"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater
is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world, and the world heareth
them. We are of God:
he that knoweth God heareth us: he that is not of God heareth
not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the
spirit of error. Beloved,
let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one
that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
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. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that
he loved us, and sent his Son to
be the propitiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love
one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us,
and his love is perfected in us.
Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us,
because he hath given us of his Spirit.
And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent
the Son to be
the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son
of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
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
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.
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he
is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath
seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That
he who loveth God love his brother also." (1 John 4:4-21,
are in chapter 4, we kind of left off in a strange place.
So I will begin to read in verse 1 again, I think we
got to the 3rd verse.
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they
are of God:"-then you can pick up the tape from last week
if you weren't here and you want to go over this idea of trying
the spirits. [Or go back to the previous study on this site,
same sermon he's talking about, very important concept.]-"because many false prophets are gone out
into the world. Hereby
know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that
Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:"-again, pointing
to his pre-existence and his Deity, "is come into flesh" perfect
tense "is of God." i.e.
the spirits that confess and agree.
"And every spirit
that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh
is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard
that it should come, and even now already is it in the world." Again, one day to be personified in an individual,
but today working on many different fronts and through many
different false teachers, this spirit of antichrist already
in the world.
"Ye are of God, little
children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that
is in you, than he that is in the world." (verse 4)
'But you are of God, little children-technon,
"born-ones", speaking to all believers.
'You are of God and have overcome them'-and the tenses
are, 'permanently, that you have overcome them once and for
all, and are in the state, this evening, of overcoming these
false teachers and false spirits, because, and here's why,
and this is your assurance, greater is he that is in you than
he that is in the world.'
Now by the way, we often use that text in regards to
spiritual warfare, and I have too, and it's applicable because
we figure, whatever struggle we may have with the enemy, and
I think most of us including myself are really more naive
than we like to admit in regards to spiritual realms and those
things, and it's very hard for us to decide what percentage
of any painful situation is actually the enemy and what percentage
is just sin, which is come into the world through Adam and
the fall, and what percentage is from our own foolishness
sometimes. But sometimes
I think we love to blame the enemy for everything, and then
we will grab this verse as though we have to claim this so
we can get the victory. Well, the tense is clear, that you have already,
once and for all, become this overcomer. The reason is, because of the One who has indwelt
you once and for all, that he is greater, the one who is in
you is greater than the one that is in the world.
So it leaves us this evening in the position of being
victorious both now and forever through Christ.
As Jude says, and I love the verse, "Now unto him who
is able to present us faultless before his throne with exceeding
joy, the only wise God." Great, great stuff. So this evening through Christ and the victory
that he wrought on the cross, and that he finished there,
when he said to tutelisti,
paid in full, it is finished,
we are this evening victorious.
Verse 5, "They are of the
world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth
them." 'They, though, these false teachers, are
of the world, therefore speak they of the world, and the world
hears them.' You ever
notice how many cookaboo's the world follows?
You know, isn't it the worst thing in the world to
be in a check-out line in a grocery store, and the person
in front of you always pulls out a check. I don't know how that person follows me around
and always gets in front of me, they ambush me, and then they
have to stand there, and you're left reading those things,
you know, the World Examiner, the National Inquirer, all those
things are there, and you try hard as you can, but you're
just drawn there because 'Elvis is Risen from the dead', and
"The Devil's Appeared in clouds', and "Volcanoes are shooting
out flying saucers'. You
know, this kind of information is important stuff [laughter]
and there's a sick side to all us that's drawn to that kind
of stuff. And we like
to look at that, but as I look at it, I think, Edgar Case,
there's Nostrodamus, Gene Dixon, you know those guys are hitting
remarkably, Gene Dixon, the psychic hotline folks, they're
hitting I think about 20 percent accuracy.
Which is God's humor, because if you just throw coins
up, you hit about 50-50 if they would just guess. But God has put on them the spirit of stupidity
[laughter], and that does not say much for those who follow
and subscribe and pay those phone bills, I'll tell you. 'But they are of the world, therefore they speak
of the world, and the world hears them.'
Popular message. "We are of God: and he that knoweth God heareth
us: he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the
spirit of error." And
I think here John's speaking more properly of the apostles,
but that's true of course in our own fellowship.
