Summary: Right after an astounding and historical confession of faith, here we find Peter arguing with Jesus. And the source of the problem was predictable, since Peter was a human being stuck in the physical and being led into the spiritual realm. Self-interests
Passage: Matthew 16:21-28
Intro: Peter must have been feeling pretty good!
1. just made the first confession of faith in Jesus as Promised Messiah and the Son of God.
2. great enthusiasm from Jesus, “go to the head of the class!”
3. and then, a few minutes later, everything has changed.
4. now this passage is very powerful, and it very easily becomes a stick to beat ourselves and each other with.
5. “you must, you should, …”
6. but let’s take a little different angle on it this morning. Because this is part of the gospel, and the gospel is good news.
7. instead of putting a “new law” in the mouth of Jesus, let’s look for God’s grace in dealing with Peter, and with us!
I. Self Shows Up
1. v21 pivotal in Matthew, first direct mention of the coming execution of Christ.
2. put yourself in Peter’s shoes! He had just gotten the signal that the victory parade was about to begin, and he was the Grand Marshall!
PP Grand Marshall sitting in the convertible
3. instead, Jesus begins to lay out very clearly what the future would be.
4. instead of a victory parade, it would be a funeral procession.
5. text is clear, this was something that Jesus began to say repeatedly.
6. and Peter was troubled, v22
7. private conversation, “let’s straighten this out!” First time this kind of correction took place.
8. incredibly confrontative, word translated “never, Lord”= “may God in His mercy save you from this.”
9. then, “this is completely out of the realm of possibility for you.” (or me)
Il) “No way” emphatic double negative in Greek
10. in Peter’s world view, what Jesus was describing was Satan’s plan, impossible for it to be part of God’s plan .
11. there is a part of us that is standing right alongside Peter and saying “You go, Peter!”
12. suffering is very unpopular with self, we avoid it at all costs.
Il) we run from it even when it is clearly taught as normal in the Bible.
13. and Jesus’ response to Peter is going to expose what is at the bottom of this resistance to suffering.
II. Self is Exposed as Our Enemy
1. Jesus response in v23 is striking!
2. first, “turned to Peter” I take to mean “Jesus turned and looked Peter right in the eye.”
3. then he gave a clear command to Peter. The verb is a command that orders motion.
4. Peter’s resistance to God’s plan was an impediment to Jesus, and here is what we do with impediments to faith.
5. Get out of my way! Get out of my face! Satan!!
6. Jesus identifies the real power behind Peter’s attitude, he smells the God-opposing DNA of Satan
7. and that genetic marker of Satan is to question God’s plan and replace it with our own.
8. “you have gone from being a foundational stone of the church to a stumbling stone to me” Why?
9. because you are thinking in man’s way, which is self-preservation, self- worship, self-centeredness.
10. suffering does not fit into self’s plan
Il) got us a Wii, got a workout DVD with it. Set it up, did it a couple of times. It hurts! Self decides not to do it anymore because it involves suffering!
11. man’s way of thinking is exposed as self-worship, and it’s end is death.
12. now this is very positive! Because God in His grace is revealing the dangers of self-worship in time for us (and Peter) to repent and start thinking God’s way.
13. and as we have come to see in the Bible, when God turns us away from sin and self, He turns us in a positive direction.
14. and in this passage, it comes in the form of a statement of great principle that Jesus now addresses to all his disciples, and to us.
III. Kill Self Before It Kills You
1. v24 very clear, self-denial is not an option just for missionaries and street preachers. Not an option.
Il) TV commercials for drugs, “side-effects may include dizziness, nausea, paralysis, and even death”
2. following Christ=denying self.
PP Matthew 6:24
3. when we follow Jesus, self-worship becomes an enemy to be rejected.
4. “take up his cross”…this is a willing action, not forced on us.
5. we will agree with God that self is our enemy, not our friend, a false idol to be destroyed instead of worshipped.
6. why? Because there is deception involved in the worship of self.
7. man’s world view says if you will worship your own desires, fulfill every want, you will find true life.
8. but Jesus says in v25 that if our goal is self-preservation, we are in for a nasty surprise.