Do You Love Me?
A Message Preached by Pastor Tonye Cole at the Sunshine Service on Sunday, July 23, 2017
Bible Text: John 21:15-17 [AMP]
Memorials serve as a purpose. They act as a reminder of what happens when man forgets the higher calling of love that he has been called to. Memorials act as a reminder to why we must stay true to the God that we serve. Memorials act as a reminder of our values and humanity. It is for this reason that the Bible itself is a historical memorial. It catalogues in graphic detail the rise and fall of man, nations and kingdoms. The Bible is a memorial through which in its pages, you discover God's amazing love for us, and it is an accurate memorial for what happens to those who embrace God's love and those who reject it.
When you read John 21:15-17 [AMP], you begin to understand and get a glimpse as to why Jesus asked this question thrice, "Do you love Me with total commitment and devotion?"
1. Do you love the LORD with total commitment and devotion? When you think of this question of love, it is easy to say you understand it or answer like Simon Peter did. If Jesus asked you the same question three times as He did for Simon Peter, will you be saddened by it? Jesus knew what He was doing when He asked the question. Without a deeper knowledge of why He is asking, it is very easy for you to contemplate and say "Yes". However, anyone who has created life would understand at the basic level what love means; and as a result, when God created man in His own image, there was a bond that linked Him to man. That bond was an incredible and complete bond because man was capable at creation to think, act and walk like God (Genesis 2:19-20), and God gave man everything that He had (Genesis 1:27-30).
2. Where is this love found? Jesus explained to His disciples that love is the key to unlocking God's heart. John 14:23-24 [NKJV] says "Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me." The message of love is consistent throughout the Bible. Indeed, the Bible is a love story of epic proportions. The Bible speaks of love from the very first chapter where a new world was created, so that God and man could fellowship on a daily basis.
3. Love is a weapon of warfare. You must understand love because the devil knows this weapon completely and has ensured that it is misused nowadays. When you harness love properly, it is the most dangerous weapon that God has given you in His arsenal. Love is something that can break and destroy everything that stands before you. To understand love, you must always remember that God is love. When you have love, you have God (1 John 4:6-10).
4. What is love? To answer this question, you need to understand under which category love operates. In ancient Greek, there were six words for love - Eros, Philia, Ludus, Pragma, Philautia, and Agape. Agape is a love for everyone, it is a selfless love. It is the love that God has for all mankind, and the love that He wants you to have. When Jesus Christ asked Simon Peter, "Do you love Me with total commitment and devotion?" He wanted to know if Simon Peter had the same kind of love that He had for him and for everyone. When answering this question, you should always remember that God is love (1 Corinthians 13:1-8 [NKJV]).
5. Love is about action. When Peter replied Jesus' question, Jesus' response to him was a response of action. Jesus said "Feed my lambs..." Lambs are sacrificial, they are those who go out and serve the LORD so that others can get a blessing. For example, the lambs are those in the mission field, clergymen, pastors, etc. Do you feed the lambs? Do you provide for those who sacrifice for you? Jesus then said "...Shepherd my sheep..." A shepherd cares, provides, protects, defends, guides, etc. Who is the sheep? The sheep is body of Christ, the Church, those who have given their lives to Christ but are not yet in the service of sacrifice. The question, "Do you love Me with total commitment and devotion?" is a call for action (Matthew 25:31-46).
6. What does loving God do for you? Because of the deep love God has for you, He knows all your needs before you ask Him. He has made a solemn promise that He will provide all your needs without fail; and if only you will seek Him first, everything that you need will be provided for you (Matthew 6:32-34).
What are you willing to do to save the life of a loved one (Matthew 7:9-11)? There is absolutely nothing that God will not give to those who love Him. Everything Jesus asked of God was granted unto Him because He understood the power of love.
What Must You Do?
God has given you a freewill and the choice is yours? 1 John 1:8-10 [NKJV] says "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us." Do you try to make God a liar or are you deceiving yourself? Have you surrendered your life to Jesus Christ, Hebrews 9:27 says "And as it is appointed for man to die once, but after this the judgement." At this point, nobody can help you. You will stand before the Great White Throne and give an account of everything you have done on earth (Revelation 20:11-15). Don't be caught on the wrong side of God's love. God has told you that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus. Have you forgotten your first love (Revelation 2:2-5)? Do you love God? If you have not surrendered your life to Jesus Christ, please do so today. Jesus Christ is calling you back to Him today. He is willing to have mercy on you, accept you, draw you back to Him, forgive all your sins, write your name in the Book of Life, and make you brand new.
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