Summary: This message deals with responses to Christ based on one’s conclusions of Him, either true or false.
Conclusions Concerning Christ
Text: Matt.16: 15 & 16; Matt.26: 65 & 66
Intro: Everyone who came through these doors today came having drawn certain conclusions about one thing or another. When we speak of coming to a conclusion about something, we mean that we have made a deduction concerning the particular facts given us; we have made an assumption based on what we know at that moment.
For instance, perhaps you came to a conclusion concerning today’s weather, based on last night’s forecast. Or maybe you simply looked at the sky as you were leaving the house, and concluded in your own mind what you thought the weather would do today.
Maybe as you drove to church you thought about what sort of attendance could be expected today. And based on previous Sundays, you might have concluded that the attendance would be about the same as usual.
The fact is we all come to numerous conclusions each day. However, all of life’s conclusions are relatively unimportant when compared to one’s conclusions concerning Christ. The deductions one makes about Jesus ultimately affects how they respond to Him. It is that response to Christ, based on one’s conclusions, either true or false, that I wish to address today.
Jesus once asked the Pharisees, “What think ye of Christ?” (Matt.22: 42). They said, “He’s the son of David.” Their response was basically that Christ was only a man. That conclusion became obvious in their dealings with Jesus thereafter. But the point of this message is not merely what the Pharisees thought about Jesus. The point of this message comes down to one question: What conclusions have you come to personally, concerning Christ?
Theme: Is your deduction about Christ like:
I. THE CONCLUSION OF THE SADDUCEES AND PHARISEES?
A. The Religious Inquisition.
1. This religious crowd distrusted Jesus, as seen by their request for a sign.
Matt.16: 1 “The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would show them a sign from heaven.”
NOTE:  It’s interesting that two traditional adversaries, the Sadducees and Pharisees, were united in their hatred for Christ.
 If a sign from heaven was all it would have taken to convince these religious leaders of Christ’s true identity, then why had they not already been convinced by His previous miracles? To this point, Jesus had (1) Turned water into wine (John 2: 1-11), (2) Healed a nobleman’s son (John 4: 46-54), (3) Delivered a demoniac (Mark 1: 23-28), (4) Healed a leper (Matt.8: 2-4), and (5) Miraculously fed the five thousand and four thousand (Matt.14: 15-21; Matt.15: 32-38).
 With reference to believing in miracles, the following story is told:
Changed Whiskey into Furniture
An alcoholic, who became a believer, was asked how he could possibly believe all the nonsense in the Bible about miracles. “You don’t believe that Jesus changed the water into wine do you?” “I sure do, because in our house Jesus changed the whiskey into furniture.”
R. Stedman, Authentic Christianity, p. 36
 In actuality, this hypocritical religious crowd already had their minds made up about Jesus. By asking for a sign from heaven, they were saying, “Jesus, we don’t believe in You. We have concluded that You don’t merit our trust because You don’t meet our criteria.”
 Jesus never seeks to meet man’s criteria for a Savior. He is seeking those willing to meet His criteria—repentance.
2. Jesus reveals this group’s spiritual sinfulness and sightlessness.
Matt.16: 2 “He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.
3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?
4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.”
NOTE:  In verses two and three, Jesus indicated that this group of spiritual intellectuals could interpret the signs in the sky better than they could interpret the fulfilled signs of Scripture. Jesus had fulfilled every Old Testament prophecy concerning the Messiah; yet they remained ignorant as to His real identity.
 When Jesus spoke of the “sign of the prophet Jonas,” He was referring to His eventual resurrection. Just as Jonah had spent three days and nights in the belly of the fish, so Christ would spend three days and nights in the heart of the earth, and immerge alive (Matt.12: 40).
 It is amazing that these religious leaders knew so many significant facts, and yet did not know He who was altogether significant.
B. The Redeemer’s Injunction.