Saving Faith is Confessing Christ
Matthew 16:1-19 (Pastor Heo)
The Demand for a Sign
16:1-12pp — Mk 8:11-21
1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ 3 and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. 4 A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.”Jesus then left them and went away.
The Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees
5 When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. 6 “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 7 They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.” 8 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? 9 Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 11 How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Peter’s Confession of Christ
16:13-16pp — Mk 8:27-29; Lk 9:18-20
13 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.”
Jesus taught the disciples about his crucifixion and upcoming death, but they were slow to catch on.
This whole chapter is all about Faith.
4 Kinds of Faith
- No Faith (v. 1-4) – Challenging Christ
- Little Faith (v. 5-12) –
- Saving Faith (v. 13-19/20) – Confessing Christ
- Serving Faith (v. 21-28) – Following Christ
Sadducees and Pharisees came together and challenged Christ.
Originally, fundamentally, these two were diametrically opposed – totally different in beliefs, policies, and lifestyles.
- Pharisees = traditionalists, conservative, legalists, unbelieving religious party looking for self-righteousness
- Believed in life after death, angel and demons
- Were waiting and hopeful for the Messiah
- Sadducees = political, wealthy, small aristocracy, a collaborationist party that cooperated with the Roman govt to keep their wealth
- Did not
- Were not
These two groups were so totally different, and yet they united so completely to kill and accuse Jesus Christ.
- They didn’t lack evidence, but lacked honesty and humility.
- They were spiritually adulterous and wicked (v. 4)
The sign of Jonah – also previously mentioned in chp 12. In this sign, just as Jonah was 3 days and nights in the belly of the huge fish, so the Son of Man would be in the heart of the earth for 3 days and 3 nights. This is the sign of Jesus’ death and resurrection. This is ENOUGH sign that Jesus is the promised Savior and Lord and King of Kings.
This is ENOUGH sign also for US to believe in Christ.
Parable: Luke 16 – The rich man and the beggar (Lazarus?)
The rich man lived in luxury every day and the beggar laid at his gate. One day, both died. The rich man went to hell. Lazarus went to heaven. This rich man’s name wasn’t written in the Book of Life (so we don’t know it), but Lazarus’ name WAS written there.
The rich man lived on earth for a short time with much – in riches, in luxury. Now, he lives on in hell as a beggar. Lazarus lived on earth for a short time as a beggar, but now lives in heaven in luxury.
The rich man said to Abraham, “Please, send Lazarus to tell my family (5 brothers)!” “No, they have Moses and the Prophets.” “But… if someone comes back from the grave to tell them…” “No, if they didn’t listen to Moses, they won’t listen to Lazarus.”
- We have ENOUGH evidence.
- We have ENOUGH witnesses.
- We have ENOUGH to know.
- Look around at the houses – you don’t know who built them, but there is some kind of evidence that they WERE built and didn’t just “come to exist.”
- Look at the sky – at the stars – there is also some evidence that SOMEONE put them there. If they were not put there by a man, then someone wiser than a man must have.
- Psalm 119? “The heavens declare the glory of God…”
- Romans 1 – ‘Since the beginning of time, God’s power and qualities have been CLEAR and can be understood so that NO ONE can be excused before God.”
#2 – Misunderstanding Christ (Little Faith) – v. 5-12
Spiritual things can be understood by the illumination of the Holy Spirit.
“Oh you of little faith… Don’t you remember the feeding of the 5,000 (Jews) and the 4,000 (Gentiles)? I wasn’t talking about bread, but about the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
Jesus left his confrontation with the Ps and Ss and his disciples went with him, but they forgot bread (and worried). Jesus used this opportunity to teach them about the dangers of the Ps and Ss: the “yeast”. Yeast makes bread grow larger and larger. Meaning: Evil influence, evil doctrine.
In the ministry of Jesus on earth, many people misinterpreted the meaning of his words physically, rather than spiritually. Ex: “You must be born again” to Nicodemus. “How is this possible?” Ex 2: “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst, it will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” – to the Samaritan woman “Yes, sir! Give me this water so that I don’t have to come to this well again!” Ex 3: “Whoever eats my body and blood will be raised by me at the last day.” – to his disciples “How can we eat him???” Maybe turned away at that point and no longer followed.
