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Love Versus Fear

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
February 23, 2020 6:00 pm

Love Versus Fear

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew

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Have your Bibles with you tonight. Turn with me if you would first John chapter 4 will be looking at verses 17 through 19.

By this is love perfected with us so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is, so also are we in this world there is no fear in love but perfect love casts out fear.

For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, I love God, and hates his brother is a liar.

He does not love his brother whom is seen cannot love God whom he is not seen spray heavenly father we come before your throne now to praise you and thank you for being our wonderful God, we thank you Lord for this passage of Scripture from first John, that is here to give us evidences of what makes a person a true Christian tonight Lord we are looking at that how love defeats fear, particularly the fear of hail helpless heavenly father that our faith might be so strong and use our trust might be so real that we would drive all the fear of hail out of our heart that your spirit would do that heavenly father we ask that you give us insight into this passage help us Lord, that we might understand exactly what you are saying that this these trees might be applied to our lives.

And Lord, that it might bring us deep and great joy. We love you tonight. Lord, thank you and praise you for your goodness and loved us, we assess prayer now in your holy and precious name. Amen. You may be seated in 2004 a movie came out, it was entitled, saved all the Christian magazines did up review on this movie and there were no favorable reviews.

All of them were very unfavorable.

It was a spoof on Christianity. It's a movie about a group of high school kids that are faced are forced to deal with huge problems in life. The huge issues in life things like homosexuality and abortion, and the whole gamut Christians are portrayed in this movie is Neanderthal idiots who use out of little mindless clichés that have nothing to do with the relevance of life. Christians are portrayed as hypocrites who are self-centered, passionless and intolerant and are too stupid to delve into the real problems of life.

What was Hollywood's purpose in this. The purpose is to plant seeds of bigotry and seeds of mistrust in those young Christians is aimed at high schoolers and the purpose is to take a young mind and to program it to be prejudiced against God and his word now this kind of thing is not new.

Some of you that a little older might remember back in 1960 is a movie that came out called Elmer Gantry. Burt Lancaster was the star of the movie and he played an evangelist who was nothing but a shyster.

He was a man who did fake miracles and got people to believe in him through those fake miracles. He had the ability to preach very dramatically and yet he was a womanizer in a closet drunkard, but he knew how to manipulate the congregation and how to get money out of them and he made himself rich doing that just a few years ago Steve Martin played another movie was very much like that call leap of faith. He too was an evangelist that was a shyster and he was doing a phony.

Miracles and staging miracles in and preaching very powerfully and in doing that he was able to manipulate money out of the congregations that he went to and he too got rich. Those movies were attacks but yet somehow that was different from what I saw that movie in 2004. They were attacks on the hypocrites Elmer Gantry and the leap of faith were they were attacks on the shysters were manipulating people and trying to get money out of them. I don't have a great problem with that because they were attacking hypocrisy and hypocrisy needs to be exposed as movies were not an attack on true Christianity just kind of an apparition. They were an attack on hypocrisy in enthralled and I don't see anything really bad about that.

That needs to be exposed.

But this movie entitled saved was different. It was an attack on our faith.

It was an attempt to entice young people to turn away from the Bible to turn away from truth to turn away from the true and living God is not just an attack on the hypocrite is an attack on the true Christian and his belief in scriptural truth. One of the Christian magazines that that I read it was Sharon that that they had done a survey.

And in that particular survey they they surveyed evangelical Christians, not Catholics and Mormons and Jehovah witnesses. But that distant and Presbyterians, Methodist Lutherans and Episcopalians at Church of God, Assembly of God, and I asked this question, do you have to be born again to go to heaven and 42% of the young evangelicals said no they say Jesus was wrong that you didn't have to be born again to go to heaven people submit you today that we are at war. We are absolutely in a spiritual war, and we better develop a wartime mentality, we are only one generation away from pure paganism. I have a friend who grew up in France's mom and dad were missionaries to France and he shared with me that the time when they were over there. There was less than 2% of the entire nation who had any kind of affiliation with the Church of Christ at all and he said these beautiful church buildings were there and they were using them for worship anymore. I used to be filled with Christian to atomic, praise God, hear the word of God in worship and and and that was not happening anymore. So these buildings had been sold.

