That's A Good Question

It's Important To Know, Who Is Jesus Christ To You?

Jermaine Arphul
Mar 14, 2021    49m
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It's important to your spiritual growth to know the answer to the question, who is Jesus Christ to you? Once you can answer that question, this message challenges you to have a conversation with someone you know with their salvation in mind. You can take the very question we started with, and you can ask your friend, who is Jesus Christ to you? Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

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Jermaine Arphul: 00:09 Oh man, that was fire, I'm fired up this morning. What a great time of worship that was, I want to keep going.

Jermaine Arphul: 00:20 All right, we've got to get to God's Word, but before we do, let me pray over us and let's jump in. God, thank you so much for blessing us today. Man, what a beautiful name it is, Jesus Christ. Wow, your beauty, just to love that you give to us, that is so beautiful. And the wonder, what a wonderful name it is that you would sacrifice your Son for sinners like us, that is so wonderful. And the power that that sacrifice has, to raise us from death to life. Woo, thank you, Lord Jesus. And Lord, I just pray that you would speak to us tonight. I know there's someone here today that you brought to this point, that you are leading them to turn from their sinful ways to you. And so I just pray that your words today would echo through their hearts, and that the Spirit would convict them of their sin and raise them up to where they would make a confession that you are Lord and you are God, God, so thank you for that. And I just pray that we would just walk out of here on fire for you. It's in Jesus' name. Amen.

Jermaine Arphul: 01:31 Man I'm so fired up I kind of stumbled in my prayer there. Well, if you missed out on what's been going on here at 121 in regards to the series that we've been in, we're in a series called Real Conversations. And it's just been really cool to look at Jesus, and see how he navigated conversations in many different ways throughout the Bible. We live at a time where it is hard to get really deep into conversation with people, even family members, right? There are so many things going on in this world, where it's just hard to go beyond the surface level. Sometimes you just don't even want to, because you just don't even want to deal with all of the havoc that happens out of that, just from experience, right? And so we just want to take a look at how did Jesus do it? How did he handle the tough conversations? And so we're going to continue that series this morning, where we're going to look at a real conversation.

Jermaine Arphul: 02:21 We're going to look, as Jordan mentioned, into Matthew chapter 16, verses 13 through 20, and we're just going to see how Jesus navigates a conversation with his disciples, in particular, Peter. So go ahead and turn there, and while you do, I just will set us up a little bit with just kind of how we landed, where we landed today and where we're going.

Jermaine Arphul: 02:43 So I was driving yesterday after being here, trying to get ready for this morning, and I saw a sign in somebody's yard, I think they were advocating somebody, I can't remember if it was judge or whatever they were doing. But the tagline for that particular person it said, I am to ask the tough questions. And I was like, oh, that's so appropriate for today. Because we are going to be looking at a very, very critical question that Jesus asked in Matthew chapter 16 verses 13 through 20. And it got me thinking, that life is full of questions. Amen? Like life is full of questions, whether you want to admit it or not, every day, every hour, every moment, we have to answer a myriad of questions that determines what direction or vision our lives are going. We have to answer deep reverberating questions that have significant consequences. We have to answer some questions that are trivial, that just, they could be replaced or removed. We have to answer a lot of questions, and it seems like at the end of the day, it seems that every moment of our lives, we are answering questions. In fact, I looked up, how many decisions do we have to make a year? What does the average person, what is the average amount of decisions that a person has to make in a year? And it said like something like 35,000, right, 35,000 decisions we have to make, 35,000 questions we have to answer each and every year.

Jermaine Arphul: 04:10 If you're a Lead Pastor of a church this size, you have to answer over 100,000 questions a year on the vision of where we're going, and just answering personal questions, and philosophical questions. Lead Pastors have to answer over 100,000 questions a year. That's probably why Ross is not here today, because he's...No, I'm just kidding, I'm kidding, I'm kidding. So yeah, lots of questions that we have to answer, philosophical questions. Like, why am I here? Right? Who is God? What does he have for my life? Does he answer prayer? Does he hear prayers? Questions, philosophical questions like that, we have to answer constantly throughout our lives.

