No Fear In Love

Title: No Fear In Love

Bible Book: 1 John 4 : 17-21

Author: Johnny L. Sanders

Subject: Love, Rewards of



The Bible has a lot to save about love. As a matter of fact the word “love” appears over 350 times in the Bible. That, however, should not surprise us. Just look at America and consider how the word is used in literature, music, by the entertainment, in counseling, and in speech. We have one word for love in English for love, and the context determines the meaning. That one word expresses romantic love, filial love, brotherly love, and love for life, nature, of beauty in general. In the Greek, there are different words for various kinds of love. There is romantic love, but in the New Testament we are concerned primarily with brotherly love (phileo) and the special kind of love God commands (agape). A misunderstanding of these two loves can confuse even mature believers and leave them with unnecessary guilt. The thing we must remember is that you cannot command romantic love or brotherly love, but God commands a certain kind of love (agape). It can be commanded because it is a mental attitude kind of love - a love that is directed by the mind and will, and not just the heart. The Lord commands us to love people who are not pleasant, not appealing, not even likable. This is kind of love (agape) is the what we are dealing with in this passage. It is a love that involves the mind, the feelings, and the will, but it is driven by what we understand to be the will (and command) of the Lord.


“By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us.”

A. “By This” Holds Verse 16 Before Us, 17a.

“And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”

1. We come to know His love when we come to know Him.

2. God is love.

3. To abide in Him is to abide in His love.

4. Love is perfected in us when we abide in Him.

B. Love Gives Us Confidence in the Day of Judgment, 17b.

1. God does not to offer hope to one who has never been born again.

2. He wants all who have been saved to live without fear of judgment.

3. Fear of judgement is lifted for the mature believer.

4. We have this assurance because, “as He is, so also are we in this world.”

a. Fear is removed because of God’s love for us.
b. Fear is removed because of our love for Him.
c. Fear is removed even in this world, here and now.
d. Fear is removed because we are like him, here and now.

C. There Is no Fear in Love, 4:18.

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”

1. This applies only to the love God commands and nurtures.

2. Many fears are removed in this world through love.

3. God’s love casts our fear.

4. Love removes the fear of punishment.

5. “The one who fears is not perfected in love.”

Fear is an awesome thing. It weakens, limits the vision, blurs the focus, and paralyzes people when permitted to run its course. It robs of us vitality, it turns our attention inward, it loses sight of others,
makes a fruitful person barren, and it creates a dread for any and everything outside our narrow circle of activities and contacts. It may lead one to dread the mail, the door bell, the message on the answering machine. Fear breeds fear, and even those who loath fear within themselves continue to feed and fuel the fear that is robbing them of a meaningful life.

Fear can also be a positive thing. Fear of fire can prevent burns, and fear of speed can prevent serious accidents. Fear of penalties is what prevents some people from breaking the law. A healthy fear of parents, teachers, and others in authority helps restrain undesirable behavior until one has adopted a higher standard of behavior, or until the individual is reborn from within and been filled with the Holy Spirit, which both motivates and empowers him/her to live a life far above what the law requires.

There is a healthy fear of God and an unhealthy fear of God. The lost person, of the backslidden believer may live in fear of the judgement of God, and that fear can (and should) lead him to repent. That kind of fear is good. However, the fear of God that anticipates punishment for sins long forgiven is unhealthy. A man once told me he had lain in bed the night before and counted thirty nine women with whom he had committed adultery. His wife was then struggling with the cancer that would take her life and he was feeling guilty. What he had done was horrible, but once he received forgiveness, God could no longer remember those sins (judicially). What this man should have remembered is the grace of God that was greater than even his sins.

This verse tells us that “the one who fears is not perfected in love.” Fear hinders the ministry of the Holy Spirit in Sanctification. Let us not be afraid to use the term. Sanctification is not a term we should surrender to those who use it all the time but may not understand it. Scotty was walking through the church plant with me many years ago now. We needed a custodian and he was interested in the job. As we walked through the sanctuary, Scotty said, “Uh, Rev. Sanders. I would like to ask you a question. Is this a sanctified church or is it a Baptist church?” I really don’t know if he bought it, but I tried to explain that being a Baptist did not prevent sanctification. I believe very strongly in Sanctification. It is not only acceptable, it is indispensable. It is essential, and the need for sanctification in the church today is critical.

