Archive for the ‘Love’ Category

“Perfect love casts out fear”

May 27, 2017

We have heard this often when “fear” is mentioned or talked about. At first, this seems to be a “cure-all for fear”. Any time we fear anything, perfect love takes it all away, right? It also has been said that “perfect love is God’s love”. While this is a true statement, it leaves us questioning just what God’s love is, or more important, what is “perfect love?”. To understand what it is that casts out fear we must understand what exactly is perfect love. For when we see (understand) this, we are then on the road to overcoming fear. As always, we need to go no further than God’s word to understand it. He has given us His Spirit, and thereby together with His word, we understand.

The apostle John, who beneath Jesus, understood “love” like no other. And where better need we go then to his love letter to “little children” (the church, brother’s and sisters in Christ).

Our main text is found in 1st John 4:18.

“There is no fear in love: but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has torment.  He who fears has not been made perfect in love.”

First, we need to get some word definitions in their original Greek language for “fear”, “love”, “perfect”, “casts”, and “torment”. Word study is key into getting understanding of a particular verse or passage.

Our first word is “fear”. Just what kind of fear was John talking about here? The word is “phobos” .  This is where we get the word “phobia” from, which is commonly known as an anxiety disorder. “Phobos” comes from the word “phebomal”, which means “to be put in fear”; alarm or fright – be afraid + exceedingly, fear, terror” . Here we see that this kind of fear is at the top of the chart, so to speak. It’s dreadful, frightening, and haunting. Can you see how this type of fear could work havoc in our lives? Talk about not having “peace”. Talk about something that would keep you bound up and keep you stifled. This would be it to the max. Yet how many live their lives this way? Also, for those of us that think it never comes knocking on our door, consider this. All worrying can be traced back to “fear”. And if we are honest, we all worry from time to time. It might be ever so small, yet it’s  still worry.

Our second word is the most often word used, liked, and talked about more than any other word. Ah yes…..”Love”. But just what kind of love is the apostle John referring to here? This is extremely important for us in this world of everything falling under “love”. Love everybody, love everything, be it right or wrong, just love, love, love, right? Well, this kind of love is way different. The word is “agape”, which means, “i.e affection, or benevolence (disposition to do good, an act of kindness, a generous gift)”. John further spells this out in his discourse on love by teaching us that God’s agape love is a sacrificial love that was exemplified by the giving of His Son for the sacrifice for our sins. Thus John went on to say that because of this kind of love for us, “we ought to love one another”. (see 1Jn.4:7-11)

Our third word is “perfect”. This word can take on a lot of definitions. However, it is important to be reminded that we are talking here about “perfect love”. The word, “perfect” is key here, because it is the type of love that is necessary to “cast out fear”. Not just love, but perfect love. This word “perfect”, in the Greek is “teleios“. It means “complete, completeness”. A further study into the word comes up with “i.e. (literally) accomplish, or (figuratively), consummate”. Also, “the conclusion”. Here we can safely say that “perfect agape love” is a love that is complete, i.e. final, and conclusive. Sounds like there is no greater love than this, bar none, right?

Our next word is “casts” (or casteth, in the KJV ). In our text, it says that “perfect love casts out fear”. This is key because this is what perfect love does. It “casts out”. This word is “ballo”.  It means “to throw”. It has to do with “violent, or intense”. Also, “strike, or “thrust”. This word is not used as a little soft way of dealing with fear. It is intense. It leaves no room for “timidity”. There must be some power involved here. Something beyond our fleshly, easy way of dealing with things.

Our fifth and final word is “torment”. This word is huge because it is what “fear has”. You might say this is what fear produces, or this is its outcome, or fruit. In the Greek, the word is “kolasis”. Its meaning might surprise you. It has to do with “infliction”. And that of “penal infliction”. Penal? Yes. And it involves “punishment, penalties, or punitive institutions”. Most of us have heard the word for a prison as a “penal institution”. Considering this, it is safe to say that “fear” locks you up as if you are in a “penal institution”. Inside here there is punishment and infliction to be had and penalties to be paid for. This is not a place you would want to live your life in for sure. Yet how many do, day in, and day out?

Ok. Now that we get some better understanding of these five important words, let us now break down each verse that contains the word, “perfect”, or “perfected” love. It appears five times in 1st John. That’s actually quite a bit. This will unlock “perfect love”, and “love perfected”. This will lead us into application, i.e. how we are to live out this kind of love to overcome or prevent fear from coming into our lives.

