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Who is Jesus Christ to You?

Matthew 16:13-17

 

 

3 important statements:

 

“God has no grandchildren, only children

“To be 99% sure is 100% unacceptable” [if you think you’re saved, then you’re not.  Faith is believing…100%]

“The only thing longer than life is eternity

 

Are you sure you’re saved?  A truly saved person NEVER minds being asked.

 

Take that first statement—

        Studies show that if your parents never had kids, neither will you!  In other words, just because your parents were Christians doesn’t mean you are...no spiritual genes were passed along to you when you were born...you must be born again!  If you’ve never been born then you’re not here...and if you’ve not been born again, then you’re not saved!

 

Here’s a command to obey—

2 Corinthians 13:5
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.

 Philippians 2:12
...work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

 

Do you know that you know that you are saved?  Have you ever nailed it down 100%?  If Jesus were to ask you, “Why should I let you into heaven?” what would you say?  With fear and trembling you’d try to work it out, and word it just right.  So, how about it?  Examine yourself right now before God examines you on that day.  Be honest today, because He will be just on that day!  The question is not ‘if’ you are saved, but ‘how’ you are saved.  What are you trusting in?

 

If you say Jesus, then, who is Jesus to you?

 

Jesus and the disciples are about 120 miles from Jerusalem in northern Palestine.  We’re closing in on the time when He will go to the Holy City and the cross upon which He will die, which is why He was born.  But before He dies, there are 2 things He wants His followers to be clear about:

 

1.     Who He is

2.     What He’s going to do

 

These are the 2 things we all must understand—the person and work of Jesus Christ.

 

The disciples have been with Jesus for about 3 years, and now it’s final exam time.  He asks first who the crowd says He is, and then who the disciples say He is.  Their answer will determine where they spend eternity...and your answer does the same.  Be careful as you take the test...you cannot afford to miss on this question.  And you must answer not only with your head, intellectually, but with your heart, spiritually.  [With the heart man believeth, Rom. 10]

 

They are in Caesarea Philippi, the center of pagan religion…a lot like America is becoming.

 

Who is Jesus Christ to You?

 

1.     This is the perennial question.

 

This question is repeated in every age, over and over again.  There is no neutrality with this question...you cannot avoid it, you must answer.  And it doesn't matter what you're right about, if you're wrong about Jesus.

 

        The opinion of the crowd

v. 14        3 theories:

  • John the Baptistbecause of His preaching of repentance.  But Jesus was a far greater preacher than John, and He spoke with an authority that was astonishing.  He not only spoke the Word of God, He IS the Word made flesh!  John only pointed to the Lamb of God, but Jesus IS the Lamb.
  • Elijahbecause of His prayers.  Elijah prayed and the heavens opened and closed, whether rain or fire.  Jesus had a powerful prayer life.  The disciples never asked Him to teach them to preach, or to work miracles...but they DID say, teach us to pray!  They were blown away by His ability to talk to His Father, and they were happy to learn they could easily do the same.
  • Jeremiahbecause of His ‘pathos’ = compassion.  Jeremiah was the weeping prophet, and was known for His tears.  And Jesus was known for being moved to tears...from His view of a multitude in a crowd like sheep w/ no shepherd, to the tomb of Lazarus and the shortest verse in the Bible, our Jesus wept and wept, and still today when we are hurting, He hurts right along with us, His heart breaks for us, and our tears are a language that our God understands!

 

All of these opinions were wrong, because you just can’t compare Jesus to another man.  He is unique, supreme, the Name above all names, the God-man, the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

 

We’ll never find the right answer to the perennial question by taking a public opinion poll.  When it comes to Jesus, the big crowd is always wrong, yet many make public opinion their main method of deciding what they believe.

 

Invite people to church or to be saved and you’ll hear the same excuses over and over again.  This tells me 2 things:  1.  The excuses all originate from the same source...Satan, and 2.  They’ve heard it from somebody else. 

 

“The Bible is full of contradictions” they say, and usually they have never read it for themselves...they are just repeating talking points.

[ask them to show you one]

 

“I can worship God anywhere” they say, but they don’t.

 

“You want my money” they say, and I reply, “but that’s not all!”

 

Maybe we need to stop asking them to church, and start asking them the perennial question they need to answer, Who is Jesus Christ to You?  If they get a hold of the true answer, they’ll be saved, get into church, and be forever changed!

 

2.     This is a personal question.

v. 15        Jesus narrows the focus.

