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1John 4,16b-18 Perfect Love casts out fear

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Sermon: Perfect Love Drives out fear


1.       Text: 1John 4:16b-18

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.  17 In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.  18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.


2.       Ideas from reading the Scripture







3.       Boundaries: Unit of Thought






4.       Core idea







5.       What does the writer say about the core idea









6.       Surf the Testaments





7.       Distill into a Power Statement







8.       Pictures in Scripture Album






9.       Notch out the Passage






10.     What truth do you want to relay

PEMAY92 Humor/Medication/Headaches: A CURE FOR SPLITTING HEADACHES  Another new mixture:  a combination of aspirin and glue, for people with splitting headaches.  Submitted by Reverend John H. Hampsch, Los Angeles, California+

PEJUL92 Time/Troubles/Worry: TIME TO WORRY A man once said, "I've got so many troubles that if anything bad happens today it will be two weeks before I can worry about it. Submitted by Dennis Kamper, Fellowship Christian Reformed Church, Greeley, Colorado+

SFAUG92 /Student/Tests/Anxiety/Grades/Prayer: ONE LESS TEST Mike was studying for a test one evening.  He was very quiet for a long time.  So  naturally his parents became curious.  When they checked on him, they overheard this prayer:  "Now I lay me down to rest, And hope to pass tomorrow's test.  If I should die before I wake, that's one less test I have to take."  Submitted by Bruce Rowlison, Gilroy, California+

PEAPR94 /Anxiety/Worry/Work/Laziness: WORRY OR WORK Studies show that more people die from worry than from work.  This should come as no surprise, however.  The law of averages is in their favor.  At any given moment, there are more people worrying than people working.+

PEMAY95 /Stress/Patience/Control/Self-Control: THOSE WHO KEEP THEIR HEADS If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it's just possible that you haven't grasped the situation.  By Jean Kerr, submitted by Dicky Love, Christ Community Church, Ruston, Louisiana+

WEST TEXAS PREACHING  A visiting preacher was quite concerned when he began the first night of a revival meeting and noticed all of the men were wearing a gun.  Although rattled, he did the best he could with his sermon.  When finished, his anxieties heightened as several of the men walked to the front with their guns drawn.  In panic, he turned to the chairman of the deacons who was sitting next to him.  The deacon quickly calmed his fears, "Oh, don't worry about them.  They ain't coming after you.  They're looking for the guy who invited you to preach."  (Watching The World Go By, W.E. Thorn, 1987, p. 68)  IOWJANFEB93+

WORRY  An exasperated husband asked his wife, "Why are you always worrying, it doesn't do any good."  She quickly piped back, "Oh yes it does!  90% of the things I worry about never happen."  One minister saw worry in a different light.  When asked whether or not he ever worried, the wise pastor said, "Of course not.  Worry is sin.  If I'm gonna sin, I pick something a lot more fun than worry."  ("You Don't Have To Worry," Michael Dean, The Baptist Hour, 2/5/93)  IOWJULAUG93+


Part of the arrogance of human nature is to think that we know more than others do. In this letter, the apostle John addresses the problem of false teachers who were making lofty claims about their knowledge regarding the deity and nature of Christ. John counters their false claims by reminding his readers of the eyewitness accounts of the apostles, including himself. Jesus Christ came in human flesh, lived a human life, died, and then was raised from the dead. He was fully human and fully God. Anything else being taught by others was false. In this letter, John sounded the alarm: False teaching could not be tolerated. Falsehoods would lead to immorality, and immorality would lead to eternal death. In contrast, the truth would demonstrate itself in love, and love would lead to eternal life. For John, what one believed truly mattered.

Author and Date • The author of this letter is understood to be John, the beloved apostle. Though he does not identify himself in this letter, the similarity of vocabulary and writing style between this book and the Gospel of John argues convincingly that both were written by the same person. The writings of the early church fathers, from Ignatius to Polycarp, also identify John as the author of this letter. Furthermore, in the epistle’s first few verses (1:1–4), the author places himself among the eyewitnesses of the earthly life of Christ, as one who literally saw and touched “the Word of life.” Obviously such a description fits an apostle but not a second-generation church leader. Finally, the author virtually calls himself an apostle (the “we” of 1:1–3; 4:14 seems to refer to the apostles).

Although some have argued that the epistle was written before the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, a later first-century date allows for the appearance of the ideas that later developed into Gnosticism, ideas that John was probably addressing in this letter. On the other hand, the letter could not have been written later than the end of the first century, when John died. Also, the evidence of early second-century writers who knew of the epistle and quoted from it demonstrates that it was written prior to then. Thus First John probably was written just a few years before the Book of Revelation.

In determining the date of the writing, several factors should be considered. First, the tone of the book and especially the attitude of the author toward the readers suggest an older person addressing a younger generation. Second, Irenaeus indicates that John lived in Ephesus and wrote to the churches of Asia. John’s letters to the churches of Asia in Revelation (see Rev. 2; 3) substantiate Irenaeus’s comment. It is natural to conclude that First John is directed to these same believers. Third, Paul visited Ephesus several times between A.D. 53 and 56, using the city as the center of his evangelism efforts. Timothy was in Ephesus with Paul around A.D. 63 and was still there when Paul wrote him around A.D. 67. There is no indication that Timothy and John were at Ephesus at the same time, so John must have visited Ephesus after Timothy’s departure. This would put the date of the writing of First John after A.D. 67 but before A.D. 98. A date around A.D. 90 seems reasonable.

