They had caught 153 fish in one haul, talk about an abundance! Jesus came that we might have abundant life (John 10:10). This was the third time they had seen Jesus since the Resurrection, so they knew who He was. Now, Jesus asks Peter a simple question. “Do you love me more than these?” Peter answers “Yes, Lord, you know I love you”. Jesus then said to Peter “take care of my sheep”. It is as if Jesus is saying to Peter, do you love me enough to leave these other disciples to go and feed my sheep. The third time Jesus asks He uses a different word for love that is asking Peter how deeply do you love me? Jesus says for the third time, “Feed my sheep”. The question for us then is this: Do we love Jesus enough to leave family, friends and home to feed His sheep? We come to the same question that we must ask ourselves everyday. Are we willing to give up everyone and everything to follow Jesus?
23 Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. 24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.—Luke 9:23-24 (NLT)
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Jesus never had any question about what His purpose was here on earth. This was decided before the beginning, He had laid aside all of His royalty in heaven and come to earth as Love incarnate. He lived a simple life doing what He saw the Father do and saying what the Father said. Now, the time for Him to return to His glory in Heaven was quickly approaching. He loved people with a love that our human minds cannot fully embrace. Even knowing that Judas would betray Him, He allowed Judas to be one of His disciples. The Father had given Him all authority over all things and He could have used it at any time. Yet, He stayed the course and died a cruel death for our redemption. He was love clothed in human flesh for our benefit. Through the blood of Jesus, we have access to that same love. Jesus was perfect and could love perfectly, we are imperfect and so we love imperfectly. But one day, we will love as He loves. Then we will know fully just as God knows us now. We need to practice showing love to others every day so they will be attracted to Jesus. Love will never fail.
13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. – 1 Cor 13:13
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Jesus commissioned us to go and make disciples starting at home and working our way out to the rest of the world. Making disciples requires more than just the plan of salvation. We are to spend time with new converts teaching them the discipline of the Word of God. We must show them by example that we have to spend time with the Word and talking with God on a daily basis. We also must show them that it is necessary for us to spend time together as Christians. We are told not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. We need the encouragement and help of those around us to endure in our walk with God. There is the old example of removing a red hot ember from the fireplace and setting it out by itself. It is soon black and cold. You can put it back in the fireplace and it is soon red hot and giving off warmth again. Our spirits are the same way, we need that “togetherness” to keep our passion and compassion flowing for Jesus. Learn all you can and take the time to teach what you have learned to those around you. That is the way each of us can fulfill the commission that Jesus gave to the disciples and to us
19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.– Matt. 28:19 NLT
The Great Commission In yesterday’s reading, we thought about how we might have reacted to the instructions of Jesus to “go and make disciples of all the nations”. The important part for us in any work in which God asks us to participate is to agree and believe. How do we get to that point? We start by remembering that God never asks us to do anything that He has not prepared us to do and that He is ready to provide everything we need to complete the work. Look at the training that Jesus had given the disciples. They had had three years of walking and talking with Him on a daily basis, observing Him as He interacted with people on all levels of society and healing them. In today’s society, that would probably qualify them for a doctorate degree in Christianity. God had used the evil Romans to build the roads necessary and to make the country safe enough to travel. He had sent the disciples out once before with absolutely nothing but the clothes on their back and the sandals on their feet. They had passed the survival test then and they would again. When God calls us to participate in His Kingdom work, He just wants us to agree and be available, He provides everything else. So when you feel that little nudge, don’t doubt, don’t fear, don’t be a Zechariah and get struck dumb for nine months, be a Mary and become “blessed above all”
5 It is not because you are so good or have such integrity that you are about to occupy their land. The Lord your God will drive these nations out ahead of you only because of their wickedness, and to fulfill the oath he swore to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.6 You must recognize that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land because you are good, for you are not—you are a stubborn people. — Deut. 9:5, 6 NLT
It is very easy for us to read the account of the journey from Egypt to Canaan and criticize the children of Israel for all their stubbornness and lack of faith. God chose them, called them out of Egypt, provided for them and kept them safe by His own arm and great power. Their response was to moan and groan about the things they didn’t have instead of being thankful for what God was doing for them. Had it not have been for the prayers of Moses, God would have completely destroyed these people and started over with just the family of Moses. God reminds them that it is not because of any goodness in them that He has allowed them to come this far. It is because of the wickedness of the people that live in Canaan and the oath He has sworn to Abraham, Issac and Jacob. Let us look at our lives today. How often do we, who live in the lap of luxury compared to ninety percent of the world, moan, groan and complain? How often do we consider what we don’t have instead of being thankful for what we do have? Let us honestly and truthfully consider our thoughts and how we spend our time and resources. Are we not just as stubborn and rebellious as these people were? If Jesus came to our house today, would He feel welcomed by what He sees or would He wonder if we even knew Him? If Jesus walked with us everyday, is there anything in our lifestyle that we would change? If the answer is “Yes”, then let’s not be stubborn, let’s change it today because Jesus is walking with us everywhere we go.
