Title: The Invasion Plan: Step 1
Text: Matthew 16:21-27
FCF: We often struggle relating practically to God’s viewpoint on literally everything.
Prop: The Kingdom of God functions drastically different than the kingdom of this world, so we must yield to God’s program.
Scripture Intro: CSB
[Slide 1] Turn in your bible to Matthew 16. We are in the midst of a narrative section of Matthew, where the apostle is relaying to us what others understood about Jesus. Over the course of this we’ve seen a wide variety of conclusions. From merely a carpenter all the way to Peter’s confession of the Messiahship of Jesus, and really everything in between. We’ve seen differing degrees of people’s faith in response to their view of who Jesus is - from opposition, confusion, and distraction to what is the pinnacle of this entire narrative – the unhindered and enduring faith of the Canaanite woman. The last couple episodes have really begun quite a roller coaster ride of high highs and low lows. The disciples being obsessed with bread when there were greater things to pursue. Followed by a great promise of the coming of the Kingdom of God to do battle against the forces of darkness. Unfortunately today, that means that we will descend again to a low low, as the disciples prove again, that they still don’t quite understand. I’m in Matthew 16 and I’ll be starting in verse 21. I’ll be reading form the CSB but follow along in whatever version you prefer.
[Slide 2 (blank)] After announcing His invasion plans on the Kingdom of darkness, you can imagine that these men who had been following Him all this time, were no doubt, feeling pretty pumped. How amazing it would be to see God’s Kingdom come. But as we will see, Jesus has some challenging words for them to consider.
I.) The Kingdom of God functions drastically different than the kingdom of this world, so we must submit to God’s Sovereign Will. (21-23)
a. [Slide 3] 21 – From then on
i. This seemingly insignificant 3 word introduction to the next episode Matthew pens, is actually a turning point in the book of Matthew, and the ministry of Christ.
ii. From this point onward, Jesus’ teachings will be primarily to His disciples, His ministry in Galilee and its surrounding regions will officially cease. He will go back to Judea and of course will eventually be crucified.
iii. These three words indicate a fundamental shift toward the culmination of God’s redemptive plan in the crushing and raising of His Messiah.
iv. These are some of the most important 3 words in the gospel of Matthew J
b. Jesus began to point out to his disciples that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed,
i. More bluntly and more specific than He has ever been with His disciples, Jesus tells them plainly that He was going to Jerusalem to die at the hands of the religious leaders.
ii. And not just the fact of this, but the necessity of this. This was needed.
iii. Not possible, necessary. Not inevitable, foreordained.
c. and be raised the third day.
i. It is interesting that this is mentioned here.
ii. Even though Matthew clearly tells his readers that he, through the revelation of the Spirit, remembers Jesus talking about being raised from the dead, it is abundantly obvious that not one of the disciples came close to understanding this.
iii. Even though the Old Testament spoke of people being raised from the dead, even though they had seen Jesus raise others from the dead, and even though they had been given power to raise the dead – this wasn’t even on their radar.
iv. After the resurrection we see the light bulbs start to turn on for them, as they remember what he said.
v. This really resonates with what we talked about last week. Belief is not simply a matter of hearing the truth, or even making a choice. You must receive grace to understand. Jesus told them bluntly here that on the third day He’d be raised… and they didn’t get it. Because God had not illuminated their eyes to the truth of it.
d. [Slide 4] 22 – Peter took him aside and began to rebuke Him
i. For a disciple to rebuke a master is unthinkable.
ii. Perhaps Peter, feeling emboldened by his understanding of who Jesus was, thought he could do no wrong.
e. “Oh no, Lord! This will never happen to you!”
i. Literally the phrase is mercy to you. Or may God have mercy on you.
ii. There is a sense that Peter is saying that this not only cannot but will not happen, as long as he is alive he won’t let it. Why?
iii. After Jesus just got done telling them that He was going to build His assembly on the front porch of the kingdom of darkness and render its power ineffective . After Jesus issues this invasion plan, bringing the kingdom of God to earth…
iv. And another layer of Peter’s thinking is that he has just confessed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. All of which is true. But what is the Messiah to Peter?
v. It is obvious that Peter saw Jesus as the forever king that would reign from Jerusalem forever. That this spiritual objective of the Kingdom of God was to operate in tandem with the plan for national Israel. Peter thought, if anything, Jesus would go to Jerusalem to claim Kingship.
