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The Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost

"A Class On Life Saving"
Matthew 16:21-26
Rev. Wayne Dobratz

I. What a lifeguard can expect

 A. He often puts his own life at risk in attempting to save others

 B. He sometimes must fight with the person he is trying to save

 C. Peter didn’t understand what Jesus had to do to be our Lifeguard.

 1. He rebukes him–According to John MacArthur, Peter used an expression  such as "God forbid". But it was for just this purpose–suffering, dying and rising again–that Jesus came to this world. In his inability to understand a humiliated, abused, and crucified Messiah, Peter unwittingly rejected God’s  plan for redemption and used God’s name in the process. Hence the stern rebuke Jesus gives him.

 2. Jesus had labeled Peter’s earlier faithful confession as being "rock-like,"  a play on words of Peter’s name (Matt. 16:18). Instead of being "rock-like" in  hisfaith, Peter has now become a stumbling block. As Marvin Vincent  writes,   Peter is "no longer lying in his right position as a massive  foundation stone, but is rather lying right across the road that Jesus must walk."

 3. Hence Jesus’ harsh rebuke, calling him "Satan" or adversary. Jesus had  endured a similar temptation in the wilderness, right after his ministry began– see Matt. 4:8-10.

II. If you want to save your life, you must lose it for Jesus. Mk 8:34-38; Acts 14:21ff.; 1 Thess 3:3ff.; 2 Tim. 3:12-13; John 12:25-28; Acts 20:23ff.; Rev. 12:11.

Adam Clarke writes: For whosoever will save his life—That is, shall wish to save his life—at the expense of his conscience, and casting aside the cross, he shall lose it—the very evil he wishes to avoid shall overtake him; and he shall lose his soul into the bargain. See then how necessary it is to renounce one’s self! But whatsoever a man loses in this world, for his steady attachment to Christ and his cause, he shall have amply made up to him in the eternal world.

III. The only lasting gain is to follow Jesus’ example

 A. You will lose what you own in this life anyway–Lk. 12:18-20;  Eccl. 1:1-11

 B. Following Jesus brings a reward in eternal life.

Adam Clarke writes: If any will come after me—i.e. to be my disciple. This discourse was intended to show Peter and the rest of the disciples the nature of his kingdom; and that the honor that cometh from the world was not to be expected by those who followed Christ.

The principles of the Christian life are: 

First. To have a sincere desire to belong to Christ—If any man be WILLING to be my disciple, etc.

Second. To renounce self-dependence, and selfish pursuits—Let him deny HIMSELF.

Third. To embrace the condition which God has appointed, and bear the troubles and difficulties he may meet with in walking the Christian road—Let him take up HIS CROSS.

Fourth. To imitate Jesus, and do and suffer all in his spirit—Let him FOLLOW ME.

The Rewards: Matt. 5:10-12; Matt. 10:41-42; Matt. 16:27; Lk. 6:35; Eph. 6:7-8; Col. 3:23-24; Rev. 22:12.

A closing thought from Adam Clarke:

If a man should gain the whole world, its riches, honors, and pleasures, and lose his life, what would all these profit him, seeing they can only be enjoyed during life? But if the words be applied to the soul, they show the difficulty—the necessity—and importance of salvation. The world, the devil, and a man’s own heart are opposed to his salvation; therefore it is difficult. The soul was made for God, and can never be united to him, nor be happy, till saved from sin: therefore it is necessary. He who is saved from his sin, and united to God, possesses the utmost felicity that the human soul can enjoy, either in this or the coming world: therefore, this salvation is important.

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Copyright 2002 Ministry Health, LLC 

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This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:31 PM