Matthew 4:12-25

Matthew 4:12-25

You know, it is not about heaven and it is not about hell. It is about a relationship! A love relationship that you can have that is far greater than anything you have in this world right now. It's good news!You and I, when we face temptation in the world, where we fall short is we are distracted by our own flesh. We are distracted by our own desires. We are distracted by our own expectations… Why do we do what we do in the world? Why do we do what we do in our lives and with our friends? Do we do it because we care for them? [Because] we want to see them walking closer with the God Who created them? Or are we doing what we’re doing to impress those around us?…

And we have that responsibility to study to show ourself approved, to read and know and grow within God’s Word, so that when the challenges do come, we can stand against it, and we can be strong through it…and have the love of God evident in our life and having God’s help when we’ve reached the end… So often, we’re trying to “name and claim” the blessing to get our needs met, when God wants to pour the blessing out on us without us even having to claim it. It’s what He desires to do for us because of His love for us…

And the amazing thing is when you hear God’s Word, when you begin to understand God’s Word, it’s just like a light blinding you out of a darkness. You then, all of a sudden, it’s amazing! So much light. You begin to see things that you’ve never seen before…

“Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.” That is an amazing message. What He was saying to this people is turn from your sin, stop living the way you’re living, for the kingdom of heaven is near. I want to talk a little bit about what the kingdom of heaven is. So often in our mind, in our imagination, we look forward to going to heaven. We look forward to dwelling in the kingdom of heaven. We tell people, “Get saved so you can go to heaven,” but technically that’s not accurate. Heaven has come to us. Salvation and eternity — what heaven’s all about — is in a relationship that we have with a Person. A relationship that Jesus came to fulfill for us through Himself so that we could be in relationship with the Father, a love relationship that so often we take for granted…

One of the things that I endeavor in teaching is to bring the hearer to a place of knowing how much God loves them… Jesus came preaching good news. You know, what? You no longer have to go to hell. You no longer have to die and be separated from the love of the Father. God the Father sent His love to you. It’s good news, guys. Good news! Something that needs to be shared! Good news! The kingdom is near, the kingdom is with us, the King is walking in our presence, and the news has gotten even better now! The kingdom dwells in us. The kingdom has made a home with us. That’s good news. You know, it is not about heaven and it is not about hell. It is about a relationship! A love relationship that you can have that is far greater than anything you have in this world right now. It’s good news! We don’t have to live in fear. We don’t have to live in condemnation. We’re all sinners. We’re in the same boat. We deserve to die and go to hell. But you know what? We don’t have to now! That’s the good news! God loves us! God loves you so much that He sent His Son for you, and He sent His Son with a message to you. A message that says, “I love you. Would you come and be in relationship with Me? Let Me deal with the issues of sin in your life, and just come and be in relationship with Me.” And then, [Jesus] not only preached this, but He proved it…

Jesus didn’t come into this world to condemn us, and He didn’t come into this world to throw it up into our face that we deserve to be condemned, but He came to this world to tell us that His Father loves us, and His Father loves us so much that He was going to deal with the issues of sin that keep us separated from Him. And even today, sin works the same. When you sin against God, even if you’re a believer — I’m not saying you’re going to lose your salvation — but there’s a separation that happens between you and the Lord Who loves you when you live in sin. There is this thing that happens in your life that keeps you from dwelling fully in His power, and then the enemy comes and challenges you because of the sin in your life. Jesus came to tell us, there’s good news. I can deal with that sin, I can deal with the issue of sin, and I can bring you into a place of love relationship, but you have to repent. You have to turn from it. You have to stop doing it. You have to make the choice…

He wanted us to choose. He wanted to give us freedom. Freedom from our flesh. Freedom from deception. Freedom from an enemy who would bind us to this flesh and to this world, and then draw us out of the relationship that we could have with the Father. The good news is, you can turn from that. Repent. Consider what you’re doing and turn from it if it is sin against God. Leave it behind. Let it go. God isn’t standing over you with a big stick waiting to hit you. He’s going to let you do what you want to do. If you want to sin, He’s going to let you. But do you want to have a strong, growing, vital relationship with the God Who created you? You need to let go of the sin. You need to walk away from it. You need to choose to repent…

Do you know what happens when we start living a fulfilled life in Jesus? When we allow His Spirit to dwell in us and function through us? We live lives that begin to be noticed, and word spreads that there is a people who truly do love the Lord their God. And it either will push some away or will attract those who are truly seeking.

Pastor Dave Elkins