|THE FIRST AND IMPORTANT
TEACHINGS OF JESUS
“From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matt. 4: 17.
Jesus taught many and varied teachings about all phases of life. He taught about farmers, shepherds and
professional people. He taught about life, pursuit of happiness, death and eternity. Jesus also gave
warnings about wrong choices, results of sin and the reality of eternity without Him for those who reject
Here in Matthew 4:17, “He began both to teach and to say, “repent”.
Here the implication is that this is not a one time statement to “repent” but an ongoing teaching, “Repent for
the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” This is easily seen in the following chapters of Matthew as well as in the
rest of the Gospels.
First look at the context, of “repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”, in chapter 4. In 4:1-11 Jesus is
“led by the Spirit “ and “tempted by the devil “. In verse 12 John is put in prison. In verses 13-16, Jesus
leaves Nazareth to Capernaum the beginning point of His ministry, as prophesied. Then in verse 17 we are
given the theme of Jesus’ preaching, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Then verses 18-25 gives an overview of what Jesus did throughout His ministry.
Verse 18-22 Jesus called His disciples. Verse 23, He taught in the synagogues and healed the sick.
Verse 24-25, “His fame covered the whole region and great multitudes followed Him. Then in chapters 5-7
is the Sermon on the Mount, an example of what Jesus taught.
As we look at the Sermon on the Mount, we find that it has a teaching that is of a continuous theme. That
theme, being stated in Matthew 4:17, is exemplified in chapters 5-7.
Example # 1:
5:3-- “blessed or the poor in spirit,”
5:4-- “blessed are those who mourn,”
5:5-- “blessed or the meek,”
Certainly in physical terms those who are “poor in spirit”and “those who mourn” and “the meek” are not
considered among the blessed. But on condition that they have repented and their sins are forgiven, they
would be considered among the blessed.
“Just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from
works: “blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the
man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.” Romans 4:6-8.
Thus, Jesus is giving in Matthew 5: 3 - 5 the results of (the “blessedness”) of a repentant heart.
Even though a person is not blessed in this world, yet if their sins are forgiven they are “blessed”.
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for my
sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your award in heaven, for so they persecuted the
prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12.
Were they blessed because they were persecuted?
Was their reward in heaven because they were persecuted?
I say no to both questions.
They were blessed because they had repented. Even though persecuted they are blessed because their
sins are forgiven.
Their reward is in heaven, not because they were persecuted but because they had repented.
Whereas in verses 3 - 12 Jesus speaks of those who have repented, in verses 13 and following He speaks
of those who having been blessed by salvation through repentance, yet need to continue to repent of their
Matthew 5: 13a, “You are the salt, of the earth “; = repentant and blessed, born-again Christian.
“But if the salt loses its flavor how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and
trampled underfoot by men.” Matt. 5: 13b.
So, if you as a repentant, born-again Christian have lost your “flavor” --- saltiness or fervor, you need to
Again in verses 14 and 15, if you “the light of the world” put your lamp “under a basket”, you need to repent.
Again in verse 19, if you break “one of the least of these Commandments”, you need to repent.
Again in verse 22, if you have been “angry” with your brother without a cause." you need to repent.
This same theme of repentance is throughout the teachings of Jesus.
For example in Luke 15, the prodigal son repents of his wayward life.
Also in Luke 15:7, Jesus speaks of “joy in heaven over one sinner who repents”.
Also in Luke 16’s parable of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man understood that he was in hell because
he had not repented.
“And he said, no Father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent”. Luke 15:30.
Again in Luke 17:3-4 Jesus speaks of one person repenting to another as a remedy to problems.
With the above discussion and examples from the teachings of Jesus we can see that a major theme of
Jesus’ teaching is repentance.
What is repentance:
“To feel such regret over (an action, intention, etc.) as to change one’s mind.”
(Definition from Webster’s New World Dictionary.)
In order to repent, a person must first become a sinner.
One must recognize personal sin and the results of those sins.
“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. Roman’s 3:23.
The Bible tells us that all have sinned. For a person to know what the Bible says is one thing, but to
recognize personal sin and sin’s consequences for me personally is a completely different thing.
Personal sin—my personal sin—carries a death penalty.
“For the wages of sin is death.” Roman’s 6:23.
Jesus’ call to repentance in Matthew 3 is universal to the “poor in spirit”; and “those who mourn”, “the
meek”, and the “persecuted”, “the salt of the earth”, “the light of the world”, and all who become “angry”
at their brother.
This message of repentance is to all mankind—every person.
THUS THE TEACHING IS:
#1 ----- Mankind must recognize personal sin.
# 2 ----- Mankind must be sorrowful for sinful condition.
# 3 ----- Mankind must confess sin.
# 4 ----- Mankind must stop doing that, turn from sin.
An example from life of these 4 points:
#1 ----- When I was a small boy I disobeyed my mom. Later I learned that God’s fifth commandment says,
“Honor your father and mother”.
I had disobeyed my mother, but I had broken God’s law. I was a sinner, condemned by God and separated
from Him. Because of my disobedience to my mother, I broke God’s law.
#2 ----- I am sorry I disobeyed my mom. It is right and for little boys to obey their mother. But I greatly fear
God because by breaking His commandment, I am judged guilty and am worthy of the death penalty.
#3 ----- I confess my sins through prayer to Jesus Christ. My confession coupled with my belief in Jesus
Christ brings salvation and forgiveness of sin through His death. Jesus Christ death paid the penalty for my
sins, but I must repent.
#4 ----- I become obedient where I had been disobedient. My obedience to mom, becomes the physical
evidence of my spiritual change. True repentance brings change of heart.