Jermaine Arphul: 04:52 And then we also have to answer practical questions, right? What am I going to wear today? Should I go to the 9:15 service or the 11:00? I lost an hour of sleep, I think I think I'm going to go to the 11:00. Questions like that. Which way am I going to get to work today? What bills do I have to pay? Things like that. What job should I apply for?

Jermaine Arphul: 05:10 And then we have to answer deep personal questions, right? Like if you're single in here, is this relationship right for me? If you're a parent, how am I going to raise my children? Right? We have to answer questions like that every day, all the time it seems like, we have to answer questions, the who, the what, the when, the why, and the how. It seems like we always have to answer questions, we have to do it all the time. And truth be told, I'm just going to admit, that you can reach a point of exhaustion when you're having to answer those questions. Anybody feel that? I feel that way sometimes, I get exhausted and overwhelmed from having to answer a magnitude and a multitude of questions every single day, it can get exhausting. Sometimes you just get tired having to answer questions.

Jermaine Arphul: 05:58 And if you don't believe me, why don't you jump into our family's car, which is full of kids. Seven, six, four, and two, and go on a two hour ride to Mount Pleasant, Texas with no tablet, no electronics, you will get tired of answering question after question, you will get exhausted. In fact, you will want to take a vacation from having to answer all the questions along the way. So you guys can relate, I can tell it. So you'll come to the conclusion that basically you're going to get tired of answering those questions. That's why I kind of have to apologize today, because I know a lot of you all came here for answers, right, for deep spiritual answers, which is good.

Jermaine Arphul: 06:41 But today I've got to ask you one question, one question, and it's the most important question that you will ever have to answer in your life, it is the most important question you will ever have to answer in your life because it's going to shape and determine how your life goes whether it's here in the now, or in the life to come. It's a question that you cannot get wrong. it's a question that you cannot run from, you can't procrastinate in giving the answer to this question, it's a question that you will have to answer, as you journey through this thing called life. You have to answer this question, and that one question that I simply ask you is this, who is Jesus Christ to you? Who is Jesus Christ to you? Turn to your neighbor and say, that's a good question, that is a good question. You know, when you see those people that get an interview and they get stumped, they're like, that's a good question, that is a good question. It's a question that matters more than any other question that you will have to answer that will determine the quality and the caliber of your life. It's more important than wondering what job you're going to apply for. It's more important than wondering what you're going to wear. It's more important than wondering where are you going to go eat after this church service. It is the most important question than anything that lies before today, who is Jesus Christ to you, to you? Who is Jesus Christ to you?

Jermaine Arphul: 08:21 It's a critical question because so much hangs in the balance in the result of how you answer that question. The Bible says eternal life rests on the answer to that question. Eternal security rests on the answer to that question. Forgiveness of sins rests on the answer to that question. Abundant life rests in the answer to that question. Joy and peace hang in the balance to the answer of that question. Being more than a conquer rests in the answer to that question. Things working out together for your good rest in the answer to that question. The direction of your life rests in that question Who is Jesus Christ to you? Who is Jesus Christ to you?

Jermaine Arphul: 09:15 That's the critical question that Jesus lays before his disciples in Matthew chapter 16. If you want to turn there, if you haven't got there yet, we're going to be looking at verses 13 through 20. He's will be asking this question to the disciples as we move on. And to find that answer, we need to catch up with Jesus, I need to give you some context. He's on the move again with his disciples, he just finished up this debate with some of the Pharisees, and the result of that debate, we're going to see that result in a couple of chapters if you keep reading, they didn't like what he had to say, right? And so they're going to put him on a cross for it because they didn't like him because he was claiming to be God. And so we will get to that if you keep reading on, and you'll see the result of that debate.

