Friday, January 23, 2015

Epiphany 3

Epiphany 3
25 January 2015
Mark 1:14-15
What Did Jesus Preach?

And after John had been taken into custody. Jesus came into Galilee.  Preaching the gospel of God. And saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel. (NASB)

Jesus came preaching. But what did He preach? – Law or gospel? Or both? Mark gives us a summary of Jesus’ preaching. Since we honor and respect Jesus. Above all preachers. What was the content of His preaching? What does Jesus have to say to us today? Our text gives us the answer…
Jesus preached the gospel of God
  1. The time – "the time is fulfilled" – v. 15
Jesus began to preach in Galilee. After John was put in prison. When John had finished his testimony.  Then Jesus began His public ministry. Notice what is happening here. The silencing of Christ's ministers shall not suppress Christ's gospel. John is imprisoned.  But the Gospel can’t be silenced. If some are laid aside. Others are raised up. Plenty wish to stifle the Gospel. This will be their own undoing. When one is stopped another takes his place. John’s imprisonment is the beginning of Jesus’ preaching. It is the signal for Jesus to carry on the same work that John had stated. Now Jesus is to begin with His message. And what is that message?
  1. The fact – "the kingdom of God is at hand" – v. 15
This is the message of what Jesus preached; "The gospel of the kingdom of God is at hand!" Christ came to establish the kingdom of God. That you might be brought into it. That you might obtain salvation. In His kingdom. He establishes His kingdom by the preaching of His gospel. This brings a power. That brings salvation and life.

Transition:  The time is fulfilled. The kingdom of God is at hand. The time, refers to the Old Testament. In which the kingdom of the Messiah was promised.  The Father fixed a time for introducing the Son’s coming into our world. Jesus’ hearers on that day were not so well versed in those prophecies. They had forgotten the promises. Nor did they observe the signs of the times... Therefore Christ gives them His official notice; "The time once fixed in the past is now at hand. Glorious discoveries of divine light, life, and love, is now to be made; a new direction far more spiritual and heavenly than that, which you had been under, is now to commence."
  1. The response – "repent and believe" –v.15
Notice how God keeps time. When the time is fulfilled.  The kingdom of God is at hand. Christ gave His hearers back then and you, today, the ability to understand the times.  That you might know what you ought to do. Christ tells us that that the kingdom is approaching. Repent. Believe the gospel.

They had broken the moral law.  Their own good works could not save them. For His hearers then, and for us today. The law always accuses. The law always condemned. We live under guilt according to the Law.

They must therefore receive the benefit of a covenant of grace. They must submit to a remedial law. And this is the evidence that God’s kingdom truly has come---there must be repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ.

By repentance, we must lament and forsake our sins. And by grace through faith, we receive the forgiveness of our sins. By repentance, we must own up to our Creator, Whom we have offended as well as our neighbor. And, in faith. We trust our Redeemer. Who came to save us from our sins. Both of these; repentance and faith must go together.

Do not think that reforming your lives will make you right with God. This will not happen without trusting in the righteousness and grace of Christ. Nor can we say that trusting in Christ will save us without the reformation of our hearts and lives. Christ has joined these two together. Repentance as well as faith. And let no one think to put these two away. They will mutually assist and befriend each other. Repentance brings us to our knees. The Gospel raises us up. The Law convicts the comfortable. The Gospel comforts the convicted.

When Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses to the Wittenberg door in 1517, the first theses read as follows; Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance.”

But he goes on to explain, “The true treasure of the Church is the Most Holy Gospel of the glory and the grace of God.” And finally, “Blessed be all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, “[The] Cross, [The] cross.”[1]   

With the arrest of John, the preaching of the gospel by Jesus begins. And thus, it continues. Still the call remains; repent, and believe. We live a life of repentance. We live a life of faith.  The Law says, “Do!” The Gospel says, “DONE!” That is the basis of the gospel message. That is your hope, which is yours in Christ.

Words -872
Passive Sentences – 8%
Reading Ease - 82.8%
Reading Level - 3.5
Image taken circa 1980


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