Entrepreneurs who are using the church building for opera houses and places to show dramatic plays, but that's that's extremely sad said the nation of France is so blatantly atheistic today that if you're even to mention Christ. Then there's going to be sarcastic laughter is America headed in that direction. I think without a doubt, we are. The question is what should our response be to that, she would just cover over our heads and and with it was a big blanket and I and act like well there's nothing we can do about it anyway. Try to change thing is just an exercise in futility. We are way outnumbered by the secular community today and and so is there any is there any reason we should even try or should we understand that God is a calling on us as believers to be polite, that we would be the light of the world you know when, in places where there is no light. The light does the best work we are not outnumbered because God plus one is a majority, so it's not time to quit is not time to be a reclusive Christian. It is time to fight the good fight. It is time to let your light so shine that Mia may see your good works and glorify the father which is in heaven is not time to be a doom and gloom Christian that's not God's will in the Civil War battle of Gettysburg, Jeff Stewart was the commanding general of the us commanding general of the southern Calvary Jeff Sciortino anything about him was very brash, cavalier type of young man and Robert E Lee was depending on Stewart to do reconnaissance to go out and and bring back the reports to him of where the Union soldiers were and what they were up to welcome Jeff Stewart saw some opportunities for them to get in a few skirmishes some skirmishes that didn't mount a hill of beans and he got involved in them. And so we got back to Lee the day after the battle of Gettysburg started in Lee's army had found themselves in a terrible situation because Lee had no idea where the root Union soldiers were and what they were doing and so when when Jeff Stewart came into camp. Lee jumped on him with both feet and he said Stewart do you not realize that you are the eyes of this army at this army is blind without you and Stewart was embarrassed and he started to speak, and we said no, no, he said he a said there is no time for that and said he was so ashamed of himself that he reached down and had to his sheath and got his sword out and started to give it to Robert E Lee to resign and Lee looked at him and numbing fires coming out of his eyes and he said I told you there is no time for that. This is war. There is no time for complaining. There's no time for whining. There's no time for self pity. Get in the fight get in the fight yeah I think that's great, great wisdom and great advice for God's people in the day in which we live.

It's time for the church to get in the fight. Charles Spurgeon preached a sermon years ago on how to meet the evils of this age. He said the following, so far as I remember, every year has been an exceedingly critical. In so far as I can see in history almost every six months. Some fervent person or another has written about the present solemn prices there.

Persons who always believe in the imminent peril of the universe in general and of the Church of God in particular, in a sort of popularity is sure to be gained by always crying 101 prophets who will spiritually imitate Solomon Eagle who will about the streets of London in the time of the play naked with the pain of coals on his head, crying 101 are not to be faithful, though they are probably are thought to be faithful, though they are probably not. We are not of that order. We dare not shut our eyes to the evils that surround us, but we are able to see the divine power above us and to feel it with us working out his purposes of grace we say to each of you what the Lord said to Joshua, be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed for the Lord thy God is with you wherever you go, our trust is in the living God who will bring ultimate victory to his own calls and forgive me for that long introduction. But in light of what I just said first John becomes extremely important. Remember John is giving us a test to help us determine whether were true Christians are not, and that's what we're seeing in these in this passage that were looking at tonight so three points I want to share with you.

Number one is the reward of mature love. The reward of mature love or 17 by this is love perfected with us so that we may have confidence for the time of judgment, because as he is, so also are we in this world who were perfected in the Greek language doesn't mean without era. It means complete or mature.

If you're a true Christian, then you will be daily growing in Christ. Agape love. What is that mean it means that you will forgive people who've done you wrong, it means that you will go out of your way to help others and means that you will turn the other cheek.

It means that you will go the 2nd mile and other words your love will look like the love of Jesus in the last sentence of this verse blows my mind says, as he is so we are in this world.

