(Sermon for the week of September 17th)
Jesus and his disciples set out
for the villages of
Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say
that I am?”
They said in reply,“John the Baptist, others Elijah,still others
one of the prophets.”
And he asked them,“But who do you say that I am?” Peter
said to him in reply,“You are the Christ.”
Then he warned them not to tell
anyone about him.He began to teach them that the Son of Man must
suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests,
and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days.
He spoke this openly. Then Peter took him aside and began to
rebuke him. At this he turned around and, looking at his
disciples, rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”
He summoned the crowd with his
disciples and said to them,“Whoever wishes to come after me
must deny himself,t ake up his cross, and follow me. For whoever
wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life
for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.”
This week's reading is quite interesting and even a bit odd. It
shows how Our Lord teaches those who believe in Him and is quick to
correct those who follow when their human thinking gets in the way.
First, Jesus asks His disciples a question about who people think
Jesus is. The disciples state that some believe that Jesus is John
the Baptist,(most loved, best known candidate for being the Christ
in his day),Elijah (who has never died and the Jews know he is to
come back one day), or a prophet (the Jews have plenty of prophets
who have talked about the coming of Jesus...they can't see that
Jesus is the One who the prophets have spoken of).
Today, you have many who just can't believe that Jesus is the Son
of God...many call Jesus a Prophet and yet have never read anything
about Him that would show that He is just a prophet, and if they
have...what makes them think that Jesus is a prophet?
How does Jesus qualify as a prophet?
Give me one shred of evidence that Jesus is a prophet...or is this
the only thing you are allowed to believe?
Ahhh...the mind and reasoning of man...
Jesus asks his disciples straight out..."Who do you say that I AM?"
Peter replied..."the Chirst".
This is what Jesus is...the Messiah! If you don't understand this
and how Jesus is the Messiah, then you ARE NOT a Christian.
Think what you want, but either Jesus is the Christ...the Messiah...
or He is not. Either you are a believer in Jesus CHRIST or you are
not. Either you are a Christian or you are not. There is no middle
road...you may have created your own faithless comfort zone, but
your comfort zone will end when your life ends.
Why read the bible and not ask questions?
Why read the bible and assume that all of the verses as in this
weeks reading are just some twisted lies and Jesus in your mind
is a Good and wise teacher, a man, or a prophet.
Just in case you missed it...Peter replied, " YOU ARE THE CHRIST".
Believe it, or NOT?
If you believe it....why do you believe it? If you don't believe
it...then why don't you believe it?
Have you ever expressed your beliefs to anyone? Have you ever asked
a Christian who doesn't hesitate to tell you why they believe
Jesus is the Christ? If you ask someone who stumbles on this
question, you will stumble with their answers.
Have you ever prayed for answers to these questions?
Another interesting statement in this weeks reading is that Jesus
clearly foreshadows (is this why some say that Jesus is a prophet??)
the event still to come where He is:
1) Rejected by the religious "authorities" living among the Jews
2) Will be killed by mankind
3) Will rise from the dead on the third day.
Did He do this? Yes, Yes, and Yes...
Prove it? There is more evidence to these events than the theory
of evolution will ever produce, but what proof do you want?
There is evidence...check it out yourself!
Not enough for you?
What else do you want?
Will you ever be satisfied?
Well, maybe you can't believe in a Divine "Son of God" who allows
Himself to be killed. Jesus allowed Himself to be killed so that
this world and every man, woman, child, demon, and fallen angel
owes HIM HIS LIFE BACK.
This world and every man, woman, child, demon, and fallen angel,
DOES NOT have the power to give back Jesus' life.
This is how the Son of God, who lived in a tent of flesh with the
name Jesus, is able to grab your soul after your death and grant
you eternal life. He knows to grab you because of your faith in Him.
This is the meaning of John 3:16.
If you don't understand this, you shouldn't be jumping to
conclusions in your own beliefs until you ask for understanding
and seek the Truth. Your soul is on the line...forget this world
and the ridiculously short period of time you will live in flesh!
Seek that which is Eternal!
