Five Essential Bible Passages
1st Baptist Church
Des Moines, NM
Good morning and welcome to the Ministerial Alliance program here on KLMX radio in Clayton, NM. This week we’ve been looking at 5 essential Bible passages that I picked for their application in my personal growth as a Christian. If you missed any of these messages, just give us a call at 575.278.2421 and I’d be happy to send you a free CD of all these messages. Or visit the church website at www.fbcdesmoines.org. If you have any questions about the things I’m discussing, feel free to give me a call. As always, may God bless this message, may it glorify Him, and it may it reflect the truth of His word, thru His son Jesus Christ, amen.
Yesterday we looked at a passage from 1 Corinthians in which Paul showed us that he preached Christ and Him crucified, and didn’t rely on persuasion or man’s wisdom to convince his listeners. He relied instead on the action of the Holy Spirit. We saw that unless the Holy Sprit opens men’s hearts and ears, our teaching is in vain. That theme is continued in today’s message, too. Our message today comes from Matthew, chapter 16.
Matthew 16:13-19 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?" (14) So they said, "Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
Jesus has come into the region of Caesarea Philippi and ask his disciples an interesting question- “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” And the reply from his disciples is "Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." Note here that Jesus asked specifically “who do men say that I am?” He’s asking “What does the world say about me?” His disciples tell him what the world says. Now this is interesting because if you go out up and down the streets of Clayton or any other place and ask people “Who is Jesus?” you’ll get many replies just like the disciples reported. You’ll get answers like “a great teacher”, “a prophet”, “a Jew that reportedly lived 2,000 years ago”, and even some downright hostile responses like “a figment of someone’s imagination” or “a maniac who convinced a lot of people that he was God.” You might even get a few that say “I really don’t know.” These are pretty much the replies that the disciples reported, too- John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. Sure, men of the world thought that Jesus might be someone famous and even earth shaking, but this was not the reply that Jesus was looking for. Look at what he says next.
Matthew 16:15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
Note the distinction that Jesus has made here. At first, he asked them “Who do men say that I am?” but now he is asking them specifically, “But who do you say that I am?” In verse 16:
Matthew 16:16 Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Simon Peter replies with a much more accurate statement than the men of the world give. He says “You are the Christ.” He doesn’t beat around the bush with some lesser platitudes like “You are a good teacher” or “You are our example to follow” but he states plainly “You are the Christ.” This is a statement that separates Simon Peter from the men of the world, as Jesus’ reply show us:
Matthew 16:17 Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
Jesus’ statement here goes right back to the lesson were looking at yesterday. Yesterday in 1 Corinthians we saw Paul telling us that the world through its wisdom could not know Jesus as Savior. Paul told us that only the Holy Spirit working in a man can open his eyes to the truth. And that’s what Christ tells us here when He says “… for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” No amount of persuasion or human reason can fully convince a person that Jesus is the Christ. Only God can go that.
If you recall, the reason I chose the 5 passages we’ve looked at this week is because they hold a special place for me. Now prior to my conversion, I was a man of the world. If you asked me who Jesus was, and some did, I would have replied exactly as the men of the world do and said “Oh, he’s a great example for us to follow.” I know for a fact that I once said “Jesus is just one of the many great spiritual teachers. His way is good, but there are other ways, too.” But one day I was sitting in church listening to a young preacher who was connecting the Bible front to back in a way that I’d never seen done before. His command and use of Scripture was astonishing and he’d never even been to seminary and hadn’t even stayed in college all that long. He had no right to have this kind of knowledge! On this day, I was sitting there listening and following along and he gave the gospel message- that Jesus was the Christ who had died in my place on the cross so that my sins might be forgiven. And all of a sudden, I realized to myself “This is true.” I’d been listening to his sermons for several weeks, but on this day, suddenly, it all came together and I realized my sins, I realized that Christ was a living person, and I realized that the Bible was accurate in what it said. Basically, at this moment, I realized “This is true.”
This wasn’t necessarily a pleasant thought, either. I saw instantly that acknowledging this truth would mean that I’d have to quit living according to my standards and start living according to God’s standards. I could see that obedience would be required. But I could also see that to fail to accept Christ’s sacrifice would mean death in the abyss. And so, almost immediately after having realizing that “This is true”, the thought popped into my mind “And what are you going to do about it?” Having seen the light, I couldn’t turn from it and I acknowledged again, in acceptance, “It IS true!” Whatever may come from that acceptance, there was no turning away from the truth once it was acknowledged as the truth.
Realization of the truth of Christ is a gift from God as our passage today clearly states. Again, Jesus tells Peter “for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” This truth is seen in several other places in the Bible, including:
John 6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
And here’s why I said that, having truly realized the truth of Christ and having been given that realization by the Holy Spirit, we cannot turn away from it. Jesus has been talking to a large crowd of followers:
John 6:65-69 And He said, "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father." (66) From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. (67) Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?" (68) But Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. (69) Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
I find it very significant that when Jesus reminds the people “that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father”, that “many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.” When confronted with the truth, those who had an intellectual faith grounded in themselves turned away. I say they have an intellectual faith and not a true faith from God because back in Matthew, immediately after saying “for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven”, Jesus says:
Matthew 16:18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
Now some say that Jesus will build his church directly on Peter, but many others, including me, say that His church is built upon faith given by the Holy Spirit, which Peter gave evidence of. In other words, the church is built upon true faith- the faith shown by Abraham, the faith shown by Peter, and the faith given by the Holy Spirit- which is not faith given by men or created by powerful words of persuasion. I think so because Jesus didn’t say “you are Peter and upon you I will build my church.” Rather, he says “on this rock, I will build my church.” I compare this statement to Jesus’ story of two houses, one built on sand and one built on rock. I know that men’s opinions and persuasions vary and I know that God changes not. I know that men are unstable and double-minded and I know that God is Almighty. Therefore, the rock that withstands the storm is the one that is built upon faith supplied by God Almighty. And the church built by Christ is also built upon this faith, not upon a human being.
Now maybe you’re sitting there listening to me talk or maybe you’re reading these words on the church website. I can’t convince you of the truth of Christ and I don’t want to. I don’t want your faith to rest in my arguments or my powers of speech. I want your faith to rest in the power of God Almighty. However, if you can sit there and say to yourself “This Jesus thing makes sense. I have sinned against God and I see that Jesus as the Christ has made the payment to God for me”, then something is happening or has already happened in you. Remember our lessons this week- from 1 Corinthians 2:14, “the natural man does not accept the things of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” Therefore, if you can accept these things as truth, you may be in the process of being born again by the Holy Spirit. Jesus told us in John 3 that “unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Paul tells us in Romans 10:
Romans 10:9-10 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (10) For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
A large group, after hearing Peter’s presentation of Christ at Pentecost said:
Acts 2:37-38 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (38) Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
A jailer asked, in Act 16:
Acts 16:30-31 …."Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" (31) So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household."
How about you? Is your heart cut with the circumcision of the Lord? Can you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in your heart? Can you repent of your sins? Have you been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ? These are all evidence of a born-again person and “unless you be born again, you cannot see the kingdom of God.”
I pray that God, through the Holy Spirit, will show you Jesus to the glory of the Father. Amen.
5 Essential Bible Passages- 1 Corinthians 2:14