Are YOU Part of HIS Church?
Sermon text: Matthew 16:13-1
Out of a march on Washington on November 2, 2002 came a new political action committee called “Godless Americans”. A group that is trying to call attention to their wishes… They want “In God we trust” off our money and God taken out of our pledge. Ellen Johnson, president of American Atheist and chairman of the walk said,
“I see a potential voting bloc. I see a new movement ready to assert its political and cultural influence in America.”
YOU KNOW WHAT I AM THINKING???
”Finally we have a group that ADMITS they are NOT a part of the church!”
What do we have in America?
- 95% believe in God (1997)
- 10% believe that that God represents a state of higher consciousness. (2001)
- 7% believe that God is the total realization of personal human potential. (2001)
- 15% say God is no longer involved in their life. (1997)
- 87% Almost 9 out of 10 people say the universe was originally created by God.(2000)
- 8% adults nationwide maintain self-identify as atheists or agnostics
- 85% Americans self-identify as Christians.
BUT… ONLY 5% US adults have ALL of these things:
- They have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ as their Lord
- They know that when they die, they will go to Heaven because they have confessed their sins and have accepted Jesus Christ as their savior.”
- Believe their faith is very important in their life today
(You have 33% of the Americans until you add the following factors)
- Believe they have a personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs about Christ with non-Christians
- Believe that Satan exists
- Believe that the eternal salvation is possible only through grace, not works
- Believe that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth
- Believe God to be the all-knowing , all-powerful, perfect deity who created the universe and still rules it today.
This means a lot of people who call themselves Christians… need to get saved!
ARE YOU PART OF HIS CHURCH?
MATTHEW 16:13-19 (NKJV)
14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
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. 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. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Jesus took His disciples to Gentile territory, in the region of Caesarea Philippi. They were about 120 miles from Jerusalem in the northern part of Palestine. The region was strongly identified with various religions:
- It had been a center for Baal worship;
- The Greek god Pan had shrines there;
- Herod the Great had built a temple there to honor Augustus Caesar.
- Not far away was Dan where the Israelites had worshipped their own way
They were probably within sight of Caesar’s temple. And it was in the midst of this pagan superstition that Jesus asked some very important questions to those who were following Him. If anyone else asked, “Whom do men say that I am?”, we would think him either mad or arrogant. But in the case of Jesus, a right confession of who He is, is basic to salvation
Romans 10:9-10 (NKJV)
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. 10For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Jesus announced a surprise:
He would not yet establish His kingdom, but instead He would build His church.
Are YOU Part of HIS Church…
I.WHAT DO OTHERS SAY?
A. WHAT DID THE RELIGIOUS SAY THEN?
“Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
- JOHN THE BAPTIST compared to Jesus
- Both preached repentance for salvationBoth promoted baptism
- ELIJAH compared to JesusBoth raised the dead
- Both gave food to the hungryBoth controlled the weather
- JEREMIAH compared to Jesus
- Both were faithful to their message in spite of ridicule.
- Both had an unusual anguish for the population.
B. WHAT DO OTHER RELIGIONS SAY TODAY?
- MORMONS – Jesus was a preexistent spirit (but they believe that about anyone).Jesus was a man who achieved great things.He was not God.
“His humanity is to be recognized as real and ordinary —whatever happened to Him may happen to any one of us.” –Sir Oliver Lodge in Joseph Smith, King Follett Discourse
- JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES
- Jesus was a god (but not Almighty God).
- Jesus was a created individual who is the second greatest personage in the Universe.
- Jesus was not the only Son of God.
- UNIFICATION CHURCH
- “It is plain that Jesus is not God Himself.” – Divine Principle
- Jesus value was no greater than that of you or me.
- “Jesus was only a messenger of Allah.” – Surah 4:171 from the Koran
- A sinless prophet who never achieved the greatness of Mohammed.
- SECULAR HUMANISTS
- Jesus was a great teacher
- Jesus was ONLY a man and what He taught is relative
SOME WOULD SAY THAT JESUS IS ONE OF THE WAYS TO HEAVEN…
ANYONE WHO SAYS ANY OF THESE THINGS ABOUT JESUS…
IS NOT A PART OF HIS CHURCH… THE ONLY CHURCH!
Are YOU Part of HIS Church…
II. WHAT DO BELIEVERS SAY?
“But who do you say that I am?”
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
A. BELIEVERS K N O W THE ANSWER
NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE SO SMART…
… “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”
If someone asked you to describe Jesus, Would you say… “Wait right there, while I get my bible… I have some notes…”
I DO NOT NEED NOTES TO TELL YOU ABOUT MY WIFE… I KNOW HER, WE DO NOT NEED NOTES TO TELL YOU ABOUT JESUS!
