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December 8, 2020 7:00 pm
BJU President Steve Pettit continues a discipleship series entitled, “Truth and Love” from 1 John 4:11-12
Welcome to The Daily Platform sponsored by Bob Jones University today Dr. Steve Pettit, president of BJ you continues his series entitled truth and love from the book of first John, please take your Bibles this morning and turn with me to first John chapter 4 reading this morning in our passage of Scripture in verse John chapter 4 and as we read this passage of Scripture and as you read it on your own. It almost appears like there's a lot of repetition going out in one way that's the way John teaches, but really coming to a very very crucial part of our study this semester and what I believe John is driving towards and so I'd like to ask you to really pay careful attention give careful thought to go back and read it in your study yourself as I speak this morning on the theme of God's perfect love like to read verses 11 and 12 as we begin notice what it says. Beloved, if God so loved us, we all also to love one another. No man is seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwells within us and his love is perfected in us were going to take at least two messages this week and then two times from this next message of where we going to understand or try to understand what it means when the Bible speaks of perfect love.
And as we begin I think it's important to recognize that John's goal or John's destination for the Christian life is that we have perfect love or let me put it this way in the New Testament.
The main writers Peter, Paul, John, James, they all have an and or a goal for the Christian life is the Greek word for telling us in one of those goes well for Paul.
When you read his letters. His goal is for the Christians to be like Jesus Christ. Christ likeness, being conformed to his image, and for most of us that's probably the kind of answer. We would give if we speak about what God's goal is for our life.
But when you read the book of James.
You get a different theme from James and that is his goal for us is to be wives. So when you read Proverbs.
For example, it says to get wisdom, but when we read John's letter. It's different and that is John's goal for us is to be perfect in love. Now each rider basically has the same goal in mind, it's just that their focus is slightly different.
Paul Christ likeness James wisdom John to be perfect in love and what's interesting is that each goal has a barrier or a hindrance to overcome in order to reach that goal. For example, to be Christ like Paul says we have to overcome the flash so we read in Galatians 5 when we walk in the spirit will not fulfill the lust of the flash to be wise. James says you have to overcome being double minded.
A double minded man is unstable in all his way and then when we come to John. John says to be perfect in love. We have to overcome fear or insecurity. All of these things are barriers to change in growth of the flash double mindedness or fear or insecurity. So when we look at John today and we look at John again in the next few weeks we're going to see that it is perfect love that overcomes the barrier of fear and John speaks of perfect love from two aspects. Number one. He speaks of God's love perfected in us.
And then secondly he speaks of our love is being made perfect or love is perfected with us, and so today were going to seek to understand what is meant by the statement.
Kids love is perfected in us is go back and look at verse 12. He says if we love one another, God dwells in us and his love is perfected in us. So what is this me. Let me begin with a few reminders of things we party say number one John is been commanding all of us to love one another. Secondly, he's given us reasons why we should do that. First of all, because love is God's nature and secondly, love is the nature of the believer, because we been born again, and his spirit is come to live inside of us. He's literally put his love, his nature within our hearts so we naturally as a Christian, love God. We love his word love is people and then thirdly, he reminds us that God has shown us are displayed that love through his son and we see this in Jesus's entrance into the world through his incarnation, and we see this in Jesus's exit from the world through its crucifixion. So now we come to verse 11 and John is pressing home the importance of loving one another by telling us what happens when we love not just why just now, but what happens and he tells us in verse 12. If we love one another, God dwells in us and his love is perfected in us.
When we love one another, because love is made perfect. So what does that mean three points and want to give you this money. First of all, really three questions. Just try to answer. First of all what is meant when he says perfected love Lily. First of all, say perfected does not refer to a Christian is come to the point when he's free from all defects like reaching a state of sinless perfection. That's not what the Bible teaches about because none of us are going to reach that in this life.
He's not saying our imperfections or our inadequacies in inadequacies have been totally eliminated. Rather, the WordPerfect has the idea of reaching, completing or achieving a goal.
For example, let's just take sports sports has goals basketball goals soccer goals football goals and the purpose of the game is to score goals, preferably more than your opponent. Now when John speaks of perfected love. He's talking about reaching a goal or reaching the destination and it's important to understand that John is not speaking of our love. The believers love being perfected. The phrase has God is the subject. Notice what it says it is God's love that is being perfected, God dwells in us and his love is perfected in us elementary questions that sound strange is God's love imperfect. Can our actions change God's love, the answer is no. So then what does it mean and fundamentally hears what it means. It is the idea that when believers love one another, God's love has reached or it has achieved its goal or its ultimate purpose in us. God's goal is for us to love one another and when we are doing that then we are achieving God's purpose or God's goal that is his love has been perfected, and since the verb is in the perfect tense. It means not only has the goal been reached, but it continues own in the present is not just something that takes place at a point in time, but it is a continuation. His love is continually being perfected in our presence now is God's love always than being perfected among believers well imagine a question. Does God's people always love each other, yes or no yes or no, no, I have to do is go on the dorms at Bob Jones University and find that out. The very nature of the phrase.
