Saturday, February 3, 2007

Do You Love Me?

Do You Love Me?

21:15 When they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these [others do--with reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion, as one loves the Father]? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You [that I have deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend]. He said to him, Feed My lambs.

21:16 Again He said to him the second time, Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion, as one loves the Father]? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You [that I have a deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend]. He said to him, Shepherd (tend) My sheep.

21:17 He said to him the third time, Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with a deep, instinctive, personal affection for Me, as for a close friend]? Peter was grieved (was saddened and hurt) that He should ask him the third time, Do you love Me? And he said to Him, Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You [that I have a deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend]. Jesus said to him, Feed My sheep.

21:18 I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, when you were young you girded yourself [put on your own belt or girdle] and you walked about wherever you pleased to go. But when you grow old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will put a girdle around you and carry you where you do not wish to go.

21:19 He said this to indicate by what kind of death Peter would glorify God. And after this, He said to him, Follow Me! (AMP)

Did you notice that they use two different kinds of words for Love? Agape – outgiving and phileo – affection as for a close friend.

We know the history behind this story. We know that Peter denied Jesus three times. We also know that Peter went out and wept bitterly when he realized that he had denied his Lord. I think that Peter didn’t dare to use this word “agape” because he had let his Lord down. “Peter said later on, “Lord, You know everything”, you know that I love you. This is so true, Jesus knows everything. Jesus knew that Peter had failed, but He also knew what would become of Peter. Jesus didn’t look on what had happened but He looked on the future.

- Maybe you have failed, every one of us has. We shall not give up if we have, because Jesus doesn’t give up on us.

Peter repented and was forgiven. There was another man that denied Jesus that evening. But he didn’t follow Peter’s example. He didn’t know Jesus even if he had been together with Him for 3 years. He didn’t know that Jesus would forgive him if he asked Him, instead he took everything in his own hands and killed himself.

Jesus knew that Peter loved Him, He looked on his heart. Jesus received him and then He spoke prophetically into his life. Then He told him to “Follow Me!”

From this moment there was nothing that could make Peter denounce Jesus. He was following Him. Where Jesus went, Peter went, figuratively speaking. The only thing that meant something for Peter was to follow Jesus and to please Him with his life. “To please himself didn’t mean a thing to him any longer.”

He had made his choice. He was thrown into jail, he was tortured but counted that as a joy to suffer for the Name of Jesus. This was different from the old kind of Peter. According to the tradition we know that Peter’s love to Jesus made him a martyr. He died on a cross, but not as his Lord because he didn’t count himself worthy so he asked them to hang him upside down.

-Follow Me: Jesus calls us to follow Him. You become a Christian not because you come to the Church, you are saved because you confess Jesus as Lord in your life and believe in what He did for you on Calvary (Rom 10:9-10).

You shall not be someone that heats the church benches but you are a follower of Jesus, that follows Him wherever He goes. You have no right to say no because you gave Him the Lordship over your life. This Peter did – He gave his life over to Jesus whatever the cost.

This same question Jesus is asking us today, “Do we love Him?”

It doesn’t matter where you are today, what you have done. The only thing that matters if what your reply will be on this question. Will you love Him, if you will love Him you will dedicate everything to Him. You will belong to Him.

This kind of love is outgiving, and do not boast in itself, it doesn’t lift yourself up but lift others up. This kind of love is the only thing that can satisfy you. Money, power, ego will one day burn. But love is eternal.

John 15:10 If you keep My commandments [if you continue to obey My instructions], you will abide in My love {and} live on in it, just as I have obeyed My Father's commandments and live on in His love.
Many of us fall in different kind of sins and the biggest reason for this is that we love the sin more than we love Jesus. The one we love we try to please.

Love is always shown by actions. True love to your spouse is often a decision we make, and it is the same with our love to Jesus. We will not feel this love every day, but we have to be faithful to the decision we already made. Every day we have to take our cross on us and follow Him. It has a price but this price is worthy to be paid.