vi. Then to have Jesus say He will knowingly go to Jerusalem to be put to death by the religious elite? How can this be Jesus? How can you say that your assembly will invade the kingdom of darkness and will not be overwhelmed and then say you are going to knowingly go die?
vii. Peter wants Jesus to be the Messiah that inherits all the kingdoms of the world, including all the kingdoms of Satan and his demons, but to do so without dying.
f. [Slide 5] 23 – Jesus turned and told Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me
i. Ok so Peter is mistaken.
ii. Peter is wrong.
iii. Peter is mixed up, lacking faith, and acting kinda protective of Jesus and the future of National Israel.
iv. But Satan?
v. Hindrance here means stumbling block. In most cases in the new testament when this expression is used, it means to be the cause of someone else’s sin.
vi. Jesus is saying that you are playing the part of Satan because you are tempting me to sin.
vii. Doesn’t this seem a little… extreme?
viii. Why is Peter being this stumbling block? Or what is making him stumbling block material?
g. because you’re not thinking about God’s concerns but human concerns.”
i. What does this mean?
ii. Peter you are out of step with the will of God. Why?
iii. Because you cannot imagine any harmony between the coming of the Kingdom and the death of its King. And the reason you cannot see it, is because both your thoughts on the kingdom and your thoughts on the King are wrong.
iv. You assume that if God would come down to earth to rule and establish His kingdom that there would be some that are worthy of being its citizens. The truth is that none are worthy to be its citizen. Not even Jews. And given their lack of faith – perhaps especially not Jews right now.
v. You assume that the Messiah will come in power and might laying waste to all in His path. But the truth is that the prophesies have always predicted a Messiah that would be rejected and spurned by His own people.
vi. In short, you assume that you have a better way for God to establish His Kingdom, than the one that God Himself planned. And at the center of that plan, is national Israel’s safety and prosperity. And God’s Messiah ruling all nations from the seat of Jerusalem.
vii. But God’s plan is much bigger, and much more complex than simply establishing a nation. God is not aiming for Israel, but for mankind. And with that in His sights – the Kingdom is far bigger than just Israel.
h. So now that we know Peter’s error. And why he committed that error. Perhaps now we can understand why Jesus called him Satan.
i. Go back to Matthew chapter 4 with me.
ii. On March 5, 2017, We looked at this passage and I delivered a message entitled – The King’s Demonstration of Kingdom Life
iii. Looking back this could have easily been a 3 part sermon, but I crammed it into 1 54 minute sermon. Sorry about that J
iv. Rather than re-exegete this passage or read my words again. I think it would be best to just let past me talk about the very last temptation Satan had for Jesus. Listen with me.
v. [Slide 6 – let it play- last words are “There is no other way”] – 34:31 to 37.02
vi. [Slide 7 (blank)] Just like Satan, Peter suggested an alternative means for the Messiah to rule the world. That rather than the Father giving it to Him after He humbled Himself to the point of the cross, that He simply reach out and take it.
vii. Jesus’ words are not arbitrary. He calls Peter Satan, because regardless whether Jesus could or could not sin, we know that the only thing that could be a hindrance to Him would be such an offer.
viii. And just like Jesus commanded Satan to be gone, He commands Peter to get out of His way.
ix. He has turned toward Jerusalem. And there is no going back.
x. Praise the Lord He did not turn back.
i. In this passage so far we have seen that God’s Kingdom functions drastically different than the Kingdom of this world.
i. The path to world domination, the path to victory, the path to control, the path to getting your way – in this world – is always through power. It is by overpowering your opposition and forcing your will upon them.
ii. And perhaps Jesus’ words next to the rock of the gods moved Peter to confusion. Jesus Himself spoke of rendering the kingdom of darkness powerless against the Messiah’s Assembly
iii. But in the Kingdom of God, the path to domination, victory, control and God getting what is rightfully His, is tempered by His love. His Grace. His mercy.
iv. Although God could have rode back into Eden and taken back what was His, the cost would have been His creation. And although God does not need us – God wants us.
v. So He postpones His re-invasion for thousands of years. And lo and behold when He does come and announces the coming of His Kingdom, He does not do so by invading with His angels to take it all back.
vi. Instead he battles the forces of the dead by raising them to life.
vii. You and I, who were once rebels. Among the army of the dead. Have been given a spiritual pulse.
viii. God getting what is His again – is happening in the most loving and beautiful way it could. His invasion starts in our hearts.
ix. With the bloody, gruesome, tragic and beautiful crushing, of The Word of God. The wrath of God, poured out on… Himself.
