The Gathering at La Junta Baptist
Sunday, April 7
  • Here For You
  • We Believe
  • Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)
  • Worthy Is The Lamb
  • I Give You My Heart
  • Introduction: The Disciple’s Confession
    Sun Morn Sermon
    Introduction: The Disciple’s Confession
    Matthew 16:13-15
    Introduction: The Disciple’s Confession
    Read the Text.
    Thesis: Today, I want to talk to you about your confession of faith by which you became a disciple of Jesus.
    What is a confession?
    Confession is not simply “the admission of guilt.” It is an acknowledgement of God’s revelation of true reality. It is admitting that our perception are often wrong, and is aligning ourselves with what God has said is really true.
    Literally, the word “confess” means “to say the same thing.” So for us to confess is for us to say the same thing that God has said, about himself and about us.
    A biblical confession is agreeing with God in both our words and our actions.
    There are some people who have wanted to mouth the words of confession with God without their actions aligning with that confession.
    Jesus knew that there were many people who had been following Him because they wanted to see the miracles. But they did not want the demands that He would place open their lives.
    So—when He was alone with the apostles—He wanted to test their commitment.
    The Question of Jesus
    Jesus’s question was an odd question: “Who do people say that Son of Man is?”
    It is an odd question, first, because Jesus refers to himself in the third person and with a title that is rather odd.
    The Son of Man was used most notably in the Old Testament in Daniel 7:13-14:
    “I kept looking in the night visions,
    And behold, with the clouds of heaven
    One like a Son of Man was coming,
    And He came up to the Ancient of Days
    And was presented before Him.
    “And to Him was given dominion,
    Glory and a kingdom,
    That all the peoples, nations and men of every language
    Might serve Him.
    His dominion is an everlasting dominion
    Which will not pass away;
    And His kingdom is one
    Which will not be destroyed.[1]
    Jesus is applying this title to himself and He is asking the disciples if the people recognize Him as being the fulfillment of all of God’s promises to bring salvation to the world.
    The apostles respond with a number of answers: “Well, they are saying that you are John the Baptist. Or that you are second-coming of Elijah. Or Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”
    In other words, “Jesus, they are intrigued by what you are doing. They admire you as a person. You have a lot of followers on Twitter.”
    But it might sound almost narcissistic. Kind of self-centered. “Gee, Jesus. Why don’t you just go and do search your name and Google. But you are kind of hung-up on yourself, aren’t you?”
    But Jesus’s question was not probing whether or not He was popular. Kind of like, “Hey what do the latest polls say about Me? Am I growing in popularity? Am I trending on twitter? There are still more self-identifying Christians than non-Christians? Cool. Everything’s good. Let’s get back to real life.”
    Jesus was putting them on the spot. Jesus was asking—not for His knowledge but for their reflection—do you see things changing? Do you see how my very presence in the world is bringing about a radical metamorphosis to those who are being exposed to me? Do you see that when the Son of Man has come to stand in your midst that everything changes?”
    You see, most of us like a safe-Jesus. We like a Jesus who invites us to come, but issues no threats to how His coming will impact our lives.
    Too many self-professing Christians want to wear their Christianity like a lapel pin. “If you look close enough, you will be able to tell whose side I’m on.”
    But Jesus didn’t come to give lapel pins to those who vote for His Lordship. He came to radically reorient the world to the reality of God’s rightful possession of His creation.
    He came to announce that the world will one day stand before the holiness of God and reckon with their rejection of His sovereign rule.
    But then Jesus moves beyond asking what the world was saying about him and he puts his immediate hearers—the apostles—on trial: “Who do you say that I am?”
    It was not just a question for an immediate response. It was a question for reflection. Jesus is essentially saying: “Consider what you have seen. You have seen me heal the blind and the lame. You have seen me feed the 5000. You have seen me walk on water. You have heard what I have said. Now, based on what you the evidence, who do you say that I am?”
    He is still asking that question of us today. He is asking that question of you. “Who do you say that I am?”
    Perhaps you are wanting to answer like so many of the crowd that was intrigued by His message in the NT. “Oh Jesus. You are a great man. Kind of like one of the prophets. You are a good teacher. A noble man. You are worthy of recognition. You deserve a prominent place in history.”
    And yet every one of those answers is inadequate.
    Caesarea Philippi and the Worth of Christ
    It is important that this confession was made at a place called Caesarea Philippi. CP was a large city about 30 miles north of Jerusalem.
    Originally, it was the home of the Greek god, Pan. There were still caves that littered the landscape where people would go to give worship to Pan.
    When Jesus would have been just a young boy, around 4 or 5 years old, the city had been renamed Caesarea Philippi in honor of Caesar Augustus and the Roman ruler, Phillip the Tetrarch.
    So the site of pagan worship in a city erected to the honor of men became the location where the definitive declaration of Jesus’s Lordship was confessed.
    You see, what is erected in the honor of men will crumble before Jesus’s Lordship.
    When we confess that Jesus is the Christ, we are confessing that He alone is worthy of worship. He alone is worthy of our work.
    Many of us spend all of our lives trying to erect something in our name. We want something in our lives that is a testimony to our kingdom. A structure that memorializes our accomplishments.
    But when we confess that Jesus is the Christ, we are confessing that there is nothing that deserves the investment of our lives more than Jesus Christ and His work in salvation.
    You are the Christ, the Son of God.