"he that is not of God heareth not us, and hereby we know the spirit of
truth, and the spirit of error."
Those that do not subscribe to the things of God
as revealed in his Word, who tear down the reality and the
Deity of Christ are not of God. Those who embrace those things and are able
to hear them are of God.
"For us to say that we are "in Christ"
and "Christ is in us" and that "we have a relationship" and
not manifest love one to another is a denial in demonstration
of the reality of our relationship with God.read genuine spiritual
Christian love is where the rubber meets the road.that means
the sacrificing of yourself."
he switches kind of flavor here.
We have the right spirit, now we move into the right
kind of love. So it
isn't a complete switch of flavor, but it seems like it just
to read through. "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that
loveth is born of God, and knoweth God."
"Let us" is in contrast to "them".
"He that loveth
not knoweth not God; for God is love." (verses 7-8)
One of the essential characteristics, probably
the most qualifying characteristic of God is love itself.
And for us to say that we are "in Christ" and "Christ
is in us" and that "we have a relationship" and not to manifest
love one to another is a denial in demonstration of the reality
of our relationship with him [God].
So if we love one another, and this is to me where
the rubber meets the road.
You know it's easy to jabber in tongues, it's easy
to have all the spiritual mumbo-jumbo, but real genuine spiritual
Christian love is where the rubber meets the road. And that means helping each other out, that
means cutting somebody's lawn, that means the sacrificing
of yourself. That's why it says to obey is better than sacrifice,
and to hearken is better than the fat of rams because rebellion
is like the sin of witchcraft and stubbornness like the idolatry,
Samuel reproving Saul and telling him God would rather have
you listen and hearken and yield yourself to him, because
that costs something. It
doesn't really cost us anything to put five bucks in the offering
and say Glory to God, Glory to God and head out the door,
what costs us is when we're driving down the street and we
see our least favorite person in church broken down on the
side of the road, and we can tell by looking at them their
jack is no good, and the light turns red just when we're hoping
to get past them, and we look the other way real fast and
hear 'knock, knock, knock' on the window, and at that time
have to say 'Oh Lord'.Love, the kind of love it's talking
about here is a love that demonstrates itself. And again, in the Greek there were different
words for love. We
don't have that in the English, we have this strange idea
from watching "Love Boat" and all this 'what love is'.
In the Greek there was Eros, which was again that erotic love,
a love to be shared between a husband and a wife. And eros basically says "give me", eros is a
love that wants to be satisfied, and there is a proper way
and a good way for that to happen, and it is a blessing.
There is Philios,
where we get brotherly love, and that basically is a love
that is given and taken, it's a friendship love.
And then there is Agape', which is on the other end, which
is a love that is give, it isn't take, it isn't 'give and
take', it is sacrificial, it is to give, and it is not a feeling,
and it is not an emotion.
It is a decision. And it comes with spiritual maturity. And it is the fruit of the Spirit. And it does not depend on how much of the Holy
Ghost you have, it depends on how much of you the Holy Ghost
has. And we read in Galatians chapter 5 about the
works of the flesh (verses 19-21), which are, and you can
read through that list of 'adultery, fornication, lasciviousness,'
and it goes through 'envy, murder, drunkenness, sorcery'-which
is pharmakia, using and selling drugs-"these things," Paul
says, "are the works of the flesh, and I tell you again, as
I told you before, those who practice such things shall not
inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit"-singular-"of the Spirit is"-now you
have the works, plural, of the flesh, are.but you have "the
fruit" singular, "of the Spirit is love"-and then everything
else qualifies it, "joy, peace, longsuffering, meekness, temperance,
patience" and so forth. So
the fruit of the Spirit is love.
Now I don't want you to be depressed because you don't
have the kind of love that you should. Be convicted, but don't be depressed. Because, is anyone here, this evening, conformed
completely into the image of Christ?
Would you please raise your hand.
Now, you think it's funny, but the bigger we get, we're
gonna have some screwball stand up and then we're gonna have
to carry the guy out. But at this point, I'm pretty safe, I know most
of your faces and I'm making an example.
None of us have a arrived.
