Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sermon Starters: No Fear in Love

I gave a very brief wedding charge yesterday. The couple was already married legally so the service was really a community commitment and celebration of what was already the case in the eyes of the law.

But since my brief talk could be made into a fuller sermon, here is the basic flow:

Text: 1 John 4:7-8, 16, 18
Key Verse: "There is no fear in love because perfect love casts out fear.
Key Idea: There is no need for fear in truly loving relationships

Our relationships with each other:
  • Not just new or old marriages but all truly loving relationships
  • The fear here is not fear of sickness, financial trouble, or nuclear war.
  • It is about security in relationship and safety in commitment.
  • We all mess up in relationships (give personal example or example you have heard of).
  • Love means there's no need to fear when you forget to take out the trash or pick up toilet paper.
  • People are quirky. We're strange. Some people are strange because they're just a little too normal.
  • Of course there are times when we intentionally do wrong to those we love. This is intrinsically contrary to love and implies a lack of "perfection" in our love.
  • True love can withstand even these storms. 1 Corinthians 13:7: "Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." Love is a commitment in addition to being a glue.
  • Some of our habits can reflect a lack of attention to actions we could stop if we tried. We may forget certain things and thus not intentionally wrong on a specific occasion, but why haven't we been working to address our forgetfulness prior to that moment?
  • Love covers a multitude of sins.
Our relationship with God
  • These aspects of loving relationships also apply to our relationship with God.
  • The context of 1 John 4 is actually about God rather than marriage.
  • Before Christ, sin may be a matter of legality. After Christ, sin is a matter of relationship.
  • We can wrong God unintentionally. But we have no reason to fear.
  • Un-intention, however, can speak to something we should have been working on, if we fully loved God.
  • Intentional sin against God is of course highly inappropriate. If we truly run back, however, like the Prodigal Son, we need have no fear that God will take us back.

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