Living Into God’s Purpose

NEXT Family,

I hope that you all had a great thanksgiving break. I remember going through the holiday season in high school and college. It’s a LOT of work in a short amount of time. I will be praying for you all as you walk through studying and testing over the next few weeks. You will always have breakfast on Sunday morning at 11:45am to look forward to. Love you all and I hope you have an incredible week.


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You can follow along with the teaching notes below.

Teaching Notes

1. As high school students, all of you are in great seasons of transition
a. As a young adult, society expects you to maintain an uncomfortable balance
between childhood and adulthood.
i. You are asked on an almost hourly basis: “What will you do with your
life?”… “Are you going to college?”… “Have you chosen your career?” …
“What are your dreams for the future?”

b. For many of you, your faith is also undergoing a complicated and uncomfortable
i. You may find yourself asking:
1. “Do I really believe this stuff?” or “is Christianity just some story
my parents told me?”
2. “I believe in Jesus, but I just want to live my life and have a good
time… Maybe I’ll pursue Jesus in the future”

c. These are all issues I wrestled with as a high schooler. Church was boring. Many
of my Christian friends and family-members seemed ‘fake.’ All I wanted to do
was party, devout all my time to relationships, and have fun.
i. However, these were all meaningless distractions from the true struggle
which raged inside of me.

2. As a young adult, I struggled deeply with my identity.
a. Who was I? How could I ‘make an impact’ on the world? Did I really matter to
those around me?
i. An ancient Christian dude named Augustine once said “I have become a
question to myself.”
ii. In high school, I often felt like a question in search of an answer.
b. However, the more I read my bible, the more enthralled I became with the person
of Jesus.
i. The biblical Jesus was far more challenging, approachable, and strange
than the ‘angry Jesus’ I learned about as a kid, or the nice yet
undemanding ‘hippie Jesus’ I heard about at youth group.

3. I believe the real, biblical Jesus has a message for us all in this frustrating season of
transition. Let’s open our Bibles to John 21!

a. After his crucifixion, the resurrected Jesus appeared to Peter and the disciples at
the Sea of Galilee
i. Peter was likely struggling with a loss of identity. He had denied Jesus
three times at his trial. He had abandoned his friend and leader to die alone
on the cross. The crucifixion had shaken his faith and identity to its core.
ii. John 21:15-25: instead of saying “you suck as a friend man” or “no sweat
dude, just forget about that whole ‘betrayal thing,’” Jesus looked beyond
Peter’s shortcomings by asking:
1. “Simon Peter do you love [agapas/ἀγαπᾷς] me?” [21:15a]
a. We need to understand, the Greek word agape isn’t just a
simple form of love. It meant all encompassing love. Jesus
was asking Peter ‘are you ready to surrender everything for

iii. Peter responded to Jesus by saying “Lord, you know that I love you [but
only as a friend!]” [21:15b]
1. Peter used the Greek word [philō/φιλῶ] for his love for Jesus
2. Don’t raise your hands, but have any of you ever been
‘friendzoned?’ Have any of you ever been rejected or insulted by a
close friend? If so, you know how disappointing Peter’s response
must have felt for Jesus.
a. Jesus was asking Peter for a passionate, life-changing form
of love; yet, Peter only offered Jesus an unsure and hesitant
form of love.

b. Jesus asked Peter a second time, “do you [agape] love me,” to which Peter offered
the same response.
i. Because of my historic brokenness, I would have expected Jesus to say:
“Hey Peter! If you can’t give 100% to this whole Gospel thing, I’m gonna
find someone else.”
4. But that’s not how Jesus reacted!

i. On the third try, Jesus asked Peter “are you ready to love me as my friend”
1. Peter was hurt by this third question; many pastors and theologians
have argued Peter’s hurt was because of Jesus’ jabbing

a. Likewise, I have often imagined Jesus’ questioning must
have been like when my mom asked me again and again if I
had finished my chores.

ii. However, I now believe Peter’s hurt was due to the exposure of his
inadequate love for Jesus.
1. God had great plans and purposes for Peter, and even though Peter
was in a great season of transition, full of uncertainty and doubt,
Jesus wasn’t disappointed in Him!

5. God always meets us where we are! He isn’t disappointed in our inadequate faith or
disobedience, but points to our weaknesses in order that we might grow into His perfect
plans and purposes.
a. Verses like Matthew 5:48 used to terrify me! How can I be perfect just as God is
perfect?? That’s impossible!
b. However, our exploration of the biblical text reveals God isn’t demanding that we
be ‘perfect,’ but that we be ‘purposeful!’
i. Teleioi/τέλειοι: reaching towards its end, i.e. completion

6. Finding our identity is a process
a. The Scriptures refer to this process as redemption!
i. Faith is often a painful and uncomfortable series of transitions.
1. God is always calling us from ‘glory to glory.’
2. Our “instagram-culture” demands that we have perfect
identities now. Society expects us to live perfect, exciting, and
unparalleled lives. There is no room for loneliness, uncertainty, or
growth. But…

b. Jesus doesn’t expect us to be perfect, He wants us to be purpose-filled;
i. Jesus knew Peter was going to fail. In fact, he predicted it [John
1. However, let me read you guys his immediate response to Peter:
a. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God;
believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if
that were not so, would I have told you that I am going
there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a
place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me
that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the
place where I am going” [see John 14:1-4].
i. Can you see how much God loves us, even when
we mess up?

7. Jesus doesn’t expect us to perfect. He doesn’t ask us to have our lives all together. He
doesn’t even ask us to ‘figure out’ our identities! He cherishes and emboldens the little
faith we have, in order that we might step into greater and greater measures of His
glory. As young adults, I want to leave you with this challenge: are you ready to step into
friendship with Jesus?


Sunday, December 2nd, 11:45AM we have NEXT!

Come get some breakfast and hang out with us.

I can’t wait to see you!

Travis Horner 

Student Ministries Pastor | Vintage City Church