Summary: What would you do different if Jesus was coming over today?
If Jesus were to come into your house, what do you think the first question he might ask you would be? Are you a believer in me? What is happening in your life? Why didn’t you take the trash out when you were asked?
What would he ask? As I look at the Scriptures, I believe the first thing he would probably ask us is "Do you love me?" It is what he asked Peter in John 21:15-17 after his resurrection. I believe it is the question that he asks us today. Sadly to say, I don’t think a great number can answer the question with an unconditional yes. I am talking about people who attend church, make confession of faith as believers, yet when it comes down to the final analysis of their belief, they could not answer Yes when the Savior asks do you love me. You see, you can’t fake it when you have God asking the questions. He has the ability to cut through the shucking and jiving to get right down to the real truth.
There is a test of truth in answering the question. Jesus gave the test to Peter and history shows us he passed the test. Jesus has given the test to you. Can you pass? The test is not in a blanket answer, Do you love me, Yes Lord I love you. No actions speak louder than words, and Jesus applied this in his comments to Peter. Do, you love me Peter? Yes, Lord I love you. Then feed my sheep. (Do you love me ___________; Yes, Lord I love you, Then feed my sheep).
There is a lesson being taught in this passage that is deep. The love of the Savior, the devotion for Jesus Christ needs to be followed up with the action of ministry. When you love, you will do something for the person you love. You will work to show your love.
I like the instruction Paul gives to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:15, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth."
But I am getting ahead of myself, because we cannot be a workman until we can honestly say yes to the question, Do you love me? that Jesus has posed. For unless our service is motivated by an intense love for Jesus Christ, even if we do work, and so many do work, and so many do not, but if our work our service is not motivated out of that intense devotion to Jesus, it becomes a duty, it becomes something that we do because we think we are suppose to do it but it is not something of devotion, it is not something of passion in our lives. Do you understand what I am saying tonight?
Love. It is where the rubber meets the road. It is what separates the truth from the half- hearted. It is what leads one to an intensity that moves beyond just knowledge, it takes one to the very heart of passion for whatever the focus of that love concerns.
Church, I want to re-emphasis my focus for Sunday nights. While in the morning services I address the needs, the questions for the seekers, people who are asking questions, seeking answers for life, in the evening I want us to move to a deeper, meatier approach and understanding of Jesus and His teachings to us. And before we can go deeper, we need to cover in the next several weeks, some basics. We need to make sure we can accurately answer Jesus question, Do you love me?
I enjoy the game of basketball, and in the last two seasons, in particular the play of the Chicago Bulls. Although I disagree with the off court lifestyle of some players, in particular Dennis Rodman, the team has taught me something that applies to my life as a Christian. The Chicago Bulls do not win games because they put in every shot, they win games based on what they do with the missed shots. They score on the rebounds.
This is somewhat like the Christian life. We all take bad shots. We know where the goal is, the hoop, and we know what the ball looks like, we have dribbled it, passed it and taken shots with it and sometimes, the hoop and the ball don’t meet and we have missed shots in life. Can you relate to this? But the issue is not one of trying and failing, the issue is one of trying and rebounding. It is what you do when you have missed the mark. Do you get back up and get into the game?
Let me put this another way. What do you do when you have allowed something other than Jesus to take center stage in your life. When you cannot answer the question, Do you love me in the affirmative. When you have gotten off-track, when you have missed the shot. I want you to know, the game is not over, you can rebound. You can get the ball and put it up again and you can score, and come out in the end, a winner in life. And who has not fallen? The question becomes more, but who has not yet gotten up.