Matthew 4:18-21 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them.
Jesus saw four fishermen while walking along the sea of Galilee and commanded them to follow Him so He could make them fishers of men. All four men left their fishing career behind and began to follow Jesus. Jesus was limited by time and space at the time of the command to the four fishermen. Now He is not limited by time and space. We can follow Jesus now and become fishers of men and not leave the career He has assigned us. How do we follow Jesus now?
We begin to follow Jesus by repenting of our sin, believing the gospel and confessing Jesus as our Lord. We continue to follow Jesus by learning and obeying His written word, the Bible. As we begin to obey everything He teaches us we will become better and better fishers of men. We need to set a time to meet with Jesus personally each day in the word and prayer and then practice what we learn all the rest of each day. Are you following Jesus? Begin today!
Matthew 4:12-17 Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. 13 And
leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: 15 "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles- 16 the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned." 17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Amos 3:7 "For the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets." It is very important for us to listen to the Lord. What He says will happen, HAPPENS! After Jesus was tested in the wilderness, He began His public ministry announcing the need of sinful people (and all people are sinful) to repent because the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand or near. The Kingdom of Heaven is the rule of God among mankind. Please note that Jesus began His ministry right where Isaiah the prophet said He would over 700 years earlier. Note also that Jesus is a light shining in the darkness.
We need to repent of our sins and believe the gospel (Mark 1:15) in order to start living in the light of life and stop living in the darkness of sin. People living in the darkness of sin not only live a destructive life now but will experience the wrath of God on the Day of Judgment when God judges sin. The judgment is the Lake of Fire, eternal torment. People living in the light of Jesus will experience abundant life now even in the midst of many trials that come from living in a sinful world. People who have repented of their sin, received pardon from sin through the blood of Christ, who have received the Holy Spirit by believing the gospel, are guaranteed eternal life in a new heavens and earth free from even the presence of sin.
God has told us this before it happens so we can be prepared by repenting of our sin and believing the gospel. Are you prepared to be saved from the coming wrath? Are you living an abundant life now amidst the trials of life caused by sin? Take note of your current reality and what you need to do to get to your preferred future.
Matthew 4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." 4 But he answered, "It is
written, "' Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, "' He will command his angels concerning you,' and "'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'" 7 Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'" 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." 10 Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, "' You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'" 11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. (Luke 4:13 And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.)
Jesus gave us three general ways the devil tempts people.
1. Satan tempts us to fulfill physical needs in an ungodly way (i.e. fulfill sexual need some other way than with one’s marriage partner). Vss. 1-3
2. Satan tempts us to do something outside of God’s will by misusing scripture (i.e. claim an expensive car for ourselves when we simply can’t afford it and don’t need it using Romans 4:17). Vss. 5-6
3. Satan tempts us to gain power and pleasure by worshiping him (1 Corinthian 10:20 instructs us that idolatry is worshiping demons, of whom Satan is the leader. Ephesians 5:5 tells us covetousness or greed is idolatry, which is worshiping demons). Vss 8-9
Jesus left us an example to follow of how to overcome Satan’s tempting. He correctly used the Word of God each time Satan tempted Him. Vss. 4, 7, 10.
Jesus warned us that Satan tempts at opportune times. Luke 4:13
1. When we are weak. (Jesus was weak from 40 days of fasting)
2. When we are alone. (Jesus was alone in the wilderness)
3. When we are in transition. (Jesus was transitioning to public ministry from a private home
Practical lessons we can learn from this passage of Scripture.
1. We will be tempted at opportune times. We need to be on the alert.
2. We need to learn God’s word so we can overcome temptation by Satan.
3. We need to be aware of the general ways Satan tempts us so we can guard ourselves.
Matthew 3:13-17 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" 15 But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on
him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."
Why did Jesus, who had no sin (Hebrews 4:15), come to be baptized by John who was baptizing with water for repentance from sin? Jesus gives us the answer in verse 15, "...it is fitting to fulfill all righteousness." What does it mean to fulfill righteousness? Paul gives us that answer in Romans 6:16, ...obedience leads to righteousness." Jesus was baptized by John in obedience to His Father (John 14:31). Jesus identifies with the sinfulness of mankind and leads every individual to acknowledge his/her sin by repenting of it. Jesus gives us an example to follow.
When Jesus came up out of the water after being baptized by John, the Holy Spirit of God descended on Him as a dove. Jesus was fully human and fully God. The Apostle Paul instructs us that Jesus humbled Himself by becoming a man who could be tempted in all ways as we are yet not sin (Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 4:15). He completed His earthly ministry by the power of the Holy Spirit as an example to all believers. John was a witness that the Spirit of God had descended upon Him.God the Father also spoke for all to hear, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased."
What life lessons can we learn from this passage of scripture?
1. We need to acknowledge and repent of our sin. This is the first step in getting the help we need. No acknowledgement of sin, means no need of salvation (see Luke 7:29-30).
