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Answer the Question

Mark 8:27-37

By the time I graduated High School, and had finished my first semester of college, I had developed a knack for answering essay questions.  Just write as much as you possibly can, and do not worry about answering the question.  Somewhere in the quantity of words there lies partial credit.  When I went to Wittenberg, we were often given blue books.  I had professors that I am sure did not look at the content of my answer, but how close to full the blue book was.  Well, I took that mentality with me in to the Navy as I attended Nuclear Power School.  The problem was that someone tipped them off to my tactics.  I would answer questions with a large volume of words, try to pull out key words, and try to dazzle the instructors with smoke and mirrors.  They saw right through it, and would often put the initials  A.T.Q. on my paper.  Answer the question.  Have you noticed how some people have the ability to dance around an answer and never really answer a question?  I think it is very prominent in the political arena, and I think it is a natural mechanism of self preservation.  People know that sometimes if they say what they really feel, they will lose their following or become unpopular.  To be honest with you, the most important questions that are asked do not come from college professors, debate moderators, or our past or present day philosophers.  The greatest questions ever asked are those that posed to us from the mind of God in His perfect Word.  In our text this morning, we read four specific questions that Jesus Christ asks of His followers.  This morning, I am going to condense those four questions into two very simple ones.  These questions must be answered, and they must be answered now.  Who is Jesus Christ?  What will become of your soul?

1.  Who is Jesus?  First we can consider the first question posed…who do men say the I am?  I like to think of the answer to this question as who Jesus is not.  He is not the resurrection of John the Baptist, He is not the prophet Elijah, or some other previous prophet.  The unbelieving world has reduced Jesus to a prophet, a prominent philosopher, a teacher of good things.  I was reading some material about Jesus in the Koran, and I was amazed to discover how close the Koran and liberal theology are when it comes to the person of Jesus. Muslims reject the deity of Christ.  They do not believe that Jesus died and was resurrected, they do not believe that He has always existed in eternity as the second person of the Godhead. 

When the conversation turns to the disciples, Peter answers the question confidently and emphatically.  There was now wavering or hesitancy in his answer,  Thou art the Christ.  Matthew’s account of the same story says thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.  Let your mind attempt to digest all that those words entail.  Not just Jesus, but Jesus the Christ.  The one sent from God to save the people from their sins.

He is the virgin born Son of God.  Only one can lay claim to that.  He is the preexistent second person of the Godhead, and became God in the flesh.

John 1:1-2  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

 He is the beginning and the end, the alpha and omega, He is the author and finisher of our faith.

From His youth He was a teacher of doctrinal truth.  We see words like astonished and amazed used concerning His teaching.  One put it like this, “Never a man spake like this man.”

He is the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.  His mission was to seek and to save that which was lost.

1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

He is the product of God’s unconditional love for all of mankind.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Which led to the ultimate sacrifice.

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

That’s who Jesus is. There is one verse that sums it up so neatly.

1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

That’s who Jesus is. 

2.  What will become of your soul?  We have to be honest with ourselves this morning.  We are more concerned with what will become of our body, more than our soul.  We put a lot of effort and money into our bodies.  Diets, workouts, sunbathing, cosmetic surgeries, etc.  If I could draw an analogy, that is like throwing away the ring and keeping the box that it came in.  When we went to Hong Kong, one of the popular items the sailors bought was an imitation Rolex.  The outside looked just like an expensive piece of jewelry, but the insides were of the same quality as Timex.  I do not care how pretty the watch looked, if the inside is not right, it is just about worthless.  There is something you need to understand about your soul this morning, it will last through all eternity.  Your soul will outlive your body and outlast this earth.  The Bible makes it clear.  Man can destroy the body and he has been doing so since the days of Cain and Abel.  Only God has control over the fate of the soul.

Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

God determines the eternal abode of your soul based on your choice to reject or accept the gift of Jesus the Christ. 

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

You can do all that is in your power to gain the whole world, but if you go through life collecting riches and pleasures, and end up lost in a Christ-less Hell, it has profited you nothing.  Solomon is said to be one of the wisest men to ever live on this earth.  He spent years chasing after wealth, and accumulating stuff, and having a thousand women in his life. All he could say as his life was winding down was, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”  Nothing gained in this world will last.

This is a decision that must be made as soon as the question is asked.  If you were to die today, where would you spend eternity?

Luke 12:19-20 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? Story of three young people hit by a semi-truck tire as they were traveling down I-40.  We really do not know when our last breath will come.  Answer the question.

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