Faithlife Sermons

Do You Love Me?

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Loving God is demonstrated when we love each other

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Do You Love Me?

While sports fishing off the Florida coast, a tourist capsized his boat. He could swim, but his fear of alligators kept him clinging to the overturned craft. Spotting an old beachcomber standing on the shore, the tourist shouted, "Are there any gators around here?!"
While sports fishing off the Florida coast, a tourist capsized his boat. He could swim, but his fear of alligators kept him clinging to the overturned craft. Spotting an old beachcomber standing on the shore, the tourist shouted, "Are there any gators around here?!"
"Naw," the man hollered back, "they ain't been around for years!"
Feeling safe, the tourist started swimming leisurely toward the shore. About halfway there he asked the guy, "How'd you get rid of the gators?"
"We didn't do nothin'," the beachcomber said. "The sharks got 'em."
Today’s sermon is about an event that happened on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. fortunately they didn’t have to worry about sharks there. Just before He was arrested, Jesus had a last supper with the 12, and then He spent the next 4-5 hours teaching them some final lessons.
No more parables - Jesus spoke directly to them. “Love each as I have loved you!” and “I am the vine, you are the branches.”
But, after these final lessons, and a godly prayer, Jesus was arrested and His devoted followers took off. These were the people Jesus had planned to take over the ministry. I don’t know if He doubted them, but I’m pretty sure that they doubted themselves. He had commissioned them as fishers of men, but after the Resurrection He needed to re-assure them of His love, to assure them they were still on plan, and to re-commission them.
PRAY
Open Your Bibles to .
Later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it happened. Several of the disciples were there—Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin or as we know him, Doubting Thomas), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, (that’s James & John) and two other disciples.
Simon Peter said, "I'm going fishing."
"We'll come, too," they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.
You know this story; at dawn the disciples see Jesus on the beach and He calls to them, “Caught anything?”
They hadn’t but Jesus, who has no boat, no fishing pole, and no net—has fish on the fire. Hmmm…
This is one of those times that proves God has a sense of humor. Professional fisherman and their companions—fish all night long—and kind of like an inside joke, Jesus asks, “Caught anything?” Like He didn’t spend the night keeping the fish swimming away from their boat…
[So then] He said, "Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you'll get some!" …they did, and they couldn't haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.
John, a professional fisherman, figures out this is no fluke—I mean it was like déjà vu all over again. Anyway, he tells Peter it must be Jesus on the shore.
I don’t think John had better eyes than Peter and the other disciples…he just recognized the work of God faster. One of the greatest things about being a pastor…is that I see God better than you do. I’m just kidding…one of the greatest things about being a pastor is when YOU see God at work, you tell me. You may not tell others…but you’re not afraid to tell me. It is very exciting.
John’s word is good enough for Peter, who throws on his tunic and jumps in the water and swims to shore leaving the others to do all the work of getting the fish to shore.
Once everyone’s ashore, they settle down to a hearty breakfast of fresh fish and bread. Of all the appearances of Jesus after the resurrection, this has got to be the best. You can almost see them talking and laughing by the fire. Can’t you?
No doubt, Peter is outwardly thrilled. But I can’t help but think that since the subject of Peter’s denial hadn’t been brought up yet—that Peter was thinking, hoping “Maybe Jesus has forgotten all about it.”
I know when I hurt my wife’s feelings, I hope she forgets as quickly as possible—to ease that tension.