Paul said that in Philippians 3, "That forgetting those
things that are behind, I press forward to the mark of the
high calling." 'It
isn't as though I've already attained, I have not yet apprehended
that which I have been apprehended for.'
Paul said, 'I still don't really understand and haven't
taken hold of why God loves me.'
And he was moving forward.
And he was not fully conformed into his image and likeness.
So there aren't any of us that have arrived, and you
have to realize, the fruit of the Spirit, because it's compared
to fruit, it speaks of seasons in our lives, and it speaks
of growth, and it is not natural, it is produced, we are in-process,
all of us, as time goes on I think more fully and more fully
we demonstrate this kind of love.
Now John, who is writing to us, at a young age as a
disciple of the Lord, was known as one of the Son's of Thunder, because at that point
in his life he witnessed to somebody, and if they didn't listen
he wanted to call down fire and smoke them.
'Lord, the Samaritans aren't going to receive us, Take
care of them. You know how Elijah did it. Crash! Do
it to them.' And Jesus,
Yeshua is going, 'You don't know what spirit you are of. You know, I didn't come to destroy.' And yet here is John, one of the Sons of Thunder, in his old age known as
the Apostle of love. And I guarantee you, it was a sixty or seventy
year process here. And
he is still changing [when he wrote this], because he says
"If we say" he uses a personal pronoun and includes himself
"If we say we have not sin, that we deceive ourselves and
the truth is not in us." He
realized he was not yet conformed totally in the image of
Christ. In fact, not
long after this he would find himself on the Isle of Patmos,
and then the complete image of Christ would appear, with eyes
of flame of fire, hair as white as snow, a golden girdle around
his breast, his feet like burning bronze (as if they burned
in a furnace), his appearance like the sun-when John saw him
he fell down as a dead man, because of the great difference
even at that point between him and the image of Christ.
So don't be depressed, but grow, the Bible says, in
grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we say we're Christians, as our life goes
on we should be to a greater and greater degree demonstrating
agape love one to another, because God is love, and our existence
in him should produce then those kinds of things.
Now, one of the things you have to watch out for is,
Matthew tells us in 24:12 I believe, that in the last days,
and that's where we are, because iniquity shall abound, the
love, the agape of many shall grow cold.
And I believe he is talking about believers. [Could either be believers or those who think
they are believers within the congregation yet are merely
those in close proximity to believers, one's in whom the Holy
Spirit is being reflected into due to their close proximity
to actual believers-I had a wife in that situation, attended
for years, everybody including myself thought she was a believer,
yet she was not. Her
agape, the agape love being reflected into her by others around
her went out like a light being turned off when she left, departed.
She is a total non-believer now, and has even lost
much of the knowledge she had learned, almost as if she never
knew in the first place. There
are those among us that are not really of us, not born again. I use this example, merely to point this out,
because this factor will apply to those verses in Matthew
24:12-13 as well.] That
is why your time in the Scripture [and prayer] and your time
with other believers in fellowship is so critical and so important.
It is important for you to be with other believers,
that's why Hebrews tells us that we should not neglect the
gathering together of ourselves, as is the manner of some,
especially as we see the Day drawing near. And we do see the Day drawing near. Because if you find your existence out of fellowship
continually in the world, you will either backslide or you
will just get harder and harder and harder because of the
insanity out there. So we need to gather together, it is a place
where we are built up in our faith, and we are reminded that
God so loved that world out there that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believed would not perish but have everlasting
life. So very important,
and is says here that if we are born of God we will love one
another. And love has
gotten a weird connotation.
Making love, which the Bible calls sin, outside of marriage. We have termed it making love. And America is
so perverted these days, it's almost a relief when you hear
a good old fashioned red-blooded American sin, something normal,
oh what a relief. Well, it isn't, as far as God's concerned it
is a perversion of his original intent.
And the sad thing is, you see, there are some girls
that will give sex to get love.
And there are some guys that are smart enough, that
will give love to get sex. And of course, these days, that's a vicey versey,
the world we live in is so crazy.