x. This kingdom’s beauty, its mystery, is beyond anything that a human could have ever dreamed. Yet God’s Sovereign Will wove it all together.
j. And yet we still struggle to trust God with our finances. When we suffer from anything from a hangnail to the loss of a loved one, the command to trust God as Sovereign over all is almost insulting.
k. Do you not know, have you not heard, the Lord is Everlasting. His ways are not your ways. He does not simply know the future He holds it in His hands. Operating outside time, space and matter. We who still struggle to trust God in the midst of trial and pain, have no business judging Peter.
l. Jesus was commanding Peter to stop putting God in a box and to consider that God’s plans were bigger than him and his ethnic background. Even though God’s word clearly told him it included him and his ethnic background.
m. If God is Sovereign… fear, doubt, worry = these are simply symptoms of unbelief.
n. We must submit to the Sovereign rule of God – If the bible does anything – it shows us that He is ALWAYS WORTHY of our trust. Even, and especially when that is in the midst of our pain.
God’s Kingdom is always working backward, upside down, sideways and cockeyed to what we imagine it would. Of course the truth is that it is not His Kingdom but we who are backward, upside down, sideways and cockeyed. We need our perspectives to align with God’s. Part of that is submitting to His Sovereign Will. But – there is another part of that. One that is more universal, and one that is really step 1 of God’s invasion of our hearts. Look at verse 24.
II.) The Kingdom of God functions drastically different than the kingdom of this world, so we must surrender our lives to be Christ’s disciple.(24-27)
a. [Slide 8] 24 – Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to follow after me,
i. Using this encounter with Peter as a springboard, Jesus wants to teach something to His disciples.
ii. Peter’s view was clouded with self. His own understanding and interests were clouding his trust in the sovereign plan of God. The fact that Jesus said something, should have been enough for Peter to trust and submit to.
iii. Nevertheless, Peter wanted it to be the way he understood it to be. And in so doing, he found himself against the Father’s will.
iv. So now Jesus turns and says to all – Listen up everyone. Do you really want to follow me? Do you really want to be my disciples?
v. Let me tell you what that looks like…
b. Let him deny himself
i. Do not believe the lie that has been adopted today, even in many churches and many counseling rooms, that such a thing exists as the lack of self-love. A lack of self-esteem. A lack of self-confidence.
ii. When Jesus says, that part 1 of following Him is to deny yourself, to suppress your self, to ignore your self, to discard self, to reject self, to forget self… the answer to any problem we have cannot be to inflate self. Because if that is the answer, it is the opposite direction of discipleship. It is the opposite direction of following Christ.
iii. Therefore, it is NEVER the answer. Even if it appears that the person in front you hates themselves – Look deeper for another answer, because that is not it.
iv. The first step in discipleship is to stop being consumed with you. Indeed if we are to love God with all that we are, and others as we already do ourselves, there is a great deal of self-love, self-will, self-pleasure and self-esteem, that must be put down.
c. [Slide 9] Take up his cross and follow me. – 25 - For whoever wants to save his life will lose it But whoever loses his life because of me will find it
i. We have talked about this before when we looked at chapter 10 on December 10th of 2017.
ii. The message was titled The War that Good News Started.
iii. [Slide 10 – let it play – Last words are “Lose their life for His sake”– 26:22 to 31:21
iv. [Slide 11] At this point you may be thinking- Gee Chris – thanks for the “greatest hits” message today. You keep stealing stuff from previous sermons.
v. If you are feeling that way – that is exactly how I wanted you to feel.
vi. Because like you – this is not the first time the disciples have heard this. And perhaps like you- they have still yet to learn it.
vii. Lucky for us, Jesus expands upon this teaching in this passage. What more does He say?
d. [Slide 12] 26 – For what will it benefit someone if he gains the whole world yet loses his life?
i. Jesus says if you got everything you wanted, even to the point of ruling the world, but lose your soul – what would it possibly gain you?
ii. Perhaps Jesus’ eyes connected with Peter’s here. Peter if I gained the ruling of the world but did so outside the Father’s will – what would it gain me really?
e. Or what will anyone give in exchange for his life?
i. This question is designed to cause them to reflect on their own hearts
ii. Is what you are living for worth your soul’s destiny?
iii. Is what you are pursuing worthy your soul’s destiny?
iv. Jesus issues a warning and promise. A curse and a blessing.
f. [Slide 13] 27 – For the Son of Man is going to come with His angels in the glory of His Father,
i. One day, Peter, it will be just as you said.
