HOW DO WE GET THE ‘PERFECT LOVE’
THAT CASTS AWAY ALL FEAR?
WE MUST COME TO THE "PERFECT LOVE" TO ERADICATE THE ‘FEAR’ THAT TROUBLES US.
Jesus knew that the disciples were often filled with fear, and did not fully understand what was happening. Jesus had an answer for them.
John learned from Jesus this truth, and re-spoke it to us in I John 4:15-19:
"Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love Him, because He first loved us."
We need to dwell in the Lord, and allow Him to dwell in us. When we dwell in the Lord, His love fills us. When God’s love continues in us, without measure, the fears of this life have no room to dwell in us.
We need a "perfect love" to embolden us, to empower us to do the works of the Lord in these last days without fear. What is this "perfect love".
JESUS TOLD THE DISCIPLES TO "FEED MY SHEEP"
15. "So when they had dined, Jesus saith unto Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest (agapao) thou Me more that these? He saith unto Him, Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love (phileo) thee. He saith unto him, Feed (Gk = bosko = to feed, tend a flock, take care of, lead, defend) My lambs (Gk = arnion = young Christ-like ones, for this word is used elsewhere in the Bible only of Jesus).
16. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest (agapao) thou Me? He saith unto Him, Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I lovest (phileo) thee. He saith unto him, Feed My sheep (Gk. = probaton, older Christ-like ones, saved men in general).
17. He saith unto him, the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest (phileo) thou Me? Peter was grieved because He said unto him the third time, Lovest (phileo) thou Me? And he said unto Him, Lord, Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I love (phileo) thee. Jesus said unto him, Feed My sheep (Gk.= probaton = saved men in general)."
Much ado has been made by Bible scholars about the use of the words "agapao" and "phileo" here in these verses. There is a great truth to learn, but often, I believe, it has been missed.
"Agapao" means to love, respect, see the worth of. It is the same word for which we are commanded to love our enemies. It is a high spiritual love that one can have for anyone, even enemies, for it does not denote any relationship except to recognize that even the most despicable of persons has spiritual value and potential in God.
"Phileo" is a love as close friends have for the other, it is stronger in that sense, for the agapao love would also be present in anyone having "phileo" love, and yet, because of respect, admiration, and a close relationship... there is more, a valued love.
Twice Jesus asks Peter: "Do you love (agapao) Me?"
Peter says "Yes, Lord, I go beyond just recognizing your spiritual value, I admit to (phileo) a loving relationship and a valued close adoration for You."
Peter was not going to tell the Lord that he had learned to love Him as he had been instructed to love his enemies.
No, Peter wanted the Lord to know of his relationship-based admiration, esteem, respect, and adoration for Him.
When Jesus asked Peter the third time, He used the word "phileo" and this broke Peter. He had twice told the Lord that he "phileo" loved Him, and now the Lord questioned that! Peter had denied the Lord three times, and now he had to affirm three times that he loved the Lord. Peter was humbled, and perhaps thought that Jesus was truly in doubt of Peter's love. He tells the Lord, "Thou knowest."
We need to recognize that the Lord wants a special kind of love from us. A perfect love, a relationship kind of love with Him. We should not simply love Him because of Who He is, or because of What He did for us, or because He is One of the Godhead. We need to have a relationship with Him. Speak to Him on a personal basis, have Him dwelling in us, speaking, talking through us. Peter claimed that type of relationship.
EVIDENCE OF HAVING THE "PERFECT LOVE"
Jesus tells Peter, that this relationship, that He is letting us know is a perfect love, will be evidenced by one fact. We will "feed His sheep and lambs." That means, if we come into the wonderful manifestation of the Lord, we should only do it if we have the love (John 14:18-21, I John 4:15-19) that He demands.
"Sheep" are referred to 500 times in the Bible in referring to believers. There are many similarities between sheep and believers. Both often go astray. When astray by themselves, they are helpless. The shepherd can lead sheep, and they do not need to be "driven" as cattle. Sheep know the voice of their shepherd, and will not follow another shepherd.
"And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him, for they know not the voice of strangers."
Remember, that the Lord wants to be in us, and we in Him, and then His "word" is to fill us, and we are to be speaking it, and the true sheep of the Lord will recognize His word, as it comes from our mouths.
