Our text for this sermon comes from John 21.
Mars Hill Church recently conducted a study. This is what they found.
88% of non-Christians believe that Jesus existed. 59% believe he actually rose from the dead.
This proves that you can attend church, sing worship songs, and hear sermons about Jesus, believe as historical fact that he actually rose from the dead and still reject personal faith in him.
It also proves something else.
Just because you hear something is true, doesn’t mean that you believe it. There are plenty of skeptics. There are plenty of doubters.
In John 20, The tomb is empty. The angels have rolled the stone away. Mary Magdalene has seen the empty tomb. Peter and John run up to the tomb. John stoops down to peer inside. Peter goes inside to do his own investigation.
It doesn’t click for Peter. See what verse 10 says, the disciples went back to their homes.
Peter says, “I’m going fishing.”
Peter is done. He is going back to what he knows. He is going back to what he is familiar with.
If this was today, Peter would have watched the body being lowered in the ground. He would have went back on Sunday, when he got a call from Mary Magdalene about there being a hole in the ground and the coffin is open and no body is in the coffin.
So, Peter goes home and puts on his Facebook page, “That was a fun ride. We saw some crazy stuff. Well, now it is time to go back to work.”
At this point, Peter is not thinking that Jesus is God.
Only God can come to this planet and lead a sinless life. Only God can sacrifice his life on the cross as your perfect substitute for your sins. Only God can raise from the dead.
When you encounter Jesus, one of two things happen. 1) Your heart becomes softer and more compassionate and eventually Jesus saves you and you fall in love with him. 2) Your heart becomes harder and you become more resistant and put up a wall trying to keep out the work of the Holy Spirit in your life.
Sunday after Sunday, thousands upon thousands of people hear the gospel. They hear the truth about Jesus and they go fishing. They go back to their routine. They go back to what they know.
They want it to be easy. They want to go to church and then they want to be left alone. They don’t want the gospel to affect them. They want to claim the name and salvation that comes from Christ but they do not want to have Christ change their lives. They do not want to be transformed.
The sad thing is….they need the Holy Spirit to wreck them. They need to have their walls removed, as painful as it might be, the walls of resistance and rebellion have to come down.
John 21:15-17 Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me?”
Jesus asks the same question to us.
How you live your life is the evidence of how you answered this question even if you do not verbalize it.
Whether you are a tree that is nourished and grows and bears much fruit or you are a tree that is malnourished, not growing, branches are rotting and falling off and you have little to no fruit – is determined on how you answer – Do you love Jesus?
If you are not a Christian, you can’t love Jesus on your own. The Bible says in Romans, that no one seeks after God.
God seeks you. God pursues you. If you are here today, God is pursuing you.
What matters most is – no matter which tree you are – you still need Jesus.
The healthy tree needs Jesus to sustain them to keep them healthy. You need Jesus to grow you and prune you, discipline you, and feed you.
The weaker tree needs Jesus to cultivate them, purge what is holding them back from being healthy, you need to be fed so that you can grow, and then you need Jesus to sustain you to help you to continue the process of becoming a healthy tree.
Even after we have been redeemed, Jesus says, “Follow Me.”