Getting it right

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A team at the church which I serve has been working on the governing documents of the congregation for months. We are discovering how important words can be, how a little shift in a phrase can affect the meaning. Yes, we know that words matter as they are an expression of our understanding. Words can build faith, express love, encourage, and inspire hope. They can also tear down, wound, and demoralize. How are you using the words of your life?

There is one confession that is critically important, words that have the power of life. Those words? What you say about Jesus, what you truly believe about Him!

Matthew tells us about a moment when Peter, the man who often impulsively got things wrong, actually got it right. Jesus commended his faith and told him that he had not ‘figured it out’ but that God had revealed this important truth to him. “When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” He asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13-17, NIV)

This moment happened near the end of Jesus’ public ministry, as He was preparing to hand off the work of the Gospel to those men. He was their teacher, their friend, an amazing leader, a miracle worker. All those things were wonderful, but there was more to Jesus than that and here it is – “You are the Christ!”  As God’s Spirit stirred in Peter, he came to understand that the Man he rubbed shoulders with each day was more than Mary’s son, more than a great rabbi. Jesus was God, come in flesh, to save the world. To be sure, not all the theology around the divinity of Jesus was settled in that moment, nor did Peter have perfect grasp of all that was included in those words, but, in declaring that Jesus was God’s Messiah, the Anointed One for whom the people of God had waited for centuries, he was taking a huge step of faith.

Many people who claim to believe in Jesus fail to receive the mystery of faith. They accept him as a great teacher, a philosopher who laid a foundation for humanitarianism, but will not confess that He is God, the Savior of the world.

Thomas Jefferson famously created the “Jefferson Bible” from which he excised all the reference to miracles of Jesus, His virgin birth, and the Resurrection because he thought they were superstitious ideas that detracted from the real value of Jesus teaching. He claimed to be a “Christian” because of his goodness and his hope in a benevolent God but rejected the idea of sin and the atoning work of Christ on the cross.

Is this your understanding of Jesus? There is more! The heart of the Gospel of Christ is found in faith, not superstition, but the revelation that He is God in flesh, the unique God-man, sinless Savior of the world, alive again as the Guarantor of our eternal hope.

Here is what Paul was inspired to write to us – “But the way of getting right with God through faith says, “You don’t need to go to heaven” (to find Christ and bring him down to help you). And it says, “You don’t need to go to the place of the dead” (to bring Christ back to life again). Salvation that comes from trusting Christ—which is the message we preach—is already within easy reach. In fact, the Scriptures say, “The message is close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.” For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.” (Romans 10:6-10, NLT)

John helps us to understand that, like Peter, we don’t just figure this out. We are touched by the Holy Spirit and respond with faith. “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” (1 John 4:2-3, NIV)

Who do you say He is?  Words do matter because they reveal our faith, our core understanding. Let the Word inform you, the Spirit inspire you, and trust Christ, the Living God, to transform you from death to life.

Here is a word from the Word. “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16, NIV)

____________

What A Beautiful Name

(Worship Jesus, revealed as our Lord)

You were the Word at the beginning
One with God the Lord Most High
Your hidden glory in creation
Now revealed in You our Christ

 What a beautiful Name it is
What a beautiful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King
What a beautiful Name it is
Nothing compares to this
What a beautiful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

 You didn’t want heaven without us
So Jesus You brought heaven down
My sin was great Your love was greater
What could separate us now

 What a wonderful Name it is
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King
What a wonderful Name it is
Nothing compares to this
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

 Death could not hold You
The veil tore before You
You silence the boast of sin and grave
The heavens are roaring
The praise of Your glory
For You are raised to life again 

You have no rival
You have no equal
Now and forever God You reign
Yours is the kingdom
Yours is the glory
Yours is the Name above all names

 What a powerful Name it is
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King
What a powerful Name it is
Nothing can stand against
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

 What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

Ben Fielding | Brooke Ligertwood

© 2016 Hillsong Music Publishing (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

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