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20Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at
supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? 21Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall
this man do? 22Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. – John
21: 20 –22

It is late summer in the year of 2006.  The sound of children’s laughter at play has been replaced by the droning
of the engine of the school bus as it makes it way up and down the back roads of the county.  As the new school
year commences the fun and frivolity of summer are replaced by an attitude of seriousness and study.  It is time
to “put our minds in gear” for the tasks which lie before us.  The old folks used to say “it’s time to put your nose
to the grindstone.”  Paying attention to what is important and not getting caught up in being curious are two
completely different things.  In our text today we find Peter and the Lord at an interesting juncture in their
relationship.  It had been an emotional roller coaster for Peter the last few days.  He had made the bold
proclamation “Although everyone else may desert you, I will never deny you Lord!”  Jesus reminded him that
before the evening was through Peter would not deny him once but three times.
After the resurrection Jesus appears to the disciples after a night of fishing during which they caught nothing.  
He prepares a breakfast for them and then pulls Peter aside to talk to him.  As Peter denied the Lord three
times so Christ asks Peter “Do you love me?” three times.  Shamed and stung by the Lord’s gentle rebuke Peter
is restored to fellowship by Jesus.  As Jesus tells Peter what his future holds Peter seeks a diversion.  Instead of
realizing that what Jesus is calling him to be and do is for him and him alone Peter brings the apostle John into
the conversation by asking “And what about John?”  Part of the problem in the church today is people who have
Peter’s attitude.  Instead of being concerned with pleasing the Lord by doing what he asks of us as individuals
we can become like Peter and try to shift the attention off of ourselves.  What Jesus asks us to do is not always
pleasant or fun but it is always the right thing.  If Peter at one of the greatest
Spiritual moment of his life can still be more concerned about someone else instead of what God has called him
to be and do what does that say about us?
18And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19Go
ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the
Holy Ghost: 20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with
you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. – Matthew 28:18-20

When I see these words of Christ I am reminded that this text of scripture is called “the great commission”.  
These are some of the last earthly words of our Saviour before he returned to the Father in heaven.  What
a challenge!  What a responsibility!  Several questions arise in my mind.  When does this happen?  Where
does this happen?  How often does this happen?  To whom does this happen?  I am reading a book called
Mission Minded by Peter Bolt.  I like this book for the same reason that I like most books especially the
Bible.  I like it because it makes me think and secondly because it makes me uncomfortable.  I don’t like
being uncomfortable but it is a good thing when it causes me to be honest with myself about what I am
really like.  It also does not just leave me recognizing what my issues are but also gives a solution.  The
point of the book is to make one stop and examine what happens in the church.  What is the purpose of
every activity and organization in the church?  Two scenarios are painted to consider.  The first asks the
question of “are we just maintaining what we have?”  The second is “do the things we do come as a result
of us trying to fulfill the great commission?”  It is O.K. to maintain what we do if what we do is trying to fulfill
the great commission.  Otherwise we are just marking time and accomplishing nothing for the kingdom.  
Doing what we do just because that’s the way we have always done it is good if what we have done lines
up with where God wants us to be, if not we’ve got a problem.  In Vacation Bible School we said this pledge
to the Christian flag.  “I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag, and to the Saviour for whose kingdom it
stands, one brotherhood uniting all man kind in service and in love.”  Those are heavy words to say and I
want to be more than just a talker.  How about you?

H. Scott Latimer
Counter
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13Greater love hath no man than
this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
15Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you
friends – John 15:12-15

February is known as heart month.  The American Heart Association has deemed it so by associating the
physical heart to the romantic heart of Valentine’s Day.  Love is in the air the card manufacturers point to this
day as one of their top sellers along with the florist and the candy makers.  The word ‘love’ is bandied about
quiet freely during this time of year.  Many young people get engaged or married on February 14.  When I
watch the world and their use of the word love I know that it does not have the same connotation the bible
speaks of.  The Greeks had three words that we translate as ‘love’.  The first is eros from which we get our idea
of erotic or physical, sexual love.  The second is phileo, which is the love of friendship or brotherly love.  The
third is agape which is the love that sees value in the thing or person loved as an act of the will not the
emotions and considers that person or things highest good regardless of their real value or worth.  How is it that
Jesus can command us to love one another?  First of all by understanding that the love that Christ has for us is
agape love.  It is a self-sacrificing action demonstrated on the cross by the death of Christ.  When Jesus died
for us he gave everything.  The word life in verse 14 means the soul or the heart of all that we are it means our
everything.  Jesus uses the word friend, which is based on the Greek word phileo.  In the Greek this word
means a friend of the court.  It carries with it the idea of an inner circle of the king.  There was no room for
competing for the king’s attention because even though we would be considered friends we are still servants of
the king.  We now have the knowledge of the what that goes with the why in the relationship.  Jesus commands
us to love because the agape love he demonstrates is based on an act of the will and not on emotions.  In our
world today what motivates so many of us is a love based on whether we like someone or more selfishly what
we can get out of our relationship with and to the other person.  How unlike the love of God, which has, no
selfishness anywhere associated with it.  As servants of Christ we obey Him out of our love and commitment to
him.  As friends we love Him out of the privilege of knowing Him.  Knowing why He died for us who didn’t deserve
to die changes how we will live for him.  Oswald Chambers asks this question, “Why are we so terrified for God
to speak to us? It is because we know that when God speaks we must either do what He asks or tell Him we will
not obey.”  We don’t have a choice.  How can we explain why we would choose not to obey?  If ‘love’ is in the
air, as believers can we really say that is the nature of our relationship to Him?  Happy Valentine’s Day!
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