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Summary: How does Jesus expect us to live in today’s world? DESIRE Him, DENY yourself, DIE to self and DECIDE to follow. Are you doing it?

Matthew 16:21-28

The Gospel in a Postmodern World

From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!" But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men." Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

"For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? "For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. "Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."

Introduction – Oprah is described by Christianity Today as one of the most influential spiritual leaders in America today – perhaps even all over the western world where her program is shown. This ex-Baptist now espouses the view that “one of the biggest mistakes we make is to believe there is only one way. There are many diverse paths leading to God.” She is described as a ‘postmodern priestess – an icon of church free spirituality’. And her tribe is growing. Oprah embodies the values of the new age and people like what she is saying.

We live in a world that wants to have everything in life as Burger King states, “Have it your way.” Jesus is more interested in your relationship with Him than the wealth you may or may not own.

If you listen to some of the popular preaching on the radio and television, you might think that God wants you to be healthy, wealthy and wise everyday. The scripture says that God’s ways are not our ways.

We find that Peter has completed a statement under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus commended him for this statement but also noted that it was not in his own intelligence which led him to this conclusion.

Jesus begins at this point to emphasize His impending death and resurrection. He wanted his disciples to prepare for these events and be ready for the kingdom work they would undertake.

Let’s examine first…

The MINISTRY of Jesus in verses 21-23.

In these verses we see Jesus teaching His disciples. His REVELATION to them was the Father’s plan for the redemption of mankind through His sacrifice. He had a purpose to fulfill at Jerusalem. The disciples believed much like others that the Messiah would come to restore the kingdom of David. They were anticipating on being a part of the earthly kingdom.

His words to them communicated His REJECTION by the spiritual leaders. He was to suffer in humiliation, die a violent death but be raised on the third day. All of these were foretold in the Book of Daniel in Daniel 7:13-14 and 9:26-27.

Although He specifically told them about His RESURRECTION, they had tuned His words out at His suffering and death. They could not believe what He was telling them. It was impossible.

This may be why Peter’s REACTION was so emphatic! “No way, Lord! We won’t let it happen!” Peter’s ways weren’t God’s ways. The words that Peter may have voiced sounded plausible, really only doomed him to eternity! Jesus must go to Jerusalem; He must suffer and die! But He will be resurrected on the third day!

Jesus rebuked Peter because Peter was considering himself wiser than the Father. Without the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, man remains dead in his wickedness. We have no hope without Him! Peter considered it distasteful for the Messiah to sacrifice Himself. Peter did not have the mind of Christ.

In a recent article entitled “God Wants Me to be Rich”, Joel Osteen oozes a popular modern day gospel which the world loves to hear. Listen to the tone of these excerpts in an article written by Karl Taro Greenfeld about Osteen.

Illustration – Dr Feel-good

Who will save us? Who will lift us up from crushing credit-card debt and resetting mortgage payments and impending foreclosure, from increasing gas prices and decreasing health-insurance coverage? We are a nation stumbling through our worst financial crisis in a generation and our worst housing market in a lifetime. And so we come, seeking gentle salvation, inspiring prayers, steadying words, soothing notions, and calming thoughts that will allow us to become, in Joel Osteen’s words, “victors, not victims.”

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