"…earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" Jude 3.
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Study 69 – THE FOUNDATION OF LOVE FOR ACCEPTABLE SERVICE

Gleans from Monday Bible Study with Pastor (Dr) W.F Kumuyi.

DLBC Abuja FCT, Nigeria

3rd December 2018

Study 69 – THE FOUNDATION OF LOVE FOR ACCEPTABLE SERVICE

John 21:15-17

 

“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.” (John 21:15).  You will see here that Jesus Christ was talking about love. He looked at Simon Peter and asked him a question three times in different ways, “…lovest thou me?” (John 21:15-17). Remember, this was the Risen, Reigning, Royal and Ruling Christ after He had prepared food for them. Lovest thou me more than these? Think about that. There are many people that profess they love Christ, but they do not understand what it means to love Him more. There is a superlative and higher grade of loving the Lord. Jesus illustrated it like this, talking to another Simon – And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.” (Luke 7:40-43). Understand that there is loving, loving more and loving most. We can love Jesus moderately, more and most. Think about Peter; the Lord had called him and made him an apostle, had the first position among the apostles, he had walked on the water, even after he had denied the Lord, he was restored. So Jesus was saying he ought to love the Lord more. But now he went fishing and other seven disciples went with him, abandoning the commission given them, and they caught nothing. On Jesus’ instruction they now caught 153 fishes. So Jesus was asking, do you love Christ more than all these? You love Him, but then you see what He has done for you, then you love Him more.

Another illustration of loving more is expressed in David’s lamentation over Jonathan when he heard of his death. “I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women” (2 Samuel 1:26). Jonathan had been a very good and loyal friend to David; he preserved his life when King Saul his father wanted to kill him. He even transferred all the identities of his royalty to David, to acknowledge his support of his future kingship. David was saying he had not found a friend like Jonathan, that would give up all his rights and privileges (Jesus did more than this for us); Jonathan’s love for David was more than the love of women. So understand that there is loving Christ and there is loving Him more. (1) He saved us, and we love Him. (2) He sanctified us, and we love Him more. (3) Then He healed and took away all our infirmities and diseases. (4) He gave us assignment with accompanying power of the Holy Ghost. (5) He has gone to prepare Heaven for us and He is coming back to take us; He is thinking about you and will never leave you. There is cause to love Christ more!

“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?” (John 21:15). Here are fishes, and Jesus was saying to Peter, do you love Me more than these? For all of us today, Jesus is saying, do you love Me more than market, money? Your own may be business, office work, salary, things of this world, lands or properties. You see when Peter said, ’I go a fishing’, seven disciples went fishing with him. So Jesus was saying do you love Me more than these? Are there people in your life that you hold in high esteem that once they say they ‘go a fishing’, not serving the Lord any more, then you follow them? Where is your love for Christ with all that He has done for you? This is what the Lord is asking you today.

3 points:

Point 1.  THE HEART-SEARCHING CONCERN ON OUR FIRST LOVE FOR CHRIST

John 21:15,16,17; Deuteronomy 30:6; Matthew 10:37; Psalms 87:2; 119:127,128; 138:2; Songs 8:6,7; Revelations 2:4,5

“Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?” “…. lovest thou me?” “…. lovest thou me?” (John 21:15,16,17). This is the heart-searching question and heart-searching concern that Jesus had. For those reading the Bible in English or any other language than Greek, we see love, love, love was mentioned three times. In the Greek, the meaning was different. It is the supernatural kind of love that God puts in our hearts, referred to as Agape love. But there is another kind of love which is friendliness, fellowship, which is human love called ‘Phileo’. There is heavenly love, Agape, and there is human love, Phileo which is human love between parents and children, friends and neighbours. So when Jesus first said lovest thou Me? He was talking about the agape kind of love, the supernatural love that comes from the throne of God into man’s heart. But when Peter responded he used the ‘phileo’, human kind of love for Christ as for a friend who had loved him, gave him bread and success. That was why the Lord repeated the question the second time, ‘lovest thou me?’ The kind of love He had for him, the divine agape that made Him spill His blood and give His life on the Cross, not phileo, but love coming from above that, “… God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). But Peter still answered with phileo love, ‘yes Lord I love you with this human love; you have been good to me, taken care of me, I feel ashamed for going back, but I love you with phileo’. Now the third time Jesus came to his level and used that same word ‘phileo’. He now asked Peter, on the human level, with all that He had done and sacrificed, think of any chance situation, do you love Me with phileo love in the real sense, more than anything else? This made Peter to break down, “And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee” (John 21:17). Then Jesus said, in essence, now, let’s forget all the grading of love, if you love Me, go and demonstrate it; I am going back to heaven, feed my sheep and lambs, and when you do that constantly, you will show that you really love me. This kind of supernatural love of God comes when God deals with the original depravity in the heart: if anyone is going to love God whole-heartedly, this is how it will happen. “And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live” (Deuteronomy 30:6). There is something in the heart which is an extra kind of flesh that will not allow the full and free love of God in our hearts; so the Lord will circumcise our hearts that we can love Him with all our heart, mind and soul. This kind of love, without reservation and interruption, is heavenly, holy and higher. It is the kind that Jesus was referring to; love that is greater than the human love. A godly father, however much he loves his son will not opt to die in the place of that son who had forsaken all he taught him, fell short of the law of the land and is now sentenced to life imprisonment or death. But this was exactly what Jesus did. He took our place, our deserved death sentence as consequence of sin. So He is saying that we have to love Him more than our father or mother. He died for us, and paid the penalty that nobody could pay; He deserves more love (Matthew 10:37). The Lord is saying, do we love Him more?