Historical Background • Gnosticism was a problem that threatened the church in Asia Minor during the second century A.D. Gnosticism was a teaching that blended Eastern mysticism with Greek dualism (which claimed that the spirit is completely good, but matter is completely evil). This teaching was present in the church in a seminal form during the latter years of the first century. By the middle of the second century it had become a fully developed theological system, which included Gnostic gospels and epistles. John recognized the danger of Gnosticism and wrote to counteract its influence before it could sweep through the churches of Asia Minor. Based on the concept that matter is evil and spirit is good, some Gnostics concluded that if God was truly good He could not have created the material universe. Therefore, some lesser god had to have created it. According to them, the God of the Old Testament was this lesser god. The dualistic views of Gnosticism were also reflected in the prevalent belief that Jesus did not have a physical body. This teaching, called Docetism, claimed that Jesus only appeared to have a human body and never actually suffered pain and death on the Cross.

Another heresy that John addressed in this letter and personally confronted at Ephesus was Cerinthianism. This heresy taught that Jesus was just a man upon whom the “Christ” descended at His baptism, that the Christ then departed from Jesus just before His crucifixion, and that thus the spiritual Christ did not really suffer and die for humanity’s sins on the Cross, but only appeared to.

There are several indications that John was addressing these heresies in this epistle. Note the use of expressions like “which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled” (1:1); “every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God” (4:2); and “He who came by water and blood” (5:6). All of these phrases use explicit and vivid language to describe the Incarnation, the truth that Jesus is both completely God and completely human.

Purpose and Themes • John most likely wrote this letter with two purposes in mind—one pastoral and one polemical. John’s pastoral purpose was to promote fellowship (1:3). But for the believers to have true fellowship, they needed to understand the true nature of God (1:5; 2:29; 4:7, 8). Thus the pastoral purpose naturally leads to the polemical purpose (2:26), which was to protect his readers against the deceptive ideas of false teachers. If the believers were deceived by false doctrine, they would eventually lose their unity, which is possible only in the love of Christ. Evidently some deceivers had arisen among the believers (2:18, 19, 26). If Christians could sort out truth from falsehood, they would be able to maintain their unity in the faith and have an opportunity to show love to their fellow believers (3:11). For John, a person’s behavior was naturally a result of that person’s belief.

In accordance with John’s purpose, fellowship dominates the first portion of this letter (1:5—2:27), while assurance of salvation dominates the remainder. Key concepts in the letter include eternal life, knowing God, and abiding in the faith. In addition, John develops theological ideas in this letter through explicit contrasts, such as walking in light or in darkness, children of God or of the devil, life or death, love or hate. With these contrasts John was attempting to draw a clear line between true and false teachers.John was writing to believers who were dealing with a particular type of false teaching, the contagious heresy of early Gnosticism. He wrote this letter to encourage them to abide in what they had heard from the beginning so that they could maintain their fellowship with God and their love for fellow believers. In short, he exhorted them to make their belief in Christ evident to all, so that correct doctrine could be identified by their righteous life and their wholehearted love for others.

First JohnOutline

I.     Introduction: the message of eternal life  1:1–4

II.    Foundational principles  1:5—2:11

A.    Principles for fellowship with God  1:5—2:2

B.    Principles for knowing God  2:3–11

III.  Purpose of the letter  2:12–27

A.    Motivations for John to write the letter  2:12–14

B.    Love of the world versus love for God  2:15–17

C.    The antichrists’ denial that Jesus is the Christ  2:18–23

D.    Abiding in God’s Word  2:24–27

IV.  God’s righteousness  2:28—4:6

A.    Righteous living and abiding in God  2:28—3:3

B.    Two classes of people: the righteous and the wicked  3:4–9

C.    Two families: children of God versus children of the devil  3:10–15

D.    Love and obedience: an indicator of belonging to Christ  3:16–23

E.    Orthodox confession: an indicator of belonging to Christ  3:24—4:6

V.    God’s love 4:7—5:13

A.    Love: an indicator of a relationship with God 4:7–16

B.    Mature love and assurance of salvation 4:17–19

C.    The relationship between love for God and love for others  4:20—5:5

D.    The Father’s witness of Jesus 5:6–13

VI.  Epilogue: prayer and knowledge 5:14–21

A.    Assurance produces confidence and concern in prayer 5:14–17

  1. Proper knowledge 5:18–21

Freedom from Guilt

No one likes to feel guilty. Like an unwelcome guest, guilt shows up at the worst possible time and does not go away no matter how much you wish it would.

Yet the truth is that we need guilt. It is the only proper response to any offense, whether a selfish thought or a premeditated murder. Even a nonbeliever wants a burglar to feel remorse for his theft. Why? Because he should. Guilt exposes the truth that we wish to avoid: we have all sinned. John puts it this way: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1:8).

But John does not leave us with this dismal picture of ourselves. Instead he goes on to paint a glorious portrait of a forgiving God. This is our only hope: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1:9). Guilt does more than just deliver the distressing news. It unlocks the door to forgiveness. Progress, change, reform, and most important of all, God’s forgiveness all start with confession.

Confession works against the worst part of human nature, the part that imagines itself to be better than it really is. What person has not felt, “I’m not perfect, but I’m not as bad as my next-door neighbor”? This mindset always stops short of confessing; it would rather ignore or ease feelings of guilt than admit them. But only open confession of our sins will completely cleanse us. Only when we admit that we are sinners, unworthy of God’s grace, can we make a fresh start.