Misunderstanding produces little faith. (almost non-faith) – Therefore, “be on your guard” – keep Jesus at the center of your faith.
#3: Saving Faith – Confessing Jesus Christ
At least we must reach THIS level of faith
In the New Testament – this is the first place the word “church” appears (referring to Peter and how Jesus will “build my church upon the Rock”)
Jesus took his disciples to the Gentile territory. Sycerea – near Philippi – it was the center for Baal worship and had many idols. Even the Greek god Pan had its shrines here. When Philip became the ruler here, he named the city Philippi.
Jesus asked “Who do men say I am? Who do you say I am?” Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist, Isaiah – there are similarities
- John the Baptist – STRONG messages – about repentance – “You brood of vipers”
- Elijah – omnipotent?
- Jeremiah – the weeping prophet, also rejected and despised by his own brothers and nation, a man of sorrows and humility and suffering
These answers are all incorrect, this answer cannot save them. “How about you? What do you think?” “Don’t ask me, ‘How about you?’ ask yourself, ‘How about you (me)?’”
Who do people say Jesus is?
We may think this kind of question is silly – but our personal destiny is determined by the answer to this question. The most important question we should ask ourselves throughout our whole lives is “Who is Jesus Christ to me?”
Peter answered: v. 16 “You are the Christ, Son of the Living God.”
Jesus was pleased and said, “You are blessed.”
Even today, if we confess like this, Jesus will say to us, “You are blessed.”
What is the meaning? Christ (Greek word) = Messiah (Hebrew word) = Anointed One
3 offices were anointed by oil in those days:
- Priest (interceding for man to God by prayer),
- Prophet (preaching the Word of God),
- King (overseeing the people of God and leading them)
All the offices of all the men were merely shadows of the ONE man who would fulfill ALL of them – Jesus. Jesus is the perfect fulfillment of God’s self-revelation.
- Romans 8 – “He is interceding for us…”
- Hebrews 1
- Colossians – “All the fullness of the diety in bodily form…”
- Jesus says, “I give you eternal life – no one can snatch you out of my hands…”
- Jesus says continually (v. 17) – “Blessed are you Simon Peter, for this was not revealed to you by man but by God my Father.”
We don’t learn and understand about Jesus through our own personal investigation – it is only through the ministry of the Holy Spirit that we can get to know him and believe in him.
“On this Rock, I will build my church.”
Who/what is the Rock? NOT Peter himself.
The Rock = a symbol of God (repeated many times in the OT) – this Rock is Jesus Christ himself and the confession of believers who say “You are the Christ and the Son of the Living God.”
Jesus doesn’t say, “I will build your church” nor “you will build my church” but rather “I will build MY church.” The builder, founder, top-line AND bottom-line of the church (the head pastor) IS Jesus Christ alone. And anyone who confesses Christ as Savior and King is a living STONE that builds HIS church.
What is the church? (this is the first appearance of this word in the NT)
- Ecclesia – Ec = out of; clesia = congregation/ assembly/ gathering
- Ecclesia = “calling the people of God OUT of this world to establish the Kingdom of God IN this unholy world”
The gates of Hell (Hades) will never overcome it. (Not Peter, the church). Gates = symbol of power, Hades = symbol of death. This will never overcome the church because JESUS is the holder of the keys and the builder of the church.
“I give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.” Do you have this key in your pocket?
Jesus (continual truth-teller) says “You have the keys, whatever you bind/loose on earth will be bound/loosed in heaven.”
Today, Jesus is giving this key (the key of salvation) to the church. Jesus died for the church and then trusts the church to open or close the gates of the Kingdom of Heaven. Since his death to his Second Coming = the “Church Age”. During this Church Age, the timeless truth = it is the ONLY church in this age. There are many “institutions” (schools, govts, etc) in this world – but Jesus only died for ONE and only gives the responsibility and power to ONE – the church, his church.
If we confess Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord and King “You are the Christ, Son of the Living God” then you ARE the church – a member, a living/working stone in this church.
Jesus says, “I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven…”
May God bless us with his blessing upon the church.