Perfect LoveBro. David Chancellor
5/7/2006 11:00 AM
1 John 4:15-19
Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.
"Herein is our love made perfect…" God’s love didn’t need anything else, but our love did. There was a time in our lives where we didn’t have love for God, but only for ourselves. There came a time where God’s love reached us and changed us. We have been made different than we were and we now have love towards God.
"…because as he is, so are we in this world…" We can be as Christ is, even here and now. We can have the righteousness of Christ within us, and live as he is, now.
When love is made perfect in us, fear is cast out. Some fears are normal, and are for our preservation. These fears, such as fear of being hit if stepping in front of a moving vehicle, are not what perfect love casts out.
We love God because he first loved us.
For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
This is the fear that is cast out by perfect love – the fear of the judgment. When we love God with all our hearts, and we desire to please him, we don’t have "a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation." Adam and Eve had this fear in the garden when they disobeyed God. Perfect love casts out this fear. If you disobey or sin willfully, then this fear will return. If it doesn’t, then you need to be concerned, because that is the condition of a hardened sinner with a seared conscience. Anyone in that condition is headed for a death sentence without realizing they’re in court and need a lawyer. People have to realize that they need God. Grace introduces us to the knowledge of God as our judge, and that he has an expectation of us. It brings fear of judgment. Grace then brings people to a place of both love and fear. They love God, but this love isn’t all it needs to be because it is motivated by fear. Many people will stop at that point. Perfect love is love with no fear. We want people to come to this relationship with God. We desire to come into God’s presence.
In the story of Esther, Esther was afraid to approach the king and tell him what was in store for herself and her people because she hadn’t been called. She couldn’t approach him without fear. This is some people’s approach to God. Perfect love gives us boldness to come into the presence of God. It allows us to bring our problems to him freely and without fear. It removes the fear that would hold us off from God. We no longer fear because there is no longer anything between us and God.
Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might…" You could read this as a commandment, but love is hard to command. This is an explanation of how things CAN be. It doesn’t have to be a duty, but something that is possible. The Israelites did NOT love God this way. Something else was there. They didn’t keep his commandments and his words weren’t in their hearts. When love is perfect, you’ll love God with all, and his words will be in your heart, and you will WANT to do whatever God directs. Too many people have to have the commandment being laid down with a fear of judgment on it to keep them in line. These don’t have perfect love. When perfect love is there, you can live it from the inside out. The doctrine that says, "I can sin and God doesn’t care" is dangerous because it puts people in the position of no fear and no love. Perfect love casts out fear and stays in its place.
And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee, And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee. If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers. And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.
Moses was telling them that when they got in trouble and turned to God, that God would help them and bless them again. He saw that unless something happened, they would experience both. "And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed…" The heart needs to be circumcised. Something needs to be removed so that our love to God can be what it ought to be. God sent Jesus to correct the condition of our hearts that prevents us from having perfect love toward him. "…to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live." When God fixes the heart, perfect love will be there. We can walk with God with confidence toward him. Perfect love causes you to love only what God loves. We can have him search us and not be afraid of what he will find. We aren’t hiding anything from God. If you don’t have the perfect love of God, you’ll hesitate to come into his presence. This circumcision of ht heart is sanctification where the love of God is completed in you. It removes the boundaries that would keep you from bringing everything into the presence of God.
And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
God did the operation. He did something that made it possible to be totally focused on him and love him with all we are. This doesn’t remove us from the world. Jesus wants us to be part of this life and to interact with others, but he also prayed that we would be kept from the evil. When we come to God, he becomes the center and first love of our lives. He has changed us to where we can love him as we ought to love him.
"…In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ…" We first put off the sins and guilt, and begin to do what we believe God would have us to do. He then changes our nature where we hold nothing back from God anymore. We no longer try to serve two masters. We no longer try to hold onto the world and hide that from God. The fear and its torment are cast out. You don’t have to fear the judge when he’s just like you. You don’t have to be afraid when you’re in agreement. The love of God can be shed abroad in your heart and you can have this perfect love.
If you don’t have perfect love, seek God to change you and remove anything that stands between you and him. You can then look forward to being in his presence without fear. You can have confidence, assurance and love toward God.
Whiter Than Snow
James Nicholson and William G Fischer
Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole; I want thee forever to live in my soul;
Break down every idol, cast out every foe; now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
Lord Jesus, look down from thy throne in the skies and help me to make a complete sacrifice;
I give up myself and whatever I know, now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
Lord Jesus, for this I most humbly entreat, I wait, blessed Lord, at thy crucified feet;
By faith for my cleansing I see thy blood flow, now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
Lord Jesus, thou seest I patiently wait, come now and within me a new heart create;
To those who have sought thee thou never saidst "No," now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
Whiter than snow, yes whiter than snow; now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.