INTRO: For three and a half years Jesus set the Jewish establishment on edge! The prominent Jewish religious leaders and parties questioned Him, and He answered them in ways to which they simply could not respond. They challenged Him for the good works which He did. They accused him of being a drunk and glutton. They were critical of His associations with people whom they considered the dregs of society. The last two verses of Matthew 7 give us a clue of what the next three and a half years would be like. People had never seen or heard anything like what they saw Him do and what they heard Him teach. He was turning the Jewish world upside down. Who is this man?
I. PEOPLE HAD ALL SORTS OF ANSWERS...
A. Jno 6:42 - Oh, this is just Jesus, the son of Joseph
B. Jno 7:12 - He is a deceiver of the people
C. Jno 9:24 - This man is a sinner
D. Mt 12:24 - He is a follower of Beelzebub
E. Mt 21:11 - This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth
F. Mt 16:14 - People say he is John the Baptist, or Elijah, or Jeremiah, or...
G. There was no unanimity among the people
1. to some He was just a troublesome person who upset the status quo
2. to some He was just a neighbors son
3. to some He had to be some sort of prophet figure
II. BUT THERE WERE OTHER ANSWERS, TOO...
A. Jno 1:29 - He is the Lamb of God
1. this was the testimony of John the Baptist
2. John knew Jesus to be the sacrificial lamb ... the sin offering
3. later in this context he said plainly, This is the Son of God
B. Jno 3:1,2 - We know that you are a teacher from God
1. this observation is from a man who was part of the establishment - but he apparently was not threatened by Jesus influence
2. he looked objectively at the miracles and knew Jesus had to be from God
3. he was truly a voice of reason amidst voices of prejudice, criticism
C. Jno 4:42 - He is the Savior of the world (also Lk 2:11)
1. this was the conclusion of people of Samaria - the mixed race people
2. and they came to that conclusion based on what they had heard Him say
3. I am reminded of Rom 10:17 - faith, belief has its basis in the word of God
D. Mt 16:16 - You are the Messiah, the Son of God
1. here is the great confession ... here is Who Jesus really was/is
2. no wonder, then, that He taught with authority - He knew the truth; He brought the truth; He taught the truth - indeed, He embodied truth (Jno 14:6)
3. were they completely aware of what this confession meant? perhaps not at this point ... but the resurrection was the clincher for them ... and they proclaimed this fact openly, boldly, courageously
E. Mt 17:5 - This is My Son!!!
1. there may have been uncertainty, confusion, consternation among His contemporaries
2. but this Voice ended all speculation ... and makes His identity plain
3. and the added hear ye him is the place to which all need to come
III. SO, WHAT IS JESUS TO YOU?
A. I recognize that to many people over 2000 years He has been a historical figure
1. that Jesus lived and was crucified is historical fact
2. and he is given some credibility as a great teacher ... but Whose teachings are not of greater credibility than those of any great religious thinker
B. And I recognize that there are many who have simply believed Him an imposter
1. dont confuse me with facts ... my mind is made up
2. no amount of logic or evidence would convince these people otherwise - they are gods to themselves
C. But what is He to you?
1. His contemporaries wondered - and some concluded that He did indeed have the words of life (Jno 6:67,68)
2. but if His words are never given credibility and authority in our lives, Who He is will make no difference to us, in us
3. is He your Savior? is He your King? is He your life (Col 3:4)?
CLOSE: We do not have to wonder in amazement as did those people who heard the sermon on the mount. We have the whole picture. But are you ready, really ready, to confess your belief that He is truly the Son of God ... and be buried with Him in baptism? That is were true belief must take you.
Cecil A. Hutson
23 March 2003
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)