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1239. Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
April 28, 2022 7:00 pm

1239. Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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April 28, 2022 7:00 pm

BJU President Steve Pettit continues a discipleship series entitled, “Truth and Love” from 1 John 4:17-19.

The post 1239. Perfect Love Casts Out Fear appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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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, Sr. His 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 biblical preaching from the University Chapel 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 1 John.

There's a study booklet available that Dr. Pettit has written for this series. If you would like to follow along, you can order a printed copy from the website Let's now listen to today's message from 1 John 4, 17 through 19, entitled Perfect Love Casts Out Fear. I'd like to invite your attention this morning to 1 John chapter 4. 1 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 importance and the power of the truth that I hopefully will be able to explain to you in a very, very clear manner. And 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 18, 19 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.

1 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 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. I think one of the most amazing transformations that takes place at Bob Jones University or 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 or when she grows and matures in Christian love. In 1 John chapter 4, John has been addressing the theme of truth and love. We now come to the point where John shows us the goal of the Christian life, and it's very interesting that when you look at the New Testament authors, you discover that each writer presents the goal of the Christian life, and the goal is the same, but the terms that they use are different. For example, the Apostle Paul says the goal of the Christian life is to be like Christ, Christ's likeness, to be conformed to His image. Pete, excuse me, 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, and that's what I want to talk to you about this morning. The word perfect here conveys the idea of maturity, like a child who 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, as he says, is perfected. And in the following verses, verses 17 through 19, John directs our attention towards this goal of perfect love, and he reveals that the believer's love has reached a state of maturity when two things happen. And the first thing is really the main point, and the second thing is a secondary but still a very important point.

And what is the main point? It 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 confidence. I'm going to stand before God and I'm confident. The second point of the believer's love reaching the state of maturity is when it delivers you from the self-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 through love.

So let's look at those two points this morning. Point number one is this, that perfect love allows you to look towards God's future day of judgment with confidence. 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 2 16, in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

John has already challenged the believers to be ready for that judgment day. 1 John 2 28, 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, and 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, I'll say it again, my wife often tells the story of her own struggle with confidence that she's really saved. And it happened especially as 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 casteth out fear because fear hath torment. The word torment here is only used one other time in the New Testament. In Matthew 25 46 it says and these shall go away into everlasting punishment or everlasting torment. And I believe what James is saying is this that 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 tortured that it is torturous to the human soul to contemplate the final torment of being eternally rejected by God. I mean 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? And we go back to verse 16 and notice what he says because here he explains it. 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 that is based on what he said in verse 16 is our love made perfect. So he's saying that perfect love or maturing in love comes two ways. Number one, by knowing and believing God's love you understand it and you are acting on that and secondly you are living or you're dwelling in that love.

So let's just note 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, 1 John 4-7. It also means that we understand that God has revealed that love or he's 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. 1 John 4-9, in this was manifested the love of God towards us because that God sent his only begotten son into the world. If you ever wonder 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 has God revealed it and that love is from God, but God has actually given us his love. Romans chapter five, 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.

And you understand this, you begin to realize this. And then 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 at verse 19, we love him 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. If we love God, then it is already a proof that he has already loved us. You would never love God if God didn't love you. God is the cause of all things.

He's the first cause. So if I have any love for Christ, then it is an absolute proof that Christ has 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, it's sort of a swelling, a growing out. I think for the case of my wife, that was what God did for her. She grew up and understood that God really did love her and that anytime that she responds to him in love, it's an expression of his love for her first. But then secondly, not only do we understand this and believe this, but we are to dwell in God's love. And the idea of dwelling means abiding or living in that love. And this abiding love does a number of things. It first of all drives out the fear of eternal rejection. There is no fear in love because perfect love casteth out fear. God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. So God drives out this fear of eternal rejection in our heart so that we can live daily with this confidence that we know that we are his. But let me also say that this abiding love not only drives out fear, but this abiding love actually completes God's purpose. What is God's purpose for our life? Ultimately, it is that we love him and that we love others.

