Summary: Overcoming spiritual deception by confessing Christ
OUR GREATEST CONFESSION
In order to prepare you for this message, I want to first remind you that last Sunday we found that by comparing God’s word with this generation we could easily see that spiritual deception and spiritual blindness is rampant in America and the world. In addition, we also found that God’s word tells us that as we move closer to the coming of Christ, spiritual deception and spiritual blindness will continue to increase and will be one of the leading factors that will allow the antichrist to seize power and control over the whole world.
In order for deception to happen, there has to be a divine truth that is denied and rejected. Where there is no truth, there can be no deception. And so for deception to happen there has to be a conscience effort to turn away from the truth. When you compare God’s word with this generation, it does not take a rocket scientist to realize that our world has turned away from the truth and is living in deep spiritual deception. And again, I believe spiritual deception is the primary factor that will ultimately propel us into the final end times. And the truth that the world has chosen to stand against and reject, and turn away from is the eternal truth that has to do with the person of Jesus Christ.
Every person that has ever lived since the days of Christ will be held accountable for what they believe about Christ, and the decisions they make regarding Christ.
So, today, in light of the spiritual deception that is pressing all around us, I want us to see that the answer to spiritual deception is our great confession in the truth of what we believe about Jesus the Christ. What you confess regarding Jesus the Christ will impact your life now and for eternity.
Matthew 16:13 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. 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."
In reading this passage I realize there are several important points here that hold important eternal truths for us, but sadly we don’t have time for all of them this morning. However, I want to focus on two life changing questions that Jesus asked His disciples, and specifically the question, “Who do you say that I am?” That is the ultimate question that must be answered by every individual. It is an eternal question that holds huge eternal implications.
FIRST, WHAT DOES THE WORLD SAY ABOUT JESUS
First, I want you to picture Jesus and His disciples on the slopes of Mount Hermon overlooking the magnificent city of Caesarea Philippi. Caesarea Philippi was a large Roman city on the coast in the northern part of Israel and was built to honor Caesar. In the center of the city was a beautiful temple of sparkling white marble built by Herod the Great. Caesarea Philippi was a city of magnificent villas and palaces but it was also a city fully dedicated to the worship of many idols and false gods. It was here overlooking this pagan city that Jesus asked His disciples;
Matthew 16:13 "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"
What a powerful question. Jesus has been ministering for 2.5 years. He has performed miraculous
miracles and signs. He has healed the blind; raised the dead; cast out demons; calmed the storms; and He has preached the good news of the kingdom. With this in mind and looking at the pagan city of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked His disciples the first of two questions; “Who do the people of the world believe that I am?”
After 2.5 years of ministry, what is the world’s perception of Jesus?
Jesus already knew what the world thought of Him. He said many times the world hated Him because He is the light and the world loves the darkness and hates the light.
In asking this question, He was not fishing for compliments. Jesus is teaching His disciples and us a powerful and life changing lesson.