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1 John 1: 1-18 1 John 2: 1-17 1 John 2: 18-29 1 John 3: 4-24
  1st John 4:4-21 1st John 5:1-21  
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1st John 4:4-21

 

"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, KJV)

 

"We 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."

 

Now 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." (verses 7-8)  

         

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?

 

Again, 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 "fulfilled".  Sometimes 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 Your Brother

 

          "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, PA  19116.]     

 
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