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Summary: The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it.

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IN SEARCH OF JESUS: IT BEGINS

MATTHEW 4: 12-17

SUNDAY PM MARCH 21, 2004

INTRODUCTION:

The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it.

Richard L. Evans, Bits & Pieces, March 4, 1993, p. 2.

In 1981, Kim Linehan held the world record in the Women’s 1500-meter freestyle. According to her coach, Paul Bergen, then 18-years-old wsa the leading amateur woman distance swimmer in the world. Kim did endless exercises and swims 7 to 12 miles a day. The hardest part of her regimen? "Getting in the water," she says.

Texas Monthly, quoted in Reader’s Digest, June 1981.

TRANSITION THOUGHT:

THESIS SENTENCE:

I. IT BEGINS WITH A TRANSITION

A. A TRANSITION IS PREPARATION

1. Preparation was the work of John.

2. John came preaching in the desert as foretold by Isaiah the prophet, “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him (Matthew 3:3).’”

3. John had done his work. He had declared Jesus to be the “Lamb of God (John 1:29).”

B. A TRANSITION IS COMPLETION

1. John had completed his task, or so it would seem. He had declared, “He must become greater; I must become less (John 3:30).”

2. Our text begins with John in jail. Matthew will explain all this in chapter 14 verses 1-12.

3. “When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee (4:12).”

4. Jesus had affirmed John’s ministry at his own baptism where He did not diminish what John was doing, but stated that it fulfilled all righteousness.

5. He also explained just who this “John the Baptist” was. See Matthew 11: 1-11.

6. John is now diminished by God and Jesus is on the scene!

ILLUSTRATION:

II. IT BEGINS WITH FULFILMENT

A. FULFILMENT IS THE PROMISE

1. The promise is the long foretold coming of the messiah.

2. Isaiah had foreseen what was to come and it was liberating and liberation! 3. Isaiah 9: 1-7 is the broader context. God was going to do something great and now the time has come!

B. FULFILMENT IS THE ACTION

1. Verses 12 and 13 tell us that Jesus was well aware of His up and coming roll. He did as was foretold. He did not sit idle by and do nothing, he go busy! 2. He went where He was supposed to go!

3. Jesus knew it was time to step up to the plate and he did not shun his responsibility.

4. He also knew what was to come!

ILLUSTRATION:

The book The World’s Worst Predictions lists some of history’s all-time prophetic goof.

King George II said in 1773 that the American colonies had little stomach for revolution.

An official of the White Star Line, speaking of the firm’s newly built flagship, the Titanic, launched in 1912, declared that the ship was unsinkable.

In 1939 The New York Times said the problem of TV was that people had to glue their eyes to a screen, and that the average American wouldn’t have time for it.

An English astronomy professor said in the early 19th century that air travel at high speed would be impossible because passengers would suffocate.

The World’s Worst Predictions.

III. IT BEGINS WITH THE MESSAGE

A. THE MESSAGE IS OLD

1. Do you remember what John was preaching (Matthew 3: 7-8)?


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