But his is a much profounder kind of love that the
Bible is encouraging us in, and that is loving when we don't
feel like loving because we are obedient to the commandment
of God. That is turning
the other cheek, that is when someone who Christ has given
us a relationship with, and I tell you this, I don't take
it lightly, I look at my staff, I look at my friends, I look
at my children, I look at my wife and I think if it wasn't
for Jesus Christ, I would be dead.
And I know that in my heart, because of what he saved
me out of. And that fact that I'm alive, and I have these
friendships and relationships with some of the most remarkable
people, I think, 'Lord, if it wasn't for you our paths would
have never crossed.' How many people are you sitting here with this
evening, you look around, and think 'Jesus, if wasn't for
you, I would never have even known these people.'
And those relationships are paid for at the cost of
his blood, so we are to esteem them and to be good stewards
over them. That is
what John is talking to us about here. "Beloved,
let us love one another, for love is of God, and everyone
that loveth is born of God and knoweth God.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love."
The Love of God Defined
"In this was manifest the love of God toward us, because that God sent
his only begotten Son
into the world, that we might live through him.
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he
loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought to love one another."
(verses 9-11) Remarkable
passage. 'In this is
the love of God manifested, that he sent his Son into the
world to die for our sins.'
And that's important, because we think, you know, sometimes
as we look at creation, we see the beauty of God, you know.
In the north Cascades or in the Grand Tetons or in
the aurora borealis, or in the surf or in the sunset.but before
creation fell, you can magnify the beauty of all those things. Scientists tell us that they find fossils of
fifty foot ferns. I
would love to walk through a forest of fifty foot ferns.
And yet, the Bible clearly tells us that the greatest
demonstration of God's beauty and grace and love would have
never been manifest without the fall.
It is through the fall of man that we see God in Christ
on the cross reconciling the world to himself. And the most remarkable demonstration of God's
love is seen there. Now
the problem with that is, we often challenge God and say 'Well,
if you really love me, why aren't you doing this for me?'
'And if you really love me, why aren't you healing
my sister, or my son?' Or,
'God if you really love me why isn't this happening?...'
We want to put the terms to it, we want to put man's
definition on it. And God says 'No, the final demonstration and
the ultimate proof of my love for you is that I sent my own
Son into the world to pay for your sins.'
There is no greater form of love that could ever be
expressed, and God will never give a greater proof of his
love for you than for you to look up and see God's Son paying
for your sin on the cross.
One of the most remarkable things to me about the trip
to Israel is to stand at Golgotha and to look up at that hill
where those three crosses were, and for me to stand there
and think, 2000 years ago everything that I have ever done,
am doing, or will do that is sin was washed down those rocks
in the blood of the Lamb of God.
It is just remarkable to stand there and realize all
of my life and failure was carried there, and he paid for
all of our sin, past, present and future. "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." (verse 9) By the way, God's definition of life and not
ours. It's not the
lifestyles of the rich and famous, it's the lifestyles of
the cleansed and forgiven. "Herein
is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and
sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins."
Not that we loved God, we were enemies, at enmity
with him. He sent his
Son to be the propitiation, to take away the separation, to
satisfy the wrath of God for our sins.
Now, again, "Herein is love", and we'll talk about
this, "not that we loved him, but that he first loved us".
We are, throughout the Bible, the recipients.
God is the initiator.
And again, too many ministries today put the emphasis
on what you need to do for God. You need to do this, and you need to do that,
and you need to confess, and you need to do this, and God
is the magic genie and you need to rub the lamp a certain
way to get him to perform, or you need to confess this, or
you need to do that, or you need to huff and puff and blow
the house down, you know.
The Bible says, no, we were lost in trespasses and
sins, that the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world-that
God is the initiator, and we are the responders.
And the Bible clearly teaches that.
The first three chapters of the Bible tell us about
God's creation and setting man in the middle of Paradise.
It only took to the third chapter of the Bible for
man to bungle all that up, and the rest of the Bible is about
God fixing it. The
rest of the record is about what he has done for us, and the
entire book is a book about what God has done for us.
And certainly there are principles, certainly there
are lessons in obedience [and to obey, there have to be laws
to obey. Grace oriented
churches hate that, but that is the logical conclusion. But our obedience is not self-empowered, but
God empowered through the Holy Spirit who indwells us.] Certainly there are things that we should do
in response to him. But
the Bible is clear, he is the initiator.
