Based on: Matthew 16:21-26
Here is a dollar bill. By itself it is not going to buy very much, about a quart of gasoline or a small order of french fries. But if you put more dollars together you can buy more things. The problem is we all have a limited supply of these so we have to constantly decide, out of all the possible things we could do with our money, what has the greatest value. The choice can be difficult. When it comes time for me to buy a new car, do I go to the local Ford dealer in town and buy a minivan or do I really go in debt and get the Ferrari, two-seater convertible that will certainly out accelerate the minivan, but costs five times as much and only gets about 14 miles to the gallon? Perhaps sometimes our choices are very clear. In our gospel today, Jesus asks us to consider, "What is your soul worth?"
Based on: Matthew 16:13-20
Every once in awhile I see a bumper sticker where the first line reads, "No Jesus, No Peace." The word no is spelled N O, and of course that means that if you don’t have Jesus of course you don’t have real peace either. The second line of the bumper sticker says, "Know Jesus, Know Peace.” And the word know is spelled K N O W. If you know who Jesus is then you also have peace.
Based on: Joel 3:12-16
What you think about your birthday? Is it something you look forward to every year? Or is it something you dread? Either way, for as long as you live your birthday will come every year. It is inescapable, isn’t it? The same is true of God’s judgment. It is inescapable. Another illustration as we talk about God’s judgment on the final day is the punishment you knew you would receive as a child when you did something wrong. If your father was a disciplinarian you probably dreaded those words, “Just wait until your father gets home.”