Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Commands of Christ - Matthew 4:17

"From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." -Matthew 4:17

Who is this command to?

This is a general command for all mankind. Jesus preached to all who would listen. (Matthew 9:13)

What does this command require?

It requires that each person must repent. To repent is to feel deep regret for sin so that you turn from sin and towards God. (2 Corinthians 7:9-10)

What truths do we learn from this command?

Because Christ issued this command to all who would listen, we learn that everyone needs to repent. Often, this is the hardest truth for an unbeliever to grasp. Most people believe themselves to be pretty good people. Scripture teaches otherwise. The Bible shows us that all men have sinned and fallen short of God's glory (Romans 3:23; Psalm 51:5; Jeremiah 14:20).

We also learn that 'the kingdom of heaven is at hand.' There is much debate as to what this means, but suffice it to say that the reign of Christ is drawing near. The time is fast approaching when Christ will return to establish His eternal kingdom. If Christ preached repentance because of the nearness of the kingdom of heaven, how much more these words should sting our hearts now, two thousand years later. The kingdom of heaven is at hand, therefore repent and believe the gospel!

What are the consequences for disobeying this command?

Eternal death--separation from God forever; no life-transformation; no participation in the kingdom of heaven

Romans 6:23 - "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

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