"Herein is love", if you want to understand it, "it
isn't that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his
Son the thing that would satisfy his own wrath." You see, it wasn't just that God sacrificed
his Son, and that would be hard enough.
How much does God love us, and the
world, the whole sinning world?
What is God's love, anyway?
I know the feeling of watching a son bleed to death in front
of my eyes. It isn't just that God sacrificed his Son, more
than that God allowed it and could have stopped it, more than
that, God put the sin of the world upon him-everything that
Charles Manson did, everything that Adolph Hitler did, everything
that every child pervert in the world did, everything, every
abortion, every rape, every murder, every fowl stain of the
human race God allowed to go upon his sinless Son. And, not only that, God then fired his own wrath
upon his own precious Son.
God then looked down from heaven and poured out the
cup of his wrath and indignation on his Son because he loves
you. In this is the love of God manifested, because he sent
his Son into the world to take away our sins and to be the
propitiation, the thing, the One who would satisfy his own
wrath. Now God can both be just and the justifier of
those that are guilty. [that's heavy.]
"Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also
to love one another." (verse 11)
And the "if" in there is in the class condition
of "since"-"Beloved, since God so loved us, we ought
also to love one another." What big deal is it for us then to love one
another, if he loved us so dramatically.
"No man hath
seen God at any time. If
we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected
in us." (verse 12) So don't take it personally [if you haven't
seen God, no one has, except maybe the apostle Paul and John
in vision.]. Because I know, if you're anything like me,
as a young Christian, I used to think 'Lord, if you're really
there, you know, and you really love me, just appear in my
bedroom, just for a second.' Or, 'Lord, I'll keep my eyes closed, so no man
can see you and live, so I'll just see the light through my
eyelids.' Or you know, 'Lord, just let an angel feather
drift down through my room or something, I just need, I'm
a special case, not like the other five billion people on
the planet you want to believe in you by faith, you know I
just need this little bit of help.' [I was just that way as a new-believer as well,
I remember praying something like that as well. Amazing, Pastor Joe just seems to hit it on
the head so many times.] No
it says "No man hath seen God at any time." So don't take that personally. "If we
love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected
in us." His love is completed in us. Now we will hear that word as we go through.
This is important. God's love is made perfect in us, we hear about
perfect love, again. For
you and I, we would think a perfect love, and we would write
all these qualifications of what perfect love is.
God's perfect love takes a verb form, it is active,
it isn't [perfect] by definition, it is perfect by action.
Sometimes this Greek word, "perfect" is translated
when it speaks of prophecies in the New Testament being fulfilled,
it's this word "perfected".
Sometimes when it speaks of a child growing to maturity
it is this word "perfected", come to adulthood, sometimes
when it speaks of fruit becoming ripe, it's the same word
"perfected". And sometimes
when it talks about a race and someone crossing the finish
line or coming to the goal, it is again this Greek word "perfected". So as we think about God's love for "perfected"
towards us, it isn't by definition, it is by action. And
this is what it's saying, "God's love has come to fruition,
God's love has reached it's goal, God's love has been fulfilled-in us. An in evidence of that, we are now found loving
one another. God
has given us a heart of flesh, when we used to have a heart
of stone. 'No man at any time has seen God.but all men
can know we're his disciples by the love we have one for another.' And God's love has reached its destination in
the heart of every individual in this room who has given their
life to Christ, has been forgiven, and now has discovered
they have an ability to love that they never had before-God's
love is perfected, it is fulfilled.
"Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and
he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father
sent the Son to be
the Saviour of the world" (verses 13-14)
And again, John thinking
of the apostles here-"we have seen and do testify".
Again, some will say 'Well, he's not the savior of
all men.' Well, again, 1st Timothy chapter
4 verse 10 just as an aside, talks about him being 'the Saviour
of all men, especially those who believe'.
So obviously he is, the payment in his blood was sufficient
for the sins of all of humanity.
That's what he's saying, he sent his Son to be the
Saviour of the world, John says. [and the logic of those some who say Jesus is
not the Saviour of the "unsaved dead" for they're going to
hell, well there is little harmony on what the various denominations
believe hell is and who goes there.
