I told Shane and keeps stealing my thunder. I keep wanting to introduce myself to you as Mike Whitney to all of the, with the visitors here for the first time. Um, but he keeps stealing my thunder. So it’s dan coke passed the Restoration City Church on behalf of Restoration City Church was so thankful, uh, for you guys. For Sword Church. We love you guys. We pray for you guys and we thank you for all that you do for us, um, as well. And I’m happy to be here with you this morning. It is a privilege. It is exciting for me to get another opportunity to share the word with you. I did some time. Was it last fall? May be last winter or so. And I think, um, Mike has determined that he needs at least nine months, you know, separation between when I come back again. You know, I, I guess that’s how difficult it is, um, in our friendship or whatever. So, but I’m going to take this opportunity this morning and with it being Father’s Day, Happy Father’s Day with it being Father’s Day, I want to deliver a message to you um, regarding the heart of our father, our our heavenly father, God, our father towards us, his Children. And there’s something about the heart of the father that we don’t always seem to grasp. And for whatever reason it is, we we tend to only think of God and maybe one of two different ways, but God wants to be revealed to us as father. And that’s the prayer that jesus taught us to pray, to refer to him as our heavenly father and to know him as a father. And sometimes that’s difficult because maybe, um, we haven’t necessarily seen fatherhood go well for us. Uh, maybe as a father, you might be struggling with some, some challenges yourself with trying to be a good father. Uh, maybe there’s some guilt, maybe there’s a sense of there’s some missed opportunities that I didn’t take advantage of as a father. I mean there’s a number of different things that kind of come into our thinking about fatherhood and we can project those onto our heavenly father. And I’m so thankful for the word of God because God comes in through his word and he wants to reset that thinking he wants us to have the proper perspective of who he is as a father and from there learn how to father well. And so that’s so important for us today because we all need that. And when I think of a father, um, I think of the strength of a father and little kids. Sometimes when they’re drawing pictures of their father, they tend to emphasize that what his father do and they also want to think of father as being strong and that’s important because there is a strength that fathers are, ought to exude. But that’s not the only thing we ought to exude. I’m a father. Um and I, my wife is here with three of our little ones. Um we have five total, but a father ought to also show great affection. There ought to be a display of strength and that strength isn’t necessarily, you know, a test of who can push the most weight, but the strength of character, the commitment to principle, the commitment to things that are right to do things well, the commitment to toe the line and not give up when times of heart, that type of strength. But then with the calling to be a father, there ought to be a deep sense of affection, knowing how to affirm to love to speak tenderly um to, to those whom God has entrusted to our care and influence. And that’s what we see, our heavenly father constantly doing. His love for us, being displayed through his strength and through his great affection towards us. And so today we’re going to talk about the love of the father and I’ve entitled this teaching being perfected by perfect love. And I’m going to read to you from 1st John Chapter four, verses 15 through 21. First John Chapter 4: verses 15 through 21. And so this is our main passage for this morning. I may read a couple other passages, but this will be the main one. And from here, we’re going to unpack this idea of being perfected by perfect love. Now the beginning to begin the reading of the word it says in verse 15, whoever confesses that Jesus is the son of God, God abides in him and he and God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us, God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him by this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for 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 for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, I love God and hates his brother, he is a liar for he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him, whoever loves God must also love his brother. Let us pray father. We thank you for your word. We thank you for your great love for us. We ask God that in these moments that your great love would change us and those very places in our soul where maybe we are struggling to believe that you are good that you love us and that you’re for us. I pray that in the moment we have now Holy Spirit that you penetrate into those places and bring about change. The kind of change that makes us more like christ. I pray in jesus name. Amen Amen! So from this passage that I just read to you, there are three areas of application of God’s love that I want to point out to you now, this isn’t a comprehensive list of how to apply the love of God, but these are three big categories that if you get them and the principles should apply until just about every other area of life. But these three areas of application that john, as he’s writing this letter, highlights for us are so significant. The first one is