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Summary: So Jesus, in the midst of growing opposition and surrounded by crowds of people who liked him but did not understand him asked two questions to his disciples in order to get them to understand fully who he is, and who they are in Him, so that they will no

Are we Suffering from an Identity Crisis in the Church?

Am Service March 1st 2009

Matthew 16:13-20

Introduction

Are you unsure of your role in life? Do you feel like you don’t know the real you? If you answer yes to these questions, you may be experiencing what is known as an identity crisis. Theorist Erik Erikson coined the term “identity crisis” and believed that it was one of the most important conflicts people face in development. According to Erikson, an identity crisis is a time of intensive analysis and exploration of different ways of looking at oneself.

Researchers have found that those who have made a strong commitment to an identity tend to be happier and healthier than those who have not.

Those with a status of identity confusion tend to feel out of place in the world and don’t pursue a sense of identity.

The question for today is, is the Church today suffering from an identity crisis. Do we really know who we are as the people of God? Do you know why you’re here today? Do you know who you are? If I were to ask you, "Are you a Christian?", I have no doubt that you’d answer Yes. You see, this would be the expected answer. But then I ask, "Why are you here?", and I’d probably get a variety of answers.

The simplest answer would be “because this is my church,” but let me tell you, this is not the proper answer. This is not your Church. We have so much dissatisfaction among members of the Church today because we have an Identity Crisis. We have forgotten who we are in Christ. You see, this isn’t your Church, but each and every one of you is the church. If you are dissatisfied with the church, then in reality you are truly suffering from an identity crisis, because it reveals that you are the one with the problem because you Christian are the church.

Matthew 16 is a critical turning point in the ministry of Jesus Christ. By this time he has been preaching for many months. He is well-known to the nation of Israel. His fame has spread far and wide. The common people have embraced him. They have seen his miracles and heard his teaching. And the word has spread from village to village, "Have you heard about this man Jesus?" Along the dusty roads of Galilee men discussed him and wondered who he really was.

When we come to Matthew 16 it is clear that Jesus has now been rejected by his own people. His fate is sealed. The shadow of the cross looms overhead. And even though the common people heard him gladly, they did not know who he was. They liked him – but did not worship him. To them he was a great teacher and a great miracle-worker, nothing more.

So Jesus, in the midst of growing opposition and surrounded by crowds of people who liked him but did not understand him asked two questions to his disciples in order to get them to understand fully who he is, and who they are in Him, so that they will not suffer from an identity crisis, and I pray today after hearing Jesus words we would no longer suffer from an identity crisis.

Read Scriptures: Matthew 16:13-20

I. The World’s Views about Jesus

Vs. 13-14 “When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

It was here on this dusty road where the first Gallup poll was taken. Jesus already knew the answer to the question that he would pose. He wanted his disciples to acknowledge what other people were saying. So they gave him the four most popular answers about who Jesus is.

Some say John the Baptist (that was Herod’s answer)

Others say Elijah (that was very popular because the Jews expected Elijah to return)

Still others, Jeremiah (he was the greatest of the later prophets)

One of the Prophets (that is, he was a spokesman for God)

The world has its own view of Jesus, Jesus is still misunderstood by unbelievers today. The world puts Jesus side by side with other religious figures. They put Jesus side by side with Muhammad, they put Jesus side by side with Confucius, they put Jesus side by side with Joseph Smith (the founder of the Mormon Church), all of these men died and are dead, Jesus has no equal, He is God in the flesh, no man can stand along side Jesus.

The Bible says, “at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father”.

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