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I Love My Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Following Jesus means Loving the Church

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Be Active… Preserve Unity… Focus away from self… Lean toward Revival… Pass it on
Jesus is the gift of God to all people. The church is God’s gift to the world. You are God’s gift to the church. Your membership in the local church is a treasure – not a treasure for you; a treasure of which you are a part.

Life is short; Follow Jesus! -Love the Church

… Peter is no doubt still reeling from the events of the last several days.
He misunderstood Jesus’ mission (could have easily gone the way of Judas), rebuked Jesus at His revelation of purpose, then professed radical loyalty – to the point of death, fails to stay awake in prayer, Defends Jesus with sword, watches Jesus arrest and beating, denies he even knows Jesus, is confronted with the reality of His resurrection… and now, he is exhausted and disappointed…

Following Jesus Means We Are Fishers of Men

1 After these things Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and He manifested Himself in this way. 2 Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will also come with you.” They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing.
Peter had been called from that kind of life () and that it was wrong for him to return. Furthermore, when he went fishing, Peter took six other men with him! If he was wrong, they were wrong too; and it is a sad thing when a believer leads others astray.
Compare to the first encounter Peter had with Jesus… using his boat as a pulpit ().
4 But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 So Jesus said to them, “Children, you do not have any fish, do you?” They answered Him, “No.” 6 And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.” So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish. 7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about one hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish. 9 So when they got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.” 11 Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples ventured to question Him, “Who are You?” knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and the fish likewise. 14 This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead.

Following Jesus Means Loving the Church

15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?”
How loving of Jesus to feed Peter before He dealt with his spiritual needs. He gave Peter opportunity to dry off, get warm, satisfy his hunger, and enjoy personal fellowship. This is a good example for us to follow as we care for God’s people.
Do you love Me more than these? Jesus may be asking Peter whether he loves Him more than the other disciples do—forcing him to acknowledge his shortcomings as one who had denied Jesus (, ). Jesus also could be asking Peter whether he loves Him more than he loves his fellow disciples.
Alternatively, Jesus could be referring to the 153 fish caught in 15:11, contrasting Peter’s old vocation as a fisherman with his new calling.
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” 16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep. 18 “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.” 19 Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me!”
Verse 17 says Peter was grieved - “hurt,” but he steadfastly answered, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you [with a friendship love].”
“God, you know where I am, but I don’t dare claim any more than that.” Peter loved Jesus with the deepest of loves, but his illusions, his presumptions about himself, were gone. And the Lord accepted that and said, “Feed my sheep.” That response displayed Jesus’ deep love for his fallen apostle.
It has been beautifully said, “Christianity, from Golgotha onwards, has been the sanctification of failure.”

Following Jesus Means Obedience Not Comparison

20 Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” 21 So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” 23 Therefore this saying went out among the brethren that that disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?”
Keep your eyes on Christ.
An extraordinary anecdote comes to us from the annals of ancient Mideastern history. As the story goes, Cyrus, the great conqueror of the then known world including Babylon, had a general under his authority whose wife was suspected of treason. She was tried before a great and austere tribunal, found guilty, and sentenced to death. After the sentence was pronounced, the woman’s husband (a general) made his way to Cyrus’s throne and requested, “King Cyrus, please let me take her place.” Cyrus, in awe at what was transpiring before him, said to his court, “Can we terminate a love as great as this?” He then paroled the woman to her husband. As the couple left the court, the general said to his wife, “Did you see the benevolent look in Cyrus’s eyes as he pardoned you?” The wife responded, “I only had eyes for the one who loved me enough that he was willing to die for me.”

The Sixth Pledge

I am a church member.

This membership is a gift. When I received the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, I became a part of the body of Christ. I soon thereafter identified with a local body and was baptized. And now I am humbled and honored to serve and to love others in our church. I pray that I will never take my membership for granted, but see it as a gift and an opportunity to serve others and to be a part of something so much greater than any one person or member.
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