Read I John 4:18
WHEN I HAVE A DISEASE THAT’S KILLING ME:
-I don’t need, you don’t need A DOCTOR WHO HOLDS YOUR HAND, AND SAYS, THERE, THERE, THERE.
-We need TO BE TOLD THE TRUTH, A DOCTOR WHO WILL GIVE ME THE TRUTH, not a BAND-AID.
-What did Jesus say in John 8:32,
“YE SHALL KNOW THE TRUTH, AND THE TRUTH SHALL
MAKE YOU FREE.”
-OUR FEARS, and all that GOES WITH THE LIFE STYLE OF FEAR, demands special surgery.
-TO FACE THE TRUTH ABOUT MURMURING, DISCONTENT, BITTERNESS, AND FEAR!
-And to GET BENEATH THE SURFACE, demands, RADICAL SURGERY, TO FACE THE LIGHT OF JESUS CHRIST.
-Then, and then only WILL WE BE RELEASED FROM FEAR AND ANXIETY INTO TRUE LIVING!
I. THE TRUTH ABOUT FEAR, WHAT IS THE REAL ENEMY BEHIND IT?
-The text that we read at the OUTSET, has a very CRITICAL PRINCIPLE YOU MUST HEAR!
-We read in I John 4:18,
“THERE IS NO FEAR IN LOVE, BUT PERFECT LOVE
CASTETH OUT FEAR.”
-Now, I don’t know what that does to you, IT IS ABSOLUTELY GLORIOUS IN REVELATION!
-Before trying to UNDERSTAND THAT TRUTH, here are FIRST SOME GIVENS ABOUT IT:
1. Fact #1 – THE GREEK WORD FOR FEAR IS PHOBOS, for LOVE it is the Greek word AGAPE.
2. Fact # 2 – THERE IS NO PHOBOS IN AGAPE, there is NO FEAR IN LOVE.
3. Fact # 3 – PERFECT AGAPE totally CASTS OUT PHOBOS, LOVE CASTS OUT FEAR FROM OUR LIVES.
4. FACT # 4 – Perfect LOVE DOES TO FEAR WHAT LIGHT DOES TO DARKNESS. Perfect LOVE DOES TO FEAR WHAT JESUS DOES TO DEMONS. Perfect LOVE DOES TO FEAR WHAT JESUS BLOOD DOES TO SINS.
5. Fact # 5 – IT MUST BE PERFECT LOVE, note that, TELOS – FULL, COMPLETE, PERFECT. AGAPE AND PHOBOS COEXIST IN OUR HEART ONLY WHERE LOVE IS IMPERFECT. Perfect LOVE EXCLUDES FEAR, as TRULY AS PERFECT UNION EXCLUDES SEPARATION.
Jay E. Adams talks about a man with a phobia for crossing bridges who overcame this problem through the strength of his love – in order to save his children. The question in my mind surrounding this story is: “What changed in this man?” The answer is rooted in the man’s love for his children. Like our heavenly Father, this father would do anything to ensure the safety of his children. During his unselfish act, he receives a divine cure for his phobia. In fact, he did not remember anything about his fear for crossing bridges at the time; otherwise he may have panicked and stopped. But perfect love for his children cast out his fears. Perfect love led to deliverance without anyone laying hands on him. That is the work of our Father in Heaven whose compassion can minister equally to both believers and unbelievers.
As we recognize that God loved us first, by sending His only Son into this world as an atoning sacrifice for our sins, we are able to love Him back and also to extend that divine love to everyone around us. Our walk with the Lord enables us to grow in love, and this love produces faith and boldness to negate the fear in and around us. What am I saying here? I am simply establishing a fact: The more we fear, the less we love; the more we love, the less we fear; but love conquers all fear.
a. THERE IS NO FEAR OF ANY KIND IN LOVE, whatsoever.
b. In fact, LOVE CASTS OUT, EXPELS, DRIVES AWAY FEAR TOTALLY! ONLY LOVE DOES IT.
c. But, it must be PERFECT LOVE, FEAR COMES ONLY WHERE GOD’S KIND OF LOVE IN THE HEART IS NOT YET PERFECTED.
