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Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

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Do You Really Love Jesus?

Text: John 21:15 - 17
Many people make resolutions and promises they don’t keep. One of Jesus’ disciples made a promise that he did not keep. Sometimes people get saved and then go back.

He said that he would “lay down his life for” Jesus - that he would give up everything for his master. He said that the night before Jesus died and as you know within a few hours he had denied that he even knew who Jesus was three times.

If you look back to verse 3 of chapter 21 you get an insight into Peter’s thinking after his failure,

“I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told [the other disciples], and they said, “We’ll come with you”. So they went out and got into the boat, but they caught nothing.”

When Peter says that he is going out to fish, he is not saying that he is popping out for a relaxing night on Lake Galilee but that he is going back to his old life as a fisherman before he came into contact with Jesus, before he became a disciple. Peter, having failed so spectacularly, was on the brink of chucking in his Christian faith.

In Revelation 2:4 Jesus said that He had something against the church at Ephesus.
He said “nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.”

But within a few hours everything has changed. Despite Peter’s failure, he is forgiven, reinstated as a disciple and reminded what it really means to be a Christian - that being a Christian is not primarily about believing a set of truths or relating to a group of people or belonging to an institution but about knowing a person - and more than simply knowing him, loving Jesus Christ. And as we will see these verses tell us what real love for Jesus involves - supreme love, suffering love and submitting love and we are going to look at each of those in turn now.

I. Supreme Love. Look at verses 15-17

“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.”
He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 17He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”

1. Jesus’ first question to Peter was “Do you truly love me more than these?”
2. We can not really be sure what the ‘these’ are. Is Jesus asking Peter if he loved him more than he loved the life Peter wanted to go back to.
3. Do you love me more than these fishing boats and nets?
4. Or he could be asking Peter if he really loved Jesus more that the other disciples did, as he had claimed the night before Jesus died.
5. It does not really matter which it is because the underlying question is clear - Jesus is wanting to know if Peter loves him supremely, more than anyone or anything else in the world.
6. I wonder what it is that you value most in life.
7. A simple way of working that out is to think about what you would be most horrified to lose.
8. For all of us there will be a scale of horror from the relatively minor inconvenience of losing small amounts of money through the loss of items that have sentimental value to the loss of close friends and family.
9. Jesus wants to be at the very top of that scale in our lives.

Jesus wants us to have supreme love for him.

II. Real love for Jesus is suffering love. Look at verse 18

“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.”

1. Jesus compares Peter’ life when he was young, before he started to follow Jesus, to what his life will be like when he is older, as a result of following Jesus.
2. The contrast couldn’t be greater - on one hand when he was younger Peter was free to dress how he wanted and to go where he wanted,
3. Because of his future faithfulness to Jesus he will find himself being dressed and led to where he does not want to go - a place where he would have to stretch out his hands. Jesus is telling Peter that he will one day face death by crucifixion for following and proclaiming him. And tradition has it that Peter was indeed crucified.

1 Cor. 2:9 “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

So real Christian love is supreme love, suffering love and finally…

III. Submitting Love. Look at the very end of verse 19

“This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.”

1. Two very simple words (“Follow me”) but they have profound consequences.
2. They mean that people who love Jesus are to walk in his footsteps and to do the same as he would, in other words submit to him.
3. A person who won’t submit to Jesus can’t really claim to love him.
4. Willing to submit to him and his will.

The captain of the ship looked into the dark night and saw faint lights in the distance. Immediately he told his signalman to send a message” “Alter your course 10 degrees south.” Promptly a return message was received: “Alter your course 10 degrees north.” The captain was angered; his command had been ignored. So he sent a second message: “Alter your course 10 degrees south—I am the captain!” Soon another message was received: “Alter your course 10 degrees north—I am seaman third class Jones.” Immediately the captain sent a third message, knowing the fear it would evoke: “Alter your course 10 degrees south—I am a battleship.” Then the reply came “Alter your course 10 degrees north—I am a lighthouse.”

5. Are there areas of your life that you know are in rebellion against the Bible’s teaching.

James 4:7,8 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

6. If there are you need to do something about it because it is compromising your love for Jesus.

Real love for Jesus is:
• supreme love - loving him above anything and anyone else;
• suffering love - being prepared to accept the consequences of living faithfully to him;
• submitting love - putting your whole life under his authority.
In the light of that will you say ‘yes’ when Jesus asks you, “Do you love me?”


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