After Peter was restored on the shoreline of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus invited him back into action and gives him vision for his future ministry.
Jesus reminds Peter that before Christ, he did what he wanted but the challenge comes in verse 19, when Jesus calls Peter and says, “Follow me”. Jesus gives Peter a picture of how he will suffer for His name sake. We see in verse 20 that Peter, in his love for his brother asks about the Lord’s beloved disciple, John, when he says, “What about him, Lord?”. In verse 22 Jesus replies with, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”. He then tells Peter to return to his lane and focus on his calling.
“Follow Me” or we also see the same concept communicated in Mat. 10:38 as “take up your cross” and in Luke 9:23 when the scripture says, if you want to by a follower of Christ, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow him.
“Take up your cross” means to carry one’s own cross to the place of crucifixion.
Crucifixion causes us to see that there will be suffering
To carry one’s own cross means that it is yours alone and it will require self- denial
What is the difference between a disciple and follower of Christ?
A follower is (literally) one who follows, comes after another while disciple is a person who learns from another, especially one who then teaches others.
The portion of scripture challenges believers to “take up their cross”. It is a challenge to deny self and choose to become a disciple of Christ. A disciple of Christ means to put aside selfish desires, to understand there will be suffering and that our purpose in life is to serve Christ’s purposes. We change our thinking from living for ourselves and what we want, to what can I do for Christ. How can I serve my Lord with my life?
When you look in your own life, what do you need to deny to become a deeper disciple of Christ?
What selfish desires need to be surrendered in your prayer time?
What does “taking up your cross” look like personally?
Deny self, take up your cross and follow him = discipleship
Discipleship is a continuous process of learning
Do you desire to be discipled by Christ? Then it will cost you something as you will need to follow Him daily. It may cost you some sleep to wake up earlier as Jesus waits to meet with you daily by a warm fire on the beach, to restore you, encourage you, and give you vision for the ministry He has for you. Will you show up?
“Come and listen to my counsel. I’ll share my heart with you and make you wise.” Proverbs 1:23 (NLT)
Many of us have times when we have walked away from the Lord or let our failures distance us from His love and grace. Jesus is always pursuing us to restore our relationship with Him. Because Peter denied Jesus three times, Jesus was intentional to ask Peter three times if he loved Him.
Do we have the courage to answer that question ourselves and to follow His desires for our life and walk with Him? It’s the best relationship of all.
Scripture – John 21: 4-7
Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”
Questions and Application
Have you been trying to accomplish your goals with your own strength and wisdom?
Is the Lord showing you a better way? Ask Him and obey. You may be surprised at what He tells you to do.
Scripture – John 21:15
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”
Questions and Application
Do you love the Lord?
Do you love him more than your job, hobbies, pursuits?
What does it mean for you to feed his sheep?
Lord, we love you. Forgive us when we act in fear or put other things before you. Thank you for your love and grace. Please help us to hear Your voice, obey, and walk daily with you, feeding your sheep and loving all those around us.
Do you desire to go out into this world in the name of Jesus with power and might, with confidence and boldness covered in love and grace bringing the gospel message to a people who desperately need it?
Have you received the Spirit of God when you believed?
Scripture – Acts 19:1-6
“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” Paul asked some disciples. They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
Did you know that you can be a believer and not have the “power” of the Holy Spirit upon you?
You can believe intellectually but still not “know” God – You can know of Him, but not know Him intimately, similar to going to a birthday party for someone you “know” but don’t really know them personally
The Spirit is WITH you
This when you feel the Spirit of God stir your heart, bring conviction, open your understanding.
The Spirit IN you
This is where the Spirit of God resides.
The Spirit is UPON you
When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, it is belief with action
Reference Acts 1:8 – But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…
Application Acts 19:2 – Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?
Have you been baptized in the Holy Spirit for the purpose of action?Baptism of the Spirit of God is for the work of the ministry, to be empowered by God.
Here is a short video from Francis Chan on this topic. So great!
Judges 14:6 – The spirit of God came mightily upon him and he….
Judges 6:34 – Then the Spirit of the LORD clothed him, came upon him and he…
Isaiah 59:21 – My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth…shall
Isaiah 6:1 – The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me…to
Micah 3:8 – But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might to…
Word Study – Baptized = filled to the brim, confident, bold, enduring
Do you want the power of the Holy Spirit?
