Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Chapter One...Preparation BY Jesus (Part 1)

This third section wraps up the rest of the chapter as Jesus establishes his ministry.  We divided verses 14-45 into five different passages.  1) Jesus' Message, 2) Jesus' Companions, 3) Jesus' Work, 4) Jesus' Purpose, 5) Jesus' Place.  Each one of these passages could easily be put together as a sermon or Bible Study.  There is a ton of stuff in them, but I'll only touch the surface on these as well.

Jesus' Message.  It was simple and to the point.  (15) "The time has come, the kingdom of God is near.  Repent and believe the good news!"  In our discussion, we talked about the importance of the time issue.  Jesus is calling for a decision to be made and he's saying that right now is the time!  We also talked about repentance; the decision to change the way you think.  It's very possible to "repent" and ask for forgiveness, but not change the way you think.  I believe that repentance is only true repentance when we begin to change our minds.  Romans says to "be transformed by the renewing of your minds" (12:2).  David the psalmist wrote, "How can a young man keep his way pure?  By living according to your Word." (119:11).  How can we live according to the Word?  First of all, we need to know it!  Spending time in the Word will transform our minds and give us a hunger to spend time with Jesus.

We talked about how we need to "recognize" our sin, "confess" our sin, and "ask for forgiveness" of our sins.  But it doesn't stop there.  We'll continue to keep doing the same things over and over if we don't "change" our mind.  We need to refocus.  When we are caught up in sin, we're thinking of no one else but ourselves, our comfort, and our desires.  Instead of having our focus/eyes on ourselves, we need to change our focus/eyes to be on Jesus.  In Him, there is freedom!

We need to believe it!

The time has come!  The Kingdom of God (Jesus) is near!  Repent!  And believe the good news!

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