Perfect Love Casts Out Fear
Passage: 1 John 4:13–4:21
Perfect Love Casts Out Fear
June 25, 2017
Pastor David Lovi
1 John 4:13-4:21
John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, was on board a ship bound for the Georgia colony in January 1736, when a ferocious storm came up on the ship, shredded the main sail, and flooded the decks.
Can you imagine being on a ship in the 1700s in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and that happening.
Many of the English passengers screamed in terror that they would soon be swallowed by the deep.
But a group of Moravian missionaries from Germany calmly sang throughout the squall completely unafraid of death and an astounded John Wesley later recounted this in his journal:
Sunday, January 25, 1736
At seven I went to the Germans. I had long before observed the great seriousness of their behaviour. Of their humility they had given a continual proof, by performing those servile offices for the other passengers, which none of the English would undertake; for which they desired, and would receive no pay, saying, “it was good for their proud hearts,” and “their loving Saviour had done more for them.” And every day had given them occasion of showing a meekness which no injury could move. If they were pushed, struck, or thrown down, they rose again and went away; but no complaint was found in their mouth. There was now an opportunity of trying whether they were delivered from the Spirit of fear, as well as from that of pride, anger, and revenge. In the midst of the psalm wherewith their service began, the sea broke over, split the main-sail in pieces, covered the ship, and poured in between the decks, as if the great deep had already swallowed us up. A terrible screaming began among the English. The Germans calmly sung on. I asked one of them afterwards, “Was you not afraid?” He answered, “I thank God, no.” I asked, “But were not your women and children afraid?” He replied, mildly, “No; our women and children are not afraid to die.”
From them I went to their crying, trembling neighbours, and pointed out to them the difference in the hour of trial, between him that feareth God, and him that feareth him not. At twelve the wind fell. This was the most glorious day which I have hitherto seen.
How could they sing while their rickety 18th century boat was being shredded to pieces in the Atlantic Ocean?
There’s only one way. Because they knew the perfect love of God for them in all circumstance.
Oh, how we need to preach the message of the love of God to our selves every single day
Do you apprehend the love of God? The love of God casts away all our fears.
In a very practical sense that love cast away the Moravian fears while the boat was tipping over and the Englishman on the boat were thinking, “We’re going to die.”
That sounds pretty familiar.
History repeats itself.
Jesus was on the boat with his disciples once and a similar things was happening. “Don’t you care about us?”
Jesus got up and rebuked the waves and he said, “Where’s your faith? Don’t you trust me? Don’t you trust my love for you?”
In our passage today, 1 John 4:13-4:21, John begins this section by summarizing the grounds by which a person may be sure he is a Christian:
- He’s received the Spirit.
- He knows that Jesus has come as the Savior of the world.
- Thus he’s come to personally experience the love of God.
John then develops this thought of love by stating that when we show love it is a sign that we know God and have communion with him and that his love is over flowing in our hearts and pouring out. It has become a spring. A spring of life and love coming out of us
John seems to repeat these points over and over, doesn’t he? During the week, I have this wonderful opportunity to open up my passage for the week, and sit down with Mike Callacci. We talk over the passage and he helps me think through it—
Now we’re in 1 John 4, and we see that John says these things over and over.
Why does he keep repeating himself?
It’s because he knows that our comprehension of our assurance can be fickle. Satan always takes away the Christian’s assurance of salvation.
So John like a good and caring teacher tells us what he’s going to say, then he tells it, then he tells us what he just said.
Today we’re going to see that summary of our assurance culminating in a statement in verse 18 that is really the linchpin of John’s entire argument.
“There is no fear in love but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”