“The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob” (Psalms 87:2). There are the gates of Zion, where God is worshipped, and there are dwellings all over the cities of the children of Israel. But the Lord loves the gates of Zion, His sanctuary, more than all the dwellings of Jacob. So if you love the Lord, you will love the House of God, house of prayer and worship, where we exalt Jesus Christ and His Words and will love going there to worship Him, more than all other places. Also, when you love the Lord, you will love Him above gold and all treasures, and be willing to give up your treasures to build the house of God (Psalms 119:127,128). You will love His commandments, do them and turn from your old and false ways. “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name” (Psalms 138:2). It is not enough to know and use the names of God in prayers, but we must love His word more than His names, for He has exalted and magnified His word above His names. He wants us to love and obey His word with all our heart and soul. “…..for love is strong as death; … Many waters cannot quench love” (Songs 8:6). Even when death comes, because of your loyalty and devotion to Christ, you will take that joyfully. Many waters of challenges and troubles cannot stop or quench this supernatural, heavenly and higher kind of agape love. True love of Christ is love with loyalty, with obedience The question then to Peter was, what frustration, discouragement or suffering quenched your love that you made even these disciples deviate from what I had commanded them? So ask yourself, what is happening to your first love for God today? The kind of love you had when you were first born again. How is that love now? You were zealous, always going for the Lord, now you are tired, lukewarm, lethargic, inactive and cold. There are people now that scholarship comes to take them away from the place of hearing the word of God to a place where they will not hear or have the opportunity to study the word of God again; they will jump at the opportunity without consideration of their love for God. There are some, it is marriage that takes them away from the love of God. The Lord is asking, do you love Him more than gain and profit, possessions and pleasure, success and progress, prestige and promotion, prominence in society and praise of men, your hobbies and pastimes, men and money, women and wealth, all things on earth and all things in life? Lovest thou Me more than these? The Lord was saying to Simon Peter and by extension to you, Do you love me without a rival, without reservation, regrets, reasoning, reward – what’s there in it for me, reckoning – I gave so much the other time; without retiring, unconditionally, uncompromisingly, unceasingly and selflessly? That is why Jesus says, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Revelation 2:4). Remember the day of your conversion, when all your sins were forgiven and peace of heart and rest in your soul came; you had vision for heaven and consecrated all to Jesus. But how is it with you now? The Lord is calling us back to that first love. We will all come back to that first love.

Point 2. THE HEART-FELT CONSECRATION WITH FUNDAMENTAL LOYALTY TO CHRIST

John 21:15-17; Matthew 6:21; Exodus 21:2-6; 2 Samuel 15:15; 1 Kings 20:4; Romans 8:35,38,39

“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee” (John 21:15). Jesus was talking of agape, supernatural love but Peter replied with the human, natural, friendly love; love of fellowship. The Lord asked him a second time and the third time, lovest thou ME? He needed Peter to understand that He is not like all other men, He is the ONLY One that died for our sins and rose again; no other one did, no comparison. So our love for Him should be higher and greater than for men. Peter now broke down, he was now ready for that heavenly, high level and supernatural, not superficial love. When we have this supernatural love, no matter what happens, that love will be unchanging. We will come back to that first love. We are not talking about selfish, temporary, superficial, or conditional love; but the kind of love that no matter what happens, I will always love Jesus Christ supremely. He is my Saviour, Sanctifier, Healer, provider, closest and nearest Person to me. I love Jesus Christ, and nothing will ever separate me from Him. True love for Christ is a gracious love coming from the heart, and you will love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. It is love with loyalty, obedience, absolute surrender, total submission, total faithfulness, without pretense or hypocrisy; covenant, constant love that reaches deep into the conscience. True love from a transformed heart that will tell the Lord at all times, whatever situation and condition, Lord, I love You. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21). When a couple are living apart, their hearts will be with each other all the time. They will be in constant communication and have each other in their thoughts always, because that is where their treasure is. Jesus Christ, the Bridegroom of the Church, the lover of our souls is gone to heaven, and all we see or possess on earth cannot be compared with Him, our Treasure. Our hearts are with Him, we are thinking about Him, and longing to dwell with Him eternally in heaven, That’s the love we are talking about. And when you are sanctified, your mind will be there.

