Greetings MOL Family!
In today’s study, we will look again at John 21. We were noting some things in this scripture in a previous lesson, but there’re some more things we want to understand – some more about Peter.
The One Essential
They’re on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus has given them again that miracle of the miraculous draft of fish. They’ve come to the shore. They’ve had breakfast.
So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon 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. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, 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 Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest 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. – John 21:15-17
Three times the question is, “Do you love Me? Peter, do you love Me? Do you really love Me? Well, if you do, there’s something I want you to do for Me. I want you to feed My sheep. Feed My lambs.”
The way we show our love for Jesus is to win souls; that’s the way we show it. And this is not something, my dear friends, that we can do without this love. There are things that we can do whether we have love or not. A man can dig a ditch for love or he can do it for money, or he can do it because there’s a bayonet at his side.
But soul winning is something that, to be successful, must be done from love, through love. And this is the way Heaven measures the value of men. It’s not how eloquent we are, how learned we are, how skillful we are. No. It’s how loving we are. I’m going to read that from the book Acts of the Apostles:
Christian workers who succeed in their efforts must know Christ; and in order to know Him they must know His love. In heaven their fitness as workers is measured by their ability to love. – Acts of the Apostles, pg. 551
Isn’t that interesting? What measures your ability as a Christian worker? Your ability to love. Oh, you may be fast with your fingers. You may be quick with your speech. You may be talented and experienced in many lines. But there’s one thing that Jesus asks you. There was only one question that Jesus asked Peter. What was it? “Do you love Me?” Notice this:
The question that Christ put to Peter was significant. He mentioned only one condition of discipleship and service. ‘Lovest thou Me?’ He said. This is the essential qualification. – The Desire of Ages, pg. 815
What does essential mean? Necessary; have to have it. This is the one essential.
This is the essential qualification. Though Peter might possess every other, yet without the love of Christ he could not be a faithful shepherd over the Lord’s flock. Knowledge, benevolence, eloquence, gratitude, and zeal are all aids in the good work; but without the love of Jesus in the heart, the work of the Christian minister is a failure. – Ibid
Oh, friends, without love we’re what? We are failures. But on the other hand, with love we cannot fail. Whatever is done out of pure love, we’re told, is wholly fruitful. Nothing that love does is ever lost. So, Jesus would say to us in this hour, as He said to Peter on the beach, “Do you love Me? Do you love Me? Do you really love Me? Well, if you do, love the ones I love. Love My children. Feed My sheep. Take care of My lambs.” Thus, we show our love for Him.
Your Glorious Opportunity
In the book Messages to Young People, we’re told about a certain class of people that have a special opportunity:
[Satan] well knows that there is no other class that can do as much good as young men and young women who are consecrated to God. The youth, if right, could sway a mighty influence. Preachers, or laymen advanced in years, cannot have one-half the influence upon the young that the youth, devoted to God, can have upon their associates. – Messages to Young People, pg. 204
Think of it! My dear young friends, you in your teens and twenties, your golden day is now as far as reaching other young people is concerned. This is your glorious opportunity. Press in. Win souls.
Oh, I thank God for the souls He helped me to win when I was a young man. And He has souls for you. What do you need? Love. The next page:
Who are seen pleading with tender earnestness with their companions to forsake the ways of sin and choose the path of holiness? – Ibid., pg. 205
Oh, but if I would beg somebody to accept Jesus, they might not like it.” No, they might not. That’s true. I’m told that sometimes when people are drowning and somebody tries to rescue them, they fight off the rescuer. Is that the way it is, sometimes? Well, here’s somebody drowning in the lake, but I’d better not plunge in. They might fight me off. What about it, friends? Is that the way? Oh, we wouldn’t do that. We’d plunge in. The more they fought the more we’d wrestle with them. And once they got to shore and got into their right minds, they would what? They’d thank you, wouldn’t they? They’d appreciate it.
Ah, friends, let not the outward actions of an unconverted soul defeat your efforts. If you love them enough, love will seek a way. “Peter, do you love Me? Peter, do you love Me? Oh, Peter, do you really love Me?” “Yes, Lord. You know I love You.” “Very well. I have a work for you to do. I want you to win some souls for Me, and take care of them. Look after them.”
You see, friends, God could have sent angels to do all this. But there’re two reasons why God doesn’t send angels. In the first place, He wants you and me to have a part in it. And if the angels did it, and we just stand by and watch them, we might clap our hands, but we we’d miss much of the joy. There’s a joy in fellowship with Jesus in working for souls. Isn’t there? And as it takes some love to do it, it develops love as we do it.
Learn the other reason, when we come back to study these present truths…
Until next week – Invite a friend, and we’ll see you then…
The life of a soul winner must be a life wholly consecrated and surrendered to a Person – Jesus Christ. In our “How to Live” series, learn about the fundamental principles that govern such a life, and how to put them into practice. >> Learn More
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* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.