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Matthew 4:23-24

A Balanced Ministry

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. 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.

Where is the best place to present the gospel to people? Many believe that it is best preached in the church. Indeed, we have many who unfortunately never speak of the gospel outside the walls of their church. There are few people, however, inside the church who have never heard the gospel message.

Jesus did not have a church in which to to preach. The best He could do was to go to the synagogues. These were places where people came to learn about the scriptures. The synagogue probably originated in Babylon while Judah was in captivity. They were small meeting places which were most likely instituted due to the destruction of the temple and the great distance from Jerusalem. The speaker would sit at a table or podium in the center of the room, while the audience sat in a circle around him. Synagogues were built anywhere that there were ten men knowledgeable in the law. It is said that Jerusalem had over five hundred synagogues.

The synagogue was an ideal place for Jesus to begin His ministry. All who visited there came in order to hear the word of God, and the gospel had never been preached to them.

Jesus did not confine Himself to the synagogues, however. He preached throughout all of Galilee, which, according to John Gill, had some of the most despicable inhabitants of all Judea. He went out to the sinner and ministered to him.

Each of us, whether we are laymen, choir members, ministers of music, pastors, or just church members should follow the example that Jesus set for us in His ministry. He took the gospel into the streets, to the mountains, to the valleys, and to the shores of the sea, ministering to sinners in three unique ways.

First, He taught them. Teaching is the most fundamental skill needed by every Christian. We cannot ask those who are lost to repent, if they do not understand what the word means, what they must turn away from, what they must turn towards, and why they must repent. We must be able to teach them these things. The author of the book of Hebrews admonished his people, saying, "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat." It is the appointed duty of every Christian to study the scriptures. God will provide the talent to teach when the time comes, but we must prepare ourselves by studying.

Secondly, Jesus preached. Preaching and teaching are very closely related, but preaching has more of its focus on calling for a change of heart. Teaching focuses on the facts while preaching focuses on the application, though each must incorporate some of the other. Preaching is not necessarily done from a pulpit before large audiences. It can be done one on one. We call it witnessing, and each of us has the obligation to call others to repent and receive Christ as their Savior.

Finally, and perhaps the most unique part of Jesus' ministry, was His willingness to minister to the needs of others. We are told that He healed all manner of diseases and sicknesses, torments, and demonic possessions. Such compassion from a teacher had never been seen before, so the crowds began to follow Him everywhere.

Each of us has the obligation to care for the people around us. We must pray for their healing, for their relief from every kind of suffering and torment, for their spiritual health, and we must provide as much as we can for their physical needs.

I must interject a word of caution here. There is a widespread misconception that Jesus healed everyone, and that we can do the same through prayer. Such an idea is absolutely false and has been a stumblingblock in the spiritual lives of many people.

The scripture says that He healed "all manner of sickness and all manner of disease..." It does not say that He healed "all who were sick." There is a big difference. To think that God will heal everyone whom we pray for is ludicrous, because it would mean that no one would have to die. Our understanding of scripture must not stretch the truth to fit our own human desires. Our prayers must be subject to the will of God.

Jesus, I am sure, healed huge numbers of people. He was God and He did as He willed, but I doubt that He healed anyone who came to Him without faith.

Examine your own personal service to God. Every Christian must be about the Father's business of teaching, preaching, and ministering to the needs of others. In what areas can you improve your ministry?

Before The Throne:

Ask God to help you make the necessary changes in your life, so that you will have a ministry with those three elements. Pray about the doubts, weaknesses, and fears that hamper you from being what He wants you to be. Ask Him to provide the gifts that you need for each ministry opportunity. Pray for greater understanding of His word. Thank Him for what He has done for you so far.

For Further Study:

** Jesus. Matt 9:35; Mark 6:6; John 7:1; Acts 10:38; ** teaching. Matt 12:9; Matt 13:54; Ps 74:8; Mark 1:21, 39; Mark 6:2; Luke 4:15-16, 44; Luke 13:10; Acts 9:20; Acts 9:13; Acts 9:14-43; Acts 18:4; ** the gospel. Matt 13:19; Matt 24:14; Mark 1:14; Luke 4:17-18; Luke 8:1; Luke 20:1; Rom 10:15; ** healing. Matt 8:16-17; Matt 10:7-8; Matt 11:5; Matt 15:30, 31; Ps 103:3; Mark 1:32-34; Mark 3:10; Luke 4:40-41; Luke 5:17; Luke 6:17; Luke 7:22; Luke 9:11; Luke 10:9; Acts 5:15-16;

(v.24) ** his fame. Matt 9:26, 31; Matt 14:1; Josh 6:27; 1Kgs 4:31; 1Kgs 10:1; 1Chr 14:17; Mark 1:28; Luke 4:14; Luke 5:15; ** Syria. 2Sam 8:6; Luke 2:2; Acts 15:23, 41; ** all sick. Matt 4:23; Matt 8:14-15; Matt 9:35; Exod 15:26; ** possessed. Matt 9:32; Matt 12:22; Matt 15:22; Matt 17:18; Mark 5:2-18; Luke 4:33-35; Luke 8:27-37; Acts 10:38; ** lunatic. 17:15; ** those that. Matt 8:6, 13; Matt 9:2-8;


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