Ron Thomas
Selection of Choice Sermons
On Various Subjects

By Pastor Ron Thomas
Rodgers Baptist Church
801 West Buckingham Rd. - Garland, TX 75040
Read Great
Sermons and
[RBC Photo]
Daily on
Gospel Web

Jesus Is Still The Answer!
Preached 9/21/2008

Text: Matthew 16:13-17. "When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say that Thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."

Introduction: This is an election year, and the Presidential candidates are being asked the tough questions, even trick questions. Speaking of tough questions, here are the five toughest questions wives ask their husbands. How a husband answers these questions, can make the difference between a night in bed and a night on the couch, or worse!

Question number one: The wife asks, "What are you thinking?" The proper answer to this question is something like, "I'm sorry if I've been pensive, dear. I was just reflecting on what a warm, wonderful, caring, thoughtful, intelligent, beautiful woman you are, and what a lucky guy I am to have met you." The improper answer would be something like, "If I wanted you to know, I'd be talking instead of thinking."

Question number two: The wife asks, "Do you love me?" The proper answer would be, "Yes." or better yet, "Yes, dear." The improper answer would be, "I suppose so." or "That depends on what you mean by love."

Question number three: The wife asks, "Do I look fat?" The proper answer is, "No, of course not!" and then quickly leave the room. The improper answer would be, "I wouldn't call you fat, but I wouldn't call you thin either." or "Compared to what?"

Question number four: The wife asks, "Do you think she is prettier than me?" The proper answer is, "No, you are much prettier." The improper answer would be, "Not prettier, just pretty in a different way." or "Yes, but I bet you have a better personality."

Question number five: The wife asks, "What would you do if I died?" A smart response would be, "Why, dear, I would be extremely upset. Why do you ask such a question?" At this point, a husband should quickly divert her attention to another subject, else she will ask an even more difficult question, "Would you remarry?"

In Matthew 16, not long before His passion, Jesus retreated with His disciples to a town called Caesarea Philippi, situated near the northern extremity of the land of Israel. It is located 25 miles north of the Sea of Galilee, and at the southern base of Mount Hermon. With Caesarea Philippi being so close to Galilee, Nazareth, and Capernaum, Jesus Christ often visited this city during His lifetime.

Here, Jesus could be alone with His disciples outside the domain of Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee, and within the area of Philip the Tetrarch. The population was not Jewish, so Jesus could teach the twelve in peace. It was here, on a road outside this city, that Jesus asked a tough question. "What do the people on the street say about me? Who do they say that I am?" The disciples answered, "Some think you are John the Baptist, come back from the dead. Some think you are Jeremiah, Elijah, or one of the prophets." It is the same today. People are divided over the identity of Jesus. There are many opinions about Jesus. Some think Jesus was a good man and teacher. Others think Jesus was a prophet. The truth is, Jesus never left us with a choice. He claimed to be the "Son of God."

Jesus then asked His disciples, "What about you? Who do you say that I am?" This was a basic question. It was the litmus test for a follower of Jesus Christ. Sometimes Christians can forget the most basic, fundamental truths. When we lose touch with the most basic things, we are in danger of extinction. There is not a more basic, a more vital question to Christianity. If Jesus is not who He said He was, if He is not the Son of God, Christianity falters and fails.

It was then Simeon Peter spoke up and said in verse 16, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Peter was saying, "You are the One promised of old, the One John the Baptist pointed to, and identified as the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. You are the ‘Suffering Servant,' prophesied by Isaiah. You are the sin bearer, the One who is to be wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities. You are the same in essence as God, the fulfillment of all our hopes and dreams." When asked the tough question by Jesus, Peter passed the test. He got it right.

Jesus responded to Peter in verse 17, "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, ‘You are blessed. You are among the blessed ones. You have eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to believe.'" Peter was "blessed," because he believed. You see, not everyone is so blessed. Not everyone here today under the sound of my voice, believes.

Jesus went on to tell Peter, "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." Peter was an eye witness of Jesus Christ. Peter walked and talked with Jesus. He heard Jesus preach and teach. He witnessed many, if not most of His miracles. We would think that everyone who witnessed Jesus would believe, but the truth is, many saw what Peter saw, heard what Peter heard, and yet, refused to believe! John in his gospel, chapter 1, tells us that by His incarnation, Jesus entered a world that was made by Him, but refused to recognize Him. He was raised among His own people the Jews, but they rejected Him. Jesus said to Peter, " ....flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."

