Matthew 16:13-20 & Luke 12:8-12
We took a detour from the Genesis series for an Easter-oriented message from Matthew 16:13-20, where Peter correctly identified Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus replied that He said he would build His church on this rock. Just as Jesus said that flesh and blood had not revealed His identity to Peter, we can’t assume that we will be the reason people get saved, Steve said. The Holy Spirit is who causes people to see the truth, an important fact to keep in mind. Some can swing to extremes and rationalize that if the Spirit is doing this, they don’t need to do anything.
“No!” he replied to such reasoning. “Somebody had to tell you. You and I are the people who preach it. God is the one who reveals into hearts who He is. God uses you in preaching of the gospel. You have to understand your role. Your role is to tell people and God reveals (the truth) to them.”
Thus, we should not only pray that God will open others’ eyes, our confidence should be in Him to do that. Jesus said He would build His church, so He is the builder. On Easter, Celebration Church will be 19 years old, and Steve said he realizes that he won’t build a world-shaping church; that’s up to Christ. Because his confidence is in Jesus, Steve said he thinks of our sanctuary as too small to hold all the people, unless we knock a wall out to accommodate more.
Jesus built His church at a time when Christians were getting thrown into lions’ dens and faced all kinds of oppression. Today, we have our own challenges, including believers not expecting that much to happen. But Steve pointed to Luke 12:8-12, where Jesus talked about not being worried when we get dragged before the authorities because the Holy Spirit will tell us what to say.
“Jesus is going to build His church,” Steve said. “God will reveal the Holy Spirit to people and He will give you what you are to say. We are childish; we need to feel things all the time. If you were only married when you felt married, how long would you be married? Sharing the gospel is not contingent on feelings.”
He said what he is asking us to do is intentionally talk to someone about Jesus. There is no better time to have these conversations than Easter. It’s our job to tell people who Christ is and that He is for real.