John 21:15-17 ESV
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him 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, “Tend my sheep.” 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 everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”
Love for Jesus Christ
Do you love Jesus Christ? Do you love him more than anything else in this world or that is in your life? Do you love him more than life? More than your family? More than your friends? More than your career? More than your possessions? More than your reputation? If you do not, then you don’t really love him, not with the love that he desires. For, Jesus Christ is to take first place in our lives above all others and above all else.
We can say we love him and then do the exact opposite. For our actions speak louder than words. Our actions reveal what is really true about us and about what is going on in our minds and hearts, and about what we truly believe, not just what we say that we believe. For we can give lip service to God, not that he accepts that, and then we can live lives which are just the opposite of what we say is true about us and what we believe.
For love for God prefers what God prefers, which is what is holy, righteous, morally pure, upright, godly, honest, faithful, trustworthy, and decent. We prefer to live through Christ and to do his will, to choose his choices and then to obey them in his power and strength. For if we say that we love God, but then we don’t do what he says, we are liars who do not live by the truth, for love for God is to obey his commands.
[Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:10; Jn 21:15; 1 Jn 2:3-6,15; 1 Jn 3:4-10,18,24; 1 Jn 4:19-20; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6; Heb 5:9; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 6:16]
More Than These
So, if we truly love Jesus “more than these” it should show in the words that we speak, in our general attitudes, in our thought processes, and in our behaviors. It should be obvious that he is the one ruling our lives and that our lives are committed to him and to his service. It should also be apparent that we are willing to sacrifice our own reputations in order to put Jesus first in our lives, and in order to walk in obedience to his commands.
So, when we are on the internet on social media or on any other discussion site where we enter into conversations with other people, what we write about, and our attitudes about things in general, and our language that we use are very telling about whether we are just giving lip service to the Lord or not. Exception: There are people who can appear righteous and godly on social media who are living for the flesh and in wickedness in real life.
The same goes when we are in person with people in social gatherings. What do our conversations revolve around? What is most important to us to talk about, which shows what is most important to us in our lives? I have been in so many different “Christian” social gatherings over my lifetime, and so many of them have nothing to do with Jesus Christ, but everything to do with worldliness and even godlessness and with sinful practices.
There is not much of a distinction between the church and the world anymore. “Christians” gathering together are not much different at all from non-Christians gathering together. For they all pretty much watch the same garbage, play all the same video games, watch all the same videos, movies, music videos, etc. and recite the same jokes and share the same memes on social media. And Jesus is barely and rarely on their tongues.
Feed My Sheep
Earlier today I talked about how so many people on social media who profess faith in Jesus Christ are promoting politicians and political parties as our “saviors,” i.e. as the ones who are going to rescue us from the evils of this world and to bring us, as a nation, into a “better place.” But most of them, it appears, are not sharing Jesus Christ on social media as our only Savior who can rescue us from the evils of this world.
To me, this is a prime example of “these” that are being loved more than love for Jesus Christ, for they are the ones being talked about and worshiped and promoted as our solution to the evils of society in place of Jesus Christ being taught as our only Savior and Lord and the one to whom we are to give all our honor and worship, and the only Savior that we should be promoting to anyone, for he is the only one who can truly save us.
The church at large, at least here in America, has become so worldly, and so many who call themselves Christians are worshipers of men, not of God, for they are following the ways and the teachings of human beings over the teachings of the Scriptures and of Jesus Christ. Thus, they have altered the gospel message to make it more attractive and appealing to the world and to human flesh, and they are denying Jesus Christ as their only Lord.
So, if we truly love Jesus, like some of us claim that we do, not only should it show by our actions and words and attitudes, but it should also show by what we put in first place in our lives and what we honor above all else when we are with our family and friends, and when we are on social media. Are we lifting up humans and the things of this world, or are we lifting up Jesus Christ and his gospel? And are we leading people to faith in Jesus Christ?
And leading people to faith in Jesus Christ is not just publishing a meme that says we need Jesus or that he is our Savior or that we need to believe in him. We need to talk with people about what it means to believe in Jesus, for many are believing in a false Jesus and a false gospel because they are not being taught the truth of what it means to believe in Jesus Christ and to be saved from our sins and to have the hope of eternal life with God.
We can’t put the gospel in a nice neat feel-good package. Jesus surely didn’t, and neither did the New Testament apostles. They taught that we must die to our sins and follow Jesus in obedience and that if we continue in deliberate and habitual sin, making sin our practice, that we don’t have the hope of salvation from sin nor eternal life with God. Instead we will face the wrath of God and spend eternity in hell (and/or the lake of fire).
And feeding God’s sheep means that we are sharing the truths of Scripture with our fellow Christians on a daily basis to encourage (urge, exhort) them in their walks of obedience to the Lord so that they are not hardened by sin’s deceitfulness and fall away from the Lord, and so that they are strengthened in their faith and encouraged to keep walking in obedience to the Lord. For this is what we are all called to do.
And one day Jesus is going to return for us, his bride, i.e. for those who are walking faithfully in obedience to him and who are not making compromises with sin and with the world, who are not deliberately and habitually sinning against the Lord, but who by the Spirit are putting to death the deeds of the flesh and who are living in moral purity in obedience to Christ and his Word. But if you are still making sin your practice, you will not go with them.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10]
Sweet Beulah Land
By Squire Parsons
I’m kind of homesick for a country
To which I’ve never been before.
No sad goodbyes will there be spoken
For time won’t matter anymore.
I’m looking now, just across the river
To where my faith, shall end in sight
There’s just a few more days to labor.
Then I will take my heavenly flight.
Beulah Land I’m longing for you
And some day on thee I’ll stand
There my home shall be eternal
Beulah Land, sweet Beulah Land
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