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December 11, 2020 7:00 pm
BJU President Steve Pettit concludes a discipleship series entitled “Truth and Love” from 1 John 4:19-21
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. The school was founded in 1927 by the evangelist Dr. Bob Jones Senior's intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything, so he established daily chapel services today. That tradition continues with fervent preaching from the University travel platform today on The Daily Platform. Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University is continuing a study series entitled truth and love which is a study of the book of first John, let's now listen to today's message which is the last of the series from first John four verses 19 through 21, entitled true love reading verse 19 where the apostle John writes, we love him because he first loved us.
If a man say I love God, and hated his brother, he is a liar, for he that hate the for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen in this commandment have we from him that he who loveth God love his brother also. As we began this semester.
I explained that John's writing style is quite different. For example, than the apostle Paul's and I think maybe Paul's reading is easier for a lot of it because his thinking is more Greek. It's more linear, like a straight line. Perhaps like driving from Greenville to Columbia and you arrive at your destination.
That's why Paul writes he follows a form of lot logic. He asks questions. He answers questions and inevitably, you get to your point. It's almost like there's a conclusion to it. So when you read Paul's letters, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Romans, for second Corinthians is very much like that. But when you come to John's writing style is very different. It's very circular. It's almost like you don't fully arrive at the destination you just get a better understanding. It's a little bit like driving from here up into the smoky mountains and coming back and you go for full circle and when you arrive back you have a bigger picture.
Maybe a better understanding of the Smokies, but you don't really fulfill IQ fully grasped it will this semester as we work through John's theme. The focus is been on truth in love. I mean how can we totally grasp truth and how can we totally grasp love, but hopefully we gained a bigger and a better picture of the importance of both and hopefully we have a better understanding of the importance of the balance of both of the both truth and love. Maybe we can sum it up this way with two statements number one, you can't have love without truth and you can't have truth without love.
You need both of them. Maybe we can say this way. Truth without love leads to Pharisaism but love without truth leads to liberalism. So when our Christian life in our Christian experience were constantly working to have a balance above and we saw all this semester what John's ultimate desire is for believers and we covered this in a number of messages and that is that John wants us to reach a state of perfection or state of maturity to arrive at a particular point and what is that well. He calls it perfect love. And as we conclude this morning I like to sort of do a wrap up of the whole semester with simply asking the question, how is it that we get to perfect love and obviously is not like you get to the destination. It's over with its coming to a point of maturity and that point of maturity comes as we are knowing growing and we are showing God's love. That's really my message this morning and there's are three points. So how is it that we become perfect or mature in love and the first is by coming to know our incomes by knowing God's love and really that's what so much of this passage is all about beginning in verse seven all the way down to verse 21 he just repeats the word love, up to 30 times. But there some important things that we need to know some things that are foundational, number one, we know that we needed need to know that that love is God's nature.
God is love.
Notice verse seven beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God in everyone that loveth is born of God, and know with God. He that loveth not know if not God, for God is love is who he is. It's his nature, and since love is finding its source in God. Love is of God.
Therefore, this love is what we could call a holy love. You know, some may argue what is God's nature's God holy or is God loving and the answer is yes, God's holiness is filled with loving God's love is filled with his holiness. We speak of holy it's the it's the sense of being different, special, unique, and pure, and the holiness of God's love means that his love is a one-of-a-kind love. It's not like human or selfish love.
It's a sure love it's an unselfish love. It's a divine love. So first of all, we know that love is God's nature. Secondly, we know that love is always understood in light of the gospel that is to understand God's love. We have to see it through the lens of the cross that God sent his special one-of-a-kind son into the world.
Look at verse nine in this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten son into the world that we might live through him here in his love, not that we love God but that he loved us and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins, God sent his son into the world and he sent his son into the world on a mission and that is that he becomes the sacrifice. He's the one that removes the wrath of God and he removes the remembrance of sin in our lives and love cannot be really comprehended unless we see it through the sacrifice. This past weekend we celebrated both the crucifixion and the resurrection, and in a way this is how we ought to live. Someone said in this way, we ought to live as if Jesus died yesterday. And Jesus rose today and Jesus is coming again tomorrow. I would not not be also. He died for our sins. Yesterday and today he rose from the dead, and tomorrow he's coming again, how would that change the way that we live and when we think of law we understand it through the nature of God in light of the cross and the number three we come to know God's love by knowing that love for God is caused by God's love dwelling in us. In other words, if we love God. If we have that in our heart, then it's not the means by which God chooses to love us. We don't choose to love God and then God chooses to love us is the opposite.
God's love is the first calls of all things. If I have any love for God in my heart it's already because God has chosen to love me know.