Jermaine Arphul: 09:57 But he's taking his disciples in this particular area, up way away from their home. Right, they're going up to a place called Caesarea Philippa, which is a place that is just, it's a pluralistic society. They're into everything, right, they believe all kinds of different things that are not true to what the God of this Bible is. And so Jesus is taking them to this non-Jewish area, about three years into his public ministry. Keep that in mind, three years, he spent three years with the disciples at this point. And he's about to ask them the most important question, he's building a relationship with them, he's showing them things. They are in awe of what he's been doing along the way. They're struck by his wisdom, his insight they're struck by his compassion, and his mercy, and his grace, and his courage, and his wisdom, man they are into him.

Jermaine Arphul: 10:50 And so we pick up here in Matthew chapter 16, verse 13, where Jesus has deliberately taken them from being close to home, up to this area that they've never been to. And as if Jesus is saying, look, I want to get you away from all those distractions, and I want to get your attention. I want to get your attention. And sometimes I think God needs to do that with us. Amen? God wants to get our attention, and sometimes he has to take us away from all the distractions going on, so he can do that. And he's getting the disciples attention, and he's getting our attention.

Jermaine Arphul: 11:25 He's basically saying to the disciples, if you are going to survive the tragedy of me going on the cross, I need to make sure you know the answer to this question. If you're going to have enough faith to hold you over for three days, I need you to know the answer to this question. If you're going to be the ones that are going to be proclaiming my name, I need to make sure that you know the answer to this question. He truly knows how critical the answer to the question of, who is Jesus Christ, he knows how critical it is. And so he's asking them questions. Not because he's wanting to get advice, or to see what people think about him, or just to hear some affirming things. He's wanting to do that, so that he can make sure that they are ready to stand firm in the truth about Jesus Christ. Amen? He is asking that question to help them make decisions in their life, and the same is true for us.

Jermaine Arphul: 12:15 So let's pick up in verse 13 "Now, when Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” This is not just a general question, this is a question that's leading to another personal question we're going to see here in verse 15 in just a second. And again, he's not asking the disciples so he can get his public approval rating, right, like he's not trying to get some affirmation, right? He's not asking to say, oh, let me hear what they say about me, so that he could feel good about himself, right? It's not like he's saying, hey, Google me, see what you find out. No, he's asking them a question so that he can lead them to understand the truth about his true identity, which is entirely for their benefit, not his. And church, we need to know the truth about his identity, and that's why I asked that question, who do you say Jesus Christ is to you? It's important for their welfare in life, it's important for our welfare in life to know the answer, and it's important for the life to come.

Jermaine Arphul: 13:25 Verse 14 says, "And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” They were close, right, they were close. It's like people underestimated Jesus, they respected him, and acknowledged him for some of the things that he did, but they fell short of honoring him for who he truly was and is. See Jesus was these things, but he was way more than that. Jesus was like Elijah, he was like Elijah, he was a miracle worker, he was like that. He was like John the Baptist, when he came, he came announcing repentance and forgiveness of sins, right? He was like Jeremiah the prophet, where in Isaiah 53 it says that Jesus was a man of sorrows, Jeremiah was the weeping prophet. He was like that, but he was way, way more than that. He was way more than that.

Jermaine Arphul: 14:25 And I think it's kind of interesting how today, if you ask people, who do you say Jesus is to you? I think you would get varied responses. In fact, I did my own personal poll asking people, and going kind of man on the street asking, who do you say Jesus is? Who is he to you? And polls will say, you look at like studies like Barna, they'll say most people acknowledge that Jesus was someone who was real, he was a historical figure, most people can generally agree that to be true about Jesus. But then when you start to peel back the layers, was he sinless? Was he the son of God? Was he really the Savior, The Messiah? You get all kinds of different responses, right? You start to get varied responses. So there's not much different going on today, then what we see right here. You'll see all kinds of different responses. Some people think that he was just a wise and enlightened man. Some people think that he was an incarnations of a God, similar to Krishna, right? He was just a wise man. Or that he was God's first creation, the Archangel Michael, who became a man. All kinds of different responses and beliefs of who Jesus was. Some believe that he was a prophet, and that he was a miracle worker, but he was not crucified. Some just flat out don't think that he was real, not much has changed.

