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Summary: The world around us is busy trying to steal the identity of Jesus from the church

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Identity Crisis

Matthew 16:13-20

April 2, 2006

Morning Service

Introduction

Let me tell you about a guy that I know who was a church planter. It seems that in everything He did, He never gained any popularity. In fact, he was told that he was not well liked. In fact, after he finished one of His sermons, a large part of His congregation got up and left. He went from having about 300 or more to a little over 75. It didn’t seem like good church growth.

This guy did not have many friends and even those who claimed to be his friends deserted him. One betrayed Him and even tried to get rid of him.

To make matters worse he ended up with no real assets of any kind. He had no house, no car, no church building and no assets of any kind.

The poor guy was even rejected by his colleages. In fact, those in leadership basically black balled him and totally rejected his work.

If you were measuring success by these kinds of accomplishments, you would have to say this guy was a failure. Would you agree? If so, you just pronounced jesus Christ a failure. I believe that our nation and our church is suffering from an identity crisis. We have lost who we are as Christians because we have lost sight of who Jesus truly is.

In all, only about 50 days of Jesus’ ministry are touched upon in all the combined gospels. Jesus’ minimum term of ministry equaled three years, or 1080 days (360 days per year). That means 0.046 percent, or slightly less than half of one percent of the days that Jesus was actively ministering are actually recorded in the gospels. Imagine all of the teaching, the conversations, and the ministry that we never heard about.

Now there was about this time Jesus a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him many Jews, and also many of the Greeks. This man was the Christ. And when Pilate had condemned him to the cross, those who had loved him from the first did not forsake him for he appeared to them alive on the third day, the divine prophets having spoken these and thousands of other wonderful things about him. And even now, the race of Christians, so named from him, has not died out. -- From the Writings of Josephus, before 100 A.D

Open your Bibles to the book of Matthew 16:13-17.

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" 14 They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets." 15 "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" 16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 17 Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. Matthew 16:13-17

Who do the crowds say that I am?

In our modern culture there is more and more confusion over just who Jesus is. It seems that even the church cannot agree on who Jesus is. There are more and more theories that seem to come up about who Jesus was. More and more documentaries are being made to discover who Jesus was and virtually all of them slide their agenda into the mix and distort the identity of Jesus.

There are some who say that Jesus never accually existed - that is nonsense because there is better historical proof for the existence of Jesus than there is for the existence of Julius Ceasar. Some say that Jesus was nothing more than a good man - true that Jesus was good but there are many that we could call good and Jesus stood out n history. Some say that Jesus was a good teacher - His message was one of radical love and grace of God but His message has the ability to change hearts and lives. Some say that Jesus was a great prophet - He was in the same class as Elijah but there was something more about Jesus that outshines all of the prophets combined.

Many years ago a skeptic turned Christian wrote these words about Jesus

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really fooish thing that people often say abut him: I’m ready to accept jesus as a moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice, Either this man was and is the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse - C.S. Lewis

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