    · The Exclusivity of Jesus Christ: A confession that indicates that salvation is found through Jesus exclusively (Salvation).
    This is a troubling statement to many professing Christians today. A poll from from Facts and Trends revealed in 2018 that 50% of people who considered themselves to be active Christians believed that people can go to heaven without accepting Jesus.[2]
    Given that only 2% of Christians actively share their faith, it leads us to conclude that either more than 50% of Christians believe there is another way to go to heaven, or we simply don’t care whether or not others go to heaven.
    Either way, it is no wonder that 80% of American churches are plateaued or declining.
    Yet Peter’s confession was an acknowledgement that Jesus alone is able to save us from our sins. “You are THE Christ…”
    Today, if we would see an outpouring of revival, we must reclaim the biblical truth that Jesus alone is able to save. And then do what is necessary to announce that truth to the world around us.
    John Stott wrote:
    “In the face of these we are all called, not to feeble-minded conformity, but to radical non-conformity. Over against the challenge of pluralism, we are to be a community of truth, standing up for the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. Over against the challenge of materialism, we are to be a community of simplicity and pilgrimage. Over against the challenge of relativism, we are to be a community of obedience. Over against the challenge of narcissism, we are to be a community of love.”[3]
    Let’s you and I commit to be that community that consistently upholds that Jesus alone is able to save a person from their sins.
    · The Lordship of Jesus Christ: A confession that Jesus Christ alone is Lord over our lives and Lord over Creation (Providence).
    Peter’s confession was not only a confession that points to the exclusivity of Jesus Christ. It is also a confession that upholds the providential rule of Jesus over all of the world.
    This means that Jesus governs everything that occurs within the world. He is in control of history. And He is in control of your life.
    Colossians 1:16-17 says:
    16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.
    17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
    When we recognize the truth of Jesus’s control over all of Creation on the macro-level and our lives on the micro-level, we have no other reasonable response than to completely yield to His demands for our lives.
    To be a disciple is to submit entirely to His will because we recognize His sovereignty.
    When Peter made this confession, he was acknowledging Jesus’s claim to be the Son of God. Every one of Jesus’s hearers understood that this was a claim in which Jesus was making himself to be equal with God. That was the very reason the Pharisees wanted Him to be crucified.
    The confession of the early church was simply “Jesus is Lord.” This was in contrast to the Roman demand that each citizen confess that “Caesar” is Lord.
    By making the claim that Jesus is Lord, Peter was renouncing his submission to anything accept Jesus Christ himself.
    No rights.
    No demands.
    No debates.
    Just obedience.
    Again, let me quote John Stott:
    “Our common way of avoiding radical discipleship is to be selective; choosing those areas in which commitment suits us and staying away from those areas in which it will be costly. But because Jesus is Lord, we have no right to pick and choose the areas in which we will submit to his authority.”[4]
    Each of us have some governing principle over our lives. Some perception that controls our decision making process. For the Christian, our decision making process ALWAYS yields to “thus saith the LORD.”
    · The Worthiness of Jesus Christ: A confession that Jesus Christ alone is worthy of our life to given for His glory (Missiology).
    Peter’s confession was a confession that was focused on the value of Jesus Christ. Peter was renouncing the allurements of the world because he had seen the supreme value of Jesus and the Gospel. The demands upon his life.
    He could no longer tolerate a small view of Jesus.
    Again, Stott:
    Where should we be but on our faces before him? Away then with our petty, puny, pygmy Jesuses! Away with our Jesus clowns and pop stars! Away too with our political Messiahs and revolutionaries! For these are caricatures. If this is how we think of him, then no wonder our immaturities persist.[5]
    My invitation to you today is to rediscover—or perhaps see for the first time—the value of Jesus Christ.
    Say this prayer with me:
    Give me, dearest God, a vigilant heart
    Which no distracting thought
    Can lure from you.
    Give me a noble heart
    Which no unworthy desire
    Can ever debase.
    Give me a free heart
    Which no violent temptation
    Can enslave.
    Give me an upright heart
    Which no perverse intention
    Can hold fast. (Thomas Aquinas)
    An American writer says: “We have in our congregation a little deaf and [mute] boy. On Sunday he loves to have his mother find for him the words that we are all singing, though the music never thrills his quiet ear, nor touches his heart. He looks at the hymn, glides his little finger over every word to the end; if he finds ‘Jesus’ there, he is satisfied and absorbed to the close of the singing; but if the word ‘Jesus’ is not there, he closes the book, and will have nothing more to do with it.”[6]
    1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
    Romans 10:9-10: If you believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord and confess with your mouth God has raised Him from the dead you will be saved.
    [1] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Da 7:13–14.
    [3] John Stott, The Radical Disciple: Wholehearted Christian Living (Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 2010), 27–28.
    [4] John Stott, The Radical Disciple: Wholehearted Christian Living (Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 2010), 17.
    [5] John Stott, The Radical Disciple: Wholehearted Christian Living (Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 2010), 49.
    [6] Joseph S. Exell, The Biblical Illustrator: Matthew (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1952), 337.
      • Matthew 16.13NASB95

      • Matthew 16.14NASB95

      • Matthew 16.15NASB95

      • Matthew 16.16NASB95

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