THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM
Matthew 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. 24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. 25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan. 5:1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The Lord Jesus now launches his earthly ministry after hearing that his forerunner, John the Baptist, has been placed in prison. For John was “the porter” who opened the door of the sheep to the Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ. John 10:2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
John was also preaching that the kingdom of heaven was at hand, thus having the masses of the peoples of Israel come out to him. Therefore when he proclaimed that Jesus of Nazareth was “the Lamb of God,” he was opening the door for the sheep of Israel to follow the True Shepherd. Matthew 3:1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And John well knew that this was his calling, for he stated, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30
Therefore both John the Baptist, whose ministry ended that of the era of the prophets, and the Lord Jesus came preaching the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
And we take notice of all that the Lord Jesus began to do in order to set forth the ministry of God among men who had been under the power of darkness for centuries. For in verse twenty-three of our text we read that he went about “teaching, preaching, and healing.” And if there is anything that will draw large crowds of people, even in our day, let just even the rumor get started that healing can be had in a religious setting without medical intervention!
And we learn that this was done in “Galilee of the Gentiles.” (Matt. 4:15). For he could do no mighty works in his own country. Mark 6:1 And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. 4 But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. 5 And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. 6 And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.
And also this is exactly where the Prophet Isaiah had prophesied that this would take place! Matthew 4:13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: 14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias (Isaiah) the prophet, saying, 15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles;
And all this time his disciples were observing all that their Master did. They saw the huge crowds that came to him even from Syria. And they were jostled about by the great masses of the people. Luke 8:45 And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? It was a chaotic time for them!
But then we see in the first verses of chapter five of Matthew’s gospel that the Lord Jesus turns away from the multitudes to begin to teach his disciples just who are the really true blessed ones! See in verses one and two of Matthew five, (listed above without the interruption of the chapter division), that the Lord turns from the multitude “in the plain,” (Luke 6:17), and goes up into a mountain, sits down and has his disciples come unto him. Then he “opened his mouth, and taught them.”
In that they were to be part of the foundation upon which the true, new testament church was to be founded, he needed to clearly instruct them as to just who were the true “Blessed” of God! For all you had to be in order to be physically healed by the Lord, was to be sick! And therefore not everyone who was healed in those masses of people were granted spiritual life! When there were ten lepers healed, only one of them obtained spiritual cleansing of his sin! Luke 17:15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. 17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? 18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
The rain falls both on the just and the unjust. God’s sun shines on the good and the evil. There is that goodness of God which bestows ‘common’ mercies upon human beings, but does not bring them into eternal life. God loves the realm of the human being. He loves them above the angels. Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
His Incarnation was for him to become a human, not an angel. For there is no redemption for the angels. Immediately upon their fall they are kept in chains of darkness. 2 Peter 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
And it is in the human realm wherein God bestowed both his ‘common’ and effectual mercies! That’s the meaning of John 3:16 – God loves the realm of human beings. For they were made in the image he had in his eternal awareness. John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Therefore the disciples, and the church down through the ages needs to be instructed concerning the identity of those truly blessed of God with eternal redemption. And we can clearly see the difference in just common mercy as opposed to effectual grace in the account of Lazarus and the rich man. Luke 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
The rich man was clothed in expensive clothing. Lazarus was clothed in righteousness. The rich man ate from the finest foods, with bountiful supply. Lazarus ate of the Bread of heaven! The rich man had human servants to attend him. Lazarus only had stray dogs to ease the pain of his sores. But common mercies could not prevent the rich man from the torments of hell. Whereas Lazarus’ unseen, effectual graces had him transported by the angels into the eternal nourishments of heaven.
The Apostle Paul plainly sets this forth in his second letter to the Corinthian church. He states that the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom always triumphs. For it is not exclusively set forth just for the salvation of souls, as the worldly church of our day insists. But the Apostle Paul clearly states that it is both for the damnation of them that perish and for the salvation of them that believe! And he states that this is a sweet aroma to God Himself!
2 Corinthians 2:14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. 15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: 16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.
For the gospel of the kingdom is, as has been stated in previous articles, like a net which is cast into the sea, bringing forth within its catch both good and bad fish. Matthew 13:47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: 48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. 49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,
For reprobation manifests itself in regard to one’s affiliation to the gospel! For after they have heard it and determine not to believe, they are then declared to be the irrecoverable lost. They are no longer to be included in the lost whom the Lord came to seek and save! 2 Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
2 Peter 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
They are pictured most clearly by Brother Bunyan in his classic account of “The Pilgrim’s Progress.” In which these souls are seen as the man in the iron cage who had sinned away his day of grace. Be extremely careful, dear Reader, for one’s relation to The Gospel of the Kingdom has eternal results. And this writer should not be a faithful shepherd if he did not warn you that it is not just the starting out in the beginning of one’s profession which is essential. But it is one’s endurance to the end, in their commitment to the Lord which is absolutely essential! Matthew 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
These are the kinds of things which our Lord, turning from the multitudes unto his disciples, instructed them. In Matthew chapter five he teaches them just who the “Blessed” really are. And the very first one he ties in with his preaching of The Gospel of the Kingdom. Matthew 5:2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. The one’s who are among the Blessed and are to inherit the kingdom of heaven, are those who have been made aware of their sinful state and have been humbled in spirit. For God’s spirit of love in ones heart completely changes them from their likeness in Adam to their likeness in Christ.
And here is listed for us the characteristics of God – who IS love – which shall manifest itself in the believers character, confirming that he is truly a “Blessed” one! 1 Corinthians 13:4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Therefore the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom reveals itself in those whose characters reveal the humility of it’s having made them aware of their previous sinful state. And it is those to whom belong the kingdom of heaven! Therefore in verses three through twelve of Matthew five he reveals just who the “Blessed” are. Then in verses thirteen through sixteen he reveals to the disciples just who they are. In verses seventeen through forty-seven he reveals who he was. And lastly, in verse forty-eight he reveals who the Father is.
Pastor Gene Breed
January 22, 2019