Summary: Series on 1 John: Love is the answer to our fears; a threefold look at love’s ability to conquer fear.
The Confidence of Love
1 John 4:16-19
Textual Statement: John wrote to a group of struggling believers that they could find confidence in a love relationship with God.
Sermon Idea: We do not have to live crippled by fear! Man hid from Nazis 32 yrs
Interrogative: How can we possibly hope to overcome our fear?
Transitional Sentence: Our text reveals several secrets to conquering our fear.
I. We can conquer our fears by knowing the love of God.
A. Explanation: John reminded his readers that they already knew the love of God.
B. Illustration: “We have some friends who have a little boy who was born with a severe handicap that would cause him to go into very violent seizures without any warning. The father would usually be the one holding their son during worship services, and I remember on one particular occasion when the little guy started into a seizure, the father got up and with a strong yet gentle love carried the boy to the back of the sanctuary where he held him close to his chest and rocked him, whispered to him, and did all he could to help his son through. One thing I noticed most of all was that there was no hint of embarrassment or frustration in that father’s face—only love for his hurting son. I felt God speak to my own heart and in so many words say, ‘That’s just the way I love you through your imperfections. I’m not embarrassed to have people know that you are my son.’”– James Hewitt, Illustrations Unlimited, s.v. “Love”
C. Argumentation: To those who will listen, the question of God’s love has been settled, once for all.
D. Application: Whenever our hearts are full of fear, let us remind ourselves about the undying love of God in Christ.
II. We can conquer our fears by trusting the love of God.
A. Explanation: John reminded his readers that they could rely on the love of God.
B. Illustration: Human love can be so fleeting. “I tried so hard my dear to show that you’re my every dream. Yet you’re afraid each thing I do is just some evil scheme A memory from your lonesome past keeps us so far apart Why can’t I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold cold heart Another love before my time made your heart sad and blue And so my heart is paying now for things I didn’t do In anger unkind words are said that make the teardrops start Why can’t I free your doubtful mind, and melt your cold, cold heart?”— Hank Williams Sr.
C. Argumentation: No matter how many times love has failed us in this world, God’s love will not fail — he will not turn his back on his children.
D. Application: Whenever fears assaults us, let us remember that God’s love can be trusted.
III. We can conquer our fears by living the love of God.
A. Explanation: John wrote that God’s love for human beings prompts their love for each other.
B. Illustration: Parable, Is There a Hell? Lois Cheney
Is there a hell? Once upon a time a person was touched by God, and God gave him a priceless gift. This gift was the capacity for love. He was grateful and humble, and he knew what an extraordinary thing had happened to him. He carried it like a jewel and he walked tall and with purpose. From time to time he would show this gift to others, and they would smile and stroke his jewel. But it seemed that they’d also dirty it up a little. Now, this was no way to treat such a precious thing, so the person built a box to protect his jewel. And he decided to show it only to those who would treat it with respect and meet it with reverent love of their own. Even that didn’t work, for some tried to break into the box. So he built a bigger, stronger box--one that no one could get into--and the man felt good. At last he was protecting the jewel as it should be. Upon occasion, when he decided that someone had earned the right to see it, he’d show it proudly. But they sometimes refused, or kind of smudged it, or just glanced at it disinterestedly. Much time went by, and then only once in awhile would one pass by the man, the aging man; he would pat his box and say, "I have the loveliest of jewels in here." Once or twice he opened the box and offered it saying, "Look and see. I want you to." And the passerby would look and look, and look. And then he would back away from the old man, shaking his head. The man died, and he went to God, and he said, "You gave me a precious gift many years ago, and I’ve kept it safe, and it is as lovely as the day you gave it to me." And he opened the box and held it out to God. He glanced in it, and in it was a lizard--an ugly, laughing lizard. And God walked away from him. Yes, there is a hell. — Lois Cheney, God is no Fool, p. 33-4.
C. Argumentation: Love for each other is proof of our love for God.
D. Application: Whenever we are confronted by fear, let us commit to loving each other more deeply than ever.