TEXT: John 21:15-17:
15 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.
16 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.
17 He 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.
Today, I am continuing the daily Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign sermon series, which is aimed at sharing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with unbelievers and reminding Christians, in this important election year, to keep the main thing the main thing — and that is reaching unbelievers with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and praying for their salvation, for the problem in America is not only disobedient presidents, politicians, and people, but disobedient pastors, preachers, and parishioners who have refused to obey the Lord’s Great Commission which is to, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” and who have refused to obey God’s repeated commands to “pray without ceasing” for unbelievers, believers, and political leaders. Yes, you should pray for the right candidate to win; yes, you should vote for the candidate that the Lord gives you peace about voting for. But, don’t get caught up in it like the world does. Nothing much is going to change until people get saved and get their hearts right with the Lord.
This campaign is inspired by the following three verses: 1 Corinthians 2:2 which says, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Acts 5:42 which says, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” And 2 Timothy 2:4 which says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”
This series is not for Christians necessarily. However, I do hope you are one of those saints who still loves to hear the “Old, old story of Jesus and His love” — As another hymn says, “For those who know it best Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.” This series is primarily for unbelievers, so they can hear and understand the Gospel and be saved from sin and the punishment of sin which is hell. This is message number 368.
Francis Chan said, “In the midst of our failed attempts at loving Jesus, His grace covers us.”
We see the truth of this statement in Jesus’ interaction with Peter in the last chapter of John’s Gospel. After actions which some of us would deem unforgivable or at least job terminating, Jesus is keen to help Peter understand that he is still a part of the family and the ministry. But, as we saw in our last message, Jesus also wants Peter to realize that he is not as strong spiritually as he had claimed in the past. Hence the question, “Lovest thou me more than these?” Jesus asks Peter to compare his love for Him against the love the other disciples had for Him. Peter had boasted about his loyalty to Jesus, but when the test came, he had let the Savior down. How does Peter respond to Jesus’ question?
Notice Peter’s Confession. In response to Jesus’ question, Peter says, “Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.” Some commentators have pointed out that the word Jesus used for love and the word Peter used for love are different. Jesus uses “agape,” meaning unconditional, self-sacrificing love. Peter uses “phileo,” meaning the love of a friend. While some say the difference in terms is not significant, one could say that more than an attempt to try to convince Jesus that he still loves Him, Peter is confessing that he has failed at loving Jesus and that he is not capable of the love that he once boasted of. Peter is saying that he loves Jesus as much as he possibly can in his feeble human way, but He is incapable of loving Jesus the way Jesus loves him. Jesus had proven his agape love for Peter and mankind by going to the cross and dying; but Peter’s actions had shown that he did not have agape love — the kind of love that leads one to risk or lay down his life for Jesus. If you will, Under the weight of Jesus’ questioning, Peter finally admitted this. He did not have the agape love that Jesus had.
Now, notice Jesus’ Command. In response to Peter’s confession, Jesus says, “Feed my lambs.” I think it would be safe to say that if Peter had denied one of us the way he turned his back on Jesus, we would never want him to work with us or for us again. But that is not the case with Jesus. Jesus tells Peter, ‘You are still My disciple. You are still one of the twelve. I have called you to be a fisher of men. My gifts and callings are without repentance. Feed my sheep.’ The sheep are the flock of God, the souls the disciples would win to the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus is telling Peter, ‘I want you to be a leader in My church. I want you to shepherd, nourish, teach, provide for, and protect the little lambs who come in from the world.’
With this kind of restoration and reinstatement, I don’t think Peter ever again felt proud about spiritual matters. He had gone as low as anyone could go. Yet, Jesus had restored Him to service. He did not turn His back on him. He brought him back into the ministry and recommissioned him for God’s use.
As we embark on a new year, I think a question that Jesus would ask of us in the church is, “Do you love me? Do you love me more than these?” He has the right to ask such a question after a year when so many who claimed to be Christians bowed down at the altar of politics on both sides. When so many allowed political divisions to tear apart Christian fellowship. Jesus wants to know, Do you love Me more than you love your party? Do you love Me more than you love your candidate, no matter if they won or lost, if they’re leaving office or being inaugurated? Will you stand up for Me just like you stood up for them?
Some of us, like Peter, need to confess that we have not loved the Lord supremely. We have put personal safety, politics, race, culture, money, popularity, and worldly acceptance above Christ and the Gospel. We have allowed the transient things of this world to trump the guaranteed eternal triumph of God in the end. Some of us, like Peter, have been unwilling to go down to the wire for Jesus.
But if we are willing to admit our faults, Jesus has a command for us as well: “Feed my lambs.” He wants us to get back to our first love in this new year. He wants us to love Him with all our heart, mind, and soul through the power of the Holy Spirit. He wants us to have agape love for our brothers and sisters in Christ because that is the only kind of love that will heal the division that has come to light in the past few years. He wants us to have agape love for the lost world as well because that is the only kind of love that will move us to boldly preach the Gospel and stand against sin no matter the cost.
Julia Aldrich wrote:
Jesus said with tender pleading,
Feed My lambs, feed My lambs;
In this world He’s interceding,
Feed My precious lambs.
Seek each little son and daughter,
Feed My lambs, feed My lambs;
Lead them to the living water,
Feed My precious lambs.
Tell them of a home in glory,
Feed My lambs, feed My lambs;
And repeat the old, old story
Feed My precious lambs.
For those of you who are not yet disciples of the Lord, the restoration of Peter reminds us that Jesus can and will forgive any sinner. No matter what you have done, no matter how terrible you think it is, Jesus wants to forgive you, save you from your sins, and bring you into His family. No one is too far gone that he is beyond the grace, mercy, and love of Jesus. Here is how you can receive Him into your heart and life today:
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.