Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Loves thou Me more than these?
John 21:15-19 “So when they had dined, Jesus saith unto Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonah, 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.
He saith to him a second time, Simon, son of Jonah, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonah, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, loves thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
Verily, Verily, I say unto thee, when thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkest whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
This spoke he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.”

Jesus brought back Peter after his three denials, with three affirmations of love.
Jesus knew Peter loved him. But there is a big difference in loving the Lord, as long as it is not going to cost me anything to do so.
Or loving Jesus, even though it costs you everything to do so.
Peter fell into sin and denied the Lord, because he stood outside with those waiting to see what would happen….rather then go in with John to the palace and be there with Jesus during the judgement of the Sanhedrin.
Outside, neither with or against, is a dangerous place to be. For surely someone or something will make you choose. And when you do; you may find, like Peter, you have just denied your Lord.
But Jesus knew Peter’s heart; and had made provision for it:
Luke 22:31-32 “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not : and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

The Lord has also made provision for us; that we might be restored any time to Him and that we might go on and be used for Him. (Peter certainly was: Feed my sheep and lambs. And he did.)
We, too, are asked, “Lovest thou Me?” The Spiritual Reality of our hearts is our answer…for Jesus already knows if we love Him.
Spiritual Reality is not measured by our accomplishments;
But by the hearts loving embrace of all that is set before us:
“For His Sake”

Reality, is it for me?
Matthew 16:24-25 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”
This is the Path to Reality for everyone of us.
We will have spiritual reality, to the degree we walk in it.
Will you choose this path?

It must ultimately come down to “for His sake”. God never alters our wills; our will must be exercised for Him.
We must choose to deny self, and follow Him.
We must choose to lose our self-life, to find our Christ life.

Our wills are not free, because they are influenced by our minds and hearts.
What or Who do you love?
What influences your thinking most; God’s Word, or the World’s opinions?

As you go along with Christ, you find out these things and (if you will) deal with anything which comes between you and Jesus.
We are to go about our Father’s Will, by denying ourselves, picking up our cross, and following Christ.
But what is “my” cross?

Christ’s cross was the wooden one on which He sacrificed Himself, and shed His blood for my sins.
We can never “pick up” His cross. Nor are we called to.
We are called to pick up our cross:
Our cross is anything which God requires that cuts across our wills. It must be something you can refuse to do. Christ said, “If any man will”; therefore you may “will not.”
Sickness, your parents, or siblings (no matter how trying) are not your cross.
You can not refuse them.
(It can be something concerning them: taking care of your parents–you don’t have to, but God wants you to. That can be your cross.)
Your cross is anything which God requires that cuts across our wills; which is a matter of choice.

And He calls us to do it for His sake.
The Christian walk is a love story–or should be.
Yes, in every relationship where our hearts are concerned, there are going to be arguments. (Some call these differences of opinion, some call them having a fit with God) but they are arguments.
Even in the Old Testament times God wanted a love relationship with His people and asked them to:
Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
He wanted them to come and talk to Him about what was between them.
What reason had they for seeking idols?
What reason had they for refusing to understand His corrections?
Proverbs 1:23 “Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.”

He was and is ready, always, to give more understanding and grace by His Holy Spirit, to us in any situation (yes, even the ones we are not suppose to be in; to help us out).

His call to us is, always, “come and follow Him.”

True Sanctification is the heart’s longing after the Lord, Himself.
Psalm 27:4 “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.”
This is what we should desire and long after: fellowship, and communion with the Lord.
David wanted this: “that will I seek after”.
And David was not without sin or corrections.
Yet he knew God, and His love for him, and loved the Lord.
What about us?
Lovest thou Me more than these?

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