Messages from Pastor Raddatz

August 23, 2020 Mount Olive Lutheran Church Houston TX, Texts for the day Isaiah 51:1-6 and Romans 11:33-12:8

Jesus is the Son of the Living God!

Matthew 16:13-20

Dear Followers of Jesus:

Grace, Mercy and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Who is Jesus?  Each individual must answer this question for themselves.  I cannot answer this question for any other person than myself.  This is the question Jesus Christ poses to his disciples and it is the question which still puzzles the world.  We know the answer to this question: that Christ is the Son of God.  The Church is built upon this confession and built on the rock of Christ our salvation is secure.


Some people today still think Jesus was a prophet.  Some falsely hold that all Jesus was, was a good teacher.  He had some insights into divine things.Most people in the world fall into two groups: one holds that Jesus Christ was true God and true Man and the other believes Jesus was only a Man.

The Lord knew that the work of God’s Church must be carried out by people.  He wanted to make sure the disciples knew who Jesus was:  BOTH TRUE GOD AND TRUE MAN

Peter now makes a clear confession! 


Jesus is not the Son of a dead God.  He is not a God of stone or wood.  These are false God’s. 

This was revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.  We cannot comprehend God without the help of the Holy Spirit.  In the Explanation of the Third Article in the Apostles Creed we proclaim: I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him.  But the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts and sanctified and kept me in the faith (1st Paragraph)  The Biblical basis of this is 1 Corinthians 2:14, “The man without the Spirit of God cannot understand the things of God”.  In contrast, 1 Corinthians 12:3 reminds us that “No one can say, Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit” (My paraphrase).

I cannot confess faith for you, and you cannot confess faith for me. I can only confess faith for myself.  The joy of our confess is that God’s power made it so and the gates of Hell cannot conquer it.

Our salvation is so firmly established upon it (election) that the gates of hell cannot prevail against it (John 10:28; Matthew 16:18).


  1. 18 “Gates of Hell will not overcome it”

Taken together, the promise is wonderful:

  • He brings His people together in common: I will build.
  • He builds on a firm foundation: On this rock I will build.
  • He builds something that belongs to Him: My church.
  • He builds it into a stronghold: the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

Jesus also offered a promise – that the forces of death and darkness can’t prevail against or conquer the church. This is a valuable promise in dark or discouraging times for the church. David Guzik,



Have you ever lost your keys?  This can be a terrifying experience.  It is almost as terrifying as losing one’s cell phone.  (Story about childhood home where there was one window that would never lock.)  In the home where I grew up, If I ever lost a key, I knew that I could sneak in through that window that we could never lock.

There is only one way into the Kingdom of God.  That is through Jesus, John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one can come to the father except through me” (NIV).  There is no way you can sneak in.

Our sins have been loosed from us here on earth so they will not cling to us in heaven. 

The power for binding and loosing is something that the Jewish rabbis of that day used. They bound or loosed an individual in the application of a particular point of the law. Jesus promises that Peter – and the other apostles – would be able to set the boundaries authoritatively for the New Covenant community. This was the authority given to the apostles and prophets to build a foundation (Ephesians 2:20).

“Binding” and “loosing” were administrative terms in daily Jewish life; whenever a Jew came up against the Law of Moses, that Jewish person was either “bound” or “loosed” in regard to that law. To loosen,was to permit; to bind was to prohibit. To loosen, was to free from the law, to bind was to put under the law. “Their regular sense, which any Jew would recognize was to allow and to forbid. To bind something was to declare it forbidden; to loosen was to declare it allowed. These were the regular phrases for taking decisions in regard to the law.” (Barclay)


In daily Jewish life, this could be rather complicated. Here is one example from ancient rabbinical writings, cited by teacher Mike Russ:

  • If your dog dies in your house, is your house clean or unclean? Unclean.
  • If your dog dies outside your house, is your house clean or unclean? Clean.
  • If your dog dies on the doorstep, is your house clean or unclean? Ancient rabbinical writings took the issue on and decided that if the dog died with his nose pointing into the house, the house was unclean; if the dog died with his nose pointing away from the house, the house was clean.

Our faith does not depend on us, but on the rock of Christ.  He has come, he has died, and he has risen again.  Through Jesus all our sins are forgiven now and forever!  This gift of faith the gates of hell cannot conquer.

May this peace which passes every single human understanding keep your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus, to life everlasting amen.

Pastor John Raddatz

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