There is nothing I can say today that would convince anyone to believe and follow Jesus. However, The Lord by His Holy Spirit and His Holy Word can open your eyes, ears, and heart, drawing you to faith. It would be wonderful if you could be one of those "blessed ones" as well. John continues in John 1:12, "But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." Praise God, in every generation, there are those who will recognize and receive Jesus as the Christ, the Savior! They are truly the "blessed ones."

It is clear that Jesus brought His disciples to Caesarea Philippi for a specific purpose. Jesus needed to know what His disciples thought and believed about Him. It was time to get real, to face the issues concerning Jesus' identity and their allegiance to Him. It was time to openly share with them His mission in life. Matthew 16:21 reads, "From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto His disciples, how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day." These disciples needed to face and assess their own identity and allegiance. Why? It was crunch time! Peter and his companions were about to be tested and tried as never before! Someone said, "If you don't live it, you don't believe it." Peter and the other disciples were soon to be challenged not merely to live what they believed about the identity of Jesus, but to die for what they believed.

What about you? Do you believe? Jesus wants to hear and know, not what others say and believe, He wants to hear and know what you say you believe, and then back it up with your life! Sometimes we are content to ride the wave of someone else's faith and convictions. There comes a time in our lives when we must make our own commitment to Jesus Christ, not just to believe in Him, but to follow and serve Him! In our hearts, we must believe and say with Peter, "Jesus is the answer! He is the One my soul is searching for! Jesus is the source and supply. Jesus is everything! Jesus is my reason for living!"

Years ago, a Christian artist Andre Crouch wrote a song entitled, "Jesus Is The Answer." The chorus goes:

"Jesus is the answer, for the world today.
Above Him there's no other. Jesus is the way.
Jesus is the answer, for the world today.
Above Him there's no other. Jesus is the way."

Is Jesus still the answer today? The answer is, "Yes, if you are asking the right questions." Because Jesus is "the Christ, the Son of the living God," He is everything we need, but sometimes we get a bit confused about what it is we truly need. You see, we live in one of the most self-centered, humanistic, narcissistic cultures in history. The chief goals of most Americans, is self-fulfilment and personal advancement. The leading question of our day is, "How can I be happy and satisfied?" Everything is about "me."

This self-focused, humanistic, narcissistic culture, has all but destroyed marriage and the home. Everyday, husbands and wives are walking out on each other, because the relationship is not self-fulfilling. More and more pregnant mothers are being murdered by their husbands. Why? Their wives are less attractive to them, and they fear the coming responsibility of parenthood! Moms and dads are abandoning their children, even murdering their children, because they feel suffocated by the responsibility and accountability!

This self-focused, humanistic, narcissistic culture has reshaped Christianity in America. The gospel and Jesus have become a product for sale, packaged and marketed to a consuming public. Salvation has been transformed into a road for personal wealth and prosperity. The purpose of religion has become a means to help us get what we want, rather than man's forgiveness of sins and a right relationship with God. James begs to differ. He tells us in James 1:27, "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." Potential converts are now being told that knowing Jesus, coming to Jesus, can make them happier, satisfied, successful, and prosperous. Christians are asking Jesus how He can fulfill their lives, instead of asking Jesus how they can serve in His kingdom. Narcissism (the worship of self,) embraces hedonism (the worship of pleasure,) which robs us of any genuine concern for others, and is taking a whole generation of servants away from the church! Narcissism and hedonism lead to an empty existence, and eventually to death! Some people, even "so called" Christians, have tried to fill that void and emptiness with drugs, alcohol, sex, entertainment, materialism, and other things, but they are not the answer!

Jesus has been obscured in the American culture, as well as in most churches. Yes, Jesus is still the answer, but in a way we no longer care about! We need to get back to the reality that Jesus is still the answer! True evangelism is about revealing the reality of sin and certain judgment, and showing how Jesus is the answer to it! True discipleship is denying self, taking up a cross, crucifying our flesh, and following Jesus! The Christian life is making it our passion and determination to let Jesus live His life in and through us! Jesus is still the answer if you are asking the right questions. Questions like: Questions People Should Ask

How do I deal with my sin? This last week, a 72 year old man turned himself in for keying a Carrollton Senior High School student's Hummer in the school parking lot. The man was caught on camera. Why did he do it? He said that he acted out of "frustration over financial stresses." This demonstrates just how sinful we are at our core nature! This is where we must begin. Jesus came into the world for this purpose. We need a Savior! Before Jesus can help us in any area of our lives, we must first deal with our sin. John the Baptist would point you toward Jesus and say, "Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." The repentant thief who hung on the cross beside Jesus would say, "All you have to do is admit you are a sinner, deserving nothing but an eternity in Hell. Look to Jesus, believing that He died on the cross for your sin! When you do that, Jesus will wash you whiter than snow." From Paradise, the thief would shout, "Jesus is still the answer."