d. IF YOU LOVE YOU DO NOT FEAR, IF YOU FEAR YOU DO NOT LOVE
-ISN’T ALL THAT CLEAR, REMARKABLE, AND DOWN RIGHT SHOCKING?:
1. Of course we have lived with I John 4:18 for such a long time – PERFECT LOVE CASTS OUT FEAR.
2. As a matter of fact, we HAVE LIVED WITH IT FOR SO LONG, we no longer HEAR IT.
3. Haven’t YOU REALLY EVER STOPPED TO ASK – ISN’T THAT A STRANGE OPPOSITE?:
a. LOVE CASTS OUT FEAR, I would HAVE THOUGHT PEACE WOULD DRIVE OUT FEAR.
b. THE MORE PEACE I WOULD HAVE, certainly, the LESS FEAR WOULD AFFLICT ME.
c. I can understand PERFECT PEACE CASTS OUT FEAR!
-But LACK OF TRUE AGAPE BEING THE HIDDEN ENEMY BEHIND FEAR!
-That MY FRIEND IS SHOCKING, it TRIGGERS LOTS OF THOUGHTS!
4. Or again, I would HAVE THOUGHT MAYBE PERFECT SECURITY CASTS OUT FEAR!
a. But no, no that isn’t true, SOME OF THE MOST SECURE PEOPLE ARE THE MOST FEARFUL.
b. Security, IN TERMS OF WEALTH, POSSESSIONS, INCOME, YET FEARFUL AND UNBELIEVING.
5. NO, NO, NO:
a. TRUE PEACE, TRUE SERENITY, TRUE SECURITY HAPPENS WHEN YOU LOVE WITH GOD’S LOVE.
b. THEY ARE THE OPPOSITE OF FEAR, AND THEY ARE THE GLORIOUS RESULTS OF LOVE!
-OH THE BIBLE IS SO CONSISTENT, ALWAYS, GLORIOUSLY, EXCITINGLY CONSISTENT!
1. Paul wrote to Young Timothy another well-known statement in II Timothy 1:7,
“GOD HAS NOT GIVEN US THE SPIRIT OF FEAR, BUT OF
POWER,OF LOVE, AND OF A SOUND MIND.”
2. There it is again, a bit more added, but IN PRINCIPLE THE SAME.
-OH, I KNOW THIS HURTS, ALL SURGERY DOES:
1. This TRULY DOES HURT, BUT COME INTO THE LIGHT AND STAND THERE!
2. In so FAR THAT I’M FILLED WITH FEAR, I AM NOT FILLED WITH GOD’S LOVE!
3. Those of you who have been delivered of fear, have been delivered by being filled with love.
4. YOU HAVE FOUND OUT WHAT TRUE LOVE REALLY IS, AND THEN FEAR WENT OUT THE WINDOW!
-Paul KNEW THAT FOR YOUNG TIMOTHY THE PREACHER:
I. Paul was TRYING TO BUILD YOUNG TIMOTHY UP CONSTANTLY!
2. You see, YOUNG TIMOTHY WAS NOW SENIOR PASTOR OF THE CHURCH AT EPHESUS!
3. He had APPOINTED ELDERS THERE, AND WAS TRYING TO CARRY OUT GOD’S VISION FOR THE CHURCH.
4. HE NEEDED TO CARRY ON HIS MINISTRY AS AN UNCOMPROMISING PASTOR.
5. It is also quite possible THAT PASTOR TIM HAD NO DAD:
-That is why perhaps that Paul wrote to him in II Timothy 1:5,
“I CALL TO REMEMBRANCE THE TRUE FAITH THAT IS
IN THEE, WHICH DWELT FIRST IN THY GRAND-
MOTHER LOIS, AND THY MOTHER EUNICE,
AND I AM PERSUADED THAT IN
-No mention of a FATHER, strange, SEEING FATHER IS HEADSHIP, LEADER, EXAMPLE!
-Either, No FATHER, or perhaps, NO SPIRITUAL FATHER TO LEAD THE WAY, AND ENCOURAGE him.
-Paul became TIM’S SPIRITUAL DADDY, as HE STATES
IN II Timothy2:1,
“THOU, MY SON, BE STRONG IN THE GRACE THAT IS
IN CHRIST JESUS.”
6. In any event, Tim WAS POSSIBLY BESET WITH HUGE INFERIORITY COMPLEX, plus being YOUNG.
7. Paul therefore, comes TO HIM WITH GOD’S ANTIDOTE AGAINST FEAR:
–II Timothy 1:7-8,
“FOR GOD HATH NOT GIVEN US THE SPIRIT OF FEAR,
BUT OF POWER, OF LOVE, AND OF A SOUND MIND.