That's an amazing statement the first time the word Christian is used in the Bible is in the book of acts chapter 11 verse 26 says that the Christians are the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. The word Christians means little Christ it was, it was meant to be a derogatory term when it was spoken by the Romans about the Christians over there whom Christ it was meant to put them down, but my goodness, what greater complement could you have said about you that you look like Jesus. John is telling us that we should be living as Jesus live and his life exuded agape love. What is the reward for mature agape love confidence in our salvation. That will give us boldness in the day of judgment. Masks on the averages meditate on what the day of judgment will be like what you what's can happen when you stand before God, you give an account for your life will he say to you, well done my good and faithful servant Internet onto the joy of the Lord, how, and if you've ever read the resolutions of Jonathan Edwards or not Edwards or not, but it's well worth reading. He would he would go over them at least twice a week all the way through to the end of his life, and you write it as it rose them as a young man relevant resolution seven says this resolved never to do anything which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life while she is that not be the resolution that every one of us have that I don't want to do anything that I wouldn't would not do in the last hour my life.

We should all have that resolved. Most people run from it. Many push those thoughts back in their mind just to the back of their minds they adamantly say I wanted to deal with that. What John is saying to us, deal with it. Don't the ostrich that that sticks his head down in the proverbial sand deal with that. He is saying Surinder to cry so that his love will will work its way through your life and administer to others and in the process. Bring great confidence into your heart, I will have the confidence of the Simon Peter, who came to the end of his life and said to the Roman soldiers who get ready to crucify when you crucify me, crucify me upside down from not worthy to be crucified like Christ or the apostle Paul who knew that in just a couple of days after writing his letter call second Timothy that he was going be decapitated. His head was to be severed from his body and what did he say from now ready to be offered in the time of my departure is at hand. Rough all the good fight of finished my course of The faith.

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge to give me at that day and not to me only, but in all them also who love his appearing. John is telling us that the spiritual fruit of walking in agape love produces boldness to stand before God.

It could be said this way a man is not really ready to live until he is ready to die. Martyn Lloyd Jones said. The men and women who are most happy to be in this world are those who are most happy about the next world. And boy that's truly agape love produces boldness. Why because agape love proves salvation. It proves that you really truly absolutely belong to Christ proves that Jesus is living and reining in your life like point to the divine answer for fear. Look at verse 18, there is no fear in love but perfect love casts out fear.

For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love was so horrible that fear. Some feel this good in it. We teach our children to fear hot stove or to fear the highway. We teach our teenagers to interfere sexually transmitted diseases and those fears are good fears because they help people to to set up boundaries in their license to keep them from from getting hurt and those are good things, but there many fears that are not healthy. In fact they can paralyze us or destroy us or keep us from doing what God would have us to do.

The Bible speaks often of the destructive fear of man and the Proverbs chapter 29 in verse 25. The Scripture says, the fear of man is a snare and the word snare is an interesting word means of a reading in the nose they still do this today and put a ring in the nose of of a pig and the reason for that is that pig gets bigger, they can control it and said that pig got a ring in his nose. The farmer can take a stick. That's got a hook on the end he can stick it through that ring in the pig's nose can take a pig anywhere he wants to get at pigs absolutely helpless and that's what the fear of man can do to us. Satan can use it to absolutely keep us in bondage. What is the fear of man can be peer pressure, it can be.

This great desire to have somebody else's approval or it can can be just fearing terribly in your heart that somebody might do you harm.

Remember in elementary school there was a a Boolean in our class. He was bigger and everybody else Maynard and everybody else is one particular little boy in her class, and if he would walk over to that little boy just walked near his desk, and will boy would start trembling if he would threaten that little boy that boy would wet his pants. He was so afraid that he lost control of his bladder as fear. I think of King Belshazzar and in the book of Daniel and Bill show Chaz or was that just a a a mealymouthed rotten blasphemous weasel any.

He decided to to get his dignitaries together had this big drunken party and so they were drinking out of the sacred vessels. The cups that have been stolen out of the Solomonic temple when they destroyed that temple back in Jerusalem, and now they were in babbling, and they were drinking out of the sacred cups of of Yahweh, and they were making fun and they were just making a mockery of the true and living God.

All of a sudden out of nowhere a hand appears start writing a message on the wall.

Many many TECO you Farson had no idea what that was.