C. S. Lewis said that “No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good.” Similarly, we can never know how much we need freedom until we try to unload our burden of sin. Yet God’s forgiveness will liberate us to begin anew on the path of righteousness.[1]



The First, Second, and Third Letters of John open a window on one period in the life of the Johannine community, Christian groups that earlier had produced the Gospel of John. Indeed, interpretation of these writings depends in large measure on reconstructing their historical context from the sparse clues they supply. A major question concerns the relationship between the Johannine Letters and the Gospel of John. While some interpreters argue that one or all of the Letters precede the composition of the Gospel of John, most Johannine scholars now date the Letters after the Gospel or late in the extended period of its composition. A date about a.d. 100 is therefore preferred for the Letters. The three Letters are also usually attributed to one author, who may or may not have been the final editor of the Gospel.

The principal factor in the setting of the Letters appears in 1 John 2:19—the Johannine community was split; some of its members had left it. 1 John was written to the remaining members of the community to encourage them to remain faithful and to warn them against the errors of the opponents who had left the community.

1 John neither begins nor ends like a letter, presumably because it was not sent to another town but intended to be read locally. It is also anonymous, though there is no convincing evidence for assigning it to any figure other than the “elder” (Gk. presbyteros) of 2 John 1 and 3 John 1 (® Presbyter, Presbytery).

Apparently both the elder and his opponents held to a common tradition. 1 John offers an interpretation of this tradition and calls the community to hold to the teaching it had received, but it does not quote the Gospel of John or refer to the Beloved Disciple (® Beloved Disciple). One explanation for the absence of such an appeal is that the opponents claimed these authorities also.

The issues in the debate between the elder and the opponents are suggested by emphases in the Letters themselves. Whereas the Gospel was written “in order that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (John 20:31), 1 John insists that one must confess that Jesus Christ has come in flesh (4:2). 2 John 7 identifies the deceivers as those who do not confess “Jesus Christ come [having come or coming] in flesh.” From this emphasis on the incarnation, we may assume that the opponents held to the divinity of the Christ but either denied or diminished the significance of his humanity. Their view may be an early indication of Docetism, the heresy that emerged in the second century claiming that Jesus only seemed to be human.

In response, the elder reaffirmed the importance of the confession that the Christ came in flesh. The allusion to “water and blood” (1 John 5:6) may also be a reassertion of the importance of the death of Jesus. The opponents evidently placed so much emphasis on the coming of Jesus as the heavenly revealer (a key motif in the Fourth Gospel) that his death was no longer important for salvation. The elder consequently reasserted the importance of the humanity of Jesus and the saving significance of his death.

Similar inferences yield other points of difference between the two factions. The elder appealed to the community’s hope for the future. Although both factions held that believers have crossed over from death into life (1 John 3:14), the elder contended that the future coming requires that believers purify themselves and be righteous (3:2, 7).

The ethical teachings of the Gospel of John do not include anything like the richness of the Sermon on the Mount. Consequently, the elder repeatedly called for observance of the new commandment, love for one another, and for living “just as” Jesus lived (1 John 2:6, 18, 27; 3:2, 3, 7, 12; 4:17; 2 John 4, 6; 3 John 2, 3). In the view of the elder, the opponents had violated this community ethic by leaving the community; they had shown that they did not love the brethren. Those who remained, he exhorted, should continue to be faithful both to the tradition they had received “from the beginning” and to the community ethic of love for one another.

2 John and 3 John were probably written at about the same time as 1 John, but they are letters to sister churches. 2 John is addressed to “the elect lady and her children,” while 3 John is addressed to Gaius, a member of a congregation that had received travelers sent by the elder. From these letters we gain further information regarding steps the elder was taking to prevent the dissension from spreading to other congregations in the constellation of Johannine churches.

The Johannine Letters continue to have value for both historical and theological reasons. Because they cast light on a chapter in the history of the Johannine community, the Letters allow us to read the Gospel of John with greater insight. They expose both the strengths and weaknesses of Johannine theology and record the problems to which that theology was vulnerable. As a collection and individually, the Letters also provide a tragic reflection on the hostility and distortions that are created by schisms and divisions within the church. Their greatest value, therefore, may be realized as a by-product of their original purpose: they may help the church to recognize the destructive effects of divisions within the Christian community.[2]

4:7-21, The True Nature of Love.

 The love command was treated earlier in 2:7-11 and 3:11, 16-18. Now the elder delivers his climactic statement on the subject. The short, simple clauses of vv. 7-10 are almost poetic. Because love emanates from God’s essential nature and because God’s children live in response to their intimate relationship with him, love must characterize the Christian community. Again, the elder is not speaking of love in general, as though anyone who loves another human being belongs to God. He still has in mind the “new command” that Jesus’ followers love one another.

Those who live by this community ethic demonstrate that they already share in that life of unending fellowship with God. Those who do not love (i.e., the opponents) show that they have not come to know God. Verse 9 echoes John 3:16, and 4:11-16a comments on each part of the verse. Love comes not from the best of the human spirit but from the character of God, and especially in God’s sending his Son as an expiation for sin (2:2; 4:10). No one has seen God, but God’s love is brought to its fulfillment and completion in the community of believers. Through the witness of the Beloved Disciple, the community has seen the Son and can bear witness to him through its confession.

The experience of the abiding presence of the Spirit confirms the community’s knowledge of God. By living in response to God’s selfrevelation in Jesus, the community of believers experiences the fullness of God’s love and the ultimate purpose of life. The fulfillment of God’s love for us in our relationships with others results in a communion with God that not only brings his love to completion but also casts out fear of the future.

The beginning of v. 18 is marked variously in different manuscripts, but most translations place the beginning at “there is no fear in love” (rsv). One who knows God’s love does not need to fear God’s judgment. The elder may be responding to the charges of the opponents, who apparently dismissed the future judgment because they had already “crossed from death into life” (3:14). While reasserting the importance of the command to love, the elder maintains the reality of the future judgment also—but protects himself from the charge that he fears the judgment because he does not know God’s love.

