) But repentance and conversion are two separate things - cf. Ac 3:19 a) Peter says "Repent therefore and be converted" b) If repentance means the same as conversion, then Peter was redundant 2. W. E. Vine defines "repentance" as: a. A "change of mind" b. That which "involves both a turning from sin and a turning to God" 3. Repentance is thus "a change of mind" in which we DECIDE to "turn from sin and turn to God" a. Which is preceded by sorrow b. And followed by a changed life -- Jesus was therefore calling upon people to change their minds regarding sin, because of what He taught about the kingdom (more on that shortly) C. DOES REPENTANCE NEED TO BE PROCLAIMED TODAY? 1. Most certainly! a. Repentance is to be preached in Jesus' name to all nations - Lk 24:46-47 b. God now calls men everywhere to repent - Ac 17:30 c. Thus Paul preached to both Jews and Gentiles that they should repent - Ac 26:20 2. Wherever there is sin, the message of repentance needs to be proclaimed! a. People need to be told to "change their minds" (repent) b. They need "turn to God, and do works befitting repentance" - cf. Ac 26:20; Mt 3:8 -- Any gospel preaching that does not include a clarion call to repent is not the true gospel! [In calling people to repent, Jesus proclaimed why they needed to change their minds and turn from sin to God: "for the kingdom of heaven is at hand". This leads to our next point...] II. JESUS PREACHED THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN A. THIS WAS A MAJOR THEME OF HIS PREACHING... 1. Just as it was with John the Baptist - Mt 3:2 2. It was the focus of His itinerant ministry - Mt 4:23 a. The theme of His Sermon on the Mount - Mt 5:3,10,19-20; 6:33; 7:21 b. The theme of many of His parables - e.g., Mt 13:24,31,33, 44,45,47 3. It was the theme of the Limited Commission - Mt 10:7 -- During this time, the kingdom of heaven was "at hand" (drawing near) B. WHAT IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN? 1. It is the same thing as "the kingdom of God" a. Some try to make a distinction (e.g., Scofield Reference Bible) b. But a quick comparison of the gospels indicate the terms refer to the same thing 1) Cf. Mt 4:17 with Mk 1:14-15 2) Cf. Mt 5:3 with Lk 6:20 3) Cf. Mt 13:31 with Mk 4:30-31 c. Matthew used the expression "kingdom of heaven" almost exclusively, while the other gospel writers used the phrase "kingdom of God" d. It may be that since Matthew wrote his gospel to the Jews, he chose to use the phrase "kingdom of heaven"... 1) Because of the Jews' reluctance to use the name of God (out of reverence) 2) Because of the Jews' misconception of the coming kingdom a) Many anticipated a physical kingdom b) The expression "heaven" (literally, "heavens") would emphasize a spiritual kingdom 2. The "kingdom of heaven" involves four inter-related concepts a. God's kingship, rule, or recognized sovereignty 1) The term "kingdom" as used by the Jews often stressed the abstract idea of rule or dominion, not a geographical area surrounded by physical boundaries 2) It is used this way by Jesus in Mt 6:10 - "Your KINGDOM come; Your WILL be done..." (note the connection between kingdom and will) -- Thus, the "kingdom of heaven" would involve the rule of heaven in the hearts of men b. This rule of heaven is spiritual in nature 1) It is not a physical kingdom - cf. Jn 18:36 2) But one that is spiritual - cf. Ro 14:17 c. Its visible manifestation today is in the form of the Lord's church 1) For the church is that community of souls in whose hearts God is recognized as Sovereign 2) That the church constitutes the kingdom of God on earth, consider: a) How the term "church" and "kingdom" were used interchangeably - Mt 16:18 b) Comments made to those who were in the church - Col 1: 13; 1Th 2:12 c) The description of those in the churches of Asia - Re 1:4,6,9 d. It has a future element as well as a present one 1) Its future aspect is spoken of by Jesus, Paul, Peter - Mt 25:34; 1Co 15:50; 2Ti 4:18; 2Pe 1:10-11 2) Peter described the coming of its future state in 2 Pe 3:10-13 3. Thus the "kingdom of heaven" today is both present and future a. In the present sense... 