So they brought in Daniel, so Daniel can you interpret that force. Daniel said oh yeah, and he points over at the King King Belshazzar and says this is what it means you've been white and the balances and found wanting. And this day you're going to die.

The description of of the King Belshazzar's reaction is almost comical.

All the color drains out of his face, his body starts to shake his knees began to knock together. That's fear people today have all types of fear, claustrophobia, the fear of getting closed in hydrophobia. The fear of water Agoura phobia. The fear be in an open place acrophobia. The fear of heights.

All these different fears are psychiatric hospitals are filled to the brim with people who have these fears that just almost drive them insane and sometimes do, but what is John heaven and in mind here for us. I think one of the greatest most glorious, most wonderful truth about coming into a covenant relationship with Christ is the removal of fear. How glorious that he is to realize there were 365 commands that we have in the Scripture, fear not, that's a different command for every day of the year were God's telling us we are his children. He is our father is saying don't fear don't fear what is John heaven mind here will have to study the text in the context, remember verse 17 he was talking about having confidence and boldness in the day of judgment. Verse 18 was written with that in mind. Look at verse 18. Again, there is no fear in agape love. But perfect love casts out fear. The word cast out little he makes to throw out the back door. I want you to picture this if you can for just a minute you're in your house.

All of a sudden the door opens and in walks a rabid dog a big dog and he's got rabies and he's growling and is barking his hair standing up on the back of his neck and is coming right toward you. You look at that dog are backed up in a corner. All you got is a broom in your hand, but let you know if you try to fight that dog you might win the fight but he's got a bike. You usually get rabies, you have to have shots you might get sick, you might die and there's just this great fear every time you move. He starts moving toward you and he grails all of a sudden the back door opens up an animal security guy walks in and he's got a tranquilizer gun and he pointed as a dog he hits the dog. The dog falls over unconscious and goes over he picks that dog up. He walked out of the back door. He throws the dog back in the back of his truck because he takes his syringe and he gives the dog a shot in the dog dies or said that he all of a sudden we were scared to death. Just moments before now.

There's perfect peace. And now that fear is gone you can breathe a sigh of relief. If Jesus Christ is the way the truth and the life and no man comes to the father but by him. Then the thought of the coming judgment should scare an unbeliever to death people. This life is fragile is like a little vapor. It's like a puff esteem is here and before you realize it is, it's gone.

There is reason to fear the unbeliever all the fear death, the unbeliever, all the fear going insane. The unbeliever, all the fear we could people, but for the Christian we don't have to fear anything but God. It was Jesus. He said fear not, that one who can destroy your body but fear only that one can destroy both body and soul, inhale. There is no fear in agape love. But perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment of the Greek word for torment his collapses and it means punishment with penalty.

That word is only use one other time in the Scripture. When Jesus is speaking of hail in Matthew chapter 26, 25 or 46 where it says this, Jesus described hail as eternal torment.

So what is the perfect love of Jesus do for you. It cast out the fear of hail.

That's what his perfect love does for us.

It cast out the fear of hail. Not just any figure, but specifically the fear of hail. It removes the possibility of punishment.

It puts the assurance in your heart. I will not go to hell when I die I will not suffer in eternal torment.

I will not be separated from my heavenly father that that is a fear breaker is another one of John's test. You fear hail.

The last phrase says, but he fears has not been made perfect in love. In other words, when you're truly born again that horrible plaguing torment of the thought of hail is gone that fears driven out of my mind and my heart by God's perfect love swimming stop right here and be neatly blunt people. If you're not sure about your salvation.

Would you like to know when you like to know that fear can be driven out of your heart thrown out the back door of your life and you never have to worry about hail ever again. Would you like to know that you know that you know that hell is not a possibility for you. Would you like to know that the rest of your life is good account for Christ sake. And when you die you will be with him forever.

What are you doing you come to Christ. You surrender to him you trust him implicitly and you embrace him by faith familiar sit near your thinking yourself I'm just not that knowledgeable outlook of Hitler gather sit beside me and not my goodness he's got a Bible and half the verses are are underlined and in the lady that sit beside me. She she sang the hand, and I should even use the handle she look at the words on the on the board back tears. She she just knew it by heart. And the preacher is quite the Scripture needs sound theology and I just don't do that. That's okay I can remember before I came to Christ. I thought the book of Job is a book of job I can never thinking that Bethlehem was a steel factory and in in Pennsylvania I is not what you know, it's who you know and then your knowledge will grow as you come to to know and love him.

