"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"
The Preaching Ministry Of Jesus (Mt 4:12-17)
1. In Mt 4:12-17 , we read of Jesus’ public ministry in Galilee…
a. Which followed the imprisonment of John the Baptist – Mt 4:12
b. Which began at Capernaum, on the edge of the Sea of Galilee
– Mt 4:13
c. Which fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah – Mt 4:14-16; Isa 9:1-2
2. His public ministry involved "preaching"…
a. "From that time Jesus began to preach…" – Mt 4:17
b. Compare also Mt 4:23 , "Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in
their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom…"
3. The word "preach" (Gr., kerux) means "to herald, to proclaim"…
a. But what was the message Jesus was proclaiming?
b. Is it a message that should be proclaimed today?
[In this study our focus will be on Mt 4:17, as we seek to understand
the message proclaimed by Jesus during His public ministry. From this
verse we learn first that…]
I. JESUS PREACHED REPENTANCE
B. WHAT DOES "REPENT" MEAN?
1. Many people have misconceptions concerning repentance
a. E.g., that repentance is "sorrow"
1) But repentance is an outcome of sorrow – cf. 2 Co 7:9-10
2) Sorrow leads to repentance; sorrow itself is not
b. E.g., that repentance is "a changed life"
1) Thinking that repentance is a converted life
2) But repentance and conversion are two separate things
– cf. Acts 3:19
a) Peter says "Repent therefore and be converted"
b) If repentance means the same as conversion, then
Peter was redundant
2. W. E. Vine defines "repentance" as:
a. A "change of mind"
b. That which "involves both a turning from sin and a turning
3. Repentance is thus "a change of mind" in which we DECIDE to
"turn from sin and turn to God"
a. Which is preceded by sorrow
b. And followed by a changed life
— Jesus was therefore calling upon people to change their minds
regarding sin, because of what He taught about the kingdom
(more on that shortly)
C. DOES REPENTANCE NEED TO BE PROCLAIMED TODAY?
1. Most certainly!
a. Repentance is to be preached in Jesus’ name to all nations
– Lk 24:46-47
b. God now calls men everywhere to repent – Acts 17:30
c. Thus Paul preached to both Jews and Gentiles that they
should repent – Acts 26:20
2. Wherever there is sin, the message of repentance needs to be
a. People need to be told to "change their minds" (repent)
b. They need "turn to God, and do works befitting repentance"
– cf. Acts 26:20; Mt 3:8
— Any gospel preaching that does not include a clarion call to
repent is not the true gospel!
[In calling people to repent, Jesus proclaimed why they needed to
change their minds and turn from sin to God: "for the kingdom of heaven
is at hand". This leads to our next point…]
II. JESUS PREACHED THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
A. THIS WAS A MAJOR THEME OF HIS PREACHING…
1. Just as it was with John the Baptist – Mt 3:2
2. It was the focus of His itinerant ministry – Mt 4:23
a. The theme of His Sermon on the Mount –
Mt 5:3; Mt 4:10; Mt 4:19-20; Mt 6:33; Mt 7:21
b. The theme of many of His parables – e.g., Mt 13:24;
Mt 4:31; Mt 4:33; Mt 4:44-45; Mt 4:47
3. It was the theme of the Limited Commission – Mt 10:7
— During this time, the kingdom of heaven was "at hand" (drawing near)