- Love is not sympathy. Sympathy can look on the suffering, for example a man on the street without any home, that is digging in the garbage can. Sympathy will feel sorrow for him but do nothing to help him.
Sympathy can know about the state of the world: 23,000 Chinese are going into an eternity without God EVERY DAY even without having a chance to say yes or no to Jesus. Because there are to few people that have felt the right kind of love and do something to change their situation.

Matt 20:28 Just as the Son of Man came not to be waited on but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many [the price paid to set them free].

Love doesn’t seek to satisfy yourself. Love has a price. Jesus had to pay a price; they almost never left Him alone, there were always people around Him. To be able to be alone with His Father He had to go to the mountain in the nights to pray. But even during the nights people came to Him to talk (John 3).

John 13:15 For I have given you this as an example, so that you should do [in your turn] what I have done to you.

As I said earlier, love is always shown by actions. The Father’s love to mankind forced Him to send His Only Begotten Son so that He would die for you and me.

The love of Jesus forced Him even to the cross…where will your love to Jesus lead you?

Paul had met Jesus on the Road to Damascus. He was a pious man, a devout man of God. He had devoted himself to kill the Church. But there on the road he met Jesus, the One that he was persecuting. There on this road, he became a new man, everything was changed. Jesus touched him. From this day on, the direction of his life was changed. He started to follow Jesus.

Paul’s love to Jesus made him to throw all things that was something worth in the world; power, money, boast before people, he threw all this on the garbage because he had found something better.

But whatever former things I had that might have been gains to me, I have come to consider as [one combined] loss for Christ's sake.

Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord {and} of progressively becoming more deeply {and} intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish (refuse, dregs), in order that I may win (gain) Christ (the Anointed One),

And that I may [actually] be found {and} known as in Him, not having any [self-achieved] righteousness that can be called my own, based on my obedience to the Law's demands (ritualistic uprightness and supposed right standing with God thus acquired), but possessing that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ (the Anointed One), the [truly] right standing with God, which comes from God by [saving] faith.

[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] (Phil 3:7-10).

Everything had lost its worth to Paul and he was counting it as rubbish compared with Jesus. This rubbish didn’t longer satisfy him but it was only one thing that could fill that satisfaction and it was Christ and to know Him.

Paul’s love for Christ made him to lay down his life for other people, so that they also could get to know Him.

Acts 20:24 But {none of these things move me;} neither do I esteem my life dear to myself, if only I may finish my course {with joy} and the ministry which I have obtained from [which was entrusted to me by] the Lord Jesus, faithfully to attest to the good news (Gospel) of God's grace (His unmerited favor, spiritual blessing, and mercy).

This love and devotion to Jesus and the task made him to forget himself for something that was higher than himself. He was traveling from town to town and from country to country to preach the gospel of Jesus. He suffered persecution, torture and famine. They stoned him and he rose up and went back into the town. But this didn’t move him, he didn’t give up. He followed Jesus and was satisfied because he loved Jesus more than anything else in the world and he had submitted his life under him. This love and dedication took him according to the tradition to Rome where he was beheaded 62 or 64 after Christ.

He had finished his race that was set before him and received the crown of righteousness (2Tim 4:8).

What are you laying down your life for? Who or what do you love the most?

In Revelation chapter 3 Jesus is speaking to the church in Laodicea, He tells her that she is either cold not hot, but lukewarm. She thinks that she has everything and doesn’t need anything. She was satisfied – But Jesus said that she had to repent or else he would spit her out of His mouth.

Then Jesus is saying in verse 20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me.”

This is what Jesus is asking us today, “Do you love Me?” “Do you want to open up the door to your heart, into all your rooms and invite me to come in not only to the corridor but also to your living room and your bedroom.” “I want to have fellowship with you.”

What are you going to answer on these questions? Are you willing to give your everything to Him and follow Him. Dedicate your life exactly as Peter and Paul did?


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