“Emmanuel’s Forerunner” – Matthew 3:1-3

September 21st, 2014

Matthew 3:1-3

“Emmanuel’s Forerunner”

 

Meditation/Preparation:  Prepare to meet the King who has the power, authority and resources to make your life abundant, rich and full of  “. . .love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”.   He is coming soon!

 

Bible Memory Verse for the Week: Jesus says:  “Yes, I am coming soon.”  Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.  — Revelation 22:20b-21

 

Background Information:

  • By this time the people of Israel had had their fill of other kingdoms and rulers dominating them. They wanted a return to the glories of the ancient monarchy under David and Solomon and their descendants.  They had a brief tantalizing experience of semi-independence during the Maccabean revolt and the rule of the Hasmoneans, but that had long ended.  Once again another power, Rome, ruled over them.  The thirst for independence was strong in Israel.  (Michael J. Wilkins, The NIV Application Commentary: Matthew, 132-33)
  • The people of Israel considered John to be a prophet. Since God hadn’t sent a prophet to Israel for around 400 years, people were very interested in hearing what John had to say.
  • There had not been a prophet in Israel for more than four hundred years. It was widely believed that when the Messiah came, prophecy would reappear (Joel 2:28-29; Mal 3:1; 4:5).  John was that prophet, preaching a message of repentance.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 38)
  • There’s some significance in the fact that John spent much of his time in the area of the Jordan river. This is where the Israelites renewed their covenant with God before entering the promised land. Because John was visibly taking on himself the roll of Elijah, it is possible that he picked this area on the lower Jordan because that was where Elijah spent his last days.
  • The voice “in the wilderness” in Isa 40:3 to which Matthew will refer in v. 3 is an example of a recurrent prophetic theme. It was in the wilderness after the escape from Egypt that Israel began its existence as the people of God, and it will be some of those wilderness experiences which will be brought back to our attention in 4:1-11 as Jesus goes through his own wilderness testing.  The hope of a new exodus then led the prophets to speak of the wilderness as a place of new beginnings (Jer 2:2-3; Hos 2:14-15; cf. Ez 20:35-38); the blossoming of the wilderness is one of the great themes of Deutero-Isaiah (Isa 41:18-19; 43:19-21; 44:2-3, etc.). The voice in the wilderness (Isa 40:3) was the inspiration for the Qumran community to take its place down near the Dead Sea to wait for God’s eschatological intervention (1QS 8:12-14; 9:19-20), and it was on the area of the wilderness and the Jordan valley that several of the “prophetic” or “messianic” figures of the first century focused their appeal.  (R.T. France, The New International Commentary on the NT: Matthew, 100)
  • (v. 1) The desert was an important place in Israel’s history. The law was given in the Desert of Sinai (Ex 19), the prophets often went to the desert near Jordan to commune with God (e.g., 1 Kgs 17:2-3; 19:3-18), the Maccabees carried out guerrilla warfare from the desert (e.g., 1 Macc 5), and the desert had messianic overtones for diverse groups within Israel who associated it with God’s forthcoming deliverance (e.g., Essenes of the Qumran community).  (Michael J. Wilkins, The NIV Application Commentary: Matthew, 130-31)
  • (v. 2) This is the first of 32 times in the book of Matthew that we will see this phrase “kingdom of heaven.” (David Platt, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Matthew, 52)
  • (v. 2) The other Gospels record John as saying, “Repent! For the kingdom of God is at hand.”  Some have seen the difference between the language of Matthew and that of the other Gospel writers as indicating that there are two different kingdoms under God’s reign–a heavenly kingdom and an earthly one.  That is wrong, however.  We must remember that Matthew is a Jew writing for Jews using the customary literary form of circumlocution.  The Jews, who were loathe to pronounce the name God, found substitute expressions, so instead of saying “kingdom of God,” Matthew says “kingdom of heaven.”  (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary: Matthew, 40)
  • (v. 3) Next follows in the words of the prophet, The voice of one crying. That voice is contrasted with the temporary silence, which I have just mentioned: for the Jews were to be deprived, for a time, of the instruction, which they had wickedly despised.  (John Calvin, Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, 181-82)
  • (v. 3) The Greek word for “crying” is boao, meaning “to cry out with great feeling.” John the Baptist’s message was full of emotion and came directly from God.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 40)

 

John the Baptist

  • In the NT the preacher is the shouting man. Many do not like shouting; many object to exclamation, but the true preacher is one who speaks with a loud voice: “Prepare!  Look out!  Attention!”  After the homiletics or “preacher course” will come the teacher, the pastor, the expositor, the man whose business it is to stand in one place and unfold the infinite riches of the divine wisdom, but the preacher–defining that term in the light of the NT–is a herald, a man who has proclamation in his hands, whose sermon is brief not because it is a speech well-composed and elaborate, but a cry, as of a man who should call “Fire” to a sleeping town.  (Joseph Parker, The Inner Life of Christ, Studies in Matthew 1-7, 56-57)
  • F. B.Meyer wrote of John the Baptist:

Fatherless, motherless, brotherless, sisterless, a lone man he passed forth into the great wilderness of Judea which was so desolate that the Jews called it the abomination of desolation.  Travelers who have passed over and through it say that, “It is destitute of all animal life save a chance vulture or fox.  For the most part it is a waste of sand swept by wild winds.

When Jesus was there some two or three years later he found nothing to eat.  The stones around mocked his hunger and there was no company save that of the wild beasts.

In this great and terrible wilderness John supported himself by eating locusts and wild honey which abounded in the crevices of the rocks.  While for clothing he was content with a coat of course camel’s hair such as the Arab women still make, and a girdle of skin about his loins.  A cave like that in which David and his men often found refuge sufficed him for a home and the water of the stream that hurried to the Dead Sea his beverage.

Can we wonder that under such a regiment he grew strong?   We become weak by continual contact with our fellows.  We sink to their level.  We accommodate ourselves to their fashions and whims.  We limit the natural developments of character on God’s plan.  We take on the color of the bottom on which we lie.

