Read Matthew 4:12-17.
"From that time on Jesus began to preach, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.'" NIV
At first glance I thought I'd exhausted the subjects of this passage. Prophesy was on 6/28, repentance on 7/1, and the kingdom of heaven on 6/30. But then I realized I couldn't just pass by without acknowledging the very heart of Christ's message. Verse 17 is the bottom line sermon that Jesus preached. In everything He discussed, admonished, taught, and practiced his purpose was to get across this message, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." Nothing, not even hanging on a cross, deterred him from his mission.
It started making me think about how distracted we can become from the main message. We can get so caught up in systems, rituals, procedures, and programs that we forget to stay focused on our purpose for being here. If I wasn't supposed to share the good news of Jesus Christ and help direct people toward repentance, then I would have just dropped dead when I received Christ. Zap! I'm in heaven with the Lord. But he left me here for a reason and that is that the body of Christ must carry on the main message.
The enemy will try to distract us from it through many avenues -- social controversies, building churches, legalistic blindness, liberal compromise, adding programs, designing clever evangelistic methods..... And some of these things can be from good intentions. Growing a church to be able to reach out to more people is a great goal. But they become ineffective and misguided when we lose the heart of the message - repentance.
Keep focused. Don't go off on tangents. Don't let the enemy distract you from our main message. He's coming, and we want to take as many with us as possible.
- Throughout Jesus' ministry, what are some examples to show that He did not lose sight of the main message? Support with Scripture. (i.e. John 5:1-15. Note vs. 14)
- I mentioned that Jesus continued the message even on the cross. How? Who did he share the message with?
- How did the early church continue to spread this main message? Site examples from Acts.
- Is there anything in your life right now that is getting you off the main message? What are some ways to refocus? Ask the Lord to direct you to get back on track. Keep the message alive.