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2007-07-29_Who Do You Say I Am_Matthew 16.13-27_SL

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Who Do You Say I Am?

Matthew 16:13-27   |   Shaun LePage   |   July 29, 2007

I.       Introduction

A.    Video—Who do you say Jesus is? How would you answer?

B.    Similar question in LJWorld Sat 7/21—struck a nerve; DaVinci Code; Major magazines

C.    No exaggeration: There is no more important question.

II.     Body—Matthew 16:13-17—Who do you say I am?

A.    Who cares? The importance of the question

1.     Knowledge of your Creator. Nothing more important than knowing your Creator—spoken?

2.     Preparation for your eternity. None like JC; according to Him, your answer effects eternity

B.    Who do we believe? The reliability of the Bible (Passes 3 very convincing tests)

1.     The Bibliographic Test: The copies are trustworthy

a)     Quantity of manuscripts (ancient copies)—tens of thousands of copies and citations; many variations—vast majority meaningless (e.g., word order, spelling errors); only about 50 places—a couple paragraphs—where meaning is in doubt (e.g., Mk 16)

b)     Quality of manuscripts—no doctrine in doubt; we know beyond reasonable doubt what originals said

2.     The Internal Test: The Bible claims to be history

a)     Strong emphasis on eyewitness accounts (e.g., more than 500 saw Jesus alive!)

b)     Stress on historical accuracy (e.g., Luke 1:1-4)

c)     Short time frame does not allow for “myth” theory—most of NT written within 40 yrs.

3.     The External Test: Outside sources confirm

a)     Ancient Historians—non-Christians

(1)  Josephus (Antiquities, Bk18, ch3, para3—so phenomenal, scholars doubt authenticity)
“Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.”

(2)  At least 5 other 1st & 2nd century sources outside the Bible confirm Biblical story

b)     Archeology

(1)  Many references: nations, kings, cities, mountains, rivers, customs, etc. “falsifiable”

(2)  19th Century critics—many damaging claims; explosion of archeological knowledge in 20th century has reversed nearly every one of these claims! Nelson Glueck (considered the greatest modern authority on Israeli archeology): “It may be stated categorically that no archeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements in the Bible. And, by the same token, proper evaluation of Biblical descriptions has often led to amazing discoveries.”

C.    What did eyewitnesses say? (Matthew 16:13-17)

1.     The answer Jesus praised

a)     “The Christ”

(1)  Preannounced—demonstrated Himself through fulfilled OT prophecy (300+)

(2)  Miracles—demonstrated Himself through signs (e.g., Mt 8:17; 11:2-5—OT quotes)

(3)  Claims—demonstrated Himself through His teaching (e.g., Mt.11:10; 13:34-35)

b)     “The Son of the Living God”

(1)  “Son of God”—can be mere humans; but used of Jesus in a unique sense

(2)  Jesus was God in human flesh (Mt 12:8; Jn 1:1-3); exact representation (Heb 1:1-3)

(3)  Why would God come? John 1:18 (“made Him known”—NIV); substitute (2 Cor 5:21)

2.     The response Jesus required

a)     Why did Jesus praise Peter’s answer? It was right! Why “blessed”? He believed revelation.

b)     Jesus continued the “revelation”—laid out the plan for the rest of history!

(1)  “I will build My church” (v.18)—later find out this is after the cross

(2)  Death and resurrection (v.21)—amazing prediction; this is next on the agenda

(3)  Second Coming (v.27)—this will come much later

(4)  Judgment (v.27)—this will come after 2nd Coming

c)     NT repeatedly supports this picture—Apostles (foundation) were given details by HS

d)     What then is the required response? Same response that Jesus praised and made Peter “blessed”—Believe! Trust! (John 3:9-18—emphasize “believe”)

(1)  Do you have eternal life? You can know for sure! 1 John 5:10-13. Believe! Trust!

(2)  Do you have “real life”?

(a)   You can start right now! Back to Mt 16:24-25—the issue is the same for the Christian who finds “following Jesus” too difficult. Will you believe/trust Him that it is worth more than “gaining the whole world”?

(b)  “Lifeless” unbeliever or “lifeless” Christian, the invitation is the same: Try to hold on to this life and you’ll lose it. Lose your life for Jesus’ sake and you’ll find it. Salvation is a free gift for the lifeless unbeliever. Discipleship—following Jesus—comes at a high cost (cross/die). Both require faith that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God and losing your life for His sake will end in finding real life.

III.   Conclusion—If Jesus was standing here and asked, “Who do you say I am?” what would you say?

A.    If you can say with Peter—believing, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” you can be confident Jesus will be just as thrilled with your answer. You can know that you have eternal life.

B.    If you do not believe—and no decision is the same as unbelief—then you can be confident about something as well. The Bible is clear that you face a wasted life here on earth and eternal punishment in separation from the One you reject. I beg you to reconsider and trust Christ.

C.    Several ways to respond:

1.     You can respond in the secrecy of your heart and not tell anyone. But, the Bible is also clear that you need to be a witness of what you believe; be part of a fellowship of believers.

2.     You can respond by filling out a guest slip and indicating somewhere that you have believed—request a phone call/email/visit. Hand it to me—or whoever invited you—after the service.

3.     You can speak with me after this service is over—I’ll stay up front for a few minutes with the other two elders and we’ll be available to answer questions, pray with you or just listen.

4.     (I’ve never done this before) You can come forward right now and make your decision very public that you are trusting Christ for salvation or you are recommitting to pay the high cost of following Jesus.

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