But in loneliness and solitude, wherein we meet God, we become strong.  (Taken from the Chuck Swindoll tape series “The Origination of Something Glorious”, tape 3, side A, “The Prophet of the Most High”)

 

Repentance

  • What is repentance? “…a fundamental and thorough change in the hearts of men from sin and toward God. Although faith alone is the condition for salvation (Eph 2:8-10; Acts 16:31), repentance is bound up with faith and inseparable from it, since without some measure of faith no one can truly repent, and repentance never attains to its deepest character till the sinner realizes through saving faith how great is the grace of God against whom he has sinned.” (The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary)
  • “Repentance means a change of mind or attitude that is not solely emotional, but that involves a reversal of previous thinking and conduct” (Wycliffe Bible Commentary, p.1034)
  • True repentance only begins when one passes out of what the Bible sees as self-deception (cf. Jas 1:22, 26; 1 Jn 1:8) and modern counselors call denial, into what the Bible calls conviction of sin (Cf. Jn 16:8).    (J. I. Packer; Rediscovering Holiness, pgs 123-124)
  • “Gospel repentance is not a little hanging down of the head. It’s a working of the heart until your sin becomes more odious to you than any punishment for it.” — Richard Sibbes
  • Repentance is a continued act of turning, a repentance never to be repented of, a turning never to turn again to folly. A true penitent hath ever something within him to turn from; he can never get near enough to God; no, not so near him as once he was; and therefore he is still turning and turning that he may get nearer and nearer to him, that is his chiefest good and his only happiness, optimum maximum, the best and the greatest.  They are every day a-crying out, “O wretched men that we are, who shall deliver us from this body of death!” (Rom 7:24).  They are still sensible of sin, and still conflicting with sin, and still sorrowing for sin, and still loathing of themselves for sin.  Repentance is no transient act, but a continued act of the soul. (Thomas Brooks, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, 61)
  • The principle is this: true repentance is a change of mind, of heart, of disposition: it is the making of a new heart and of a right spirit. It originates in regeneration; in our being born again; in our obtaining a new nature and becoming new creatures in Christ by the Spirit.  And it flows forth, in unmistakable manifestations, in a new course of conduct; in a reformed life; a life aiming at new ends, conducted under a new rule, and aspiring to attain to a new standard.  Repentance, sprung from a true fear of God and a true sight of sin, manifests itself in a dutiful obedience to God’s law and a jealous abstinence from sin.  True and saving repentance is not a mere shaking off the evil fruit from the tree, and trying on fruit of a better appearance.  It is the changing of the tree’s very nature; and good fruit is then naturally brought forth, and not artificially appended.  The penitent exclaims, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”  Thus much for the healing of the tree.  He obeys the command, “Cease to do evil, learn to do well.” Thus much for the new, good fruit.  “Make the tree good, and the fruit good” (Mt 12:33)” (Hugh Martin; Jonah, 271-72)
  • Natural repentance is that natural feeling of sorrow and self-condemnation, of which a man is conscious for having done that which he sees he ought not to have done, and which arises from a discovery of the impropriety of it, or from reflecting on the disagreeable consequences of it to others, and especially to himself. (Dr. John Colquhoun; Repentance, 9)
  • Legal repentance is a feeling of regret produced in a legalist by the fear that his violations of the Divine law and especially his gross sins do expose him to external punishment. This regret is increased by his desire to be exempted on the ground of it from the dreadful punishment to which he knows he is condemned for them.  He is extremely sorry, not that he has transgressed the law, but that the law and the justice of God are so very strict that they cannot leave him at liberty to sin with impunity.  (Dr. John Colquhoun; Repentance, 9)
  • Evangelical repentance is altogether different from either of these. It is a gracious principle and habit implanted in the soul by the Spirit of Christ, in the exercise of which a regenerate and believing sinner, deeply sensible of the exceeding sinfulness and just demerit of his innumerable sins is truly humbled and grieved before the Lord, on account of the sinfulness and hurtfulness of them.  He feels bitter remorse, unfeigned sorrow, and deep self-abhorrence for the aggravated transgressions of his life, and the deep depravity of his nature; chiefly, because by all his innumerable provocations he has dishonored an infinitely holy and gracious God, transgressed a law which is ‘holy, and just, and good’, and defiled, deformed, and even destroyed his own precious soul.  This godly sorrow for sin and this holy abhorrence of it arise from a spiritual discovery of pardoning mercy with God in Christ, and from the exercise of trusting in His mercy.   And these feelings and exercises are always accompanied by an unfeigned love of universal holiness, and by fixed resolutions and endeavors to turn from all iniquity to God and to walk before him in newness of life.  Such, in general is the nature of that evangelical repentance, to the habit and exercise of which the Lord Jesus calls sinners who hear the Gospel.  (Dr. John Colquhoun; Repentance, 10)

 

The Kingdom of God

 

  • The present world is under the rule of Satan (Mt 4:9; cf. Lk 4:6; Mt 12:26; 14:30), but the action of God in Jesus means that Satan is being attacked, his rule is being brought to an end, and his captives are being set free.  If, therefore, the coming of the kingdom already means the hour of judgment upon wicked men (cf. Mt 3:10; cf. Lk 3:9), it is also the hour of deliverance in which men are set free from the demonic powers (Mt 12:28; cf. Lk 11:20).

     

    The deeds of Jesus are, therefore, to be seen as signs of the coming and the presence of the kingdom.  They are part of the message (cf. Mt 4:23).  They do not simply show the power of God–hence there is no hard and fast division to be made between the miraculous and non-miraculous deeds of Jesus–but rather the kind of power that He displays.  The kingdom of God is characterized by grace (Mt 20:1-16) and a compassion that is mighty to help the unfortunate and the outcast.  (Merrill C. Tenney, The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, Vol. 3, 805-06)

    • The coming of God’s kingdom is an eschatological event when the kingly reign of God, which is His de jurre, will be manifested on earth de facto, so that His will is done on earth as it is in heaven. This means two things: negatively, the judgment of the wicked and the subjugation of every hostile power; positively, the salvation of the righteous and the redemption of a fallen creation from the burden of evil.  (Geoffrey Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, 24)
    • Because God has revealed Himself in history, He has shown Himself to be the Lord of history. History is the scene of the divine activity.  History, therefore, has a direction and a goal–the kingdom of God.  The certainty of a future kingdom springs from faith in God’s work of salvation in the history of Israel.  This is the source of Israel’s eschatology.  (Geoffrey Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, 25)
    • It is God’s purpose finally to subdue and destroy these evil powers and deliver people from their enslavement.

    This divine victory will be achieved only in the age to come, which will witness the kingdom of God.  In fact, it is the coming of His kingdom that will inaugurate the age to come.  The term “kingdom of God” is used of the divine visitation (Mt 6:10; see Rv 12:10); but in the Gospels it is used more often of the new era to be inaugurated by the coming of God’s reign.  In this sense, the kingdom of God and the age to come are interchangeable terms.  (Geoffrey Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, 26)

     

     

    To raise a crop of wheat, the fallow ground must be broken up, no matter with what kind of a team and a plow it is done.  With whatever church a sinner may unite, he must truly repent in the sight of God before he can find forgiveness and thus take the first step in the way of salvation.

