Session 14: Andy Stanley
Jesus asked His disciples, who do you say that I am?
Peter said: you are the son of the living God
Jesus said: On this rock I'm going to build a congregation, an assembly, and death isn't going to stop it.
There is no way that those guys had any idea of what Jesus was talking about.
"it is so unfortunate that the word church has turned up in our New Testament"
it was 100s of years later that people used that word to refer to a place
ekklesia is a group, a gathering, a team
You won't find the word church in the first english bible, it is a congregation (english word for group)
If we separated every denomination, there is only one thing that would still keep us together. The exact thing that Jesus predicted on the road outside of Ceasarea-Phillipi.
You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God
when you go to church, you are about to fulfill a prophecy. Jesus said "I will build my church, and death won't stop it"
[It's an absolute freaking miracle that the Christian religion made it out of the first century. It really is.]
Guys, there are going to be a lot of people, some will be loud, some will be weird, but they are all going to know me.
You fugitives from the law, go tell everybody in the world. The whole earth. Go.
How Jesus? None of us have ever been more than 30 miles from home?!
How did it happen? Because Jesus made a promise that it would happen. He has been working on it ever since.
Peter's sermon in acts is one that we stopped preaching a long time ago in America. How did this thing get started?
- You killed Him
- God brought Him back to life
- You say you're sorry
This sums up a lot of the sermons in the book of Acts. Not so much about how there is grace for you. Not so much about how your life can be better.
"You killed the author of life and God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this!" Peter called those people out.
Why? Because it had happened, it was undeniable, and it was important.
The central teaching wasn't "we believe something is true" it was "We believe something happened. God has done something!"
People fled Jerusalem to avoid persecution, but they didn't go far. They fled far enough to avoid persecution then they huddled.
Then God called somebody else.
Somebody that was single-handedly dismantling all of Jesus' work!
Somebody that would go after it with all of his might, not just to flee persecution.
Somebody like Saul of Tarsus had to get slammed off his horse. He wouldn't leave nets and follow some guy.
God interrupts careers, plans, families, to build His church.
Paul goes back to Jerusalem, puts a map up on the wall of the conference room, draws a circle around Jerusalem.
"guys, you are doing great, keep up the good work, but now let's do this. You take Jerusalem, I'll take everything else."
Do you think I'm afraid of death? Don't we serve a risen savior?
James might be the best evidence that Jesus was the Son of God. What would your brother have to do to prove to you that he was the Son of God? If James believed it so can I!
"If a guy predicts his death, and that he'll come back from the dead, and then he pulls it off, I'm going to believe in that guy even if I don't understand anything else he says!"
Can you imagine what Paul didn't know?! He wrote Ephesians, Phillipians, Colossians, while waiting for a trial.
When he was being led out to be beheaded, he had no evidence that the stuff he had done would continue.
psst, Paul, 2000 years from now, people are going to walk into this coliseum, see a cross, and ask where you and Peter are buried. The most phenomenal building ever built is going to be built on top of Nero's circus in the honor of Jesus. And all over this town, there are going to be thousands of crosses that won't symbolize crucifixion, but just one crucifixion.
The only time people will mention Caesar in the the story of Jesus. They will name their sons Peter and Paul, and they will name their dogs Nero and Caesar.
And Paul, one more thing. One day there will be no Roman Empire, but there will be an ekklesia. It will last much much longer than the Roman Empire.
My brothers and sisters, stand firm, let nothing move you. Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
When he wrote that he had no idea. There is a cross hanging over the Emperor's Gate in the Roman Freaking Coliseum!