More Than By-standers John 21:15-17
Living life is being anything but a by-stander. Seems like there is always something that needs tending too. Errands to run, kids to get somewhere, meals to prepare, work to finish, work to start, laundry, on and on this list can go.
From Sunday’s message and this week’s RNM we focused on what is means to be More Th>n By-Standers. Pastor George described a by-stander as having apathy as an attitude, in other words an indifference or unconcerned. A By-Stander just watches things go by, not really encouraging or supporting anything or anyone. The scripture he referred to from John 21:15-17 reads the account of Jesus restoring Peter to his discipleship focus. Three times Jesus asked, “Peter do you love me”? To which Peter replied: “yes Lord you know that I love you”. Then Jesus replied with “Feed my lambs; Shepherd my sheep; Feed my sheep”. Be more than a By-Stander Peter! Invest yourself into the little one. Invest yourself into those who never heard of Me. Buildup, encourage, lead, teach, shepherd the people. Pour into all those who believe, the children of God, feed them what I fed you Peter. Give them what they need, the hope of Scripture. Do this now, don’t be a by-stander, do this before it’s too late and they go back to the old way, to what they knew.
The video this week titled Never Too Late by Rob Rienow was a focus on the family. Today so many mid-teens to 30 something and beyond have checked out from the church they once were a part of. Why, how could this happen? Rob said that in a world of delegation training, (meaning delegating to something or someone else the parental duties in relation to their children’s learning and understanding and investment into their lives). In a world of delegation training, even in our faith, we’ve delegated that responsibility to another. There’s been a decline of family worship and talking about spiritual things. In the family, Rob says, spiritual training cannot be delegated to anyone else. Deuteronomy 6:7 says “…. Press them on you children, talk about these things when you sit at home”. You, parents, grandparents, family members, you have the keys to their hearts like no other. This series went on to explain that family is the most powerful small group. Discipleship, spiritual formation, family worship is needed to spread the gospel. To feed the lambs, to shepherd the sheep, to feed the sheep.
We also studied in this series that It is Never too Late for God to use you – to set your heart and mind back to the goal of bringing others back to Christ. To be right with God, Loving God with all their heart, fully trusting Jesus for their present and their future, and arriving safely home (in heaven) together. God can use the influences of your life to bless others even for future generations to come. The power of righteousness is boundless. The devil wants to take our heart out of it all – God, Family, Church, World. He wants you to be a shell of a Christian – a hollow person. Where are our hearts now? What’s most important to us, Money? Stuff? Fun? Worldly things? In John 15: 19 Jesus says….”but I chose you out of the world”. There is only temporal satisfaction from worldly things. To find real satisfaction we claim hold of the love Jesus has for us. The hurting asks, who will love me? Jesus says, I will.
When we claim hold of all that Jesus is and has done in our lives, it’s with that passion and eagerness that we go! No longer be by-standers, be a “ more than”. Because of the love we know, we must share what we know. Share the Good News! Take the risk! The power of sharing your faith with another is not in and of yourself, but it’s in the power of the Gospel!
The power of salvation to all who believe is worth the risk to share with others. Look for opportunities to have meaningful conversations with our adult children, with others that cross our life’s journey. Admit your fear to talking to them about spiritual things, talk openly. Invite them to be honest to talk with you about spiritual things. Thank them for talking with you openly. Seek to understand before seeking to be understood. Let them talk, you listen. Ask them, do you feel I understand you? They are sharing with you their heart.
Each of us has a testimony to share, a reason for the hope we have within us. We have a story to tell, a story other people need to hear. Jesus is inviting us to feed his sheep. Find ways to bring Him up, letting others know the difference Jesus makes in our life. Be Jesus with skin on to somebody. We are to love all people, to help to take care of their need. Their need is not only physical. Just as important, even more so, it is their spiritual need they have to hear of, the personal relationship Jesus wants with them. How are they going to hear unless we are More Th>n By-standers?
Larry & Darlene