What Others Say and What You Say

Text: Matthew 16:13-17

Before promising to build His church, Jesus taught His disciples an important lesson on what to believe. He first asked them who others said the Son of Man was, then asked them who they said He was. It was helpful to recognize what others were saying. But it was also vitally important that they not only recognized error for what it was, but that they also believed the truth themselves.

Three Important Lessons

  • The world is not our standard – no matter what others said, the disciples needed to believe what was revealed from above (v. 17); we need to believe the word of God because it is our standard (John 12:48)
  • We will often differ from the world – the word of God is very different from the wisdom of the world (1 Corinthians 1:18, 21-25); we need to believe what we find in God’s word (Romans 10:17)
  • Truth is absolute – Jesus wasn’t taking an opinion poll among His disciples; what Peter said was right, not because he said it, but because it was from God (John 17:17)

Some Other Applications


  • What do others say? … just a man; just a prophet; formerly God
  • What do you say? … Son of God (Matthew 16:16); more than a prophet (Hebrews 1:1-3); God in the flesh (Colossians 2:9)

The Bible

  • What do others say? … work of man; collection of myths; irrelevant
  • What do you say? … inspired of God (2 Timothy 3:16); contains the truth (2 Timothy 4:2-5); relevant for all men of all time (Romans 3:23; 6:23)

The Church

  • What do others say? … God’s “plan b” since Jesus failed to establish the kingdom; a denomination; a social club
  • What do you say? … part of God’s eternal plan (Ephesians 3:9-11); not a denomination (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 1:22-23); pillar & support of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15)


  • What do others say? … all will be saved; be a good person to be saved; just believe
  • What do you say? … only a few will be saved (Matthew 7:13-14); no salvation apart from Christ (Acts 4:12); saved by faithful obedience (James 2:24; Hebrews 11:6; 5:9)

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