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Lesson # Matt. 16:15-16
Study Material - Matt. 16:15-16
You must be in fellowship prior to your Bible study, so that the spiritual information you receive can become a source, of blessing to your soul and produce spiritual growth.
15 He saith [lego] unto them [autos] , But [de] whom [tis] say [lego] ye [humeis] that I [me] am [einai] ?
16 And [de] Simon [Simon] Peter [Petros] answered [apokrinomai] and said [epo] , Thou [su] art [ei] the Christ [Christos] , the Son [huios] of the living [zao] God [theos] . KJV-Interlinear
15 He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?' 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.' NAS
Two opinions exist concerning Jesus. The first is that He is merely a man, a great name in history, but no more than any other person who has come along and made a name for themselves, and an entry in the history books. We touched on this yesterday. The second opinion is that Jesus is the Son of God, the unique person of the universe. Who is co-equal and co-eternal with the other two members of the trinity. Who is the creator of the universe, and all life for that matter. Who controls history - we've touch on that several times.
All too often, people have the impression that history or human existence has no purpose, no plan, no design. That we all exist here by chance, that, as the Greeks early on thought, that life is cyclical, continually repeating itself in endless circles, going nowhere with no purpose. To some modern thinkers, life is pointless and futile. That there is no secret and no plan in history to be discovered. The Frenchman, Andre Maurois wrote, 'The universe is indifferent. Who created it? Why are we here on this puny mud heap spinning in infinite space? I have not the slightest idea, and I am quite convinced that no one has.' Jean-Paul Sartre, an existentialist philosopher, maintained that man exists in a watertight compartment as an utterly isolated individual in the midst of a purposeless universe. A French molecular biologist Jacques Monod states that man's existence is due to the chance collision between minuscule particles of nucleic acid and proteins in a vast prebiotic soup. Which means that man is alone in the universe, out of which he accidentally emerged by chance. Francis Schaeffer observed that, according to such thinking, 'man is the product of the impersonal plus time plus chance.'
These people, and many like them, cannot see beyond what their eyes can see. Can't hear beyond what their ears can hear. Can't visualize beyond what their logic or mathematics dictates to them. And yet if man were just a chance happening, then all morals, all opinions must be invented by man and as such anything that society accepts, becomes the standard for human life. Who is to say what is really right and what is really wrong. There are many (bullies and such) who would subscribe to the law of the jungle, only because they happen to be bigger, or tougher, or wealthier. If they were small or weak or poor, then they might have a different attitude - 'Not fair!!' But that is consistent with the relativity of this approach to life.
Too, if this were true, then Jesus could not have been the Christ, the Messiah. He could not have fulfilled the many detailed prophecies from many centuries past, from many different writers of scripture. He could not have been born in the time exactly as predicted by Daniel. Could not have been born at a time marked by a specific star. Could not have been born in the year at the exact time when Rome instituted its initial tax against Judea as predicted. You will recall that Mary and Joseph were en route to Bethlehem to register for that initial tax roll, arriving there when Jesus' birth was due. All predicted with 100% accuracy. And we could list many more prophecies, all of which were fulfilled with perfect accuracy with respect to Jesus.
We have already studied the other four major religions of the world (Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam), and we saw how each modifies or contradicts many principles taught by the Bible. And if they were true, then we might as well all go into the bank robbing business, drug running business, or anything that appeals to a person's whims, because anything goes when the jungle decides what is right and what is wrong. The strong rule. The weak get screwed.
But of course we do not subscribe to these arbitrary views of life. We look to a designer and creator of the universe. We look to the plan which He laid out for human history. We understand that there was a conflict in which Satan (formerly Lucifer) challenged God and rebelled, and for which God gave plenty of opportunity for changing his mind - which Satan refused. The universe in chaos could not stand. Whenever rot enters into a thing, the entire thing goes bad and destroys everything. Therefore a decision had to be made. Either let the universe destroy itself and all with it, or attempt to save those who wish to continue in life. Either the Bible is what it says it is, or it isn't. The overwhelming proofs go to the Bible. The other religions of the world (the four major ones of history and all the hundreds of little ones that come and go) fail miserably.
If the Bible is the truth, then we have to make a decision in our life. We either commit to it, to we don't. And that is where we are in the study. Who is Jesus? A prophet? Just another figure in history? Or is He the God/man, the unique person of the universe. We believe that Jesus is the Christ, and God, and our savior.
