John Baptist proclaimed the message of Warning and Repentance; which is the true Gospel that all God’s people are to proclaim!
Matthew 3:1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 3:2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
John prepared the way for Christ by calling all people to godliness through SINCERE REPENTANCE.
3:3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
John was not interested in the pleasures of this physical life; and was dedicated wholly to the spiritual. His garment was of the gathered shed hair of the camel [camels coats thicken in winter and shed in spring like many other animals], like a hairy sackcloth of humility and mourning over the wickedness of society, against his skin.
3:4 And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.
He began his ministry on the Jordan where there was much water to baptize in; this came from the commandment for the unclean to wash themselves [in modern Rabbinic Judaism the Mikva] and expanded into baptism by John through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit [which was confirmed by Christ who also baptized.].
The law that the unclean must wash [bathe] was the basis for the washing [washing away of the uncleanness of sin] of baptism.
The way to salvation is to SINCERELY REPENT from living contrary to every Word of God, and then to be baptized [washed] in water in a commitment to: “Go and Sin NO MORE!” Anyone who willfully sins, sins against his baptismal commitment!
Any elder, leader or organization who does not sternly rebuke all sin, and teaches tolerance for sin; is not of God, Today the brotherhood is full of wrongly baptized people who had no understanding that they were committing themselves to: “Sin no more.”
Quite the contrary; false elders have wrongfully baptized many without any proofs [fruits] of true repentance from sin; and actually lead people into sin by teaching a tolerance for sin while rebuking any zeal for keeping the Word of God.
Many DID repent and confessed their sins before God and were baptized by John.
3:5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, 3:6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
When John saw many unrepentant wicked persons wanting to be baptized for a show of righteousness before the people; John refused to baptize the unrepentant until they had turned from their evil deeds in true sincere repentance.
To take the Passover worthily; we must examine ourselves and sincerely repent of all our unlawful deeds and fully commit to; “Go and sin no more.”
We MUST NOT justify ourselves by claiming to be the physical [OR THE SPIRITUAL] children of Abraham! We MUST NOT think ourselves righteous because: We are a part of some corporate church organization, claiming to be the children of faith, the spiritual children of Abraham.
We Must NOT delude ourselves that we are right with God because we follow some man! We MUST BE righteous in our DEEDS, by repenting of all our sins and then we must STOP sinning. We MUST then dedicate ourselves to diligently live by every Word of God.
Jeremiah 7:1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 7:2 Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house [preach repentance], and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, all ye of [spiritual] Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the Lord. 7:3 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways [REPENT] and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.
Do not deceive yourselves with words; thinking that you are righteous because of a name, organization or building. IT IS BY OUR ACTIONS THAT WE ARE BEING JUDGED; NOT by the false claims we make!
7:4 Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, are these.
Matthew 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 3:9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
All those who do not turn away from sin and who do not bear godly fruit will be destroyed. The unrepentant shall be destroyed and thrown into the fire.
Therefore repent and bring forth the good fruit of sincere repentance and godly obedience to our Father in heaven.
Do you not know that one of the Ten Commandments is to honour our father and our mother? and that if we break even one command or teaching of our Father in heaven: We also break the Ten Commandments because we are dishonoring our Father in heaven?
The ax is about to be applied to the dead branches of today’s professing Christianity.
Matthew 3:10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
John taught about Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit, which comes through sincere repentance and baptism in water; and the application of the atoning sacrifice of Christ to reconcile us to God the FATHER; only then is the GIFT of the Holy Spirit given and it is only given to those who obey God (Acts 5:32).
3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
John then speaks of the winnowing of wheat, where the grain is thrown into the air and fanned to blow away the chaff; separating out the chaff from the wheat. Christ will thoroughly purge his harvest of grain separating out all chaff, winnowing away the unrepentant, the lukewarm and the sinful.
The unrepentant that have no respect for the whole Word of God and who try to justify their sins by saying, “Christ will understand if we compromise with God’s Word:” Shall be destroyed in the fire of final judgment if they do not sincerely repent.
3:12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
John recognized Christ immediately.
3:13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 3:14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
Jesus who had no sin, then said that he needed to set an example of the right way for all the people.
3:15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered [permitted him to be baptized] him.