    But how few churches insist upon repentance as a condition of obtaining pardon for sins!  Yet the duty and necessity of repentance is taught in the Holy Scriptures with all plainness.  It seems strange that it could be overlooked by anyone who reads the Bible.

    Repentance was the burden of the preaching of our Lord.  “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt 4:17).  With great variety of statement and illustration He continued to preach in the same strain.  “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Lk 5:32; Mt 9:13).  If this was His mission, is it not strange that men who neglect or purposely omit to preach repentance will style themselves his ministers?  He taught, as plainly as words can teach, that men must repent in order to escape perdition.  “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Lk 13:3).  What can be more explicit?

    After His resurrection He enjoined His followers to preach repentance as a condition of forgiveness the world over.  “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem (Lk 24:45-47).  (B.T. Roberts; Fishers Of Men, 122)

     

    We see, then, the importance of repentance.  Without it there can be no salvation.  A Christian character that is not built upon it, though the greatest pains may have been taken in its formation, and years may have been employed in its construction, will not stand before the storms of the last day.  It will certainly fall; and the higher it is, the greater will be its fall.  Paul places “repentance from dead works” as the bottom tier of stones in the foundation of the edifice which every Christian builds for himself to all eternity.  See Heb. 6:1.  (B.T. Roberts; Fishers Of Men, 124)

     

    The questions to be answered are . . . Why is John the Baptist considered a forerunner or herald for King Jesus?  Who cares?

     

    Answer:  Because he warns people to prepare a way for the King by making straight paths and repenting.

     

    The Word for the Day is . . . Herald

     

    Why is John the Baptist as a Herald for Jesus significant to us?:

    I-  John the Baptist warns the people to get ready because the King of all Kings, the God-man Jesus, is about to arrive.  (Mt 3:2; see also: Ps 118:26; Isa 11:1-4; 40:1-6; Jer 23:5-6; Dn 7:13-14; Mal 3:1; 4:5-6; Mt 17:11-17; Lk 1:16-17, 76-77; Acts 19:4)

     

    The picture could come from the ancient Middle Eastern custom of sending servants ahead of a king to level and clear the roads to make them passable for his journey.  The people in Israel needed to prepare their minds to eagerly anticipate their King and Messiah.  The verbs are in the imperative, meaning that John spoke to them as a military general would speak commands–to be obeyed immediately and without hesitation.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 40)

     

    In ancient times it was common for a herald to precede the arrival of the monarch, to announce his coming and to prepare for his safe and proper travel.  With a coterie of servants, the herald would make sure that the roadway was as smooth and uncluttered as possible.  Holes would be filled, rocks and debris would be removed, and unsightly litter would be burned or hidden.  As the group traveled along and worked, the herald would proclaim the king’s coming to everyone he encountered.  His twofold duty was to proclaim and to prepare.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 50)

     

    It is proper that a king, especially such a king, have a herald to proclaim his approach.  This herald was John the Baptist.  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Matthew, 195)

     

    When the spiritual truth is about to appear, John is sent to remove obstacles.  And even now the same voice sounds in our ears, that we may prepare the way of the Lord:  that is, that we may take out of the way those sins which obstruct the kingdom of Christ, and thus may give access to his grace.  (John Calvin, Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, 182)

     

    In Isa 40:3 the way of Yahweh is being “made straight” (a metaphor using road building to refer to repentance); in Mt 3:3 it is the way of Jesus.  This sort of identification of Jesus with Yahweh is common in the NT (e.g., Ex 13:21 and 1 Cor 10:4; Isa 6:1 and Jn 12:41; Ps 68:18 and Eph 4:8; Ps 102:25-27 and Heb 1:10-12) and confirms the kingdom as being equally the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Jesus.  While the deity of Christ is only implicit in such texts, it certainly goes beyond Jesus’ being merely a royal envoy.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Vol. 8, 102)

     

    A proper view of God’s person is a powerful motive to true repentance.  (Robert Owen Roberts; Repentance, 159)

     

    But why was the announcement of the nearness of the kingdom a warning?  Because one of the King’s roles would be that of judge.  Just as the OT prophets warned that “the day of the Lord” would be a time of judgment as well as blessing, John also warned that the coming of the kingdom would be a revelation of God’s wrath against the ungodly.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 1, 48)

     

    Taken in the wider setting of the wilderness theme in Deutero-Isaiah, the text in its original context announces God’s coming to lead his people in their “new exodus” through the wilderness from Babylon back to Palestine.  It is God himself  who is to come and will use the  processional way.  There is no hint of any other person (a Messiah) intermediate between the “voice” and God himself.  Christian interpretation has for so long taken it for granted that John’s role was to prepare the way for the Messiah that it is easy to miss the radical significance of Matthew’s choice of text: the coming one in Isa 40:3 is not (only) the Messiah, but God himself.  The same is true of the forerunner texts in Malachi (3:1 and 4:5-6), which will be cited in 11:10, 14.  (R.T. France, The New International Commentary on the NT: Matthew, 105) {(only) addition Pastor Keith}

     

    Ancient roads were notably poor.  Efforts to make a road level and smooth were restricted to times when royalty was on its way.  John calls for repentance so that God will have straight paths to travel into the hearts and lives of his people.  (Robert H. Mounce, New International Biblical Commentary: Matthew, 23)

     

    Preaching is from kērussō, the primary meaning of which is “to herald.”  It was used of the official whose duty it was to proclaim loudly and extensively the coming of the king.  Matthew also uses this term with reference to Jesus and the apostles.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 52)

     

    John the Baptist’s preaching focused specifically on one message–preparing hearts for the coming Messiah.  Preparation could only occur through repentance.  John called the people to repent–to turn away from sins and turn toward God.  To be truly repentant, people must do both.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 38)

     

    II-  The King of Heaven can only be approached by a repentant heart and straight paths.  (Mt 3:2-3; see also: Mt 4:17; 18:3-4; 19:14; Mk 1:15; 6:12; 10:14-15; Lk 5:31-32; 13:1-5; 17:20-21; 18:16-17; Jn 3:3-5; 18:36-37; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; 17:30; 20:20-21; 2 Cor 7:8-10; 2 Tim 2:25; 2 Peter 3:9)

     

