This was a sharing done by me to my friends a few days ago, and it was rearrangment of points gathered from a sermon spoken by my home church

Jn 21:12-15 Records of a time where Jesus appeared to his disciples after his resurrection. At that time, the disciples was fishing in the sea of Tiberius, Jesus came and had breakfast with them.

That is when Jesus asked Simon Peter a question

"Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" – Jesus (Jn 21:15)

In fact Jesus was demanding love from Peter. This is not something that is common. In Life , our spouse and children may be able to demand love from us. There are also occasion where Parents may demand love from kids. For having an experience of being a child, I know that sometimes I forget to love my parents back.

Jesus had been to with the disciples for 3 years, he loved them and have performed much miracles before them. However, the disciples often denied the Lord in their weakness. Simon Peter denied Jesus 3 times.

Peter thought that he loved Jesus and will never deny him. But the fact is that he did it 3 times. On that 3rd Occasion, the rooster crowed.  That is when he realized his weakness, he felt ashamed of himself so he went away and wept.

Jesus had already warned him before

"Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.
But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren." – Jesus (Lk 22:31-32)

Strangely, after knowing of the Lords resurrection, instead of strengthening others, Simon decided to go fishing. In fact he influenced 6 other disciples to follow him fishing.

This is perhaps one of the many reasons why Jesus demanded love from Simon. Jesus wanted Peter  stop denying him and love him.

So today, if Jesus were to ask us this question, what would our response be?

Very often, we end up loving ourselves, the world. We hardly love God and we come to him only when we need help. Perhaps this is the reason why our faith remains weak even when we are dwelling in the abundant grace of God.

Therefore as Christians, we ought to rekindle our love for God. Let us examine the reasons for loving God.

Reason #1 : He is our creator

One of the most fundamental reason for loving God is because he is our created.

A scribe one asked our Lord Jesus (Mk 12:28-29)

“Which is the first commandment of all?" – Scribe (Mk 12:28)

This happened after the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Then many scribes and Pharisees came to challenge Jesus by asking him difficult questions. Jesus managed to answer all their queries and his answer surprised them all. 

This scribe came to test Jesus. He initially thought that Jesus was preaching another faith, turning the Jews from the God of their forefathers.  He hopes that by proving that Jesus does not believe in God, they could be able to accuse Jesus.

In response to his question, Jesus quoted the famous Jewish Prayer known as “Shema Yisrael” (AKA “Hear, O Israel”). It is recorded in Deut 6, and one of the verse includes

“YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH”

It is the duty of every Christian to love our God like this. This love must surpassed our love for our earthly parents as well as the world. If we claim to have faith in God, we would keep his commandments and love him with all our heart.

For it is God who had created this world for us. He created this world out of his love for mankind. He spent 5/6 of the time creating an environment that is perfect of mankind to live in. He only created man on the 6th day.

He created the air for us to breath, the sun to give us heat. He created the night and day for us to have an regular life. He created vegetation, and animals as food for men.

He personally breathed into the nostril of man, and made mankind his sons. He created man to share his glory as well as to give him glory. That is the one of the most important purpose of mankind.

Unfortunately, mankind did not live up to this purpose. So therefore in order to love God, one need to understand the purpose of Gods creation.

The Jews had to recite “Shema Yisrael” twice a day. It serves as a reminder to them that they belong to God and they have a duty towards him. The duty is to love God with all their heart, soul and might.

Although Christians do not need to follow the Mosaic law, but we ought be armed with the spirit of the law, to remember this duty even if we do not need to recite the prayer.

Reason #2 : He first loved us.

Elder John once wrote in his Epistle

“ In this the love of God was manifested toward us, 
   that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world,
   that we might live through Him. 
   In this is love, not that we loved God,
   but that He loved us and sent His Son to be
   the propitiation for our sins.” – John (1 Jn 9-10)

We ought to reciprocate the love of God, for it is God who first loved us. He sent Jesus to the world as savior so that we can have hope in Christ.

Indeed, the destiny of mankind had changed ever since the fall of Adam. Man has lost his status as the children of God and sin became a barrier separating man from God. Man had in fact became the enemies of God. Therefore God manifested himself as a man so that he could destroy the wall of enmity between God and man.

In order to do this, God must put aside his glory and lay down his sovereignty, humble himself and to be ultimately nailed on the cross, paying the price for sin. This is that love of God, for he had sent Jesus to be a propitiation for sin.

This is also the reason why believers baptized in the name of Jesus are no longer enemies of God. They are reconciled with God and have a portion in the kingdom of God. And the love of God continue to surround them, for out of his love, Jesus continues to use his blood to cleanse us of our sin. He does it so that they can remain righteous and could inherit heaven.

If we indeed understand the love God, we will reciprocate this love, for one cannot claim to be a follower of Christ without knowing his love.

Let us take a look at how one could love God.

Method #1 :  Keep his commandments

Jesus once said this

"If you love Me, keep My commandments.”- Jesus (Jn 14:15)

Elder John continues by saying this

“But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is
perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.”- John (1Jn 2:5)

Jesus had taught us many things in life, while he was on earth, he teaches men how they should follow the law of God, and if we say that we love him, we must make it a point to keep his commandments.

For many in the world call Jesus “Lord” but yet refuse to follow his commands. Very often when I share the words of God with fellow Christians they will say that they know that I am speaking from the bible and those are indeed the word of Jesus, but yet they will also say that one does not need to follow it because we are saved by grace.

