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First John: 1 John 4:18-Failure to Love One Another Does Not Accomplish the Father’s Purpose of Manifesting His Love

First John   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:01:45
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First John: 1 John 4:18-Failure to Love One Another Does Not Accomplish the Father’s Purpose of Manifesting His Love and Produces Fear at the Bema Seat

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1 John 4:18 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. (ESV)
There is no fear in love” means that the child of God will never experience fear at the Bema by living by means of divine-love, which is accomplished by obeying the command to love one another.
But perfect love casts out fear” expresses a strong emphatic contrast with the child of God experiencing fear of the Bema Seat as a result of failing to obey the command to love one another.
This adversative expresses the idea that God the Father’s attribute of love accomplishes its purpose for being manifested through the sacrifice His Son on the cross for His children when His child practices His love by obeying His command to love one another.
For fear has to do with punishment” presents the reason for the previous strong adversative clause and speaks of the child of God experiencing severe distress which is aroused by intense concern of losing rewards at the Bema Seat because they did not obey the command to love one another.
And whoever fears has not been perfected in love” stands in contrast to the previous strong adversative clause.
It teaches that the child of God who lives in fear of giving an account to Jesus Christ at the Bema Seat because they did not obey His command to love one another as He loved them never accomplishes the Father’s purpose for manifesting His love through His Son’s death on the cross.
1 John 4:18 He is experiencing absolutely no fear living by means of that which constitutes divine-love. On the contrary, accomplishing the purpose of manifesting this love does drive out this fear because this experience of fear does involve punishment. However, the one who does at any time cause himself to live in fear, the manifestation of this love is absolutely never accomplishing its purpose through the practice of this love. (My translation)
1 John 4:18 contains four declarative statements, which are designed to encourage the recipients of First John to continue obeying the command to love one another.
The first declarative statement asserts that the child of God is experiencing absolutely no fear living by means of that which constitutes divine-love.
This assertion marks a change of the topic discussed by John in 1 John 4:17, which contains three declarative statements.
The first asserts that by means of living by means of God’s love, the purpose of God the Father revealing His love through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ for John and the recipients of First John accomplishes its purpose.
They lived by means of this love by obeying the command to love one another. Consequently, they were living in fellowship with the Father and the Father with them.
The second declaration is a purpose-result clause which speaks of John and the recipients of First John experiencing confidence when they stand before Jesus Christ at the Bema Seat Evaluation of the church.
This purpose-result clause teaches that this confidence would not only be the result of living by means of God’s love because they obeyed the command to love one another but would also accomplish the Father’s purpose for them.
The third declaration is a causal clause which presents the reason why this is the case and states that just as Jesus Himself was living by means of God’s love so also John and the recipients of First John were doing the same.
Now, here in 1 John 4:18 John is introducing the concept of the child of God experiencing fear at the Bema Seat whereas in 1 John 4:17 he wrote of experiencing confidence at the Bema Seat as a result of obeying the command to love one another.
Now, the second declarative statement in 1 John 4:18 presents a strong emphatic contrast with the first declarative statement in this verse, which as we noted, asserts that the child of God is experiencing absolutely no fear living by means of that which constitutes divine-love.
This strong adversative clause asserts that the child of God who accomplishes the purpose of God the Father manifesting His attribute of love through the sacrifice of His Son on the cross for them does drive out this fear at the Bema Seat because this fear does involve punishment.
Therefore, the contrast is between the child of God experiencing fear at the Bema Seat because of failing to practice that which constitutes divine-love which is obedience to the command to love one another and the child of God never experiencing fear because they do practice this love.
John is not speaking of fear of the Great White Throne Judgment and the eternal lake of first because he is speaking to believers who will absolutely not face the Great White Throne.
The church age believer will stand before Jesus Christ to have their service for Him evaluated by Him to determine if they merit rewards or not (cf. Rom. 14:10-12; 1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Cor. 5:10; 1 John 2:28).
Thus, the fear is related to standing before Christ at the Bema Seat.
Why would John warn believers about the lake of fire when they have escaped this wrath through faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior (cf. Rom. 5:1-11; 8:1).
Furthermore, in context John is attempting to encourage the recipients of First John to continue obeying the command to love one another.
Unbelievers have no capacity whatsoever of obeying this command because they do not have the Spirit and have not accepted by faith God’s love which gives one the capacity to obey this command.
Therefore, since John is writing to believers of their obligation to obey the command to love one another, the punishment he mentions here is the loss of rewards for unfaithful service which is the result of not obeying the command to love one another.
Thus, this fear is related to losing rewards at the Bema Seat because of failing to obey His command to love one another.
Also, John is not speaking of the believer fearing divine discipline or church discipline but rather, he is referring to the fear of standing before Christ at the Bema Seat with knowledge that they did not obey His command to love one another and will thus lose rewards.
This is indicated by the fact that 1 John 4:18 stand in contrast with 1 John 4:17 which spoke of the believer experiencing confidence at the Bema Seat because they obeyed this command.
Now, here in 1 John 4:18, this adversative clause speaks of God’s love accomplishing its purpose of being manifested through the sacrifice His Son on the cross for His children when His child practices His love by obeying His command to love one another.
This strong adversative clause also contains a causal clause which asserts that this experience of fear does involve punishment.
Therefore, John is teaching that the child of God who accomplishes the Father’s purpose of manifesting His love through the sacrifice of His Son on the cross for the child of God does drive this fear out because this fear does involve experiencing punishment.
The purpose of the Father manifesting His love through the sacrifice of His Son on the cross for His children was so that His children would reflect His love in their interactions with each other.
This fear is the result of having a guilty conscience from obeying the Lord Jesus Christ’s command to love one another.
Now, in 1 John 4:18, this fear speaks of the child of God experiencing severe distress which is aroused by intense concern of losing rewards at the Bema Seat because they did not obey the command to love one another.
Thus, the reference to punishment here refers to Jesus Christ denying the disobedient and unfaithful child of God rewards at the Bema Seat because they did not obey His command to love one another.
Paul mentions denial of rewards at the Bema Seat in 2 Timothy 2:12.
It also speaks of the believer receiving rewards for faithful service.
Second Timothy 2:12 If, and let us assume that it is true for the sake of argument that any of us endures, then we will indeed certainly reign with Him. If, and let us assume that it is true for the sake of argument any of us, refuses to follow Him, then He also will in fact certainly refuse us. (My translation)
The fourth and final declarative statement in 1 John 4:18 asserts that the child of God who does at any time cause himself to live in fear at the Bema Seat, the manifestation of God’s love through the sacrifice of His Son on the cross for them is never accomplishing its purpose through the practice of this love.
This statement stands in contrast to the previous strong adversative clause.
Therefore, John is teaching in this fourth assertion in 1 John 4:18 that the child of God the Father who does not practice the love of God is never accomplishing His purpose of God of manifesting His love through the sacrifice of His Son for them.
Again, the purpose of manifesting this love for the benefit of His children was so that they would practice this love with each other.
God’s attribute of love never accomplishes its purpose of being manifested through the sacrifice of His Son on the cross when the child of God lives in fear of standing before Jesus Christ at the Bema Seat because they did not obey His command to love one another as He loved them.
However, as John taught in 1 John 4:17, the child of God does accomplish the Father’s purpose of manifesting His love through the sacrifice of His Son for them when they do obey the command to love one another and consequently experience confidence at the Bema Seat.
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