    “The more we encounter the holy God in our worship, the more we will recognize our utter sinfulness and be driven to repentance.  This, too, is an essential part of our praise.”  (Marva Dawn; Reaching Out without Dumbing Down, 90)

     

    The motive John gave for repentance was: the kingdom of heaven is at hand (3:2b).  The people should repent and be converted because the King was coming, and He deserves and requires no less.  The unrepentant and unconverted cannot give the heavenly King the glory He deserves, do not belong to the heavenly King, and are unfit for His heavenly kingdom.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 54)

     

    The day of the coming of the Lord, prophesied throughout the OT, was a day of blessing and judgment (Joel 2:1-2; Amos 5:18-20; Zeph 1:14-16).  (David Platt, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Matthew, 52)

     

    Repentance is not sorrow or remorse, though it may include these.  It involves a complete change of attitude regarding God and sin and is often accompanied by a sense of sorrow and a corresponding change in conduct.  Such repentance does not arise within a person of his or her own volition, but is the result of God’s mercy in leading the person to it (cf. Acts 5:31; Rom 2:4; 2 Tm 2:25).  Thus repentance involves the very process of conversion whereby people are born again.  When people repent, in the biblical sense of the term, they have a change of mind about God, Christ, sin, and themselves.  They no longer view themselves as no worse than anyone else, but as undone, completely lost and on the way to hell.  (Edward Hindson and James Borland, Matthew: The King is Coming, 32-33)

     

    In classical Greek the verb could refer to a purely intellectual change of mind.  But the NT usage has been influenced by the Hebrew verbs nāham (“to be sorry for one’s actions”) and šûb (“to turn around to new actions”).  The latter is common in the prophets’ call to the people to return to the covenant with Yahweh (cf. DNTT, 1:257-59; Turner, Christian Words, 374-77).  What is meant is not merely intellectual change of mind or mere grief, still less doing penance, but a radical transformation of the entire person, a fundamental turnaround involving mind and action and including overtones of grief, which results in “fruit in keeping with repentance.”  Of course, all this assumes that man’s actions are fundamentally off course and need radical change.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Vol. 8, 99)

     

    It was not by accident, I suspect, that the first of the ninety-five theses Martin Luther nailed to the Wittenberg church door read, “when our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said ‘repent,’ He willed that the entire life of believers be one of repentance.”  (Charles Colson, A Dangerous Grace, 32)

     

    So began the Reformation, and at its heart lay Luther’s great discovery:  Repentance is a characteristic of the whole life, not the action of a single moment. (Sinclair Ferguson; The Grace of Repentance, 11)

     

    We have such smooth, almost secularized ways of talking people into the kingdom of God that we can no longer find men and women willing to seek God through the crisis of encounter.  When we bring them into our churches, they have no idea of what it means to love and worship God because, in the route through which we have brought them, there has been no personal encounter, no personal crisis, no need of repentance–only a Bible verse with a promise of forgiveness.  (A. W. Tozer, Whatever Happened to Worship?, 118)

     

    In Adam we all suffered shipwreck, and repentance is the only plank left us after shipwreck to swim to heaven. — Thomas Watson

     

    It is not the hookers and thieves who find it most difficult to repent: it is you who are so secure in your piety and pretense that you have no need of conversion.  They may have disobeyed God’s call, their professions have debased them, but they have shown sorrow and repentance.  But more than any of that, these are the people who appreciate His goodness: they are parading into the kingdom before you: for they have what you lack—a deep gratitude for God’s love and deep wonder at His mercy.  (Brennan Manning; Ragamuffin Gospel, 103)

     

    Are you happy about yourself?  Are you happy about the state of the Church?  Is all well?  Can we go jogging along?  Meetings, services, activities—wonderful!  Is it?  Where is the knowledge of God?  Is he in the midst?  Is he in the life?  What is our relationship to him?   Face that question, and it will lead to this true godly sorrow and repentance, which will manifest itself in a practical manner.  May God have mercy upon us, open our eyes to the situation, and give us honest minds, and truth in our inward parts.   (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Revival, 160)

     

    Growth in holiness cannot continue where repenting from the heart has stopped. (J. I. Packer; Rediscovering Holiness, 139)

     

    It is a fact, unhappy but undeniable, that repentance nowadays rarely gets mentioned in evangelism, nurture, and pastoral care, even among evangelicals and Christian traditionalists.  The preoccupations of stirring congregational excitement, sustaining believers through crises, finding and honing gifts and skills, providing interest-based programs, and counseling people with relational problems, have displaced it.  As a result, the churches, themselves, orthodox and heterodox together, lack spiritual reality, and their members are all too often superficial people with no hunger for the deep things of God (J. I. Packer; Rediscovering Holiness, 144)

     

    “The real difference between a Christian and a non-Christian is not their attitude toward sin… . the difference is their attitude toward their good deeds.  The Pharisee repents of sin, but the Christian repents of his or her ‘righteousness’ as well, seeing it not only as insufficient, but sinful itself, since it was done in order to save ourselves without Christ.”  (Tim Keller, The Content of the Gospel, 27)

     

    Till sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet. (Thomas Watson; The Doctrine of Repentance, 63)

     

    “When we call sin “not sin” we burn the bridge back to God because we can’t repent of something we don’t think is wrong.”  (Steve Brown, Romans Tape 2 Side 2)

     

    An unrepentant faith is a theoretical belief which originates outside the sphere of the Spirit’s illumination in a heart which is still in darkness concerning its own need and the grace and grandeur of God.  (Richard Lovelace ; Dynamics of Spiritual Life, 103)

     

    Repentance that renews precious fellowship with our incomparably wonderful God ultimately furthers our joy.  Just as we cannot enter into the repentance without sorrow for our guilt, we cannot emerge from true repentance without joy for our release from shame. (Bryan Chapell; Holiness by Grace, 88)

     

    I know of only two alternatives to hypocrisy:  perfection of honesty.  Since I have never met a person who loves the Lord our God with all her heart, mind, and soul, and loves her neighbor as herself, I do not view perfection as a realistic alternative.  Our only option, then, is honesty that leads to repentance.  As the Bible shows, Gods’ grace can cover any sin, including murder, infidelity, or betrayal.  Yet by definition grace must be received, and hypocrisy disguises our need to receive grace.  When the masks fall, hypocrisy is exposed as an elaborate ruse to avoid grace. (Philip Yancey; What’s so Amazing About Grace?, 204)

     

    (The Holy Spirit reminded Tim) “Don’t you dare look at any good thing in your life as anything other than a sheer act of (God’s ) grace, . . . undeserved grace.   And as you meditate on these good things as a sheer act of undeserved grace then turn to Jesus and say, ‘Lord, I can’t believe your grace.  Your grace is so great, that I want to adore you, not these things.  I want your smile, your honor, your pleasure should be my joy and crown, and my worth and my significance’.