BE NOT THOU THEREFORE ASHAMED OF THE
TESTIMONY OF OUR LORD.”
–Don’t back down and don’t back off young Timothy, but be bold and fearless in the power of God’s love.
Everyone already knows this famous story about Winston Churchill, but it provides a more contemporary entry point for Paul’s insistence that Timothy must courageously hold his ground in a threatening world.
Churchill was invited to give a speech to the young boys at the school he had attended as a lad. The great Prime Minister had led and inspired England through the dark days of World War II. He was a national hero, a spellbinding speaker. So, when his speech was scheduled, the principal of the school gathered the students together and gave them this speech. “Young men, the greatest speaker of our time—perhaps of all time—our Prime Minister, will be here in a few days to address you, and you will be very wise to listen carefully to whatever advice he may bring to you.”
At last the great day came, and the Prime Minister arrived. He stood behind the lectern, fixed the students with a stern gaze and delivered this speech, consisting of 15 words. “Young men, never give up, never give up, never give up! Never, never, never, never!”
This is the word of the Lord from an old man at the end of his life to a young man and a struggling church. We will never give up if we love Jesus and His disciples and the lost with GOD’S TOTALLY SELFLESS LOVE. All quitters are LOVELESS, SELFISH PEOPLE.
II. WHY THEN? WHY IS LACK OF AGAPE THE HIDDEN CAUSE OF PHOBOS?
-I see THE FACTS, I COME OUT INTO THE LIGHT, I WANT TO CHANGE!
-But, what DOES PERFECT LOVE HAVE TO DO WITH SOLVING PHOBIAS?
-WHAT? WHAT IS FEAR?
1. Well you SEE, FEAR IS TOTALLY DRAWN INTO AND CAUGHT UP WITH SELF!
2. FEAR, you must understand IS TOTALLY, COMPLETELY, SELF-CENTERED!
a. Fear is Anxious ABOUT WHAT MAY HAPPEN TO ME IF I FLY!
b. Fear is Anxious ABOUT WHAT MAY HAPPEN TO ME IF I TRAVEL!
c. Fear is worried ABOUT WHAT THEY MAY DO OR THINK ABOUT ME!
d. Fear is worried ABOUT WHAT THAT DECISION OR DEED MAY DO TO ME!
3. YOU SEE:
a. AT THE CENTER OF ALL FEAR, IS SELF, SELF-ABSORPTION, SELF PRESERVATION.
b. That is it – SELF LOVING SELF, SELF AT THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE!
c. And I MUST NOT DO, SAY, BE, GO ANYWHERE THAT WILL ENDANGER SELF.
a. Inside MY MIND, running, not necessarily physically running, but running inside myself.
b. Inside, FLEEING DOWN THE CORRIDORS OF MY MIND, from whatever might hurt self!
c. Inside, RUNNING SCARED DOWN THE FANTASY WORLD OF MY IMAGINATION, from whatever this is that’s chasing me.
d. SELF, always, ENCLOSED IN SELF, running IN FEAR, AND RUNNING INTO SELF.
e. And, THEN OUTSIDE, literally RUNNING AWAY FROM ALL AND ANYONE THAT MIGHT ENDANGER SELF!
f. But, AT THE HEART OF IT ALL:
“FEAR, IS PURE UNADULTERATED, UNMIXED
III. BUT WHAT THEN IS LOVE, PERFECT AGAPE?
1. AGAPE IS SELFLESS, UNSELFISH, UNMIXED WITH ANY SELF, SELF GIVING, TOTALLY.
2. That is why we read the incredibly BLUNT, STATEMENT IN I Corinthians 13:5,
“LOVE, AGAPE, GOD, SEEKETH NOT ITS OWN.”
a. Now you MUST SEE THAT LOVE IS TOTALLY, 1000% SELFLESS!
b. Hear it again, I Corinthians 13:5,
“LOVE, AGAPE, SEEKETH NOT HER OWN, PERIOD!”
c. That’s WHAT’S SO PERFECT ABOUT IT, IT IS PERFECTLY, COMPLETELY SELFLESS.
d. Rather, LOVE SEEKS TO BLESS, HELP, GIVE JOY, PROTECT, GIVE PLEASURE TO THE OTHER.
