So... is that your final answer?

What are your favorite game shows?  Personally I enjoy the quiz shows that test your knowledge: Jeopardy, Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader, Who Wants To Be a Millionaire. It's often about having clever answers to obscure questions. 

In this week's message, we continue looking at Matthew 16 and examine a time when Jesus asked His disciples not a quiz question, but the most important question ever.  We'll examine their response--what they got right, what they didn't--and the actions and assumptions that led to each.  We will learn some lessons that apply to our lives and that help us answer life's most important questions in ways that will lead us to receive the blessing God has designed for us.

 

Passage(s): 
Matthew 16:7-16

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Is That Your Final Answer?

 
I hope you came to worship — not just in our preaching, but also in our songs, in our fellowship, in our worship. God is here in all parts of that. All parts of that represent the church and why we come together, not just the message.
 
Welcome back, Guatemala team. We have 5 teams going out this summer. One in the Philippines, one to Honduras, one to China, and one to Michigan. There’s such a missions heart here.
 
We have deacon nominations. We need to meet the needs of the church. Deacons are key to that. God may be calling you to that. Sometimes, a man may not feel the confidence to come forward on their own. If you see a godly man serving already, encourage him to consider becoming a deacon.
 
Prayer: We’re thankful for your Word. Make sensitive our hearts so that the folks won’t hear me, but will hear you. Fulfill your promise that where 2-3 are gathered in your name, you’re here. Help us look to you.
 
Remember “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” John Carpenter had 500K. Regis: “Which one of these presidents appeared on Laugh-In?” Carpenter used his final lifeline to call his dad, Tom. “Dad, I don’t need your help. I just wanted to call and tell you I’m going to win.” And he won the million dollar question. That was a very big question.
 
I remember another big question: Big Spring Park, the lighthouse overlooking the duck pond. I asked Lois if she’d be willing to be the mom of my kids one day. “I guess.” I wished for more confidence, but then I asked her to be more serious: I pulled out a ring box, and asked her to marry me. After a long uncomfortable pause, she said yes. That question and the answer that followed were very important to me.
 
But neither John Carpenter’s question nor my question to Lois are the most important question we’ll ever have to answer.
 
Over the last couple weeks, we’ve been going through the gospel. Two weeks ago, Andy Sharples talked systematically through the gospel and how it can take away doubts.
 
Incidentally, we don’t coordinate our messages, but it really seems that someone does.
 
If you have doubts about your salvation and you struggle with that in your life, go back and listen to Andy’s message. How he ties the gospel to address your doubts. The good news of what God did sending His Son into our lives. 
 
There’s nothing from which the gospel cannot free you.
 
Last week, we looked at passages in Matt and Mark about the yeast of the Pharisees. Jesus said he didn’t come to abolish but to fulfill the law. He stated various components about the Law, preceding it with the phrase, “You’ve heard it said…but I tell you” and he went on to tell them about living a righteous life beyond the law.
 
We looked at the truth of the law and saw how Jesus showed that Law wasn’t enough. Pharisees would fill the gaps with their man-made rules. Jesus said that leads to misunderstanding and a hard heart.
 
Without a relationship, you can have rules. Only Jesus can fill in those gaps. Only in a relationship with him can we hear the important words, “…but I tell you.”
 
Matt. 16:7-12 -  7 And they began to discuss among themselves, saying, “It is because we took no bread.”
 8 But Jesus, aware of this, said, “You men of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves that you have no bread?
 9* “Do you not yet understand or remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets you took up?
 10 “Or the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many large baskets you took up?
 11 “How is it that you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? But beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
 12 Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
 
Last week, I shared a bit of my testimony. Martin Sisson has been a long-time friend and saw the transitions of my life.
 
During my High School years, if you’d asked me if I were a Christian, I’d’ve said yes. But it wasn’t until college that I realized that it was about a relationship. Before that freshman year and my relationship with Him began, the Bible was just words. Now, the words are just a small part of what’s there. Every time I open it up, there’s always more there.
 
I pay attention to order. God put this part next to that part for a reason. We need to pay attention to order when we read.
 
Here in Matt, it details specific interactions between Jesus and Peter. So continuing,
 
Matthew 16:13-14  13* ¶ Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”
 
In the preceding days, Jesus experienced the beheading of John B. He did miracles. He confronted his disciples about the teaching of the Pharisees. He asked, “Who do they say I am? And who do you say I am?”
 
Based on who people said Jesus was, People saw two things in Jesus: He spoke w/ authority and he could do miracles. Though they knew these things about Jesus, they were missing the point. Though all the candidates they list were great men, they were just men.
 
Today, someone might answer something completely different from what they’d answer in NT days.
 
One prominent college professor: A founder of a renewal movement in Judaism.
 
Methodist professor Burton Mack: More of a hellenistic cynic sage than an apocalyptic prophet.
 
