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December 10, 2020 7:00 pm
BJU President Steve Pettit continues a discipleship series entitled, “Truth and Love” from 1 John 4:17-19
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 like to invite your attention this morning to first John chapter 4, first John chapter 4 as we are coming to the end of our study here which will be next week. Our final study. This is the message that I've been waiting for. Throughout the semester. Knowing the the importance and the power of the truth that I hopefully will be able to explain to you in a very, very clear manner.
What I'm going to share with you this morning is one of the most important truths that I've ever seen in the life of particularly what I would say, a young adult, ranging somewhere between 1819 up to about 25 years old and I hope that that God will use this in your heart and that you will take a careful time to really pay attention to the word of God this morning. First John chapter 4 verses 17 through 19. 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 and love. But perfect love casts without fear, because fear hath torment. He that Fira is not made perfect in love. We love him because he first loved us. I think one of the most amazing transformations that takes place at Bob Jones University are really on any college campus is the maturity that happens between an incoming freshman and a graduating senior. The change is remarkable. However, there is a far more remarkable change that takes place in the life of a new Christian when he grows her when she grows and matures in Christian love in first John chapter 4. John is been addressing the theme of truth and love. We now come to the point where John shows us the goal of the Christian life is very interesting that when you look at the New Testament authors, you discover that each rider presents the goal of the Christian life and the goal is the same, but the terms that the user different. For example, the apostle Paul says the goal of the Christian life is to be like Christ. Christ likeness to be conformed to his image. Shealy James tells us that the goal of the Christian life is to become a wise person. Peter tells us that God's goal for us is to be holy because God is holy and now we come to John and John brings us in these verses that we have read this morning to the point of the goal of the Christian life and what is that it is the goal of being perfect in love.
Perfect love is the goal of our life. That's what I want to talk to you about this morning the WordPerfect here config conveys the idea of maturity, like a child to grow grows up into a fully developed adult and John is showing us that the goal of the Christian life is to become a full grown spiritually mature adult, and how does that take place.
It takes place when our love is he says is perfected in the following verses. Verses 17 through 19. John directs our attention towards this goal of perfect love and he reveals that the believers love has reached a state of maturity.
When two things happen and the first thing is really the main point in the second thing is a secondary but still a very important point and what is the main point is this, that our love has reached the state of maturity when it allows you to look towards God's future day of judgment with con's. I'm to stand before God and I'm confident this second point of of of the believers love reaching the state of of maturity is when it delivers you from the cell enslaving fear in this present life. So one prepares me for the ultimate day of judgment.
The second is what helps me to overcome the natural enslaving fears of our own nature. We overcome fear, love, so let's look at those two points this morning. Point number one is this the perfect love allows you to look towards God's future day of judgment with confidence noticed chapter notice verse 17.
Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment, the New Testament reveals that all of us are going to be judged. Romans 216 in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. John is already challenge the book the believers to be ready for that judgment day. First John 228 and now, little children, abide in him that when he shall appear, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before him at his coming. The confidence that John describes is the bold assurance that will allow us to stand secure before God as his child without the fear of being eternally rejected.
I think we all understand the difficulty of feeling rejected. I think the greatest fear of all is if I were to be eternally rejected by God. So what is the basis for this confidence or this assurance. I mentioned it before and I'll say it again. My wife often tells the story of her own struggle with confidence that she's really saying in a happen, especially she was growing up through her teenage years and getting into her young adult years and really I believe that my wife was over able to overcome the fear of God's judgment, because her love was perfected or it matured, or it grew. What is the basis for this confidence.
It is perfect love. Look at verse 17. Herein is our love made perfect, so that or in order that we may have boldness in the day of judgment. Conversely, those who are living with fear about that day of judgment are actually experiencing not confidence but torment. Look at verse 18 it says perfect love casts out fear, because fear hath torment or torment here is only use one of the time in the New Testament in Matthew 25, 46, it says in these shall go away into everlasting punishment or everlasting torment not only what James is saying is this the present torment of fear about that future projects the ultimate torment of the unrighteous in hell and John's point is that to be torture that it is torturous to the human soul to contemplate the final torment of being eternally rejected by God, let's be honest, nobody here can live with the perpetual fear of dying and going to hell it's tormenting to us.
It's very difficult and John is saying that God does not want us to live that way he wants us to have confidence and he is saying that a believer who is fearful about that day has obviously not matured in their love. So how then is our love made perfect, we go back to verse 16 and notice what he says because here he explains it.
We have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love and he that dwell up in love developed in God and God in him. Herein that is based on what he said in verse 16 is our love made perfect, so he saying that perfect love or maturing in love comes to ways number one by knowing and believing God's love. You understand it in your acting on that, and secondly, you are living are your dwelling and that love. So let's just know those two ideas. First of all, the idea of knowing and believing God's love. What does this mean it means a number of things. It means first of all that we understand that all love comes from God. God is the source of it. Love is of God. First John 47.
It also means that we understand that God has revealed that love always demonstrated that love. And where is that demonstration that demonstration is in one great act and that is, he sent his son to die on a cross for us. First John 49 in this was manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent his only begotten son into the world.