At this point God the Father gave a graphic demonstration of support for the Son as the Messiah. This does not mean that Jesus [Yeshua] did not have God’s Spirit from the womb;
3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
God the Father was the ONLY God Being remaining after Jesus became flesh. and he did begin to interact with human beings as soon as Jesus gave up his Godhood to be made flesh. He was the one to whom Jesus prayed and the one who revealed that Jesus was the Son and who resurrected Jesus. Jesus was the God who exclusively dealt with humanity UNTIL he gave up his God-ship to become flesh as a mortal man.
Then Jesus was strengthened by the Spirit of God in the wilderness for forty days and nights.
Matthew 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
A lesson of Christ for all of the spiritually called out.
This is a profound lesson for Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread; that we are to live by the Bread of Life [Jesus Christ and the whole Word of God]; which is what eating unleavened bread daily for the seven day Feast represents; the daily taking into ourselves of the very nature and perfection of God; through diligent study of and obedience to, all every Word of God the Father!
4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
The second great lesson is; do not try the patience of God.
4:5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 4:6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone, [quoting Psalm 91] 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
The third lesson is to love God and do his will, and not to seek the pleasures of this world. We are not to compromise with any part of God’s Word, for anything that Satan and this world has to offer. We are to be absolutely loyal to our baptismal vows and to obey our espoused Husband and God the Father in ALL things!
4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 4:9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
We are the servants of those whom we obey!
Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
Matthew 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
It is time we WOKE UP and STOPPED following idols of men and corporate entities; and turned to a passionate zeal to follow Almighty God!
When we learn these lessons fully and sincerely and we sincerely repent of past sins, dedicating ourselves to abhor all transgressions in future: We shall be very close to true godliness and the resurrection to the marriage of the Lamb.
4:11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
Shortly after Jesus came out of the wilderness, John was arrested, and Jesus went north into Galilee.
4:12 Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; 4:13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea [of Galilee] coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:
Again the prophets are fulfilled
4:14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, 4:15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 4:16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.
We know that Christ began to preach at the age of thirty as the law says (Num 4) in the autumn. Some of these gaps will be filled in by the other Gospel writers.
What did Christ preach?
He preached the way into the Kingdom of God crying: REPENT
4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Jesus taught that the kingdom was at hand, which became an apparent stumbling block for some when he died not establishing the Kingdom. Yet he actually meant that the way of salvation and entry into the Kingdom through his sacrificial death was at hand.
As he began his ministry Christ called out twelve disciples to help him and to be witnesses of all he did and taught.
These men were probably impressed with Jesus in their synagogue religious studies already, and perhaps they had worked and played together while growing up.
The general education process of the time was that after finishing basic education, a trade or career was chosen. These men chose various carriers and Jesus, always about his Father’s business; would have associated with the greatest religious teachers in the land; And at the age of thirty he become Rabbi himself.
4:18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. 4:20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
Christ then called two other fishermen also brothers, so that there are two pairs of brothers all fishermen from the same area, and probably knowing each other well.
4:21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. 4:22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.
Eight other disciples were also called, which is recorded in another place.
Jesus then taught in the synagogues and proclaimed the true Gospel message of Warning and Repentance and the Way Into The Kingdom of God; the Way of Salvation!
The idea that proclaiming a coming Kingdom, is the total Gospel; is FALSE!
It is a small part of the Gospel! The true full Gospel is the WAY INTO that Kingdom!
Many heard the message and came to him to be healed. The physical healing was a demonstration of the spiritual healing that would come with the application of the sacrifice of Christ to the sincerely repentant.
Christ’s power over spirits and over diseases should be a powerful source of faith for his people.
We need to repent and turn back to the teachings of Jesus Christ; who taught diligent UNCOMPROMISING obedience to every Word of God, quick forgiveness of the repentant and destruction for those who will not repent.
4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. 4:24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.
4:25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.
Then as today, many leaders taught falsely and corrupted the people.
Many of today’s brethren have been deceived by elders and leaders into thinking that loyalty to men is the same as loyalty to God.
Both the leaders and the people who follow them away from God will be cast into great tribulation. The leaders for deceiving the brethren; and the brethren for departing from any zeal to live by every Word of God!
Brethren, we are all unfinished products in the Master Potter’s hands!