    Because if I put my heart down for anything else when the trouble free stretch is over, and inevitably it will be over, I will perish.  Therefore, Jesus Christ says, “That there is no more important time to repent than when everything is going very well.”

    You see and now we know what repentance is.  You say, “How can I repent if I have not done anything wrong?”

    Repentance is not so much for doing bad things as for over trusting good things.   Because breaking rules is just a symptom of sin.  But, the disease of sin is being your own savior by trusting in something besides Jesus Christ for your righteousness, your wisdom, . . . your sanctification, and your redemption.  And as my wife likes to say, “The default mode of the human heart is self-salvation.”

    And there is no more time for it to happen, no more time for that to go into overdrive, then during the calm times, the safe times, the comfortable times, the prosperous times. (Tim Keller message from Luke 13:1-9, The Falling Tower )

     

    Preachers are fenced into only one hope of success–“If God gives repentance’ to their hearers.  Oratory will not convince rebels.  Clever devices will not reverse the steps of rich, young sinners.  Careful preparation and energetic delivery of precise theology can do nothing in themselves.  But ‘if God’ attends Biblical messages and means, the dead will rise.  (Walter J. Chantry, Today’s Gospel:  Authentic or Synthetic?, 89)

     

    Knowledge without repentance will be but a torch to light men to hell. (Thomas Watson; The Doctrine of Repentance, 77)

     

    Biblical repentance, then, is not merely a sense of regret that leaves us where it found us.  It is a radical reversal that takes us back along the road of our sinful wanderings, creating in us a completely different mind-set.  We come to our senses spiritually (Lk 15:17).  Thus the prodigal son’s life was no longer characterized by the demand “give me” (v. 12) but now by the request “make me. . .” (v. 19). (Sinclair Ferguson; The Grace of Repentance, 16)

     

    John’s call to repentance sounds similar to the prophets of the OT, calling the people into a right relationship with God that must affect every aspect of their lives.  Indicating “to change one’s mind,” repentance in the OT always called for a change in a person’s attitude toward God, which would then impact one’s actions and overall direction in life.  External signs of repentance regularly included confession of sin, prayers of remorse, and abandonment of sin.  (Michael J. Wilkins, The NIV Application Commentary: Matthew, 131)

     

    Harry Ironside wrote that “such a ministry is needed greatly today when men have lost, in large measure, the sense of the sinfulness of sin,” adding, “It is useless to preach the gospel of the grace of God to men who have no realization of their need of that grace.”  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 1, 47)

     

    “It is vain to say with our lips that we repent, if we do not at the same time repent in our lives. It is more than vain. It will gradually sear our consciences, and harden our hearts.”  (J.C. Ryle; Commentary on the Gospels, 91)

     

    The Kingdom of God is God reigning in us.  — John Calvin

     

    The Kingdom of God is God’s rule over the hearts of repentant men and women ( Mt 4:17; 5:3; 6:33; 18:1-4; 19:14; 21:31; Mk 1:15; 10:14-15; Lk 12:31; 18:16-18; Jn 3:3ff; 1 Cor 5:5;  Eph 2:2; 5:5; 2 Pt 2:3-11; 3:3-10)

     

    This is why so many moderns have no kingdom power.  You cannot enjoy a kingdom unless you are submitted to the king.  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Luke, Vol. One, 158)

     

    Furthermore, praying “Your Kingdom come” involves a commitment to do God’s will.  Matthew’s record of the Lord’s Prayer expands this phrase: “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (6:10).  To pray “Your kingdom come” is to pray for the bending of our wills in profound obedience to his.  It is a commitment to consciously submit everything to his authority.  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Luke, Vol. One, 157)

     

    I cannot pray, except I sin;

    I cannot preach, but I sin;

    I cannot administer, nor receive the holy sacraments, but I sin.

    My very repentance needs to be repented of;

    And the tears I shed need washing in the blood of Christ. —William Beveridge  (Kent Hughes; Preaching the Word Series, John: That You May Believe, 151)

     

    “The Mosaic covenant explicitly assured that repentance would lead to restoration to the land (see Dt 4:29; 30:1-3).” (Richard Pratt, Jr.; 1 and 2 Chronicles, 239)

     

    Oddly, Jesus addresses none of the pressing issues that plagued the first century.  The government was godless, yet he led no revolt to overthrow it.  The populace was heavily taxed, yet he led no rally for economic reform.  Many of the people were slaves, yet he led no movement to liberate them.  Poverty.  Classism.  Racism.  The list of social ills was as long as it was ugly.

    Instead of making that list his political agenda, Jesus was content to plant the tiniest of seeds in the unlikeliest soil, to hide a lump of grace in the life of a nobody.

    A fisherman.  A tax collector.  A centurion.

    Heart by heart that’s the way the kingdom of God grew.  Quietly reaching for the sun.  Spreading throughout history so people from every tribe and nation could one day roost in its branches.  (Ken Gire, Instructive Moments with the Savior, 84)

     

    III-  The Kingdom of Heaven where God reigns is the ultimate utopian society that is backed by the power, authority, knowledge, wisdom and love of God.  (Mt 3:2; see also: Ps 145:13; Isa 11; 40; 64:4; Ez 37:25; Dn 2:44; 4:3; Zech 14:9; Lk 11:20; 17:20-37; 1 Cor 2:9; 4:20; Eph 3:20-21)

     

    Although the precise phrase is not found there, the kingdom of heaven is basically an OT concept.  David declares that “the Lord is King forever and ever” (Ps 10:16; cf. 29:10), that His kingdom is everlasting, and that His dominion “endures throughout all generations” (Ps 145:13).  Daniel speaks of “the God of heaven [who] will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed” (Dn 2:44; cf. Ezek 37:25), a “kingdom [that] is an everlasting kingdom” (Dn 4:3).  The God of heaven is the King of heaven, and the heavenly kingdom is God’s kingdom.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 55)

     

    To the Evangelist the Kingdom of Heaven is that Kingdom which the Messiah will found or bring with Him, when He returns in glory on the clouds of Heaven (24:30; 26:64); it is still in the future.  The parables in which the judgment, with bliss for the righteous and woe for the wicked, is indicated, represent this judgment, and the consequent bliss or woe, as future.  This is evident in the Tares (14:37ff.), the Virgins (25:1ff.), and the Talents (25:14ff.).  Still more clearly in the discourse about the Sheep and the Goats (25:31ff.).  (Alfred Plummer, Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel of St. Matthew, 26)