Jermaine Arphul: 16:01 Verse 15 says this, "And He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”. The most critical question we will all have to answer, who do you say Jesus is to you? In other words, Jesus is asking the disciples, I don't want to know what other people think, I don't want to know what other people say about me, I want to know what you say. Is it personal to you? I want to know what's personal to you about me. Not what Jermaine Arphul is saying from the stage about him, not what your family has said for years and years and generations and generations, I want to know personally, what is in your heart? What do you believe about Jesus? This is the question that is placed before all of us, and it is not him, it is we who are going to be judged by the answer to that. And the answer to this question, will determine what we do every single day. What we believe about that question will affect what we do every single day in our lives. If we really believe who Jesus is, and who he says he is, it will affect the way that we live.

Jermaine Arphul: 17:16 What does Peter say? Well, it says in verse 16, "Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” You are the Christ. You are the chosen one. You are the Messiah. You are our Savior. You are the one who the Old Testament prophets predicted would come and save us, and rescue us, from our sins. You are the Christ, the chosen one, the Messiah, you are the Son of the living God, you are a deity You are equal to God, thereby making you God, is what Peter is saying. He's saying you are the Messiah, you are the Savior, you are Lord and God. That's what Peter Is saying here, you are the chosen one, the Savior of humanity, you're equal to God, you are God. The anointed one, the one who came to fulfill all of our aches and our longings for joy and peace and hope, you are the one who came to fulfill all of that, you are the fulfillment of all of those desires.

Jermaine Arphul: 18:22 What does Jesus say in verse 17, spoiler alert, he doesn't say that you're wrong. He says, and Jesus said, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven." My translation, bingo, you got it right. That's what Jesus is saying, he's saying you got it right, Peter, you understand what my Father has been revealing to you over these years about who I am. Isn't that cool? It's just like Jesus is like a fishermen, just luring them in. A process that started years ago, leads up to this point to where Peter acknowledges and confesses who Jesus Christ is.

Jermaine Arphul: 19:13 Let's take a step back for a second. In some of the polls that I took, and a lot of people that answered that question about who Jesus is, and some of the conversations that I've had as well. It said, you know what, he's just one of many paths to God. And that sounds good, it feels good, he's just one of many paths to God is what people would say. If you look right here, and if you look at John chapter 14 verse 6, he is not one of many paths to God if this is true, Jesus is saying, “I am the way, I am the truth, and I am the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Meaning I am the only way to reach the fulfillment of what all of us desire, I am the Savior, I am your Messiah, I am your Lord, I am God, that's a bold claim.

Jermaine Arphul: 20:12 And Jesus acknowledges, he says, yes, that is right, I am the way to God. That's incredible to think about, especially when you think about all the different beliefs that are out there, Jesus is saying, I am the only way. And I just love that it took some time for Peter to get there, it takes time when you're walking with somebody. You know, we're in this series, real conversations. Think about it, sometimes it just takes some time to lead someone, to show them to Jesus. You can't just hit them over the head with it, and do a drive-by gospel sharing and move on. No, you got walk with them, you got to show them, and let God the Father and let his spirit do work in the hearts of people, it's a process.

Jermaine Arphul: 21:05 The question that he's asking us today, he's asking us, who is Jesus Christ to you? And make no mistake about it, it's not an accident that we're here today having to wrestle with that question, God's been drawing us in. God has been drawing us in to make us consider an answer to that question, put all the evidence up that we've seen in our lives, and answer that question. I like to think, especially when we see all these public figures, those who are famous and things. I I'm so pessimistic, I'm always like, yeah, Tom Brady, something's going on with him. I can't wait for something to come out against him, and then he's going to go down. Right? So we live in an age of skepticism, something, somebody would have said something about Jesus that would just make this whole thing go down, is what I think. But nobody has been able to disprove that, all the evidence is pointing to him being the Messiah and the Lord. Witnesses, hundreds of witnesses, testify to it.