Returning to the command to love, the elder concludes this section by pointing again to the contradiction involved in saying that one loves God when one does not show love for brothers and sisters in the Christian community.[3]

1. That God is love (v. 16); he is essential boundless love; he has incomparable incomprehensible love for us of this world, which he has demonstrated in the mission and mediation of his beloved Son. It is the great objection and prejudice against the Christian revelation that the love of God should be so strange and unaccountable as to give his own eternal Son for us; it is the prejudice of many against the eternity and the deity of the Son that so great a person should be given for us. It is, I confess, mysterious and unsearchable; but there are unsearchable riches in Christ. It is a pity that the vastness of the divine love should be made a prejudice against the revelation and the belief of it. But what will not God do when he designs to demonstrate the height of any perfection of his? When he would show somewhat of his power and wisdom, he makes such a world as this; when he would show more of his grandeur and glory, he makes heaven for the ministering spirits that are before the throne. What will he not do then when he designs to demonstrate his love, and to demonstrate his highest love, or that he himself is love, or that love is one of the most bright, dear, transcendent, operative excellencies of his unbounded nature; and to demonstrate this not only to us, but to the angelic world, and to the principalities and powers above, and this not for our surprise for a while, but for the admiration, and praise, and adoration, and felicity, of our most exalted powers to all eternity? What will not God then do? Surely then it will look more agreeable to the design, and grandeur, and pregnancy of his love (if I may so call it) to give an eternal Son for us, than to make a Son on purpose for our relief. In such a dispensation as that of giving a natural, essential, eternal Son for us and to us, he will commend his love to us indeed; and what will not the God of love do when he designs to commend his love, and to commend it in the view of heaven, and earth, and hell, and when he will commend himself and recommend himself to us, and to our highest conviction, and also affection, as love itself? And what if it should appear at last (which I shall only offer to the consideration of the judicious) that the divine love, and particularly God’s love in Christ, should be the foundation of the glories of heaven, in the present enjoyment of those ministering spirits that comported with it, and of the salvation of this world, and of the torments of hell? This last will seem most strange. But what if therein it should appear not only that God is love to himself, in vindicating his own law, and government, and love, and glory, but that the damned ones are made so, or are so punished, (1.) Because they despised the love of God already manifested and exhibited. (2.) Because they refused to be beloved in what was further proposed and promised. (3.) Because they made themselves unmeet to be the objects of divine complacency and delight? If the conscience of the damned should accuse them of these things, and especially of rejecting the highest instance of divine love, and if the far greatest part of the intelligent creation should be everlastingly blessed through the highest instance of the divine love, then may it well be inscribed upon the whole creation of God, God is love.

2. That hereupon he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him, v. 16. There is great communion between the God of love and the loving soul; that is, him who loves the creation of God, according to its different relation to God, and reception from him and interest in him. He that dwells in sacred love has the love God shed abroad upon his heart, has the impress of God upon his spirit, the Spirit of God sanctifying and sealing him, lives in the meditation, views, and tastes of the divine love, and will ere long go to dwell with God for ever.

Verses 17-21

The apostle, having thus excited and enforced sacred love from the great pattern and motive of it, the love that is and dwells in God himself, proceeds to recommend it further by other considerations; and he recommends it in both the branches of it, both as love to God, and love to our brother or Christian neighbour.

I. As love to God, to the primum amabile—the first and chief of all amiable beings and objects, who has the confluence of all beauty, excellence, and loveliness, in himself, and confers on all other beings whatever renders them good and amiable. Love to God seems here to be recommended on these accounts:—1. It will give us peace and satisfaction of spirit in the day when it will be most needed, or when it will be the greatest pleasure and blessing imaginable: Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment, v. 17. There must be a day of universal judgment. Happy they who shall have holy fiducial boldness before the Judge at that day, who shall be able to lift up their heads, and to look him in the face, as knowing he is their friend and advocate! Happy they who have holy boldness and assurance in the prospect of that day, who look and wait for it, and for the Judge’s appearance! So do, and so may do, the lovers of God. Their love to God assures them of God’s love to them, and consequently of the friendship of the Son of God; the more we love our friend, especially when we are sure that he knows it, the more we can trust his love. As God is good and loving, and faithful to his promise, so we can easily be persuaded of his love, and the happy fruits of his love, when we can say, Thou that knowest all things knowest that we love thee. And hope maketh not ashamed; our hope, conceived by the consideration of God’s love, will not disappoint us, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost that is given to us, Rom. 5:5. Possibly here by the love of God may be meant our love to God, which is shed abroad upon our hearts by the Holy Ghost; this is the foundation of our hope, or of our assurance that our hope will hold good at last. Or, if by the love of God be meant the sense and apprehension of his love to us, yet this must suppose or include us as lovers of him in this case; and indeed the sense and evidence of his love to us do shed abroad upon our hearts love to him; and thereupon we have confidence towards him and peace and joy in him. He will give the crown of righteousness to all that love his appearing. And we have this boldness towards Christ because of our conformity to him: Because as he is so are we in this world, v. 17. Love hath conformed us to him; as he was the great lover of God and man, he has taught us in our measure to be so too, and he will not deny his own image. Love teaches us to conform in sufferings too; we suffer for him and with him, and therefore cannot but hope and trust that we shall also be glorified together with him, 2 Tim. 2:12. 2. It prevents or removes the uncomfortable result and fruit of servile fear: There is no fear in love (v. 18); so far as love prevails, fear ceases. We must here distinguish, I judge, between fear and being afraid; or, in this case, between the fear of God and being afraid of him. The fear of God is often mentioned and commanded as the substance of religion (1 Pt. 2:17; Rev. 14:7); and so it imports the high regard and veneration we have for God and his authority and government. Such fear is constant with love, yea, with perfect love, as being in the angels themselves. But then there is a being afraid of God, which arises from a sense of guilt, and a view of his vindictive perfections; in the view of them, God is represented as a consuming fire; and so fear here may be rendered dread; There is no dread in love. Love considers its object as good and excellent, and therefore amiable, and worthy to be beloved. Love considers God as most eminently good, and most eminently loving us in Christ, and so puts off dread, and puts on joy in him; and, as love grows, joy grows too; so that perfect love casteth out fear or dread. Those who perfectly love God are, from his nature, and counsel, and covenant, perfectly assured of his love, and consequently are perfectly free from any dismal dreadful suspicions of his punitive power and justice, as armed against them; they well know that God loves them, and they thereupon triumph in his love. That perfect love casteth out fear the apostle thus sensibly argues: that which casteth out torment casteth out fear or dread: Because fear hath torment (v. 18)—fear is known to be a disquieting torturing passion, especially such a fear as is the dread of an almighty avenging God; but perfect love casteth out torment, for it teaches the mind a perfect acquiescence and complacency in the beloved, and therefore perfect love casteth out fear. Or, which is here equivalent, he that feareth is not made perfect in love (v. 18); it is a sign that our love is far from being perfect, since our doubts, and fears, and dismal apprehensions of God, are so many. Let us long for, and hasten to, the world of perfect love, where our serenity and joy in God will be as perfect as our love! 3. From the source and rise of it, which is the antecedent love of God: We love him, because he first loved us, v. 19. His love is the incentive, the motive, and moral cause of ours. We cannot but love so good a God, who was first in the act and work of love, who loved us when we were both unloving and unlovely, who loved us at so great a rate, who has been seeking and soliciting our love at the expense of his Son’s blood; and has condescended to beseech us to be reconciled unto him. Let heaven and earth stand amazed at such love! His love is the productive cause of ours: Of his own will (of his own free loving will) begat he us. To those that love him all things work together for good, to those who are the called according to his purpose. Those that love God are the called thereto according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28); according to whose purpose they are called is sufficiently intimated in the following clauses: whom he did predestinate (or antecedently purpose, to the image of his Son) those he also called, effectually recovered thereto. The divine love stamped love upon our souls; may the Lord still and further direct our hearts into the love of God! 2 Th. 3:5.

