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Church Foundations - Building the Church on Jesus True Identity

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Building the Church – Jesus’ Identity & Purpose

Matt. 16: 13 – 18

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ. (NIV)

        INTRO:  Caeserea Philippi


1: Gentile Territory

·        120 miles from Jerusalem

  Following the Jewish exile pagan nomadic people settled there

·        Mix of Syrian & Greek god’s worshipped there

2:  The Disciples

·        Forsook family, friends & jobs to follow Jesus

·        Now in a place where strange god’s were worshipped

·        They must have had at least some sense that there was something special @ Jesus


(vs. 13)

        JESUS ASKS: Who do men say that I am?

                        Why did he ask?  --  Did it matter what the answer would be?

(vs. 14)


     John the Baptist – (Mt. 14:2, Lk 9:7) Herod was concerned – He had just beheaded John and some claimed John had risen from the dead.

         BUT people noticed John did no miracles as Jesus But everything John said about Jesus came       true – (Jn. 10:41)

Elijah – (Mal. 4:5) Elijah is prophesied to come back before the end times.

Jeremiah – Extra biblical books claim he would proceed Messiah revealing location of the Ark of the Covenant, Tabernacle and alter of incense. Legend says Jeremiah hid them in Mt. Nebo.


Have you ever noticed? - The primary confusion in all religion centers on who Jesus and is.

Islam – He was a great prophet BUT Muhammad was greater

JW’s – He is “a god” but not The God

Mormon’s – He is an example for man to become a god himself

Atheist’s Buddhist’s & Hindus – No actual person of God at all

·        PLAY MOVIE


“Fragments Of Truth In Each”

“The World Council of Churches has suggested that Chairs of Buddhists, Hindu and Muslim scholars be appointed in Christian universities and Muslim, Hindu and Buddhists universities have a Chair of Christian studies. Ecumenicists believe that divine truth is so rich and many-sided that only fragments are found in any one faith.” [1]

 (Vs. 15)



A momentous inquiry! upon which hung the foundation of the Christian Church. Their knowledge of the real nature of Jesus was now to be tested.” [2]

(vs. 16)

            “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

            PETER’S ANSWER:

-         The Christ – Messiah

-         Son of the living God:

·        Distinction of living God among dead god’s where they were

·        Many will ask: If He is the son of God how can He be God?

The idea that "son of God" means inferiority is faulty based on context and an understanding of scripture. If we look at 1 Kings 20:35 (sons of prophets) and Neh. 12:28 (sons of singers) we begin to understand that this doesn't mean a literal son BUT could more appropriately be translated as "of the order of". When Jesus was claiming to be the Son of God He was claiming to have the exact essence of the Father. He was claiming full deity. We know this by the context of

John 19:7. READ: "We have a law, and according to our law he ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God."  (this law is from Leviticus 24: 16)

(vs. 17)

“Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah”


-         In this area of many god’s Peter calls Jesus THE GOD!

-         Jesus obviously accepts this bold assertion from Peter

-         Some question if Jesus saw Himself as Messiah – THERE IS NO QUESTION HE DID!


Jesus makes Himself the object of faith

    • He says things like: "He who believes in me believes in the father who sent Me", "Believe in me", "Blessed are you when you are persecuted for My sake"
    • A good Rabbi is expected to say something like "Blessed are you when you are persecuted for God's sake"

Dr. Gregory A. Boyd, Edward K. Boyd, Letters From a Skeptic Cook Communications Ministries, 1994 pp. 112

o        John 14:6 - I am the way, truth, and life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.

Jesus makes Himself the authority of faith and truth

    • "You have heard it was said to men of old...But I say..." (Matt. 5: 21-44), "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me," (Matt. 28:18) "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away" (Matt. 24:35) If He said these things But He’s NOT God:

"I'm trying here to prevent anyone saying...'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic-on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg-or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. either this man was, and is, the son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher."
C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity Harper Collins, 2001, p. 52

• Several times in the Old Testament the expected Messiah is referred to as God Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth.
• The prophet Isaiah writes that the Messiah will be titled, “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.”
• The name Jesus or Joshua can be translated, “God saves.”
• Jesus is called Emmanuel, or “God with us.”


“For this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father”


1 Cor. 12:3 (NKJV)- “no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.”


(vs. 18)

            “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church”

            WHO IS THE ROCK? - Jesus OR Peter?

“The wordplay in Greek shows… that Christ himself is the foundation:

•      “You are Peter [petros, a little stone]” FROM: Jn. 1:42 Cephas (stone)

•      “and upon this rock [petra, massive rock] I will build my church.” Other passages:  (compare 1 Cor. 3:11; 1 Pet. 2:4–8).”