Jermaine Arphul: 22:14 I'm just saying, it's something that you have to consider, and it's a process, like I said before. Do you know what was so cool, last weekend we had hundreds of students come to our Live weekend, our Disciple Now weekend, where students come together. They take time out of their normal just rhythm of life, and come to seek Jesus and have community with each other. And every single year, when God takes them out of their normal rhythm of life, takes away all the distraction, very similar to what's going on here, they have an encounter with God. Whether it's trusting him for the first time, or moving forward in their faith in Jesus. And last weekend was so cool, we had three students have a new life in Christ, trust in Jesus Christ, and get baptized right outside these doors, it was amazing. And do you know what, there are still students who we have to meet up with, they were still wanting to move forward in their faith in Jesus, and move forward in getting baptized, and in their faith. It's really cool. But you know what? It was a process, it's a process that God was doing in each and every one of their hearts.

Jermaine Arphul: 23:25 We got to baptize one student last week, and it was really cool. I, I know [inaudible] took take part in this. Three years ago, basically, I was sitting in a classroom with him, introducing myself, to be a mentor to him and asking him where his faith was. He was not there, he did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah, Lord, and God. He was frustrated, like so many of us are. You may be in here right now, being frustrated at God. He lost his grandfather, and he was just frustrated, he was living out life that way, making decisions based off of what he thought was right. Fast forward, three years later, walking with him, he was getting baptized right out these doors because somebody pointed him to Christ. Amen? I mean, that's incredible, it's a process. Sometimes it's a process, and we've been called to walk with them along that way. They have to receive the evidence through other people who've followed Jesus, to know that he's the real deal. You wouldn't be here today, if somebody wasn't working in you through the power of God, drawing your attention in. But Jesus wants to know at the end of the day, it's personal to you, you have to give an answer. Your soul hinges on getting this question right, it's the very meaning of your life.

Jermaine Arphul: 24:53 And I want to encourage you today to take the important journey. If you haven't trusted in Christ, I just want to encourage you today to take that important journey that is just a few inches, just a few inches. What do I mean by that? Kevin Dyson knows what I mean by that, Kevin Dyson is a former Tennessee Titan's receiver. A few inches is a big deal to him. And if you don't know what I'm talking about, turn your attention to the screen real quick,
Video: 25:29 (Video Plays)

Jermaine Arphul: 26:06 Inches short, inches make a big difference. And if you haven't trusted in Jesus, if he is not someone that you believe in and put your life in, I just want to encourage you to take a journey of a few inches. And I'm talking about from head to heart, just a few inches. A lot of people know about Jesus, it's up here, but it's not in here. And those few inches is difference between heaven and hell, says the Bible. And Jesus says, who do you say that I am? It doesn't matter that you know it up here, and that it just rolls off your tongue, it does not matter. What matters is, is it in your heart? Do you believe in Him with your heart, mind, and soul? Do you want to say to him that, hey, I believe in you, and I'm going to stake my life on that truth, no matter what the cost is? Do you believe that God wants to know that, he wants to know that you're willing to anchor your whole entire world around Jesus Christ, and not care about what the world says. Who is Jesus Christ to you? Do you believe that he's your fulfillment, that he's the answer to everything? Do you know what's funny, what is funny is Jesus, yes, he is the answer to everything. But if you go do research on how many questions Jesus asks versus the answers that he gave, he gave, he asked over 300 questions and he answered about half in the Bible. Questions lead us to him, take note of how Jesus led people through relationships, spending time with them, asking questions, allowing someone, people, to take those questions and lead them closer to him, to where they have a confession.

Jermaine Arphul: 28:11 Do you want to know how to have real conversations, look at Jesus, look what he did with the disciples. And what's really cool about this is, once you accept Christ, once you trust in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, immediately, and we'll see here in verses 18 through 19, you get promises, you get privileges. You get amazing promises and privileges as you walk, your life radically changes, like it says in Second Corinthians chapter 5, verse 17, "The old goes away and the new comes." And you get privileges, you get promises from Jesus.

Jermaine Arphul: 28:46 Let's look at those four privileges that we get. After Peter makes his confession, Jesus says to Peter this, in verse 18, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it." He's speaking of two privileges here.