Let’s first back up in the book of first John, and go to the 2nd chapter, verse 5. In this verse he is teaching just how it is that the “love of God is perfected in us”. And remember that this kind of love throws out (casts out) fear.

“But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know we are in Him.”                                                                                                                        

In context, the apostle John is referring to the keeping of the words of Christ. If we back up to the starting of this chapter, in verse 1, he is telling us that Jesus is our mediator. In verse 2, he states that Jesus is the “propitiation for our sins” and the whole world. Verse 3 is key into understanding that he is talking about the commandments of Christ because he says “by this (that Jesus was the sacrifice for our sins) we know Him. Verse 4 also states this as well. We will see more as we go that the commands of Christ are what we New Testament believers need to heed and follow.

So by keeping His commandments, His words, His doctrine, His teachings, the love of God is perfected in us. This brings up something that most Christians seemly have a hard time with. And what is that? “Obedience”. Somehow God’s grace takes away, or covers for our obedience? Well, if that’s the case, we mise well go upstairs and open the bedroom window and chuck the word of God out. Because His word is full of obedience that must be done by us if we are to be followers of Christ. A simple reading of the word will bring this to light. In fact, John later writes in 2nd John, verse 9, that if we do not abide (dwell) in Christ’s teachings, then we do not have God. Wow! That’s pretty heavy.

The words of Jesus speak for themselves……

“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him.” (Jn.14:21)

“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word: and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.                                                                       “He who does not love Me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.” (vs.23-24)

Here we see just how Jesus wants to be loved, and how God will love us, and how they will reveal themselves to us. This is often never taught or looked at. But it’s huge. This is Jesus commanding us here.

Now since we are looking here into just what is “perfect love”, and our text (1Jn.2:5) states that it has to do with keeping the words of Christ, it is necessary to hone in on a particular commandment in regards to this perfect love.

The apostle John makes this very clear when he speaks of God’s love being “perfected (completed) in us”“No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.” (1Jn.4:12). This verse is pretty self-explanatory. The key? “Love one another”. And this is the commandment that Christ taught from the beginning. “For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, (1Jn.3:11). John here is referring to Jesus when he gave this commandment. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another”. (Jn.13:34). He also, when teaching on “Love” and “Joy” being perfected, said this, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you”. ( Jn.15:12). He goes on to say that there is no greater love than one giving their life for another. Loving one another through sacrificial love is “perfect love”, it is “agape love”.

Just how important is this commandment according to Jesus? Well, he addressed this question to one of the “Pharisees” as he asked, Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”. Jesus replied with, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and the great commandment”. (Mt.22:36-38). Then Jesus goes on to say, “And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (vs.39). It is important to note the word here “like”. It means “similar”, and it comes from the Greek word “homos” which means “the same”. We can safely say that these two are to be combined, i.e. Love God, Love you neighbor. “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, he cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (1Jn.4:20).

Jesus finishes answering the Pharisees question of “which is the great commandment in the law?” with “On these two commandments hang all the Law and Prophets.” The word “hang” here is very important. It means “suspend, summed up”. So if we want to talk and debate over commandments, we best get these two down. We could literally spend the rest of our days “obeying” this commandment. I say “this” because they are combined.

Ok. Let’s move on in this quest for “perfect love”. We have looked at two (1Jn.2:5, 4:12) of the five verses that deal with “perfect love” or “love made complete”. Our next verse is 1Jn.4:17. “Herein is love made perfect in us,”. I purposely stopped here at the first part of this verse. Why? Because, to get a proper understanding of what John is saying here we must look at context and back up to see what “Herein” is. In the five verses leading up to this verse, we see the word “dwelleth” (dwell). It has the same meaning as “abideth” (abide), which means “to stay”. Ok. So where does abide fit into perfect love?

Let’s read it. In verse 12, John says that If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. Then he says, “by this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us,”. By this? By what? By loving one another. It’s the out working of loving one another that His love is perfected in us. And through this we abide, or stay. He goes on to say that “because He (God) has given us His Spirit”Remembering that “it’s the Spirit that bears witness” (1Jn.5:6) to us to confirm everything that God has given. In the verse leading up to 1Jn.4:17, we see some more regarding “abiding” that leads to us understanding “perfect love”. John says that we have known and believed the love that God has for us, God is love,”. And what love is he referring to here? “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.” (1Jn. 4:10). Do you see the tie here? Loving because of what God did for us? “Herein is love!”The apostle John then finishes verse 16 with, “he who dwells (stays in) in love dwells in God, and God in him”. Bing! I think it’s safe to say that “perfect love” is loving because He first loved us, and thus, we love our neighbor as ourselves.