If you ever wondered that God loves you.
You have to simply look at Jesus for Jesus is the visible expression of the eternal love of God. But not only is God revealed it and that love is from God, but God is actually given us his love Romans chapter 5 it says God's love dwells in us, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us look if you have any desire to please God. If you have any desire to know his word. If you have any desire to be like Jesus Christ, where does that come from that desire has been put into your heart because God poured his love for him in your own heart you have God's love inside of you understand this, you begin to realize this and let me also say it is knowing that all true love towards God is simply a response of God's initial love for us look average. Verse 19 we love him because week because he first loved us.
Nobody here ever needs to fear that our love for God is going to be rejected because our love is simply a response to his love. We if we love God, then it is already a proof that he is already loved us, you would never love God.
If God didn't love you. God is the calls of all things. He's the first calls so if I have any love for Christ that it is an absolute proof that Christ is already shown his love for me and I need to understand this. I need to grow in this my growth is not just straight up is sort of a swelling. A growing out for the case of my wife. That was what God did for her. She grew up and understood that bit God really did love her and that he and that any time that she responds to him in love is an expression of his love for her first but in secondly, not only do we understand this and believe this, but we are to dwell in God's love and got the idea of dwelling means abiding or living in that love, and this abiding love does number things. It first of all drives out the fear of eternal rejection. There is no fear in love because perfect love casts out fear God is not given us the spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound meant mine.
So God drives out this fear of the eternal rejection in our heart so that we can live daily with this confidence that we know that we are his. Let me also say that this abiding love not only drives out fear. This abiding love actually completes God's purpose. What is God's purpose for our life.
Ultimately, it is that we love him and the that we love others and writer name CH God explained that this way that I thought was pretty interesting he said and I quote the energy of love discharges itself along the lines which form a triangle whose points on the triangle are God yourself and your neighbor when anyone leg of the triangle is missing. Love remains incomplete in immature is it simply like this.
Here's God hears you hears your neighbor, God loves you. You love God. God loves your neighbor, your neighbor loves God you love your neighbor, your neighbor loves you, and it fits into a perfect triangle and when those triangular parts are right that it means that we are completing God's purposes, and as we mature our love begins to reflect the same love that Jesus shared with his father. Notice what he says in verse 17, because as he is so are we in this world.
Our love has reached its goal. When we have lived in love.
Just like Christ loves his own father and the result is that we have a solid confidence that we are the Lord's, and we are living without the fear of his rejection in the Judgment Day. So here's John's goal for us that we live with this confident assurance that we are his children and we live this way because we understand and comprehend and have grown in God's love for us that leads me to my second point. And that is this is more of a secondary point that we find in these verses, but nonetheless it is extremely important and it is this that perfect love delivers you from the presence from present self enslaving me to stop. Here's a word about this for almost 20 years we had through our ministry 57 young people who traveled with us between the ages of 22 and 30. Out of those 5742 of them were graduates of Bob Jones University so I would like to say that I am somewhat of a semi-expert and Bob Jones University graduates II know what they're like. I know how they think and I've learned not just be do you grasp what I've learned with Christians, especially young people, somewhere between 22 and 25 years old that one of the most important one of the biggest struggles there ever going to face in their life are overcoming some of the inherent fears of their heart that they don't even realize that are there and I believe that these verses are teaching us this beautiful truth of how that that fear is overcome by love Linda verse 18, there is no fear in love but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has torment. He that fear that is not made perfect in love. Do you know that the opposite of love is fear. We often think the opposite of love is hate you hate somebody you don't love but actually that's not true because love and hate can dwell together.
For example, if you love somebody, you're going to hate anything that threatens that person you love so somebody comes in my house to attack my why I'm not to show love to it. Okay to smash his face. I hate somebody who threaten somebody I love so love and hate can dwell together. That's what the word sealed means when you're zealous for something your for something in against something.
But the Bible teaches us here that fear cannot dwell in this in the presence of love. The presence of one means the absence of the other. Perfect love casts out fear. When one enters the room.
The other leaves the room. Why is that, because fear and love our mutual opposite fear is the emotion that lives with the anticipation of rejection, if you've ever taken a test in your freight what were you afraid of if you know you're going to make it a you wouldn't be afraid. So what your freight up your freight up of some kind of rejection some kind of lower grade.
Love is the emotion that lives with the confidence of acceptance. Fear is always focused on yourself.
Love is always focused on others when a person is fearful they can't do anything else but think about themselves. This is why loving and caring for others is virtually impossible. If you live with fear as love increases then fear it decreases. So how do we grow in a love that overcomes fear two things. Number one, we must begin to see or to recognize the way fear motivates what you think with me a moment.