this, that God’s love is the place by which we make a good confession of faith in christ, our confession of faith in christ flows from an understanding of God’s love. Secondly, God’s love is what we need to win the battle against fear in this life. It’s God’s love that helps us to overcome the struggle against fear in this life. And then thirdly, and as God’s love that helps us to remain true and faithful to our responsibility to love one another. Well, our responsibility to our brothers and sisters, our responsibility to God’s Children, to walk in relationship with God’s Children, It is God’s love that helps us to do that well. And so john addresses these three categories in this particular passage, and they, to me are so foundational for helping us to understand how God’s love applies into every other area of life. And there’s something that john said in that passage that we need to get, he says that it’s that Perfect Love casts out fear. Perfect Love dispels fear. Perfect Love kicks out fear drives it out, removes it replaces it. Now, that’s not how we tend to think about overcoming fear maybe for you and I overcoming fear comes down to strength or resources or success or just learning to be courageous or being brave, that if I was popular, then I could overcome, I could do this very thing that God wants me to do. And yet john says in this passage, that a perfect love casts out fear Now something else we need to see about this particular passage at this Perfect love is not dependent upon us. Hello, I’ll talk to you this morning. This Perfect Love does not depend upon us. We’re not perfect. Even the things that we love the most, we’re gonna fall short and loving those people and those relationships well are perfectly our ability to love perfectly quite small. So he says, a perfect love cashed out fear. He’s not talking about our love, He’s talking about God Almighty, the perfect one, The one who loves perfectly. And it’s true his perfect love that he begins the process of perfecting us. Our sin infected souls are corrupted, natures are being perfected, change cleansed, renewed, transformed by his perfect love. And it’s from this understanding that we make the good confession of faith, he says that God loves us first, and that we come to understand that when we hear the Gospel preach, when we see jesus suffering for our sins and and that he made atonement for our sin. That when we see that we realize how much God loves us. Oh God, I don’t deserve that. But you love us. So from there we confession how many christians you’ve met, who think that somehow they need to confess christ to prove that they love God. Now we need to confess christ before others. We need to be a witness for him, God before others. But we don’t do it to prove that we’re worthy of christ. We do it because the love has come to us and it is so rich and it is so important, it is so worth more than anything else in life that I can’t help but to confess it and that My wife and I will be married 15 years this fall if I went around and I refused to acknowledge that I was married, that would be an indication that something is terribly wrong. Would it be a reflection of me simply not just following the rules? Oh, see you’re married. You’re supposed to tell people you’re married. You know, those are the rules, right. Is that what it’s about? No, what’s missing in your heart, man, That you are shamed to acknowledge that this is your wife, is he love? That’s what’s missing. And when we come to understand God’s love for us, that love grips us, it grabs a hold of us. It becomes so important in our lives that to to go anywhere and and lose sight of this. Love means that we’re just gonna act out of character. We’re going to do things we shouldn’t be doing. We’re gonna say things we shouldn’t say, we’re going to act in ways we shouldn’t act because we’ve, we’ve just forgotten, we’ve kind of had a brief moment of spiritual amnesia where we have lost sight of this great love for us, this love that has brought us into the family of God that has made as Children of God. This love that is so, such a strong foundation in us, lost sight of it. So john says, we know that God has loved for us because God is love and that he loved us first when we didn’t even understand our spiritual condition before him, when we didn’t understand the magnitude and the ramifications of being separated from him by sin. He had love for us While we were separated from him, he goes and leans in our direction and pursues us and comes for us because he loves us. And john says, this is the foundation of our profession of faith, an understanding of conviction that God loves us. That’s your heavenly father, that’s your heavenly father. He made everything out of nothing and he loves you strength and a faction, that’s your heavenly father. When I think of the perfect illustration of this very truth Matthew chapter three verses 13 through 17, this is the story of jesus, just as he’s about to begin his public ministry, Verse 13, it says. Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John to be baptized by him. And john would have prevented him saying, I need to be baptized by you and do you come to me. But Jesus answered him, Let it be so now for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized immediately he went up from the water and behold the heavens were opened to him and they saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him. And behold a voice from heaven, said, this is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased. This happens before Jesus preaches one sermon before he heals one person before he does one miracle. This is the scene that catapults him into his public ministry, that before all of the people of Israel gathered to john there to be baptized. God wants him to know that I’m affirming my son that I love him. I am well pleased with that, wow! The role of the father, the role of a father so powerful and that’s what our holy heavenly father shows us. And that passage 30 years Jesus had lived in what we might consider obscurity, and before he does anything publicly, he is a firm, This is my son, with whom I am well pleased. And if you were to read on Matthew chapter four verse one is this Jesus was led up by the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And unlike Adam, unlike the first atom, he overcame that temptation he overcame in the wilderness when he was tired. When he was hungry. When he was alone. He overcame because he had in his soul, I’m talking about the human nature of christ. He had an understanding of the deep love of the father. And so this love leads us to profess faith and it leads us also in our struggle against fear. Fear is all around us. There’s all kinds of fears that we have to deal with in life, it’s all around us. I did some research show a while back and the top horror film. Mhm And the world was about a fear of clowns movie it or something like that. There’s actually a phobia about a fear of clowns. I joke and say I have a fear of dressing like a clown. And then I’m thankful for a wife. But there’s fear a failure. Fear of being rejected. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of, of just simply letting others down. Fear of what the future might bring. Fear is all around us. And there seems to be those who would capitalize on our fears. And john says that perfect love casts out fear. And if there’s still a deep, intense warfare with fear, that that means that love needs to do some deeper work in your soul to help you. I guess what? You’re in the right place, you’re in the right place. Being a part of the people of God. We stand with one another, we encourage one another in the Lord. We want to see each and every one of God’s Children when the battle, when the battle that’s being waged against him and the fear is something that’s incredibly intense in your life, let someone know so that someone can stand with you and remind you of the great gospel truths that your heavenly father loves you, He’s got a better future for you than what you can imagine what fear has told you to imagine. Mhm. So he says that if we struggle with this fear, this fear of judgment, this fear of punishment, this fear of being out of place of not being good enough of not succeeding, that love needs to do a deeper work in us and God wants to do that and God will do that in your life. You know? The one thing he asked you to do so that he can do that deep work of helping you to win the struggle against fear. You know that one thing is he wants you to abide to abide in him. He wants you to abide in him. He says, God is love and whoever abides in love abides in God and God abides in him once. When reading first, john I made a point to just underline every single time. He used the word abide. Just abide abide Abide abide. If you want to see God help you to overcome the intensity of the battle of fear in your life. Abide Abiding is how we engage in this life long process of being perfected by perfect love Abiding abiding means enduring and persisting in truth. Whereas sin and the devil and this world wants you to forget about the love of God and to quit and to give up walking with your Lord, but you must abide. That’s it abiding. I was thinking about abiding from the context of when my kids were younger and we’d go to a swimming pool and I’m talking about when they were months old. You know, little infants. The water is always cold to them and the water itself is a big scary place for them. And if you’ve ever been into a swimming pool with a little infant, what’s the first thing they do when when you’re in the pool with him, they claim to you, they hold on for dear life. They cling to you. And as a dad, he was a young dad. I relish those moments. I loved it. I just love walking around their pictures are looking and man, those were the good old days. Me walking in the pool with these little ones in my arms and then clinging to me, holding on for dear life. The water is cold. This environment is scary, clinging to that. Let me ask you a question is their safety dependent upon their strength to cling to me. That little infant is the safety and well being of that little infant depended upon his or hers little strength, little arms and their ability to hold on to me. No, it was me who helped them right now in your life, God is holding you. But you can’t see it because all you can experience is the fear of your surroundings, of your thoughts of your emotions. And God just wants you to cling to him so that you’ll know that he’s there, that he’s got you, that you’re safe in his arms and that His love will allow you to have confidence while you’re in that place. His love will allow you to be safe in that place. His love will give you what you need to keep going. While you’re in that place, we’ve got to abide. Just abide. He’s holding you up. He is, he’s there, he’s got you. I’ll turn and embrace him, embraces truth, cling to