ii. One day I will come in the fullness of the glory of the Father. With the full host heavenly armies.
iii. I will come to invade as you have assumed I would now.
iv. But when I do…
g. and then He will reward each according to what he has done.
i. This proves to be a rather difficult passage for us who believe that salvation is not of works lest any should boast.
ii. Perhaps there is hope in the word reward. Jesus only speaks of rewarding, so all are saved in this context, it is just the amount of crowns that Jesus is giving out.
iii. That works in theory, but the word for reward is more like payment, or wages. It does not necessarily imply the positive. It is more a simple result. Probably then, this means that Jesus is saying, based on evil works or good works, Jesus will repay or compensate.
iv. Once again, we are forced to recognize the inseparable nature of saving faith and works. And again, I’d ask that you listen very carefully so that you do not misunderstand.
v. Saving faith always produces a changed person. Saving faith always produces a person who continues to deny himself, continues to kill his desires off, and continues to depend on Christ for forgiveness and direction in life. This is so central to the gospel, so central to the concept of saving faith, that Jesus says by your deeds you will be judged.
vi. What He is saying, is that if your deeds have not changed, then the faith you possess is not a faith that saves.
vii. Or another way of looking at this, is that Salvation is by grace through faith apart from good works… but also, salvation that is by grace through faith must produce good works.
viii. So even though works have absolutely no part in obtaining our salvation, our salvation has everything to do with God producing good works through us.
ix. Entire books of the bible were written so we might know we are saved. And their message does not ask over and over again what we believe or what prayer we prayed. Their message revolves around the concept of analyzing our lives, our motives, and our works.
x. Since salvation is by grace through faith, we have no other hope but in Christ.
xi. Since salvation that is by grace through faith must produce good works, we have no other hope but in Christ.
xii. So then the grace and faith that God gives us extends beyond just a one time conversion, and to our every day lives as we daily walk in obedience to God.
h. [Slide 14 (blank)] But do you realize what Jesus has just said to His disciples in these last 3 verses?
i. After revealing that His church would be built upon the porch of the kingdom of darkness and that the forces of that kingdom will not overpower His assembly, he calls the spokesperson of the disciples Satan, and tells the rest of them what it means to be His follower.
j. He is saying that in this invasion where the Kingdom of God comes to stand against the Kingdom of darkness… that they are still in the kingdom of darkness.
k. I’d imagine that after following Him for over two years at this point, and after hearing about this invasion, that they were feeling pretty good. But Jesus’ words – which they probably didn’t quite understand – was, guys, you aren’t with me. Can’t you see – you are still against me.
l. And His words about losing their lives for His sake, was in a sense, the invasion plan of God, for their hearts.
m. The Kingdom of God works differently than the kingdom of this world.
i. If you wanted to be someone’s disciple in the kingdom of the world – you would pay attention to what they taught, do all that they do, to the point that you can go out from them and people can then follow you and your name, becoming your disciples.
ii. If you wanna be Christ’s disciple, you must first discard any hopes or dreams of being anything but what He desires of you. You could never aspire to be more than His disciple. And in this, you’ll never be the master. You will gain disciples but they are always His disciples.
iii. If you want to excel in the kingdom of darkness, you must be strong. Only the strong survive. You must fight for what you want and pursue it with all you have.
iv. But to simply enter the Kingdom of God, you must lose all you love and care for most for the sake of God’s Kingdom. You must be totally dependent on Christ.
v. The true God of this world will one day return and gather unto himself all that have forsaken this life for His sake. But the rest, will be cast aside.
So, quite organically, we must apply this text as Jesus did to His disciples.
Last week, you saw the call of war against the forces of darkness. Last week the text reminded us that even now the church is at war against the principalities and powers of this age. And we are the force that is holding them back, not by our strength but by the strength of our king.
And perhaps you left feeling pumped. Energized. Sobered up. That the fight is still on and we have more to do and our time is running short. Perhaps you felt the battle cry.
But. Perhaps, you should first ask yourself. In the war between the Kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness – are you sure you know which side you are on?
These disciples – and even this particular disciple Peter – thought they knew. But they were mistaken.
Jesus’ invitation, is yours as well.
All who desire to be His disciple, His follower - Must deny themselves, putting themselves to death, and follow Christ.
All who are Kingdom citizens were once citizens of the kingdom of darkness. All living in Christ were once dead in sin.
Is Your Kingdom that you have worked 5, 10, 20, 40 years to build, crumbling? Are your hopes, dreams, purposes, plans, goals and desires being killed by the power of the grace of God? Are they being replaced with His hopes, dreams, purposes, plans, goals and desires?