If we love one another is conditional. It leaves the possibility that believers may not fulfill this obligation and in the case of the word. The probability is actually low, so he is urging he is pressing upon us that we are to love each other and when we do that, then we are reaching the goal that God is established God's love is being perfected in us so that leads me to the second question and that is why is God's love being perfected so important. Let me put it this way. We should all feel a sense of duty, responsibility, urgency that this is really important.
So why well. Beginning in verse 12 there is a general statement of fact, where John says these words no man hath seen God at any time.
That is, no one at any time in the past or in the presence has ever seen or will ever see God in his essence. You cannot see God because God is invisible. Paul writes in first Timothy 616, he says, speaking of God whom no man hath seen nor can see John's gospel tells us the same thing. John 118 no man hath seen God at any time. Nobody is ever seen the Lord. But when Jesus came into the world. What did he come to do. He came to show us the father John 14 nine he that hath seen me. Jesus says that seen the father. So Christ came to show us the heavenly father, and specifically Jesus did this by demonstrating God's love to the world.
Now here's the point.
Christ is not with us, so the demonstration of the father in his love is no longer with us. So how is it that God is making his love known to the world. How is God revealing himself today and the answer is.
John tells us verse 12.
No man is seen God at any time enough. That's the condition if we love one another, God dwells in us, that is God is God's presence is with us and his love is perfected in us. God reveals himself to the world when believers love one another.
That's why it's so important.
God's goal is that we love one another. When we love one another. We were cheaper, we've reached his purpose and why is this so important because this is the way God reveals himself FF Bruce said the love of God displayed in the world is the strongest apologetic that God has in the world. Let me put it this way, our lives demonstrate to the world who God is and folks, if we're not doing bad then there is no manifestation of who God is. This is God's plan. We are to actively and obediently love one another, but to give you a very simple illustration by Mike Terry was diagnosed with cancer. The first time in 19 Actually It Took Pl. at the end of 1998 and then in 1999. From January to May. My wife went through chemotherapy treatments for about is was is about five month period of time and it was a very difficult and challenging time in many different aspects for our whole family. My wife physically, financially, my children having to adjust to the reality that their mother could die.
I was living on the road traveling in order to bring income end and so I was away from the family. My wife was surrounded by people that loved her family was there her, her siblings and so she had good support base but nonetheless it was very, very difficult.
And of course whenever you go through a trial or whenever you go through a hardship you you you sort of naturally question God's care and God's love and after we had gone to the the entire ordeal of chemo. My wife lost all of her hair. It's really, do you know what I was gone and when I came back all of her hair was in my wife opened the front door and she stood there and she was as bald as a cue ball and she looked at me she says well how does it look to have to kiss Kelly Ceballos. That's the way my wife handles hard time. She always laughs so my wife always has a good sense of humor but still deep down in your heart there all kinds of fears and insecure, but what happened during those that five month period was really an tremendous blessing from God because my wife received countless emails and phone calls and letters from people all over the world who were expressing to my wife that they were praying for her and that they loved her in January. My wife came to me said we need to open up a bank account I said for what and with what she said while you're gone. We can't pay bills, and in I have to wait for you to get back in so as it will look I'll open up an account, but we don't have much money and she said okay will will just do that. So I opened an account, put a little money in it for her to pay the bills that come along and from that point forward from from January all the way all the way to make my my wife never received one more dime for me because God through his mercy without ever telling people our needs.
My wife received. I think of over that period of time somewhere around $10,000 from people that just sent her money so that it may when I pick my wife up after we had gone through the entire semester were getting ready to travel again. My wife had so much money I had to borrow money from her and I remember as we were traveling back across the Midwest. I said to my wife as his sweetheart what is it that God has taught you and she said Steve I have always known God loves me because the Bible tells me so she said, but it is through getting cancer that I really realize God loves me because God has shown me his manifold love through his people.
I think that's what John is telling us here God's love is demonstrated through Christians, folks. If we don't love each other than what's missing. When God prompts you to show kindness and love and care. How do you respond if believers do not manifest this kind of mutual love for one another than God's love does not reach its goal.
It's not being perfected and so this is why think John is so urgent as he speaks to these believers as he challenges them.
That leads me to the third and last question and that is how is this love perfected. If we go back in verse 11 notices his beloved of God so loved us, then we all also to love one another. The word all is an obligation based on a moral or a legal constraint. You could say in this way, it is love with a conscience. We should all have a conscience to love one another, we should be convicted if I could say this way if we don't if God loved us when he sent his son to die on the cross. Should that love not constrain us. Should we not all also to love one another and I want you to consider this command to love one another in light of what was going known in John's day I mentioned earlier there were false teachers and one of the rising problems among believers is that they were retreating from the world in order to experience God in a deeper more mystical way. I think it's easy and and were all kind of naturally bent this way that we think of Christianity as one long God and I time. By the way, you need to have time with God and you need to read the word and is nothing wrong with taking retreats are going up in the mountains for a couple days. It getting away and praying and seeking God. That's all part of the Christian life, but meeting God on the mountaintop and never coming down to a world filled with trials and temptations is not God's will for you.