Do you understand that there is no hope. Outside of Jesus Christ, you can't figure out regeneration you can understand how God takes a dead spirit and brings it to life, but you can respond in faith is a great verse in Revelation chapter 22 says that the Spirit and the bride say, come the gospel invitation comes from two sources, the spirit, which is God and the bride and the bride is the church. I like the way that the order of that invitation is for the spirit is first and then the bride's invitation becomes real and makes sense and gets to the heart like that text to our final point, which is agape love come from verse 19 we love because he first loved us. Got a King James version. I like it better in this particular verse says we love him because he first loved us and what is that saying is saying that God takes the initiative in the salvation process you're not here tonight by accident.

This is a divine appointment. And if you're not safe tonight you feel uneasiness down in your spirit you feel a pull or tug down in your heart then that's God's initiative. That's the spirit of God. The Scripture says that the spirit and the bride, which is the church so I come what that lets me know is that a preacher's invitation has no power in itself if if I give you an invitation and the Holy Spirit doesn't take it and energize it and drive it into the heart is just lightly taken a rubber ball and thought it up against a brick wall is can bounce right back but the Holy Spirit takes invitation of the gospel and opened your spiritual eyes and and doesn't work a conviction in your heart then you don't reject that gospel you absorbed it in first Corinthians chapter 2 verses 135 think is what Paul is talking about here, he said, and I when I came to you, brothers did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom brought decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified and I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling in my speech and my message was not implausible. Words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. Paul understood an important truth.

He did have the power to save anybody. He was just a FedEx man. He was just delivering the package but if God took that trembling message from his his human lips and drove it into the heart of a lost man, then there would be conviction there would be desire for God. And there would be a God imposed hunger Christ and if that's what's resonate in you tonight then surrender to him, trust him make this be the day that the fear of hail is gone forever from your life.

May he do that work in you and may this be the day that is not just Lord but as your Lord. Can you make it happen.

Not in a million years.

Can you make that happen.

But the Scripture tells us, and it was Jesus bacon who said he comes to me I will in no wise cast out. We love him. Why, because he first loved us.

We talk about a doctrine here, a good bit. One of the great reform doctrines called irresistible grace was irresistible grace, irresistible grace takes place in a person's life when God opened your eyes to who he is and when he opened your eyes to who he is, brings conviction in your heart because of of sin, then you have a desire not to run from me, but to run to wing and nothing on the face of this earth can stop it at irresistible grace is what God does is what God does so beautifully on close by not consuming it, but I am going to read it is called a hornet song I like to get this out rated about twice a year when the Canaanites hardened their hearts against God and grieved him because of their sin. God civil law Hornets to bring them to terms and to help his own people to win.

If a nest of law Hornets were brought to this room and the creatures allowed to go free. You would not need urging to make yourself scarce.

You'd want to get out. Don't you see, they would not lay hold and by force of their strengths, are you out of the window. No, they would not compel you to go against your will.

They just make you willing to go when Jonah was sent to the work of the Lord. The outlook was not very bright. He never had done such a hard thing before, so he backed up and ran from the fight. Now the Lord synergy great fish to swallow them up the story.

I'm sure you all know God is not compelling to go against his will, but he just made them willing to go. God is not compel us to go all know, he never compels us to go. God is not compel us to go against her will, just makes us willing to go spray heavenly father, we thank you for this great book that we call first John, we thank you Lord for the man who who was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write it for.

He wrote not only this, but the gospel of John, second, third, John the book of Revelation, we thank you Lord that that this man was so committed to you at your spirit just works of powerfully throwing to inspire these great words that we might have test that we can take to be sure that we are in the kingdom that we are in Christ that we belong to you help us heavenly father and all that we do in our lives might bring you honor and glory. Help us Lord, that we might love you more each and every day, and that we might trust you more each and every day, and since Jesus holy and precious name we pray. Amen

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