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Summary: The way to get right with God is to return to Him.

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Jesus reinstates Peter 3-3=0/3+3=eternity!

Summary sentence: The way to get right with God is to return to Him.

Introduction:

ILL: What’s a Backslider?

"Dad, what’s a backslider?" the boy asked.

"Well, Son, that’s a man who leaves our church and goes to another."

"But Dad, then what do you call a man who leaves his church and joins ours?"

"He’s a convert, Son, a convert!"

John 21:15-17

15.So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonas, do you love Me more than these?" 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 Jonas, 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 Jonas, 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.…

I find it interesting that when Peter encountered the risen Christ, Jesus asked him the same question three times. How many times did Peter deny the Lord? Three. And three times Jesus asked him, “Simon, son of Jonas, do you love Me . . . ?” (John 21:15–17).

The former Peter would have said, “Do I love You? No one loves You like I do, Jesus.”

But the new-and-improved, repentant Peter said, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You” (verses 15–17).

Jesus used the Greek word "agape" for love the first two times, while Peter used a different word, "phileo". Agape carries the meaning of intense, complete, devoted, sacrificial love, while phileo refers to love as in friendship.But in the Hebrew translation,It is said in this way:

15 After breakfast, Yeshua said to Shim‘on Kefa, “Shim‘on Bar-Yochanan, do you love me more than these?” He replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I’m your friend.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Shim‘on Bar-Yochanan, do you love me?” He replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I’m your friend.” He said to him, “Shepherd my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “Shim‘on Bar-Yochanan, are you my friend?” Shim‘on was hurt that he questioned him a third time: “Are you my friend?” So he replied, “Lord, you know everything! You know I’m your friend!” Yeshua said to him, “Feed my sheep! So, Peter was essentially saying, “Well, Lord, all I can commit to right now is that I like You like a friend.”

I wouldn’t criticize Peter for that. It was an honest assessment of where he was. Don’t ever boast of how much you love Jesus; boast of how much Jesus loves you. Our love is fickle. It runs hot and cold. But God’s love for us never changes. It is always there. That is why John the apostle referred to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” That was not arrogant. John was saying that he knew Jesus loved him. And you need to know that Jesus loves you, even if you have fallen away from Him.

Falling Away can also be said to Backslide .

The idea of backsliding is mentioned quite a few times throughout the Bible. Sometimes it is called sliding, turning aside, turning back, falling, etc… The word actually means exactly what it sounds like it means. To backslide is to go backwards in your spiritual life!

Hosea 4:16 likens a backslider to a heifer. The backslider is like an ox that is in a double yoke. Both of the oxen are supposed to pull together to drag the cart, plow, etc… forward. The backsliding heifer decides to turn to the side or to stop in its tracks or even to go backward! Of course, this hinders not only the heifer’s progress, but also the progress of the other ox and the cart or plow itself! Can you see the application?

Jesus said for us to take His yoke upon us and learn of Him. We are supposed to be laboring together for the cause of Christ while getting to know Him more! When one of us backslides—stops doing our part in praying, devotions, giving, witnessing—the church suffers and ultimately the cause of Christ suffers!

III. The Consequences of Backsliding (Proverbs 14:12, 14—"his own ways)

12 There can be a way which seems right to a person,

but at its end are the ways of death.

14 A backslider is filled up with his own ways,

but a good person gets satisfaction from himself

A. A backslider hurts himself.

1. "Be not deceived…" (Galatians 6:7).7 Don’t delude yourselves: no one makes a fool of God! A person reaps what he sows.

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