INTRO: Jesus had just experienced an incredibly full sabbath day. It had concluded with His having throngs of sick and demon possessed people brought to Him to be healed. Rarely during the days of His earthly ministry would there not be the crowds. And the crowds were demanding of His physical, emotional and spiritual resources. I have a strong suspicion that as a day such as the one He had just experienced I would want to sleep a bit later and have a good breakfast before I was prepared for the new day's activities. But in the text before us we learn something very important about Jesus ... and, perhaps, too, about our own needs.
I. THIS DAY IN JESUS' LIFE BEGAN WITH SPIRITUAL REFRESHMENT
A. His time of prayer began very early in the morning
1. the language indicates (in Gr.) between 3 a.m. & 6 a.m.
2. further, the indication is a time early in that "watch" period
3. before the crowds could find him, before the activities of the day would begin, Jesus went to a "solitary place" to pray
B. Even Jesus needed spiritual "refreshment"
1. one involved heavily in intense service must pause for refreshing
2. He had been involved in preaching, confronting demonic kingdom, healing of diseases the day before
3. another busy day is dawning - but "batteries" need recharging
C. Too, Jesus is launching into a new "campaign"
1. He is planning a preaching tour of Galilee of considerable duration
2. as you study His life, you will notice His habit of prayer before major events or actions - here is an important lesson for disciples
3. pray before making important decisions, taking critical actions, etc.
D. Other observations here about "prayer"...
1. prayer is no substitute for action, work - but it does strengthen us for the work we must do
2. prayer keeps our focus on God - service to man in absence of prayer tends to move the focus to ourselves - loss of reason for such service
3. Rom 12:12 - "continuing instant in prayer"
II. A LITTLE DIFFERENCE OF OPINION
A. Peter and others with him sought for Jesus
1. language here indicates both urgency and consternation
2. when Peter and others awoke to find Jesus gone, they searched for Him
3. was it because crowds were seeking for him? they saw an opportunity - they had a plan for Jesus
B. Their plan was for Jesus to respond to multitudes in Capernaum
1. apparently, though, the multitudes sought Him for healing of the body
2. and Jesus did, at times, heal physical ailments (reason? Jno 20:30,31)
3. but was that the real and critical reason for His coming?
C. Jesus' plan? To go to "the next towns, that I may preach there also"
1. Jesus never forgot the small in favor of the great!
2. human pride might have favored the fame in Capernaum - but Jesus handled "fame" very differently from the way in which people typically do
3. the little towns in Galilee needed His ministry, too
III. HOW JESUS VIEWED HIS "MINISTRY"?
A. He saw it as a preaching, teaching - "for therefore came I forth"
1. sermon on the mount probably belongs in this period - great teaching
2. notice Lk 4:18,19 - He saw the message was of paramount importance
3. the world, then and now, needs the message of freedom, liberty
4. but Jesus' understanding of freedom and the world's were/are different
5. Jno 8:33-36 - they thought "political freedom" - He taught "spiritual freedom"
B. What lesson can we draw from all of this?
1. the church must not become self centered, self absorbed
2. the church must not become a monastery, a cloister
3. our mission is beyond the walls of the church house - to teach, to preach!
4. it is so easy for us to become comfortable with and among ourselves - and most assuredly we should have great love among ourselves
5. so, the "go" at Mt 28:19 is consistent with Jesus' own actions and ministry
CLOSE: Jesus went forth preaching and teaching as He had explained to Peter and the others that He should. Question: are we following His example?
Cecil A. Hutson
21 May 2006
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)