I. "HEREIN IS OUR LOVE MADE PERFECT."
A. The word perfect is whole, complete, matured.
1. Perfect love described.
a. It is longsuffering and kind.
b. Rejoices in the truth.
c. Bears all things.
d. Believes all things.
e. Hopes all things.
f. Endures all things.
g. It never fails.
a. It does not envy
b. It isn't self seeking.
c. Does not have inflated opinion of self.
e. Doesn't insist on its own way.
f. Doesn't get provoked.
g. Doesn't think evil.
h. Doesn't rejoice in iniquity.
B. Love is the essence of the message of the Christian gospel.
1. It begins with God's love for us.
a. "For God so loved the world."
b. vs.7 "Love is of God and every one that loveth is born of God and knows God.
c. vs. 8 "If you don't love you don't know God."
d. "God is love." That is the very essence of His nature.
e. vs. 9 "God's love is manifested to us by His sending His Son, to be the propitiation for our sins, that we might live through him."
2. It continues in our love for God and each other.
a. vs.19 "We love Him because He first loved us."
b. vs.7 "Beloved let us love one another."
c. vs.11 "Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought to love one another."
C. How is our love made perfect?
1. By God dwelling in us.
No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect.
2. How can we know that God is dwelling in us?
Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
a. "Now the fruit of the Spirit is love."
b. This is by far the greatest evidence that I have been filled with the Spirit. Not that I speak in tongues, or can work miracles, or prophesy, but that I have love for God and for the brethren.
II. THE PROOF THAT I HAVE THE SPIRIT, "BECAUSE AS HE IS SO ARE WE IN THIS WORLD."
A. Jesus said that we would receive power after the Spirit had come upon us to be His witnesses.
1. We too often think of witnessing as the verbalizing of our faith.
2. It is the living of our faith.
3. Our lives are a more dynamic witness than our words.
4. The words of a man are often totally negated by his life.
5. The word Christian means Christ-like.
a. It was a name given to the church, not adopted by the church.
b. It was given by the pagan society in which they lived.
c. They observed that they lived like Jesus.
d. We often express this desire in our hymnology.
"To be like Jesus."
"Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me."
"Fill with Thy Spirit, till all shall see, Christ only always,
living in me."
B. My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit so that Jesus Christ might live His life through me.
1. The beginning of the Acts of the Apostles.
The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:
2. Jesus continued his acts and demonstrations of love even after He ascended into heaven.
a. These were now done through the apostles whom He had chosen.
b. God intends that they should be done through us today.
c. My life is to be a witness of His love.
3. The Bible says concerning Jesus, that He was a true and faithful witness, i.e. of the Father.
a. To know what God is like you can look at Jesus.
b. He was the express image of His person.
c. He said, "If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father."
d. We are to be His witnesses.
e. Unfortunately we are always true and faithful witnesses.
III. "THERE IS NO FEAR IN LOVE."
A. Paul wrote to Timothy, "God has not given to us the spirit of fear, but of love, and of a sound mind."
B. God loves me.
1. That should put to rest all of my fears concerning the difficult circumstances that I might be facing.
2. That should put to rest all of my fears of the future.
3. David said, "I will fear no evil for You are with me."
4. To Isaiah God said,
Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called [thee] by thy name; thou [art] mine.
When thou passest through the waters, I [will be] with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
For I [am] the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt [for] thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.
Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.
Fear not: for I [am] with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west;
5. If I know that God loves me supremely and that He is with me, therefore I shall not fear. His perfect love dispels all of my fears.
B. "Perfect love casts out fear."
1. I know that God loves me perfectly or completely.
2. I know that He is in control of my life and all of the circumstances that I face.
3. I will therefore not fear.
4. Fear would be a denial of His love.
5. David said, God [is] our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
[Though] the waters thereof roar [and] be troubled, [though] the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.
6. I am often asked about the year 2000 and what I am doing to prepare myself for the coming catastrophe. So far, nothing.
a. I do not fear.
b. I am trusting the Lord.
For they sought to make us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, [O God], strengthen my hands.
Afterward I came unto the house of Shemaiah who [was] shut up; and he said, Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us shut the doors of the temple: for they will come to slay thee; yea, in the night will they come to slay thee.
And I said, Should such a man as I flee? and who [is there], that, [being] as I [am], would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in.
And, lo, I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me: for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.
Therefore [was] he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so, and sin, and [that] they might have [matter] for an evil report, that they might reproach me.
C. Fear has torment.
1. There are so many people today are tormented by fears.
a. Hydrophobia, claustrophobia, agoraphobia, acrophobia, phobophobia, etc.
b. How sad it is to see a person tormented by fear.
D. He who fears is not yet perfected in love.
1. You must learn to rest in His love.
The LORD thy God in the midst of thee [is] mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. We need to also rest in His love.