Summary: Peter’s clear confession of Christ teaches us the real reason why we want to build a church in our community.
Matthew 16:13-19 WHY BUILD A NEW CHURCH?
Last Sunday after church we did some talking and some planning in connection with our future church building. The man that is planning to help us design it was here, and he had some conversation with us. With God’s blessing, we hope to do some initial work next summer and then put up the structure in the summer of 2006. That’s, of course, is with God’s blessing.
If someone were to say to you, “Why?” – what would your answer be? “Why do you want to build a new church? In LaPorte, there are already plenty of churches. Why build another one? Why don’t you just go to one that is already here? Building a church can be a very stressful thing – why would you want to go through all that? It seems like a lot of trouble.”
What would your answer be? Do you have an answer ready? Here are some answers I hope you don’t use. “Well, I like the pastor.” If that’s your answer, then thank you. But is that really a good enough reason to buy property and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars building a brand new church – because you like the pastor? You know, if you look hard enough, you’re bound to find another church with a pastor that you like too. There are lots of likeable pastors out there. Do you like me so much that you want to build a monument in my honor, out on Johnson Road to honor me? I hope not! So that’s not a good answer.
So why build a new church? Some might say, “Well, our church is friendly.” And I think you might be right – our church is pretty friendly most of the time. But you know, there are a lot of friendly churches out there. And some of them are probably better at being friendly than we are. I don’t know if our church would take first place in a “friendly contest.” Do you really think our church is so uniquely friendly that we actually need to build a special building to show off our friendliness? So that’s not the right answer either.
So why build a new church? Some might say, “Well, our church teaches from the Bible.” You know, you’re getting warmer if you say that one. You’re definitely getting warmer, but let me ask you this – aren’t there a lot of churches where the members say, “Our church teaches from the Bible”? Just about every church in LaPorte would tell you that they “teach from the Bible.” So if you tell someone that’s why we want to build a new church, they wouldn’t be impressed by your answer.
So have I taken away all your answers yet? What is a good answer to the question, “Why do you want to build a new church in LaPorte? Why?” My goal for today’s sermon is that by the time we are done studying God’s Word together, you’ll have something better to say. It’s time to start speaking more clearly, because people want to know why we are here. What is it, that makes us so unique, so different, that we actually want to build a special building, to glorify Christ? Let’s look at a moment in the life of the Apostle Peter, and we’ll find our answer there.
Jesus and his disciples were taking a break from all the crowds. And while they were off by themselves, Jesus asked Peter, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” There were lots of opinions out there, on who Jesus was. The disciples told him, “Some say John the Baptist. Others say Elijah. And still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” The world at that time was very confused about who Jesus was. People were all over the place in their beliefs. Everyone had a very cloudy, very murky, unclear view of Jesus – “I don’t know – maybe one of the prophets.”
But then Jesus asked his disciples, “But what about you?” Are you as cloudy and murky and confused as the rest of the world? “Who do you say that I am?” Then the Apostle Peter said. “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Peter was not cloudy or murky about his beliefs. He was crystal clear. Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. We call his clear, statement of belief a “confession.”
Whenever you hear the word “confession” you might think of someone who is being interrogated by the police, and after awhile they give a “confession” of their crimes. That’s not what we’re talking about here. When we say “confession,” we are talking about a crystal clear statement of beliefs. Peter here, clearly confessed Christ – there was no doubt about what he believed.