Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Matthew 3 - The Announcement of Kingdom Presence

The world is so attractive  and promises us so much.  In announcing the Kingdom of Heaven John the Baptist was challenging the Jewish people to consider what is really valuable in their lives.  The kingdom of heaven was the longing of all the Jewish people, it represented a fulfillment of all the promises of God.  That truth is most glorious and more valuable than anything that the kingdoms of this world have to offer.  We all fight against the attractiveness of this world and to do that we need to recognize the greatness of the fulfillment of God's promises in the kingdom.  We do that by...

1. We need to recognize the consequence of the kingdom.  The winnowing fork is in Christ hand today (v. 12).  We all need to consider that we will need to give up the promises of this world to follow Christ in his kingdom.  Luke 9:57-62 tells us that those who want to follow Christ / believe in Christ must realize that there is a cost.  Maybe there is not a home, or the opportunity to bury your father, or tell you family "by".  We must realize that there are consequences to believing in God and his kingdom.

2. We need to recognize the reality of the kingdom.  in John 3:2,6, 7 show that the kingdom is a reality.  that God's promises are really being fulfilled (see 2 Cor. 1:20).  What a joy!  John encourages us in v.1 to make ready for the king.  We are to remove the impediments in the road that Christ will come.  John is the herald of the king.  His job is not to sell anyone anything, but just herald a message that the king is coming to inaugurate his kingdom.

3. We need to recognize that  exclusiveness of the kingdom. In Matthew 3:7ff. John the Baptist rebukes those that really don't believe.  They have no part of the kingdom.  what people do with the message of the kingdom can include them in it or exclude them from it.  Matthew 12:33-37 tells us of the trees that produce good fruit. They are those in the kingdom, but the Scriptures are clear that there are those people are excluded from the kingdom because their fruit is not of faith.

4. Finally We need to recognize the grace of the kingdom.  When Jesus was Baptized, we realize that the announcement of the father recognized Jesus as not only the suffering servant (Isa. 42:1-4) and also the Davidic King (Psalm 2:7).  Jesus become the true Israel that will save people from their sins, and bless all the nations.  Jesus fulfills all righteousness in his baptism in indicating that he has come to die and to die for the forgivness of sins.

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