Jermaine Arphul: 29:06 The first one is this, you get to be a member of his church. You get to be a member of a church, you get to be part of the people of God, the people of Jesus Christ. It's like Jesus is using a metaphor here, he's saying his church is like a building. And it's important for us to realize that, that those who believe in Jesus as the Messiah, we are part of the building of the church now. Jesus is the foundation, he's the rock, he is the cornerstone of the building. You and I, once you put our trust in him, our living stones that help build that church up. That's what he's saying here, Peter, little stone, Jesus, the rock, the cornerstone. He's saying, hey look, there's an affinity between me and you because you believe in who I am, Peter. He's like, you're a chip off the old block, literally he said that. He's like, you're a stone that will be built upon the rock that others who believe in me. Who is the rock? Jesus is that rock, Jesus is the foundation upon which he builds his church with people who believe in him. And Peter understood that, go look at First Peter chapter 2, verses 4 through 6. He talks about how we are the living stones, we are part of what builds up his church, but Jesus is that cornerstone, he is that rock, he understood. So that's the first great privilege, we get to be a part of his church, we get to be the ones who are helping build the house of Jesus. And we get to go out and live and do life with other people, drawing them in.

Jermaine Arphul: 30:59 Let's read the last part of verse 18 real quick, he says, "And the Gates of Hades will not overpower it." This is my favorite. You and I, when we put our trust in Jesus, we are victorious over death. I need to hear that, we are victorious over death when we put our trust in Jesus. He says the Gates of Hades will not prevail, Hades means the grave and unseen place referring to the realm in which the dead resided. And it's like Jesus is describing Hades as this fortress of like death, and then we have his church, the building, and the two are in opposition against each other. And Jesus says, my church will prevail, death will not prevail, those who believe in Jesus as the Messiah will have victory over death. That is good news, that is great news. He says, death will not prevail against, or overpower, my people, my church. What a promise, what a privilege, it is.

Jermaine Arphul: 32:08 First Corinthians 15, the last eight verses 50 through 57. All who believe in Jesus will receive a new and immortal body when Jesus returns. And it says at the end, O death, where is your victory or sting? But us, through Christ, received victory over death. Hebrews 2 says, Christ, through his death, took away the power of death so that people don't have to live in slavery through the fear of death." We don't have to be afraid of physical death when we are in Christ, and we don't have to live this life as if this is all there is. Do you see that? That's huge. That's a pretty cool privilege that every single day, every single day, we are drawing nearer and nearer towards the beginning of the rest of our life with Jesus Christ. That is good news, that is great news.

Jermaine Arphul: 33:14 And the third privilege, we'll see in verse 19, that we get, "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven." he says to Peter. We get to help others to faith in Jesus. Keys are like, you know what keys are, they open the door to things, they're an entrance to things, they provide entrance into something. And Jesus is saying, look, I'm going to give you Peter, the privilege of providing others entrance into the kingdom. Saying, hey, I've made all the rules, I've made everything on how to live this Christian life, I'm the one who earns the right for anyone to have salvation, but Peter, I'm going to use you and the other apostles to open up the doors for people to know the truth about that, and to enter into His kingdom.

Jermaine Arphul: 33:59 What a privilege that is, to help others to know Jesus Christ. Peter received that privilege in a unique way. If you look at Acts chapter 2, you'll see that he was the first one on the scene to open up the doors to a group of Jewish people, to help them receive salvation. Go look at Acts chapter 10, he did the same thing with non-Jews, Gentiles, is what the Bible calls it. So he was there, he got a special privilege to do that. But do you know how that applies to us? We get to do the same thing. We get to do the same thing, what a privilege.

