The Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost September 6, 2020
Text: Matthew 16:13-17 CW 3 Year Series A 20:2212
Theme: Truly Happy Are You to Know Christ!
Are you a happy person? Some may say “yes”, some may say “no,” and others may say “sometimes”. So, what would you say?
If you would say “no” or “sometimes”, I would ask: “Why aren’t you happy?” If you said “yes”, then I would ask, “What makes you happy?” Some might say, “My family makes me happy.” Others might say, “My job makes me happy,” or “Good health makes me happy” or “Nice things make me happy” or “Your friendship makes me happy.” Those are all good things, aren’t they?
But what happens when something goes awry with any of that: you lose a family member close to you…a friend turns on you…a job you liked becomes a hardship…you lose all your possessions? Will you still be happy? That which made you happy is now replaced by grief. Where does true happiness lie?
In the Bible both the Hebrew and Greek words for “blessed’ could also be translated as “happy.” In fact, some English versions do that. At home I have an English translation (Julian Anderson) that gives Jesus’ response to Peter in verse 17 this way: “Simon, Jonah’s son, you’re a truly happy man because no human being has told you that I am the Messiah. It was my Father in heaven, who told you this.”
Unless you know who Jesus is, you are not a truly happy person. And unless the Father reveals the truth about Jesus to you, you will not see it. And, no matter the circumstance of life through which you must pass, whether hard times or easy, whether good or bad, to know Jesus makes you truly happy, even in the midst of tears. Truly Happy Are You to Know Christ!
I. Who is He?
It’s important to know Him, and, just as important, what you say of Him because words are a reflection of what is in the heart. “What the mouth speaks, flows from the heart,” Jesus said (Mt.12:34). Words reflect what is in the heart. So it is that Jesus warned, “On the day of judgment people will give account of every careless word they have spoken. In fact, by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (12:36f). At that time will your words make you happy or bring you terror?
So, consider: Do your words match what’s in your heart? And does that which is in your heart truly reflect what God says? If you are neglecting to say things that He reveals are true, it shows that your heart is not right with Him. Some people think that words are just words and aren’t so important. But what you say or don’t say is important to God and your eternal welfare. It also reveals whether or not you are among the truly happy ones in this world.
Jesus knew that. So it was that in our text He asked the disciples what people were saying about Him: “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
“Son of Man” – that was Jesus’ favorite title for Himself. He used it because it put him alongside us. He is truly our brother, born of a woman, fully human. We needed one like us to step into our place and do the things that God wants us to do but which we have failed in sin to do. Jesus became one of us to save us. He’s the “Son of Man.”
But there’s more to Jesus than being a man. He’s the “Son of God” too, very God, divine just like the Father. He’s God and man rolled into one. That’s who He is – the kind of Savior we need. Do people see it? Peter and the Twelve saw it…heard it right in front of them. So did many others. But many of those “others” rejected it. We may not see it right in front of us, but God has clearly revealed the truth about Jesus to us in the Bible. Does what our lips say truly reflect what is in our hearts?
Since Jesus knows what is in the heart of all men (Jn.2:24), He knows what we think before we speak. He already knew what other people thought about Him. He already knew what the disciples were thinking. So, it wasn’t for His sake that He asked this question because He already knew the answer. It was for the disciple’s sake that He asked them, giving them an opportunity to consider, compare, and contrast who He was with what other people were saying.
What do people say today about who Jesus is? If you asked your neighbor, what would he say? If you asked someone at work, what would she say? If you asked a daughter, a son, grandchild, cousin, or some other relative, what would they say? Who do people say the Son of Man is? It’s important because their temporal and eternal happiness depends on it.
The answers the disciples gave from people weren’t healthy ones: “John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or another prophet of old come back to life.” In one way they were all complimentary answers. Those were all great prophets of the Old Testament times. But the answers fell short. They were wrong. That’s not who the Lord Jesus is.
Many today don’t do much better. People will say, “Jesus is a great teacher, a miracle worker, a good example to follow.” Even the other false religions of the world generally have good things to say about Jesus. But none of them go far enough. They all miss the most critical point. He is all those things. But if you don’t know Him as more than that, you don’t know who He is. It’s important and your happiness depends on it. So, think about it for your words will reflect what is truly in your heart.
You know, this account happened almost 2,000 years ago, but it is the same as if the Lord Jesus were standing right in front of you today and asking: “What do people say about me? How does that compare with you? Who do you believe I am? Is what you think that which I really am? Who am I?” Oh, that we all would be quick to answer without hesitation like Peter, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
II. What is He?
And with those words Peter said a mouthful. He called Jesus divine. But more than saying who He is, Peter declared what He is.