II. As love to our brother and neighbour in Christ; such love is argued and urged on these accounts:—1. As suitable and consonant to our Christian profession. In the profession of Christianity we profess to love God as the root of religion: "If then a man say, or profess as much as thereby to say, I love God, I am a lover of his name, and house, and worship, and yet hate his brother, whom he should love for God’s sake, he is a liar (v. 20), he therein gives his profession the lie.’’ That such a one loves not God the apostle proves by the usual facility of loving what is seen rather than what is unseen: For he that loveth not his brother, whom he hath seen, how can he love God, whom he hath not seen? v. 20. The eye is wont to affect the heart; things unseen less catch the mind, and thereby the heart. The incomprehensibleness of God very much arises from his invisibility; the member of Christ has much of God visible in him. How then shall the hater of a visible image of God pretend to love the unseen original, the invisible God himself? 2. As suitable to the express law of God, and the just reason of it: And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also, v. 21. As God has communicated his image in nature and in grace, so he would have our love to be suitably diffused. We must love God originally and supremely, and others in him, on the account of their derivation and reception from him, and of his interest in them. Now, our Christian brethren having a new nature and excellent privileges derived from God, and God having his interest in them as well as in us, it cannot but be a natural suitable obligation that he who loves God should love his brother also. [4]




He warns them not to believe all who boast of the Spirit, 1—6;  and exhorts to brotherly love, 7—21

16 we.  See on ver. 9,10 3:1,16 Ps 18:1-3 31:19 36:7-9 Isa 64:4 1Co 2:9 God is love.  See on ver. 8,12,13 and he. 12 3:24

17 our love.  Gr. love with us.  made.  See on ver. 12 2:5 Jas 2:22 we may. 2:28 3:19-21 Jas 2:13 the day. Mt 10:15 11:22,24 12:36 2Pe 2:9 3:7 as. 3:3 Mt 10:25 Joh 15:20 Ro 8:29 Heb 12:2,3 1Pe 3:16-18 1Pe 4:1-3,13,14

18 is no. Lu 1:74,75 Ro 8:15 2Ti 1:7 Heb 12:28 fear hath. Job 15:21 Ps 73:19 88:15,16 119:120 Jas 2:19 He that.  See on ver. 12

1 Jo 4 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  

1 Joh 316 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

4:12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Rom 8: 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.


Phil 46 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Attacking Anxiety

by David DeWitt

Philippians 4:6-7

Attacking Anxiety
Selected Passages
October 7, 2001

What do all of these things have in common?
 Fear to take action
 Cowardice to deal with difficult situations
 Withdrawal from daily life
 Depression and discouragement
 Distrust and unbelief
 A defeatist attitude
 Unwise and harmful decisions

All of these things can be caused by anxiety
After the events of September 11th, it is safe to say that we are a nation with a great deal of anxiety.

Six in 10 Americans Worried About Becoming a Victim of Terrorism:
Americans are much more worried today about becoming a victim of terrorism than they were after the Oklahoma City bombing six years ago. The current poll shows 60% of Americans saying they are either "very" or "somewhat" worried that they or someone in their family will become a victim, compared with 42% who expressed that view in April 1995, shortly after the Oklahoma City bombing. Last year, at the fifth anniversary of that bombing, only 24% said they were worried.

How can we deal with the reality of anxiety? How can we live without worry in times like these?