To read a well-written article on this subject, log
onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm.] "Whosoever
shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in
him, and he in God." (verse
15) Agreeing, confessing, agreeing with God.
"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."
(verse 16) Now,
by the way, we have these two passages here, "God is love".
This is not this big, sweet, sickening, soupy, fatherhood
of God that all the nuts in the world and all the different
cults and philosophies want to jump into.
We're saying here, 'Yes, the love of God, God is love',
"but herein is the love of God manifested, that he sent his
Son into the world to die for our sins", so it isn't just
you know, God loves everybody, God is everybody's father,
no God is the Biblical God, and Jesus is the Biblical
Jesus, that is what John is talking about.
Because he's talking to Gnosticism [in refutation of
it], he's talking to Cerinthis, he's talking to Arianism,
he's talking to the things that plague the church today, so
he is defining that [what the real love of God is]. "Herein
is our love, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment:
because as he is, so are we in this world." (verse 17)
"Our love"-possessive, that we have within us,
made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment,
because as he is, so are we in this world."
Remarkable statement. 'Herein is that love made perfect within us'. You know, isn't is interesting, as we read 1st
Corinthians 13 I always think about this, 'Though we speak
with the tongues of men and angels, and have not love, we're
nothing but a noisy gong and a clanging cymbal' and you go
through all those statements about love, and then at the end
it says "These three abide, faith, hope and love, but the
greatest of these is charity or love [agape']" and even as
we read that, and it's only true to a degree, we immediately
relate to that love as the love we should have to other people.
But then at the end I think it puts it in a proper
perspective, because is says "faith, hope and love, these
three abide. And the
greatest of these is charity."
In other words, yes we should love someone else, and
if we don't, we're nothing but a noisy gong and a clanging
cymbal, but we should possess that love, and it should be
overflowing from our hearts.
Because, you see, the three at the end 'faith, hope
and love', you don't 'faith' other people-I faith you, I faith
you. And we don't "hope"
other people, "I hope you, I hope you". But because we immediately want to put love
in the condition of performance, we forget that the other
two are in the sense of something we have received.
We have received hope, we have received faith, 'that,
not of ourselves, it is a gift of God.'
And so have we received the love of God.
If God has, and he has, showered his love upon us through
his Son, have we really embraced that? Because if we have embraced that, then we are
no longer a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
Then the love of Christ can be shed abroad from our
hearts. You can't give somebody the Measles unless you've
got it. What it's saying
here, and John is saying, Herein
is our love made perfect,"-perfected, the idea is, within
us-"that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because
as he is, so are we in this world." (verse 17)
Here's how we know it's effect [i.e. the love],
you and I in the day of judgment, and there will be a day
of judgment and it is coming, that we will have boldness in that day. And again,
this is not some kind of a proud statement, you know, 'You
know, I'll stand right up there, when the trumpet blows, right
in the presence of God.' No,
that's not what it's talking about.
Again, it is the word 'confidence' that's used I think
in 2:25, it is the word again from the Roman court system.
And the word means that you will have freedom of speech.
Someone who is accused and prosecuted in the Roman
court system that was guilty was intimidated and did not have
freedom of speech. But
there was a word they used for someone who was prosecuted,
who was innocent, and found innocent, that in their behavior
they had freedom of speech as they defended themselves because
they were innocent. And it says, "Herein is God's love really perfected
within us, that in the day of judgment, you and I will have
freedom of speech because we'll be able to say.you know, God
will be saying to people, 'Well why should I let you into
heaven [i.e. the kingdom of heaven]?' and one guy will say 'Because I rode from house
to house on my 10-speed to talk to people about other worlds
and many wives.' and someone else will say 'I went to door
to door and knocked on this house and that house.' and somebody
else will say 'because I sat and meditated on my navel and
went Ooohm.' and somebody else will say 'Because I built hospitals.',
but you and I will say "The only reason that you ought to
let me into heaven is because Jesus died for my sins and washed
me in his blood." You see, and because of that, because God's
love has been perfected in us, we've received it, we will
have 'freedom of speech' in the day of judgment, because we
know on what ground we stand. And then it goes on to say, "because as he is, so are we in this world."
