Matthew 3:2 //4:17
By Ysrael De la Cruz
With everything that is going on in the world, in our nation, even in our own lives. It is easy to lose focus of what truly matters. Amid confusing times, chaos and on the brink of a presidential election, it is easy to lose our kingdom focus. We all are being tempted to change perspectives, to lose focus; to adopt a worldly perspective because this is where we are. However, God’s people are to be kingdom in the midst of it all. If you are a follower of Jesus, then you are a kingdom person and you should always have a kingdom perspective regardless of what is going on in the world.
The last message of the last prophet of the Old Testament was about the kingdom of heaven. John the Baptist appeared in the dessert preaching a message of repentance. Matt.3:1-2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” At the time of John’s arrest, Jesus went to Galilee and began his public ministry, he began preaching. Matt.4:17 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Has come near, is at hand) The coming of the Messiah inaugurated the kingdom of God (Heaven). Jesus’ message was concentrated on the Kingdom of God. He wanted people to understand it he came to call people to this kingdom through repentance. (change of heart). Change your ways for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. It is in your midst.
Jesus taught and spoke extensively about the Kingdom of heaven. The book of Matthew, written by Levi or Matthew is focused on the kingdom of heaven. Matthew is a kingdom-focused book. We too should be kingdom-focused followers.
Jesus’ teaching about the kingdom of heaven
–Matt.5:3 The kingdom of heaven belongs to people who are poor in Spirit. (those who are broken or spiritually bankrupt). If that is you, God’s kingdom is for you.
-Matt.5:10 The kingdom of heaven belongs to people who are persecuted and mistreated for justice’s sake.
-Matt.6:10 Jesus taught us to always yearn for his kingdom to come even when we pray. “Your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.”
–The kingdom of heaven is here, the inauguration began at the preaching of Jesus himself. It started with the appearance of the Messiah. God’s kingdom will be established at the return of Jesus. This is when God’s will is going to be completely done on earth.
–Matt.6:33 Jesus taught his followers to yearn for his kingdom, to prioritize it. Seek first his kingdom and righteousness and everything you are running after will be given to you.
–Matt.7:21 Jesus reminds us that not everyone will enter the kingdom of Heaven. Only those who do the will of God. (God’s will is for people to be saved by faith in Jesus.) To believe in the one God has sent as the solution to our sin problem.
Matt.9:35 Tells us that Jesus went everywhere preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.
Matt.10:7 Jesus recruited twelve apostles whom he sent to preach in the land of Israel. The same message “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Matt.11:12 Jesus acknowledged the kingdom of heaven has been suffering violence from the time of John to his time. God’s kingdom was till advancing despite the work of the enemies of the kingdom.
Matt.13:11 Jesus gave the reason why he spoke in parables. To separate those who care about the kingdom from those who did not. The secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to kingdom people for they have eyes to see and ears to hear. (v.16) but blessed are your eyes for they see and your ears for they hear.
In one of Jesus’ parables about the kingdom of heaven he talked about two different kinds of people within the kingdom” Wheat or weed. (Matt.13:24-43) They grow together but at the return of Jesus, his kingdom will be weeded out of sin and evil.
In Matthew 16:13-20 Jesus promised the building of his church.
Who do people say the Son of man is?
Who do you say I am?
The church is God’s instrument in his kingdom.
(v.19) I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Jesus gave the keys of the kingdom of heaven to Peter and the apostles, who used these keys to establish the church in Jerusalem through their preaching. They locked and opened doors for the proclamation of the gospel. The keys to loosen and bind. Those keys have been used since the day of Pentecost until now. The church now has the keys of God’s kingdom. We have been given the authority to loosen and bind in Jesus’ name. We have been given the power to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom by which captives are set free and demonic forced are bound in Jesus’ name.
God’s people should not lose sight of who we are. We are kingdom people, kingdom agents with a kingdom agenda and a universal mission. To recruit as many people as possible to be part of this coming kingdom.
This is the church’s task; this is the task of every follower of Jesus; this is why we cannot afford to lose focus or get distracted. Do not lose sight of who you are and what God is calling you to do. Stay kingdom focused.