Summary: We cannot question God's love for us, it is obvious but do we love him above all things?
“The Love Check”
Text: John 21:1-19
Illustration: The story of Narcissus in Greek mythology.
You see the great mystery of life is not whether God loves man; the evidence is too overwhelming for a sensible person to deny it? But the great mystery is can man ever love God above all things that man deems important to him. You see as a man, “I am important! I matter! I have feelings you know! I have an opinion! I have likes and dislikes! I have desires! I have wants and needs!” And really to a great degree, many of these things are of value to God, but what is truly of more value to God is not whether I’m making sure everyone else understands about the great me, but am I at all considerate of the GREAT HIM. Have we as creations of God started to figure out that so much of life is about this love check? It doesn’t matter where you start in your Bible; you find this love check in almost every life. Eve’s love was tested in the garden. Would she love God enough to believe that He was not selfishly keeping “one” tree from her but had given her so much and was really protecting her. Adam was placed in a difficult situation, would he choose to love God above his wife? Their children were later faced with the same test, the same dilemma. Cain, would you love God’s way above your own way? The Bible says, “There is a way that seemeth right unto man but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Job could you continue to love God, even at the loss of everything you hold dear and everything that you had your “blessed” tags and stickers on? Abraham could you love God enough to leave home, the familiarity and comfort of the Ur of the Chaldees, and follow God to a “promised land” that had yet to be seen. Abraham could you love God above the life of your only son, the promised seed? Hey we could spend all morning here? Samson can you love God more than the appetites of your flesh. Children of Israel can you love God more than your king? Nehemiah can you love God more than your job as the king’s cup bearer?
Today’s its Peter’s turn? The gospels account for so many unique experiences in the life of Peter. He had been rebuked by the Lord, challenged by the Lord, had stepped out in faith with the Lord, and fought for the Lord. Yet, even as the loudest and proudest of Jesus’ disciples, he also denied and forsook the Lord. It is now in John 21, that we see another great truth about the Lord, and that is He is always seeking after His creation. He longs to be with us, to have a good and healthy relationship with us. And his timing is absolutely amazing. Peter has returned to a life that is just easier in his mind to manage. The fisherman’s life was what Peter had always done; he was talented enough to make a living and to do fairly well. Besides, this walking with Christ, and living for God stuff, was too perplexing, too confusing, and too unpredictable. Too many paradoxes: the way up is down, the way to get is to give, and the way to live is to die. In Peter’s life, “when I’m loud for God, he tells me to hush, when I fight for God, he tells me to put away my sword, and the one time I act out of character and deny him, He fastens his eyes upon me…” No sir, it’s too much. Turn the other cheek, serve one another, love one another, forgive one another, suffer with Christ…It’s too much to ask! Someone said, “In the life of everything that is created by God, there is a challenge to give back or to give up something for God. It’s personal, it’s private, and it’s powerful.” I want to look a few moments at the Lord’s dialogue with Peter, and see why Peter was challenged with this final love check by the Lord.
-Notice vs. 15, “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter…”
-Now see I had a hard time with this one, because this thought goes against my human logic. See I would like to believe that everyone has a future, and that everyone will live a long life, but folks that’s a delusion. There is not one guarantee you have that you will make it to your next birthday. So as I began to think about this, it makes practical sense to me.
1. Peter Had a Future-Jesus told Him so, Luke 22:31, 32, “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”