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Bible Commentaries

Brian Bell Commentary on the Bible
Matthew 16



Verses 17-28
  1. Intro: Voting
    1. I like what Mike Rowe (dirty Jobs) said, Look at our current candidates. No one appears to like either one of them. Their approval ratings are at record lows. It’s not about who you like more, it’s about who you hate less. Sure, we can blame the media, the system, and the candidates themselves, but let’s be honest – Donald and Hillary are there because we put them there. The electorate has tolerated the intolerable. We’ve treated this entire process like the final episode of American Idol. What did we expect?
    2. What should your pastor say about politics/elections? Some want me to say something, give my opinion. Others might think even addressing it this morning is too much.
      1. It’s not what does Brian say, but what does God say. [not my area of study, nor expertise]
    3. We are the church...but this space that we meet in is also called a church. It’s a building, a place, a gathering, a community. It’s where Jesus followers get together to fix our eyes on Him.
      1. Other spaces are dedicated to policies or to politics in our country. And those are respected spaces. We honor those spaces and we honor those leaders that lead there. (adapted from pastor Judah Smith)
      2. This is not a political space. It is not a legislation space. I believe this space is far more important than those. I do not believe my position is to share my political persuasion. I think it’s unimportant whom I will vote for.
      3. I’m here to point you to the only answer that we’ve had throughout all human history. The answer is Jesus. That is actually my mandate and it is my goal.
      4. I am pro-God, pro-people, pro-humanity, pro-human life, pro good news, and pro-love.
      5. As you know we have big problems in our country, hatred, murder, bigotry, prejudice, racism. This problem is not just an American problem, it is actually global. Hatred? yes just look at the meanness of Christians on social media regarding this makes demons blush.
    4. I look throughout the whole NT, even w/Jesus and Paul’s writings, and not much is given to the changing of Rome, their gov in their day, even despite their perverted rulers.
      1. No boycotts, no coup’s, no revolts or uprising against their gov, even despite the attacks on Christianity. I hear, “pay your taxes”. “Give to Caesar what is his & to God what’s His”. And that we are all to be subject to our governing authorities, for there’s no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist for appointed by God. Rom.13:1.
    5. Folks, God’s not worried or fearful...especially in regards to our elections.
    6. What a reminder we have in Psalm 146 [Ps.146-150 Final Hallel. Begins/ends with Hallelujah]
      1. 1 Praise the Lord! Let all that I am praise the Lord. 2 I will praise the Lord as long as I live. I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath.3 Don’t put your confidence in powerful people (msg/experts); there is no help for you there. 4 When they breathe their last, they return to the earth, and all their plans die with them. 5 But joyful are those who have the God of Israel/ Jacob as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God. 6 He made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. He keeps every promise forever. 7 He gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry. The Lord frees the prisoners. 8 The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down. The Lord loves the godly. 9 The Lord protects the foreigners among us. He cares for the orphans and widows, but he frustrates the plans of the wicked. 10 The Lord will reign forever. He will be your God, O Jerusalem(Murr, USA), throughout the generations. Praise the Lord! nlt
        1. ​​​​​​​God of Jacob. Not the God of the put together, educated, brilliant, or experts. The God of Jacob/liars. Adulterers, broken, helpless, hopeless. This is our God. In Him do we put our trust. In Him is what we place our hope. Put your hope in God. Not in experts, not talking heads, not your favorite News commentators aka opinion-ators.
    7. I appreciate, those like Bob Tyler from our fellowship, who is taking his talents to run for City Council in Murrieta, to do something about helping our city. Instead of complaining about it, or running from it, Bob had the courage to run towards it.
      1. Christians should not relegate the fine arts, music, nor politics to unbelievers. When God saved us He saved the whole person, not just our souls.
      2. Brian are you saying 2 different things here? No.
        1. As a Church, we come together for the apostles’ doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayers. Then...As Christians we go out doing all we can to be salt/light/ influencers in our world.