The three most powerful negative emotions in the human heart. Are these lots. Anger and fear out of those three negative emotions. The one that is mentioned more than any other in the Bible is the emotion of fear. Fear is a powerful fear is paralyzing fear can become very manipulative and controlling most of you have developed actions in reactions based on your fears that are so much a part of your life. You don't even know that there there they are all thin, blind spots, hidden spots, for example, when I was growing up, I developed a fear of failure. I I hate to fail. I hate to lose a win-win. And so therefore my natural tendency when I think I'm being threatened about losing is that I'm not going to lose him to become demanding I said people that work. I work with people when I was in the beginning of my ministry and the cook would come to me, they would say Steve you are so demanding I said, if you only knew what I was really thinking because I actually feel like I'm holding back, but that demanding controlling driving spirit that I had was really rooted in my fear of failure in the problem is that that affects the people that are around me. I've learned that when you what drives you in your fears are the very thing that causes other people to react. For example, probably some of you have and understandably so.
A mother who is always fearful that you're going to do something wrong. Maybe have a mother like that. Okay so what is she do she tells you over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over, and sometimes it drives you crazy and you think mom I guided you start the sentence I can finish it and you know what I've had conversations with my own wife and is it sweetheart are you being driven by fear in your statements are you being driven by love, because fear is very, very powerful and we have to start recognizing the fact that our own fears motivate us to look for love and security and all the wrong places. Simply defined insecurity is putting your trust in something or in someone that can be taken away.
How often we look to our trust in certain things for sense of acceptance and security and identity things like my abilities, my accomplishments, my appearance, my approval of others my acceptance or rejection of another person in all of these things often become what is used to drive our fears and here's a problem we trust in these things, they become very controlling. They are often the causes of wrong actions or bad habits or damaging emotions or failed relationships or moral compromises or personal idols of the heart. All of these things have a tendency that I look to for security and acceptance and they become very powerful in my life and the problem is that none of these things can provide real security why because they're temporal. They can be taken away. When we look to these things we find ourselves in a vicious cycle of insecurity and fear, for we look to these things that are temporal, but they can't really satisfy you, and there's an emptiness that comes in often a guild, especially if you do something that is wrong and then you feel more insecure you find yourself in this vicious cycle of insecurity, always looking to something or somebody to give to you what you're looking for in your own heart when I began my ministry as a youth pastor took me about two years to see it, but I found myself wanting the teenagers to like me about a way that is a that is a that's a vein approach to life, wanting teenagers to like and God really convicted me of my attitude and some the actions that were being manifested in my own insecurity of wanting them to like me and I asked God I begged God to forgive me and I went made a public announcement to my youth group I said look I want to acknowledge to all of you I've been wrong in this. I have salt for you to like me and I decided my goal in life is not for meat, not for you to like me.
My goal in life is for me to love you if you don't like me. Hey, I'm all right. It's all good. I got enough time because I I'm already loved by God and that love is sufficient enough for all things. But I am a bonus.
My wife loves me. My kids love me. My mama loves me and if you don't love me, I'm all right. I'm good but you know what I would always love you because God's love is sufficient enough for my own heart getting to the point where you see these insecurities is not easy. Often times we are brought to the end of ourselves wife because these things are idols in our life. We have to come to a point of brokenness.
Sometimes we have to go through painful experiences, failures, disappointments, rejection difficulties these things expose the hidden desires our heart for security and love and acceptance in all the wrong places. Sometimes we have to be disappointed before he turned to the Lord God often takes these things away because these are the things I'm looking to for security and these are idols that have to be torn down. So the first thing in my own experience of life is that we have to begin to see the way fear motivates us. It's a is an unbelievable revelation in the number two and finally, we must begin to rely upon God's love is being totally sufficient for all my heart's need the answer for all insecurity and fear is God's love. God's love is permanent. God's love is unchanging God's love is eternal God's love is maximum security and when I go through these difficult experiences where God is breaking me over my idols is not because God is willing to hurt me, but God is going to come back and find his sufficiency in his love.
True brokenness always leads to an exercise of faith. I take God at his word.
God loves me. I'm accepted in the beloved. I am his son. My position in Christ is more than enough, and faith says yes to love and faith says no to fear and is not always easy walk because it is often an emotional battle because when you decide to trust God's love is sufficient enough and has nothing to do with your feet your feelings of being controlled by your insecurities.
You say no to your fear and insecurity and you say yes to God's love. God's love is more than enough for me and God will break you over those idols so that you find in him. His love is sufficient. And here's what happens in the end, when you do this, then God frees you from the slavery and the bondage of your own fears in your own insecurities and he actually set you free, where you can learn to love and to serve other people. It is a wonderful experience in this truth. I hope that you will take and think about how to think about this because I just can't give you like 123. You know it's like easy and you get it because these are things that are deep in your own heart.
You have to see your own fears your own insecurities and the answer to that fear and insecurity is God's love and when you get God's love God, to set you free to put you on a pathway to be able to not use people, but to be able to serve people and love people. That's perfect love. Father, we thank you that your love for us is perfect.
Christ love for us is perfect and God help us to mature and grow in perfect love, so that we would be more like you.
In Jesus name, amen. You been listening to The Daily Platform. I'm Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University and I invite you to join us at our beautiful campus in Greenville, South Carolina to see how you can be prepared academically and spiritually to serve the Lord through one of our more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs.
For more information about Bob Jones University, visit www.btu.edu or call 800-252-6363