What do you have to lose?
Is it a fear that you will be believing in a false religion?
Well, you first have to know Truth in order to know what is not
Start proving it right starting now!
Be able to tell me why Jesus is the Christ and
how you are getting into heaven.
So, let's look at the third part of this weeks reading. The reading
states that, "Peter rebuked Jesus". Wait a minute! Peter? You mean
Peter who just a little while ago was the first one to tell Jesus
who he was...the Christ?
Indeed! GET BEHIND ME SATAN! For Satan must be involved in such an
abrupt turn of faith. One minute you identify Christ and the next
your rebuking Christ! What does the word rebuke mean? To rebuke
someone is to sharply criticize someone. Peter is sharply
criticizing the Son of God?
What did Peter criticize Jesus the Christ for?
My guess is that Peter had a problem with Jesus being the Christ
and He really didn't need to die. That's what I think Peter rebuked
Jesus for and as the Jesus says:
"You are NOT THINKING like God...but like a MAN!"
Doesn't Jesus' reply to Peter fit as a great answer to all of the
great "Religious" thinkers who swear that Christianity is just
another religion and/or is not the right religion like theirs,
or that Jesus is not the Son of God? GET BEHIND ME SATAN!
The angels gave the name "Satan" to Lucifer when he fell from
heaven for the name "Satan" means "DECEIVER".
Satan was a murderer from the beginning, . . . a liar and the
father of lies, Satan IS the deceiver of the whole world.
Through him sin and death entered the world but will be defeated
and destroyed and thus will serve as an ironic end to sin and death.
Don't understand this? Then you shouldn't be jumping to conclusions
about what you believe until you can tell me why this statement is
true or how you will rest your soul in that this statement is not
How about some evidence? I am sure that Satan would be readily
available to prove to you why he is a liar or a deceiver...
do you REALLY want proof?
Believe me, Satan exists and will take you if you belong to him.
Maybe you should find out how NOT to be owned by Satan when you die.
So, just like Peter, men and women in this world feel the need to
"correct" the Messiah. KNOW YOUR PLACE!
Let Christ lead you and follow very closely...but don't think you
can lead when you are not and never will be the leader!
Your job is the last part of this weeks reading:
"Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his
cross, and follow me"
1) In order to come to Christ, you must deny your worldly
mind and drop your egotistical theology and beliefs that you have
created and seek Him. You won't seek Him if you haven't denied your
self and ceased your mindless if's and but's.
2) Your second task is to take up your cross.
Yes, you may be crucified in a myriad of ways for your faith because
Satan does exist and the majority of people will suddenly dislike
you because you are a true Christian. These are the trials of faith
and faith in Christ is what allows you to have eternal life.
If you are not tested and tried...question your faith!
Faith cannot be strengthened by osmosis...you may be tempered in
various ways,tested in various ways, tried in various ways,
persecuted, confused, and spiritually attacked! (This is a short
list...) Jesus was crucified for being the Son of God, you are a
man or a woman...what makes you think it will be easy?
When you are tested... REJOICE! For eternal life is the reward!
You are NOT ALONE. Why dodge the test of faith and live "well" for
MAYBE 80 years and miss the opportunity of eternal life?
What do you have to lose?
The Christ will never give you more than you can handle and you will
probably have a happy and fulfilling life...it's just that what you
think will make you happy and fulfilled usually isn't the Truth.
3) Your third task is to follow
Christ. Open the Bible, read the Bible, ask the questions. Seek His
will and you will know how to do his will. Knock and the door will
be opened by Him. There is a lot to uncover...time is His...
it is never too late to seek Him.
You either hear or you don't hear but you have to listen in order
to find out if you can hear or not! If you can't hear...
ASK HIM TO MAKE YOU HEAR!
It may sound simple, and it is...but extremely difficult at times...
that is how you get behind Him just like Peter needed to be abruptly
rebuked on...let the Leader lead you! The Leader is the Christ and
Messiah who came in a tent of flesh and had the name Jesus.
God Bless you and your families this week!
(Sermon by John H.)
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