Verse 16 and we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love and he that wealth and love dwell within God and God in him. God is poured his love into our hearts to the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. The very fact that I want to pray of the very fact that I want to saying in the very fact that I want to learn God's word that I desire to love Christians that I desire to have a right relationship with believers that I go to God's house on Sunday morning and going to God's house is not boring going God's house is a blessing in all of this working within my heart that creates within me the desire to love God is because God put that in me, we love him because he first loved us and I never have to worry about God we quieting our love. If I come to love God. It is because he is already come to love me and these are things we have to understand, and fourthly and finally, that is that we come to know God's love by knowing that God's goal is reached when we love one another. One is God's goal. It is that we love one another. Notice verse 11 beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man it's seen God at any time.
If we love one another, God dwell within us in his love is perfected in us that that statement is love them is perfected in us means that his love has reached its purpose.
Think of it this way when Jesus came into the world. People came to know God, because they saw Jesus. Jesus is gone. So how can people see God in this world. People see God in this world through believers who love one another. Now II can say all that but actually when you see it happening is pretty also first time I really experience watching believers love each other was my junior year of high school I was unsaved and some of my friends had been recently converted through a ministry that come into our public school, they gonna retreat the gospel was preached. Many of them were converted and they came back to school and they began to spread the gospel is kind of like a wildfire going through our public school in one of the things that I noticed is that these guys most of them I'd grown up with good been my friends ever since elementary school called each other. This is public high school. They actually called each other brother and I remember that. And I remembered the unique and special loving affection they had for each other and I saw all that and I knew that I had not experienced that.
And there was a drawing attraction to that there was something that that's what my heart wanted when we began to love one another. We have reached the goal that God is set for us. When people would people can see us loving one another than God's fulfilling his purpose in this world that his love has been perfected is reached its goal.
So how is it that we are made mature by understanding these things.
We understand the nature of God and his love. So we know God's love. But then, secondly, not only do we know God's love.
But we have to grow in God's love and that growing in God's love is transforming, it actually makes us different people, and it happens as love comes in. It drives controlling and dominating fear now.
We saw that in verse 19. Let's notice that Karen is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment, because it is he is sore. We in this world there is no fear in love but perfect love casts out fear, because fear hath torment.
He that fear of is not paid made perfect in love and I mentioned this last week that we we know that were say we have a confidence and therefore our love is being matured, but then I talked about the fact of God driving out fear and I like to kind of come back to that and sort of reemphasize it because it's something you have to think a lot about the Bible says mature love drives fear around so as we grow in love we diminish in fear.
So what we mean by fear will buy nap definition. Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous likely to cause pain or threat.
So somebody tried to break in your house and you got afraid will. That's a normal natural fear. If you just took a test and didn't do very well and you are afraid you might not pass the test.
That's a natural that's a natural fear within theirs also anxieties is another form of fear, and that is an anxiety is concerning the outcome of something or the safety of something in the well-being of someone but you're not really sure what's going to happen. We have a tendency to create these things in our mind. Someone said fear is false evidence appearing reality someone is said that a pessimist is somebody you daydreams of a nightmare. Perhaps you've experienced that. And so we have a tendency to live with these insecurities in our life, or would putting our trust in something or someone that can be taken away and what happens when we are fearful when you are afraid you have immediate reactions to it.
And maybe your reaction is of such a nature that you don't even recognize it because you been doing it so long it becomes a habit in your life becomes a part of who you are, but there are basically two kinds of reactions to fear their defensive reactions. The first one is either we fight we fight against the fear or we flee. We run from the fear, fight or flight. So consider the idea of fighting for example, if you become a fearful person, you can become somebody who's easily angry, you attack you become controlling and manipulative. Perhaps you become stubborn or hardhearted or demanding my natural way of responding to fear is if I'm afraid we're gonna fail to become demanding I want to drive it were to make it happen is going to happen this were not to lose win-win.
Sometimes people who are fearful have a tendency to react and hurt other people. In some cases they actually hurt themselves. But what about the idea of of fleeing or flight.
These are people when they become fearful. They have a tendency to withdraw freeze up high get paralyzed live with anxieties and in some cases, panic attacks, or they get to a place where they actually don't care, and in either case, there are these responses that we have to fear and what is the result of this, the result is all that we develop a learned behavior as a way to cope. We develop wrong responses and bad habits. I think personally that these fears have been developed so much throughout our life that many times they become like a blind spot other people see them but we definitely don't.
But these fears are enslaving what is what is in enslaving fear is when your mind, your emotions and your will or all one that is you think it you feel it and you respond and act immediately so that there's almost like no gap between thinking, feeling and action is another word we use for that. That's called a stronghold. There's a stronghold of fear where it really becomes paralyzing and controlling in your life.
So much so it's almost like you're gripped in it.
You don't even realize it. And often times we don't see it until something happens may be a disappointment or something this very painful or difficult, and it brings it to the surface would begin to ask the question why why do I respond this way, why do I react this way often times other people have to come and point them out to you.
We had a girl the travel and our team a number of years ago she graduate from Bob Jones are affected.