Now, we certainly can’t leave off here without finishing the last part of this verse 17. “that we may have boldness in the day of judgment, because as He is, so we are in the world”Here in the middle of the Apostle John’s discourse on love, he drops the word “boldness”. We must ask why? How is boldness tied into “love?”.

First, let’s look into this word. It is “parrhesia”, which by implication means “assurance”. It is also the same word as “confidence”. So we can say that by “abiding/dwelling” in Christ, i.e. abiding in his commandments, which namely is loving God through loving others, we will have assurance/confidence at His return. Yet, most importantly for the now, we can have this as we live out through love. And to add to this “boldness”, it also means, and has to do with, “speak”. Another definition is “all out-spokenness”. So when we our walking in His perfect love, i.e. living it out, we have out right boldness to “speak the truth in love”. Who by the way, was the perfect example of this bold love? You got it! The Christ! “because as He is, so are we in this world”.

Now, just after this look into “boldness”, guess what comes next? What would be one good word that would be the total opposite of boldness? Any suggestions? Our next and main verse has this word in it……

“FEAR”

Remember our main text for this study?

“There is no fear in love: but perfect love casts out all fear, because fear has torment. He who fears has not been made perfect in love.”

The apostle John starts off with a blanket statement here. He says that “there is no fear in love”. Remember that we are not just talking about any kind of love here. And what we mentioned at the beginning of this study, it’s not “worldly love”, or “fleshly love”. This is “agape love”. Through the studying of this kind of love, the teacher, i.e. the Holy Spirit, gave us this definition, “affectionate benevolence through sacrificial giving”. When this is in you, and you are living it out, fear will not be present. It cannot abide in the house where this perfect love takes up residence. So there is absolutely no need to even think on fear. It doesn’t even exist in this agape love. Period!

This agape love not only has “no fear” in it, but it “casts” it out. We must ask why did John put this here? If there is no fear in love, then why would it need to be cast out? Well, are you ready for this? Can your ultra spirituality take this on?

Fear does not abide in us if perfect love abides, right? However, we are all in this flesh. And we all get tempted with “fear”. It is just like the unlimited temptations that come upon us all the time. If you don’t think this is so, then take inventory of the last time you worried about something or someone. It’s a fact that worry can be traced back to fear. So this is why John brought up this “casting out”. If it wasn’t needful then he wouldn’t have brought it up. It absolutely needs to be addressed.

In simplicity, we can say that if we are abiding in Christ, and His words are abiding in us, and we are living them out through perfect love, then all temptations of fear will be casted out. “Perfect love casts out fear”. There is no fear in perfect love.

This verse 18 ends with, “But he who fears has not been made perfect in love”. Here we see that it is possible and needful to be made perfect in love. Another way to say this would be that it is possible and needful to be “completed” in love. Even though this agape love is to be a process for us to be lived out, it is, and has, already been completed in us through Christ in us. We have within us everything that is needed for life and godliness (2nd Peter 1:3). It is just up to us to use, so to speak, everything that we have been given, i.e. His perfect (completed) love within us. But we must walk it out, i.e. apply it to our everyday living through “loving one another”.

We end our study with verse 19 of 1st John. It is obvious that we are creatures that need to be reminded continually. In reality, isn’t the Holy scriptures a book written for our remembrance? And this being so, the apostle John states, “We love because He first loved us”. This is our continual reminder. This is why we love in the first place. This puts it all back into perspective. Do you remember what John said was love? “In this is love, …. He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins”(4:10). And, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,” (Jn.3:16). And if this was so…… Then…..

“Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought to love one another”(1Jn.4:11).

We could go on in this study. There is much more to be found in the word of God regarding this “perfect love”. Actually, there is a whole lot more regarding “obedience” that ties right into this love. Jesus himself taught just how important obedience to His teaching was. A good study on this would be found in the gospel of John, chapters 14-15.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this study. We spent five weeks, hours upon hours, hammer and chisel in hand with the Word and Spirit. I hope and pray that you were blessed into understanding more of just what is “perfect love” and how it does “cast out fear”. Hopefully the next time that you are tempted to fear, you will apply perfect love into the situation and thus there will be no room for fear. Remember…… fear cannot abide in perfect love! God bless you!

