So when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me more than these? He said to him, Yes…
I. THE PECULIAR FELLING OF A TRUE CHRISTIAN TOWARDS CHRIST — he loves Him.
1. A true Christian is not a mere baptized man or woman, a person who only goes, as a matter of form, to a church on Sundays; he is one whose religion is in his heart and life, and its great peculiarity is love. Hear what St. Paul says (1 Corinthians 16:22; Ephesians 6:24). Hear what Christ says (John 8:42). Would you know the secret of this peculiar feeling (1 John 4:19)?
2. A true Christian loves Christ —
(1) For all He has done for him.
(2) For all that He is still doing.
3. This love to Christ is —
(1) The inseparable companion of saving faith. A faith of devils, a mere intellectual faith, a man may have without love, but not that faith which saves.
(2) The mainspring of work for Christ. There is little done for His cause from sense of duty. The heart must be interested before the hands will move. The nurse in a hospital may do her duty, but there is a vast difference between that nurse and a wife.
(3) The point which we ought specially to dwell upon in teaching religion to children. Election, imputed righteousness, &c., are matters which only puzzle; but love to Jesus is within reach of their understanding (Matthew 21:16).
(4) The common meeting point of believers of every branch of Christ's Church (Ephesians 6:24).
(5) The distinguishing mark of all saved souls in heaven. Old differences will be merged in one common feeling (Revelation 1:5, 6).
II. THE PECULIAR MARKS BY WHICH LOVE TO CHRIST MAKES ITSELF KNOWN. If we love a person, we like —
1. To think about him. We do not need to be reminded of him. It is just so between the true Christian and Christ! Christ "dwells in his heart," and is thought of more or less every day (Ephesians 3:17).
2. To hear about him. We find a pleasure in listening to those who speak of him. So the true Christian likes those sermons best which are full of Christ.
3. To read about him. What intense pleasure a letter from an absent husband gives to a wife, or a letter from an absent son to his mother. So the true Christian delights to read the Scriptures, because they tell him about his beloved Saviour.
4. To please him. We are glad to consult his tastes and opinions. In like manner the true Christian studies to please Christ by being holy both in body and spirit.
5. His friends. We are favourably inclined to them, even before we know them. And the true Christian regards all Christ's friends as his. He is more at home with them in a few minutes, than he is with many worldly people after an acquaintance of several years.
6. To maintain his interests and his reputation. We regard the person who treats him ill as if he had ill-treated us. And the true Christian regards with a godly jealousy all efforts to disparage his Master's Word, or name, or Church, or day.
7. To talk to him. We find no difficulty in discovering subjects of conversation, nor does the true Christian find any difficulty in speaking to his Saviour. Every day he has something to tell Him, and he is not happy unless he tells it.
8. To be always with him; and the heart of a true Christian longs for that blessed day when he will see his Master face to face and go out no more.Conclusion:
1. Look the question in the face and try to answer it for yourself. It is no answer to say —
(1) That you believe the truth of Christianity. The devils believe and tremble (James 2:19).
(2) That you disapprove of a religion of feelings. There can be no true religion without some feeling towards Christ. If you do not love Christ, your soul is in great danger.
2. If you do not love Christ, let me tell you what is the reason. You have no sense of debt to Him. There is but one remedy for this state of things — self knowledge and the teaching of the Holy Ghost.
(1) Perhaps you have never read your Bible at all, or only carelessly. Begin to read it, then, in earnest.
(2) Perhaps you have never known anything of real, hearty, business-like prayer. Begin the habit, then, at once.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.
WEB: So when they had eaten their breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I have affection for you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs."