Loving God by Serving Others (John 21:1-17)
We’re in a message series called “Four Priorities for Life. Last Sunday, we talked about Loving God through Worship. I hope that you grew in learning to worship God throughout the week. Last week, three of my boys and I attended an Assemblies of God Faith and Science conference in Springfield. We learned from a number of eminent scientists from around the world, how God’s greatness is seen in nature. From remote galaxies to the genetic codes in our cells, God’s incredible design was seen. God’s handiwork was a great opportunity for worship.
Today I’ve entitled my message “Loving God by Serving Others.” This message is going to show how two of our priorities for life are interrelated. In the future, we’re going to be talking about the priority of Loving God’s People. Today, we’re going to talk about how we can express our love for God by serving those in His family. Of course, serving is an expression of our love for people.
Jesus told a parable in Matthew 25 about what is going to happen on judgment day. Jesus will sit on His throne and divide people into two groups that He calls the sheep and the goats. The sheep will go into eternal life with Jesus, whereas the goats will go away to eternal punishment. How does Jesus say that He will decide who is a sheep or a goat? To the sheep Jesus said …
Matthew 25:40 (NIV) “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
To the goats Jesus said …
Matthew 25:45 (NIV) “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
In other words, how a person treats believers, the least of these brothers of mine, is how they are treating Jesus. If someone puts their faith in and loves Jesus, then they will show their love by serving others. Those who are not true believers, will not bother to serve others. Today, we want to learn more about how to love God by serving others.
Galatians 5:13 (NIV) You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
Let’s look at this verse a little more closely. As believers, Jesus has called us to be free. We are not to use our freedom towards self-centered and selfish desires. Rather we are to serve one another in love, demonstrating our love for Jesus. Where is our love for one another expressed? This verse is directed toward believers, addressed here as brothers. We serve one another in love in the church family. That is why, it is so incredibly important for every person who becomes a believer, to be plugged into and become part of the church family. You can’t serve one another in love if you aren’t in relationship with the one another of a church family.
Today, we’re going to be looking at an episode in the life of Peter. In this passage, Jesus is going to teach Peter the importance of serving Jesus’ flock as an expression of love for Jesus.