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Sep 15, 2019

Pictures, Purpose, and Produce

Pictures, Purpose, and Produce

Speaker: James Gallaher

Series: Other

Category: Sunday Morning

Religion will call out our past. Relationship will call out our potential.

Picture, Purpose and Produce

Matthew 16:13-20 Jesus asks the disciples “Who do people say that I am?” Simon Peter answers, “You are the Christ, Son of the Living God.”

Pictures capture what you want us to see. When having hard times, we tend to picture Jesus from an artist’s interpretation. Jesus is asking what picture do people have of me. John the Baptist. Elijah. Jeremiah. A prophet. Everyone had a picture of who Jesus was. Today, it’s the same depending on our experiences. Pictures only capture what we want to see and only tell part of the story (usually only what we want to remember).

Verse 15 He said to them, “Who do people say that I am?”

The Picture

Peter gave his answer due to his experience with Jesus. Simon Peter answers, “You are the Christ, Son of the Living God.” God might have revealed this to him, but also, Peter knew who Jesus was through his relationship with Jesus. It’s better to build a relationship before we decide on a picture. The world says a picture is worth a thousand words. How many times have you tried to change someone’s picture of Jesus? How many words would it take to change someone’s picture of Jesus in their life? We use words to convince people that they are wrong. Peter refused to picture people’s words of Jesus and would not stand on the outside looking in. Peter wanted right in the middle of what Jesus was doing and was committed to a relationship with Jesus.

For so many, our picture of Jesus is based on what we have experienced and not on the relationship we’ve developed. We have a wrong picture many times.

Think of others we struggle with and have conflict with. Do we think of what’s behind their actions – get to know what might have happened? Pray for those who we have problems with and see if that changes our opinion of them. Let God reveal to you about others. Jesus was revealing himself to Peter. This world needs to know who He is, not just a picture.

The Purpose

Peter is transformed and then Jesus calls out purpose in his life. Jesus calls Peter to His plan for the world. Peter had done nothing significant for God up until this point but Jesus says he will be the rock.

We need to call out purpose in our kids, our marriages, our families, that move beyond the past. Believe with intent what God has spoken over other people. Think of Peter in the boat during the storm in Matthew 14, Jesus positions himself to be seen – walking on the water. Peter calls out to Jesus. Notice that Peter is the only one that got out of the boat. He believed in the possibility. Then Peter begins to sink when he takes his eyes off of Jesus. What is your picture of Jesus? Do you hear judgment or compassion in Jesus’ response of “Oh ye of little faith, why did you doubt?” Jesus does not condemn us or shame us but comes to redeem us. Do you hear the compassion in His voice?

Matthew 16:17-19 God has revealed something to Peter. He calls Peter a Rock. Jesus calls out Peter’s significance that hasn’t come yet.  

On the other side of this story, Peter is a wreak, a liability to the church, acting before he thinks, and has a little temper. How many of us are on the other side of purpose thinking we aren’t good enough or that we’ve blown it? Peter goes on to confess Jesus, yet still denies Jesus. Jesus comes on the other side of the cross and speaks purpose back into his life saying, “Do you love me?” “Feed my lambs.” “Tend my sheep.” “Feed my sheep.”  

The church is to call out purpose in people’s lives. Jesus died for all of these. People think because there is no revelation that there can’t be purpose. God has placed purpose in our lives before we even consider revelation.

Peter gives us hope despite his mess. Peter goes full speed with everything in front of him until the called-out purpose becomes who he is. The fulfillment is then in the book of Acts. We need others to see in us what Jesus says about us. Sometimes our circumstances make it hard for us to believe in our purpose. We need to call out purpose in others even calling purpose out before it is performed in a person’s life. See beyond what the world sees and see what God sees in an individual’s heart.

Religion will call out our past. Relationship will call out our potential. We have to be relationship builders to be the kingdom of God and see potential in lives. These were ordinary men who saw Jesus as who He truly was. They didn’t need a picture because they saw Him.

The Produce

Relationship with Jesus is enough and brings us to a place of produce in our lives. Matthew 16:20 Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ. Jesus made a habit of telling people not to tell. Why not tell? Possibly - His desire to show people what He did before they could hear about it. Because a picture is not quite the same as an experience.

James 2:14-16 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so, faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

James was not saying that works are the pathway to salvation although many have that picture and that desire to do enough. James is saying that faith, real faith in who Jesus says He is, will produce something in us. It will bring forth a response to people around us by heartfelt action.

Titus 3:14 And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful. Produce is the reflection of faith in our lives. Our lives should speak the Word as our mouths never can. We can experience God’s grace by becoming more in line with who God is.

Pictures are snapshots of moments that don’t tell the whole picture. Relationship gives context, brings confidence. People are still God’s favorite tool to administer His love and call out His purpose to those around us.

How many times have you tried to change someone’s picture of Jesus? Did you use words or actions?

How do you hear Jesus’ words of “Oh ye of little faith”? With compassion or judgment? How do you respond to others in their lack of faith?

Share your story of how a relationship called out God’s potential for you or how you have called out God's potential in another.