Saturday, January 22, 2011

Epiphany 3

Almighty God, you sent your Son to proclaim your kingdom and to teach with authority. Anoint us with the power of Your Spirit that we, too, may bring good news to the afflicted, bind upon the brokenhearted, and proclaim liberty to the captives.

People need to see Jesus as the eternal light. To those in darkness, a light is a sign of life and hope. In our despair and doubt, we need to look at the light of Christ.

Outline: The Gospel tells us —
1. The light shines — through the preaching of the gospel.
A. It is a work of God. “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” – Matthew 4:17 Jesus, began His ministry at the rust the right time. Matthew reminds us it happened after He had heard that John had been put in prison. (vs12) Jesus will do nothing without first being prompted by the command of God. The Spirit directed Him to enter His ministry when He was baptized. The Spirit led Him to the wilderness where He was tempted by the devil Now He is called to preach and the message is repent!

B. As He begins preaching this message it is a work promised by the prophets. The prophets of the Old Testament had predicted that Messiah would come. Now the prophecy is being fulfilled. He fulfills all righteousness. The time has come for Him to begin His work of redemption.

Transition: As the light of truth shines through the preaching of Christ it is not a weak message. To the contrary, it is a message of power.

2. The light of truth is accepted. We see this in the response of the disciples. “Jesus walking by the sea of Galilee say two brothers Simon and Andrew, casting s net into the sea for they were fishermen. He said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men’.” — Matthew 4:18-19.

A. They were confronted by Christ. He comes to them and tells them to follow Him. No hesitations, no reservations no excuses. Just follow! Likewise, He comes to you with the same message – follow Me! There are plenty of excuses people make today. I have no time! – You will have time to die. I can read my Bible at home privately. Burning coals set apart will soon go out. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.”

Going to church will not make me a Christian – But it might! Besides, Christians go to church. I can worship God in nature or on the butt end of a fishing pole – But you will not!
Besides, nature tells nothing of the grace of God found in Jesus Christ. I know everything preached – I doubt it! There are too many hypocrites in church – So what? If the church were for angels, what chance would you have to join?

B. As a follower of Jesus this now becomes your work. How will people know unless we, who have been placed into a relationship with Christ, draw them to the Savior? The old song sings, “Can we whose souls are lighted, with wisdom from on high, Can we to men benighted the lamp of life deny? Salvation, O salvation! The joyful sound proclaim. Till each remotest nation Has learned Messiah’s name.

This is how the church grows as people are drawn to Christ by the sharing of the gospel. It does not happen through programs but through relationships. As Christ has touched your life, reach out to others – family members, neighbors, friends, co-workers sharing with them the love of Jesus Christ.

Transition: The light shines, it is accepted by faith. It is then released.

3. The light is released — through the ministry. Jesus went about all of Galilee teaching in their synagogues preaching the Gospel of the kingdom healing all kinds of sicknesses and all kinds of disease among the people. — Matthew 4:23

A. The work of this ministry is confrontational. Christ preaches the message of repentance and Satan’s kingdom begins to fall. He challenges sin with repentance. He proclaims the kingdom and people are saved. He confronts sickness and disease and He heals people. Sickness, disease, are a part of living in a broken world. As He heals people, He is bringing people to restoration. The world is restored ultimately when Christ suffered on Calvary’s cross. There, in time, as Christ was suspended between earth and heaven He bore your sins and carried them.

B. Today we express the compassion of Christ as we reach out to people through acts of mercy and charity. It’s a ministry to the whole person:
1. Body (healing) – restoring people completing people making them whole.

2. Mind (teaching) – the whole and full council of God communicated. “Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.’

3. Soul (preaching) – sharing Christ with others, connecting to others so we can impact the lives of others.

At the very beginning of his public ministry, Jesus realized he needed helpers to accomplish His work after He left the earth. Today Jesus still needs helpers to complete his mission: to seek and save the lost, to bring knowledge and healing to the world. Jesus’ calling of disciples proves His need of co-workers.

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