Summary: This sermon primary focus is on the Encounter that Jesus had with Satan at Caesarea Philippi 1. Jesus faces the "Gates of Hell" 2. The disciples experience an amazing epiphany and 3. Jesus challenges His Disciples to live a life of radical discipleship.
Title: Time to Put Up or Shut Up
This sermon primary focus is on the Encounter that Jesus had with Satan at Caesarea Philippi
1. Jesus faces the "Gates of Hell" 2. The disciples experience an amazing epiphany and 3. Jesus challenges His Disciples to live a life of radical discipleship.
Grace and peace from God our Father and from Jesus Christ our Savior and LORD who came to take away the sin(s) of the world!
This morning if you are an ardent sports fan the next few weeks are going to be like Heaven.
+Major League Baseball's regular season is finally winding down and the playoff are just around the corner
+College Football is already up and running with stadiums filled with thousands of screaming fans cheering their teams on to victory
+The journey towards NFL Super Bowl # 53 in Atlanta is underway
+In Golf - the FedEx Championship is almost finished and the Ryder Cup is right around the corner
+It won't be long before the puck drops for NHL preseason games
+NASCAR's regular season is now in the history books and the annual 10 race playoffs are just getting started
+High School football, cross country, girls soccer and volleyball are on the go everywhere
For most of those sports it is now simply - "PUT UP OR SHUT UP TIME". Everything now counts. It's all for real. Everyone has to bring their "A" game. There is very little wiggle room for error. Lose now and you may find yourself finished for the year. Lose now and the chance to hold up the championship trophy has all but vanished.
It is also that time of year that teams have to go to some rather interesting places with names like Death Valley, the Swamp, the Pit, the Rock, the Monster Mile, the Frozen Tundra and Rocky Top. It's that time of year that you have to face your opposition eye ball to eye ball and decide on the field of battle who is better. It doesn't matter what the coaches have been saying, what all the sports commentators have been spouting off or even what the fans have been bragging about. All that matters is at the end of the game who is holding up the winning ball, the trophy and who goes away with a "W" in their column.
In our passage this morning, Jesus and his disciples find themselves near the city of Caesarea Philippi. At first glance the story doesn't look like much. We read this story, shake our heads and go on without knowing exactly why Jesus is here. We read this story and think - "Well, that's a nice story, a little strange perhaps but nonetheless a nice story.
What we may not realize is that Jesus has come into the area that in those days was seen as the Devil's Home Turf. Jesus had brought His Disciples to a very unusual place to do a very key battle with evil. He had come to begin His long journey towards Jerusalem where the ultimate battle between Him and the Devil will be fought on a hill called Calvary.
This morning, let's look at this story in more detail. For it takes us to 1. A strange place, 2. It shares with us a wonderful epiphany and 3. It challenges us to live out the life of a holiness champion.
I. Jesus takes us all to a Strange Place
Before we get to Peter's Epiphany statement let's get some perspective to what is going on around this passage. From all accounts it appears that Jesus loved to spend time traveling to out of the ordinary places and along the way asking some very attention-grabbing questions to his disciples. Questions that would take them by surprise and questions that caused them to search deep in their hearts, minds and souls for the answers. In our present passage we see that Jesus and His disciples had just traveled 32 miles on foot from Bethsaida to Caesarea Philippi. That 32 mile trip gave Jesus and His disciples plenty of time to converse and discuss a number of things.
The city of Caesarea Philippi was located towards the base of Mt. Hermon. At the time that area was under the rule of Philip the tetrarch (the son of King Herod and his fifth wife Cleopatra of Jerusalem). Mt. Hermon was the highest of ancient Israel's mountains (9, 232 feet) and held a very special place in her history and in mankind's history. The area around Mt. Hermon was said to be the birthplace of the famous Nephilim giants (see Genesis 6). In Number 21:21-35 and Deuteronomy 3:1-11 we read where Moses and Joshua defeated two kings by the names of Og and Shilon, both who were stated to be descendents of the Nephilim giants. And in 1 Samuel 17 we read where David defeats the mighty Goliath who also was said to be a descendent of the Nephilim giants.