I. The Reason of Anxiety
Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
A. Our problems are opportunities
1. The simple fact is that we hang on to our difficulties
a.) We do not share our problems with others. We do not share our problems with God. Is it any wonder why we feel so overwhelmed so often?
b.) What does your anxiety do? It does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but it does empty today of its strength. It does not make you escape the evil; it makes you unfit to cope with it when it comes. God gives us the power to bear all the sorrow of His making, but He does not guarantee to give us strength to bear the burdens of our own making such as worry induces. Ian Maclaren
2. Our problems are opportunities to prove God’s grace
a.) When we hold onto our difficulties we rob ourselves of the blessing of God’s assistance. We fail to see miracles in our lives because we try to make through life by our own power
b.) The problems in your life are an opportunity to prove God’s guidance, love and grace. When we try to solve our problems on our own we make matters worse.
B. God desires to lift your burdens
1. God wants us to give Him our anxiety
a.) God knows everything. He knows your sins. He knows your pain and hurt. He knows your needs. He is waiting for you to come to Him.
b.) God wants you to give Him all of your anxiety. Not part of it, not some of it, not most of it but all of it! Why don’t we do just that? God can handle all of your problem better than you can. Let Him do it!
2. God cares about you
a.) God has a deep love for you. He created you. He knows you better than you know yourself. He knows all of your failures. He loves you in spite of it all. He is now calling you to enter His love
b.) God cares for you. This is so amazing. The same hand that crafted the stars wants to move in your life. The same voice that spoke light into existence is calling your name. The God over everything is concerned about you and your life.

II. The Reward of Anxiety
PR 12:25 An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.
A. Our worry only makes matters worse
1. Anxiety is worthless
a.) There is zero value in worry. It does nothing good for us. The words of Jesus express this truth completely: “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”
b.) The reality of anxiety
An average person’s anxiety is focused on :
40% -- things that will never happen
30% -- things about the past that can’t be changed
12% -- things about criticism by others, mostly untrue
10% -- about health, which gets worse with stress
8% -- about real problems that will be faced

2. Anxiety adds distress to our difficulties
a.) Our anxiety about difficulties only creates more problems. Our anxiety adds additional stress to our lives.
b.) Worry pulls tomorrow’s cloud over today’s sunshine. C. Swindoll, Questions Christians Ask, p. 18

B. God has offered us His kind Word
1. God gives us His promises
a.) Never will I leave, Never will I forsake you
b.) For I know the plans I have for you, plans to give you a hope and a future.
c.) I will be your God and you will be my people
2. Good news – God always keeps His word

III. The Resolution of Anxiety
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
A. The replacement of anxiety
1. We are to be anxious for nothing
a.) There was reason to be anxious
The church was facing: severe persecution, disunity within the church, carnality of some members, false teachers and some members who were struggling to survive
b.) God will enable every believer
God fills us with His peace because He overcomes the trials of life. We are called to be concerned, not anxious. Concern moves us to act with courage. Concern moves us to conquer problems and difficulties in life
2. The remedy for anxiety – Prayer
a.) We are to walk with God: Four types of prayers
1.) General prayer – Regular times of devotion and worship
2.) Petition – Time of intense need that drive us to pour out our heart to God. These are times when we desperately seek God and His assistance
3.) Thanksgiving – Times of offering praise to God for all that He is and all that He does for us
4.) Requests – These are definite things that we ask for and reveal that prayer is meant to be specific
b.) We are to pray about everything
1.) Hold nothing back
No matter how small or insignificant the need may seem, God wants to handle it for you. God is interested in the details of your life.
2.) Prayer enables us to have peace
The Widow’s Story: A widow who had successfully raised a very large family was interviewed by a reporter, she had raised six of her own children and adopted 12 others, she always maintained stability and confidence, the reporter asked what her secret was, the woman said that she was in a partnership, she replied - “Many years ago I said, ‘Lord, I’ll do the works and you do the worrying.’ And I haven’t had an anxious care since.”
B. The peace of God
1. Peace that is beyond understanding
a.) The meaning of peace
1.) Peace means to be bound or woven together
2.) Peace is the calm assurance and security that can only come from the love of God
3.) Because God loves us we can know…
* God will Deliver us * God will guide us
* God will provide for us * God will strengthen us
* God will encourage us
b.) The experience of peace
2. Peace that guards our hearts and minds
a.) The term guard means to garrison or protect. The peace of god is like an elite guard who protects a precious possession, your heart
b.) The condition is to be in Christ Jesus. Those who have no faith in Christ have reason to be anxious. They have no support in life. They have no strength from God’s presence during hard times. They have no power to overcome the challenges of life.

Good afternoon,
I am God. Today I will be handling all of your problems. Pleae remember that I do not need your help. If the devil happens to deliver a situation to you that you cannot handle, DO NOT attempt to resolve it. Kindly put it in the SFJTD (something for Jesus to do) box. It will be addressed in MY time, not yours. Once the matter is placed into the box, do not hold on to it or attempt to remove it. Holding on or removal will delay the resolution of your problem. If it is a situation that you think you are capable of handling, please consult me in prayer to be sure that is the proper assumption. Because I do not sleep or slumber, there is no need for you to lose any sleep. Rest, my child. If you need to contact me, I am only a prayer away.

Today, if you have a burden that you have been carrying, give it over to God. If you have a difficulty that you cannot bear, give it over to God. If you have a problem that seems impossible to solve, give it over to God.

