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Perfect Love With No Restraint (1 John 4:18)
Sermon Notes
Sunday, 03 November 2013 00:00

This week we considered 1 John 4:18, and particularly the word translated “torment” in the NKJV. It is the Greek word kolasin, which occurs twice in noun form (here and Matthew 25:46 “punishment”) and twice in verbal form (Acts 4:21, “punishing” and 2 Peter 2:9 “under punishment”).

Three reputable Greek Dictionaries suggest that the basic meaning of the word is “restraint” and pointed out that in literature outside the New Testament, the word kolasin was used of the pruning of a fruit tree to stunt (restrain) its growth.

This verse would then be saying that “perfect love casts out fear because fear keeps me from growing up, restrains me from maturing in love, from reaching the goal of growing in love to that point where I am walking by faith and giving love away to others.

In other words, fear holds us back; it restrains us.

We looked at the Acts 4:21 and 2 Peter 2:9 usages and noted that in both instances the idea of restraint is there in terms of confinement or restraint of freedom a prisoner experiences.
John’s point is that fear keeps us or prevents us from reaching out in sacrificial, selfless, unconditional (agape) love.
But when we release the Holy Spirit to call the shots in our lives, He can and will produce the fruit of agape love in and through our lives as a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).
He will cast out the fear that restrains us!

What we are saying here is that only God’s love (maturing agape) can break through the sinful layers of self-protection which keep us from experiencing oneness/intimacy/fellowship with Him and with other believers. A full perception of His perfect love for me can help my own love “grow up” by removing (casting out) that fear of rejection that restrains (and prevents) me from loving others as He has loved me and as He asks me to do to others.

We have seen that until I perceive God’s perfect love for me, I may not be sufficiently motivated to dispense God’s agape love to another Christian on any kind of sustained basis.
But always remember: Love is action!

Dave Anderson (in Maximum Joy: 1 John – Relationship or Fellowship?) illustrates the concept of our battle with fear in the following possible and somewhat humorous conversation between the Lord and me:
It’s as though the Lord leads me to the edge of a cliff and says,
“It’s My will for your life that you jump.”

I respond with a stupid smile on my face and say, “Excuse me?”

“You heard Me,” says the Lord. “This is My will for you, so jump. Right over here. I want you to go to that person who hurt you and reach out to them. I don’t want you to build a protective wall. If you’ve got one, I want you to cut right through it.”

“But Lord, I don’t want to jump. That’s the pit of rejection down there, full of sharp rocks. I might get hurt! I can’t stand rejection.

The Lord comes right back, “Have you forgotten something? Have you forgotten about My infinite love for you? I have a bungee cord of love tied around you.
You know what My will for your life is? Jump for Jesus, and you’ll find that you might get near the bottom and might even bounce off the wall of this cliff a couple of times on the way down. You can be hurt by people, but you can’t be destroyed.
My bungee cord of love is there, even though you don’t feel it while you are in a free fall. It will bring you up before you are destroyed. And you can love again.”

The key to perfect love is perceived love. May we “get it” so we can generously “give it!”
A full perception of His perfect love for me can help my own love “grow up” by removing the fear of rejection, which prevents me from loving others as He has asked me to do!

Dionne Warwick was right when she sang, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love.”
But she was wrong when she sang, “It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.”
There is an infinite supply of love – enough for the whole world and more – but, to hitchhike off the title of another song, people are “looking for love in all the wrong places.”
But what a privilege we have as those who have been so loved by God.

We have been born again, born from above, into His forever family by His marvelous, matchless grace through our simple faith!
Let us not allow the fear of rejection to keep us from walking by faith and reaching out to others with God’s love.
May we share the reality of that love with those who come into our lives this week!

 

 

 

 

 

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