     

    The kingdom of God among men is nothing else than a restoration to a happy life; or, in other words, it is true and everlasting happiness.  When John says, that the kingdom of God is at hand, his meaning is, that men, who were alienated from the righteousness of God, and banished from the kingdom of heaven, must be again gathered to God, and live under his guidance.  This is accomplished by a free adoption and the forgiveness of sins, by which he reconciles to himself those who were unworthy.  In a word, the kingdom of heaven is nothing else than “newness of life,” (Rom 6:4), by which God restores us to the hope of a blessed immortality.  Having rescued us from the bondage of sin and death, he claims us as his own; that, even while our pilgrimage on earth continues, we may enjoy the heavenly life by faith:  for he “hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ,” (Eph 1:3).  Though we are like dead men, yet we know that our life is secure; for it “is hid with Christ in God,” (Col 3:3).  (John Calvin, Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, 178-79)

     

    Throughout the OT there was a rising expectation of a divine visitation that would establish justice, crush opposition, and renew the very universe.  This hope was couched in many categories: it was presented as the fulfillment of promises to David’s heir, as the Day of the Lord (which often had dark overtones of judgment, though there were bright exceptions, e.g., Zeph 3:14-20), as a new heaven and a new earth, as a time of regathering of Israel, as the inauguration of a new and transforming covenant (2 Sm 7:13-14; Isa 1:24-28; 9:6-7; 11:1-10; 64-66; Jer 23:5-6; 31:31-34; Ezek 37:24; Dan 2:44; 7:13-14).  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Vol. 8, 99-100)

     

     

    The Kingdom of God is God’s rule over heaven and earth (Ex 15:18; 1 Chr 29:11; 2 Kgs 19:15; Ps 22:27-31; 33:13; 47:2, 7; 74:12; 93:2; 95:3-5; 96:13; 99:4; 103:19; 145:11-13; Isa 13:6; Dan 4:3-4; 7:13-14, 21-22; Ez 1:26-28; 30:3; Joel 1:15; 3:14; Oba 1:15; Zeph 1:7; Mt 12:28; Lk 9:2,11; 11:20; Jn 18:36-37; Gal 5:21; Rv 11:15; 12:10)

     

    The essential relationship between Jesus’ death and the coming of the kingdom is illustrated in that the sayings about His death refer to Him as the Son of man (Mk 8:31; 9:31; 10:33f.).  The Son of man by definition was an apocalyptic figure who would come “with the clouds” as the messianic figure in the eschatological consummation (Dn 7:13f.).  Before He fulfills His eschatological role, however, the Son of man must appear on earth in a mission of humility and suffering as the Servant of the Lord, to “give his life as a ransom for many” (Mk 10:45).  The eschatological consummation is linked with what God is doing in history in Jesus, especially in His death.  (Geoffrey Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, 28)

     

    God is regarded as sitting upon a throne (Ps 103:19a; Ez 1:26-28) where He is surrounded by the heavenly host who serve Him (1 Kgs 22:19) and from where He watches over the whole earth (Ps 33:13f.).  In the praise offered to Him by Israel He was regarded as the King of the whole world (1 Chr 29:11; Ps 103:19b) and of all the kingdoms of men (2 Kgs 19:15; Ps 47:2, 7).  He is the eternal King (145:13; Dn 4:3, 4), both from everlasting (Ps 74:12; 93:2) and to everlasting (Ex 15:18).  His right to be king rests upon the fact that He is the Creator of the heaven and the earth (Ps 95:3-5).  His kingly rule is displayed in His present jurisdiction over the nations of the world (cf. Ps 22:28; Jer 46:18; 48:15; 51:57) and in His appointment of their rulers (Dn 2:37; 4:17; 5:32; et al.).  He overcomes the forces of chaos and disorder symbolized by the mighty floods and the sea (Ps 29:10; 93:1-4), and His reign is characterized not only by power and glory (Ps 145:11f.) but also by truth and righteousness (Ps 96:13; 99:4), so that it is right and just that He should be the judge of the world (Ps 96:10).  He is worthy of praise (Ps 97:1; 98:6ff.) and fear from all peoples (Ps 99:1-3; Isa 6:5; Jer 10:7-10; Mal 1:14).  (Merrill C. Tenney, The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, Vol. 3, 801-02)

     

    The Kingdom of God is obtained by grace through faith (Mt 8:11ff; 20:1-16; 21:31, 43; 22:2ff; 23:13; Lk 13:28ff; Jn 3:3ff; 1 Cor 15:50; Eph 2:8-10; Col 1:12-13; 1 Thes 2:12)

     

    This “kingdom” is the reality that came with Jesus as the fulfillment of God’s plan for history, of which OT prophets had often spoken (Isa 2:1-4; 9:6, 7; 11:1-12:6; 42:1-9; 49:1-7; Jer 23:5, 6).  The kingdom is present with Jesus; His miracles are signs of it (Mt 11:12; 12:28; Lk 16:16; 17:20, 21).  The kingdom takes command of a person’s life when he or she submits in faith to the lordship of Christ, a momentous commitment that brings salvation and eternal life (Mk 10:17-27; Jn 5:24).  The kingdom will be preached and grow (Mt 13:31-33; 24:14) until the Son of Man, now reigning in heaven, reappears to gather His elect from every corner of the world.  (Luder Whitlock, Jr., New Geneva Study Bible, 1517)

     

    Jesus teaches that the kingdom of God will not come (at first) in an outward visible form, but rather through his healings, exorcisms, and authoritative teaching (see 4:18-19; 7:22-23).  (Clinton E. Arnold, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary, Vol. 1, 455)

     

    The kingdom of God is the range of his effective will:  that is, it is the domain where what he prefers is actually what happens.  (Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy, 259)

     

    If you have any conditions to your obedience to Jesus then Jesus is not your King and you are not in the Kingdom.  Because the thing that is the basis of your “if” or “when” of your salvation is your salvation and King.  You cannot say “I’ll follow you Jesus if . . . or “I’ll follow you Jesus when . . .” because the thing that is the “if” or “when” is your king and Lord . . . not Jesus. (Keith Porter after listening to a message by Tim Keller)

     

    “This age is the time of sinfulness, evil, and rebellion against God; the age to come will see the perfect establishment of God’s rule in the world and the purging of all sin, evil and rebellion.” (The International Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. Three: K- P, 26)

     

    The kingdom of God always appears upside down to the human perspective.  We think it’s strange to die in order to live, or to give in order to receive, or to serve in order to lead.  Solomon captures the perpetual enigma of our looking-glass values just as Jesus describes them in the Sermon on the Mount.  He insists we should embrace sorrow over laughter, rebukes over praise, the long way instead of the short, and today instead of yesterday.

