May 20: Ushering in the Kingdom of God, Matthew 4:12-17
We have come to an end of our series through the first few chapters of Matthew. In these chapters we have seen Jesus presented to us as a King, from the line of David, announced by the forerunner John, affirmed by the Father, and proven through testing. As a king, Jesus has introduced his kingdom to us by calling all who would enter to first of all repent. This is how citizens of his kingdom should live, regularly embracing the value of Jesus by following him and turning away from the things that he hates. This week we focus our attention especially on the summary that Matthew gives us of Jesus’ message, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Repentance should be a constant habit for those who belong to his kingdom. Repentance is not just feeling bad about our sin, but also turning away from it and finding Christ as the cure of the wound of sin (cf. 2 Corinthians 7:10). Pray that we would be a body of people characterized by an overwhelming love for Jesus, his compassion and purity. Pray that this love would lead us to be repenting of sin.
More recently, Robert Jay Lifton, a pioneer in neuropsychology, has argued that today ‘s self is restlessly bent on reinvention mainly in order to get rid of a nagging sense of guilt that creates tremendous anxiety despite its unknown origins. The implication of his essay is that when people know why they feel guilty and are able to find an answer to it, they actually become more stable in their identity.
“Repentance out of mere fear is really sorrow for the consequences of sin, sorrow over the danger of sin — it bends the will away from sin, but the heart still clings.”
“In fear-based repentance is really self-pity. In fear-based repentance, we don’t learn to hate the sin for itself, and it doesn’t lose its attractive power. We learn only to refrain from it for our own sake.”
"Sorrow for sin is a sweet sorrow, do not desire to escape it! I think Rowland Hill was right when he said that his only regret in going to Heaven would be that he could no more repent. True evangelical repentance is food to the saintly soul! I do not know, Beloved, when I am more perfectly happy than when I am weeping for sin at the foot of the Cross, for that is the safest place in which I can stand."
A. W. Pink
“There are multitudes who whish to escape the Lake of fire who have no desire to be delivered from their carnality and worldliness.”
How does repentance lead us to a greater enjoyment of the gospel of God?
Explain the relationship between faith and repentance?
How is God's faithfulness demonstrated through Jesus' announcement of the kingdom? How does the faithfulness of God motivate us to walk as citizens of the kingdom that Christ has called us to?
How does living in the kingdom declare the reality of the kingdom?
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