They have this perspective because they think that one only needs to believe in Jesus and to declare with his lips that Jesus is Lord. Then they would be saved. Of course I agree that one is not saved because he follows the commandments, but to me it does not mean that Christians are no longer need to adhere to the standards of morality written in the law of God.

Being saved by the grace of God does not give one a license to disobey God and disregard the commandments of God. 

This is why Jesus says that in the last days, many will call him “Lord Lord” but yet God will say that he does not know them.

So if we indeed love God, let us ask ourselves “Have we been keeping the commandments from God?”

Method #2 :To Be fruitful in our faith

If believers love God, they must strive to be fruitful in their faith. Whenever we talk about the grace of God, we tend to make reference to the blood of Jesus. If Jesus had not shed his blood for us, there will be no salvation grace. For his blood is used as the ransom to purchase us (Acts 20:26)

It was because of his blood that cleanse us, and that is why our sins are washed away. I believe that the blood of Jesus is present during baptism, and that is the reason why baptism forgives sin. But we know that even after our baptism, we still transgress against God.

Therefore Jesus had to be in heaven interceding for us, and that is the love of God. If we understand this love, we would be fruitful in our knowledge of Christ.

For after our baptism, we are chosen by God to bear fruits. We must bear the fruits of salvations, the fruit of the Holy Spirit, goodness and righteousness.

We were once in darkness and through Christ we have entered from darkness into light. Therefore we ought bear fruits in our faith. That means there must be transformation in our lives.

Paul once told the church in Ephesus

“Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let
  him labor, working with his hands what is good,
  that he may have something to give him who has need.” – Paul (Eph 4:28)

So did our lives change after we accepted Christ?  If there isn’t Christ would have died in vain. If we continue to be a sinner after our baptism, we would eventually be judged and condemned. For we have despised the blood of Christ and treat it as something common.

And if we are guilty of that, our sin would be greater than those who do not believe.

Therefore Peter reminded the believers in his epistle

“Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to
  make your call and election sure, for if you do
  these things you will never stumble;” –Peter (2 Pet 1:8-11)

We must put in effort in our faith, and having faith is not about worshiping within ones comfort zone.

A person with faith would not be one that only comes to church, read the bible when he feels like it. He would pray to God often and not just in his time of need. For people who does these are not fruitful in their faith. 

Therefore let us not take the grace of God in vain, let us be diligent in our calling, let us pray to receive the spirit of God and to allow his words to sanctify us.  Let us put on Christ and be a man full of love and righteousness

Paul summarized it in his letter to Titus

“For the grace of God that brings
  salvation has appeared to all men, 
  teaching us that, denying ungodliness
  and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, 
  righteously, and godly in the present age, 
  looking for the blessed hope and glorious
  appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, “- Paul (Tit 2:11-14)

Method 3#  :To be Willing To Bear The Cross

If we love God, we would be willing to be his disciples and carry our cross. For many believe in Jesus but are only mere church goers.

They may hold a hymn book and a bible but they are actually the Lord of their own lives. Many would be unable to take up the cross that was given to them and they would be unable to follow God till the end.

Strength to follow the God does not come from men. For if we depends on ourselves, we will find it hard to walk on the narrow path.

There are many who knows the scriptures, they called Jesus as their God but yet they are unable to love him. Judas follow Christ for 3 years , he had seen the miracles and felt the love of God from time to time. But the love of God did not move him. He denied Jesus and eventually betrayed him.

Many of the disciples were weak in faith, they receive strength only when the Holy Spirit came upon them. That is when they are able to bear their cross. They were moved by his love and were able to give up their lives for Jesus.

They refuse to deny him even in the face of threats and death.

Today we ought to have the same love of Christ one that reflects the love of Jesus. This is the reason why many Christians are willing to undergo difficult mercy missions in Africa and are willing to serve those in poverty and difficulties.

Peter who are moved by God is able to love the people around them. For that is how the love of God works.

Method 4# :To love fellow brethren in the Church

Jesus once shared in the Parable of the Judgment Of The Sheep and Goats (Matt 25:41-45)  God separated the sheep from the goats.

The goats are those who do not love Jesus, for they gave him no food, no drink. They did not clothe him when he is naked. While the sheep inherited heaven for they did the opposite.

It is important to note that both sheep and goats seems to be people who believe in God. The only differentiating factor between the 2 is in their works of Love.

The sheep are those who knew the grace of God and are willing to share them with others. In fact they did not know that they have did their acts of love to God. In the parable they asked the Lord when did they did the acts of love to him.

The King answered

“Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it
  to one of the least of these My brethren, you did
  it to Me.’”- Jesus (Matt 25:40)

Method 5# :Feed My Lambs, Tend My Sheep, Feed My sheep

These are are the final instructions given by Jesus to Peter. For during the time where Jesus is with his followers, he did much work to love them. And now he needs to return to heaven to intercede for them, although he would send the Holy Spirit to them, the sheep still needs a shepherd to take care of them.

All of us are shepherds in a way , Parents shepherds their children, Religious education teachers shepherds their students. The older members in the church takes care of the younger ones in the church

Such love requires sacrifice from time to them, it is a difficult task, but we can pray to God for strength. For if we love God, we would be able love each other like Christ love us.

Therefore Paul exhorts the church in Philippians

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit,
  but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better
  than himself. 
  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests,
  but also for the interests of others
  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, ”- Paul (Php 2:3-5)

This is a difficult thing to do, but with Gods help it can be done. If we are armed with the same mindset, we could tend the sheep and feed the lamb. We would be willing to pay the price to love God with our heart.

Conclusion

So If Jesus comes to us asking us “Do you love me?” What would our response be?

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