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Church Foundations prt.2 - Our Purpose in Christ

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Church Foundations - Our Purpose In Christ

Matt. 16:21-28

 

21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. 28 I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” (NIV)

 

Another Encounter With Peter:

(vs. 21) “From that time on”

After they confirm their understanding that Jesus is the Messiah the disciples are now ready, to learn greater detail about His purposes.

 

Jesus’ detailed predictions: His betrayal, death, means of death & resurrection on 3rd day. Jesus is the only one to make miracle predictions about Himself that actually happen.

Discuss building church on “The Rock” from previous section:

It will soon become obvious the church is built NOT by ethnic, moral or political considerations,

BUT on Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection!

 

Being Out Of God’s Will:

“Deny [yourself]… and follow me”

 

1) PETER:

Be careful your will is in sync with God’s –

Peter unwittingly attempted to thwart God’s plan. Instead of a stone building the church, he had become a stumbling stone. The cross was the eternal plan of God -- A crossroad of decision for God or against Him. Just as the valley of decision when the people entered the Holy Land for the first time – separating on the Mt’s. of blessing (Gerizim) & cursing (Ebal) (Deut. 11:29) – Then the law God gave Moses was the deciding factor of blessing or cursing. Now it was Jesus, who came not to destroy that law, but fulfill it!

2) PHARISEES SADUCCEES & SCRIBES (thought they understood best of all):

Jesus quoting Isaiah says,

These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips,

But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me” (NKJV)

Ezekial says,

“They sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain” (NKJV)

3) YOU & ME:

When work, family and leisure consumes our thoughts we ARE out of sync w/ God!

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” - Mt 6:19-21

·        Have you watched TV but not read your Bible?

·        Worked on a hobby and not prayed?

·        Spent time with a friend but not with God?

 

Our lives suffer when we don’t study & pray:

1.      Frequency of fighting correlates directly to amount of Bible study & prayer

2.      Concern for others goes down

3.      Giving to charities/church goes down

 

“Take up [your] cross”

When you’re out of God’s will there is no cross taking going on. You’re NOT sacrificing for God. You’re NOT submitting to Him

Getting Into God’s Will:

“Deny [yourself]… and follow me”

   When God tells us His plan pay close attention:

Peter is the one He had just blessed for recognizing Jesus’ deity. He will be the one who later denies God’s plan. He moves from being a “Rock” to Satan’s helper.

·        Out of ignorance nonetheless in cooperation w/ Satan.

a.       Jesus is mentally preparing them for God’s plan -- Peter tries to stop it.

b.      We’re apt to unwittingly work w/ Satan when ignorant of God’s plan.        That is why we must STUDY the Bible – KNOWLEDGE of God

c.       This is why we must PRAY – RELATIONSHIP w/ God

Illus:    How important is prayer?

-  Nathan Hale, an American patriot during the Revolutionary War, was captured and hung by British soldiers. His now famous final words were, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." He was willing to die for his nation and its freedom.

-  During the final days of World War II, it was apparent that the Japanese were fighting a losing battle the "kamikaze," willingly flew suicide missions. There was great honor in dying for a cause. The pilots were willing to die for glory.

-  Not long ago, a mother in Philadelphia went back into a burning building to rescue her children who were trapped inside. After saving two, she died in the flames trying to save the other two. The mother was willing to die for her children.

-  In the ancient empire of Persia, a law was passed making it a crime punishable by death to pray to anyone but the emperor. One aged government official refused to obey the edict. His habit was to pray three times daily to the one true God. As a result, he was cast into a den of lions. Even though God saved Daniel, Daniel was still willing to die rather than give up his habit of prayer (Dan. 6:3-11).

How important is prayer to you? Is it a habit worth dying for? Or, would someone need to pass a law demanding daily prayer or a trip to the lions' den to get you into the habit

 

“Take up [your] cross”

How they died:
- Mark feet tied & dragged through the streets. Then burned.
- Paul Foxes Book of Martyrs (1563)- claims his captors asked him to"pray for them, that they might believe" before taking him to his place of execution where he freely offered his neck.
- Jude crucified A.D. 72
- Bartholomew by sword or beaten & crucified.
- Thomas thrust through with a spear.
- Luke uncertain. Hanged or natural death.
- Simon crucified A.D. 74
- Barnabas died A.D. 73 of uncertain execution.
- John boiled in pitch and survived. Then banished to the Isle of Patmos.
- Peter Foxes Book of Martyrs (1563)- claims as Nero sought to kill him, he was encouraged to flee, but when he came to the gate of the city, it is said he saw Jesus and asked Jesus where He was going. To which he answered, 'I am come again to be crucified'... Peter got the message... Jerome claims peter was crucified upsidedown feeling unworthy to die in the same manner as his Lord.

The Promise of Rewards:

“For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.”

·        There are rewards for following God in this life:

1.      Better relationships

2.      Better health

3.      Greater peace & contentment

But take ALL these away and:

·        WELL you’ll Still have greater peace & contentment if you have any faith!

·        Add poor health

·        Add people hating you because you are a Christian

·        Add everyone avoiding you because you represent Christ

·        Add threats, punishment & bodily harm

·        EVEN ADD being killed/martyred for being a Christian

And the rewards are still mind blowing!!!!

Paul said, “for me to live is Christ”

            - You see there was nothing that mattered in this life but Christ.

            - Our life here BEGINS, EXISTS & FINISHES because of Christ

Then Paul says, “to die is gain”

            - His faith was great enough that He longed for the fellowship lost at the fall of man

- CAREERS, BELONGINGS & in a sense EVEN PEOPLE didn’t mean a thing compared to Christ.

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