Matthew 3-4

 

 

                                          ch. 3

 

The ministry of John the Baptist

 

John - "the Lord is gracious"  - a fitting title for

one born by the special grace of God and sent to

be the herald of His grace to all men!

 

vs. 2-3 - the message

 

"repentance"  - the first note of warning in the New

Testament - the first practical exhortation directed

generally to all men - the first sermon in the first gospel.

 

"the kingdom of heaven is AT HAND"

 

The kingdom comes from heaven - its government -

(Is. 9:7, Zech. 6:13) - its laws, its modes of life and

thought and worship are all of heaven - established

there when the kingdoms of this world shall have

become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ!

 

"Except ye be converted....ye shall not enter the

kingdom of heaven" - Matt. 18:3

 

"Ye must be born again" - John 3:7

 

Matt. 11:10-11

 

vs. 5-6 - results

 

v. 7 - "O generation of vipers"  - does this imply that

            these people belonged in a true sense to the seed

            of the serpent?    Gen. 3:15

 

They wanted the baptism only, not the repentance -

repentance is a change of heart and thought.

 

Jesus also referred to them as such - ch. 12:34 & 23:33

 

v. 9 - an additional warning against false security - it

         is not natural birth but a spiritual relationship to

         the Father of spirits by faith - this leads to the

         promises of life!

 

There is no such thing as hereditary salvation!

 

v. 10 - Judgment - worthless trees are only for burning.

 

v. 11 - the baptism of "fire" - burns away sin out of the

            godly and consumes the ungodly who cleave to

            their sin.

 

This is the baptism that we must seek - the only baptism

that can help us in the great day!

 

 

v. 12 - The present mixture of good and evil shall be

            brought to an end - "What is the chaff to the

            wheat?" - Jer. 23:28

 

"unquenchable fire" - equivalent to not being

overcome by the lapse of time!

 

vs. 13-15 - the baptism of Jesus

 

John knew that he needed the baptism of the Holy

Ghost and that the Lord Jesus did not need the

baptism of repentance.

 

But the Lord, who, in His ineffable condescension,

had taken upon Him the form of a servant, in that same

condescension submitted to the rites which told of sin

and uncleanness.

 

vs. 16-17 - the witness of God - the Father was there,

the Son was there and the Holy Spirit was there.

 

 

 

                                    ch. 4

 

vs. 1-11 - The Temptation of Christ

 

v. 1  - "led up of the Spirit unto the wilderness"

 

 

A need of lonely meditation, sustained prayer - we

must find time for meditation, if we are to advance

far in the spiritual life.

 

Consecration to God does not exclude temptation.

 

Christ was in all points tempted like we are yet without

sin!

 

The Holy Spirit cannot tempt, but He can and does

lead us into circumstances where temptation is

permitted that we may be proved and disciplined

for future work.

 

Work is a great safeguard against temptation.  A lot of

the world's sin comes from nothing to do - remember the

old adage - an idle mind is the devil's workshop  - without

work the thoughts run wild; often they wander into

sinful fancies.

 

Solitude is good sometimes for a while; but it should be

a pause in a life of active work for God.

 

I Peter 2:21-22

 

Christ suffered being tempted and is able to succor those

that are tempted - we have the Divine sympathy in our

temptations - through self-denial, prayer and the sword

of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, we too may

resist temptation.

 

I Peter 1:3-7               I Cor. 10:13

 

v. 2 - Jesus was weak from fasting for over six weeks -

            the tempter takes advantage of this moment of

            weakness.

 

v. 3 - the tempter came up to Him - this implies physical

         nearness.

 

"If"  - the doubt - "if thou be the Son of God" - to Eve

he had said "hath God said" - he tempts us now with

his evil whisper, breathing doubts into our souls, doubts

of truth of God's revelation - doubts of His power and

love, doubts of our own conversion - "if thou be a child

of God" harassing our souls with fears and perplexities.

 

Our God turns "if thou be a child of God" into "I know

whom I have believed"

 

v. 4 - Jesus' three answers are quotes from the book of

         Deuteronomy - 8:13, 6:16 - and portions of 6:4-9

         and 11:13-21 -

 

This was the first  part of Scripture taught to a child.

 

Man lives, not necessarily by natural means, but by

even supernatural means, if God so wishes!

 

 

v. 9 - Satan places the immediate and the visible above

            the future and the unseen.

 

Christ came to use His power for the saving and good

of humanity - not for supplying His own wants.

 

Do this my way - I will give you everything - A LIE -

he does not have that authority, yet in Rev. 20 we

see Satan deceiving the world - do this without difficulty,

without pain, without self-denials, without the CROSS!

 

 The devil tempts men today to use for worldly

advancement and worldly glory things that were given

them to work out their own salvation and to aid their

fellowman in the world.  The end justifies the means is Satanic

philosophy!

 

THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY TO DO THE WRONG

THING!

 

Men will find in the end that rank, riches, and pleasure

bought by sin are but dust and ashes - "to be carnally

minded is death!"

 

Satan asks Christ to offer worship which is due to God

alone!  Christ expresses His indignation with this -

"Get thee hence Satan, for it is written, Thou shalt

worship the Lord thy God and Him only shalt thou

serve!"

 

Jesus said that "no man can serve two masters"

 

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,

with all thy soul, with all thy strength"

 

Satan was trying to get Christ to misuse His power, what

was part of the great scheme of redemption, miracles,

were wrought to relieve distress or to increase the faith

of His followers, not needlessly to display His power or

to satisfy curiosity.

 

Remember how Christ dealt with Herod - Luke 23:8-9

 

May no man alive today have Herod's attitude - it

originates from the devil himself.

 

The Lord's answer was "It is written" - misquoted

texts, misapplied Scripture did not trap the Lord!

 

"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my

path" - "Thy words have I hid in my heart that I might

not sin against thee" - "the entrance of thy words giveth light"

 

Our memories should be stored with the sacred words;

useful for holy thought and diligent obedience, ready at

hand for use in the hour of trial amid the deadly struggle!

 

Prov. 7:2-3                  Jer. 31:33

 

 

 

Life is too great, too Divine a gift, to attempt to support

it only by material things - we need a Diviner food - the

Bread that came down from heaven, the Lord Christ

Himself.

 

John 6:47-51

 

Through Christ we may share His victory and overcome

as He overcame.  "I can do all things through Christ who

strengtheneth me"

 

v. 11 - "The the devil leaveth Him"

 

"Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil,

and he will flee from you" - James 4:7

 

I Peter 5:8-9

 

vs. 13-16 - fulfillment of prophecy - Isaiah 9:1-2

 

v. 17 - the beginning of the ministry of Christ - "Repent:

            for the kingdom of God is at hand"

 

The gate of that kingdom is repentance.

 

Same message when He sent out the disciples - ch. 10:7

 

vs. 18-20 - The call of Andrew and Peter

 

"Follow me"

 

Immediate detachment from their present sphere of

interest - "they straightway left their nets"

 

vs. 21-22 - The call of James and John

 

"immediately they left the ship and their father,

and followed Him"

 

The end result which Christ prayed for is:  John 17:22

 

v. 23 - "And Jesus went about all Galilee...teaching...

            preaching.....healing.

 

Teaching those who have heavenly desires.

Preaching to the unconverted.

Healing those with physical problems.

 

vs. 24-25 - reaching beyond the Holy Land -

 

Syria........Decapolis  (population primarily heathen)