(verse 17, last part) At the right hand of the Father, he is
righteous, he is pure, and as he is, as he is, so are we in
this world. It says we serve a God who calls things that
are not as though they were, and when he looks at us today,
as far as he's concerned, he sees the righteousness of Christ,
and no longer your sin. He has taken your sin and your failure, and
put it on Christ's column and debt column, and he has taken
Christ's righteousness and placed it upon you, and as we understand
that, God's love has reached a goal within us, we know that
in that day we will have freedom of speech-and it is because
as he is, that's how we are in this world, even now.
Fear verses Love
"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." (verse
18) It should be like oil and water, "There
is no fear in love, but perfect love," love that's reached
its goal, "casteth out fear: because fear hath torment.
He that feareth is not made perfect in love."-or love
has not been perfected in that individual.
Now look, fear is a terrible thing.
People fear, worry, stress, even our doctors at Johns
Hopkins University that put out these reports that say, 'the
killer is still stress.' You can eat your fiber and have your
lethsethyn and you can cut down your cholesterol, but if you
can't get rid of that stress, you're still going to kick the
bucket early. Stress
is still a killer, if you didn't have any stress you could
keep your plaque and live a long, happy life.
You understand? And
fear will characterize our age.
Luke says 'Because men will see those things that are
coming on the world, that fear will grip them, and many will
die, you know, their hearts will stop beating because of the
fear, they will stand in fear, looking at the things that
are coming upon the world.'
And we see those thing beginning as we look around
us. And yet we're not
to be characterized by fear.
Now let me tell you something.
There is a fear that is a wrong fear and has torment,
and the basic thing it is saying here is that as God's children
we should not be living in fear of God in the sense of torment.
I've got kids at home.
And the small ones in particular, you know, if they
do something wrong, and they've already gone through the process
of hearing their mother say "When your dad gets home, you're
gonna get it." And
when dad gets home, they're like, 'Ah, ah, ah," and you look
at them, and there's no malice, it's ridiculous, and you try
to tell them, 'Ah kid, this is gonna hurt me more than it
hurts you', nobody ever believed that in their whole life.
But to think of some children that are in a circumstance
where they are constantly abused, burned with cigarettes,
and we see them, beaten, where there is constant fear of a
parent, that is such a tragic and sad situation.
And the idea is, God doesn't want us to be trembling
in fear of him. He loves us so much that he gave his Son that
we might be his sons and daughters.
And there is no fear in love.
And the tense is, interesting, "the perfecting of God's
love towards you, casts out all fear."
The more you grow in grace and in love, the more that
drives out a kind of fear that is no good, that is evil, that
torments us. There
is, the Bible says, a fear that is good and healthy.
Psalm 19 says "The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring
forever." There is a reverence and fear toward God that
is a good thing. The
Bible says in Jeremiah, as Jeremiah rebuked the nation, "it
is an evil thing that you've done, your own backsliding shall
reprove thee." 2:19 "Your own sin shall correct thee, it is
an evil thing you have done, because you have left off the
fear, the awe, the reverence of God, the fear of God." There is a reverence that is healthy. Any of you again, in this room, who have a good
father-and I am sorry for those of you who did not have a
good father-but any of you who had a good father know both
reverence and love. Both of them are there, because you loved that
individual, you know that father loved you, but you also reverence,
because dad is different from mom.
He bellows much deeper.
"That's it!" Dad is different, you know, there is
love and fear. So in
our relationship with God, yes, there's love there, but he
is the King of the universe. He is the Almighty. He is El Shadai, he will
take the scepter in his hand and rule over the earth with
a rod of iron, he will rebuke the heavens and the earth, and
they will role up like a scroll and pass away, unimaginable
to us. And we are to
stand in reverence to him, but not to be tormented by fear. Those of you who like to tear things apart,
it is interesting that this word "cast, casteth out fear",
when you get your Vines Expository Dictionary, there's about
27 words "fear", all ballo, with all these prefixes, well the
root of it all, ballo,
the original casting is this word, and we find it in the New
Testament in regards to casting out demons, casting out Satan,
in the book of Revelation casting out Satan out of heaven,
it's interesting we find it here [1st John 4:18]. "There
is no fear in love, but perfect love"-God's love perfected
towards us-"casts out all fear."