    8. Title: Peter’s Beatitude. Here we have Peter’s Beatitude...blessed are you
      1. Outline: Peter’s Right Answer. Peter’s Wrong Answer. Jesus’ Final Answer.
    1. ​​​​​​​Simon Bar-Jonah - His old name was mentioned to bring out a distinction between what he was by nature, & what grace had made him.
      1. Peter’s response was from the Father.
    2. (18) Peter - Petros(a little stone) a piece of a rock from a big rock [explain Caesarea Philippi]
      1. The fluttering Son of Dove/Jonah, becomes Rock Man.
    3. Church - (Ekklesia) To call out (a gathering of people who have been called forth).
      1. This is the 1st occurrence in the N.T.
      2. Used 114x’s in NT. In 90 of these references, refers to a local church (assembly).
        1. However, here, He is speaking of the Whole Church.
        2. God is the builder. Peter and the apostles make up the 1st course of stone in the great temple of the church. And this coarse rests on the Eternal Rock, Jesus Christ.
          1. Heb.11:10 for he/Ab. waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
          2. ​​​​​​​1Co 3:11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
    4. Did Peter see himself as head rock? No. See 1 Pet.2:1-8.
      1. Being one of the cinder blocks towards the top of the great Church wall, aren’t you thankful that you have a firm foundation in Jesus rather than a mere man?
    5. Who is the head of the Church?
      1. Eph.1:22 And He put all things under His feet(Jesus), and gave Him to be head over all things to the church.
    6. Gates of Hell/hades shall not prevail...against His church, His bride, New Jerusalem.
      1. This was no house made of straw, nor wood, but of stone.
      2. The Wolf Satan can huff & puff but will never blow His house down.
    7. (19) Keys of the Kingdom - Key, or a badge of authority. [he who has the key has the authority. i.e. my church keys, your house keys]
      1. Keys are not mentioned in the everyday sense in the NT. The term is always used in the figurative sense.
        1. A common view in the ancient world was that heaven is closed off by doors
        2. On the common ancient view the underworld, too, is thought to be barred by gates
      2. Peter doesn’t own the keys to heavens gate.
        1. As we use keys to open doors...Peter had the privilege to open the 1st door of faith to The Jews at Pent (Acts 2). In (Acts 5) he shut out Ananias & Sapphira. He opened the 1st door to the Samaritans (Acts 8:14). And the 1st door to the Gentiles in (Acts 10).
        2. Remember we aren’t to set up doors but to open & shut them.
        3. And this wasn’t limited to Peter. See 18:18.
      3. Peter neither in the Gospels, nor in the 1st 1/2 of Acts (1-12), nor in his 2 epistles, ever claimed to be anymore than:
        1. An Apostle (1Pet.1:1) Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ.
        2. An Elder (1Pet.5:1) The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ.
        3. A Bond Servant (2Pet.1:1) Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ. [Note the digression]
      4. Note the authority in the early church was James in Jerusalem, Acts 15.
    8. Binding & Loosing - A familiar phrase to the Jews, it meant forbidding or Permitting.
      1. ​​​​​​​Syntax is important here. [LKGNT, pg.49] This construction is the future perfect passive periphrastic transitive. Will have been bound...will have been loosed. It is the church on earth caring out heaven’s decisions, not heaven ratifying the church’s decision.
    9. Have you given anyone God’s Pin number into Heaven Gates lately?
    10. (20) We are under no such embargo (tell no one). Tell all that Jesus is the Anointed of God, The Christ, The Messiah, The Son of the Living God, He is God.
    1. ​​​​​​​(21) From that time - indicates a new stage. Jesus looked at His iPhone watch that just vibrated, it’s time!
      1. This was His 1st Clear statement of His death.
      2. The Cross had always cast its shadow over our Lord’s path.Notice the must
    2. (22) This shall not happen to You! - Would are heart plead as earnest upon hearing such a horror-stricken idea?
      1. Lit. May God be gracious unto you or, may God spare you this.
      2. ​​​​​​​Think about it, what would your 1st response be to your spouse or best friend telling you that they’re terminal & will be dying in a month. No Way! This can’t be!
