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Love and Service.

Love and Service.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
Friedrich, Schleiermacher 1768-1834.



Text : John xxi. 16. " He saith to him again a second time,
Simon, son of John, lovest thou Me? He saith unto Him, Yea,
Lord ; Thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith unto him, Tend my
sheep."
Friedrich, Schleiermacher 1768-1834.



Text : John xxi. 16. " He saith to him again a second time,
Simon, son of John, lovest thou Me? He saith unto Him, Yea,
Lord ; Thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith unto him, Tend my
sheep."

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 30, 2013
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LOVE AD SERVICE.Friedrich, Schleiermacher 1768-1834.Text : John xxi. 16. " He saith to him again a second time,Simon, son of John, lovest thou Me? He saith unto Him, Yea,Lord ; Thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith unto him, Tend mysheep."THERE is no more important charge than that whichthe Lord gave to His apostle in these words. Hocalls Himself the Shepherd of His flock ; therefore whatHe here committed to the charge of the apostle was to dothe Lord's own work in His name, and under His oversightand ruling direction as Chief Shepherd. But this is acharge committed by no means exclusively to the ApostlePeter, nor exclusively to the rest of the apostles, nor tothose alone who now in a special and official way servethe Lord as teachers and overseers in His Church : it isthe duty of all Christians without exception ; we are allto be labourers in His vineyard. But in this vine5^ard, theplants of which are none other than redeemed souls, itsfruits none other than the fruits of the Spirit, what can anyone find to do that would not be included in the expres-sion, Tend My sheep ? Co-operation and help in the work which the Lord has to do on the souls that God has givenHim,— this and nothing else can we supply to Him, andHe can make use of nothing else. If therefore we are topresent our whole life to Him as a living thank-offering ;if we are bound to show that He has sanctified our souls,195196 LOVE AD SERVICE.by our making some use of the powers we owe to Him,
 
then we must all certainly take part in the work which,in the words of our text, He commits to the apostle. ButHe connects this charge with Peter's answer to His ques-tion, Simon, son of John, lovest thou Me? And thus itappears to us that in an examination to which, as it were,the Lord subjects Peter, this love to Christ is the one thingHe requires of him, with a view to his feeding Christ'ssheep. But we find among Christians in all ages verydifferent opinions about this. Some adhere strictly to thisword of the Lord, and say that there is absolutely no otherspiritual qualification for this duty ; that a man has no needto acquire anything else beforehand in order to render tothe Lord the service to which all are called ; that he onlyneeds to be growing ever stronger in love to the Saviour,and to be able ever more joyfully to answer with theapostle. Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee. Others,on the contrary, maintain that of course the Lord kneweverything else that was in the apostle ; what spiritualfaculties were awakened, what light of knowledge waskindled in him; but because Peter had fallen and deniedHim, He may have stood in doubt about just this one point ;or rather, though He, knowing what was in all hearts, couldnot doubt, the rest of the disciples might have doubtedwhether love to the Lord was still quite as lively in hisheart as it had been. And therefore, they say, the Lordaddressed this question to him, not as if there were nothingelse required in order to tend His sheep, but because all theother disciples knew quite well the kind and measure of everything else in the soul of Peter, but on this one indis-pensable point it was necessary for him to come out clearly.In response to these different views, whether love to Christis sufficient qualification for the fulfilment of the Christian'scalling, or something more is required, let us consider moreclosely the words of our text. First, and most necessary.LOVE AD SEKVICE. 197let US try rightly to understand the Saviour's words in this
 
connection ; and secondly, let us go further back andinquire together how those different views may be supposedto have arisen among Christians, in order still more fally toassure ourselves as to what has been the mind and willof the Lord.I. First, then, if we wish to ascertain which of thosetwo meanings the Saviour may be supposed really to havehad, it will be necessary for us to begin by asking what,according to the nature of things, is implied in the com-mission with which the Lord here charges His disciple,Tend My sheep. Confining ourselves to the figurativeexpression which the Saviour uses, it unquestionablyincludes very specially two things : first, that the sheepof the flock must be protected ; then, that they must befed. The shepherd's care takes in both of these parts ;therefore the Lord expects from His disciple and entruststo him both kinds of work. Well, now let us next ask bywhat means and in what manner the souls of men are pro-tected, so that they may not again withdraw or wander fromthe Lord's flock, and that in the flock no danger mayapproach or evil befall them ? Certainly, we answer unani-mously, love to Him is the first requisite ; that love mustcall forth in each of us the strong desire to keep our ownsoul and the souls of others in living fellowship with Him ;it must make us quick to notice whatever might be adverseto that fellowship. But now if we are asked to go a stepfurther, and assert that this love to the Saviour is sufficientby itself for the work, then, it seems to me, we must say o.What a knowledge of the human heart in its obduracy andin its despondency is needful in order to protect the soulin spite of these ; with what clear spiritual insight must wepenetrate its most hidden recesses if we wish to note andtrace out, before it be too late, anything in men's own soulsthat endangers their fellowship with the Saviour — if we are198 LOVE AD SERVICE.

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