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Summary: Life is full of questions, What am I going to do with my life? What will I become? What will tomorrow bring? Will my children turn out right? There are also questions concerning my spiritual life. Am I saved? When I die will I go to heaven?

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For those not familiar with an Anglican Service, there are four Scripture readings prior to the Sermon. The Scripture readings for today are: Exodus 1:8-2:10; Psalm 124; Romans 12:1-8 and Mathew 16:13-20

Life is full of questions, ......Questions abound everywhere.

What am I going to do with my life?

What will I become?

What will tomorrow bring? Will my children turn out .... right?

Not only do these practical questions beg for an answer, .......but there are also questions concerning my spiritual life.

Am I saved? When I die will I go to heaven?

Why does God allow such tragedy to exist ....on the earth?

Then there are the philosophical questions:

Which comes first the chicken or the egg?

How many angels can fit on the head of a pin?

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it fall, ..... does it still make a sound?

If a man is by himself in the forest and he speaks, ...... is he still wrong?

We could go on and on.

All of these questions have one common element ...... which is illustrated by the following story:

"A college sophomore tried to prove how smart he was one day by asking his professor the following question, ......."Is the bird I'm holding dead or alive?"

If the professor said the bird was dead, ......the boy .....was obviously going to free the bird .....and let it fly away.

If the professor said it was alive, .....the boy was going to crush the bird.

The professor looked at the young man and said, "My boy, the answer is in your hands."

Our Gospel lesson today ......takes us to the District of Caesarea Philippi, ......an area about 25 miles northeast of the Sea of Galilee ...... about 120 miles from Jerusalem.

The region was strongly identified with various religions:

It had been a center for Baal worship; ..... the Greek god Pan ......had shrines there.

And Herod the Great ...... built a temple there .....to honor ..... Augustus Caesar.

It was in the midst of this pagan superstition that Peter confessed Jesus ..... as the Son of the living God.

And it was probably within sight of Caesar's temple that Jesus announced:

He would not yet establish His kingdom, ..... He would build His church.

He looked at His disciples and in a moment of reflection said: ......"Who do the people say that I am?"

The disciples begin sharing with Jesus .....what they had heard .....from the people:

Some say that You are Elijah;..... others say John the Baptist, ....still others Jeremiah .....or one of the prophets.

(Slow) You can speak of Jesus as a Prophet, ..... Holy man, .... Teacher, ..... or Spiritual leader, and few will object.

But speak of Him as the .... Son of God, divine, ......of the same nature of the Father,..... and people will line up .....to express .... their disapproval.

Muslims will say: "Prophet, Yes. .....God, No!"

Jews scattered around the world will say: ......."Teacher, Yes...... Messiah, No!"

Liberal Protestants and modern religionists will say: ......"Exemplary man, Yes. ......Divine, No!"

Beloved, ...... Who do you say ..... Jesus is?

In our pluralistic society .....we have been watering down the Gospel and the name of Jesus ......for quite some time.

In an attempt to not offend other people .....or their beliefs; ......we choose to speak of Jesus very little .....or not at all.

(Slow) We accept the idea of God ..... and we admit to trusting Him ...... but then we go our separate way. (Pause)

Jesus then asks the disciples,...... "Who do you say that I am?"

Beloved ....... this is where the rubber meets the road!

For a right confession of Jesus ...... is tantamount to our very salvation (Romans 10:9--10; 1 John 2:18--23; 4:1--3).

Peter answered, BIBLE "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." Jesus Answered: "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven." END

Jesus knew ......it was time for a deeper training of the disciples.

The Lord knew that Peter and the disciples could now be led into new steps .....of deeper truth and service.

Jesus' ministry was also turning in a new direction; ......for He would be headed to the cross. (Long Pause)

Once the Holy Spirit reveals Christ in our lives ......and we make the confession of faith, .....It is not the end of our journey, ...... it is the beginning of being Transformed.

We are then called to read and study scriptures, ......to have a daily open line of communication with God;

Associate with other Christians, ......worshiping together.

And we are to spread the Good News to those that God puts into our lives.

We are to be the instruments of the Holy Spirit ...... to reach others for Christ.

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