Lovest Thou Me?

Peter Mathews, Newfoundland

Hark! My soul, it is the Lord;
‘Tis thy Saviour! Hear His word;
Jesus speaks, and speaks to thee:
"Say, poor sinner, by ‘st thou Me?"

In the hour of temptation Peter three times denied his Lord with oaths and curses (Matt. 26:69-74). Under the circumstances we would likely have done the same. Now, unbelievers sin and it doesn’t bother them, but when a child of God sins it bothers him. See how Peter was immediately repentant, going out and weeping bitterly, and God is the God of restoration. Upon sinning, a believer loses his joy, but when we confess our sins, "He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). No doubt Peter was restored when Jesus personally appeared to him after his resurrection, but his denial was a public denial and so his restoration must also be public. On the seashore, following a fruitless night of fishing, the Lord appeared to his discouraged disciples. Singling out Peter he asked, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?" This question was repeated three times and each time Peter asserted that he did indeed love his Lord (John 21: 15-17). The mark of a true child of God is that we love him. "We love him, because he first loved us" (I John 4:19). Like Peter, we often deny him, and our sad lament is expressed by William Cowper, who wrote: "Lord, it is my chief complaint That my love is cold and faint; Yet I love Thee, and adore; O for grace to love Thee more."

The first evidence that one is genuinely saved is that EVERY ONE WHO IS SAVED LOVES THE LORD.

As Peter confirmed his love, the Lord said, "Feed my sheep." Mere words would not do. The reality of Peter’s love would be shown by his care toward the Lord’s own. It is the same for us. John writes, "every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him"( 1 John 5:1 ).The Lord says, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35). Again John writes, "he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" (1 John 4:20). Just as we have to prove our love to the Lord, so also must love to our brethren be proved. John writes, "my little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth" (1 John 3 :18). This may involve sharing our possessions. Whoso hath this world’s goods and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?" (v. 17). It certainly involves our behavior, for we are not to "put a stumbling-block or an occasion to fall" in our brother’s way (Romans 14:13-15), or as we read in 1 Corinthians, we are to take heed lest our liberty become a stumbling block to them that are weak (8:8-13). This could involve foregoing that which is legitimate, for the sake of another’s conscience. "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death" (1 John 3:14). Therefore EVERY ONE WHO LOVES THE LORD LOVES THE PEOPLE OF GOD.

In his upper room ministry the Lord said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). John writes, "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep his commandments" (1 John 5:2). Obedience is another "love test therefore we should say with the Psalmist, "0 how I love thy law! It is my meditation all the day" (Psalm 119:97). Only as we read the Word of God will we know the mind of God, and only in the measure we know his will are we able to be obedient. It is self evident then that EVERY ONE WHO LOVES GOD AND THE PEOPLE OF GOD LOVES THE WORD OF GOD.

Not only so, but because we love the children of God we will want to be with them. That is why the apostle writes, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching" (Heb. 10:25). In Malachi’s day "they that feared the Lord spake often one to another" (Mal. 3:16), and this was pleasing to the Lord. The Spirit of God desires to gather the people of God together in His Name and like the psalmist David we should confess, "Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth" (Psa. 26:8). Therefore EVERY ONE WHO LOVES THE LORD WILL LOVE THE HOUSE OF GOD.

In the heart of every child of God there is the desire to see him "whom having not seen, ye love" (1 Peter 1:8). What a glorious moment that will be when we "see him as he is." Not as a man in humility, but as the glorified Son of God. Faith will give place to sight. "This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality" (1 Cor. 15:53). We shall not only be with him, but, marvel of marvels, we shall be like him. What sovereign grace that "lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory" (1 Samuel 2:8). Well might we exclaim, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Rev. 21:20). EVERY SAVED ONE LOVES HIS APPEARING.

Thou shalt see My glory soon,
When the work of grace is done;
Partner of My throne shalt be:
"Say, poor sinner, lov’st thou Me?"