    The truth is that it’s not the kingdom of God that is upside down–it’s the world.  It’s not the Word of God that turns life inside out–it’s the world that has reversed all the equations that God designed for our lives.   (David Jeremiah, Searching for Heaven on Earth, 189)

     

    The kingdom of God thrives where its subjects follow the desires of the King — does that describe the United States of America today? (Philip Yancey;  What’s so Amazing About Grace?, 258)

     

    The fundamental definition of the kingdom of God is: God’s people, in God’s place, under God’s rule.  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Luke, Vol. Two, 175)

     

    God’s kingly rule over the hearts of men and over the world may be thought of as having a number of phases.  The first is the prophesied kingdom, such as that foretold by Daniel.  The second phrase is the present kingdom, the one that existed at the time of John the Baptist and that he mentions.  It is the kingdom that both John and Jesus spoke of as being at hand (cf. 4:17).  The third phase may be referred to as the interim kingdom, the kingdom that resulted because of Israel’s rejection of her King.  The King returned to heaven and His kingdom on earth now exists only in a mystery form.  Christ is Lord of the earth in the sense of His being its Creator and its ultimate Ruler; but He does not presently exercise His full divine will over the earth.  He is, so to speak, in a voluntary exile in heaven until it is time for Him to return again.  He reigns only in the hearts of those who know Him as Savior and Lord.  For those “the kingdom of God is…righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17).  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 56)

     

    CONCLUSION/APPLICATION:

    • The now not yet Kingdom of God is what every godly heart desires and what every sinful and prideful heart fears. We should do all that we can to enter into the Kingdom of God.  Get ready!  (Mt 5:19-20; 7:21; 8:11; 13:43-45, 52; 22:2ff; Mk 9:47; 10:17-27; Lk 12:40; 13:28-29; 14:15; 17:22-25, 30-33; Jn 18:36; Rom 14:17)

     

    The kingdom has been inaugurated (begun) but has not yet been realized (completed).  So there remains a tension between the already and the not yet aspects of the kingdom.  Those who obey Jesus now experience, in a partial way, the wonderful benefits that he describes in this sermon.  (Bruce B. Barton, D.Min., Life Application Bible Commentary: Luke, 149)

     

    For those who seek their highest happiness in material things and fix their thoughts thereon above all else, the coming of the Son of Man will be fraught with fatal consequences.  Therefore everyone should take care to be free at heart from earthly things and should give to the kingdom of God the first place in his heart and life.  (Norval Geldenhuys, The New International Commentary on the New Testament: Luke, 441)

     

    The kingdom of God is about restoring this fallen world back to what God originally intended.  It is about bringing life out of death, sight from blindness, a voice from the dumb, health from the sick and diseased, water from the wine, righteousness from evil, and Shalom from heartbreak and turmoil.

     

    The theme of the kingdom of God runs through both Testaments, focusing God’s purpose for world history.  In the OT God declared that He would exercise His kingship (His sovereignty, Dn 4:34, 35) by ruling over people’s lives and circumstances through His chosen King, the Davidic Messiah (Isa 9:6,7) in a golden age of blessing.  This kingdom came with Jesus and is known wherever the lordship of Jesus is acknowledged.  Jesus is enthroned in heaven as ruler over all things (Mt 28:18; Col 1:13), King of kings and Lord of lords (Rv 17:14; 19:16).  The golden age of blessing is an era of salvation from sin and fellowship with God leading to a future state of complete joy in a reconstructed universe.  The kingdom is present in its beginnings but future in its fullness; in one sense here already, but in the richest sense still to come (Lk 11:20; 16:16; 17:21; 22:16, 18, 29, 30).

    The kingdom came bringing mercy but also judgment, just as John the Baptist, its forerunner, had said (Mt 3:1-12).  Those who received Jesus’ word and put their destiny in His hands found mercy, while those who would not were judged.

    The task of the church is to make the invisible kingdom visible through faithful Christian living and witness.  The gospel of Christ is still the gospel of the kingdom (Mt 4:23; 24:14; Acts 20:25; 28:23, 31), the good news of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.  The church makes its message credible by manifesting the reality of kingdom life.

    The coming of the kingdom meant a new stage in God’s redemptive program.  All that was typical, temporary, and imperfect in the arrangements God made for Israel’s communion with Him became things of the past.  God’s Israel, the seed of Abraham, was revealed as the company of believers in Jesus (Gal 3:16, 26-29).  The Spirit was poured out, and a new way of life became a reality for this world.  A new internationalism of global church fellowship and global evangelism was born (Mt 28:19, 20; Eph 2:11-18; 3:6, 14, 15; Col 1:28, 29; Rv 5:9, 10; 7:9).  (Luder Whitlock, Jr., New Geneva Study Bible, 1638)

     

    As in the time before the Deluge, the great masses of people will, even up to the moment of His advent, be completely engrossed in earthly, material and evanescent affairs and will not take heed to be prepared for His coming.  Owing to their foolish attachment to worldly things, the judgment will overtake them suddenly and unexpectedly, and there will no longer be any time for deliverance.  The time of grace will be forever past and the judgment will overtake them.  (Norval Geldenhuys, The New International Commentary on the New Testament: Luke, 441)

     

    We have a hundred different forms of insurance by which we prepare for sickness, fire, storm, and theft; and we write wills by which our family is protected in the event of our death.  Do we get ready for God?  No, we live as in the days of Noah.  But our primary dealings are with God, from whom we came, and into whose hands we fall at the last.  (Abingdon Press, The Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. VIII, 302-03)

     

    It should be unnecessary to state that according to our Lord’s own explanation it is not an earthly or political kingdom that is in view here, but rather the kingdom or rule of grace and truth established in the hearts and lives of all those who have the God of Jacob as their refuge (Ps 46:7, 11).  See Lk 17:21; Jn 6:15; 18:36, 37; Acts 1:6-8.  In the words of the apostle Paul this kingdom is one of “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17).  Its ultimate outward manifestation will be “the new heaven and earth” and all the blessings that go with this gloriously renewed universe.  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Luke, 87)