 

 

 

LOVE and ETERNITY

October 22, 2013

As we “plant” and “water” for the kingdom of God, let us always be reminded that they (the unsaved) “cannot enter” in unless they have been “born again”.
Our planting/watering consists of many different things we love to do. Some of which might be, praying for them, feeding them, spending time with them, doing things for them etc. All as the Spirit leads us, and always bearing in mind, that they “must be born again”. If not, they will not only miss out on a relationship with God while here in this life, but also, they cannot go and spend eternity in heaven with God without it.
So, it is of utmost importance if we really love them AND their eternal souls.

Have you believed in God’s love for you yet?

October 16, 2013

God in his love provided a way for you to not come into judgement for your offences and what they require. He has provided a way to be forgiven and justified. It is only through His Son, Christ Jesus, who was the provision, the atonement for sin. That’s God’s love for you!

You don’t have to come into condemnation (judgement) for that which your offences require. You get to escape the just due penalty that they deserve, by believing on the Christ that was provided for you by God’s great love for you.

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that God loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation (atonement) for our sins.” (1Jn.4:10)

“By this was the love of God towards us made known, for God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” (4:9)

We can’t live in God unless we believe on the Son and his atonement for us. Why? Because sin demands death. It goes all the way back to the beginning of mankind with Adam and Eve. God gave them one commandment and said that if they broke that command, “they would surely die”.

To live we must receive the love that He provided through his Sons atonement. This is how we receive life, and life eternal.

Believe and receive.

Want to

July 30, 2012

It a good day to “want to”. Want to draw close to God. Want to love God and others. Want to be used by him. Want to enjoy his company. Want to enjoy his creation……want to…..want to….want to….

Love could have prevented this

July 22, 2012

In the awake of the current shooting, once again, I believe that it is a wake up call for All OF US. Are there  some “James Holmes” in our lives? Is there a person “of sparing words?”. A “shy guy?”. A “loner?”. Of a “bookish demeanor?”
While we all know that it lies way deeper than this, it is a starting point for all of us to be on the lookout in our families, neighborhoods, workplace, school etc. for people that need to be noticed, cared for, spoken to, befriended etc.
It is really sad when we see once again the words “I don’t think many of the kids (teammates) knew him”.
“He showed no signs of distress or violence”. Basically, no one knew him.
Once again, I believe “Love” could have prevented this.

Continual re-focusing needed

June 29, 2012

In study this morning, the teacher was downloading some good stuff as usual. Bless His name!
Continual re-focusing is needed like no other in this day and time we are in. Even with those who continually seek the Father and spend time with him, it is needed.
With the Fathers heart we are to be filled with his love, mercy and compassion towards those who are lost in the cess-pool world of iniquity. Yes, like God, we are to hate sin, evil and wickedness, but if re-focusing on the heart of God which he displayed through His Son Jesus is not being applied, we will all get side-tracked with everything that is not of love, mercy and compassion towards men.
In closing, the Spirit gave me Mt. 24:12. This has to do with the end times. “And because iniquity (lawlessness) will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”
Sin, lawlessness, perversity etc. is growing needless to say. But, if we are not re-focusing on the Fathers heart through Jesus, our own hearts will for certain grow cold (wax cold) towards those who are lost through iniquity. A cold heart can be of no good in God’s kingdom. The only way we will be able to be of use in the coming days with all the more evil displayed, is with the Fathers heart. Amen.

God’s love or his divine justice?

June 13, 2012

Most of us like everything about God that has to do with his love. Yes, he is certainly LOVE.

But, just how closely does his love and justice run together? Now, we all want justice to be served while crime is being done on this earth, right? If someone commits a crime that is against someone else, we want justice, right?

What about God and the ultimate crime (so to speak) against Him? The crime against all He is and all He stands for, His Holiness. Wow, now that is something that you will not hear about everyday. Who is talking about God’s holiness in this day? When was the last time you heard about it? Even, when was the last sermon at church you heard about it? Well, maybe if you attend a “hell-fire and damnation” church, and if so, your probably tired of hearing about it, or maybe you have heard so much about it, that there isn’t an ounce of God’s love in you. If that’s the case, you need to fall on your knee’s and cry out to God for more of his love.

His love and his justice must be balanced.