2. We need the Holy Spirit to live free from sin and to complete the work God has given us to do. When we repent of our sin and believe the gospel, we receive the Holy Spirit (read the following scriptures: Mark 1:15; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Romans 10:9; Ephesians 1:13-14). The Holy Spirit enables us to obey the Lord and fulfill all righteousness (Ezekiel 36:27; Romans 6:16b)
Have you repented of your sin and believed the gospel? If you have, are you living in obedience to the Lord? Could the Lord say to you, "This is my beloved child with whom I am well-pleased."
Matthew 3:1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." 3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.'"
4 Now John wore a garment of camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, 6 and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 7 But when he saw many
of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father,' for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 "I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."
Let's look at the message John the Baptist came preaching.
vs 2 He announced the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand. The primary meaning of kingdom is "the sovereign rule of a king". The rule of heaven or God was coming to be established on earth. God is a just God and must punish sin. God's justice is the most misunderstood characteristic of sin. Love without justice on the school ground would let every bully have his way. The teacher would love the bully but not punish him, that is , bring him to justice.
vs 2 He called the people to repentance. Repent means to "change the way you think". John called the people to change the way they thought about sin. Sin is not doing what God says or doing what He says not to do. If God began to rule, He would need to punish sin because He is a just God. Because God loves people He sent John to warn the people and call them to repent of their sin, to turn away from sin.
vs3 God had prepared and announced John's job 700 hundred years earlier.
vss 4-6 John was out in the wilderness and drew a crowd of people who believed what he was preaching, repented of their sins and were baptized as a public testimony of their repentance.
vss7-10 When John saw the religious leaders of the day, Pharisees and Sadducees, come out to see what he was doing, he called them vipers. Why? The Pharisees and Sadducees claimed to have the truth but didn't live the Scriptures they proclaimed. Instead of leading the people to life, they led them to death, just like a viper's bite is deadly. Note that John asks them if they are fleeing from the wrath to come. What is wrath? Wrath is the justice of God that must be satisfied by a penalty. The penalty for is death, not mere cessation of life, but eternal torment (see Luke 16:19-31). God knew that beliefs are revealed by actions. He had John call people to prove their repentance by their fruit (lifestyle). If a person continues in sinful behavior and attitude after repenting, there was no real repentance. The truly repentant person will be really trying to change attitude and actions. Mere talk with no attempt to change will not save a person from the penalty of sin, the Lake of Fire (see Revelation 21:8)
vss 11-12 John was called to prepare the way for Jesus and distinguishes his assignment and power from that of Jesus. John came to baptize with water for repentance to make people aware of their sin and be prepared to listen to Jesus who came to save the people from their sin (Matthew 1:21) Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. The Holy Spirit is God. God comes to live in us when we believe in Jesus (Ephesians 1:13-14). The Holy Spirit teaches us the truth and enables us to live it. Jesus also baptizes with fire. Fire is judgment. The judgment for sin is the Lake of Fire, eternal torment (Matthew 25:46; Revelation 21:8).
What we are to do with what we have learned:
1. We need to repent of our sin and believe the gospel (Mark 1:15). Real repentance and belief is characterized by a desire to live according to the Word of God by faith in Jesus.
2. We need to be testifying to the people around us, calling them to repent of their sin and believe the gospel, that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for their sin, that He rose from the dead on the third day and is Lord over all (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Romans 10:9).
3. We need to be like Christ and doing the works of Christ. We learn what to be and do by reading the Bible. We become like Christ and do His works by faith, that is, we attempt to obey the Bible fully expecting the Lord to fulfill our attempt with His power.
Begin by reading Matthew chapter 2.
What lessons can we learn from this passage of Scripture?
1. God fulfills His word.
2. God is able to cause His will to succeed.
3. There is opposition to God's plans.
How does God want us to daily live?
He wants us to know He fulfills His word. He wants us to know He can cause His will to succeed. He wants us to expect opposition. He wants us to know that as we learn and live His word He will cause us to succeed in life.
How are you daily living? Are you acknowledging that God does what He says? Are you learning and living according to His word because you know God can give you success even in the midst of opposition?
What changes do you need to make in your life when you compare how you are living with how the Lord desires you to live? If changes are needed, then begin immediately to make them by faith. As we attempt to live out God's will by faith, He will make it happen by His power (Galatians 2:20; 2 Thessalonians 1:11)
Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19
And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a
dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel" (which means,
God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
1:18,22-23 God will do a miracle if needed to accomplish His will, to fulfill His word.
1:19-21 God will speak to us to keep us from going a wrong direction if we are truly trying to do His will.
1:24 We are to obey what the Lord teaches right away.
1:25 Joseph did not have sexual relations with his wife until after Jesus was born.
1:21 Jesus' mission was mapped out while He was in the womb. He saves His people from their sin. Each of us has a God-given assignment. We need to ask the Lord what it is and be doing it daily.
Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.