a cherish it, cherish it and doing so his perfect love. We’ll work the process of perfecting you and that’s a lifelong process. But God will bring it to completion. And so his love leads us to confess faith in christ. His love empowers us and helps us and the struggle against fear. And then thirdly, his love helps us in our relationship to one another. And john says something that’s pretty strong here in this passage, he says that if anyone says, I love God and hates his brother, he is a liar for he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have for him, whoever loves God must also love his brother. Now, I don’t know why john wrote this. Maybe he wrote it because there was some kind of potential split or or schism in the church. I don’t know. Maybe there were a bunch of people offended at some things. Maybe there was racism. I don’t know why he wrote this. We know that during this particular time in history, that there was great conflict about the people of God. Did they? How jewish did they need to be? Was a jewish savior? Just enough jewish enough for them. Right? So we know that there’s all kinds of conflict and then when you put people together, you know, you and I were different. And if we walk close together long enough, we’re going to find out just how weird the other person is, Right, right? And then right after we find out just how weird the other person is, we’re going to find out just how, how you know what are limits are like in terms of enduring that weirdness, our ability to tolerate that weirdness, right? And most of us, those limits are pretty small, every small and john is saying that you can’t say that you love God if you don’t remain in God and learn how to love that person in that relationship. But here’s something else I want to show you from this passage. If you’re only trying to love in your own strength according to your own understanding, and when it seems convenient to you, you’re not going to be able to endure or you go back to trusting in your father, you go back to abiding in your heavenly father, walking with your heavenly fault. You’ll find grace to get over the offense to be more patient, to be more forgiving, to be less critical, to be more for your brother and sister in the Lord. If you’ll just abide your ability to love others well has to be rooted in God’s perfect love. It has to flow from his perfect law. It has to emanate from him. Jesus told the samaritan woman that this giving of the Spirit of God would produce. Wellsprings of life in us. Wellsprings of life, God supplying those wellsprings. If you’re not familiar with that passage, um that’s in the gospel of john, which is different from john’s epistle here, and if you’re not familiar with the bible, that might be a little confusing. There is a table of contents that you can look at that can help you understand the difference between the two. But anyway, he said, well, springs of water and that’s important because God pours out his love for us. He shows us his great love for us, but he hasn’t called us to be a stagnant pond P. O. N. D. Where that love just stays in that one little place and maybe drive up here and there. But no, it is to be a mighty river flowing in and through your life and spilling over onto the lives of others blessing the lives of others. You are not to be stagnant. You’re not, God wants to fill you up, but it’s not a one time it’s an ongoing flow of the spirit of God and his love in your life constantly flowing in and through your life. If you’re simply just wanting to be a container that gets filled up one time man that’s gonna be stagnant and old and you’re gonna realize that you’ve kind of used up all of those resources there. Why is it so hard now to get along? Why is it so hard now to forgive? Why is it so hard now to, to endure with this person again, going back to this abiding and his spirit flowing, his love flowing and his life flowing in you and john says this is pretty important because if we don’t get this, it is how we undermine that first point. Our confession of faith are professional faith in christ, that is one of the ways in which we undermined it by not being able to love others well and so when I think about our Heavenly Father is Almighty Nous is all knowing, I’m humbled by his great love for us, I don’t know about you, But there are many days I wake up and I said I don’t think I deserve this. I know I don’t deserve it. And then I’m reminded in the spirit that God doesn’t give us what we deserve, he doesn’t give us what we deserve and he gives us access to him. He calls us into his family and he knows that there is a work to be done in us. And that’s why his perfect love is what works to bring about the perfection of christ in us. It’s just perfect love. Let us pray Heavenly Father. We thank you that you love us first. That it’s because of your love and kindness that we are even able to repent and call upon your name and we thank you for that. The Lord I suspect that even now there’s some who are experiencing an intense battle and fight with embracing this truth that you love us Holy Spirit. Would you break through and give them the victory? They might see that you have such a great fatherly affection for them? Help them to know that in christ that you are well pleased with us and Lord, would you teach all of us to continue to walk in your ways and to carry on your name throughout this earth and everything that we do? And I pray this in jesus name. Amen.