Matthew 16

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Be a Follower

January 7, 2018 | Matthew 16:24 | following, goals

The new year is upon us and with it many of us are setting goals we’d like to accomplish this year. We want to be winners and leaders. We want to achieve greatness in some arena of life. We want self-fulfillment. These are admirable goals, yet the way the world seeks such goals is very different from the way the Lord would have us take. For the Lord teaches us that the way to winning is losing, the way to self-fulfillment is self-denial, the way of greatness is serving. He teaches that in order to become a great leader, you must first learn to be a follower.

The world’s path is very different from the Lord’s. The world’s way may seem to work for a season, but many of us have tried to climb the ladder of success only to find that it was leaning against the wrong building. A man achieves that big promotion, but loses his family in the process. A woman tries to be a super-wife, a super-mom and seek super fulfillment in her career, but all she feels is super-burned-out. A teenager wears the latest fashions, listens to the latest tunes and tries to use all the latest lingo, but still feels alone and unaccepted at school.

Yet, as people of faith, we are not to live as the world lives. We’re supposed to be different. We don’t follow a philosophy, we follow a Person. We don’t follow a system, we follow our Savior. In the book of Matthew, Jesus described what it meant to answer the call to come after Him and be one of His followers. We can answer the call to be a follower of Jesus.

Lose to Find

May 14, 2017 | Matthew 16:13-26 | identity

How do you answer the question, “Who am I?” For many of you, you’ve tied your identity to your name, “I’m John or I’m Susie.” Others might say, “I’m a father or mother, or I’m a husband or a wife, I’m a son or daughter, I’m a teacher, I’m a nurse, I’m a coach, I’m a dog-lover or cat-lover. How do you answer the question? In Tim Keller’s book, Making Sense of God, he describes two ways that people have found their identity. One, he calls the “traditional path,” where the individual finds identity from the community in which they are born and grow up. The second path, Keller calls the “modern” or “secular” approach. This is the new emphasis on looking “inward” to find the true self, where one’s desires and dreams are to dictate one’s identity.

In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus told His followers that they must lose their former sense of self in order to find their true identity in Christ. The only way that we can discover our true, God-given identity is by losing our former one and finding our true identity in Christ. How can we find our true identity in Christ? The text gives three steps to finding your true identity in Christ.

Be a Disciple

February 5, 2017 | Matthew 16:24 | discipleship

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In the book of Matthew, Jesus described what it meant to answer the call to come after Him and be one of His disciples. We can answer the call to be a disciple of Jesus.

“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25 NKJV).

January 25, 2017

Lose to win? Jesus gave this paradoxical teaching after rebuking Peter for his insistence that Jesus should not suffer, die and be raised as He predicted. Jesus warned Peter and His disciples that if they tried in their own wisdom and strength to preserve their lives, they would instead be lost. But if they would surrender their lives to Christ, depending on Him for life, they would be saved. This same life choice is set before us. If you would choose to avoid the persecutions and troubles that the world will throw at you for following Christ, then be aware that you are choosing to gain the world at the expense of your own soul. Yet, if you would choose to follow Christ and be willing to suffer with Him for the sake of the gospel, you will find the very life you desire and more.

‘Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees”‘ (Matthew 16:6 ESV)

January 24, 2016

“Leaven” is the yeast that is added to bread dough to make it rise. It only takes a little to affect the whole. Although the disciples at first took the Lord literally and thought he spoke of bread, they finally realized he was warning against the teaching of the “Pharisees and Sadducees.” The teaching of the Pharisees was to be avoided because, although they believed the whole Hebrew Bible, they added to the law layer upon layer of tradition, until no one could keep it. Their “leaven” would lead to legalism. The Sadducees, on the other hand, denied much of the Hebrew Bible, affirming only the books of Moses. They were more interested in political power than in God’s power. Their “leaven” would lead to liberalism. Jesus warned his disciples to avoid both extremes.

“From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day” (Matthew 16:21 NKJV)

January 25, 2015

Jesus had many hard sayings, but the teaching concerning His suffering, death and resurrection was the hardest for the disciples to receive. Bold Peter even attempted to rebuke Jesus for saying such things. But Jesus put him in his place with, “Get behind Me, Satan!” Poor Peter went from Peter the confessor, to Peter the transgressor in a matter of moments. One minute, he was listening to God’s voice, recognizing Jesus as the “Christ, the Son of the Living God.” And the next minute, he was under Satan’s influence, trying to dissuade Jesus from His ultimate purpose. Jesus tried to prepare the disciples for the cross and the empty tomb, but only the sight of His resurrected body and the sound of His voice was able to convince them of its truth. They finally understood that Jesus “must go” to the cross, the tomb and be raised again on the third day in order to redeem us and reconcile us to God.

“He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?'” (Matthew 16:15)

January 25, 2013

The most important question of all: Who do you believe Jesus to be? We are not followers of ritual or religion, but relationship. We follow a person, Jesus the Christ. Recognizing Him as more than teacher and prophet, we receive Him, placing our faith into Him as Savior and Lord. Jesus still asks this question. And we must each answer it for ourselves.