Summary: “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their Synagogues, preaching the good news of the Kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people” Matt. 4:23.
Matt. 4:12-23 Theme: Proclaim the Goodnews of Christ
Text: Is. 8:22-93; 1 Cor. 1:10-13, 17; Matt. 4:12-23
Introduction: In the providence of God the message and ministry of John the Baptist served two special purposes. Firstly it prepared the hearts of the Israelites for the advent and revelation of their long awaited Messiah, Jesus Christ. Secondly it provided a link between the dispensation of the Law and the prophets and the dispensation of the gospel initiated by Jesus Christ. God will not leave Himself without a witness, or His Church without guides and when one useful instrument is removed God will raise up another. In Matthew’s introduction to the life and ministry of Jesus we discover the way Jesus ministered and the way He expects us to minister as His disciples. He teaches us that the good news of the Kingdom has priority over everything else. This is the reason why when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, He immediately left the area and began His ministry of preaching the good news, teaching and healing. He placed the preaching of the good news of the Kingdom as a priority in His life. He put it before his mother and brothers, before His own needs and ultimately even before His own life. Jesus’ example teaches us to serve God by seeking His will in whatever situation we find ourselves, placing our lives before Him in prayer and sharing the Good News. God has called us and sent us with a message. He has sent us to proclaim the Good News of Christ.
Step One: The Good News of the Kingdom
a) Repentance from dead works
The good news was the message that Jesus came to bring and He stated it clearly in the first sermon that He preached saying, “Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is near”. It is the good news of God’s love for His people, our restored relationship with Him, and our entrance into His Kingdom. This Kingdom is a kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. It is the Kingdom of eternal life and entrance into it is only through repentance and faith. Repentance is vital to a right relationship with God and is the first response to the gospel that God demands. It is a necessary preparation for the revelation of the Messiah. Nothing else can come before it and nothing else can take its place. Repentance means to change one’s mind and is a decision and not just a perceived spiritual experience. It is an inner change of mind resulting in an outward turning back, or turning around, to face or to move in a completely new direction. Repentance is more than being sorry for past sins. It is a determined and purposeful turning away from a sinful past and a full-hearted turning to God. It is putting into practice our Christian beliefs and not just giving verbal assent to them. It is the end of the old life and the beginning of the new life.
b) Faith towards God
True repentance always precedes true faith and without true repentance there can never be true faith. Without repentance faith alone is a mere empty profession. This is one reason why the experience of so many Christians today is so unstable and insecure. They are professing faith but have never practised true repentance. They are trying to build without first laying a foundation. As a result the faith they profess procures for them neither the favour of God nor the respect of the world.