When love casts out fear 1 John 4:18- EBC
Intro. As a child it was fun to watch the movies about the swamp monster that ate an entire city, or the space alien that tried to conquer New York or Tokyo. These movies were fun because you could be afraid for an hour or so, and then it was all over. The monster was killed; the aliens were fought off. It is not fun to be afraid in the “real” sense. Fear is that emotion that is so well known. It is produced by a sense of danger, impending calamity or some dire emergency, or even by walking into a dentist’s office. It is a powerful emotion that can damage both the physical body and the personality. Fear can even block the thought processes. John Madden, of CBS Sports crisscrosses the country many times each fall in a customized bus because he is afraid of flying. A few years ago, one first-round draft choice in the NBA quickly ended his career with an unconditional release by his team because of his paralyzing fear of flying. Several years ago, a televised circus act with Bengal tigers was broadcast live. The tiger trainer went into the cage with several tigers to do a routine performance. The door was locked behind him. The spotlights highlighted the cage, the television cameras moved in close, and the audience watched in suspense as the trainer put the tigers through their act. However, in the middle of the performance, the lights went out! For 20 or 30 seconds the trainer was locked in a dark cage with Bengal tigers, a whip and a chair. The tigers could see the trainer, but he could not see them! After the event was over, in an interview, the trainer was asked how he felt about his situation in the cage. He first admitted to the chilling fear of the situation, but he pointed out that the tigers did not know that he could not see them. He said, “I just kept cracking my whip and talking to them until the lights came on. They never knew I could not see them as well as they could see me.” This story says something about many fears. Face them and go on doing the best you can. As a child you may have had a fear of the dark. As an adult you may fear failure or rejection, the future, some potential health crisis, or of your death or the death of a loved one. The Bible has the answer for our fears. John wrote: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear. . . .” (1 John 4:18). Christ’s love is the perfect defense against the physical and mental effects of fear.
One of the oldest and strongest emotions known to man is fear. Fear blurs our vision and prevents us from seeing God as he really is. Fear causes us to look at the problem rather than at the fixer.
Warren Wiersbe- .And this is written to believers! Is it possible that Christians can actually live in fear and torment? Yes, unfortunately, many professed believers experience both fear and torment day after day. And the reason is that they are not growing in the love of God. They may not be growing because they don’t understand the love of God. Our understanding of the love we see in the world has clouded our understanding on the love of God. Much of our love comes with strings attached. Human love loves and expects something in return- God loves and expects nothing in return. Real love is always sacrificial.
Have you really experienced God’s love? When you do experience God’s love you will have a new found love for others. God’s love is so great that if you live close to Him, you will find yourself becoming more like Him, valuing what He values, acting like He acts. When you get close to God, you will find yourself becoming more loving, and that’s the key to all relationships. Getting close to God doesn’t depend on God it depends on you. We have too many other things to do.
The reason that the believer need not fear (phobia (foo-bos)-frighten) is that the relationship between him and God through Christ is based on love, and in love “there is no fear. Literally it means- “fear is not in love”. There should be no dread in the life of the one in whom God dwells. In fact the claim here is that love and fear are mutually exclusive. But- shows us that fear and love can’t co-exist together.
A.T. Robertson- calls this phrase a powerful metaphor and notes that this can mean “to turn out-of-doors.” The evil of fear is cast out of those in whom God’s love is being perfected. Perfected love is love that has gone beyond desire and is put in action. When we love each other with a love that is put into action it casts out all fear of judgment. John Piper- Brothers and sisters, one of the main reasons why so many professing Christians have little confidence with God and little boldness with men is that their lives are not devoted in love to the salvation of the lost and to the glory of God, but instead are devoted (often by sheer default) to providing earthly security and comfort for themselves and their families.
The deficiency of love causes us to fear God’s judgment. We have a real problem understanding divine forgiveness- because we have a problem with forgiveness. Lloyd Olgivie- “. As love matures in our lives on a day-to-day basis, the result is that fear is cast out”.
Self-interested love carries with it fear.
If people are afraid, it is because of something in the past that haunts them, or something in the present that upsets them, or something in the future that they feel threatens them. A believer in Jesus Christ does not have to fear the past, present, or future, for he has experienced the love of God and this love is being perfected in him day by day.
We don’t have to be afraid of the future because our sins have already been judged, not be afraid of the past because he first loved us (1 John 4:10) nor of the present because perfect love cast our fear.
God wants his children to live in an atmosphere of love not fear. Rom. 8:35-39. As we grow in fellowship with God fear will vanish and our hearts will grow with his love.