Remember when Peter desired to stay on the Mount of Transfiguration because he wanted to enjoy the glory of God. What did Jesus have him do the next day he led Peter back into the world in order to love people and to deliver people from the evil effects of sin. The focus of the Christian life is not primarily centered on spiritual experiences that are personal, but they are only learning to practically love one another. The Martyn Lloyd Jones said Christianity is not a truth that is to be contemplated, but a life that must be lived out.
We don't see God withdrawing from the world but entering into the world by faith and loving those that are his John is making it clear that the pinnacle of spirituality is not mysticism but rather Christians mutually loving one another and folks, the result of this is a powerful witness to the world. John 1335 by this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
Think about that we can do all the verbal witnessing.
We want but actions often speak louder than words. If you are not loving one another than God is not being seen. And I think is right here that we face. One of our greatest challenges.
How easy it would be to withdraw into a spiritual world that does not involve living in relationship with other people, you know, it's really easy to love.
Students, when you don't have to be with them and we have even extreme movements in our own day. I've been involved in this along a long time and I've seen all kinds of things happen where we go. For example, to a homeschool movement which I'm for my children were homeschooled, but we do it to protect our children from the evils of the world and we go from a homeschool movement to now a home church movement because we want to protect our children from imperfect people, and where China whacked out as if somehow protecting your children from other children that are not good influences and understand the importance of that. Don't get me wrong, but we have a tendency for think working to take about the church out of the youth group were going to isolate and separate our children so they won't be influenced by negative influence. Forgetting the fact that the real problem of the child is not what's on the outside as with only inside because I'm adjacent to your child as wicked as the day is long and everyone of us are wicked in our hearts.
Apart from the grace of God, and often times we think that a life of seclusion and isolation will make us free from sin. That's not the way God that's not what God is called us to do. You don't develop holiness by separating from people you develop holiness by separating from sin and loving people because God's chief commandment is to love people and loving people always kills sin. Three times Jesus asked Peter, Simon son of Jonah, do you love me, he said yes Lord you know that I love you he said unto him, feed my sheep.
It seems that for Peter. It was more difficult to love people that it was to worship Christ and also seems that Peter learned this lesson because in first Peter 122 P6 saying you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit onto unfeigned love of the brethren see that you love one another with a pure heart fervently love is the only way to prove it. Love can only be perfected through relationship. This is our daily struggle. It's the natural self-love that is opposite from God's love the Martyn Lloyd Jones is supplied us with a very helpful understanding of the manifestations of self love because these are the things that arise in our heart all the time like I'll go just through the list self-centeredness looking at yourself watching yourself always regarding yourself. Self-assertion pushing and asserting yourself to get your own way.
When I desire things I want to have the nail by wailing to say this, I have no problem at all with you riding me in giving me suggestions of things that need to change about your university because believe me, things need to change here, but I also sometimes can smell self assertiveness and you know what it stinks. It reminds me of my roommates socks in college. They were the smelliest most rotten things that ever smell so you're being self assertive will smell that's not God's way self conceit. A readiness to defend yourself in the condemn others were really good at that self-indulgence being glutted with my own wants self pleasing being happy and pleasing myself is my goal, self-seeking, always looking out and thinking of myself, self pity, feeling sorry for myself and having a party and inviting my best friend pity to come, being self sensitive how touchy how EE easily wounded and offended you are. I bet lots of people say look, I hope I don't offend just adored us a world good self defensiveness always being on the defensive self-sufficiency depending on yourself, especially in a lack of prayer I can make it to the day without God.
Self-consciousness always thinking that people are watching me or thinking about your your your your thought and advise looking at you. Can I give you some advice nobody's looking at you know most people really care about you.
You know when you're 20 your word whatever bi thinks about you when you're 40, you don't care what anybody thinks about and when you're 60, your eyes. Nobody was think about you in the first place. So get over it. Self-righteousness trusting my own goodness in my own lifestyle to find acceptance before God and his self glorying constantly looking for and expecting the recognition of others boasting and myself. All of these things are the things that hinder love and God's glory shines brightest when self is most denied. We are called to meditate on the love of God turn away from self-love and choose to love one another, sacrificially, and this is how God's love reaches its goal how it's perfected among us when we choose to love one another love in the end, always humble self and always lifts up one another. So I hope if you learn anything as a student here. I hope you learn to love each other college is not about you it's not about you. I hope you learn that get over it. College is about preparing your life to live your life for the service of others. Father, thank you for your word. Help us Lord to love you and to love one another. In Jesus name, amen. I'm Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University. Thank you for listening to The Daily Platform. Please come visit our beautiful campus in Greenville, South Carolina, and see how God is working in the lives of our students.
For more information about Bob Jones University, visit www.bgyou.edu or call 800-252-6363