In the evermore popular book of John, in the most popular chapter three, Jesus takes us through both “Love” and “Justice”. I always love how we do not need to get complicated in God’s word to see how clear and to the point He is. The problem is and always has been, our minds, our intellect wants to complicate the simple truths of God.

I am going to share what He gave me this morning from John 3:16-20, 36.

“Out of God’s love, he gave his Son as the sacrifice for Sin. By believing that He did this, and receiving personally this atonement of His Son for our sins, we escape condemnation which is God’s divine justice for sin. By believing in the atonement of Jesus for our sins, we escape death (to the soul) and receive everlasting life. It is either death of life for eternity.”

“Always remembering that God did not send his Son to punish or even sentence us with death, but to save us from it.”

“All those who believe what God has given us through His Son, will have eternal life. But, those who do not believe what He has given, will receive divine justice for their sins. This judgement will be because they have refused The Light (Jesus) and have loved darkness more than Light. And, all the while, they practice darkness and despise the Light more and more. They don’t want the Light because they know that it exposes their darkness. And, why would one want to be exposed?”

“By believing in His Son, which provides for us the atonement needed, we get to experience God’s love. It’s not just “hear say”, but living a life of His love.”

“But, those who do not believe in the Son, will not get to experience this eternal life. And, hard to swallow, but true according to His word, will abide under the wrath or anger of God. And we must always be reminded that the “wrath” comes only because of sin. It is easy to forget this. God’s anger is not on the individual who refuses His Son, but on the sin which has yet to be atoned for. Unatoned sin brings forth God’s wrath. If in doubt of this, take some time and read God’s book. From front to back it deals with sin and atonement.”

God bless you with His love!

Relentless Pursuit

June 3, 2012

Upon rebelling against the Lord, one is carried away into captivity. As they walk around the mountain of captivity, chained and shackled, there is One who is continually pursuing, continually hovering over them in love, grace and mercy. He speaks out, “Just give up! Just stop your running! I am here! I am waiting for you to give up!”

Pursuing Life

May 25, 2011

The physical existence of life here on earth consists of being alive physically, but yet, dead spiritually. Why? Because of our sins, which produce spiritual death in us. Our inner spirit searches for life, while the physical man tries to find life in physical pursuits. One will spend their whole life trying to find true contentment, peace, love and joy, but will never find it outside of receiving the Spirit of God. Why? Because the Spirit is true love, joy, peace and inner contentment.

Big sinners and little sinners?

April 10, 2011

We might classify them this way, but does Christ?

It is easy to look around us and see or hear people who we would consider to be “big time sinners”. Many times I hear people say, “oh I am certainly not as bad as that guy.” Or, “I’m a good person, I try to treat people right.” Well, trying to be good is good, and treating people right is also good. However, in God’s eyes, we all have sinned (countless times, in fact) and fall short of sinless perfection.

There were some people in Christ’s time that tattled on others and said that they were “worse sinners” than all the rest. We pick up the story in the Gospel according to Luke.

“There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or how about the eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who lived in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” (Lk.13:1-5)

So in Christ’s eyes, there is no “worse sinners”. The main point that He address here on both occasions, is that unless we “repent” (turn from sin) we will perish. This word means, “to destroy fully”. And also comes from a word that means “separation” and “departure”.  And it is all because of sin. The wage for sin is death. Not only physical death, but more importantly, spiritual death. This type of death is separation from God. That is what sin does, it separates.

So all the time, Christ is being offered as the cure for sin. He paid the debt for our sins on the cross in which He died. We are not sinless. We can’t approach a righteous, Holy God, unless we receive the Righteousness of Christ. The sinless sacrifice for all of our sins, is Christ. Sacrifice for sin, dates way back. There must be a sacrifice for sin. And, it’s an Old Testament law that states, “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin” Along comes the “sinless” sacrifice that God offered, which was His only Son. This He did, because of His love for us.

“God is not willing that any perish, but that all would come to repentance”(the turning away process from sin). That is the heart of God’s love.

“For God so loved the world (human’s) that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (Jn.3:16)

So, no “big sinners”. No “little sinners”. Just the message of the Christ. Repent from your sins and believe the Good News that God gave His Son for our own personal sins that separate us from God. The really good news is that you no longer have to be separated from God because of sin. If, you choose Christ for the forgiveness of sin. Because without Him, there is no eternal life, just eternal death. Life or death? Which choice will it be?