Jermaine Arphul: 34:38 Tim Keller says this, this is a great quote, and it should be hopefully motivating to you. I still can't believe that Jesus wants to use a broken man like me to help lead others to Christ, but you know, God is good. And this is what Tim Keller says, "There are hands out there that only you can hold. There are people out there that only you can reach. There are hearts breaking that only you can heal. God made you like a fingerprint, and there are certain people out there that he wants to touch through you, and they're not going to be touched without you." So go, God wants to use you. Don't take it the wrong way now, that's not pressure. Okay? That's like, don't be like don't give me the ball, I don't want it. No, no, no, no, no, that's motivation, God wants to sinful broken people like us, and fashion us in a certain way, and use us to help other people know him. That should give you meaning and purpose in life, that should be the reason why you get up every single day, God wants to use you to touch other people and point them to him.

Jermaine Arphul: 36:01 Listen, the person that we baptized last week, one of the three people that we baptized last week, what a privilege, it was to be a part of his life for the last three years to see him come to a place to where he gets transferred from the domain of darkness, into the kingdom of his beloved son. What a privilege that is, we all get to have that. One of the greatest joys that you could ever possibly have in your life is to see someone go from death to life, and to help be a part of that, that is a privilege.

Jermaine Arphul: 36:36 And once that happens, do you know what's cool about this church? If you go to our website, 121cc.com. if you want to help show somebody, if you need a tool to help show them what to do next after you put your faith in Jesus, we have the eight ways on our website. Eight ways to follow Jesus, to learn how to be a follower of Jesus and how to teach Jesus. Go there, very simple eight ways to help them move forward in their faith, what a privilege it is to be able to do that. If you're growing spiritually, you get more and more amazed that he would entrust you with that privilege.

Jermaine Arphul: 37:15 Lastly, we'll see here, Jesus grants Peter unique authority. The last part of verse 19 says, "And whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” What in the world is he talking about? That's what I said, what is he talking about here? I don't know about this binding, that's not some term that I use every day, I don't know about you. But it was back then, the religious leaders of the day they use terms like that, and binding means they got to be able to declare things to be prohibited or unlawful. Loosing means that they loosen things, they release things, they declare things that were lawful or permissible, I should say, or impermissible. And so Jewish leaders had the authority to do that. Jesus is saying to Peter, hey, look, it's not your authority to decide all those things, but I am giving you the authority to announce and enforce what I've already decided.

Jermaine Arphul: 38:20 That's why we have Second Peter, right, he gave him the authority to be the spokesperson for the part of the new Testament that we have, he used other apostles to do the same thing. Do you know what that means for us? We got something that we can stand firm on, and that's the Bible. We have something that we can stand firm on, and discern things that are true or not true. We have stability, when you become a believer, you have God's Word spoken through guys like Peter to stand firm on, in a culture that is confused as all get out. We are confused, but when you have God's Word, you get to stand on that, and it'll stabilize your life in making decisions, decisions on ethics, morals, sexuality. We don't have to go through what the culture says to do, the authority is right here. We follow that first, we don't follow what the culture says, we don't follow what somebody says that's not true of God's Word. We get to use this to test things, and to make sure that we're living a Christian life that God has designed for us.

Jermaine Arphul: 40:00 And do you know what that brings? That brings freedom, that brings freedom to know that no matter what happens, no matter what way the culture is going, we get to stand firm on God's Word and use that as our guide no matter what's happening, that brings freedom to us. It may be counter-culture, we may not be liked, that's okay, Jesus wasn't liked either, look what they did to him, but freedom is found in him. Listen, I know we live in America, I love America. And I know one of the themes that we have in America is that we have freedom, and we should have the freedom to choose and freedom to do all these things, and I'm so grateful that we do. But listen, freedom is not being able to do whatever you want to do, no matter how you feel, whatever you feel, that is not freedom. I'm a living testament, 28 years, I was doing whatever I wanted to do, and it left my life in ruins, and the people around me, that's not freedom. Freedom is discovering how you were designed to live, and moving down the path by the power of Jesus Christ, that's freedom. That is freedom, and that is a privilege we get because we have God's Word.

