Series: Jesus¡¦ Church [#1]
THE JESUS POLL
I am so glad that the elections are over. I must have received over a 100 phone calls, emails, and letters concerning my vote. Before the election, there were all sorts of polls taken to try to determine who was going to win.
Although Jesus Christ did not come to please people but to seek and save that which was lost; we find Jesus in Matthew 16:13 taking a poll amongst His disciples.
As we look at our text, I want you to understand that Jesus only talked about the Church 2 times. This passage is extremely important because Jesus tells us what His Church is capable of doing, what it should do, and what it will do.
At this point in Jesus¡¦ ministry, His fame had spread in many places. The news of His preaching and miracles had spread all around. The religious leaders had also heard about Jesus Christ and they didn’t like what they had heard. He was a threat to their power and prestige amongst the Jews. The Pharisees had accused Jesus of getting His power from Satan. He had been rejected by His home town. So in the midst of growing opposition and surrounded by crowds of people who liked Him but did not understand Him, He took his disciples and left Israel. He went north out of Israel into Gentile territory, to a place called Caesarea Philippi.
Jesus knew that it would not be long before He would be crucified. He knew that He would be leaving this earth and knew that the Father¡¦s plan was to use believer¡¦s in Jesus Christ. This was the time that Jesus was going to find out where the disciples stood. Jesus asked His disciples 2 questions.
The first question is in verse 13. ¡§When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"
Jesus wanted His disciples to acknowledge what other people were saying. So they gave him the four most popular answers about who Jesus is. "Some say John the Baptist (that was Herod’s answer); others say Elijah (that was very popular because the Jews expected Elijah to return); and still others, Jeremiah (he was the greatest of the later prophets) or one of the prophets (that is, he was a spokesman for God)."
There are two points to note: 1) The common people loved Jesus even though they did not fully understand Him. 2) It is possible even with a very sincere heart to misunderstand who Jesus is.
This is quite typical of America today. There are many people who like the Lord Jesus but do not worship Him. They think He’s a good man, good teacher, prophet, etc¡K; but they do not believe He is the Son of God. People who believe those things about Jesus are close, but as they say, ¡§Close only counts in hand-grenades and horse-shoes¡¨. Spiritually speaking, close will send you to Hell just as fast as not believing anything about Jesus.
Jesus then asked His disciples a more important question. "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" (Matthew 16:15). Peter¡¦s answer is very specific. ¡§Simon Peter answered, ¡¥You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.¡¦" (Matthew 16:16).
Peter¡¦s statement is a summation of what is necessary for salvation. This is the 1st time we hear someone¡¦s confession of who Jesus Christ really was. ¡§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 16:17).
This is a very important statement for us to catch. Peter did not figure Jesus¡¦ identity out on his own. This was revealed to him by God.
Conviction of being a sinner does not come on your own. The Holy Spirit is the one who convicts us of our sins. A lost person will never find salvation until they are convicted by the Holy Spirit. We as Christians can pray for the lost, we can tell them about the saving power of Jesus Christ, we can live Christ before them; but we cannot make them understand their need for salvation or save them.
¡§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¡¨ (Matthew 16:18). Notice that in this verse Jesus calls him "Peter," not "Simon" or "Simon Peter." In verse 17 he is called Simon. In verse 18 he is called Peter which means "rock." Same man, different name. From Simon to Peter in just one verse. What caused the change? The change was caused by the confession Peter made. What changed Peter? He didn’t change. What changed him was that he made a confession of faith.
The church is made up of men and women who confess this truth. Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God. That is how you become member of Jesus¡¦ Church. This is the only way.
„© We believe that a man once walked this earth who was like no other man who ever lived.
„© He said and did things no other man has ever done.
„© He predicted His own death and resurrection.
„© He made good on all His claims.
„© After He left, His followers took His message and spread it around the earth.
„© That is what Christians believe.
„© That is what this church is all about.
Now, where do you stand? Where do you stand this evening?
Who is he? A good man? A great teacher? One of the finest fellows who ever walked the face of this earth? Or is he the Christ, the Son of the Living God?