She got her a Masters degree sheet. She was a flute player and she was really really good and she she had a very beautiful tone in her style of playing, but she made like constant mistakes. I mean, just like one after another, and sometimes she would blame the flute you knows the flutes problem. I need a better flute and I began to watch your responses in a reactions and I thought something's going on in her life and I don't think it's the flu and I know it's not her ability. I think it's deeper than that. And after the practice we were walking out of the parking lot of the church and I remember exactly the church. I remember exactly where we were and was one of these life-changing moments in the parking lot. Her name is Danielle acid. Danielle I said you are making a ton of mistakes on your flute, and she, like stared at me like she was afraid that perhaps she was going get in trouble or I was gonna fire her chewer out or something that so I asked her questions to Daniela mansions question are you afraid of me. She went to Danielle I said you don't need to be afraid of me.
Danielle I love you. I think God for you. You are here on this team by divine appointment, God brought you here as a Danielle I actually need you God is using you to do things in my life.
I could learn any other way. I am so thankful for you I believe you have incredible abilities and we went through a process of conversation and she every time I see her. To this day. We laugh about it. We talk about the parking lot meeting in Florida. This particular church because all of a sudden she changed her thinking from fear to love knowing that I didn't care about her and I did did actually love her, and she actually learn to relax and then she began to play the rest the year and a very beautiful manner. How do you overcome fear. The answer is always love. How do you change we have to go back to our fearful responses and recognize that we are actually letting those control us. We have to we have to. We start to grow when we go back to what we know what we know about God the things that Marty said that God is love that God loves us. He's demonstrated it in his son.
He split his love with inside of our hearts.
We break these habits by going back to God's love in changing the way we think. Now this is not easy because you have to say no to the way you feel you can allow those controlling faults that dictate your emotions you got decide not to think that the renovation of your mind, we are delivered from our enslaving fears by God's love and we have to demolish and dismantle the stronghold of fear.
One thought at a time is like the tearing down of the administration building. May we didn't drop you know, the mother of all bombs on that to blow it all up is all over. We dismantled it one piece at a time and in many ways, overcoming your fear and growing in God's love is the dismantling of the way you think.
One thought at a time. It's almost like you begin to see it in you start to confess it and you begin to think, I can't think that way and you begin to transfer your thoughts back to God's love in all the promises that he speaks in God's word. So how is it that we are perfected in love.
Number one, we have to know God's love number two we have to grow in God's love and if finally we have to show God's love and that's where we come to our final verses this morning.
Verses 20 and 21 innocence of a man say I love God, and he hates his brother, he's a liar. For he that loveth not his brother whom he had me have seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen, let me put it this way is easy to say I love God and hate your brother because you can't see God, but you can see your brother but the real way that you really grow in God's love is you have to show your love to what you can see and that is you have to show your love to your brother and I can't think of any greater place to learn how to love that having to live in a dormitory with people you don't want to live with really one of the best training grounds for learning to love is to live in a dormitory and a rub shoulders with people all day long poor people that are not like you they don't look like you they don't think like you, they reason a little bit differently from you and they do things that are very very irritating when I traveled in the summer of 1979 with the ministry called neighborhood Bible time I had a teammate the travel with something in his his name was Steve, my name is Steve so I was Mr. Steve he was Mr. Stephen he was really a trophy of God's grace, God miraculously saving but he did things that just irritated the fire Academy. One of them was he always cracked his knuckles and he didn't do it like this you know you didn't do it that way peaches he had arthritis in his hands, and that you actually relieve the pain and he just would go you know this all day long is like, and after a while it drives you nuts and and I began to find myself getting irritated and upset with him and I found that even in those little things.
Those little irritants. That's really where you learn to love and understand his physical problem began to have more comprehension of where he was began to seem in a different light. God began to help me to love him and not be irritated by those things. That's a great training ground for marriage because when you get married there all kinds of things that irritate you about one another and yet what is what is how I grow in love. I have to show it if I can't love my brother than to say I love God, and not love my brother means on the biggest hypocrite and what he saying here is, is for us to continue as Christians to be freed from my fear be enveloped in God's love for us and then began to live that out by serving others and what you find. Over time is at your service for God is not for what people think or what kind of promotion you could get or what kind of level you can go to what you find that your greatest joy is actually the joy of serving the joy of loving and serving other people and when you have that spirit.
It transforms the atmosphere that you're living in, so you're no longer performance-based but your relationship based. And that relationship is what brought you to one another one of my greatest prayers for Bob Jones University is that will experience that atmosphere that we will truly love each other and will be a drawing magnetic power that comes as we love one another. May God help us to know and grow and show his love. Father, thank you for your word and thank you for what we learned this semester. In Jesus name, amen. You been listening to a sermon from the book of first John by Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University. If you would like to order the study booklet titled truth in love written for the series, visit our firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University. Thank you for listening to the daily, the Bob Jones University school for continuing online and professional education offers convenient and affordable online programs. Whether you're seeking to expand your skills pursue a passion or develop a ministry on your own time qualified and engaged instructors will help you reach your goals. For more information, visit scope.BJ you.edu or call 888-253-9833.
This concludes our series and first John, thanks again for listening and join us again next week is will hear more chapel messages from the Bob Jones University Chapel platform