Jermaine Arphul: 41:38 So four privileges, we get to be a part of the church, we get to help point others to Christ, we have God's Word that we can stand on, those are the privileges that we get through Jesus, and God's revealing that to us all, just remember that. Now, where do we go from here? Before I get there, almost forgot verse 20, "Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ." This is funny, because as believers we're like, oh, we should go share the message of Christ. And Jesus is right here going, ah, don't go. What? What kind of conflicted message is that? Do you know what he's saying to them? He's saying y'all ain't ready yet, I've still got some work to do on you. If you're going to go preach my name, I need to make sure that you guys are ready.

Jermaine Arphul: 42:35 And we'll see in verse 21, and moving forward, that Peter gets it wrong, he ain't quite ready yet. He's like it ain't time yet for y'all, I've got to go to the cross, I've got to do some things, but I need to know that you know what's about to happen, and I need to know where you stand. Who do you say Jesus is to you? I believe he is Lord, he is Messiah, he is God. The time for us is now, the cross already happened, he already defeated death, he already rose to heaven, the Holy Spirit already came down and empowered the church to get going. The time is now for us, we're ready. If you trust in Christ, you have all the tools that you need, we are ready to go.

Jermaine Arphul: 43:33 Speaking of go, that is what we need to do, go and start the conversation with salvation in mind. You see, remember when I said that Jesus was with these disciples for three years, leading them to a point to understand who he truly was. And that's what we need to do with our friends and people that we know, we need to have conversations with them with salvation in mind, that's the most loving thing that we can do. We've just moved into our neighborhood about two years ago, and we've had lots of good conversations, inviting them to church and things like that. Developing relationships with them, drawing them in closer and closer. And you know, we just had the conversation the other day, me and my wife just said, we don't know where this one particular person stands. We just asked him, we've developed a relationship now to where we can ask a pointed question like that because we care about their salvation, and let God do the rest. God did all the hard work, Jesus did all the hard work for us, we've got light work.

Jermaine Arphul: 44:40 It's light work to start a conversation with salvation in mind, God did all the things for us already. He did all the hard work, he took on the wrath, he took on all of our sin, he took all that on so that we can now have the salvation in him and the opportunity to share the message of Jesus Christ. So my challenge for you is to think of your friends, think of some of your neighbors, think of someone that you're close with, text them today and say, who is Jesus Christ to you? Who is Jesus Christ to you? Invite them over for dinner, whether that's indoor or outdoor, however you feel about that, get together with them and start a conversation with salvation in mind.

Jermaine Arphul: 45:24 Pray about it, that's one thing that I do all the time when I go out. Colossians chapter 4, verses 3 through 5, just like Paul, praying about getting the the opportunity to share the mysteries of Christ to people, and that you would do it seasoned with truth and grace, so it would have flavor? Let's take some time to do that today, pray about who are those friends that you could text, who is Jesus Christ to you? Ask God to give you an opportunity to share the mystery of Christ, and let God do the rest. That's light work for us, just asking the question and letting him guide the conversation.

Jermaine Arphul: 46:09 So I'm going to pray, and after I pray, I just invite you to go into action. Pray about who you can text somebody and text them, text them that question, who is Jesus Christ to you? It's a personal question, it's not a question about how much do you know about Jesus, it's a question of who is he to you? That's a good question.

Jermaine Arphul: 46:36 Let's pray. God, thank you so much again, what a privilege it is to be a member of your church, and by faith we trust in what you did. What a privilege it is to be able to help others to know you. What a privilege it is to have the authority of your word that we can stand on, I'm just so grateful for that. And Lord, I pray again, I believe that there is someone listening here that hasn't really, truly confessed that they love you with all their heart and their mind, they need more evidence. And Lord, I just pray that if today is not the day, that you would make it clear to them that you are the Lord, you are Messiah, you are God, that Jesus, you are a God. Holy Spirit convince whoever's listening today that they are in need of your grace, then to take advantage of that grace today. And for the rest of us, we may of made the confession a long time ago, I pray that we would grow in our faith and that we would go and start a conversation with salvation in mind. Let's be still and reflect on that. In Jesus' name.



Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
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121 Community Church
2701 Ira E Woods Ave.
Grapevine, Texas 76051
817.488.1213