A Muslim: a prophet, though the Bible’s message is inauthentic because the true message is in the Koran.
 
A Jew: an apostate executed for spreading idolatry and practicing magic.
 
An Atheist: A misguided narcissist persuading people to believe the God myth.
 
A Consumer: a cute baby and the source for Christmas.
 
Most people: He who says, “Live a good life and respect me but don’t judge me”. Funny how people are familiar with “Don’t judge” but not “If you love me, obey me.”
 
Today’s answer to “Who do people say I am?” is much more complicated than it was in Jesus day.
 
Then he makes it personal—not just what do *they* say, “but what about you? Whom do *you* say I am?” As we read on, we see Peter’s response: “You’re the Christ (Messiah), the son of the living God.” The Greek word is Christos. Messiah means “anointed one”, applying to priests and kings. OT prophets spoke about a coming king.
In Greek, Christos was the word used for Messiah. Not simply a man, prophet, good teacher, example. He’s the literal son of the living God. God’s appointed high priest and king who’d come into the world to redeem and save his people. “You’re the Christ, the son of the living God.”
 
Peter got the most important question right. More important than, “Who do THEY say I am?” It’s, “Who do YOU say I am?”
 
Jesus looks them in the eye and asks “Who do you say that I am?” Personal one-on-one.
 
Peter buzzed in first and got the right answer: “Christ, Messiah Savior.”
 
The prize Peter won?  13* ¶ Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”
 15 He *said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
 17 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
 18* “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.
 19 “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
 
Not a $1M question, not a question that resulted in a wife of 32 years. Peter became one of the greatest voices in the foundation of the church. First pope. Keys to the pearly gates. Not a bad prize package!
 
We got to go to Vatican and go to St Peter’s square. There are 2 20-ft statues: Paul with scroll and sword, and Peter with scroll and keys.
 
A great prize for a simple answer. Good for Peter.
 
But then this:
 
 21 ¶ From that time Jesus Christ began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.
 22 And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.”
 23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”
 
In the span of 9 vv, it’s amazing that Peter correctly answers the most important question and Jesus calls him the foundation of the church. Then, Jesus goes from that to calling him Satan.
 
What was Jesus telling him here? That He was going to go to the cross to be the Savior and bring us to God.
 
Kayla Mueler - US aid worker captured and held by ISIS and killed in Jordanian army action to rescue her. Carl and Marcia Mueler had been negotiating with ISIS, desperate to free her.
Imagine if they’d been successful, raised the ransom, and meeting at the exchange point. And what if Turkey had said, “It’s illegal and way to dangerous.” What would you say? “That’s my daughter. Get out of my way.”
Same way, Jesus was headed to the cross to pay the ransom for those held captive by their sins. Jesus knew who the real enemy was and told Peter: “GSatan, get out of my way.”
 
See v17 - Flesh and blood didn’t reveal this to you. My Father revealed it.
 
That’s not cheating. It’s the smartest life-line/phone-a-friend you’ll ever use.
 
See v23 - You’re not listening to God. You’re listening to man and Satan.
 
Isn’t that the essence of what Jesus warned with the yeast of the Pharisees? Be cautious and careful who you listen to.
 
Mt 5:17 - Fulfilled the law by saying, “You’ve heard the Law, but I tell you…” He wants us to live a righteousness that’s way more than keeping the law. Not just avoiding breaking the law, but one that is sacrificing, not judgmental.
The only way to get the right answers is to listen to God as he says, “But I tell you”.
 
If we’re not careful, we’ll end up like Peter, thinking we’re doing the right thing.
 
What about you? Whom do you say Jesus is?
 
Second, who’ll you listen to? To God? If you let him reveal truth to you, you’ll always hear a correct answer.
 
Ephesians 2:8-10  8* For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast.
 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
 
Peter was created for v17 - to be blessed by Jesus and be the rock.
 
All he had to do was listen to and obey God’s Word and not the influences that were causing him to miss out.
 
YOU were created to be blessed by Jesus and do good works. All it takes is for you to listen to and obey God.
 
Who do YOU say Jesus is?
 
Who will YOU listen to?
 
In Regis-style, “What’s your final answer?”
 
You may be part of the group that struggles with “Who is Jesus?” Either in the big picture or “to me”. If you see that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior, and to be our Lord, I pray you’ll come down. Peter gave a confession. He asked, “Whom do you say I am?” He wanted to hear Peter say the words. Folks will help you. So you won’t have doubt about whether the gates of heaven are open to you.
 
The other group I invite—we talk about body life. We talk about studying and sharing with one another. I pray we’ll come together and take the message to the world that needs to hear it. If that’s you, come down and they’ll talk about the process of become a part of the body here.
 
Most importantly, “Who do you say Jesus is?” No more important question and answer than that one.