“If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. …. If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself. And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free” (Exodus 21:2,4-5). Before we came to Christ, we knew nothing, had nothing, were slaves of Satan, of sinful practices and held captive. But Jesus came and set us free from all those bullies of our life and has given us joy of salvation, peace of mind, hope of heaven. Can you now say you want freedom and leave behind all you got through Christ? Can you live without them? But I will stay and will not go away from the Lord. I will love the Lord forever (Exodus 21:6). This is the implication of our love for the Lord, not just word of mouth; this is the love we are talking about – “And the king’s servants said unto the king, Behold, thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king shall appoint” (2 Samuel 15:15). “And the king of Israel answered and said, My lord, O king, according to thy saying, I am thine, and all that I have.” (1 Kings 20:4). This is the loyalty we are talking about, and that is the love Christ is talking about. Lovest thou me more than these? That we belong to the Lord completely and absolutely. Nothing will separate you from the love of Christ. You love Him today, and you will keep loving Him until the end of your life. “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38,39). You will not backslide nor forsake the Lord, but will keep on loving the Lord till the end of your life.

Point 3.  THE HEART-WARMING COMMITMENT TO FAITHFUL LABOUR FOR CHRIST

John 21:15c,16c,17c; Jeremiah 3:15; 23:4; Isaiah 30:19-21

Feed my sheep, feed my lambs, God’s people. That is the commitment Christ wants from us. Only those who love Christ are called and commanded to feed God’s people. You must answer that question first, lovest thou me more than these? It is when you answer and say Lord, I love you more than any other person, that you will have the commission, commitment and call to feed the people of God.  A person who always looks back to, and recalls what he gave up, his title and position in the world to serve the Lord, cannot love the Lord with all his heart, and cannot feed the sheep. Those who feed the people of God are saved and sanctified by grace, love Him, and are obedient to the Shepherd and Bishop of their souls. It is the love in their hearts that compels, constraints and drives them to feed the sheep of the Lord. If anyone does not know Christ, love the Saviour, love sinners and saints above himself, and is always looking down on the sheep, a political-minded minister, he cannot serve nor feed the sheep. True servants who serve the church of God must be saved from sin, sanctified in the heart, saturated with Scriptures, steadfast, sincere, selfless, Spirit-filled, purposeful, prayerful, persevering and pure. And when they feed us, we can tell. A pastor that prepares and feeds the people, you will know. Feeding the household, takes time, planning and being thoughtful. Not just providing the meal; it must be balanced diet. If you are feeding the church of God, the way you prepare and present everything, take all your ingredients from different parts of the Bible, and put everything together you have been preparing; you then take this to feed the church of God. They will be well feed, their faith will be growing, their love developing, and desire and appreciation for the things of God would be growing. Fellowship among the members will be evident. May the hand feeding you never be weak, in Jesus name. “And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:4). When you are well fed with the love of God, with conviction and loyalty, you will not fear nor lack; your faith will grow. “For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers:” (Isaiah 30:19-20). The teachers and preachers in the church will teach, preach, counsel and exhort with all they know and have, until all our members match into heaven with distinction, and you are going to be part of that number. The angels will stand to receive you Home into heaven, victoriously and triumphantly.

Ponder on this! True love for Christ is a gracious love, a love coming from the heart, and you will love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. It is love with loyalty, obedience, absolute surrender, total submission, total faithfulness, without pretence or hypocrisy. True love from a transformed heart that will tell the Lord at all time in whatever situation and condition; Lord, I love You. It is a covenanted love, constant love and reaches deep into the conscience. Pastor (Dr) W.F Kumuyi.

Ponder on this! True servants who serve the church of God must be saved from sin, sanctified in the heart, saturated with Scriptures, steadfast, sincere, selfless, Spirit-filled, purposeful, prayerful, persevering and pure. Pastor (Dr) W.F Kumuyi.

Hard Sayings – The Lord is saying, do you love Him more than gain and profit, possessions and pleasure, success and progress, prestige and promotion, prominence in society and praise of men, your hobbies and pastimes, men and money, women and wealth, all things on earth and all things in life. Pastor (Dr) W.F Kumuyi.

Reflection – Do you love God without a rival, reservation, regrets, reasonings, rewards, reckoning, retiring, unconditionally, uncompromisingly, unceasingly and selflessly. Pastor (Dr) W.F Kumuyi.

Words on the Marble – Only those who love Christ are called and commanded to feed God’s people. Pastor (Dr) W.F Kumuyi.

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