20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” — Matt. 28:20 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
When Paul came to a new town, it was usually his practice to preach first to the Jews, if any were living there, and then to the Gentiles. This was the case in Galatia. Of course, the newly converted Jews would be under pressure from the religious leaders to turn back to the law and the old covenant. The newly converted Gentiles would be pressured by the local leaders to turn back to their practice of worshiping idols. The leaders were zealous in trying to turn the people back to these old ways but for the wrong reason. Both the religious leaders and the local leaders were dependent on the people for their livelihood. Paul says it is good to be zealous for the right reasons, but they must be strong enough to stand even when he is not with them. Since they were not able to stand alone, he must now treat them again as babies in Christ. Today, we have the same situation because we “go and make converts” and then we leave them to fend for themselves.Jesus said to “go and make disciples”. Receiving Jesus as your Savior without any further instructions is not likely to make many disciples. Mentoring others takes a lot of love, patience, kindness, and time.
Jesus commissioned us to go and make disciples starting at home and working our way out to the rest of the world. Making disciples requires more than just the plan of salvation. We are to spend time with new converts teaching them the discipline of the Word of God. We must show them by example that we have to spend time with the Word and talking with God on a daily basis. We also must show them that it is necessary for us to spend time together as Christians. We are told not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. We need the encouragement and help of those around us to endure in our walk with God. There is the old example of removing a red hot ember from the fireplace and setting it out by itself. It is soon black and cold. You can put it back in the fireplace and it is soon red hot and giving off warmth again. Our spirits are the same way, we need that “togetherness” to keep our passion and compassion flowing for Jesus. Learn all you can and take the time to teach what you have learned to those around you. That is the way each of us can fulfill the commission that Jesus gave to the disciples and to us.
16 Let us, your servants, see you work again; let our children see your glory. — Psalm 90:16 NLT Psalm 90 Lord, we live in a sinful world where evil is magnified on a daily basis. Our children are daily tempted with overdoses of “me first” and sexual innuendos. They see riots in city after city where people get what they want by protesting and violence rather than working through the legal system. The America we live in now is not the America that most of us were raised in. It is more like Macedonia when Paul arrived. There are fightings on the outside everywhere we look and there are people all around us living in fear. 2 Cor. 7:5, 6 Our kids and grandkids see good people struggling everyday to make it. They see parents working too many hours because the parents live in fear of not being able to give their kids everything they think they want. First, help us as parents and grandparents to live lives totally dependent on you. Let us be the examples that show the younger generations that possessions and busyness do not bring peace and lasting joy. Remind us of that daily by helping us to observe the work that you are doing in our world right now, all around us. Then, Lord, let our lifestyles be a beacon to others to point the glory you receive from our obedience. Open our eyes to see that you are still a God who works miracles on a daily basis. Let our children see your glory and the beauty of worshipping the only ture and living God. As Pastor Jack Graham says “YOU CANNOT EXPECT YOUR CHILDREN TO LEAD DYNAMIC, SPIRIT-FILLED CHRISTIAN LIVES IF YOU AREN’T LIVING A VIBRANT, DYNAMIC, SPIRIT-FILLED CHRISTIAN LIFE YOURSELF”. Help us to live lives totally dependent on You and the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Help us to talk the talk and walk the walk before them that they may catch hold of Who you are and what you desire for each of us. Your desire is for us to be joyful and content no matter what our present situation may be. Father, thank you for protecting our kids and grand kids. First of all and most importantly of all, thank you for protecting them spiritually so that they will spend an eternity with you. Then, thank you for protecting them physically, mentally and emotionally and for providing for their every need. All praise and glory be to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen
1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness— 2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, 3 and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior, 4 To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. — Titus 1:1-4 NIV
Not much is known about Titus, except that he is of Greek descent. He is mentioned in only 4 books of the Bible. Paul calls him “my true son in the faith” and “my fellow worker”. The same phrases that Paul used to describe Timothy. Just as Paul wrote letters of encouragement and instructions to the churches, he also wrote letters of encouragement and instructions to Timothy and Titus. He showed the same care and concern for individuals as he did for the churches he had established. The purpose of these letters was to further the faith of the elect and to instruct them in their knowledge of the truth. Just as surely as God had His missionaries teaching the Gospel, satan had his disciples trying to tear it down with confusing and divisive stories. It was true then and it is still true today. That is why we need to spend time in disciplining new converts and being sure that they are well established in the faith and will be able to continue on to good works. We need to be sure that they understand that God is THE truth and that God is love, then they will not be easily shaken or deterred from leading others to Christ. If we do this job well, the Kingdom of God will continue to grow and God will be given honor and glory. By doing this, we will be fulfilling our purpose here on earth, which is to bring glory to God.
20 Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. — Hebrews 13:20, 21 NIV
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. 10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. — 2 Peter 1:5-11 NIV
If we put in the time studying the Scriptures and following the leadership of the Holy Spirit, we will add all these things to our faith. As we learn God’s Word, we will be able to access more and more Godly wisdom and power. These attributes of Jesus will not only confirm our calling but will also makes us effective and productive disciples of Jesus. If we don’t spend the time we will never be able to see beyond our fleshly desires, thus appearing nearsighted and/or blind. Then we will not be able to lead others to Jesus Christ, which is the ultimate goal of any calling that God has placed on our lives. Unless we continue to study the Word, we will soon forget that we have been redeemed by the precious blood of the Lamb.
So, we need to be diligent and we need to be smart.
Study the Scriptures
Meditate on the Scriptures
Always pray for the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
Repeat the story and rehearse all the blessings God has given us
Tell others about Jesus and what He has done for us
Then others will say about us the same thing they said about Jesus.
52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. — Luke 2:52 NIV