The Questions

Well, friends, I know it’s no surprise, but Jesus hadn’t forgotten. But He doesn’t say, “Peter, remember when you denied me?” says, So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?’" “Do you love me more than these?” What is Jesus referring to when He says “these”?
Jesus
Well it could be the bread and fish. “Simon, are you so happy now because I fed you?” “These” could have been the other disciples…Peter’s fishing buddies. “Simon, am I more important to you than your buddies here?”
Another option might be, “Do you love Me more than these fellows love Me?” Perhaps we’ll never know...
But I think that Jesus was asking Peter about the huge pile of fish on the beach…and the nets that were laying there waiting for someone to straighten them and put them back in the boat. Jesus was about to call him, a fisherman, to be a shepherd…right after they made the biggest catch of his life.
Where is your head Peter? Can you leave your career behind?
“Simon, you’re a good fisherman—but do you love Me, more than fishing?”
Is there anything you love more than God?
In verse 16 Jesus asks again, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?"
And in verse 17 Jesus asks a third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?"
Verse 17 goes on to say, “Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’
Here’s where this gets a bit tricky, if you read this passage in the NIV or the King James, ASV, the ESV, the NRSV or the New Living Translation, you will read that Jesus asked Peter three times, “Do you love Me?” and you will be led to believe that it is because Jesus asked him three times that Peter was hurt.
If you read it from the original Greek or from the Living Bible, then you know Jesus didn’t ask the same question three times. The first two times Jesus asked if Peter loved Him He used the Greek word agape—which is a “high & devoted love”. Agape is often described as unconditional love; or the way God loves—the 3rd time, Jesus used the word fileo. And it is that question that grieved Peter.
Fileo comes from the Greek root word, Feelos, which is almost always translated as “friend”. Fileo, then, is the word for “brotherly love” “friendship” “affection”. The third time Jesus didn’t ask Peter if he loved Him with a high & devoted love…but asked him instead, “are you My friend?” and Peter was hurt that Jesus had to ask.
The Answers
Of course, it’s important to note that “you My friend” is how Peter responds all three times. We read in all the major translations Peter responds… “You know I love You.” And I realize that I’m not teaching very many of you a knew thing here…most of you know, as Robertson’s Word Pictures says that Peter, “makes no claim here to superior love”
Peter basically says all three times… “I am Your good friend.”
Let me just point out three thoughts?
First, this is Peter we’re talking about.
· Peter who declared, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!”
· Peter who said, “If that is You command me to walk on the water.”
· Peter who when Jesus told the disciples that He would suffer and die, said, “Never Lord! This shall never happen to You!”
· Peter who announced, “Even If I have to die with You, I will never disown You!”
The point is this—Peter was always quick with an answer…and typically it was a good answer. But look…Peter doesn’t give Jesus the pat answer here. He could have said, “Yes, I agape You. I love You more than all these do!” But instead, this time, he chose his words carefully— “Lord, you know I’m your friend.”
Solomon writes, in “A fool's mouth is his undoing, and his lips are a snare to his soul.” he gives us this advice, “He who guards his lips guards his life”. Peter learned this truth the hard way.
Solomon writes, in “A fool's mouth is his undoing, and his lips are a snare to his soul.” he gives us this advice, “He who guards his lips guards his life”. Peter learned this truth the hard way.
And then, let me also point out that Peter says each time, “You know”. The third time he goes as far as to say “You know all things”. He insists that Jesus knows how he feels in spite of his denial. Peter’s point in saying “You know all things” was to say, “You know my heart. I may have denied You—when I thought I would be strong; I was weak. I may have denied You, but You know it wasn’t because I don’t care about You.”
Finally, and for me best of all, when I was meditating on this passage I noted that Jesus takes us right where we are…
The third time Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him, He says, “Do you fileoo Me? Are you My friend?”
The third time, Jesus asks “Do you fileoo Me? Are you My friend?”
When Jesus calls Peter, He comes down to where Peter is. Peter swallows his pride and admits his love apparently isn’t what Jesus would like it to be…but that’s okay…Peter doesn’t have to fix himself, he doesn’t have to better himself, he doesn’t have to prove himself, and he doesn’t have to beat himself up.
Jesus takes him, takes us, right where we are.
The Call
Three questions and three answers and with each question and answer came a call. “Tend My lambs, Shepherd My sheep, Tend My Sheep.”
The Greek word for lamb here is interesting. It is arnia and it is the diminutive form of lamb; as in Mary had a “little lamb”, like on the cover of the morning bulletin. The diminutive doesn’t mean the lamb is miniature—it means it’s special; it’s dear, it’s a term of affection.
I had a secretary in El Paso who called her husband “Gordito”. I asked her what that meant and she told me that when you put “ito” or “ita” on the end of a word in Spanish, it made it into the diminutive form of the word. Something we do to show affection. So Gordito was the diminutive form of Gordo. So, she told me it basically meant, in an affectionate way, “My little chubby guy”. Personally, that doesn’t sound affectionate to me.
Jesus’ point is that these lambs were special to Him; they were dear to Him; He loved these “little lambs”. Peter is being called to do that which lay heavy on the heart of God. “God so loved the world…”
Jesus told Peter, “Tend my Lambs…” “Shepherd My Sheep”. He meant for Peter to care for them. Sheep prosper when they have someone to tend to them, to feed, water, and protect them.
Jesus basically said—keep My lambs fed and cared for. Which means this is a call! This is a MUST! Peter was to spend his life caring for Jesus’ lambs. Jesus was calling the fisherman to be a shepherd.
…and Jesus called me to tend to His lambs, when I was just 16. I have done that in several ways, but along with my wife, we were ordained nearly 31 years ago.
And He called some of you to tend His lambs. And you’re doing it. Calling those who are sick or who are missing. Loving each other. Helping with this and that. We appreciate you so much.
But God isn’t calling all of you to feed the lambs…but He is calling you.  Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
In nearly 31 years as an officer and a whole lot more as a Christian I have noticed that from time to time—even the most devoted Christians think that serving God…tending to some of the needs of His flock, is optional.
But we are all called to serve…[examples]
We are supposed to keep our spiritual fervor…but sometimes, like Peter…we get off track. The great news is that when we meet with Jesus, He takes us right where we are! And here we are—meeting with Jesus. Need your fervor renewed? Today’s the day…
I got a mailer many years ago where a pastor asked people, “Why go to church?” Life is so busy, why bother with one more thing to do…
Let me close with the answer. (NLT) says,
Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.
If you share each other’s burdens – then you are obeying the law of Christ. Because you love them, He knows you love Him.
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