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Summary: It's the beginning of the new age, the Kingdom of God

[IN GOD’S IMAGE 31 – CHRIST’S OFFICIAL MINISTRY]

This message is part of a series of 90 sermons based on the title, “In God’s Image – God’s Purpose for humanity.” This series of free sermons or the equivalent free book format is designed to take the reader through an amazing process beginning with God in prehistory and finishing with humanity joining God in eternity as His loving sons and daughters. It is at times, a painful yet fascinating story, not only for humanity, but also for God. As the sermons follow a chronological view of the story of salvation, it is highly recommend they be presented in numerical order rather than jumping to the more “interesting” or “controversial” subjects as the material builds on what is presented earlier. We also recommend reading the introduction prior to using the material. The free book version along with any graphics or figures mentioned in this series can be downloaded at www.ingodsimage.site - Gary Regazzoli

When we finished last time we saw Jesus in a weakened and frail state confront the temptations of the devil.

• Despite the devil’s best attempts to lure Jesus into temptation, Jesus held firm through the ordeal putting His complete trust in His heavenly Father.

• Right from the start of His official ministry signified by His baptism by John the Baptist we see Jesus raising to the tasks set before Him.

• He is baptised to identify with us as sinners; He assumes and begins the task of overcoming our fallen human nature; He lives the perfect life we fail to live; and He confronts and overcomes the devil in the wilderness.

• But there is much more Jesus needs to accomplish during his earthly sojourn.

• As we follow the account in Matthew, we see Jesus engaging in a number of other important aspects of His ministry.

• All of these aspects, beginning with his baptism, point to the beginning of a new age, a new creation or the establishment of the kingdom of God on this earth.

• As Jesus goes about establishing the kingdom of God, we see Him assuming roles foreshadowed in the Old Testament of prophet, priest and king.

• The difference being that these three roles that were filled by three different individuals in the Old Testament are now combined in the person of Jesus.

• Moses and later the prophets were appointed to fulfil the role of “Prophet” or the “Word,” Aaron and his descendants were appointed to fulfil the role of “Priest,” and David and the kings of Israel to fulfil the role of “King.”

• As we examine Jesus’ ministry we see Him fulfilling these three roles.

The first is the embryonic formation of the church (Matthew 4:18-22).

• Here we see Jesus acting in His capacity as High Priest as He begins to establish the “priesthood of all believers” (1 Peter 2:5), those who would be a reflection of the true High Priest, Jesus Christ to the world.

• Jesus chooses twelve disciples or students who will follow his every move for the next three and a half years of His ministry.

• Jesus knew His time on earth was limited and so began the important education of those who would continue His work of building His kingdom after His departure.

• It’s also interesting that he doesn’t go to the temple in Jerusalem to choose his disciples; instead He chooses smelly fishermen and low-life tax collectors.

• There is something unique about these chosen twelve and later the apostle Paul that distinguishes them from all other Christians.

• All had direct communion with the Word of God. Daily they were walking and talking with the Word who became flesh (John 1:14).

• Jesus as the head of the church (Colossians 1:18) was emulating for His students what it was like to live entirely in God’s will.

• He was preparing them for the important role they would later play in laying the foundation of the church (Acts 2, Ephesians 2:19-21).

• No human being before or since has had such an opportunity with the exception of the apostle Paul (Galatians 1:11-13), and as such their witness to the words and works of Jesus play a key role in the development of Christ’s message.

• As such the title “apostle” should be restricted to those who had direct contact with Jesus Christ Himself.

• Later, with the coming of the promised Holy Spirit, the disciples had a double relation to Christ, an historical one to Jesus Himself, and a supernatural connection through the Spirit.

• They were also the ones under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who recorded and communicated the words and deeds of Jesus and ultimately their writings were included in the canon of Holy Scripture.

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