SBS Sermon Notes

SBS     Sermon Notes     Note 07/02

Important Questions

Reading: Mark 8:27-38; Matthew 20:30-34


Questions are normally the quickest way of determining a person's level of understanding. And so we have examinations and interviews which are simply times for answering questions. The sages reckon that a student is best judged by the questions he asks rather than the answers he gives. Nevertheless, the use of questions is an important tool in measuring a student's understanding.

It is said of the Queen of Sheba that she came to Jerusalem to confirm the staggering reports she had received concerning King Solomon's wisdom. And when she arrived she tested Solomon with many questions.
1 Kings 10:1 And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions.
2: And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.
3: And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not any thing hid from the king, which he told her not.
4: And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, and the house that he had built,
5: And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her.
6: And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom.
7: Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard.

Today I will put a few important questions to you. Not that I am expecting anyone to stand up and answer them. Nevertheless I ask you all to consider these questions and silently answer them to yourselves.

1. Questions By Jesus

I will begin with two questions the Saviour asked.

Question 1

Mark 8:27 And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi:
and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them,
Whom do men say that I am?

Popular answers to this question go something like this: Nine out of ten people would answer along those lines. "He was not God" they would say.

Question 2

Mark 8:29 And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ.

Matthew 22:41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,
42: Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he?

This is a personal question. You must answer it for yourself. Who do you think Jesus Christ is? Joseph's son or the Son of God?

How few really believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of Almighty God - how few! According to Scripture, it is your answer to this question that will decide your eternal destiny. Notice what the apostle John writes about Jesus:
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2: The same was in the beginning with God.
3: All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4: In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5: And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
6: There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7: The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
8: He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
9: That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
10: He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11: He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
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:

Further in John's gospel we read these amazing facts.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17: For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18: He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Pause awhile and consider those stunning and far-reaching alternatives. Believe on Jesus Christ, the Son of God and live for all time; or disbelieve and die!

2. Questions Put To Jesus

The Master was asked many questions during his ministry. Let us consider a few.

By His Mother

Luke 2:48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us?...

Comment: Have we not, many times, accusingly asked that question? Why is God dealing with me in such a harsh way? Surely I deserve better! Why? Why? Why?

By His Friends

Luke 7:19 And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying,
Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?

Comment: Are you the real Messiah? Or are we mistaken and should we be looking elsewhere - for another Saviour?

By Pilate

John 18:33 Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews?
John 19:9 ...Whence are thou?...

By His Enemies

Luke 23:37 And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.
38: And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
39: And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.

Have you ever asked such questions? Are you perhaps not sure who Jesus really is? Whose son is he? Where did he come from? Where he is at the moment? Did he really create the world as the Bible teaches? Is he God's Son? Is he the King of the Jews? Incidentally Who/What is a Jew? And if he is God, why doesn't he rescue the world from the fearful mess it's in? There are answers to every one of these questions. Answers which are found in the Holy Bible. But do you know those answers? Have you found them? And if you've found them: Do you believe them?

4. Three Final Questions

To test your understanding I could ask every one of you many questions on many important subjects. And no doubt you could ask me scores of questions in return. Every week our Bible School receives questions on a wide range of spiritual subjects. Maybe someday you will have time to read through the replies we send out. But I'll end this morning's sermon with three vitally important questions which you should consider.

Question 1

This is a divine question. When confronting Jacob, God asked it.
Genesis 32:27 ...What is thy name?...

Not, what name did your father Isaac and your mother Rebekah give you: (God already knew that) but what is your character? What motivates you? Why do you do what you do? What sort of person are you?

Jacob's answer to the question was a confession. My character is Jacob. Which means: I am a cheat, one who supplants, ousts and takes the place of another, one who seeks to gain the advantage by whatever means at hand: even if it means telling lies or stealing from my own brother.

Oh what honesty is here displayed! And yet ...
Matthew 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

What is the point of all that deception? You face an angry brother who is on his way to kill you. Jacob then realises that Yahweh's blessing is vital if he is to live. He must plead for forgiveness and blessing, else he will die; not just at his brother Esau's hand - but eternally! Consider the divine response.

Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.

Israel means: one who lets Yahweh rule in his life! One who is a victor with God! Do you need a character change? I certainly do.

Question 2

This comes from a well known story.
Matthew 20:29 And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him.
30: And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.
31: And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.
32: And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you?

What is it in life that you want most of all? What is your ultimate objective? Not what can I give you; but what shall I do unto you as a person? The fact is: we all need changing, healing, sight - a character change. What do you want me to do to you?

Lord that my eyes may be opened.

What a wonderful request. Is there anyone here who cannot say and mean that request. Lord, open thou mine eyes. I am happy to report that Yahweh is more eager to change our lives than to give us possessions. What shall I do unto you? Which means: What do you want me to do to your character?

Question 3

Hebrews 2:3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?...

This is a self-answering question. If we neglect salvation there is no escape - absolutely none. Notice the word is 'neglect' - not 'reject.' We are in grave danger of loosing eternal life if we even 'neglect' Yahweh's offer of salvation. If we reject salvation, there is absolutely no hope for us at all. But neglecting salvation is just a step away from rejecting salvation.

My prayer for all is: Help us oh Father, not to neglect salvation - not any more.     Amen.

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Elder: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
August 1997 ... Updated September 1999