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Summary: Fear inhibits our abiity to experience the love of God and impedes our ability to love others... but perfect love expels our fear.

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Title: “No Fear” Love!

Text: I John 4:7-21 (17b-21)

Thesis: Fear inhibits our ability to experience the love of God and impedes our ability to love others… but perfect love casts out fear!

Series: The fifth in the series from I John 4:7-21, “The Christian’s Litmus Test,” based on the premise that love is at the core of what it means to be a Christian.

Introduction

It may just be my observation but my sense is Doomsday Preppers are fearful people. They are afraid that something cataclysmic is going to happen that will cause worldwide panic. They fear the effects of global warming and food shortages. Solar flares may cause electromagnetic pulses that wipe out the electrical grid essentially putting us in the dark and back into the Stone Age. They fear terrorism and civil unrest. They fear a worldwide economic collapse, asteroid strikes, earthquakes and even the possibility that the earth will be knocked off its axis resulting in a polar shift. Worldwide pandemics could wipe out most of the population. And then there is nuclear war and the apocalypse…

So, motivated by fear, doomsday preppers prepare for the worst. They have bug-out bags stashed should they need to leave immediately. They have bunkers in their homes, backyards or strategically located where they can go to hunker down until it is over. The 1% (rich people) is investing heavily in weighing the odds for their survival… some are spending upwards to $20 million to secure a celebrity condo in an abandoned missile silo in Kansas or North Dakota… Bunkers for the rich and famous are referred to as Beverly Hills Bunkers.

Preppers are stockpiling food and water to feed themselves for up to five years. They are taking self-defense courses and arms training. They have stockpiled weapons and ammunition. And at the core of it is their fear of death and instinct to survive.

Isn’t it interesting that we would think of a hole-in-the-ground as our safe place? (Think Saddam Hussein and his hidey-hole.)

I suspect that most of us fear other people and we do what we can to alleviate those fears… we may not be hidey-hole or hunker-down bunker fearful but we fear people.

Whenever I see someone who is obsessed by the fear of others I wonder if the underlying fear is of death, the hereafter… and God.

I. Love Expels Our Fear of God, I John 4:17-18

As we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the Day of Judgment, but can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. I John 4:17

Once when Jesus was teaching his followers he said, “Dear friends, don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you than that. But I will tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, he’s the one to fear.”

And then he continued, “What is the price of two sparrows – two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single sparrow. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” Luke 12:4-7

Two things are immediately apparent:

1. People can only take your life

2. God determines the destiny of your soul

It would seem that Jesus is reminding us that fearing what people might do to us is short sighted. Of course, no one I know, who is in their right mind, is anxious to experience pain, suffering and a tragic or dreadful death. But Jesus wants us to know that the long view sees beyond the temporal to the eternal. The long view sees life beyond physical death and is concerned about the destiny of the soul.

An earthly death is not the ultimate loss… the destiny of the soul is of eternal significance. So our ultimate concern is for when we meet our Maker, so to speak. That’s why Jesus warned his followers to spend less time worrying about what people can do to us and more time considering our relationship with God.

Basically, there is no hidey-hole, safe place on this planet. Ultimately, the only safe place is not a place at all but a relationship with God.

As we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the Day of Judgment, but can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. I John 4:17

Beirut, Lebanon 1986. I cannot remember when there has not been conflict in the Middle East. This story reaches back to Beirut, Lebanon in 1986. During that time Beirut, which was known as the Paris of the Middle East, was engulfed in a civil war that lasted from 1985 – 1987.

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