Summary: Marriage sermon on "There is no fear in love."

A Marriage ceremony

Scripture reading: 1 Joh 4: 7 - 19

A lot of humour surrounds weddings. From millions of anecdotes to witty stories surrounds this whole magical thing of getting married. One humorous story, which forms part of the rich folklore, which surrounds weddings in South Africa, is the well-known incident regarding the telegrams read at a reception. Before fax-machines and the general availability of telephones, it was a custom to send a telegram to the couple who was married.

At a certain wedding a telegram was sent meaning to read as follows, dear, (couple’s names being married), best wishes for your marriage, 1John 4:18. This is a magical verse, which reads as follows: “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. “ In this specific instance however, the Post-Office omitted the numeral 1, resulting in John 4:18 being sent to the newly-weds. John 4:18 however reads as follows: ‘‘you are right when you say you have no husband. 18 the fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

It was this specific piece of humour that set me thinking a little bit more seriously about the intended verse, being: ”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.”

The phrase “there is no fear in love.” conjures images of white pigeons fluttering away in the sunset with violins playing in the background. What does it mean? How is it possible that love can drive away fear?

For fear is a very real issue for couple’s names being married. They are mature, intelligent and without a lot of the sentimental illusions about marriage. They know that marriages can fail. They have seen it happen to some of their friends.

Furthermore, they are embarking on a new adventure in life. There is the fear of the unknown. And it would be cruel and cheap sentiment for me to send them off on this new adventure with a quaint verse, which reads: “There is no fear in love.” Without offering to them the true meaning of these words of wisdom.

I believe that we must look at what the Bible means with this almost mystical word ‘love’.

It is important to know that even though we read this word love many times in the Bible, the original text in Greek has many different words, which we translate as love. From erotic love, brotherly love and then the word ‘agapeo’. This is the word used in this text which we read.

This word has a very interesting meaning, for the love it describes is a love, which drives away, fear, It is a love that is not victim to whimsical human nature, it is a love that conquers all.

Because this love has a unique origin. Its origin is God Himself. The God that so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son, who loved us, His love for you and me caused his death.

This love is based on a godly decision. If emotions were to play a role in this love then the prayer of “Father let this cup pass me by” would have been answered. But a decision was made. A decision which withstood all the emotions of fear and anguish.

And this is what is required from you two today, a decision. For love is not a feeling, it is an act of your will. Love is a decision made by your will, which then goes over into deeds.

I must repeat this; love is a decision, which leads to action and deeds.

That is why verse 18 can state there is no fear in love. For in this verse it is the fear of God’s judgement, which disappeared when a Christian has made the decision through Gods grace to love Him.

Then there is no fear of God leaving us, of God punishing us, of God rejecting us. Of God deciding one morning I don’t love you any more I am leaving.

Would it not be wonderful if (couple’s names being married) could also have this immense peace of mind. Our love is based on Gods love for us. Our love is an act of our wills, our love is a decision we made, a decision which we will stick to.

Hear this, believe this, live this, then your lives will be free from fear. The fear of rejection, punishment and alas abandonment.

Love is not a feeling it’s an act of your will.

Then as if by magic, you two can look at one another and say: “You are not only my husband, you are Gods husband for me and you are not only my wife, you are Gods wife for me.”

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