Do you desire to be empowered with the spiritual gifts that God gives to work in His name? (Galatians 5:16-26)
Ask for the Spirit of God to make you a doer of his word and not just a hearer. (James 1:22) This is how you will experience change in your service to the Lord.
Do you desire to go out into this world for the name of Jesus like never before?
Lord, fill me to overflow, empower me to receive by faith your Spirit. Gift me and make my spiritual gifts known and use me to build up your body of believers. Ignite me to minister your love and grace to others. Lord baptize me with your Spirit.
Continue reading to see photos from the River Baptism below.
Guest Speaker: Chris Kroger with Felling Giants
Than you, Chris for sharing your passion and life story, and for pointing us to Jesus’ abundant love and grace.
12 The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it. 13 The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out.
We must tend to the fire daily for the fire to continue to burn. Our daily devotional time is tending to the spiritual fire of our hearts.
Romans 12:11 “Never let the fire in your heart go out. Keep it alive. Serve the Lord.”
Are you spiritually on fire?
Have you become dull in your walk?
What a wonderful display of God working in our children yesterday. Thanks for being part of our family.
We had several young people decide to be baptized in the river and one whole family who came from Colorado Springs. There was so much sweet emotion, celebration and worship as we watched our young people commit to following the Lord. As one mom said, “He [Jesus] has shown us all the time how He chooses us. This is one time that we get to show others that we choose Him.”
Thank you all for staying to pray for, encourage and support these believers and families as they were baptized. As Jimmy shared, please keep praying for them by name in the coming months, that they would withstand temptation and hold firmly to God’s Word and love.
We have one more outdoor service at the end of September. Weather permitting, we will hold one more river baptism. Let us know if you are interested, and we can share more details.
Apollos, a man of character, with a passion for the scriptures, strengthened and helped other believers by speaking the scriptures boldly and through grace.
Notes and Reflection Questions
Here are some notes and questions to guide you in reflection through this week’s sermon. (The sermon begins at 50 minutes in this live video recording on Facebook above.)
Paul traveled through Galatia and Phrygia
Acts 18:23: After spending time in Antioch, Paul went back through Galatia and Phrygia, visiting and strengthening all believers.
Acts 18:24: Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos…
Who is Apollos?
Describe his character
Acts 18:25: Apollos was teachable
Apollos had been instructed
He was fervent in the Spirit
Fervent- passionate, bubbling over, filled with the Spirit
Application– Are you teachable? No matter your age or stage in life, do you remain coachable? Reference – Proverbs 8:33-34
He spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord
What do you know of the Lord? What is your testimony?
Share Your Testimony
When you share the things of the Lord, speak your testimony. No one can refute a changed life. It is an accurate telling of Jesus changing a life. (Revelation 12:11)
Acts 18:26: Apollos spoke boldly
Aquila and Priscilla heard him speak. They took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately
Application– When someone speaks of the things of God incorrectly, how do you approach them with correction?
Helping Others Through Grace
Acts 18:27: Apollos greatly helped those who had believed through grace
Helped- indicates that God used Apollos in other believers’ lives
Through grace- he gave them understanding by grace (unmerited forgiveness) GRACE = God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense
Application– How can you help another believer by grace to understand God?
Using Scripture to Share and Understand
Acts 18:28: Apollos vigorously refuted the Jews publicly
Vigorously refuted- with powerful arguments
Using the scripture, he explained to them the Jesus was the Messiah (2 Timothy 3:16 – “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”)
Application-Ministry requires believers to get their hands dirty. You must love well even in presenting the truth of scripture, the heart of sharing the gospel must be rooted in love and communicated for the purpose of equipping believers for every good work. It is not your word, it is the Word of God that moves people to repentance.
Do you apply yourself to knowing the Word of God?
The most profitable book to apply your heart to, is the Bible.
May you take the example of Apollos and use it in your own life. May you be a man or women that is fervent in spirit, always teachable, confrontational with love and purpose to glorify God.
May you be honest before God sharing your heart, asking for the Spirt of God to fill you and cause you to be “bubbling over” for Christ.
May your heart be ignited for revival within realizing that you may have to get your hands dirty as you seek to be a doer of God’s word and not just a hearer.