        1. ​​​​​​​Haven’t you ever questioned the Lord on what he was doing?
      3. Peter heard & spoke from God/Father (17) & then only 5 vss later he heard & spoke from Satan. [can we admit we can do the same today?]
    3. Note the voice that says, spare yourself/ourselves is often Satan’s.
      1. Self-Pleasing ends in destruction. Whereas self-denial & self-sacrifice are the divine path to Life.
      2. Be cautious of the voice from a friend, or family, or from the enemy, that says, Surely God doesn’t want you to face this!
        1. ​​​​​​​Maybe persecution was to be the norm? Quote story, The Insanity of God, by Nik Ripken. An ordinary couple from Kentucky who went on an ordinary missionary pilgrimage, relief work in Somalia. Then ends up interviewing pers believers.
    4. (23) Why did Jesus call Peter Satan?
      1. Satan/adversary. In Heb meant to oppose, obstruct, or accuse [NT became a title]
      2. Satan in the wilderness used this same approach to tempt Jesus to not go to the cross.
      3. (Lit.) Get behind me adversary. You are a stumbling block to me.
        1. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Peter the rock just became, Peter the stumbling block.
        2. Have you listened to any bad advice from the enemy lately?
    5. What was Peter’s mistake? He was thinking like a man (we want to escape any suffering & death). i.e. self preservation.
      1. He didn’t have God’s mind in this matter.
      2. Have you been mindful of the things of God lately or only your things?
    6. Peter had enough faith to Confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but he did not have the faith to believe that it was right for Jesus to suffer & die.
    1. ​​​​​​​Jesus told them of His cross, now He will tell them of theirs.
    2. Deny himself - or denies the self. Is your self at the center? or your Jesus the Center of your life? See, it’s not about you denying stuff/ things it’s about you denying you.
      1. It’s to dethrone self & to enthrone God.
      2. It’s living a life where Jesus is the heart, the core, the center of your thinking and actions.
      3. By far this aspect of the Christian walk is the hardest for all believers.
        1. Every thought/decision we make naturally gets sifted through our self-filter. We are constantly asking ourselves, How will I benefit from this? What’s in it for me? How will it effect me?
        2. We need to crucify are self, our flesh to the cross. So that, though it be alive, it cannot perform that which it would love to do.
    3. And it’s about doing it daily. Being deliberate, willful, & intentional. It’s the surrender of one’s life every day.
      1. Great you surrendered on the day of your salvation, but how about daily?
    4. Take up his cross - in this sense your cross and my cross is the same. That is, we choose daily to surrender our wills, ways, emotions and all that we are to the Lord Jesus.
      1. It’s us choosing today (and tomorrow) to follow Him whatever that requires of us.
        1. That’s not always painful. That’s not always the worst thing that can happen.
        2. That becomes a way of life. Again, not denying the self of things, but putting Jesus at the heart, core, center, of all your decisions, and walking in that every single day. That’s what it is to take at the cross.
    5. Follow Me - (RWP) present tense Keep following me.
      1. See, after you confess Him properly(16:16) U must come after Him intentionally.
        1. So, denying the old self, choosing daily the Father’s will (taking up your cross doesn’t only speak to the suffering on it, but doing the Fathers will), and keeping close to Jesus (follow Me), we will find our true selves.
    6. (25) Finding it/life - There is a major difference between existing & living.
      1. To exist is...simply to have the lungs breathing & the heart beating.
      2. To live live in a world where everything is worthwhile, where there is peace in the soul, joy in the heart, & a thrill in every moment.
        1. If we meet life w/the constant search for safety, security, ease & comfort, if every decision is taken from worldly wise & prudential motives, we are loosing all that makes life worth while.
    7. Who are you? Why in the world are you here? Where are you going?
      1. Life IS going you know where? You are either denying yourself or living for self.


Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Matthew 16:4". "Brian Bell Commentary". 2017.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, May 27th, 2020
the Seventh Week after Easter
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