Matthew 4:12-17 The Kingdom of Heaven Is at Hand

Posted on October 20, 2008. Filed under: Redeemer Sermons Matthew |

Monday, October 20, 2008– Here are my notes from Pastor Tim’s sermon of three weeks ago. I missed church two weeks ago so I won’t have those notes, and then later this week I will print out my notes from this last week.

Matthew 4:12-17 (ESV) The Kingdom of Heaven Is at hand

12 Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 the people dwelling in darkness
have seen a great light,
and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death,
on them a light has dawned.”

17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Having seen the preparation and inauguration of his ministry, we now see Jesus beginning his preaching ministry.

I. The Timing of Jesus’ Ministry –He had heard of John’s arrest so he withdrew to Galilee. John had been speaking the truth to Herod and was arrested. John’s ministry had been prophesied by Isaiah 700 yrs earlier and Malachi 500 years earlier. His ministry lasted about 18 months. How long has God given you your ministry? We don’t know! Exactly! That should motivate you to work while it is day for night is coming.

Jesus was ministering in the Judean countryside but now retreats to Galilee. Gal.4:4-5

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

Jesus invades time, he enters at just the right time and wastes no time. Jesus had perfect timing. 1) the timing of the Lord’s ministry shows that the Lord will build his church. With John suddenly taken away, Jesus steps in to fill the gap. Later, when Jesus ascends to the Father, the disciples step up. In the Old Testament you have Moses; when Moses is taken away, Joshua fills the gap. The Church is not built on men, but on the Rock of God’s Truth and the Son. We are all expendable; God will always raise up a people to do his will.

II. The Place of Jesus’ Ministry– Galilee, Capernaum; he left Nazareth for Zebulun and Naphtali. Why did Jesus not base his ministry out of Nazareth? John 4:43-45 43 After the two days he departed for Galilee. 44 (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.) 45 So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast.

If you are blind it doesn’t matter how bright the light is. Spiritually darkened eyes need God to open them. Capernaum was the home to Peter, James, John and Andrew as well as Matthew. This in Galilee of the Gentiles. Matthew says that his ministry here fulfilled prophecy. It was a place known for its darkness. They feared the Lord yet worshipped false gods. God’s grace is manifested in the most unlikely of places! We would have chosen Jerusalem, center of the government, power, culture and religion. But Galilee did have some benefits. God’s plan encompasses timing and place. The details of our life might be painful but God is Lord over those details.

III. The Message of Jesus– Repent, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. 1) This is the same message of Repentance as John preached. The gospel is the same in the Old and New. The Messiah is proclaiming the message of the Kingdom of Heaven being at hand. His message is the same to us. If you reject the message of repentance you reject Jesus. What is Repentance? #87 of the Westminster shorter catechism- What is Repentance? Repentance is a saving grace- God gives it to the heart of the sinner. I won’t repent on my own. I naturally love my sin and don’t want to turn away- til God does a work in my heart.

In repentance we apprehend God’s mercy. It is not the circumstances that are the problem- i am the problem- but God is merciful. We know we deserve hell, but God loves us and gives his Son for us. So we cast ourselves on the mercy of God alone. When we find out that we deserve judgment we find that God poured out his wrath on the Son and we gain mercy!


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