Paul wrote, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son...” (Rom. 8:29). You want a good, clear, concise definition of Sanctification? Here it is: becoming “conformed to the image of His Son.” Becoming Christ-like. This is a process which begins at the point of our salvation (Justification) and continues until our Glorification. Justification is once for all, Sanctification is progressive. If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we are being conformed more and more to the image of Jesus Christ. This is a process, a daily growth in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

This process by which we are being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ is hindered by fear, but enhanced in an atmosphere of love. This love is not a warm fuzzy feeling, but obedience to the God Who first loved us and then commanded us to love Him and to love other people. If you fear what another person might do to you, or say about you, your love for that person is going to be a serious challenge. If you really love that person with the right kind of love, that love will overcome the fear. Love and fear cannot thrive in the same environment. Commit yourself to the Lord and He will give you a victory in love and a victory over fear.


A. The Highest Motivation for Loving God Is His Love for Us.

1. The Highest Motivation for Loving Others Is His Love for Us.

2. The Second Highest Motivation for Loving God Is Our Love for Him.

3. The Second Highest Motivation for Loving Others Is Our Love for God.

4. The Third Highest Motivation for Loving Others Is Our Love for them.

B. You Cannot Love God and Hate Your Brother, 4:20.

1. “If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar.”

2. You can more logically love one whom you can see than One you cannot see.

John expresses it like this: “If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen”.

C. We Are Commanded to Love God - That Is the First Great Commandment.
D. We Are Commanded to Love Others - That Is the Second Great Commandment.

John writes, “And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.”

We love God with a mental attitude love, a love that considers the Person, Character, and Nature of Almighty God and seeks to respond to Him as obedient servants who have adopted the attitude of His Own beloved Son: “Not my will but thy will be done.” This love is not without emotions, but it is not driven by emotions. It is not driven by emotions, though it is driven to emotions. The more we understand the love of God for us the better we will be able to love him. The better we understand His love for other people the better we will be able to honor his commandment to love them as we love our self.

In our relationships with others, often what passes for love is little more than a neat business transaction. People are kind to us, so we repay them with equal consideration. When they treat us unjustly, our negative response is really what they asked for. Everything is so balanced, so fair, so logical with this eye-for-an-eye and tooth-for-a-tooth kind of justice. But Christian love never settles for only what's reasonable. It insists on giving mercy as well as justice. It breaks the chain of logical reactions.

I have from time to time stopped to list some of my heroes of faith, often by categories. I grew up listening to M. C.. Waldrup preach each Sunday morning in our mission church in Tunica County, Mississippi. We would rush home in time to hear R. G. Lee on TV. We would eat lunch and then gather around the TV to hear Billy Graham. All three of these preachers were my faith heroes - and M. C. Waldrup actually fed me more than the others. Two of my favorite faith heroes were Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Here is an example of what made Lee an inspiration to so many people:

General Robert E. Lee was asked what he thought of a fellow officer in the Confederate Army who had made some derogatory remarks about him. Lee rated him as being very satisfactory. The person who asked the question seemed perplexed.
"General," he said, "I guess you don't know what he's been saying about you."
"I know," answered Lee. "But I was asked my opinion of him, not his opinion of me!"

James Madison, the Father of our Constitution, was a man of faith. His statements on the fact that this country was founded on Scriptural principles has been edited out of the revised history text books, along with parts of George Washington’s farewell address. These were men of faith. Less well known is the faith of many of the leading women of the period. A few, like Martha Washington and Dolly Madison, have received a lot of attention. Dolly Madison , wife of the fourth president of the United States, was one of the most popular women in American history. Wherever she went, she charmed and captivated everyone obscure and well-known, rich and poor, men and women alike.

She was once asked to explain the secret of her power over others. Surprised by the question Mrs. Madison exclaimed, "Power over people. I have none. I desire none. I merely love everyone." And those who love are richly rewarded by love returned [BI].

God would have us love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. He would have us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. And, He would have us appreciate fully His love for us and the love we receive from others.


John wrote, “And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.” Now, what I would urge you to do today is to confess that you need to grow in your love for our Lord and for others - if you are satisfied, you are not going to get much from this message. If you confess that you need help, the Holy Spirit is ready to bless you with a greater capacity for love and open for you more vistas and possibilities for joy and fulfillment than you have ever imagined possible. He wants to bless you and this is the starting place.

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