Summary: Being citizens of the Kingdom by faith

Matthew 8:1-17

When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. 4 Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.”

7 Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.”

8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

10 When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.

14 When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. 15 He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.

16 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

“He took up our infirmities

and carried our diseases.”

Listen to this carefully now ….

When evening came (the darkness was present)

Many who were demon-possessed were brought to Him He drove out the spirits with a word

He healed ALL the sick.

This is the stuff of the Kingdom. This is the healing which comes from God in Jesus Christ. And it is a healing which is vastly more than simply dealing with our physical ailments, our infirmities and our sorrows.

This is healing our separation from God.

This is salvation. This is the entry into Kingdom life.

And Matthew confirms this when he quotes the redemptive and prophetic words of Isaiah – “SURELY (without doubt), He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows”. Surely He has done this….

Our infirmity, our sorrow is in our separation from God. We know no peace, we have no hope, our future is uncertain. We struggle with life.

But God came in Christ. He has redeemed us from uncertainty, He has given us peace. He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities. His punishment brought us peace and by His wounds we are healed.

This is amazing stuff from a prophet who spoke 650 years before Christ. In Him, in Christ, our past is changed, our present is made new and our future is filled with hope.

We are made new citizens of the Kingdom of God.

This is our faith. This is the faith which these young people come to profess today.

- God is our Father,

- Because of His love He sent His Son to redeem us and Christ’s death upon the Cross had only that purpose.

- Jesus came to declare, restore and usher in the Kingdom of God.

In Matthew’s Gospel, he begins to tell of Jesus’ ministry with these words, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

Now repentance is more than the confession of sins and the admission that we are sinners.

It is a declaration of a new choice for life. It is saying, “I am done with this old life, I am seeking the new …”

It is a turning around to go in a new direction.

From this bold challenge to repent and to accept the Kingdom, Jesus went up a mountainside and sat down to teach the disciples. He told them, as I did a few weeks ago, of the New Law of the Kingdom.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was not so much giving a new set of rules, as He was declaring the implementation of the principles of the Kingdom …

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