1) It is found wherever the sovereignty of God is accepted in the hearts of men 2) It is a spiritual kingdom, for God rules in the hearts of men 3) Its outward manifestation today is the Lord's church 4) This rule or kingdom of God was "inaugurated" on the Day of Pentecost (Ac 2) b. In the future sense... 1) The rule or kingdom of God will be "culminated" with the coming of the Lord 2) It will involve that "news heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells", described by Peter and John - 2Pe 3; Re 21-22 3) It will be experienced only by those in the church who are submitting to God's will today! - cf. Mt 7:21-23; 2Pe 3:13-14 C. DOES THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN NEED TO BE PROCLAIMED TODAY? 1. Most certainly! a. Philip "preached the things concerning the kingdom of God" - Ac 8:12 b. The apostle Paul in his preaching and teaching: 1) Spoke of the challenges in entering the kingdom in the future sense - Ac 14:22 2) Reasoned and persuaded with people concerning the kingdom - Ac 19:8 3) Had gone among the Ephesians, "preaching the kingdom of God" - Ac 20:25 4) Solemnly testified of the kingdom of God to the Jews in Rome - Ac 28:23 c. In his epistles, Paul wrote of: 1) The nature of the kingdom - Ro 14:17 2) Those who will not inherit the kingdom - 1Co 6:9-10; Ga 5:21; Ep 5:5 3) Jesus giving the kingdom to God when He returns - 1Co 15:24-26 4) How flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom - 1Co 15:50 5) How we are now in the kingdom - Col 1:13 6) His companions as fellow workers for the kingdom - Col 4: 11 7) How we might be counted worthy of the kingdom - 2Th 1:5 8) God calling us into His kingdom and glory - 2Th 2:12 9) Jesus judging us at His appearing and His kingdom - 2 Ti 4:1 10) The Lord preserving him for His heavenly kingdom - 2 Ti 4:18 d. The Hebrew writer referred to our receiving a kingdom which can't be shaken - He 12:28 e. James described the faithful poor as "heirs of the kingdom" - Jm 2:5 f. Peter wrote of how we might have an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord - 2Pe 1:10-11 g. John described himself as a brother and companion in the kingdom of Jesus Christ - Re 1:9 2. There is a slight difference in our message, however... a. John the Baptist, Jesus, His disciples in the Limited Commission...all proclaimed the kingdom "at hand" (drawing near) 1) For the rule of God as foretold by the prophets was about to be manifested - cf. Mk 1:14-15 2) During Jesus' earthly ministry that kingdom (reign) was yet future -- That was the "good news" (gospel) of the kingdom then: it was near! b. However, after the ascension of Christ, the preaching of the kingdom proclaimed it both present and future 1) The rule of God is now being fully manifested in the person of Jesus Christ - cf. Mt 28:18; Ep 1:20-22; 1 Pe 3:22 2) Those who "gladly receive" the message can be added by the Lord Himself to His church or kingdom (i.e., the community of believers who submit to His authority) - cf. Ac 2:36-41,47; Col 1:13; Re 1:9 3) Those who persevere to the end can inherit the heavenly and everlasting kingdom of our Lord - Ac 14:22; 2Pe 1: 10-11 -- This is the "good news" (gospel) of the kingdom now: it is both now and coming! CONCLUSION 1. In "The Preaching Ministry Of Jesus", two themes permeated His message... a. The need to repent b. For the kingdom of heaven was at hand 2. As we fulfill the Great Commission today (Mt 28:18-20), our themes should be similar... a. The kingdom of heaven has come and is coming (implied in "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.") b. The need to repent (implied in "Make disciples of all the nations") If you desire to experience the bliss of the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior, you must do the Father's Will (cf. Mt 7:21-23) and be in the kingdom of His dear Son today (cf. Col 1:13). Have you submitted to the gospel of the kingdom as proclaimed by our Lord's apostles?