Christ is not a name; Christ is a title that designates what He is and does. It means “the Anointed One,” the appointed one, set apart by God for heavenly work. By nature, we can’t see it until God tells us. The understanding is only made available in the Father’s classroom of heavenly learning as He sends His Spirit to teach us. So Jesus said, “Blessed or Truly happy, are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.” It must have put a smile on Jesus’ face.
To identify Jesus, the lowly carpenter from Nazareth, as the Christ is to see Him as the One promised and appointed by God from the very beginning. It is to see Him for what He is – my Savior from sin and death…my Savior who died for my sin and rose again to give me life…my Savior who will keep me as His through every good and bad circumstance of life. Then, one day, He will take me to heaven with all the others who believe in Him.
However, don’t pat yourself on the back for being able to say that because even that recognition is a gift of God to you, “for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” How humbling and grateful we are to God for that. To know Christ this way makes You Truly Happy no matter what comes in life. This is what He is for you now, today, and always.
You can speak about Him in the past if you want. You can say He was born in a stable of a virgin mother. He cured sick people and raised some from the dead. You could say He died and rose again. And all of that is true and so important.
Or you could say that Jesus in the One who will return to judge the living/quick and the dead. Then He will take us who believe in Him to heaven. This is also most true and so important.
But don’t forget that what makes you truly happy as you know Him is that He is your Lord and Savior today. Because we know what He has done and what He will do, we also know what He is right now. He is the Christ, the Son of the living God in our lives. He guides, He leads, He calls us to follow, He asks us to serve. That’s for today. He loves us now, He accepts us now, He forgives us now, and then, in that faith, He will receive us to Himself above. Know Christ in all these ways today, and, come what may, You Are among the Truly Happy Ones. Wow! What the Father has revealed to us! God help us rejoice in it all, in faith, for Jesus’ sake.
Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield
(A member congregation of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue)
Church phone: 417.887.0886 www.zionluthchurch.com
Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also find us on Facebook
The Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost September 6, 2020
“Jesus asked, “Who do you say that I am?” Matthew 16:16
F o r O u r V i s i t o r s
The family of Zion welcomes you as we worship the Lord today. We encourage children to worship with us. However, if you need to leave with your child, there is a nursery room to the right as you exit the sanctuary. The rest rooms are located in the hallway between the sanctuary and the fellowship hall. Visitors, please sign our guest book to the right, just outside the sanctuary. We’re glad that you are here and pray that through our worship the Lord grants you peace.
U p o n E n t e r i n g G o d’ s H o u s e
“I will bless the LORD at all times. His praise will always be in my mouth….The humble will hear and rejoice. Proclaim the greatness of the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together” (Psalm 34:1-3)
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
Who Is Jesus? What is your answer? Your life depends on it.
Many people speak highly of Him, yet lack true understanding. Even within the church on earth there is ignorance, confusion, and many a wrong notion. At the end of time, if true understanding is not sought and false opinions are followed, those who remain in their ignorance will hear the Savior tell them: “I never knew you. Away from me.”
The eternal happiness and blessed strength of the believer and the Church rests upon the Father’s true and saving revelation of His Son. Nothing more, nothing less, and certainly nothing else! So what do you say? Jesus of Nazareth – Who is He? Your welfare in the present and in eternity rides upon your answer.
To that end we pray: Almighty and everlasting God, give us an increase of faith, hope, and love; and, that we may obtain what You promise, help us love whom You reveal and what You command for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
– T h e W o r d o f G o d f o r T o d a y –
The Old Testament Lesson: Exodus 6:2-8
Who is Jahweh? That is the special name by which the Lord described Himself to Israel as the God of the covenant. He is the God of full and faithful grace. When Pharaoh refused to let Israel go, God repeated His name to Moses with the promise of deliverance attached to it.
The Epistle Lesson: Romans 11:33-36
Who is the Lord? He is the God of wisdom that transcends all human understanding. His ways can’t be traced out by us. Everything is from, through, and to Him. Therefore, Paul sings His praise.
The Gospel Lesson: Matthew 16:13-20
Who is the Son of Man? Many don’t know. They may speak highly of Him yet fall short of the saving truth. He is the Christ! Jesus asked His disciples and Peter answered in the way that people must see Him in order to be saved.
O u r P r a c t i c e o f H o l y C o m m u n i o n
Out of deep love for the truth of God’s Word and precious souls, we follow the practice of Close Communion in our congregation. This has been the practice of Christians for centuries and reflects the Bible’s teaching on unity of faith in the reception of the Supper (1 Cor.10:17). It does not judge a person’s heart but anticipates agreement in that which God says. Since we do not wish to put anyone in the position of declaring such agreement with us before study in the Word is possible, we ask that only those who are communicant members of this or another Wisconsin Synod or ELS congregation come to receive the Sacrament.
The Organist: Jane Rips is absent today
The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Point to Ponder: Peter was inconsistent in his relationship to Jesus. He was impetuous, restless, and unstable. His worst moment came when he denied Jesus.
