Summary: This is a sermon that will help us to look at circumstances in a new light.
Today is Mission Sunday. There are many different preaching styles. One of my favorite styles is to ask a question and then answer the question through the sermon.
Jesus used this style in his ministry. Usually Jesus did this when the Jewish leaders were trying to trap Him. He would answer the Jewish leaders when they were trying to trap Him by their questions. In other words he would answer a question by asking a question.
The question I want to raise as we consider our text of Matthew 16:21-23 How Do We Overcome Stumbling Blocks?
The theme of Matthew is Knowing Jesus as the Messiah. The Word “Christ” means the “Anointed One.”
Jesus is with his disciples and He knows his time on earth is drawing to a close. Therefore, he asks two questions of His disciples. “Who do people say that I Am? Some say that you are Elijah, John the Baptist, Jeremiah, Isaiah or one of the other prophets. But who do you say that I Am?” Peter speaking boldly says, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” “You are blessed Peter, for man has not revealed this to you but My Father in heaven. Upon this rock I will build My Church; and the gates of hell will not prevail against it!”
But here in this text we see a different side of Peter. Jesus is with his disciples now as the time of his betrayal is soon to take place. And as Jesus tells them of the things that will soon happen to Him, “Peter boldly speaks, “These things must not happen to You.” But Christ rebukes him, by saying, “Get thee behind Me Satan.” This is the first time that Jesus tells His disciples of the things that would happen to Him. He was trying to prepare them as He will soon be leaving them.
One side of Peter knew who Jesus was but the other side of Peter did know what that fully meant.
So many people, come to Church and accepting Jesus as their Lord but not fully understanding what it fully means by making Jesus Christ their Savior. Each and every one of us can be used by God or by Satan. How do we overcome stumbling blocks in our lives?
Have you ever you ever had someone leave you or forsake you? How did that make you feel? Being a foster child you never knew how long you would be in one foster home and placed in another one. People in my life have come and gone, and normally I do not even care.
Each and every one of us can be become a stumbling block to others without even meaning to be. Sometimes we become stumbling block out of good intentions.
As Christians we need to learn to respond differently. Our responses should be in accordance with the Holy Scriptures. Being a part of a loving congregation and family has helped me to respond differently than when I did before.
We must realize certain people are going to say certain things or they are going to respond in a certain way. We need to be able to accept them as such and to make allowances for that. We need to pray for them. We also do not know what an individual has gone through. We need to be patient with one another in the same way Christ has been patient with us. Especially the ones in which we have conflicts with. Our enemy is not flesh and blood but with Satan and forces of evil.
If we are serving Jesus Christ Satan is not going to like it and he will use others to try to discourage us. Our focus must never be on people but on Jesus instead of people.
All people are going to respond in a certain way and if we are making changes in our lives, there will always be those who will not believe that we are making changes in our lives. We must learn to have a spirit of forgiveness in our lives and be willing to forgive others who hurt us.
The first way to overcome stumbling blocks is to identify the source. The source is always going to be Satan and not flesh and blood. We must realize that God or Satan can be used by anyone that allows them to be used by them. And many times throughout the day we are being used by God and by Satan.
We see this in Peter at one time Peter was used by God in many different ways; but in this one instance Peter was being used by Satan. When he would deny Jesus three times, he was being used by Satan.
Like Peter every time we sin and fall short of the glory of God, we are being used by Satan. Many Christians including Pastors struggle with different types of addiction; these addictions come from Satan. We must realize that. But those who acknowledge they have an addiction is given the strength to overcome it. Pastors are not perfect; they are just lay individuals who happen to be set aside for God’s purpose. But if we have been set aside for God’s purpose we must be willing to turn all of our lives over to God, admitting our weakness and relying on the strength of God to get us through.