Managing anxiety

by Andrew Chan

Proverbs 12:25-25

Managing Anxiety
By Pastor Andrew Chan, PBC, Oct.28, 2001

“Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression,
But a good word makes it glad.” Pro.12:25 (NKJV)
Scene from "Meet the Parents" movie -
Girl brings home boy to meet her parents. U can hear the words "Anxiety Attack" going through the boy’s mind! Girl greeted by HER father and mother and they have a great reunion, they do their "family" hugs and kisses which seems to last an eternity while the poor guy is left standing on the outside... Feel for the guy eh?
Six in 10 Americans Worried About Becoming a Victim of Terrorism:
Americans are much more worried today about becoming a victim of terrorism than they were after the Oklahoma City bombing six years ago. The current poll shows 60% of Americans saying they are either "very" or "somewhat" worried that they or someone in their family will become a victim, compared with 42% who expressed that view in April 1995, shortly after the Oklahoma City bombing. Last year, at the fifth anniversary of that bombing, only 24% said they were worried.

And I believe the figures are even higher now!

An average person’s anxiety is focused on :
40% -- things that will never happen
30% -- things about the past that can’t be changed
12% -- things about criticism by others, mostly untrue
10% -- about health, which gets worse with stress
8% -- about real problems that will be faced

How can we deal with the reality of anxiety? How can we live without worry in times like these?

A. There is no denying anxiety

Even the Bible admits it:
1 Listen to my prayer, O God.
Do not ignore my cry for help!
2 Please listen and answer me,
for I am overwhelmed by my troubles.
3 My enemies shout at me,
making loud and wicked threats.
They bring trouble on me,
hunting me down in their anger.
4 My heart is in anguish.
The terror of death overpowers me.
5 Fear and trembling overwhelm me.
I can’t stop shaking.
6 Oh, how I wish I had wings like a dove;
then I would fly away and rest!
7 I would fly far away
to the quiet of the wilderness. Ps. 55 1-7 (NLT)

Ever wish you can just fly away, away from people, problems. Identify with the PRESSURE?

Jesus even guarantees it...
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows…”John 16:33 (NLT)

There’s even a reward for it...
The Reward of Anxiety - depression
“Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression…” Pro.12:25 (NKJV)
“An anxious heart weighs a man down…” Pro 12:25 (NIV)

Or rather the reward is worthless...
Our worry only makes matters worse. Anxiety is worthless.
There is zero value in worry. It does nothing good for us. The words of Jesus express this truth completely: “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Matt. 6:27 (NIV)
Our anxiety about difficulties only creates more problems. Our anxiety adds additional stress to our lives.

“Worry pulls tomorrow’s cloud over today’s sunshine.” C. Swindoll, Questions Christians Ask,

B. God has offered us His good/kind Word
“… but a kind word cheers him up.” Pro 12:25 (NIV)
“But a good word makes it glad.” Pro.12:25 (NKJV)
1. God gives us His promises
i. Good word tells us He is with us!
“Never will I leave, Never will I forsake you” Heb.13:5 (NIV)

ii. Good word is not only is with us, He is for us!
“For I know the plans I have for you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jer.29:11 (NIV)

iii. Good word also says: He enjoys us being with him as family.
“3 How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we belong to Christ. 4 Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5 His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure. Eph.1:6-9 (NLT)

iv. Good word also says: Our sins are forgiven!
6 So we praise God for the wonderful kindness he has poured out on us because we belong to his dearly loved Son. 7 He is so rich in kindness that he purchased our freedom through the blood of his Son, and our sins are forgiven. 8 He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.9 God’s secret plan has now been revealed to us; it is a plan centered on Christ, designed long ago according to his good pleasure.” Eph.1:6-9 (NLT)

“LORD, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive? But you offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear you. I am counting on the LORD;
yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in his word.” Ps.130:3-4 (NLT)

v. Good word says: we have nothing to fear from God, if we trust Him.

“For the LORD your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty savior. He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will exult over you by singing a happy song.” Zeph.3:17 (NLT)

2. Good news – God always keeps His word
“if God is for us, who can be against us?” Rom.8:31(NIV)

Testimony: It is amazing how many times God has come to rescue me in time of need with kind words for God’s people just when I needed it. So my counsel is... practice kind words to each other, u don’t know how much it can do to heal wounds and how God can use your words to bring His kind word to others.

C. Coming to Terms with Anxiety

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

One word describes these words: Surrender! Have you surrendered everything to God? So that God can do this amazing thing called “guarding your heart and mind.” He will be vigilant, watching over you, in midst of anxious moments? Will u go to Him?


Today, if you have a burden that you have been carrying, give it over to God. If you have a difficulty that you cannot bear, give it over to God. If you have a problem that seems impossible to solve, give it over to God. Like a sack of potatoes, heave, cast your cares upon God. He’s big enough to take it all!
So…“Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)



How to stop a virus from spreading in your church.

Systems thinking is a little like immunology: If the T-cell count plummets, that jeopardizes the body's resistance to disease. One thing affects another. Everything is connected.

To understand the parts, you must look at the whole—that's systems thinking.

In his book Generation to Generation, Edwin Friedman, who died in 1996, applied the way family members related to one another to the way churches and synagogues operate as a whole. A disciple of Friedman, Peter Steinke, a Lutheran (ELCA) minister and counselor, has written Healthy Congregations (Alban Institute), which evaluates the health of a congregation using family-systems theory. Steinke views churches as living, breathing organisms.

Leadership senior associate editor Dave Goetz asked Steinke how systems thinking might help pastors bring health to their congregations.

In Healthy Congregations, you say that disease in a church can be good. How so?
Peter Steinke: For any system to be healthy, it has to be challenged; sometimes that challenge comes in the form of conflict. A healthy congregation is one that actively and responsibly addresses or heals its disturbances. It is not one with an absence of trouble.