And it's the kind of fear that has torment, it
says "because fear
hath torment." And
"he that feareth is not (yet) made perfect
in love." Has not
yet reached that maturity.
You Can't Say You Love God and Hate
"We love him, because he first loved us."
(verse 19) We are
responders. God the initiator. "If a
man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar:
for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how
can he love God whom he hath not seen?" (verse 20)
The evidence of your relationship with the Lord
should be manifest as the love of Christ is shed abroad from
our hearts. "And this commandment we have from him, That
he who loveth God love his brother also." (verse 21) So isn't it interesting, we are commanded to
love. It isn't just
a feeling. It isn't just an emotion. There is a commandment here that we would love
one another. And I
guarantee you, see when you think of the fruit of the Spirit,
it is love, joy, peace, and I will take as much of that as
I can get. I'm not
bothered until we get to "longsuffering, meekness, temperance,
patience" that tells me this love has a different side to
it that I don't like to exercise a whole lot.
I like to exercise the "love, joy, peace" stuff.
But when I hear "longsuffering, patience", it means
to me I'm going to run into other believers and other human
beings where I'm going to need this particular kind of love,
and it ain't just there to hang on the tree and rot.
It's there to partake of. If you have a peach tree or an apple tree in
your yard you don't just watch apples, 'Man, they're getting
ripe, I can smell those babies, Mmm they're going to be ripe,'
and we just watch them, 'Ah, we could be making pies now,
you know, we could be making apple sauce now, oh boy they're
getting overripe now,' and the days go by, 'Man those apples
are rotten.' You don't just sit there, they grow there to
be partaken of. And the idea is, we are to demonstrate something
to the lost world that they do not have, and it can only be
produced in us as we abide in Christ [cf. John 15].
'He is the Vine, you are the branches.
Except you abide in him, you can produce no fruit,'
the Bible says, 'on your own.'
And again, some of us are so determined to produce
fruit by ourselves. And
again, you never see an apple hanging on the tree going 'Arrrgggr,
gotta get ripe! Grrrr,
if it's the last thing I do, I'm gonna get ripe.'
An apple just hangs there.
The life comes from the branch.
The question is, how much of your time do you spend
'Hanging out in Jesus Christ?' How much of your time do you spend, during the
day, seeking his presence, listening for his voice, walking
with him? If you abide in him, you will be productive
and you will be fruitful.
If you are not abiding in him, it is because you do
not know the One who died for you enough yet.
If you do not trust him, it is because you do not know
him like you should. Because
the more you know him, the more you will trust him. The more you trust him, the more you will lean
upon him, and the more you lean upon him, the more you will
walk with him all day and every moment, speaking to him, listening
for his voice. As Paul says, we should pray without ceasing.
Now I'm sure that there are some of you here who don't
have that assurance. Again, maybe it's because of the way you were
raised, maybe it's because you are just afraid to trust that
he would love you that much.
Maybe you think you deserve his anger and not his love.
And you do, but it was all poured out on the Propitiation
which is Jesus Christ. Maybe you think you don't deserve his love and
his forgiveness. You
don't. let's settle that once and for all. Let's not whine about it for the rest of our
lives. 'I don't deserve
it, Lord. I'm not worthy, Oh God, I don't deserve it.'
I know that. That's why he died on the cross. We know that.
The book of Revelation said 'Let him who is athirst
come and drink of the water of life freely, Greek word, undeservedly.' Whoever is thirsty, let them come and drink
undeservedly, there's no other way you can come. You can't come deserving it. If you come and try to drink deserving it, there's
nothing that comes out of the facet.
If you come undeservedly, not deserving it, the water
flows. And it is freely given to those who do not deserve
it. So I'm sure there
are some of you who are struggling with that, and as the musicians
come back, all 157 of them, and we worship at the end of the
evening-half the congregation gets up and walks up here now.and
we'll take some time and worship, we'll sing one or two songs.[transcript
of 1st John 4:4-21, given by Pastor Joe Focht,
© Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia,