Do You Love Me More than These? Sacrifice, Dying, and Following Jesus

Do You Love MeOn Sunday we pursued one question.

“Do you love me more than these?”

This is the question that Jesus asks Peter three times in John 21. It is also the question he asks us each and everyday if we will listen. Jesus asks Peter if he loves him more than…well the fish actually. He is asking Peter if he loves his life of fishing more than following him. He is asking Peter if he is willing to sacrifice, to follow him, to give up fishing and start feeding the sheep. To start sacrificing himself for the lives of others.

This is a tough question. And Jesus asks us the same one. “Do you love me more than these?” And the “these” in your life could be anything. Do you love me more than your job? Do you love me more than your reputation? Do you love me more than your wealth? All  of a sudden this question gets way too personal…way too fast.

But it is a question we need to embrace because it is a question that leads to life. You might point out that it is actually a question that leads to death…well that is true. This question will lead Peter to his death, as Jesus makes it clear in verse 18 and it will lead to us dying as well. But that is always where the Gospel has led, to our deaths, so that we might be reborn and know new life. Answering that question  will lead us to dying in all sorts of ways. It will mean dying to power, to greed, to lust, to anger, and maybe even to physical death as it will for Peter. But what the gospel promises is that we will be raised to great things, to new life, to new creation, it promises resurrection in the face of death.

That is why though we resist the question Jesus asks us. Because the question, “Do you love me more than these”, is a question of sacrifice and learning to die. And sacrifice has never been easy; if it was it wouldn’t be sacrifice.

And I know that some might wonder do I need to sacrifice? What about grace? Yes there is still grace, it is still free, it is still available, and it always saves. What I am saying is that following Jesus is about sacrificing, being saved by Jesus is all about grace. What we so often forget is that there would be no grace without the sacrifice of Jesus. I’m not talking about how we are saved, I’m talking about how we are to live once we are saved. And how we are to live is like Jesus, a lifestyle of sacrifice so that others might know God’s grace and love.

My contention on Sunday wasn’t that sacrifice is easy. My contention is simply that it’s the way you follow Jesus. You can’t follow Jesus without sacrifice, without dying, without giving up and giving in to him. Jesus says to Peter, “You follow me”. And he says the same thing to each of us.

I know it’s hard but the hard things are the only things worth doing. So today if you want to live for something, and do something meaningful…why not spend sometime with Jesus answering his question… “Do you love me more than these?”

Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: Being an apprentice is a life of continual sacrifice

Take Aways…

  • The world isn’t changed through programs but people who follow Jesus
  • Its possible to attend church, but not follow Jesus
  • Do you know how to not just come to church, but become like Christ
  • “The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.” Soren Kierkegaard
  • Even when we give up on Jesus, he doesn’t give up on us
  • You can never go backwards to become who you were
  • To be a follower of Jesus means being willing to sacrifice
  • You have as much of Jesus in your life as you want
  • What are the “these” in your life?
  • Your relationship with Jesus only grows the depth you are willing to sacrifice.
  • We only have grace because of sacrifice
  • Comparison kills spiritual growth
  • Spiritual greatness has nothing to do with being greater than others. It ahs everything to with being as great as each of us can be. Henri Nouwen
  • You…follow me

Adult / Group Discussion Questions: What surprised you? What made you think? Was this sermon hard to hear or freeing? Why might that be? What are the “these” in your life? What is Jesus asking you to sacrifice? How can comparison kill your spiritual growth? When are you tempted to look around at others rather than follow Jesus? Who can support you in your sacrifice? How can you remember to keep asking Jesus, what are the “these” in my life?

Discussion Questions for Young Families: Begin by sharing with your kids what Jesus has sacrificed for us. Then take a moment and talk to them about how we too are called to sacrifice. Teach and talk to them how following Jesus is about sacrifice. Tell them some things you’ve sacrificed to follow Jesus, and maybe even tell them what you are called to sacrifice. Ask them if there is anything you as a family should sacrifice to follow Jesus.

Challenge for this Week:

Sacrifice for Jesus

Faith is Trust in Action

On Sunday we talked about how faith is really trust. It’s an active trust in Jesus. Brennan Manning writes this;

“If a random sample of one thousand American Christians were taken today, the majority would define faith as belief in the existence of God. In earlier times – almost nobody took that for granted. Rather, faith had to do with one’s relationship to God – whether one trusted in God. The difference between faith as “belief in something that may or may not exist” and faith as “trusting in God” is enormous. The first is a matter of the head, the second a matter of the heart.”

That’s what we explored, the matter of the heart trusting in Jesus. The point isn’t to believe that there is a God out there. The point is to have active trust in the person of Jesus as the Son of God who gives us life through his grace and gift. This is the point of being an apprentice to trust in Jesus. But this type of trust isn’t intellectual assent, or rational agreement. This is the type of trust with action, with movement, that actually has feet. Meaning that this type of trust needs to change how we live. That’s the whole point, that what we truly trust in we need to act on.

So I ended with this challenge and I think it’s a good challenge for anyone. To ask ourselves: What is one way we can actively trust Jesus this week? What is one thing we can do to act on our trust?

And depending on where you are at with Jesus what he might tell you is different. But I know he will be telling us all to take a step, and to take action. Because that’s what faith is – trust in action.

Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: The heart of an apprentice is active trust

Take Aways…

  • The most crucial challenge for the church is whether or not we will become disciples of Jesus.
  • The world needs more people living like Jesus
  • Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Jesus Matthew 7:24
  • Can you say, “I know my next step to grow…”?
  • Faith is active trust in something, or someone.
  • Being an apprentice of Jesus starts with trusting in him
  • The difference between faith as “belief in something that may or may not exist” and faith as “trusting in God” is enormous. The first is a matter of the head, the second a matter of the heart.” – Brennan Manning

Adult / Group Discussion Questions: What do you think the greatest challenge facing the church is? Where is your relationship with God right now – are you exploring him, growing with him, close to him, or centred on him? What is your next step to grow? What next step do you need to take to put your trust into action? What might Jesus be asking you to do? What is faith to you?

Discussion Questions for Young Families: Take a moment to talk with you kids about “faith”. Say how it is like trusting, that just as how your kids trust you to provide for them, help them, guide them, by actively trusting – asking for help – and obeying. That trusting Jesus is like that. Ask them if they would like to trust Jesus or if they do.

Challenge for this Week:

Find one way to actively trust Jesus this week