May 30, 2016
14 When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. 15 He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.
16 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
“He took up our infirmities
and bore our diseases.”
Do you remember the core message of the Gospel Jesus came preaching. We saw it back in chapter 4 at verse 17. The message was only nine words.
The Christian faith has become so many things to so many people along the way and as a consequence has become so convoluted we almost don’t know where to begin in sharing it. Should we begin by trying to convince people they are sinners? Do we give them the four spiritual laws or the Romans Road or the Sinner’s Prayer or some other framework of the “plan of salvation?” Do we need to convince people to study the Bible and pray and fast and join a small group and teach Sunday School and bring a friend to church?
I know. You are still waiting on that nine word sermon that captures the core of the Gospel he came to bring. And you may be wondering what all this has to do with Jesus healing Peter’s mother-in-law and casting out scores of demons. Trust me, it will all come together before we are done today.
The nine word sermon: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven has come near.”
We must keep the big movement before us at all times else we run the risk of getting lost in all the motions and messaging and meaning of it all. I mean, it’s been three months and we are hardly through a third of the Gospel. To review: he began with preaching this nine word manifesto. Next he taught its implications in the Sermon on the Mount—what the Kingdom of Heaven was and what repent means. Now he’s demonstrating the turn-around impacts of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.
Preaching… Teaching… Healing…
On Sunday we will likely hear another sermon. Throughout the week we will be exposed to teaching. In all probability, though, we will not see a demonstration like this:
When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.
Why? We are coming up short on the demonstration part. I think we would all agree with the old adage that we must “keep the main the main thing.” I think this is our problem. The main thing must become the only thing.
9 words: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven has come near.”
If there’s even one degree of separation between this and what it is that we are doing in our lives and in our churches, we will miss it.
1. Does it seem unreasonable to make the main thing the only thing?
2. Are you seeing biblical demonstrations of the nearness of the Kingdom of Heaven around you?
3. What might it look like if these nine words became our personal mission statement? Our church’s mission statement? What difference might it make?
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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. firstname.lastname@example.org.