No record Peter ever lived in Rome to pass papal authority to the bishops there

As vital as would be No Early church leaders make mention of it in their writings

Though recorded in 3 Gospels ONLY Matthew records this promise to Peter

Mt. 21:42 – Christ quoting Isa. 28:16 calls Himself the rock

Peter himself says so (1 Pet. 2:4-8) Jesus THE stone we are little stones built on Jesus

Paul calls Christ THE rock (1 Cor. 10:4)

Many OT references call God THE rock (Deut. 32:4, 15; Dan. 2:45; Ps. 18:2)

If Peter were infallible (as 1st Pope) why was He rebuked for error by Paul at Antioch (Gal. 2:11–14)?

Shortly after this apostles argue “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of God” (Mt. 18:1). Obviously the apostles understood no special authority to Peter.

NOTICE:        Jesus = Son of Man & Son of God -> Foundation Rock

Peter = Son of Jona & Peter -> Just a building Block on foundation of Christ

Eph 2:20 – “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.”

JOKE: Especially makes sense to me… I know in my 40 some years many have called me a “Block-Head”

ARE YOU “A Chip Off The Old Block”?

Not unless you identify Jesus CORRECTLY

ILLUS: Rabbi In Protestant Church

How is it that Rabbi Abraham L. Feinberg, of Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto, could become “rabbi in residence” at Glide Memorial Methodist Church in San Francisco. Questioned as to how he could hold such a position Rabbi Feinberg answered, it was easy—as long as the Church doesn’t mention the word of Christ, and is concerned with people, not theology. And that, he said, is the philosophy behind the Glide Church



1 Cor. 3:11 – “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

1 Pet. 2:4 – “a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God”

1 John 2:22-23 “Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.”

5:10  “Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son.”

Jesus the foundation/owner and builder of the church:
--- “I will build…  MY church.”

You do NOT have the Gospel Truth if you see Jesus in any other way.

John 1 - “The Word was God” AND “The Word became flesh and lived with us”


1 Pet. 2:5 – “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”



WHAT ARE WE AFRAID OF? (Victory over DEATH & given KEYS)

“The gates of Hades shall not prevail against it”

      Hades = (OT Sheol) – The grave i.e. DEATH

“O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?” (1 Cor. 15:55)

(vs. 19)

The Keys of the kingdom

            Jesus IS the key to the kingdom of God!


(vs. 20)

That they should tell no man”

They must be quiet Now…

BUT after His resurrection YOU COULD NOT KEEP THEM QUIET!!!

The beauty of Peter’s confession:

·        He made it when few were with Christ and many against him.

·        When the scribes, priests and Pharisees, were all opposed to his Master

·        When Jesus was by “very nature of a servant” (Philippians 2:7), without any mark of a King.

·        Such a confession at such a time, required great faith and character.” [3]


Due to Peter’s conviction:

·        Acts 2:41 – At Peter’s message 3,000 were added to the church

·        Acts 10 – God’s kingdom open to all (Jew & Gentile)

Illus:    A Church in Kansas City has this slogan:

“Wake up, sing up, preach up, pray up and pay up, but never give up or let up or back up or shut up until the cause of Christ in this church and in the world is built up.” [4]


2 Co 5:14-15 - “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” (NIV)

AV – “controls and urges and impels us”

“In the Hell[enistic] period one finds the sense “to take or hold captive,”” [5] 

Strong – “hold together”, “lie sick of”

Jesus had that kind of compassion. Despite the rejection of His own people, He ached for their salvation: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling” (Matt. 23:37). You can feel His heart go out to the people.

Paul had similar compassion: “I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of My brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh” (Rom. 9:2–3)…


[1]Paul Lee Tan, Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations : A Treasury of Illustrations, Anecdotes, Facts and Quotations for Pastors, Teachers and Christian Workers (Garland TX: Bible Communications, 1996, c1979).

[2]The Pulpit Commentary: St. Matthew Vol. II, ed. H. D. M. Spence-Jones (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2004), 133.

[3]J. C. Ryle, Matthew, Originally Published: New York : R. Carter, 1860., The Crossway classic commentaries (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1993), 141.

[4]Paul Lee Tan, Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations : A Treasury of Illustrations, Anecdotes, Facts and Quotations for Pastors, Teachers and Christian Workers (Garland TX: Bible Communications, 1996, c1979).

[5]Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Vols. 5-9 Edited by Gerhard Friedrich. Vol. 10 Compiled by Ronald Pitkin., ed. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey William Bromiley and Gerhard Friedrich, electronic ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964-c1976), 7:878.

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