Tough Love

As we are being challenged to read and study the book of John, I wanted to share some of my personal sermon notes with you to help you understand the book. I preached through the entire book over the course of 1 year when I pastored First Baptist Church Del Rio. Enjoy!

Introduction—Love is one of those things we all want to be a part of. Well, most of us anyway. Love, in my opinion is a necessary commodity for a fulfilled life. I know a person can survive with food, water, and shelter, but without love, their lives are limited at best. You see we were all created in the image of a loving God who understands our basic needs. As the God of love, He has made us desire love for our souls. We need God’s love, and He does love us.

With love comes all kinds of emotions, feelings, and actions, like: passion, joy, happiness, excitement, as well as disappointment, anger, and feelings of rejection. 

In today’s world, Jesus is portrayed as a wimp in some circles, a mean God in some circles, and not even God in many circles. Don’t let His love, grace, and mercy fool you into thinking that He can’t be tough, just, and in charge. We like God and the blessings that come with Him, we just don’t like the accountability that comes form God. It challenges us by extended us beyond our norm. 

God is love and He will fulfill the plan and purpose of His will hopefully through your life. Along the way He may need to give you a dose of tough love. You know what tough love is, don’t you? It is a way to get us back on track. 

Stand & Read

60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?”

61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. 65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”

66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”

68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” 71 He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve.


  1. Tough Love can be intimidating verse 60-61
  2. There are many people, places, and things that intimidate us.
  3. Mr. T was one of those people back in His day, but later we found out it was all image and that Mr. T is actually a Christian
  4. Donald Trump has always been one of those intimating people
  5. Women can be intimating as well. Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Oprah Winfrey, to name a few.
  6. Maybe your husband or wife can be intimidating?
  7. Some places that can be intimidating are, dark alleys, crowed cities like NY City or LA, or a courtroom.
  8. When it come to tough love, now that can be quite intimidating not only for the one receiving the correction, but also for the one giving the correction.  
  9. If you are a parent of a strong willed child, correction can be a daunting task.
  10. So, here is Jesus, who just dished out some correction in our previous 2 sermons about feeding our souls. It was obviously tough love for these disciples and onlookers.
  11. Look at verse 60, they say to themselves, this is a hard saying. In the Message version, it says: “This is tough teaching, too tough to swallow.” 
  12. Tough love is hard to take some times, but it may be necessary. This is one of those times when Jesus deemed it necessary.
  13. So, as they are complaining about the sharpness of the statements our Lord made, Jesus throws them another line. He says in verse 61, does this offend you?
  14. What could they possibly answer to the master? No Lord, we like, we love, we want more of it? No words could describe the feeling they felt about the Lord dishing out tough love.
  15. The Gospel does offend at times, especially in this day and age of anything goes. Society only likes the popularity of Jesus, not the real message of the Gospel. Jesus’ message can be offensive if you have bought into the language of the world. You know the world’s language right?
  16. You accept me and my ways or else I’m going to get a group of lawyers and make you accept what I want. It’s my right to do so. 
  17. You will not bring God into the equation.
  18. God is for people who need a crutch, since they can’t stand on their own.
  19. Let me tell you though, Jesus only disciplines the Ones he loves. 
  20. Hebrews 12:4-11in your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
  21. and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
  22. and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Application—Jesus’ love, though tough, at times can be quite intimidating. Are you using that intimidation to have a respect and an awe of who He is and what He wants to accomplish through that tough love.

  • Tough Love is necessary in a relationship –verses 62-65
  • True relationships only survive with love. There will be times when tough love will come into the relationship. If you are a parent here today, you know what that is. If you are a child, you know what tough love is as well.
  • Jesus realizes our bent toward sinfulness, so He is always keeping us on track. He tells the followers if they saw Him going back to heaven what then in verse 62. Are you going to accept my teachings then? He has been trying to get through to them and now He is giving them a pre-advanced hint of His ascension into heaven. (Acts 1:9)
  • They obviously weren’t ready for Him to disclose all that was going to happen in the future, since even a little tough love offended them.  
  • Then Jesus really lays it on them in verses 63-65. It is the Spirit who gives life, not your brain or flesh. It is the Spirit. This concept is still one of the toughest things to grasp because we live in the physical and Jesus is telling us to live in the spiritual. 
  • We have a very hard time with the spiritual because it is not visible. We like to see, it is natural for us to live by faith and not by sight. 
  • Jesus wants to stretch us in order to experience the supernatural and invisible world so we can be prepared for the spiritual battles that come our way.
  • In verse 64 Jesus lets us know with a tough love this: You aren’t a believer just because you hang out with believers. It doesn’t work that way. You must decide for yourself to follow Jesus in Spirit and in Truth!

Application—If God is to challenging you this morning about your relationship with Him, how will you respond this morning. 

  • Tough Love can bring out the real you 66-71
  • Jesus’ love will show itself in your life. If you want to know if a person follows Christ, he/she will display the love relationship because it comes out of them naturally. 
  • Many in that day were following Jesus until He really challenged them about their beliefs. He did so knowing what was about to happen in the near future. 
  • We all must come to this time in our lives and decide if Jesus is worthy to be lived for, followed, or loved. 
  • Jesus tough love will reveal the real you.

Application—If God is disciplining you with tough love, how are you responding to it?

Conclusion—The message of the cross can be overwhelming at times when you really stop and realize what the God of this universe did for you and for me. He has every right to correct us and set us on the path we are suppose to be on. When God gives you a life lesson with tough love, I pray that you will take courage and have a sense of privilege. He doesn’t just discipline anyone, only the ones He loves. 

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

Published by Larry E Floyd

Follower of Jesus the Messiah. Husband, father, grandfather, son, uncle, friend, and pastor

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