The Lord’s Message July 26, 2015
Intro: You don’t love me anymore. Painful isn’t it. So, how much are you loved by your spouse, your parents, your children, your relatives and by your friends? What about, are you loved by those you have hurt that you are considered an enemy to them? How about reversing the question? How much do you love your spouse, etc. even your enemies? Or do you love only those who love you?
When Jesus asked Peter after His resurrection, “Do you love me more than these?” This was his reply, “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” If I were asked the same question, I would also answer in the same way. I believe Peter knew that his love was not quite enough knowing what he just did by denying Jesus three times. He was honest to himself because he now knows that Jesus, the resurrected Christ is God knowing his heart more that he did. With the more than three years of following Jesus, he has learned that Jesus knows what is in the heart for he remembered what Jesus said to him when he was about to wash his feet. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not everyone was clean. John 13: 6-11
Even though Peter said that he loves Jesus, he knew that his heart has deceived him just as one of them did. He must have remembered the words of Jeremiah? The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.” Jer. 17:9-10
The love that Peter expressed to Jesus was only human love called Phileo, filial love for another person you have a relation with because at that time Peter was not yet given the Holy Spirit to be in him. This happened only at Pentecost. One can only love God and His Son with divine love produced by the Holy Spirit when one is born again and the Holy Spirit is now in him. One’s love for God is a response to God’s love that one receives through Jesus Christ after one is saved. “We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
So when one has received the love of God, divine love is produced in him that he can now love God, His Son and His people who also have Christ in them, even his enemies. Here’s what is more important. The last passage from the message last Sunday ought to answer this question.
“How much does Jesus love me?”
“The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Gal. 2:20b
When a baby is born does he or she knows how much he or she is loved? No, but every time she cries, who provides the milk? Not just the milk but she is cleaned up. Sad to say but there are babies given up for adoption or abandoned because they are unwanted and there is no love from the mother. But even if she… “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” Isa. 49:15
In the spiritual life one is given first this new birth we call being born again, born again in the Spirit. In the same way the spirit needs feeding from the Word. And this is the evidence that the spirit is alive. “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable through the living and enduring word of God.” 1 Pet. 1:23
This is how one is born again through the gospel that he heard presented to him. And when there is this new birth, this must happen and will happen. “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Deut. 8:3
This was quoted by Jesus when He was tempted by the devil having not eaten for forty days. He had the word of God and that was His food to sustain Him. He did not need to be born again because His Spirit never died and while there was no food when He was led by the Spirit in the desert, He did not hunger for physical food because it was God’s will for Him to be there and His grace was sufficient.
So when one is born again and is growing in his knowledge of God and Christ, how should he live his life? Paul starts with our text, “The life I live.” He is simply stating that this is now how he will live his life, by his choice and will. Sometimes when we make choices, it’s very easy to change our minds. It is like saying, “I’ll try”. Trying will never work. But when one has decided what he wants to do and is fully committed, then he will by acting on his will. Is our will free as a believer in Christ? Yes! We are free to do God’s will and also free not to. Here’s what Jesus said when He was about to face the cross, “not my will but your will be done.” His will was driven by His love for His Father. Can you imagine if Jesus changed His mind by not going to the cross, where will we be? No Redeemer.
Now how does one live by faith? Living by faith comes from an intimate love relationship with a person whom you trust and to entrust your life wholly under His control. Jesus said our faith need only to be as the mustard seed. Yes, this is true because our faith is in the big God who saves. But living by faith goes beyond that. The more you know Jesus the more you trust Him to accomplish His will in your life. What is important is the object of this faith and that is in the Son of God.
When I had a major surgery, I went to a Filipino doctor recommended by my friends whom I could trust. But how can I be sure he will do a good job? However, trusting in the Son of God needs more than trust but faith because we don’t see Him and we don’t know how He is going to work out His will for my good.
There are two very important truths that we should grow in knowing God and experiencing Him. This is “how much does Jesus love me?” In the most widely used Scripture “For God so loved the world…” God loving the world is not for all people but individually. God loves the world because God is love. What about Jesus, does He love the world? When Jesus was sent down to earth and took on a human body did He love the world? There are only a few people in the New Testament mentioned whom Jesus loved. First ones mentioned were, “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” John 11:5
At the death of Lazarus, Jesus wept and this was not in secret but publicly wept. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him.” John 11:35-36
Very close to Jesus’ crucifixion, John reported this account. “It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.” John 13:1
He showed them His love by washing their feet and then said, “I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen.” John 13:16-18
Meaning Jesus did not love all of the twelve for He said this to them. “I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me.” John 13:21b
Jesus knew that person and finally Jesus said this to those He loved minus Judas. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
Jesus spoke that to His disciples while He was still alive. How does He express that to us today? When Paul wrote “who loved me” is that also true to us? Since it is past tense when did Jesus really love me personally, me and you. Here’s when. The Lord appeared to us in the past saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness.” Jer. 31:3
Since God is from everlasting to everlasting, when did He love you and me? Did He decide that only when we got born again? Where was Jesus from everlasting past? He was with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. So when the Triune God planned together to create the world and everything in it, the plan was complete from beginning to end. In their plan, they already knew whom they will save. “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” Eph. 1:4- 8
So how did Jesus express that love for you and me? “He gave Himself for me.” He gave himself to be crucified for sins He did not commit in order to pay a debt we cannot pay for our salvation. Why? because he loved you and me from eternity past. This was revealed by God to Peter who Jesus was and was going to do. “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver and gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.” 1 Pet. 1:18-21
Faith in God starts with faith in Jesus Christ who is also God from the beginning. Do you know now how much Jesus loves you? Can you and I measure that love with our feeble understanding not until God gives us by His grace through His Spirit. Here’s Paul’s prayer he prayed while he was still alive for the believers. “And I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasps how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Eph. 3:17b-19
We remember today that love that cost Jesus his physical life with excruciating pain and suffering beyond our imaginations when we partake of the Lord’s Supper. So that when we remember and realize what Jesus went through we do not take the Lord’s Supper lightly in an unworthy manner. If Jesus asks you now, do you love me more than anything you love in the world, what would you say? Can we be sure that we do? Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to examine our hearts that we are not deceive “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24
Lord’s Supper: “For whenever you eat of this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” 1 Cor. 11:26