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The Eyes of Christian Faith (Closed Captions)

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Let us rise for the reading of this morning's sermon text recorded for us in Luke's Gospel where we read from chapter 9, beginning with verse 18: ONCE WHEN JESUS WAS PRAYING IN PRIVATE AND HIS DISCIPLES WERE WITH HIM, HE ASKED THEM, "WHO DO THE CROWDS SAY I AM?" THEY REPLIED, "SOME SAY JOHN THE BAPTIST; OTHERS SAY ELIJAH; AND STILL OTHERS, THAT ONE OF THE PROPHETS OF LONG AGO HAS COME BACK TO LIFE." "BUT WHAT ABOUT YOU?" HE ASKED. WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?" PETER ANSWERED, "THE CHRIST OF GOD. JESUS STRICTLY WARNED THEM NOT TO TELL THIS TO ANYONE. AND HE SAID, "THE SON OF MAN MUST SUFFER MANY THINGS AND BE REJECTED BY THE ELDERS, CHIEF PRIESTS AND TEACHERS OF THE LAW AND HE MUST BE KILLED AND ON THE THIRD DAY BE RAISED TO LIFE." THEN HE SAID TO THEM ALL: "IF ANYONE WOULD COME AFTER ME, HE MUST DENY HIMSELF AND TAKE UP HIS CROSS DAILY AND FOLLOW ME. FOR WHOEVER WANTS TO SAVE HIS LIFE WILL LOSE IT, BUT WHOEVER LOSES HIS LIFE FOR ME, WILL SAVE IT. This is the Word of our Lord. Let us pray: Glorious and gracious God, may the words of my mouth and the meditation of each of our hearts be acceptable in Your sight, our only source of hope and comfort. Amen. Text taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION 1978, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Dear Followers of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, It was one of Jesus' patterns with His disciples, to go off with them by themselves away from the crowds that were there, away from the people that were seeking Jesus for healing and for comfort. Away from those people who were trying to trip Him up, trying to trap Him in the words that He would say. They would go off by themselves to spend some time in prayer. Some time in reflecting. Some time centered around God and His Word. And it was at those times that Jesus would have discussions with His disciples. Discussions like the one recorded for us this morning in Luke's Gospel ... what Jesus wanted to know, what the people were saying about Him, about who He was. He started that discussion with His disciples. Kind of saying: What have you heard? What are people saying? And they responded with any number of answers. Some of them thought that He may have been Elijah. This false notion that God's people of the Old Testament had ... that when Elijah was taken up in that whirlwind into heaven, behind that chariot of fire, that someday God was going to plop him back on this earth before the Messiah would come. So some of the Jews thought that Jesus may have been Elijah placed among them. Some of them just thought that He was a good teacher, a good prophet, someone who understood God's Word and was sharing it with the people. And then there were other people who thought that somehow He was one of the prophets of the Old Testament that had come back to life ... to be among the people, and to proclaim God's will. But then the important question came, because it wasn't about what all of those other people were saying. Jesus turned to His disciples and said: "WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?" What do YOU ... believe about Me? And that really is the important question. It is STILL is the important question of today because there are a lot of ideas floating around at this time in the world's history about who Jesus was. Even IF He existed or if He was made up by the church with a compilation of all kinds of good ideas and thoughts about God. Some people said: Yes, he was a good teacher. Some people believed: Yes, he was someone who changed history, because he was one of the greatest hoaxes of all time, pulling off great "miracles" that were nothing more than magic tricks. Some people claimed that he "claimed to be" the Son of God but probably wasn't. Some people believed that his intent in this life was to get together with Mary and create some kind of secret child and all kind of myth and mystic that goes along with that. But the question really isn't about all of those people and thoughts that are out there. The question comes to YOU. What ... do YOU believe about Christ? Who IS Jesus? Peter answered that question beautifully. He said: You are the Christ of God. And yet Jesus wanted to explain that answer more fully. Yes, He was the Messiah, but He wanted those people of God, His disciples, to understand that He wasn't there to set up a kingdom for them, to restore the glory of Jerusalem and the wonder of Israel by becoming a great king so that they could be a world power. He was very clear about why He had come. He was there to suffer and to die. He was going to be rejected, by the elders, and the teachers of the Law ... those respected people who were in charge of God's worship, supposedly at that time, and defining what the Word had said. He was going to be rejected by those people and suffer and die and then be raised to life. THAT was His purpose. That's why He came into this world. That's who He was. Now the question comes to US: Is that, what you believe of Jesus Christ? (Pause) That's an important question, because everything else that I say this morning only applies to those of you who said: Yes. That is what I believe. That is the confession that I make about Christ. If Christ didn't come as your Savior from sin, you might as well get up right now and leave because the rest of what I have to say and the rest of this service, DOES NOT APPLY to you today! It's not going to make any sense to you. Because what Jesus told His disciples, is the same thing He tells us. If you believe that, weigh this thought very carefully ... because if you want to follow Me, then you are going