Galatians 5: 19 - 21 gives us a list of “the works of the flesh”. These can be further described as the
characteristics of an unrepentant person. Four of these characteristics can be the description of a
disobedient child. They are “contentious, jealousies, outburst of wrath, dissension.”
When a child truly repents of their disobedience to their mother, their “works of the flesh” change into “the
fruit of the Spirit” as listed in Galatians 5: 22 - 23.
In varying degrees the child’s characteristics are changed to somewhat as described below:
Contentions --- become --- peace / kindness.
Jealousies --- become --- love / faithfulness.
Outburst of wrath --- become --- gentleness / self control.
Dissensions --- become --- longsuffering / goodness.
Through this type of process the person’s heart is changed from beast-like to God-like.
Thus, we see the great importance of true repentance.
The Lord Jesus told us and taught us from the very beginning of His ministry that which was of utmost
importance “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”.
The place of repentance in salvation:
The following are key scriptures pertaining to salvation:
John 1:12; John 3: 3; John 3: 16; Romans 3: 21-26; Romans 6: 23; Romans 10: 9-10 and 13; Acts 2: 38.
In the above scriptures, there are certain key words.
1). Believe -- in God our Creator and His only Son Jesus Christ.
I believe. But James 2:19 says “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe-
So salvation, is more than just belief that there is a God. (demons believe, but are disobedient –
2). Repent -- from What ?? --- Personal sin.
Repentance is -- to recognize my personal sin -- experence guilt and sorrow for my sins -- and ask Jesus
Christ to forgive me.
3). Receive === I want to receive Jesus Christ. But does Jesus Christ come into a life of sin.
Jesus Christ comes into a life of sin at and after true repentance.
4). I know I’m a sinner, but even after I’m saved I still cannot be like God.
The born-again Christian will recognize through their conscience (by the Holy Spirit) their daily sins and
repent of those sins.
5). Born-again == how? When does one know when he is truly born - again.
By the evidence of the changed heart reflected in “works of the flesh” becoming the “fruits of the Spirit “.
6). Faith== I believe. I have faith. Is my faith sufficient.
We may pray and ask for faith. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” Heb.12:2.
7). Confession == what do I confess?? I should believe in God --- that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and
confess that I’m a sinner.
Is salvation a never ending confession of sins?
NO --- it takes one time — to believe – once to acknowledge being a sinner – and once to receive Jesus
Christ as Lord -- thus , saved forever -- yet as we make mistakes - daily sin -- we confess.
“For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto
salvation.” Romans 10:10.
“For whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10: 13.
If a person is sincerely seeking salvation they should confess belief and sin, repent of being a sinner and
invite Jesus Christ to come into their heart and be Lord of their life.
Possible sinner’s prayer:
Dear heavenly Father: I believe that you are God the creator. I believe that Jesus Christ came to earth as the
only Son of God — God in the flesh — and died for my sins. I believe that Jesus Christ arose from the dead
and is alive today. I am a sinner. Dear Lord Jesus, please forgive my sins, come into my heart and be Lord
of my life. --- Amen.
A person who has just believed – or just heard the Gospel – or just coming to Christ probably does not,
cannot understand all the above. Thus God’s plan has always been that those who are born – again, help –
guide – lead those who are coming for salvation through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Also -- although it is
not necessary for a person to understand everything at the beginning -- it is very important for the witness
to be given as complete as possible -- for the eternal destiny of the persons eternal Soul is determined by
their relationship to Jesus Christ.
Please remember the parable of the '10 virgins' in Matthew 25: 1 - 13.
**All 10 were called virgins -- thus all were at least good folks.
**All 10 went to sleep.
**All 10 heard the cry / call at midnight.
**But 1/2 of them were not perpared through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
After receiving salvation, we confess our personal sins to our Heavenly Father, as they occur for we are not
perfect in this life. We forever fall short – make mistakes – sin as we live life. The continuing confession of
sin / mistakes / missing the mark -- strengthens our relationship to Christ and grows / matures our spiritual
In Acts Chapter 2: 38, Peter gives a quick summation of salvation; “repent—be baptized—you shall receive
the Holy Spirit.”
True knowledge of belief that Jesus lived, died, was resurrected and lives demands acknowledgment of
personal sin and repentance. Because He died for my sins, I must repent -- the belief convicting me to
True “ belief “ in Jesus Christ reveals the reality of sin. Knowledge of sin, demands repentance.
If I open my heart to receive him, my sin is exposed. When I repent He comes in and cleanses me from sin.
Born-again is the result of repentance.
Justification is the result of repentance.
As I confess my belief and sins in true repentance I become born-again.
Each of those key words is either a prerequisite too or the result of repentance.
Is it necessary that a person understand all those words and concepts to be saved?
No.—For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should
not perish but have everlasting life “. John 3:16.
If a person has no opportunity to grow spiritually beyond true simple belief, they should / probably (God's
decision not mine) be saved -- God's Word is true and His promises secure. As a person truly believes,
truly repents, truly receives, they recognize that they have been born-again. They are justified and their faith
A person may believe and still be lost, without God forever.
(The demons believe but are condemned in disobedience.)
If a person believes and is obedient to repent, confess and receives the Holy Spirit they will be saved.
There are certain elements that are necessary for salvation and they are clearly defined, but the process
and point of salvation is reserved to the judgment of God. Anyone and everyone who with a sincere and
open heart seeks God our creator, they will find Him and be saved.
Jesus Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost.
“I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away” Ezekiel 34:16.
“ Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my
absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." Philippians 2:12.
REPENT FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND --- JESUS CHRIST !!