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The Ultimate New Year’s Resolution

The Ultimate New Year’s Resolution

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“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

It is the end of 2017–the beginning of 2018 and the perfect time to ask the question “Who is Jesus Christ?” Even better, it is the perfect time to answer the question, “Who is Jesus Christ to me?” It’s a very personal question on which all of life hinges.

It is interesting that Jesus begins this encounter with His disciples by asking who “others” believe that He is. Very interesting. How many times do we determine truth based on what others believe? In today’s culture, some would declare pluralism to be truth, others that inclusivism is truth. . . add pantheism, universalism, new age, and on and on. Certainly all of these cannot be true. Public consensus always leads to compromise of real truth–to political correctness at the expense of biblical doctrine. Paul writes in Colossians, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” Colossians 2:8

As Christ-followers, we are formed, fashioned, and guided by the Word of God in our personal conviction of who Christ is. Consider these declarations:

The angel in Matthew 1:21 proclaims: “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

John the Baptist says in John 1:29, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.”

Nathanael says in John 1:49, “Rabbi, You are the son of God.”

Peter says before the Sanhedrin in Acts 4:12, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Peter writes to the believers in 1 Peter 3:18: “For Christ suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.”

Paul writes to Timothy in 1 Timothy 2:5-6: “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for us all.”

John writes in 1 John 5:12: “He who has the Son (Jesus) has life; he who does not have the Son (Jesus) does not have life.”

And Jesus Himself says in John 8:24: “If you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.” In John 8:58, “Before Abraham was born, I am!” and in John 10:30: “I and the Father are one.”

And Jesus says in John 14:6: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life and no one comes to the Father but by Me.”

Some would then say in disbelief, “That is too narrow.” The truth is always narrow. Mathematical truth is narrow–two plus two always equals four. Scientific truth is narrow–water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Historical truth is narrow–John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln at the Ford Theater in Washington, D.C. Geographical truth is narrow–Oklahoma and Texas are bordered by the Red River, not the Mississippi River. So theological truth is “narrow”: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

Peter’s declaration of Christ found in Matthew 16:15 is an interesting passage of Scripture. As my pastor has pointed out, although the Greek text is only ten words in length, the definite article is used four times: “You are the Christ, the Son of the God, the living One.” In this statement from Peter’s heart, he identifies Jesus as the Messiah, Jesus as divine–and only Jesus as the Messiah and Jesus as divine.

C.S. Lewis, in his great classic, Mere Christianity, writes: “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus did would not be a great moral teacher. . . . Either this man was, and is, the Son of God–or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit on Him and kill Him. . . or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

So this takes us back to the original, ultimate question, “But what about you?” He asked. “Who do you say I am?” Follow the book of Matthew through nine more chapters—the account of the transfiguration, Jesus’ final days of teaching, His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the betrayal, Lord’s Supper, His arrest and crucifixion. You will find another great confession. . . . this one by military members present who saw and heard Jesus. “When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, ‘Surely He was the Son of God!’” Matthew 27:54

How would you feel toward a fellow soldier who stepped between you and a bullet to save your life? Why should we not feel the same way toward Jesus? That is exactly what He did. Like the Centurions at the foot of the cross and military members through ages since who have come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior, consider Him. . . . repent of your sin. . . confess Him as your Savior. . . .know Him. . . .love Him. . . .serve Him. Making Him “Commander in Chief” of your life is the only way you will then spend eternity with Him.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Questions to share:

1. Do you rely on others to shape what you believe? Is there any danger in that?

2. Do you believe that Jesus is who He says He is? (“The high priest said to Him, ‘I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.’ ‘Yes, it is as you say.’ Jesus replied.” Matthew 26:63b-64a)

If you desire to profess Jesus as your Lord and Savior, go to:

Happy New Year!!! Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10b

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