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Summary: The vital importance of Peter’s declarative confession and how it relates to the building of the New Testament Church today.

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Our Declaration Our Faith!

Matthew 16:13-19

Dr. Larry L. Thompson (2002)

“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. [18] And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. [19] I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

INTRODUCTION:

The concept for this sermon series was birthed out of a discussion regarding how to continually equip and involve our fellowship in the activity of the Lord. We know what a great opportunity we have in the Fort Lauderdale Christmas Pageant…it is a gift from God and we honor and respect that gift. The question is how can we better equip and prepare ourselves to use the Gift that God has given? The answer comes in the series entitled, CROSSPOINTS… an biblically examination of the second act of our pageant which proclaims the life of Jesus Christ. Here is the mission statement for this series:

MISSION STATEMENT FOR CROSSPOINTS:

“To equip our Community of believers with the Truth that is revealed through scripture and demonstrated in the Pageant for the purpose of allowing the God to lead us to invite family, friends, neighbors, classmates and work associates who need a personal relationship with Christ.”

VISION FOR CROSSPOINTS SERMON SERIES:

Hundreds of New Believers building radical relationships with Christ as a result of Believers preparing, planning and praying for God’s leadership to intentionally bring guests whose lives are changed as our Pageant introduces them to the Savior, the Christ of Christmas.

BIBLICAL BACKGROUND & Introduction:

The city of Caesarea Philippi was originally named Paneas, after the Greek god Pan. Caesar Augustus had given the region to Herod the Great, who built a temple in Paneas in honor of the emperor. Herod’s son, Philip, inherited the land, and in his greed enlarged the city, and renamed it after Caesar. He added the name Philippi to gain honor for himself and to distinguish this Caesarea from the one on the Mediterranean coast west of Jerusalem.

Caesarea Philippi (USE MAP ON SCREEN-Forwarded Power Point Slide)

Caesarea Philippi was located some 25 miles northeast of the Sea of Galilee and 40 miles southwest of Damascus, on a beautiful plateau near the headwaters of the Jordan River. A few miles to the north, snow-covered Mount Hermon rises to a height of more than 9,000 feet above sea level. On clear days the majestic mountain can easily be seen from northern Galilee towns such as Capernaum, Cana, and Nazareth. Caesarea Philippi had been considered the northernmost boundary of the Promised Land and it was the last outpost of Israel and had always been especially susceptible to pagan influence.

This location offered Jesus and the disciples welcome relief from the hot Galilean lowlands and from the pressure of the Jewish leaders and the threat from Herod Antipas.

From Luke 9:18 we learn that Jesus posed His all-important question to the disciples just after He had spent time praying alone, and from Mark 8:27 that the group had not yet arrived in the city of Caesarea Philippi proper but were passing through some of the villages on the outskirts. At this crossroads of paganism, heathenism and Judaism, Jesus left a time of intimate fellowship with His heavenly Father and confronted His disciples with the question that every person must one day answer! The question is the KEY REASON why the Lord has blessed us with the FORT LAUDERDALE CHRISTMAS PAGEANT FOR 19 YEARS. We invest our time, our talents and our treasure into this pageant so that People, like you and me will see and hear the answer to the question posed by Christ, “What about you? Who do you say that I am?”

BACKGROUND:

The story begins when Jesus has taken his disciples into a remote area to spend time alone with them. They have been together, at this point, for about two and a half years. They’ve heard His teachings and have seen Him work hundreds and hundreds of miracles. And now, alone with Him, He asked them a question.

(13) “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.”

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