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Centered On Christ    Matt.16:13-28    Oct. 28,2007

The place in scripture where I would most like to place myself occurs in this text. It would be fun to answer Christ when He asked, "who do you say that I am?" But you and I have opportunities every day to speak up for Christ. Certainly we need to be Centered On Christ.

1. Centered On Christ: Focused On The . . Confirmation Of Christ. 16:13-15

A. Christ Confirmed In This . . City. 16:13
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, "Who
do people say that the Son of Man is?"

B. Christ Confirmed In This . . Community. 16:14
14 And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, Jeremiah or
one of the prophets."

C. Christ Confirmed In This . . Confrontation. 16:15
15 "But you," He asked them, "who do you say that I am?"

        I think the Lord deliberately took His disciples to this city, In a city dedicated to Caesar Jesus wants His disciples to recognize that His Kingdom exceeds all the kingdoms of the world. Rome controlled the world at this time but the rule of Jesus exceeds the control of Caesar. The community also sported a temple to the goddess Pan, and Jesus wanted His disciples to identify His Messiahship over the religions of the world. The community of men in which people named Christ would be a compliment to most, but Christ must be exalted above all of these prophets mentioned. Jesus gave a specific confrontation, "who do you say that I am?" What is your personal answer to that question?

2. Centered On Christ: Focused On The . . Confession Of Christ. 16:16-20

 A. The . . Boldness Of The Confession Made By Simon. 16:16
16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!"

B. The . . Blessing Of The Confession Made By Simon. 16:17
17 And Jesus responded, "Simon son of Jonah, you are blessed because flesh and blood
did not reveal this to you, but My Father in heaven.

C. The . . Building Of The Confession Made By Simon. 16:18
18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and
the forces of Hades will not overpower it.

 D. The . . Binding and Loosening Of The Confession Made By Simon. 16:19-20
19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth
is already bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth is already loosed in heaven."  20 And He gave the disciples orders to tell no one that He was the Messiah.

        Simon Peter gave a bold confession of Christ. My thirteen year old grandson participated in "See You At The Pole," and only three other students participated. Some other students threw mulch at these children. Some back away from such a stand, but Christ blesses it. The church is built when people confess Christ as Lord. It is not built on a man but on Christ and the confession of Him. Through the confession of Christ people can be loosed from the power of sin. Failure to confess Christ continues a binding to sin.

3. Centered On Christ: Focused On The . . Cross Of Christ. 16:21-23

 A. The . . Revelation About The Cross Of Christ. 16:21
21 From then on Jesus began to point out to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem
and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and be raised the third day.

B. The . . Rebuke About The Cross Of Christ from Simon. 16:22
22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, "Oh no, Lord! This will
never happen to You!"

C. The . . Rebuke About The Cross Of Christ From Jesus. 16:23
23 But He turned and told Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me
because you're not thinking about God's concerns, but man's."

        The disciples received a privileged revelation about the Lord's suffering, cross, and resurrection. However they did not understand until after the events took place. From our perspective it seems very strange that Simon would receive a revelation from God, and then take Jesus aside and follow a prompting from Satan. The Lord then rebuked him. Jesus' rebuke focused on Simon's earthly thought as opposed to his previous heavenly thought.

4. Centered On Christ: Focused On The . . Children Of Christ. 16:24-28

 A. The . . Denial Demanded From The Children Of Christ. 16:24-25
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny
himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it.

B. The . . Decision Discussed For The Children Of Christ. 16:26
26 What will it benefit a man if he gains the whole world yet loses his life? Or what will
a man give in exchange for his life?

C. The . . Deference Declared For The Children Of Christ. 16:27-28
27 For the Son of Man is going to come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and
then He will reward each according to what he has done. 28 I assure you: There are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."

        When we center our lives on Christ He tells us we must deny self. One prominent commentator says that means to deny self to self. The more you think about that statement the more sense it makes. The Lord asked a question of eternal consequences of our decisions, and life pursuits. If we make decisions guided by Him, His eternal deference to us will present rewards according to the works we did as directed by Him. No one can do "good works" unless they first know the Lord and follow His directions. The most likely explanation to verse 28 takes place at the transfiguration. They were certainly Centered On Christ! Amen? Amen!