TEXT: Matthew 3:1-4:
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.
3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
4 And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.
After preaching the Gospel every day for 367 days straight throughout the 2016 presidential campaign season, I am preaching the Gospel every day throughout the first 100 days of President Donald Trump’s term. If you think a new president being in office is the only thing needed to save America and ‘make America great again’, you are woefully deceived. The church must follow through and “keep the main thing the main thing: and that is reaching unbelievers with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and praying for their salvation, for the problem in America is not only disobedient presidents, politicians, and people, but disobedient pastors, preachers, and parishioners who have refused to obey the Lord’s Great Commission which is to, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,’ and who have refused to obey God’s repeated commands to ‘pray without ceasing’ for unbelievers, believers, and political leaders.” So, we encourage you to pray for the new president, but not to get caught up in the political happenings like the world does. Nothing much is going to change until people get saved and get their hearts right with the Lord. And that is what this campaign is all about.
This campaign is inspired by the following three verses: 1 Corinthians 2:2 which says, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Acts 5:42 which says, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” And 2 Timothy 2:4 which says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”
This series is not for Christians necessarily. However, I do hope you are one of those saints who still loves to hear the “Old, old story of Jesus and His love” — As another hymn says, “For those who know it best Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.” This series is primarily for unbelievers, so they can hear and understand the Gospel and be saved from sin and the punishment of sin which is hell. This is message number 52, day 419 since Jan. 1, 2016.
Martin Luther said, “The recognition of sin is the beginning of salvation.”
For over 400 years, there had not been a prophet delivering the word of the Lord among the Jews. This absence of a direct word from God was felt heavily by many of those who longed for the coming of the Messiah. Even the religious establishment regarded the days of the prophets as a high period in Israelite history. So, when John the Baptist began preaching, many people got excited. Like the prophets of old, he came from outside of the establishment and he came with a fiery message: “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
The Bible Knowledge Commentary says, “John’s ministry was conducted in the Desert of Judea, barren and rugged land west of the Dead Sea. His message was forthright and had two parts: a soteriological aspect, repent, and an eschatological aspect, for the kingdom of heaven is near. The concept of a coming kingdom was well known in Old Testament Scriptures. But the idea that repentance was necessary in order to enter this kingdom was something new and became a stumbling block to many Jews. They thought that as children of Abraham they would automatically be granted entrance into Messiah’s kingdom. John’s message, however, was that a change of mind and heart was necessary before they could qualify for the kingdom. They did not realize how far they had drifted from God’s Law and the requirements laid down by the prophets… In addition, John must mean that God’s heavenly rule was about to be extended directly to earthly spheres. God’s rule over the earth had drawn near and was about to be instituted through the person of the Messiah for whom John was preparing the way. No one hearing John preach asked him what he was talking about, for the concept of Messiah’s rule over the kingdom of earth was a common thread in Old Testament prophecy. The requirement for that institution, however, was that the nation repent.”
Many people who first came to hear John preach and be baptized by him came out of curiosity. The first real prophet in over 400 years? This was something to see. But they soon realized that John’s message was one that needed to be taken seriously. His message was, “Repent”, make an about-face, turn from wicked ways and do good. The baptisms that he carried out were symbolic for those who had chosen to live a new life after repentance. Of course, repentance and baptism alone will not save any individual. As William Hendriksen points out, “It should be stressed that although John attached considerable importance to baptism, baptized many, and was therefore called ‘the Baptist,’ he did not consider this rite to have any saving significance apart from the fundamental change of life indicated by conversion. It is on the latter that he placed the greatest emphasis.”
John’s call for people to “repent” was a precursor to the arrival of the kingdom of heaven. He was basically telling his audience, “Because the kingdom of heaven is at hand, you need to repent. You need to put away your sinful ways in order to have a place in this kingdom.” Interestingly, repentance is a big part of the Gospel message. In Matthew and Mark, “Repent” is the first recorded word of Jesus’ preaching. When Jesus sent His disciples out on their own for the first time, Mark says they “preached that men should repent.” After Jesus rose from the dead, He told His disciples that all that had happened had happened so “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached among all nations.” When summing up his life’s work to King Agrippa, Paul said that he showed to all men “that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.”
Repentance is not a popular topic of discussion, and some, though they may have good intentions, are guilty of downplaying repentance in a misguided effort to attract people to the Gospel. But the truth is that repentance is part and parcel with the Gospel. It is something that goes along with it. While we are entering the kingdom of heaven, we also ought to be in the process of repenting — turning away from life as citizens of the world toward life as citizens of the kingdom. One commentator uses this example to explain it: “If you are in New York, and I tell you to come to Los Angeles, I don’t really need to say, ‘Leave New York and come to Los Angeles.’ To come to Los Angeles is to leave New York, and if I haven’t left New York, I certainly haven’t come to Los Angeles. We can’t come to the kingdom of heaven unless we leave our sin and the self-life.”
Albert Evans wrote:
Lord, to Thee alone we turn,
To Thy cross for safety fly;
There, as penitents, to learn
How to live and how to die.
Sinful on our knees we fall;
Hear us, as for help we plead;
Hear us when on Thee we call;
Aid us in our time of need.
Guard us in that darksome hour,
In Thy kingdom, let us rest,
There, secure from Satan’s power,
We may lie upon Thy breast.
If you want to enter the kingdom of Heaven, you must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and allow Him to help you turn from the sin in your life. Here is how you can place your faith and truth in Him for your salvation.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in 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.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to GospelLightSociety.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.