Light for the Last Days

The 1st message of Christianity

SHORT TALK

Matthew 3

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying:

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make His paths straight.’ ”

Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10 And even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?”

15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.

16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Matthew 3

So, this is the account of John the Baptist, of his ministry in the wilderness, and his encounter with the Lord Jesus.

The first verse says, ‘in those days …’ It reminds us that this was a historical event, that when you read the Bible, when you are reading the stories in the New Testament, you’re not reading fictional accounts, you’re reading stories or accounts of what happened in time and space.

This is interesting. When we look at Luke’s introduction to this events in Luke chapter 3 – a parallel passage – he says,

Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, while Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying:

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make His paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled
And every mountain and hill brought low;
The crooked places shall be made straight
And the rough ways smooth;
And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’ ”

Luke 3.1-6

You probably have not heard of many of these people. You might have heard of maybe Tiberias and Pontius Pilate, and Caiaphas, but if you investigate history, you’ll find that they existed, that they were people who were ruling at that time. And this is important for us because our Bible is an account of what happened in time and space.

When you look at other ‘holy books’, particularly at the Quran, you’ll find no reference to anything outside of the text itself to locate it in time and space. It’s just a collection of stories.

If go to other holy books, they’re just collection of stories which are made up. Some of them mythical.

But when you come to our Book, these are things which took place in time and space, they really happened. They were performed by real people. It was God moving through his Holy Spirit in the people whom He had chosen to bring to bear His message of Salvation.

When we look at this text, we see that John the Baptist had a message which began with a call to repent. The first thing he said was:

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”

‘Repent’. What does ‘repent’ mean Hebrew word repent תְּשׁוּבָה [Teshuvah]. It means to ‘change direction’, in other words, you’re going one way and you turn around and go the other way, you’re going away from God, you turn around and you come to God.

In Greek the word is μετάνοια [metanoia] which means to ‘change your mind’.

Your mind is full of all sorts of thoughts which are far from God, you have all kinds of priorities which are nothing to do with the Kingdom of God, but when you become a Christian, when you come to believe in the Lord, you change your mind and God becomes your priority, and the Kingdom of God becomes the motivating force in your life.

So you change your mind. And we see that John began his ministry saying, ‘repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand’. John is saying: It’s about to arrive, it’s here, it’s now. You can repent and receive it now, ‘it’s at hand‘. And when we look at the first message of Jesus in the next chapter, in chapter 4 of Matthew verse 17, we read:

17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew 4.17

The first message of Jesus is exactly the same: ‘Repent, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand’.

We look in the book of Acts and we find that the first message of the Apostle Peter in Acts chapter 2, what he presents to the crowd around him is the message that Jesus died and rose from the dead, and he says that we are all responsible for His death, he even says that you people who are here, you’re responsible for the death of Jesus.

It says then,

36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

Acts 2.36-39

The first message then was also to repent. And now that Jesus had died and risen from the dead, the message was then to repent, to be baptized as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ with a promise that you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Apostle Peter was speaking to Jews in Jerusalem. Paul speaking to Greeks in Athens says,

30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

Acts 17.30-31

God has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness. Therefore in the light of that, in the light of the fact that there is a Day of Judgment coming, a Day of Judgment when we’ll all stand before God, what should we do?

We should repent and believe believe that Jesus is the Messiah who died and rose from the dead.

Therefore, we can see that the message the primary message which comes out from all of these men who were ordained by God to bring us the Gospel, the first thing they all said was ‘Repent and believe’.

We look around, we see the dire state of the world today, we see all sorts of of things which we don’t like happening. We say, ‘what can we do about it?’ And sometimes, unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do about it. People have chosen to go the way of sin. We can’t actually stop them from doing this. We can’t stop the wars, we can’t stop the pornography, the violence, the wickedness which we see in our society. We wish we could. But we can ourselves repent and come out of it, and we can look forward to the day when Jesus is going to come back and He will stop it all.

“Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you!
O Israel, if you will listen to Me!
There shall be no foreign god among you;
Nor shall you worship any foreign god.
10 am the Lord your God,
Who brought you out of the land of Egypt;
Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.

11 “But My people would not heed My voice,
And Israel would have none of Me.
12 So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart,
To walk in their own counsels.

13 “Oh, that My people would listen to Me,
That Israel would walk in My ways!
14 I would soon subdue their enemies,
And turn My hand against their adversaries.
15 The haters of the Lord would pretend submission to Him,
But their fate would endure forever.
16 He would have fed them also with the finest of wheat;
And with honey from the rock I would have satisfied you.”

Psalm 81.8-16

Be ready for the day of Jesus’ coming to judge the world in righteousness.

Tony Pearce

2 comments

  • Hi Sir Tony Pearce, i hope you are well.
    Im sending this short message to say thank you, and Praise God for your life, giving you the understand and wisdom in preaching and spreading His word.
    Im Gail, from the Philippines, I read your book “The Omega Files” , this was sent from my Aunt from UK.
    Please continue to do what God wants you to do for His Kingdom. You and your team are in my prayers.
    Thank you so much and God Bless! ❤️

    • Thank you very much Gail. I have passed your message on to Pastor Tony Pearce.

      May the Lord bless you and keep you. In Jesus’ Name.