Summary: If the Kingdom of God has come then we should expect things to be different.
January 3, 2009
Text: Matthew 4:12-25
Subject: The Kingdom of God
Title: It Just Seems Right
Have you made a New Year’s resolution that you are determined to keep this year? Have you broken it yet? I don’t know why but it seems as though we are prone to fail in some of those things that we say we are going to do or not to do. Maybe it is because we know in our hearts that we need to make changes, so we consent to saying we will without having the resolve to hold the line. Maybe we know that we need to make changes but really have no desire to pursue those changes. Maybe we just say things but have no intention of changing.
I’ve made a resolution. Actually, I’ve made several of them.
1. I resolve to get as close to God as I can possibly get this year, without going to heaven yet.
2. I resolve to studying and learning as much from the word as I can possibly learn this year.
3. I resolve to be the best that I can be as your pastor in this year.
4. I resolve to commit myself to teach you, lead you, council you, and love you all more in this year than I ever have.
5. I resolve to make this the year of drastic turnaround in this church, this community, this area, and in this believer.
Now, one thing that I want you to notice here is that the first four resolutions that I have made involve me – no one else – just me. But the last one I cannot attain by myself. It involves you. If I do the first four, I hope that you will partner with me in seeing the fifth come to pass.
The thing that I believe will take us to that place is a renewed understanding of what the kingdom of God/heaven is really about. In order for me to do that, I want to take a step away from teaching for just a moment. Just for the next few minutes I don’t want to teach about the kingdom. Instead I want to introduce you to the King. I want you to experience the Kingdom instead of just hearing me teach about it.
Open your hearts to what God wants you to hear and see today.
It just seems right to me that this is the year for kingdom power to explode in this church. I want to do everything that I can to help you get into a position to receive all the promises of the kingdom now.
I. THE RIGHT TIME FOR THE KINGDOM. After Jesus had spent forty days in the desert with the devil tempting Him, He came away fully prepared for His earthly ministry. Luke 4:16 tells us, And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. Why did Jesus go into Galilee? Why didn’t HE stay down in Jerusalem where He could impact the religious leaders and begin change at the source of the problem? Because the time was not right for Him to do so. 12Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee… It wasn’t time for Him in Jerusalem yet, at least not a full time ministry there. He went to Nazareth because John had been put in prison in Jerusalem. Jesus knew HE was going to die at the hands of the religious rulers and the Romans, but now wasn’t the time. It was time, however, for Him to go into Galilee – so that prophecy could be fulfilled. 13Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali—14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: 15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— 16 the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” And finally it was the right time to preach the kingdom message. 17From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” From that time…There are two words in the Greek that are translated “time”… One is kronos, which means the time of day or a period of time. That’s not the word used here. It wasn’t the right time of the year or the right month or the right day for Jesus to begin to preach. The word used here is kairos and it refers to a specific or a strategic time – like the right time to go into a battle or the right time to share the gospel with a particular person. It is the time that the Heavenly Father has ordained for a particular purpose and this was Jesus’ time to begin to preach the kingdom message. Here is the Kingdom message: Repent – Change your mind, change the way you think - for the kingdom of heaven is near… Listen, I want you to understand this. When Jesus came to earth everything changed, not because He came to earth as God, but because He came to earth as a man. So now He is preaching – the word “preach” means to proclaim – He is preaching a message that the Kingdom of heaven is near. Philippians 2:7-8 says that Jesus … made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself… So if Jesus was proclaiming that things on earth are supposed to be like they are in heaven, but He is just a man like we are, then how could it be? Because of what happened at His baptism and what He would later do on the cross, and what He would do subsequent to that from heaven. 1) He ministered in the power of the Holy Spirit. 2) He died on a cross for our sin and rose from the death for eternal life. 3) He promised to baptize us in the Holy Spirit so we could continue in the same power that He had on earth. That is the kingdom dynamic that He is preaching.