Matthew 4

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Three Commitments to A Better Life

August 20, 2017 | Matthew 4:18-22 | three commitments

In the book of Matthew, Jesus challenged the disciples with a simple commitment: “Follow me.” Jesus called them to a relationship with Him. He called them to be Jesus-followers. Of course, this meant leaving everything else behind. It was such a simple commitment, yet it led to a radically better life. We can answer this same simple commitment to follow Jesus and experience the better life He promised.

“And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum” (Matthew 4:13 NKJV).

January 4, 2017

Moving to Capernaum was both a prophetic fulfillment and an important strategic base of operations for Christ’s ministry. As Matthew reported, Jesus’ move to Capernaum was in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy (Isa. 9:1-2). It was also strategic because Jesus would make this prosperous fishing town that sat on the crossroads of two important Roman roads His ministry headquarters. The Via Maris (“the Way of the Sea”, Matt. 4:15) led from Damascus, Syria through Galilee down to Egypt. And the Eastern road that led to the Decapolis and beyond intersected in Capernaum. Capernaum was the place where Jesus called His first four disciples, the two brother teams of Peter and Andrew, and James and John. It was a place where Jesus was accepted in the Synagogue and had great freedom and acceptance among this city populated by both Jews and Gentiles, including a Roman garrison.

Let us pray that our hometowns would accept Jesus and give Him freedom to move and minister just as Capernaum did.

“So his fame spread throughout all Syria…” (Matthew 4:24 ESV)

January 4, 2016

After Jesus overcame Satan and returned from His wilderness fast, He began His public ministry. News of Him soon reached other lands, including Syria. In the book of Acts we read that Christians were in Damascus in such number that the persecutor, Saul, headed there to bring them to trial. Of course, His mission was changed when the Lord struck him blind along the way. Instead of persecuting them, he ended up preaching the gospel there. A large Christian fellowship of believers has lived in Syria since the 1st century. Yet, today they are experiencing terrible persecution once again. Pray for the Christians in Syria. Before the civil war, they made up over 10% of the population. Untold numbers have been persecuted and killed. Pray that the Lord once again directs help to a street called “Straight” (Acts 9:11).

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry” (Matthew 4:1-2 ESV)

January 3, 2016

God seems to have favorite numbers. Both the number 40 and the number 3 are significant in today’s OYB reading. The number 40 generally symbolizes a period of testing, trial or preparation. We see the number in both our OT and NT readings today. Noah and his family were kept safe in the ark while God sent 40 days and nights of rain to flood the earth (Gen. 7:12). And in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus was led into the wilderness for 40 days of testing by the “Spirit.” This time of “temptation” points back to at least two events in the OT: 1) The Israelites 40 years of wandering in the wilderness and 2) Adam and Eve’s 3-part temptation in the garden. The 40 days for Jesus marked his preparation for public ministry, just as the 40 years for Israel marked their preparation for entering the promised land.
And the 3-part temptation by the devil was familiar too. Notice the similarity between Satan’s temptation of Eve (Gen. 3) and later, of Jesus:
1) Eve: “good for food;” Jesus: “stones to bread”
2) Eve: “delight to the eyes” Jesus: “let the people see the angels save you”
3) Eve: “wise like God;” Jesus: “give your worship to me instead of God”
Of course, the difference is that Adam and Eve succumbed to temptation, but Jesus overcame it.
The apostle John reminds us that in Christ, we can be “overcomers” too. Notice the three temptations listed by John and then the promise.
“For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world… Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 2:16, 5:5).

“Then He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men’” (Matthew 4:19 NKJV)

January 4, 2015

Notice what Jesus didn’t say. He didn’t tell Peter and Andrew to work on applying their fishing skills to reaching men to see if they might qualify to be one of His disciples. He didn’t ask for their resumes or past accomplishments. He didn’t request proof of their bar mitzvah or rabbinic studies. He simply said, “Follow Me.” That’s it. If you can follow Me, “I will make you” what you need to be as my disciples. Many say they want to get their life in order first, clean things up and get organized, then follow Christ. But Peter and Andrew “immediately left their nets” and followed.

Less is More

August 10, 2014 | Matthew 4:19 | three commitments

Pastor Gary Combs begins a new 4-week message series entitled “Simplify Your Life” with this message from Matthew 4:19about Christ’s simple call. Jesus challenged his disciples with a simple call: “Follow me.” Jesus called them to a relationship with Him. He called them to be Jesus-followers. Of course, this meant leaving everything else behind. He called them to simplicity, but he also called them to a radical life change. Jesus still makes this same simple call. We make it too complicated. But it’s simple. Do you want to learn how “less is really more?”

“News about him spread as far as Syria” (Matthew 4:24)

January 4, 2014

After Jesus overcame Satan and returned from His wilderness fast, He began His public ministry. News of Him soon reached other lands, including Syria. In the book of Acts we read that Christians were in Damascus in such number that the persecutor, Saul, headed there to bring them to trial. Of course, His mission was changed when the Lord struck him blind along the way. Instead of persecuting them, he ended up preaching the gospel there. A large Christian fellowship of believers has lived in Syria since the 1st century. Yet, today they are experiencing terrible persecution once again. Pray for the Christians in Syria. Before the civil war, they made up over 10% of the population. Untold numbers have been persecuted and killed. Pray that the Lord once again directs help to a street called “Straight” (Acts 9:11).

“But Jesus told him, ‘No! The Scriptures say, “People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God'” (Matthew 4:4)

January 3, 2014

After Jesus was baptized, He fasted 40 days and nights in the wilderness, where He was tempted by Satan. Adam and Eve were tempted too, but in the garden. They were well fed and satisfied. Jesus was hungry, thirsty and tired. Satan used the same bag of tricks on both. The first Adam sinned after the devil caused them to doubt God’s Word asking, “Did God really say?” (Gen. 3:1). The “last Adam” (1 Cor. 15:22; 45) overcame by His righteousness, answering every temptation with the Word of God. We have this same Word available to us to overcome temptation.

iCommit: Three Simple Commitments

July 29, 2012 | Matthew 4:19-20 | three commitments

Pastor Gary Combs begins a new 4-part sermon series entitled “iCommit.” This series begins from Christ’s call to his disciples in Matthew 4 to “come” and “follow.” In this culture of chaotic busyness, Christ’s simple call to follow him helps us focus on what really matters.