     

    One boy does his piano practice because his parents bribe him, another because he wants to enjoy music.  One man makes friends because they are useful to him in business, another because he enjoys friendship.  The joys of the kingdom of God are the result of being a certain sort of person, one who will enjoy being forever with God because he has already found in God his exceeding great reward.  (G. B. Caird, The Pelican New Testament Commentaries, Saint Luke, 103)

     

    By the kingdom of God, Jesus meant the new eschatological order to be established by a divine visitation.  A new terminology emerges in the Gospels that became common in Jewish and rabbinic literature–that of the two ages:  this age and the age to come (Ladd, Jesus and the Kingdom, 86ff.).  Although this terminology is not found in the OT, it is an easy development of the prophetic theology of the kingdom of God.  This age is the time of sinfulness, evil, and rebellion against God:  the age to come will see the perfect establishment of God’s rule in the world and the purging of all sin, evil, and rebellion.  (Geoffrey Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, 26)

     

    The coming of the kingdom of God will witness the complete expurgation of evil from God’s creation.  (Geoffrey Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, 26)

     

     

    Kingdom obedience is kingdom abundance.  (Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy, 312)

     

    Tell a man to repent only, and leave him there, and you put a dart into his breast.  Tell him to repent, and add that the kingdom of heaven, with all its light and healing and redemption, is at hand, and you preach to him something like a complete gospel.  (Joseph Parker, The Inner Life of Christ, Studies in Matthew 1-7, 59)

     

    Like Isaiah, John was a prophet who urged people to confess their sins and live for God.  Both prophets taught that the message of repentance is good news to those who listen and seek the healing forgiveness of God’s love, but terrible news to those who refuse to listen and thus cut off their only hope.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 40)

     

    “Never will a man flee till he sees there is real cause to be afraid.  Never will he seek heaven till he is convinced that there is a risk of his falling into hell.  The religion in which there is no mention of hell, is not the religion of John the Baptist, and of our Lord Jesus, and his apostles.” (J.C. Ryle; Commentary on the Gospels, 91)

     

    Like the “day of the Lord,” this “day of the son of man” should not be “desired” (v. 22) without knowing the calamity it will bring (see Amos 5:18-20).  (David L. Tiede, Augsburg Commentary on the NT: Luke, 302-03)

     

    The Kingdom of God is worth sacrificing all else to obtain. (30-33; see also: Gn 7:6-24; 19:26; Mt 6:33; 10:39; 11:11-12; 13:44-46; 16:25; 19:23-24; Mk 8:35; 9:47; 10:23-25; Lk 9:24, 62; 18:24-30; Jn 12:25; 1 Cor 15:51-58; 1 Jn 2:15-17)

     

    Furthermore, praying “Your kingdom come” involves a commitment to do God’s will.  Matthew’s record of the Lord’s Prayer expands this phrase:  “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (6:10).  To pray “Your kingdom come” is to pray for the bending of our wills in profound obedience to his.  It is a commitment to consciously submit everything to his authority.  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Luke, Vol. One, 157)

     

    In its present setting it declares that a man must forfeit his life as well as his earthly effects in the last day if he is to share in the glories of the coming age.  (Abingdon Press, The Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. VIII, 304)

     

    Watch!  Be Alert!  Make the Kingdom of God your primary affection, concern and allegiance!  (See Mt 6:33; 24:4, 42-43; 25:1-13; Mk 13:5, 33-35, 37; Lk 21:8, 36; 1 Thes 5:6)

     

    Worship Point:  Jesus is the King who desires to bring life in its abundance to all of His subjects and to the world in which they live.  When we begin to realize the goals of the King of Kings and the certainty of its reality, we will worship.

     

    When you have pursued God in repentant helplessness, you will have worshiped.  And every time you sense his embrace, your soul will shine the slightest bit brighter with his reflected glory, and you will be the slightest bit more ready to face what his life has in store for you.  (Timothy Keller, King’s Cross, 122)

     

    Good news, you’re a sinner!  Sin is the best news there is. . . because with sin, there’s a way out. . . you can’t repent of confusion or psychological flaws inflicted by your parents — you’re stuck with them.  But you can repent of sin.  Sin and repentance are the only grounds for hope and joy, the grounds for reconciled, joyful relationships.  (John Alexander; The Other Side, as quoted in  Leadership: Summer 2000, 75)

     

    Gospel Application:  The kingdom of God and eternal life is the result of a life trusting in the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and the Good News that Jesus made entry into the Kingdom possible.

     

    Spiritual Challenge:  The King is coming.  Be ready.  (Mt 16:27; 23:39; 24:27-31, 37-44; 25:31; Mk 13; 14:62; Lk 12:40; 17:22-37; 21:5-35; Jn 14:3; Acts 1:11; 1 Cor 11:26; Col 3:4; 1 Thes 2:19; 5:2, 33; 2 Thes 2:1-4; 1 Tm 6:14-15; 2 Tim 4:8; Ti 2:13; Jas 5:7-9; 1 Pt 5:4; 1 Jn 3:2)

     

    “A sinner can repent, but stupid is forever”   —BILLY SUNDAY

     

    Seeking God’s kingdom means focusing one’s life on things that have eternal value rather than on material things.  (Clinton E. Arnold, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary, Vol. 1, 430)

     

     

    Quotes to Note:

    “In all his preaching of the kingdom of God, Jesus did not look for moral achievement in his followers, but for faith in himself.  Clearly regarded Messianic faith is the key to spiritual growth.  Paul has the same assessment.  He resists the Galatians’ effort to add to faith a calculus of legal obedience as a new source of Christian maturity:  “Did you receive the Spirit by observing the Law, or by believing what you heard?  Are you so foolish?  After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? . . . Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard? (Gal 3:2-5 NIV)   (Richard Lovelace; Renewal as a Way of Life, 133)

     

    You see, it wasn’t the money that hindered the rich man; it was the self-sufficiency.  It wasn’t the possessions; it was the pomp.  It wasn’t the big bucks; it was the big head.  “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”  It’s not just the rich who have difficulty.  So do the educated, the strong, the good-looking, the popular, the religious.  So do you if you think your piety or power qualifies you as a kingdom candidate.  (Max Lucado, The Applause of Heaven, 28)

     

    While human politics is based on the premise that society must be changed in order to change people, in the politics of the Kingdom it is people who must be changed in order to change society.  (Charles Colson, A Dangerous Grace, 140)

     

     

     

    Christ:

    the Coming King

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