to take up your cross daily, and you are going to deny yourself. Because it isn't about YOU. It is ALL about Christ. And that very thought smacks us in the reality of our own sins. Because whether we want to admit it or not, this life we live, we want to be about US! I want MY life to be lived about ME because I am important and I matter and I want things out of this life. I deserve to have things out of this life. I deserve to have the best of those things. I deserve to have a good job where I get promoted WHEN I want it, to be promoted ... and to run the business as I see fit to do it, because I know better than everybody else that is employed at my company. It IS about us. We've very good at promoting ourselves. We have Facebook pages that put our lives out there for everyone to see. This is ME world, and I'm pretty good! We're taught to market ourselves, so that in our businesses we can remain current. We're all taught how we can look better, how we can feel better. All of the things that are about me and my life and what I want and Christ comes to us and says: Deny yourselves. (Pause) That's a pretty big statement. I ... don't ... matter. Christ ... matters. (Pause) Do we realize the full impact of that very statement? This life is not about me; it is about Christ. Christ died on the cross of Calvary. Christ was rejected, not only by the elders of the church, but by all of the people that were there and by the Father Himself and He cried out in agony: "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME? (Mark 15:34) It is not what I have done that matters in this world, it is what Christ has done. And that when I confess Christ, He is the Lord of my life. And in order to do that, I must deny myself. I can't bring anything to God that makes Him look down with me and be worthy. Think of what the Apostle Paul said in our Letter to the Galatians: It doesn't matter whether you're Jew or Greek, slave or free, man or woman. That doesn't matter at all. What matters is the grace of God ... that has come into your life and made you a child of God, by the working of God's own Son. That is our faith. That is where our confession is. We trust in what God has done. And daily, that means our life is going to be different. Daily, it means, we are going to get up, pick up our cross and follow Him. And the cross is not a beautiful thing. The cross is not an easy thing. The cross is, an instrument of torture and death. And that shouldn't surprise you. That shouldn't surprise any of us who confess Christ, because we know the agony of what went on there. But think of what Zechariah told the Old Testament people: God's Shepherd is going to be struck down and die. And then ... they're going to come after the sheep. They're going to come after the little ones and the picture there is horrifying, of a pack of wolves descending on a little lamb. Snarling at it, circling around it, wanting to rip it apart and devour it. And you and I are that little lamb. And Satan is that wolf and all of the demons of this world want us destroyed. And Zechariah said: THAT is going to be scary! There are going to be trials that come into your lives, tests that come into your life and two-thirds of God's people are gonna fall away! Only by the grace of God is that one-third that is going to be left remain faithful ... by focusing on Christ ... DAILY ... picking up your cross EACH and EVERY day! Scripture does NOT say: Pick up your cross on Sunday morning, leave it in the back seat of your car, and pick it up next week when you get out of the parking lot at 1001 West 223rd Street. Being a Christian, is an everyday thing ... an "every moment" thing. And trials and temptations and difficulty are going to come into our life because Satan wants us as his own. And he is going to do everything that he can to devour us. And the first thing we have to do as God's people is admit that. Admit that we're in a war. Admit that the world around us, and Satan, is trying to get us to sin and we need to be on our guard. We need to realize that as God's children it's our cross to bear. And if we don't want to bear it, then leave the cross at home and STOP saying that you are a child of God. Stop complaining about what you have in your life and start turning to God and being thankful that you have been saved. That He has kept you as His own. Stop looking at what comes into your life as always being negative and trying to find the positive of it that God wants you to grow in your faith. To live as a child of God in HIS love, and in His life. This is a real serious thought for us this morning. And it's a serious test ... because it goes to the heart of our faith. The center of what God has done. Jesus Christ crucified, for us. And if we confess Him; if we believe in Him ... DAILY we are going to struggle. Daily, we are going to have to fight against Satan. And the only way for us to succeed is not to rely on ourselves. Not to rely on our own strength. Not to think that we are smart enough, good enough, to be able to withstand enough these attacks on us on our own. The only way to do it is to do what Christ has said: Deny ourselves and take up our cross daily and follow Him. Amen. Let us rise. Now may the peace of God, which goes beyond all of our understanding, keep your hearts and your minds and especially your lives in the one true faith unto life everlasting. Amen.

Video Details

Duration: 17 minutes and 20 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: R & M
Director: Jesus
Views: 92
Posted by: hischild on Jul 1, 2010

This closed captioned sermon, based on Luke 9:18-24, asks a serious question that's not new but is very important for each of us on this planet to answer. Contact Pastor Dave @

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