I work with many churches that deal with their problems in secrecy—talking behind people's back, for example. That sort of behavior doesn't lend itself to healing. Healing comes with exposure to the light.

How should a pastor resist secrecy?
One way is simply to announce it: "We've had secret meetings. We need to deal with things openly here."

The biblical injunctions in Matthew 18 are so clear. By going to the offending brother or sister, taking along a leader, bringing the issue to the whole community, you are creating exposure.

On the other hand, sometimes criticism or complaining may be legitimate, and if the pastor attacks, he prevents people from speaking their mind and their values.

How does a church build a strong immune system?
By having a strong sense of vision and mission. Then a church can judge its behavior and activities. Otherwise, the basis for decision-making becomes personal whims.

Can a pastor evaluate a church's health before accepting the call to it?
If the congregation hasn't had much vision or a sense of mission, you should ask yourself, "Are they ready for it? Do they see the value of it?" So often a church says, "We want you to help us change," but the change is never specified. The more specific and concrete the discussion about change becomes, the more likely that change can take place.

How long does it take for an unhealthy church to become healthy?
From two to five years. Edwin Friedman once said, "For any chronically anxious system to get better it has to go through an acute phase." The biggest enemy of the healing process is to short-circuit the change or conflict or whatever is creating the acute phase. I think it was Kierkegaard who said, "In order for the wound to be healed, the wound must be kept open."

When the system has conflict, the system opens up. It's a wonderful time for the church family to learn. But the first thing it wants to do is close up again. For example, when a church loses a pastor, the first thing it wants to do is get another, quickly. Instead, the church should use that period for learning.

How does a pastor survive the acute phase?
First, remember that it's not going to stay acute forever. You have to have fevers. You have to vomit before the system gets back into balance. That means you need stamina and a long-range view of things. This is where a consultant, a coach, or someone on the outside can be helpful.

Second, you need to find a release outside the church so the conflict isn't on your mind all the time.

Third, you need to remember that everything that goes on is not about you, even though it gets focused on you. In any emotional system, the people in the most responsible or vulnerable position become the target of the anxiety. If you're the senior pastor, the anxiety in a church will be focused on you.

How can a pastor evaluate whether the church is in an acute phase leading to health or is so unhealthy that it will never improve?
If you're in a situation where people always blame or collect injustices and become victims, the situation may be chronic. If people continually imply that if you were not there, they would be fine, you may be in a no-win situation.

How does a pastor not react when people respond negatively?
Try to remember that it's never anxiety that undoes the system; it's the overreacting to it or trying to kill it that causes problems.

I just returned from two days of interviewing people in a diocese in conflict on the East Coast. I listened to a lot of anxiety and angst. Even as a consultant, I was becoming anxious about the problems in this diocese. I called a friend last night and talked about it, and I feel better now. He kept saying, "Pete, it's not your issue." That's how infectious anxiety can be.

But we need to remember: Anxiety can't continue if it doesn't have a host cell.

A host cell?
A host cell provides viruses with shelter and nourishment. For example, often a member of a church staff will become a host cell to a group of complainers in the church and begin to undermine the staff. I not only look to see who generates the anxiety but also who is amplifying it, who is contributing to it. Amplifiers are as much of a problem as the person who generates it.

If you as the pastor become the host cell to everybody's anxiety—you try to appease everybody or you try to squash those who oppose you—you're simply providing shelter and nourishment for the virus.

Are larger churches more immune to disease?
The larger the church becomes, the harder it is for everybody to stay focused on you in a negative way. Politics are less personal.

Regardless of church size, though, if viruses find a host cell, that will continue their capacity to replicate and to infect the body. But with an immune system, a church can have community.

How can a pastor encourage healthy behavior when anxiety is triggered?
By normalizing the anxiety. Whenever there is change, loss, separation, we become anxious. For example, in grief counseling, therapists say to folks, "The way you're functioning right now seems strange and odd to you, but this is what should happen. You're going through the process of grieving."

A pastor could do this in sermons, conversations, and church newsletters. We must allow people to articulate what's going on. It's also important for pastors to bring the gospel to bear on the anxiety: that even in the midst of this, we have not been abandoned. Nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ.

This puts a lot of pressure on the pastor to be a healthy person.
That's what Ed Friedman was really after. He said, "Leadership is not technique, expertise, skill. It's who you are."

Is it possible for a pastor to become healthy in a unhealthy system?
I think you can become healthier. Be aware of how you function and make choices about what you are ready to do. That's maturity. It's good stewardship. The first thing God asks us to be is a steward of ourselves.

A healthy person is comfortable with himself or herself in the presence of others. A healthy person is not a John Wayne, who says, "I don't give a rip about you; I'm just going to be me." He or she is always in relationship.

Copyright © 1997 by the author or Christianity Today International/Leadership Journal. For reprint information call 630-260-6200 or e-mail
Summer, Vol. XVIII, No. 3, Page 46

Ten Vital Signs: Stephen Macchie says to look for these healthy traits:

1.     God's empowering presence

2.     God-exalting worship

3.     Spiritual disciplines

4.     Growing community

5.     Loving relationships

6.     Servant-leadership

7.     Outward focus

8.     Proficient administration

9.     Inter-church networking

10.  Generous stewardship

See his book Becoming a Healthy Church: Ten Characteristics (Baker, 1999)


[1]Earl D. Radmacher, general editor; Ronald B. Allen, Old Testament editor, Nelson Study Bible [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997.

[2]Mays, James Luther, Ph.D., Editor, Harper’s Bible Commentary, (New York: Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc.) 1988.

[3]Mays, James Luther, Ph.D., Editor, Harper’s Bible Commentary, (New York: Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc.) 1988.

[4]Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.

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