"If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself."
Therefore, our ministry in these last days, is to speak forth the rhema word of the Lord to His sheep. We need to warn, exhort, comfort, teach, encourage, and uplift His sheep. This is a feeding ministry for the last days. We are feeding them the Word of God, the nourishment the sheep need vitally. Our learning the Word, our gaining of knowledge of His Word, allows us to show love to the sheep, by feeding them.
Peter is told to "feed" other saints. Do we do that? If we want the manifestation, the revelation, the blessed presence of the Lord, we must be about His work! If we love Him, we will study the Word, and share the Word. It will nourish and feed the sheep.
"Phileo," love, not simply "agapao" love, is required so that we will feed His lambs and sheep. Proof of our love will be the caring for, helping, leading, defending, and providing pasture for His flock. "Perfect love" is evidenced by the giving of love, not in simply receiving of love. We as a body of believers are told to "gather together" and to "exhort", that is to encourage, uplift, and strengthen each other.
"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."
So, as a shepherd watches and cares for the flock, we should do the Lord's work of tending to the sheep, caring for the lambs of the Lord. The disciples had been taught by the Lord that He was the good Shepherd, and they were part of the flock.
Speaking of a "flock", let us recall that portion of John's gospel. Jesus tells us in John 10:
7. "I am the door of the sheep...
8. All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers...
9. I am the door; by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture.
10. ...I am come that they might have life, and they might have it more abundantly...
11. I am the good Shepherd, the good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep...
14. I am the good Shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine..."
We have this good Shepherd Who so loves His flock, that He tells us that if we truly love Him with a perfect love, we will be feeding, and tending to His flock. He is in us with rhema power, with words of resurrection life, and will manifest Himself to us, but we must be about His work. We are to be the body of Christ, because we have partaken of the Bread of Life, and become part of His body. As His body, we do His work. We are to tend to, care for, feed, help, etc. His flock.
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man shall lay down his life for his friends."
Jesus was about to be that kind of good Shepherd, and He tells His disciples to be ready to assume that kind of shepherding role also. We must be ready to lay down our lives. We must be ready to suffer for those the Lord calls "His sheep."
"By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if ye have love one for another."
"PERFECT LOVE" WILL BE EVIDENCED BY SUFFERING
This kind of love, the "suffering" kind of love, is what the Good Shepherd had, and commands us to have. This kind of love will mark all who are truly His disciples. Jesus is the Good Shepherd Who will leave the 99 sheep to go and seek the one that is lost.
Living this kind of life will mean SUFFERING. (Oops, there is that dreaded word again.) We all want peace, blessing, and joy. We all are told by the Lord that we would suffer the persecution of the world as He did, when we truly abide in Him.
Now, we want a manifestation of His love and presence, and are told to feed His sheep, and then we find that He tells Peter:
18. "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou (Peter) wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkest whither thou wouldest, but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thou where thou wouldest not.
19. This spake He, signifying by what death he should glorify god. And when He had spoken this, He saith unto Him, 'Follow Me!'"
A life of love means suffering. Peter was told that in the future, he would follow the Lord and suffer much as the Lord did. Tradition and history records that Peter was crucified, only at his request he had them crucify him upside down, instead of right side up.
So many reject suffering. Truly to have perfect love, a close phileo love relationship with Jesus will mean a life of suffering and persecution. Do you love Him? Are you serving Him? Are you feeding His flock? Are you willing to suffer for Him?
To do so, will mean a life of having manifestations of the Lord, revelations of His rhema word, a ministry with nets full, and a life of helping others. To neglect these truths taught by Jesus in the gospel of John is the foolish reaction of the Laodicean church of the last days.
There are many who want this MANIFESTATION of the Lord, and desire to be in the presence of the Lord in a special, unique, and real way. But the Lord teaches us that we must be about His work, toiling for Him, casting our nets out of the right side of the boat, and then reminds us to continue to "feed" His flock in these last, perilous days. It will mean suffering, and sometimes heartache, but we must continue to do our ministry to the flock. If we are so willing, we can have a manifestation of the Lord that others will miss. Are you willing??? IF SO, YOU WILL HAVE THAT ‘PERFECT LOVE’ THAT CASTS OUT FEAR.