B. WHAT IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN?
1. It is the same thing as "the kingdom of God"
a. Some try to make a distinction (e.g., Scofield Reference
b. But a quick comparison of the gospels indicate the terms
refer to the same thing
1) Cf. Mt 4:17 with Mk 1:14-15
2) Cf. Mt 5:3 with Lk 6:20
3) Cf. Mt 13:31 with Mk 4:30-31
c. Matthew used the expression "kingdom of heaven" almost
exclusively, while the other gospel writers used the phrase
"kingdom of God"
d. It may be that since Matthew wrote his gospel to the Jews,
he chose to use the phrase "kingdom of heaven"…
1) Because of the Jews’ reluctance to use the name of God
(out of reverence)
2) Because of the Jews’ misconception of the coming kingdom
a) Many anticipated a physical kingdom
b) The expression "heaven" (literally, "heavens") would
emphasize a spiritual kingdom
2. The "kingdom of heaven" involves four inter-related concepts
a. God’s kingship, rule, or recognized sovereignty
1) The term "kingdom" as used by the Jews often stressed
the abstract idea of rule or dominion, not a
geographical area surrounded by physical boundaries
2) It is used this way by Jesus in Mt 6:10 – "Your KINGDOM
come; Your WILL be done…" (note the connection
between kingdom and will)
— Thus, the "kingdom of heaven" would involve the rule
of heaven in the hearts of men
b. This rule of heaven is spiritual in nature
1) It is not a physical kingdom – cf. Jn 18:36
2) But one that is spiritual – cf. Ro 14:17
c. Its visible manifestation today is in the form of the
1) For the church is that community of souls in whose
hearts God is recognized as Sovereign
2) That the church constitutes the kingdom of God on earth,
a) How the term "church" and "kingdom" were used
interchangeably – Mt 16:18
b) Comments made to those who were in the church – Col 1:13
1 Th 2:12
c) The description of those in the churches of Asia
– Rev 1:4; Mt 4:6; Mt 4:9
d. It has a future element as well as a present one
1) Its future aspect is spoken of by Jesus, Paul, Peter
– Mt 25:34; 1 Co 15:50; 2 Ti 4:18 ; 2 Pe 1:10-11
2) Peter described the coming of its future state in 2 Pe 3:10-13
3. Thus the "kingdom of heaven" today is both present and future
a. In the present sense…
1) It is found wherever the sovereignty of God is accepted
in the hearts of men
2) It is a spiritual kingdom, for God rules in the hearts
3) Its outward manifestation today is the Lord’s church
4) This rule or kingdom of God was "inaugurated" on the Day
of Pentecost (Acts 2)
b. In the future sense…
1) The rule or kingdom of God will be "culminated" with the
coming of the Lord
2) It will involve that "news heaven and a new earth in
which righteousness dwells", described by Peter and John
– 2 Peter, chapter 3; Rev, chapters 21-22
3) It will be experienced only by those in the church who
are submitting to God’s will today! – cf. Mt 7:21-23;
2 Pe 3:13-14
C. DOES THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN NEED TO BE PROCLAIMED TODAY?
1. Most certainly!
a. Philip "preached the things concerning the kingdom of God"
– Acts 8:12
b. The apostle Paul in his preaching and teaching:
1) Spoke of the challenges in entering the kingdom in the
future sense – Acts 14:22
2) Reasoned and persuaded with people concerning the
kingdom – Acts 19:8
3) Had gone among the Ephesians, "preaching the kingdom of
God" – Acts 20:25
4) Solemnly testified of the kingdom of God to the Jews in
Rome – Acts 28:23
c. In his epistles, Paul wrote of:
1) The nature of the kingdom – Ro 14:17
2) Those who will not inherit the kingdom – 1 Cor 6:9-10;
Ga 5:21; Eph 5:5
3) Jesus giving the kingdom to God when He returns – 1 Co 15:24-26
4) How flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom – 1 Co 15:50
5) How we are now in the kingdom – Co 1:13
6) His companions as fellow workers for the kingdom – Col 4:11
7) How we might be counted worthy of the kingdom – 2 Th 1:5
8) God calling us into His kingdom and glory – 2 Th 2:12
9) Jesus judging us at His appearing and His kingdom – 2 Ti 4:1
10) The Lord preserving him for His heavenly kingdom – 2 Ti 4:18
d. The Hebrew writer referred to our receiving a kingdom which
can’t be shaken – He 12:28
e. James described the faithful poor as "heirs of the kingdom"
– Ja 2:5
f. Peter wrote of how we might have an abundant entrance into
the everlasting kingdom of our Lord – 2 Pe 1:10-11
g. John described himself as a brother and companion in the
kingdom of Jesus Christ – Rev 1:9
2. There is a slight difference in our message, however…
a. John the Baptist, Jesus, His disciples in the Limited
Commission…all proclaimed the kingdom "at hand" (drawing
1) For the rule of God as foretold by the prophets was
about to be manifested – cf. Mk 1:14-15
2) During Jesus’ earthly ministry that kingdom (reign) was
— That was the "good news" (gospel) of the kingdom then:
it was near!
b. However, after the ascension of Christ, the preaching of
the kingdom proclaimed it both present and future
1) The rule of God is now being fully manifested in the
person of Jesus Christ – cf. Mt 28:18; Eph 1:20-22; 1 Pe 3:22
2) Those who "gladly receive" the message can be added by
the Lord Himself to His church or kingdom (i.e., the
community of believers who submit to His authority)
– cf. Acts 2:36-41; Acts 2:47; Co 1:13; Rev 1:9
3) Those who persevere to the end can inherit the heavenly
and everlasting kingdom of our Lord – Acts 14:22; 2 Pet 1:10-11
— This is the "good news" (gospel) of the kingdom now:
it is both now and coming!
1. In "The Preaching Ministry Of Jesus", two themes permeated His
a. The need to repent
b. For the kingdom of heaven was at hand
2. As we fulfill the Great Commission today (Mt 28:18-20), our themes
should be similar…
a. The kingdom of heaven has come and is coming (implied in "All
authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.")
b. The need to repent (implied in "Make disciples of all the
Have you submitted to the gospel of the kingdom as proclaimed by our