Sovereign Lord or Helpful Friend? (Matthew 16:21-28)

150208 [Converted]One of my favorite TV shows growing up was Mission:Impossible. Not the Tom Cruise movies, but the original series. It was about a team called IMF - the Impossible Missions Force. They were a covert government agency that was given impossible missions. And through creativity and planning they accomplished their mission. As we move into 2015, I think now is a good time to evaluate if we know our mission. I once read that the church has the greatest mission in the world.

We can find it in Matthew 28:18-20 : Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Now a vision is a picture of the future. Who do we need to become to accomplish this mission? How is Christ asking us to represent Him in this world? How can we point people to saving faith in Jesus Christ?

For the English congregation at SFEFC, I have compiled the following vision: As God's kingdom citizens, we are striving to embody the values in the kingdom of God: 1) to know/love God deeply; 2) to love others unselfishly; 3) to serve the community faithfully; 4) to share the gospel joyfully.

In your every day life, are you focused on the mission? Are you embodying the vision of who God wants you to be?

Is Jesus Christ your Sovereign Lord or just a helpful friend to avoid pain and give you blessings?

In Matthew 16:21-28, towards the mid-point of Christ's ministry, He starts telling the disciples the true nature of His ministry: 1) it is a ministry of sacrifice and obedience that will lead to His suffering and death; 2) what it means to be a disciple; 3) the hope of the coming kingdom.

The Jewish people were not expecting their Messiah to suffer and die at all. So that's why Peter boldly confronts Jesus in v.22 "Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you."

But Peter wasn't thinking about God's concerns, he was thinking about human concerns. And so Jesus tells them what it will mean to be His disciple. It will involve: 1) denying yourself; 2) taking up your cross; and 3) following Him.

Are you truly a disciple of Christ? Are you willing to daily submit your will to God's will? Are you following Christ? Or do you see God as the One who is supposed to help you to be comfortable and help you to avoid pain and suffering?

Jesus Christ has entrusted us with an awesome mission. Will you choose Christ to be your Sovereign Lord and allow Him to use you to be a part of what He is doing in this world?