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2007-07-22_Gods Interests_Matthew 16.20-28_SL

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God’s Interests

Matthew 16:20-27   |   Shaun LePage   |   July 22, 2007

I.       Introduction

A.    Montana Ridge story: “You’ve got to see this!” Fundamental discipleship question: Will you live on a higher level? Great adventure and great cost.

B.    Mt 16—After all the signs, miracles, healings; fulfilled prophecy, authoritative teaching and shocking claims (e.g., “Lord of the Sabbath”), Jesus asked disciples: “Who do you say I am?” Peter’s answer thrilled Jesus and led to some important revelations: 1) Jesus would build His church on the foundational truth Peter had declared; 2) this church will prevail even though He—the builder—would die; 3) He would work through His disciples to deny access (bind) to the kingdom to people who rejected that truth and grant access to the kingdom (loose) to people who believe that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

C.    The next several verses include more revelations from Jesus—shocking to the original disciples who listed, and foundational to all that we believe.

II.     Body—Matthew 16:20-27

A.    Jesus silenced the disciples until the right time (v.20).

1.     The “messianic secret”; at least 3 other places; why? Most—like Peter (v.23)—didn’t get it.

2.     17:9 is helpful: “until”. Wait for the right time. Has He risen? Tell somebody! At the right time, tell someone who Jesus is. When is the right time? Two answers: Right now (Jesus has risen!); Right opportunity—Col 2:4-6

3.     God’s timing or mine? Disciples wanted Jesus to be an earthly king now! Didn’t like Gods’ timing! Important principle: Ask God to show you His timing. Sex, Marriage, purchase of a home, career change, when to speak?

B.    Jesus rebuked Peter for earthly thinking (v.21-23)

1.     “From that time”—marks a major turning point. See 4:17—Jesus’ life; Now—Jesus’ death

2.     “Must”—It was necessary; the will of God (the word of God! 26:54). Why necessary? Only way to provide salvation—Romans 5:8-9.

3.     Four things must happen—outline of rest of Mt.; 4 infinitives; it was “necessary” for Jesus…

a)     …to go to Jerusalem—dead-man walking; path to Jerusalem was path to death; rest of Mt journey to Jerusalem—arrives in ch.21 for final week (chapters 21-28)

b)     …to suffer many things (from leaders)—notice: suffering in the will of God; Jesus chose it; “suffer”= πάσχω or “passion”

c)     …to be killed—no doubt this is where he lost Peter and others; Just confirmed Messiah!

d)     …to be raised up on the third day—one thing to predict your death (some say Jesus had a death wish and walked into the hands of His enemies); another to predict resurrection!

4.     Amazing predictions—at least 6 times in Mt.; vague before (remember “sign of Jonah”? 12:40; 16:4)—Clear now! see 20:17-19; even predicted “Gentiles” and “crucify”; Shocking to disciples—not what they had in mind at all!

5.     Peter’s rebuke—impulsive! no doubt thought this was noble and right; well-intentioned, but clueless about the will of God! Understood who Jesus was (v.16), but not what He came to do

6.     Jesus’ rebuke

a)     “Satan” (adversary)—somehow influenced by Satan; ignorantly took same position as Satan: reject the will of God and bypass the cross (4:1-11).

b)     “Stumbling block”—contrast with “rock” (ouch!); in the way of God’s will; “Get behind me”—clear the path!

c)     “Not setting your mind on God’s interests”—lit. “things of God”; explains “Satan” and “Stumbling block”; Peter listened to Father before (v.17), but now thinking like a “man”

7.     God’s thoughts or mine? Phil 3:17-20; Col 3:1-17 (above/earth contrasted!); most—like Peter—repulsed by God’s will (cross specifically; Word generally)—1 Co 1:20-25; Is 55:8-9

C.    Jesus challenged the disciples to choose real life (v.24-28)—Correction of earthly thinking

1.     The cost of discipleship: This is not going to be easy!

(1)  Deny himself—see above; “things of man” must be denied in favor of “things of God”

(2)  Take up his cross—(predictive); condemned criminal forced to carry own cross

(3)  Follow Me—our model; He denied Himself. He took up His cross

2.     The reason—why choose to follow Christ when it goes against all our instincts (self-preservation; avoiding crosses)? Notice repetition of “for”—laying out the “why”

a)     “Save his life…loses his life”=physical life (in light of Jesus’ announcement in v.21)—not about salvation for unbelievers—salvation based on self-denial and cross-bearing? No! Greek phrase always refers to physical life (Reign of the Servant Kings, pgs. 116-118)

b)     This is for disciples and it’s about choosing “real life” (according to God’s way of thinking); a contrast between God’s perspective of really living and man’s idea of really living. Words for “life” (v.25) and “soul” (v.26) exact same word! Unfortunately, translated differently—baffling and confusing! Man’s idea of really living is “gaining the whole world”—if you do it you “forfeit” real life (God’s idea of real life). Only a great fool would exchange real life (God’s idea) for counterfeit (man’s idea).

c)     What is God’s idea of real life? Look at Jesus! Giving your life for something far greater than anything this world has to offer (“My sake”). Investing this life in the next—nothing better than an eternal investment. The day will come when Jesus will come in glory to “repay every man according to his deeds.” Those who invested everything in this world will lose it all. The paradox of discipleship is: if you lose your life for Christ (literally or figuratively)—if you invest everything in what God says is valuable (“sake” of Christ)—you will gain treasure and reward and blessing beyond anything this world has to offer.

3.     God’s treasure or mine? God’s value system or man’s value system? Jim Elliot (martyred trying to reach the Auca Indians of South America): “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

4.     Note: v.28 is connected with chapter 17.

III.   Closing:

A.    Going to repreach Mt 16 again next Sunday (july 29). Show of hands: personally invite and bring someone who seems to be unclear about who Jesus is or clearly an unbeliever? Don’t know anyone like that? Will you commit to going out and finding someone (a neighbor, a waitress, a cop—get a ticket for Jesus; tell people you’re going to get in trouble if you don’t bring someone)?

B.    A Prayer for the Future by Sir Frances Drake

Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little, when we arrive safely because we have sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess, we have lost our thirst for the waters of life; having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity; and in our efforts to build a new earth, we have allowed our vision of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas where storms will show your mastery; where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars. We ask you to push back the horizons of our hopes; and to push into the future in strength, courage, hope, and love.

(Quoted in OC Missionary Prayer Letter of Jeanie Curryer, September, 1997)

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