I hesitate to use the word “BELIEVE” sometimes because it has been watered down to mean “I THINK SO”. But for believers… “WE KNOW SO!” God gives all people the ability to know… this is the “measure of faith”. We have chosen to accept that as part of us… AND IT GROWS
B. WHAT WE BELIEVE I S IMPORTANT
Jeremy Bowen, the presenter of a new British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) documentary on Jesus stated,
“The important thing is not what he was or what he wasn’t — the important things is what people believe him to have been. A massive world wide religion, numbering more than two billion people follows his memory — that’s pretty remarkable, 2,000 years on.”
Bowen couldn’t be more wrong. WHO Jesus is and WHAT he did is the foundation of our faith.
Citation: Alan Wilson, Nyon, Switzerland; source: Alex Webb, “Looking for the Historical Jesus,” BBC News Online, (3-26-01 column)
Jesus is the Christ! He is the Son of the living God. In the movie, “The Passion of the Christ” the last 3 words are important! The fact that Jesus was crucified is nothing more than a noble story of a man… IF He was not the “CHRIST”… But He IS the Christ, the anointed one, the deliverer That makes what He endured of major value… As the ONLY begotten Son of God… ONLY He could pay the price!
IT IS NOT WHO WE ARE, OR WHAT WE DID that makes us part of HIS church
IT IS WHO JESUS IS AND WHAT JESUS DID!
Are YOU Part of HIS Church…
III. WHAT DOES CHURCH MEAN?
I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
Many Christians have been infected with the most virulent virus of modern American life, what sociologist Robert Bellah calls “radical individualism.” They concentrate on personal obedience to Christ as if all that matters is “Jesus and me,” but in doing so miss the point altogether. For Christianity is not a solitary belief system.
Any genuine resurgence of Christianity, as history demonstrates, depends on a reawakening and renewal of that which is the essence of the faith—that is, the people of God, the new society, the body of Christ, which is made manifest in the world—the church.
Chuck Colson, The Body (Word, 1992), p.32
A. The “C H U R C H” is a coming T O G E T H E R
The church is a gathering of confessing people… “Jesus is our Lord & Savior”
- Gathered together to praise and worship
- Gathered together to study and grow
- Gathered together to serve one another
- Gathered together to fellowship
- Gathered together with the common purpose of reaching our world
- Gathered together as ONE CHURCH
B. THE “C H U R C H” IS A COMING A P A R T
The Greek word for church is ekklesia.
- Ekklesia means a gathering of people called out.
- Ekklesia is actually two Greek Words
- “Ek” which means “out”
- “klesia” which means “calling.”
- Ek-klesia is describing a group of people called out.
But to be more specific the Greek word Ekklesia is derived from…
- The Greek word “klao”Which means to break apart
- It is about separation.
- Klao is the word used in the Lord’s Supper to describe the breaking of the bread. It is that kind of separation.
- So church is also about separation.
- We are separated from the things of the world…
- The true member of the Church does not love the things of the world!
- Our relationship with Christ affects what we do, what we listen to, where we go, and how we act when we get there. We cannot just “blend in”
Are YOU Part of HIS Church…
IV. WHAT DO YOU SAY?
A. DO YOU SAY THAT JESUS WAS A GREAT MAN, BUT NOT GOD?
THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE SAYING!
- If knowing Jesus has not changed your life…
- If knowing Jesus has not caused you to want to gather with His church
- If knowing Jesus does not cause you to separate from an ungodly lifestyle
THIS IS NOT BEING A PART OF HIS CHURCH
B. DO YOU SAY THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST?
If you know Jesus, then Jesus IS changing your life…
You cannot believe He is the Christ without being changed by Him
If you know Jesus, then you will WANT to gather with His people
- You want to gather together to praise and worship
- You want to gather together to study and grow
- You want to gather together to serve one another
- You want to gather together to fellowship
- You want to gather together with the common purpose of reaching our world
- You want to gather together as ONE CHURCH
If you know Jesus you will want to separate from ungodliness
C. COMING APART IS MORE… IT IS A CALLING APART
Just a little more about coming apart…
We are not coming apart to nothing, we are called apart TO His service. The church is a gathering of people called apart to Jesus and a life devoted to pursuing a calling with passion and zeal. Our passion for our calling is what keeps our faith and the church alive and growing. We are called to step out on faith to know & confess that Jesus is Lord & savior. It is that confession that spurs all Christians to a life transformed and conformed to Jesus.
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Knowing Him has made me part of His Church. Knowing Him has called me out of worldliness. Knowing Him has called me into His service
YES! I AM PART OF HIS CHURCH!…ARE YOU?