And a writer named C.H. Dodd explained it this way that I thought is pretty interesting. He said, and I'll quote, the energy of love discharges itself along lines which form a triangle whose points on the triangle are God, yourself, and your neighbor. When any one leg of the triangle is missing, love remains incomplete and immature.

It's simply like this. Here's God, here's you, here's 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, then 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. And 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. And 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 present, from present self-enslaving fear. Now, let me just stop here and say 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 57, 42 of them were graduates of Bob Jones University. So I would like to say that I am somewhat of a semi-expert in Bob Jones University graduates. I know what they're like.

I know how they think. And I've learned, not just BJU grads, but I've learned with Christians, especially young people somewhere between 22 and 25 years old, that one of the most important or one of the biggest struggles they're 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 fear is overcome by love.

Look at verse 18. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear because fear has torment. He that feareth 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. If 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 if somebody comes into my house to attack my wife, I'm not going to show love to him, okay?

I'm going to smash his face. I hate somebody who threatens somebody I love. So love and hate can dwell together. That's what the word zeal means.

When you're zealous for something, you're for something and against something. But the Bible teaches us here that fear cannot dwell 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 are mutual opposites. Fear is the emotion that lives with the anticipation of rejection. How many of you have ever taken a test and you were afraid? What were you afraid of? If you knew you were going to make an A, you wouldn't be afraid. So what are you afraid of?

You're afraid 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 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 us.

I want you to think with me a moment. The three most powerful negative emotions in the human heart are these, lust, 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 powerful. Fear is paralyzing. Fear can become very manipulative and controlling. Most of you have developed actions and reactions based on your fears that are so much a part of your life, you don't even know that they're there.

They are often blind spots, hidden spots. For example, when I was growing up, I developed a fear of failure. I hate to fail. I hate to lose.

I want to win. Therefore, my natural tendency when I think I'm being threatened about losing is that I'm not going to lose. I'm going to become demanding.

I used to have people that worked. I worked with people when I was in the beginning of my ministry and they could come to me and 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. And the problem is that that affects the people that are around me.

I've learned that what drives you and 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. How many of you have a mother like that? And so what does she do?

She tells you 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 got it. You start the sentence.

I can finish it. And do you know what? I've had conversations with my own wife and I said, sweetheart, are you being driven by fear in your statements or 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 in 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 or trust in certain things for a 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. And all of these things often become what is used to drive our fears.

And here's the problem. When 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. And 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 and often a guilt, especially if you do something that is wrong and then you feel more insecure and 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, it took me about two years to see it but I found myself wanting the teenagers to like me.

And by the way, that is a vain approach to life. Wanting teenagers to like you. And God really convicted me of my attitude and some of 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 and made a public announcement to my youth group and I said, look, I want to acknowledge to all of you, I have been wrong in this, I have sought for you to like me and I've decided my goal in life is not for me, 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 alright, it's all good.

I got it, I'm fine. Because I'm already loved by God and that love is sufficient enough for all things. But I have a bonus, my wife loves me. My kids love me. My mama loves me. And if you don't love me, I'm alright, I'm good.

But you know what, I'm going to 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. Oftentimes we are brought to the end of ourselves, why? 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 of our heart for security and love and acceptance in all the wrong places. Sometimes we have to be disappointed before we turn 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. And 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 an unbelievable revelation. And then number two and finally we must begin to rely upon God's love as being totally sufficient for all my heart's needs. 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, it's not because God is wanting to hurt me, but God is wanting me 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 it's not always easy.

Why? Because there's often an emotional battle because when you decide to trust God's love is sufficient enough, it has nothing to do with your feelings. Your feelings are 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 and your own insecurities and He actually sets you free where you can learn to love and to serve other people. It is a wonderful experience. And this truth I hope that you'll take and think about it. I want you to think about this.

Because I just can't give you like one, two, three, you know, it's like easy and you get it. Because these are things that are deep in your own heart where 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 has 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's 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've been listening to a sermon from the book of 1 John by Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University. If you would like to order the study booklet titled Truth and Love written for this series, visit our website at Thanks again for listening. Join us again tomorrow as we continue the study in 1 John on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-25 13:51:51 / 2023-04-25 14:01:28 / 10

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