In this life God gives to each one of us, three things. Actually you might consider that He gave us all four things, but I have always just listed this concept as three. Time, volition, and doctrine. The fourth would be the mechanism to utilize them (the teaching of the Holy Spirit and the sphere of fellowship in which we assimilate Gods wisdom. God gave each one of us time. We were born and we live a determined number of years in our life, then we die. God gave us that time to learn His views. God gave us volition such that we could freely choose of reject Him and His wisdom. And God gave us doctrine - His Word, from which we may grow up in our spiritual life by learning it. Bible doctrine is the source (the written Christ) by which all human life may orient correctly to truth.
Our first question in life which we need to take a stand on is, 'What do we think of Jesus Christ?' We either believe in Him or we do not. To believe means we go to heaven - ruled by God. To reject means we go to the Lake of Fire - ruled by the absence of God.
Where God does not exist, terrible terror and misery, pain and suffering , and aloneness exist. No virgins, no bars and cigars and good old boy joking around stuff. Remember the never ending maggots story, and the total darkness. All of which will go on forever for those who reject Christ.
To believe in Christ means we move on to another set to daily decisions (Bible study) and to three areas of responsibility which God imposes on each of us.
The first area of responsibility is to God. We are to obey, which is to hear, to learn, to grow, to give back to Him from that which He first gives us. We support the teaching and the spreading of His Word. God always gives us the means to support the teaching and spreading of His word. Without the availability of Gods Word in this world, freedoms and liberties, even prosperity go down the toilet. Too often greed or stinginess get in the way of ones obligation to support the teaching of Gods Word.
The second area of responsibility is to our self. We are to advance in our spiritual life, to nourish our soul, and to seize that high ground of victory in our life. This prepares us for the difficulties we will inevitably face in this life, and much more than this, it prepares us for greater blessings in eternity 'beyond all we could ask or imagine.'
The third area of responsibility is to others and this incorporates charity, to help those who need help and without strings attached. God freely gives to us without our believing in Him or even without our learning His truth. He certainly advises us as to the benefits of going His way, and the grave dangers of being indifferent to Him. We do not evaluate others, but we do help them, because God always gives us the means to help.
When these things are fulfilled then, the rest of life takes care of itself. The Word of God is a mirror into which we look and can evaluate our own life. We can evaluate it objectively and correct any faults we might have, or we can evaluate our life subjectively and come up with all sorts of excuses or indifferent attitudes. Whatever you do, God has a detailed record of your life in heaven. One day you will stand before Him, Jesus Christ, at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and you will be evaluated. You will be evaluated on your thoughts, decisions and actions, not on those of others. Excuses will not be admitted. No one else can be blamed. You will stand alone and you'll stand alone with your own record. And, you will stand before Christ who knows the detailed truth concerning you.
What is at stake? Eternity. That is a long time. What is at stake for eternity? How you will live and with what blessings you will take into eternity. Remember the parable? 'Some will receive a hundred fold, some fifty fold, and some none.'
Certainly all who believe in Christ will go to heaven. All who go to heaven will have resurrection bodies. But there are additional rewards, blessings, privileges, etc. that will only go to those who have advanced to or toward spiritual maturity. Those are the, 'above and beyond all we can ask or imagine,' things waiting for us, waiting for those who advance in their spiritual life.
In this life we could not predefine the circumstances of our birth or of our life. But of the next life, God graciously give us the opportunity to predefine the circumstances in which we will live. Would you rather live in the shanties of the poor, or the vast castle estates of the extremely wealthy?
Look into the mirror. It is all up to you now.
The Word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two edged sword. Piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and the spirit, and the joints and the marrow, and is a critic of the thoughts and intent of the soul. All scripture is God breathed and is profitable for doctrine, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the person of God might be mature, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth. Delight thyself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way unto the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will bring it to pass. For You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusts in Thee. Trust in the Lord, for in the Lord is everlasting strength. Cast your burdens upon the Lord and He will sustain you, He will never suffer the righteous to be moved. Stop worrying about anything, but in everything, through prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding shall garrison your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. And now to Him who will keep you from falling and presents you without blemish before the presence of His glory, with exceeding joy. To the only wise God and savior, even Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom be and majesty and honor. For of Him, and to Him and through Him are all things, to Whom be glory, and dominion, and power for ever and ever - Believe it!
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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