The Lord is fulfilling a promise He made to Abraham (in 2091 BC when Abraham was 75 years old) at this time and a promise He made to King David who ruled over the nation Israel from 1010-970 BC. The genealogy given in Matthew 1:2-16 starts at Abraham, goes through David and ends with Jesus, the promised offspring to bless the nations and the promised son to rule over Israel forever (see Genesis 12:1-3,7; Galatians 3:16; 2 Samuel 7:12-14). This genealogy differs from that found in Luke 3:23-38. Why? Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus as Matthew 1:18 tells us. He was a descendant of David through David's son Solomon. However, Mary was a descendant of David through his son Nathan and Jesus was the biological offspring of Mary (see Luke 1:26-38). The line couldn't go through Solomon because God declared that Jehoiakim would never have a son that ruled over Israel (see Jeremiah 22:30; 36:30-31).
What can we learn from this passage of Scripture? (1) God keeps His promises; (2) God gives us an accurate historical account of what He is doing throughout history; (3) God uses each generation to accomplish His will.
As we read about God's promises to provide our spiritual, emotional, material and eternal needs, we know God will keep His promises. We know the Bible is not a book of myths, but an accurate record of what God has done in history, miracles and all. We know we have an important assignment to complete in our generation.
Genesis 12:1-3 Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
Notice the promises that the LORD spoke to Abram (later named Abraham, "father of many nations" Genesis 17:5). God promised to lead him to a new land and make him into a great nation. Abraham was 75 years old at the time of this promise. The year was 2166 BC. The people of Israel became a nation in 1446 BC, entered the land promised to Abraham in 1406 BC and became a great nation under King David in 1010-970 BC. It is interesting to note that Abraham only saw one grandson, Jacob, before he died. Jacob had the 12 sons who became the great nation, Israel, ruled by King David.
God promised Abraham would be a blessing to all the families (people groups) on the earth. This promise began to be filled when Jesus was born, completed His earthly ministry, died on the cross, rose from the dead and ascended back to the throne of God as Ruler over heaven and earth. It is through Jesus Christ that all families (people groups) will be blessed. Jesus last commission was for His disciples to make disciples of all nations, baptize them in the name of the Father, son, and Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything He commanded them (Matthew 28:19-20). He taught that those who hear God's word and obey it are blessed (Luke 11:28). As His disciples do what He commissioned them to do, all families on earth will be blessed. Jesus is the seed (offspring) of Abraham (Galatians 3:16). The second promise God gave to Abraham recorded in Genesis 12:3 is still being fulfilled today.
What lesson can we learn from Abraham. We need to live in obedience to the Lord. We may not see the fulfillment of all of God's promises in our life time, but we need to remember that how we live now affects the coming generations. As we live in obedience to God now, we will experience an abundant life even in the midst of the many trials that will come our way and when Jesus comes we will experience the fruit of God's fulfilled promises. Abraham saw one grandson in his earthly life, but he will see all nations on earth blessed because he trusted God and obeyed Him. The best is yet to come. Keep living for Jesus by being like Christ and doing what He teaches us in the Bible.
Read Genesis 10:1-32; 11:10-26. Chapter 10 of Genesis gives us the historical record of how Noah’s sons populated the earth after the flood. The year the flood was over is 1657 A.C. (After Creation) or 2460 B.C. (if Abraham was born 2166 B.C.). The Lord has given us the historical times of when He made man and each of the significant events that follow. It takes some digging through the text of Scripture and archeological dating to put it all together. The amazing thing is that Noah and Adam’s grandson Seth overlap by 84 years and Noah and Abraham overlap by 57 years. The information of the pre-flood years was easily passed on accurately after the flood by natural means and we know that God made sure the record was accurate (we know it was accurate by the resurrection of Jesus Christ- John 2:18-22).
We are to take the written history of the Bible instead of the historical account of people when a discrepancy arises. Why? Jesus validated the Scriptures as true by rising from the dead just as He said He would. He validated the scriptures from Abel (Genesis) to Zechariah (Chronicles) in Luke 11:51. Genesis was the first book of the Hebrew order of Scriptures and Chronicles the last. Jesus validated the historical record of Adam and Eve in Matthew 19:1-6. The Bible is true and accurate from beginning to the end.
We have an accurate historical record of God’s works among the people He created. Genesis tells
us how everything began very good and was then ruined by sin entering the world. Genesis tells us how God will remedy the sin problem. The New Testament is the historical account of God saving His people from their sin, the teaching account of how we can live overcoming sin, and how God will one day judge those who haven’t been pardoned from their sin.
A day of judgment is coming. We need to prepare by receiving pardon from our sins by repenting of our sins, by believing Jesus died on the cross for our sins, rose from the dead on the third day and is Lord over all. Do you believe this? If not, you will experience the penalty of sin, eternal torment in the Lake of Fire. If you do believe this you are pardoned and are forgiven of all you sins, empowered to live free from slavery to sin, and commissioned to take the message of the salvation available in Christ to your family, friends, neighbors, fellow employees, and all in your sphere of