Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Most Important Question For Life

Falling back on my Lutheran roots, often when I need to pick up my wife from work on a Sunday morning, it coincides with the broadcast of The Lutheran Hour in our area, so I give it a listen.  This week Rev. Gregory Seltz preached on The Most Important Question For Your Life.  Well, first off, I like the phraseology!  He uses "for your life" instead of "of your life" and this question is indeed FOR your life, both mortally and eternally.  He begins:  
So, what might some of those important questions be? How about this? "Do you like ketchup or do you like Tabasco? Do you like vanilla ice cream, chocolate ice cream, Neapolitan ice cream or no ice cream at all? Are you a morning person or a night person? (I think that my wife would have liked to know that answer before we got married.)" But these aren't the big questions are they? These questions and answers do help us share a bit about ourselves, but these questions and answers aren't life changing in nature. In the big scheme of things, it really doesn't matter whether you like mustard or ketchup, tap water, mineral water, or that carbonated-sugar-water that everyone seems to like to drink.  
So far, I'm with Rev. Seltz... skipping down a little...
Each of the synoptic Gospels makes this "question to the apostles," the very central question of the Bible, one that all of us must answer too. Jesus wants to know what Peter, James, John, what you and I think about Who He is. This answer, my friend, will literally change your life.
And again, I agree with Rev. Seltz!

Jesus wants Peter; He wants you and me to get this answer right. He won't let you hide behind other people's viewpoints. He won't let you hide behind your musings about what God should be. That's a "ketchup-Tabasco discussion" for most people. No, Jesus is God in the flesh, born into sinful man's mess of His world, a servant to a rebellious humanity. Jesus is God in the flesh, who will go to another's cross so that they might be born again through His death and resurrection to His eternal Gift of Life. So, pardon me, says Jesus, but "Who do you say that I am?"
And once again - Rev. Seltz and I agree!  
I thank God that Jesus kept on asking those Disciples as He keeps on asking us.

"But, what about all of you? Who do you say that 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."

Life's most important question, then, is "Who is Jesus Christ and is He that for you and for me?"

It's life's most important question. Because our Spirit-filled answer connects us to the living God with the dynamic relationship of faith.

"Our answer, like Peter, should be, 'You are the Christ, but You are also my Christ, the Son of the Living God, for me!'"
Now here we find Rev. Seltz stopping just a little early in the context he's quoted from (Matthew 16:18-19).  While I agree that this indeed is the most important question "for" life - eternal life - the good reverend leaves out the part where Jesus continues to say, "Thou art Peter (Rock) and upon this rock I will build my Church and whatsoever you shall bind on Earth shall be bound in Heaven; whatsoever you shall loose on Earth shall be loosed in Heaven."  So, while recognizing that Jesus Christ is God Himself Incarnate - let us not forget that it is in this same context where Jesus established St. Peter's authority - separately from the Apostles as a group (which He gives later to them, as a group - not individually - in Matthew 18:18).  Jesus Himself tells His followers (all Christians) how His Church would be established!  That Church would be founded upon Peter, initially (in primacy) and also upon the apostolic office - the bishops.  If you're TRULY following Christ, you're a member of THAT Church.

So again, Rev. Seltz and I agree on most points - but he stopped a little short in his quotation which would, or should, point the objective reader/listener to the One, True Church.


Text of sermon:

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