But Peter was also a rock, firm and solid, when Jesus asked what others thought of Him. Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ.’ He was a rock not because of personal strength but because the faith he confessed was grounded on the stone foundation of Christ’s Word.
How can we be consistent, rock-solid in our faith? The Word of God and His means of grace will strengthen us.”
— Rudolph Norden on Peter, Reed, and Rock
Outline of Our Worship
Opening Hymn: #240
Order of Worship: The Common Service: page 15-16
Prayer of the Day
The Ministry of the Word
Old Testament Lesson: Exodus 6:2-8: God Promises Deliverance
2Then God spoke to Moses, telling him, “I am the Lord. 3I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name, the Lord, I was not known to them. 4I also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land where they were residing as aliens. 5I certainly have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians have enslaved, and I have remembered my covenant.
6“Therefore tell the Israelites, ‘I am the Lord. I will bring you out from under the forced labor of the Egyptians. I will deliver you from being their slaves. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. 7I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. You will know that I am the Lord your God, the one who brought you out from under the forced labor of the Egyptians. 8I will bring you to the land which I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.’”
Epistle Lesson: Romans 11:33-36: Praise to God Who Shows Mercy
33Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable are his judgments and how untraceable his ways!
34“For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his adviser?”
35“Or who has first given to God that he will be repaid?”
36For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.
Hymn Response: #399
Gospel Lesson: Matthew 16:13-19: Jesus Is the Christ
13When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14They said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15He said to them, “But you, who do you say that I am?”
16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not overpower it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20Then he commanded the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.
The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) copyright © 2019 The Wartburg Project
The Nicene Creed pg.18
Sermon: Matthew 16:13-18 Truly Happy Are You to Know Christ!
Our Response to the Word
The Offertory: Hymnal pg.20
Prayers & The Lord’s Prayer
The Lord Blesses Us
The Closing Hymn: #538
Because of rising health concerns in our community, we will celebrate Holy Communion after the close of the worship service today.
C a l e n d a r & A n n o u n c e m e n t s f o r Z i o n L u t h e r a n C h u r c h
Divine Worship Service
on line – Facebook
Holy Communion afterwards
| Some weekly activities are still curtailed.
Monthly Church Council
Midweek Bible Class
Divine Worship Service
on line – Facebook
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
“The Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ, her Lord.” The Holy Christian Church is not a building made by human hands, but it is a spiritual house made of living stones, people who have confessed that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, their Savior. Built on Christ, the sure foundation, this Church will endure throughout time and into eternity, though the attacks against it will be severe. Praise God that He has made known to us the truth that we might confess with Peter that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God!
The Gospel Lesson: Matthew 16:13-20 (answers are found on the back side)
- Why must Peter’s confession be ours? How will this occur?
- What are the keys of heaven?
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Dea Windsor; Clyde & Sharon Johnson; the Lisenbys’ granddaughter Jackie; Dave Ballou, at home; Laurie Moon’s father; Greg Miller; Casey Milam & family; Felicia Nichols’ brother’s family and father with the virus; Bill Buchanan; Lois Wiese; the family of Chris Bruck; Megan & Zach Sloan and infant daughter Maizey; Norine Richardson; Barbara Long at home.
Forward in Christ’s present issue for September is here. Copies will be found in the narthex.
Daily Devotions If you would like a hard copy of pastor’s daily devotions for the week past, you will find a few on the credenza in the narthex. If you would like to receive them through text on your cell phone or by email, let him know.
Face Masks Since Springfield/Greene County passed ordinances requiring face masks in public settings, we have been wearing masks in the worship service. There are masks, disposable gloves, and sanitizer in the narthex and the fellowship hall for your use. Please, watch your physical distancing in the service today, not only side to side but also front to back. We are not passing the offering plate during the service, but it will be found at the door upon leaving.
The Week in Review
Last Sunday’s Worship Attendance: 19; Adult Bible Class & Sunday School: no classes at this time; The Gardens Bible Class: no class; Midweek Bible Class: 5; Offering: $2,075
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
Pentecost 15 Series A: Jeremiah 15:15-21; Romans 12:1-8; Matthew 16:21-26
Answers to Today’s Gospel Lesson Brief Study:
- It is through Christ alone that we can enter the kingdom of God. This confession can come to us only as it is revealed to us by God, for our sinful natures could never come to this knowledge on our own. It will be revealed to us by the Holy Spirit through the means of grace, and once made, it can withstand even the fullest onslaught of the weapons of Satan.
- How amazing that Christ should give us the keys to His kingdom! Those keys are the authority that Christ gives us to lock and unlock the doors of heaven. To those who are repentant, we may offer forgiveness through the Gospel and throw the doors of heaven wide open! But to those who do not repent, we must use the Law to lock the doors of heaven, lovingly praying that they will through this action confess their sins and receive life.
This week I am praying for……