Pastor Chris Boyd Sermon Sunday 9/06/2020

 

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen.

   “Who do you say I am?”

   Throughout the Old Testament, there are many who have proclaimed God. They proclaimed His might, His power, His creation, they proclaimed who God is. The prophets did this on behalf of God who first proclaimed Himself to them. The Judges did this. The Kings did this. In fact King David did this so much that we have an entire Book filled with songs of praise to our Lord, Psalms. There is no shortage of holy proclamations about our Father in Heaven. 

   In the New Testament, the tradition continues, and Paul, the author of many of the letters found in the New Testament, was no stranger to proclaiming the greatness of the Father. He, like his many predecessors, glorified the greatness of the Creator and His awesome power and grace and mercy. But Paul went one step further; in Romans he proclaimed this:

   “ 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to [even] them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”

   Paul went one step further and proclaimed quite clearly that all believe in God, that there is no such thing as a true atheist, but rather those who choose to exchange the Truth for a lie. In a sense, he is proclaiming that all are secretly like the prophets in that all are subconsciously aware of the greatness of the Father. Yet, because of the complete corruption of sin within our lives we have given up what God has made obvious and instead chose to make for ourselves gods and serve these creations whether that is dumb idols or even humanity itself. Out of human narcissism, even though we know God, we pretend to be wise and thus prove ourselves to be fools.

   It is because of this complete corruption of sin that many of us choose to follow the great lie. It is because of this complete corruption of sin that many don’t want to see the Truth, can’t see the Truth. It is because of this complete corruption of sin that for many it is almost as if a veil has been placed over our eyes and what we see is not the whole world. This is why Jesus tells Peter that it is not out of flesh and blood that he proclaims Jesus as Christ. Flesh and blood has been completely corrupted by sin and though all may know of God, we can’t even fathom a piece of God. We may know a little bit about God, a mere awareness may be all that we have, but this corruption has locked us away from seeing the whole Truth, the ability to see that Jesus is Christ.     

Then, this man of Nazareth shows up and performs miracles, and teaches with such brilliance and knowledge of Scripture. He speaks and there is authority behind his words. This man must truly be a great man. Many may perceive him to be this John the Baptist that they heard about. Others may believe this is Elijah back on earth, descended from Heaven. And still others may perceive him to be Jeremiah or another prophet. But God? No, who in their right mind would claim he is God and truly believe it sincerely in their hearts? Jesus may be a great man, but he is still a man; plus, God is God.

   There is an impossibility to proclaim Jesus is God, that Jesus is Christ. We are spiritual incapable of proclaiming this, not because of human ineptitude but because of the chains of sin which force us to not recognize this. We may all know of God, but sin prevents us from acknowledging the depth of God, most especially that Jesus is He. It is impossible for us. It would take a miracle for us to make not that mental leap, but spiritual leap to acknowledge the divinity of Jesus. We, by our own devices can’t make that leap, for we will fail, but, by the grace of God, and only by the grace of God, we may succeed.

   Through flesh and blood we cannot proclaim Christ as Lord. It is only through the Holy Spirit, which proceeds from the Father, can we truly believe, have faith, and loudly proclaim Jesus is Christ.

   This is why Jesus tells Peter, after proclaiming that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, that, “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in Heaven.”

   A miracle did happen that day, Peter proclaimed Jesus is Christ, and he truly believed the words that he said. He didn’t do this from his own will, but God’s will. For on that day, Peter was truly blessed. God the Father gifted him with a revelation and it is because of this gift, not because of his own will, that Jesus also blessed Peter with his name, which means Rock, “for on this Rock I will build my church.” Outside of being the first of the twelve disciples, there was nothing special about him, just like there was nothing special about the Hebrews and Israel, but God still gifted him with faith and it is because of this faith that Jesus gives him the name Peter and proclaims that Peter, who proclaimed Jesus, would be the strong foundation that the church was to be built upon.

   Yet Christ said a most curious thing after proclaiming this, he told his disciples not to tell anyone else. Why? The reason is two-fold. The first is because of sin which would block others from understanding, leading to misunderstanding and even generating hatred that could lead towards the untimely deaths of the disciples. The other is because Christ had yet to die for the sake of our sins. But after His death and resurrection, Christ null and voids this command and instead commands his disciples to proclaim the Good News, that Christ has died for our sins and that through him and his glorious resurrection we are indeed saved.

   Thus, after his resurrection, through this Great commission, Jesus Christ has opened the means of Salvation. That through the proclamation of the Gospel, the Holy Spirit may enter into us and provide for us the miracle necessary to have faith and believe that Jesus is Christ, and, through this faith, have Salvation.

   And because today is a communion Sunday, we see this through the Daily Bread, this Holy Sacrament, for whereas through our flesh and blood we not only can’t believe in Jesus Christ, but also can’t maintain our faith, through His flesh and blood, through the bread and wine presented here today we are blessed with the spiritual sustenance necessary to maintain our faith in Jesus Christ.

   So who do you say Jesus is?

   Do you say Christ? If you say Christ, and you sincerely believe this and have faith in the promises he has made, then let it be known you are indeed saved. I say again, if you proclaim and have faith that Jesus is Christ, then let it be known the reason you can say this is because you are saved.

   Let us pray,

   Dear Heavenly Father, you are great and amazing and above all things. Through you we are truly blessed, for you have gifted us with your Son who died on the cross for our salvation, and you have gifted us with your Holy Spirit who provides for us the faith in your Son who is Christ, our Redeemer, Savior, Lord, and God. In your Name we pray, Amen.

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