 

The opinion of the disciples

 

Every person must answer this question.  The crowd cannot answer it for you.  You cannot abstain or opt out from answering...you can delay, but you cannot hide forever, you will answer someday.

 

There’s only 4 answers really that you can give:

 

  • “He’s a legend.  It’s all made up.  He never really was.”  A very small minority today believe this one.  Intellectually you cannot hold this position.  Why?  Because there’s more historical proof of the existence of Jesus Christ than of any other person in human history.  I hate it when cable channels try to deal with Bible stories because they totally botch it up so often.  And when they investigate who Jesus was, there’s no exception, they flaunt their ignorance as if it were a neon sign flashing above their heads.  But I’ll tell you one thing they never even attempt to do, and that is to deny His existence...there’s simply too much historical evidence to even begin to go there.

 

  • “He was a liar.  He deceived people into thinking He was someone He was not.  He was a good teacher, a good person who did good things, but He was not God in the flesh.”  This position is not even an option.  Why?  Because He claimed to be God, and if He wasn’t then He was a liar, and good people don’t go around living a lie.  It wasn’t a little white lie if He was lying, He was a pathological, habitual deceiver...is that a good person?  No!  And people can see right thru that kind of liar.

 

Joke—little boy would go to school and tell some whoppers about his weekend / the teacher would ask, what did you do? / “went fishing, caught 36 fish this long!” / she knew he was lying / next week, “deer hunting, killed 8 ten point bucks / she knew he was lying / next week, “played baseball, hit 16 home runs in one inning / she took him to the principal’s office / he said I know psychology, I’ll tell him an even bigger lie and show him what he looks like / said, Billy, I want to tell you about my weekend.  I was walking thru the woods and saw a huge black bear and it started chasing me...but just then a little Chihuahua dog came out from behind a tree and killed that black bear, and ate it whole.  Do you believe that? / “Sure I do, he’s my dog...that was his 3rd bear this week!”

 

  • “He was a lunatic.  He was off in the head.  Maybe sincere, but crazy...mentally deranged.”  But again, read His words, and see how the people marveled.  They asked, where does He get His wisdom.  The most brilliant minds have studied His words for centuries and have only scratched the surface at the depth of His wisdom!  And so, if he was not a legend, liar, or lunatic, then there’s only one other conclusion you can make...

 

  • “He is LORD!”  in V. 16 Peter got it right!  He is the long awaited, oft predicted Messiah, and study your OT and you’ll see His coming and description are all there plain as day, when, where, and how He would come, what He would be like, and what He would do.

 

How long can you wait to face the question when you know He’s not a legend, it makes no sense that He was a liar, and it’s plain He was no lunatic.  Confess Him as Lord today, and not on this day:

Philippians 2:10-11
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow...and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

On that day it will be too late...today it’s just too simple!

 

Then once you are saved, make Him Lord of your life.  You see, He died to claim me as Lord, and now He lives to control me as Lord.

 

God's throne is not a duplex...let go of the wheel and give Him full control.  Many Christians want to serve Jesus, but only as an advisor. 

 

If Christ is worth anything He's worth everything.  Whatever master a man chooses will master that man.  The Bible says you cannot serve two masters, but you WILL serve one!  Once you are saved you should hang a sign around your neck that says 'Under New Management!'

 

You can't just tip your hat to Jesus, you must bow the knee. 

 

Who is Jesus Christ to You?

 

Not only is this question the perennial question, and a personal question...

 

3.     This is a providential question.

v. 17        Jesus says, it’s only by the grace, goodness, and guidance of God that any of us can ever come to the place of answering this question correctly.  The right answer comes by divine revelation, not by human speculation.  Only the Father in heaven can make the truth real in your heart.

John 6:44
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.

It’s no accident that you are here today.  God has arranged the circumstances of your life so you will hear this message, and you will be forced to answer the question, who is Jesus Christ to you?  And don’t just answer it in your head...make sure it impacts your heart.

 

Don’t miss heaven by 18 inches...the distance between your head and your heart.  So, what’s the difference between believing in your head and in your heart?

 

Ill.—years ago a man walked a tightrope high in the air with no safety net.  A great crowd gathered below to watch.  Then he took a wheelbarrow across.  Then he talked to the crowd.  “How many here believe I can take a person across inside the wheelbarrow?”  Everyone raised their hand.  He pointed to one man raising his hand.  “You sir, come here and jump in.”  The man took off running the other way!  He believed it in his head but not in his heart.

 

So, who is Jesus Christ to you?

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