How can I become more sensitive to the needs of others around me? The woman who suffered a hemorrhage for years, spending her savings to find a cure, without success, would tell you about a day she found Jesus. He was thronged with hundreds of people, pushing and shoving to be near Him. In her desperation, she reached out to touch the hem, the corner tassel on the edge of His outer garment. The second she did so, Jesus stopped and asked, "Who touched me?" She would say, "Out of all those people, Jesus sensed my need and stopped everything to heal me. Now I am more sensitive to those around me." She would say, "Jesus is still the answer."

How can I face the rejection of the world? Mary would tell you about the way the citizens of Nazareth treated her Son when He visited His home town. They refused to see Him as anyone more than the "son of a carpenter." Jesus said, "A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house." On one occasion, they attempted to push Jesus off of a cliff overlooking the town. Eventually, everyone would walk away from Jesus. Anticipating the coming rejection, Jesus said, "Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me." Observing the rejection of her Son, Mary would tell us today, "Jesus is still the answer."

How can I learn to be content with what I possess? The twelve disciples would tell you about how Jesus never owned anything,...yet never lacked anything,...and never complained. Jesus told His disciples that a man's life and happiness is not measured by the things he possess. Jesus was always thankful, offering thanks for the smallest morsel of bread. Jesus was content to simply do His Heavenly Father's will. The twelve disciples would say, "Jesus is still the answer."

How can I learn to love people who are different from me? The Samaritan woman would tell you about the day Jesus broke through the barriers of ancient bigotry and class hatred, to enter her world. She would tell you how Jesus risked everything to include her in His kingdom. It all began with Jesus asking her for a drink of water, and treating her kindness. She would tell us, "Jesus is still the answer."

How can I escape the grip of sin in my life? It is one thing to be forgiven of our sin, and another to gain victory over it's presence and power in our lives! So many times as Christians, we find ourselves asking forgiveness over and over again for the same offense, the same sins. We might call them "besetting sins." The madman who called a graveyard home, and lived an out of control life, would tell us about his encounter with Jesus. He was locked in a self-destructive cycle, lacerating his body, and tormented day and night by demons. He tried everything to brake loose, all the self help programs, and 12 step programs. Everything and everyone failed in their attempts to deliver him. It all looked hopeless, until he bowed in the presence of Jesus and yielded to His authority! The demoniac discovered that Jesus has the power over Satan and sin. The cycle of sin was broken in his life! This once "demon hotel," was now set free and at peace with himself and the world. If he could speak here today, this transformed, fully clothed, rational, descent, peace loving, gentle man, would say, "Jesus is still the answer."

How can I forgive others? In Luke's account of the crucifixion, we are told that Jesus cried from the cross, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." Following those powerful words we read, "And they parted His raiment, and cast lots." Gambling is vice, and vice is sin. Those hardened Roman soldiers who were gambling at the foot of the cross, had to be shaken when they heard those words. God's forgiveness included them! It included those who nailed Him to that cross. It included those who cursed Him, beat Him, and crowned Him with a crown of thorns. Surely those who stood in the shadow of the cross that day, who witness first hand the power of Jesus to forgive others, would say, "If Jesus could forgive us, how can we not help but forgive those who hurt us? "Jesus is still the answer."

Why should I be weak? All of us have experienced trials in life that have a way of bringing us to the end of ourselves. The apostle Paul knew about such trials. He had a "thorn in the flesh" that was causing him pain and suffering. Paul prayed three times for Jesus to remove it. Jesus answered his prayer, but not in a way Paul anticipated. Jesus told Paul, "My grace is sufficient." Paul learned that persistent trials have a mighty purpose in his life. He said, "When I am weak in myself, it is then I discover how strong Jesus is in me. Now I like being weak. I glory in being out of control of my life." Surely the apostle Paul would tell us today, Jesus is still the answer!"

At the end of his life, John Newton, the author of the beloved song, Amazing Grace, said this, "My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things, that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Saviour." These questions we've looked at today, all deal with man's greatest problem. At the root of every question is man's sin. It is sin that separates us from God. God has made the supreme sacrifice by giving us His Son Jesus, the answer for the world today. Jesus is still the answer for man's greatest need, the forgiveness of sin. Come!

Go Back To Ron Thomas Sermons Index 4
Go To Rodgers Baptist Church Home Page