Have you been transformed? Are you being transformed? How would I know, you may ask. How do you live? Do you hate what God hates? Do you love God and God’s people? Do you hunger and thirst after obedience to God? Can you read His word and understand?
These 12 men walked with the Messiah for over 2 years, and Jesus tells them, they still are on the wrong side. Could you still be on the wrong side too? Have you been invaded by the grace of God almighty?
When Jesus returns in the Glory the Father grants to Him, with His heavenly host to reclaim this world as His own… what will be the reward for your deeds? Will you gain life? Or will you lose your life?
The application for today is simple but what it lacks in flair it makes up for in priority. This is the single greatest point of the gospel that is often overlooked by many.
God’s Kingdom operates differently than anything we are familiar with. It will condemn you to a life filled with spiritual turmoil and constant dissatisfaction with how much like Christ you are not. You will awaken to a new understanding of the depth of your sin, as the Spirit battles it every day to make you more holy. And as this holiness awakens in you, you will feel less and less enamored with this world. Even repulsed by what it offers.
It will be a life that others will mock and even seek to destroy. It will be a life that loses friends, family – indeed some of you here today have lost friends because of your submission to God’s word. Being a follower of Christ will constantly force you to choose between what is valued by everyone else and what is valued by your King.
Being a follower of Christ means you see trials and suffering as opportunity for perfect and enduring faith to be formed in you. Being a follower of Christ means resisting and fleeing temptation, to the point that you may not go to the same movies, play the same games, or listen to the same music as others.
In short, being a follower of Christ will demand that everything in your life is radically changed from bottom to top, and even the things that appear to remain the same will be repurposed and reestablished to bring God glory and not you. And this is the first step of God’s invasion. To invade and hostilely take over the hearts and lives of men. He must do this, to change you into something more.
Your identity will be lost as you disappear into the name of Jesus Christ. And You will die a nobody so that He may get glory. And if you are a Kingdom citizen – you want so desperately for that to be true! To die quietly without shaking the world at your exiting, but to see Christ use your life to change lives. There have been some recently who have died who bore this legacy. They were nobodies. Nothings. Outside of Michigan, no one knew them. But hundreds bore witness to their devotion to the Kingdom of God.
Well those are just examples of sold-out Christians Chris. The elite. Friends there is no such thing as sold out Christians..
A Sold out Christian is just a Christian. Which means anyone with anything less, is forced to wonder what they are exactly.
[Slide 15] We will end the message with a hymn. # 372I used to hate this hymn. I used to question how this hymn was put in a hymnbook. My thought was – what a terrible thing to question. Am I a soldier of the cross? Am I a follower of the lamb?
But friends – the more I study God’s word, the more I realize that this may be the single greatest hymn that has ever been written.
As you sing – ask yourself the questions that the song writer prompts you to ask.
The first 3 verses are filled with hard questions. Some of them you can’t know the answers to – others of them, you can but it will take some digging.
As we are finishing up the third verse, I’d ask that the men come forward for communion this morning. And before you partake of the elements, make sure you wrestle with the questions we sing.
Sing with me on the first 3 verses
Break 1: Have you denied yourself? Have you taken your hopes and dreams, all your gods, every path that you’d seek to find what you desire, and have you nailed them upon the cross of Christ? Have you risen from that execution in new life to follow after Him? And have you continued to do this? Then remember who He has made you to be by partaking of the bread.
Break 2: Have you lost your life for His sake? Have you understood that sacrificing all that is eternal upon the alter of all that is temporal is foolishness? Have you placed yourself in Christ who raises up holiness in you? Then remember with me who He has made you to be by taking the cup.
The fourth verse is:
Sure I must fight if I would reign – a statement about the surety of trouble and persecution in this world if we are Kingdom citizens, but if we endure, there is certainty that we will reign with Him.
Increase my courage Lord! – Revelation says that cowards will not inherit the Kingdom of heaven. The writer asks, as a Kingdom citizen would – to increase his courage as he faces the opposition of the world
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain – Where faith and obedience come together, dependent on the courage of the Lord, I’ll step out in faith and endure to the end for His sake.
Supported by Thy Word – capitalized – not just the word of God in the sense of the bible, but the Word of God in the sense of Christ Himself. He gives courage, hope, and will sustain Those who are His.
If the questions previous are settled as much as they can be, and this 4th verse is your prayer…. SING IT OUT AND SING IT LOUD!