A little girl named Liz…was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her five-year-old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her younger brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. He hesitated for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, “Yes, I’ll do it if it will save her.”
As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister, and smiled, as they all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, “Will I start to die right away?” The little boy had misunderstood the doctor. He thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.
-AGAPE LOVES JESUS so, it will do anything TO ADVANCE HIS CAUSE, with NO FEAR AT ALL.
-AGAPE LOVES OTHERS so, it will do anything, go anywhere, TO BLESS THEM WITH NO FEAR AT ALL.
A sociology tutor asked a mother of three children in her last year of studying, along with others, to go and smile at three people and document their reactions. Being a very friendly person, this lady set out for McDonald’s with her husband and their three children. Hoping to share a special moment with her family, they were soon standing in line waiting to be served when all of a sudden everyone around them began to back away, including her husband. She did not move an inch, although an overwhelming feeling of panic welled up inside of her as she turned to see why everyone had moved.
As she turned around, a horrible dirty body smell greeted her, and there standing behind her were two poor homeless men. One of them was short and had a smile on his face. The man’s eyes were sky blue and full of God’s light as he searched for acceptance. He said, “Good day” as he counted the few coins he had been clutching. The second man was mentally challenged, and the blue-eyed man was his support. The young lady at the counter asked what they wanted, and he said, “Coffee is all, Miss.” That was all they could afford, and if they wanted to sit in the restaurant and warm up, they had to buy something. They just wanted to be warm.
Our final year student and mother of three children smiled and asked for two extra breakfast meals on a separate tray, which she then gave to the two homeless people. The blue-eyed man looked up at her with tears in his eyes and said, “Thank you.” She leaned over, began to pat his hand, and said, “I did not do this for you. God is here working through me to give you hope.”
The lady cried as she walked away to join her family. They held hands for a moment, knowing that it was only because of God’s grace that they had been able to give. That day showed them the pure light of God’s love.
e. WHY WITH NO FEAR:
-Well AGAPE IS TOTALLY SELFLESS, so THERE IS NO SELF TO FEAR FOR OR WORRY ABOUT.
-PERFECT LOVE CASTS OUT FEAR, because perfect love is SELFLESS.
-1’11 go WHERE YOU WANT ME TO GO DEAR LORD, I’LL SAY WHAT YOU WANT ME TO SAY!
-Without fear, because I LOVE YOU, LOVE IS SELFLESS, NO SELF TO PROTECT OR WORRY ABOUT!
f. I John 4:18,
“HE THAT FEARETH IS NOT MADE PERFECT IN LOVE.”
THE PERFECT EXAMPLE OF LOVE CASTS OUT FEAR
-LOOK AT YOUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST:
a. It is glorious HOW THE GOSPELS, each ONE AGREEABLY RECORD HIS LIFE.
b. Oh, yes it does record JESUS WAS ANGRY ON OCCASION.
-Like when there was a MAN IN CHURCH WITH A WITHERED HAND!
-And, Jesus TOLD HIM TO STRETCH FORTH THAT WITHERED LIMB!
-Sometimes, WHAT JESUS TELLS US TO DO SOUNDS RIDICULOUS!
-STRETCH FORTH THAT WHICH IS WITHERED, He did a creative miracle.
-There were those WHO COMPLAINED THAT HE HEALED, ergo, WORKED ON THE SABBATH DAY.
-We read in Mark 3:5,
“WHEN HE HAD LOOKED ROUND ABOUT ON
THEM WITH ANGER.”
c. But, we never do READ THAT JESUS CHRIST WAS FEARFUL, AFRAID, TERROR-STRICKEN:
-Why? Because JESUS WAS PERFECT LOVE, AND IS PERFECT LOVE!
–I John 4:8,16 tell us THAT GOD IS AGAPE, and JESUS CHRIST IS GOD IN THE FLESH.
-Jesus LOVED THE FATHER PERFECTLY, HE LOVED HIS FELLOW MAN PERFECTLY!
-That is to say, JESUS WAS PERFECTLY SELFLESS, and would do anything FOR GOD, FOR US.
-SHRUNK NOT BACK, SET HIS FACE STEADFASTLY; PERFECT LOVE CASTS OUT FEAR!
-JESUS CHRIST WASN’T AFRAID OF ANYTHING, because HE WAS TOTALLY SELFLESS!
-JESUS CHRIST WASN’T AFRAID OF ANYONE, because He had no self to protect!
-JESUS CHRIST WENT TO HELL FOR US, because PERFECT LOVE CASTS OUT FEAR!
WELL THEN MY FRIENDS:
1. We, HAVE A VERY BIG DECISION TO MAKE RIGHT NOW IN THE LIGHT OF TRUTH!
2. And, THE DECISION IS THIS:
a. EITHER TO BE LOCKED IN THE COLD COFFIN AND DEATH OF FEAR and SELFISHNESS!
b. Or, TO BE UNLOCKED IN THE FREEDOM OF LOVE and SELFLESSNESS!
a. YOU HAVE THE CHOICE TO BE LOCKED IN A COLD, DANK COFFIN OF FEAR and SELF.
-OH YES, YOU ARE APPARENTLY SAFER THERE, HARD, COLD, LOCKED!
-It would SEEM THAT NO ONE OR NOTHING IS ABLE TO TOUCH YOU!
b. OR, TO BE OPEN IN THE GLORY OF LOVE AND UN-SELF!
-OH YES, TO LOVE IS TO BE VULNERABLE, TO GET HURT, TO BE BRUISED.
-BUT, THAT’S FINE, PERFECT LOVE CASTS OUT FEAR OF SELFISH HURT!
-DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST, VERY FIRST MENTION OF FEAR IN THE BIBLE?:
1. For those of us WHO ARE BIBLE STUDENTS:
-There is a “LAW OF BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION”, called “THE LAW OF FIRST MENTION.”
-Whenever a thing IS MENTIONED THE VERY FIRST TIME:
a. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT WAY ALL THROUGH SCRIPTURE.
b. That is its Biblical definition from that point onward.
2. Well then, THE FIRST MENTION OF FEAR IN THE BIBLE:
a. Is in Genesis 3 when ADAM SINNED AGAINST GOD!
b. It says in Genesis 3:10,
“THAT HE HEARD THE VOICE OF GOD COMING, AND HE
WAS AFRAID, AND HID HIMSELF BEHIND A TREE.”
3. Well then:
a. THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT FEAR ALWAYS DOES, FEAR SEES A THREAT TO SELF COMING.
b. FOR AT THAT MOMENT, GOD WAS A THREAT TO SELF, A DANGER TO SELF, WALKING IN THE GARDEN.
c. IF HE WOULD HAVE TRULY LOVED GOD, he would have gone out TO MEET GOD, IN THE LIGHT.
d. And, HE WOULD HAVE SAID TO GOD, I’VE SINNED, FORGIVE ME, I LOVE YOU!
-FEAR, that is, SELF, MUST PROTECT ITSELF!
-So, I will run away, cover up, lie, pretend, hide behind a tree.
f. YOU SEE:
“FEAR HAS DONE THAT IN THE BEGINNING, AND HAS
DONE IT EVER SINCE.”
DON’T YOU SEE MY FRIEND:
1. IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THE HIDDEN ENEMY BEHIND FEAR – SELF, SELF, SELF!
2. AND THE ONLY ANTIDOTE TO THE SELF-LOVING SELF IS AGAPE, GOD’S PERFECT LOVE!
3. So WHEN A PERSON IS AFRAID:
a. AFRAID WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN TO THEM, THEIR FAMILY, POSSESSIONS, and so on.
b. AND THEY WANT SYMPATHY AND PITY! PLEASE UNDERSTAND ME!
-NO, I HAVE TO SAY NO, IN YOUR FEAR I UNDERSTAND YOU TOO MUCH ALREADY!
-I MUST CALL UPON YOU TO FACE UP TO YOUR SELFISHNESS AND LONELINESS!
-You SEE, THAT’S THE INCREDIBLE AND BITTER PILL TO SWALLOW!
-SO OFTEN, THOSE WHO ARE AFRAID FOR THEMSELVES, OTHERS, DO SO IN THE NAME OF LOVE.
-FACT IS, WHERE THERE IS REAL LOVE, THERE CAN BE NO FEAR!
-FOR LOVE IS FORGETFUL OF SELF, AND doesn’t INFECT OTHERS WITH SELFISHNESS AND INSECURITY EITHER. Amen!!!