Sermon - 22nd January 2005

Overcoming Fear

by Jon Bowles

(PLAY FROM START)

I've talked about Luke 21:21 a fair amount before. If you turn with me back to Luke 21 and just have a look there, as we go into the Bible Study proper now. But in that section that we have been just reading where it talks about:

"Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains...[verse 25] And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring [we see the weather conditions changing]; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken." (Luke 21:21,25-26)

Now as I said to you, it says in Luke 21:17:

"And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake." (Luke 21:17)

The indication is, although much of what it talks about in Luke 21, it's talking to the disciples specifically, it's talking to the apostles, and it then seems to flow from one into the other because it also goes into this fleeing and Jerusalem compassed with armies- which is that abomination. But there does seem to be a case for believing that God's people are going to be brought before courts, and it says here in Luke 21:14:

"Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:" (Luke 21:14-15)

God is going to give a mouth to answer with all the wisdom that is necessary. We don't have to worry about these things. It is going to be a time when people are going to be frightened. We're coming into a time when people are going to be frightened.

Now we are not alone in that. If we turn over to II Corinthians 7:4, we find that even the apostle Paul, when you see some of the things that are mentioned about, what in fact, happened to the apostle Paul. In beatings, so many times, rods another time, and a stoning once and various things that actually occurred to him that he went through. But he says here:

"Great is my boldness of speech toward you [talking to the Corinthian Church], great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our [trials]. For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side [he was in some real problems, I don't know exactly what was going on in Macedonia at that time, but he was having some real trouble]; without were fightings [whatever the fightings were, again he didn't specify], within were fears [he did have fears; he was human just like you and me]. Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;" (II Corinthians 7:4-6)

Probably the fears he had were to do with the Corinthian Church. He feared whether in fact what he had written had completely discouraged them in I Corinthians. He probably was fearing about that. He went to Macedonia to meet Titus and he wasn't there. That therefore, filled him with a great deal of fear as to what was going on down in Corinth. Because they didn't have emails at that time, or the telephone to pick up! But whatever it was, he did in fact have fears. There were fears within that he had, that he was concerned about.

Turn over to Revelation 21:6. This is a classic scripture that has been read many times before. We find here that two things are contrasted within this verse:

"And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son." (Revelation 21:6-7)

He that overcomes, it's overcoming; what are the things that we overcome? Well a hint of what many of the things are, are in the next verse Revelation 21:8:

"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." (Revelation 21:8)

So these are many of the things that we need to overcome. Each and every single one of these things, but we need to notice what it does say. One of the things that we need to overcome is being fearful as well as unbelieving. We need to be able to overcome fear. Overcoming fear is really what I'm here to talk about today, because I think it fits in with some of the other things I've been talking about previously. That we are looking at a time that is fearful as far as the world is concerned, but we ourselves could fear, that we ourselves might be approaching in trepidation. There is a way of overcoming it. There is a way that we are given.

There is one scripture that answers this question, probably more than anything else, a single specific scripture; but I wonder if we understand it? That scripture is I John 4:18. I'll be concentrating on this one scripture in the context of overcoming fear at the end time as we move from this point where we are, moving into the future. It says in here - it's a very strange verse in many ways:

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." (I John 4:18)

Do we understand what it means? Do we understand how perfect love casts out fear? There are actually two areas that are really given. If you go back a little bit from this particular verse. With all these verses, any verse you find in scripture, we need to go and we need to look at it in context. In I John 4:16 it says:

"And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love..." (I John 4:16)

That's His character. That's His basic and fundamental character. If you describe what this Being is that we are dealing with, that's what He is. His entire character, Him and Christ with the Father, their character is one which is outgoing, which is loving. One word sums Him up - Love, this Agape as it says in Greek. I John 4:16:

"...and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." (I John 4:16)

It gets even more complicated therefore, because we understand God dwelling in us through the Holy Spirit. But what does it mean, we dwell in God? How does that work? And it talks about he that dwells in love, dwells in God. How does that work? How does that fit into it? I John 4:17:

"Herein [it is in this that] our love made perfect..." (I John 4:17)

It is talking here of perfect love casts out fear. And it says; "...God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." (I John 4:16)

There are two ways. We are 'in love' in that sense, and 'love is in us' as well and this perfect love that is being talked about here. I John 4:17:

"...that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear..." (I John 4:17-18)

So what I want to do, is I want to go into this. There are two broad sections. The first I want to deal with is this concept of love in us, the love that is in us. I want to ask the question:

1. Where does this perfect love come from? Because obviously it's got to come from somewhere.

2. How do we have it?

3. Are there stages that we go through? You will find that there are, certain specific things that we are given to develop this.

That's the first area I want to go into. The second area I want to talk about is where it talks about how we dwell in love. It talks about God is love, and he that dwells in love, dwells in God. What does that mean? The two things I want to bring out in that area are:

4. God is always around us through the Holy Spirit. The whole of reality is held in His control. Everything that is going on is still in His control.

5. His character is outgoing, it's loving. It's the understanding of that point. If we have the same type of love that He has in us, and we also understand that we are dwelling in a world that has been designed in a certain way and is going in a certain direction with a loving conclusion to it, then we start to understand that fear can be put to one side. What are you going to fear? You know the ultimate conclusion, the ultimate direction that everything is going in, is going to go in the right direction.

Where does Perfect Love Come From? (PLAY FROM 10:18)

Let's ask the question therefore, where does perfect love come from? Or where does perfect anything come from? Matthew 5:43 is the classic one that we can turn to, it says:

"Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy [these are the oral traditions of the Jews]. But I say unto you [here is the administration that Christ told us to use], Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you [totally different, completely outgoing attitude of mind to people]; That ye may be the children of your Father [that is where this is coming from] which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?" (Matthew 5:43-46)

You're no different than anybody else, and we aren't. We're just doing exactly the same as the world does. But it says in Matthew 5:48:

"Be ye [become] therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)

This is a perfect form of love. A perfect form of outgoing concern. That chases away fear. It outcasts fear, it's not just a case of casts out fear. It doesn't mean to say, just cast it out by throwing it away. It means that it will even block it from ever coming in, it outcasts it. It means it's blocked, like the boundaries there, and it's an outcast. It's not even part of us in that regard.

Turn over into Matthew 19:18. It's a scripture I've read several times and pointed out this truism within this passage which people totally, totally miss. They read right over the top of it. Here was this rich young ruler that came to Christ. I want you to notice what He said to him, after he said:

"He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou [him specifically, his specific, particular problem, if you will be perfect, is exactly the same word where it talks about perfect love casts out fear; if this man was going to be perfect] wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me." (Matthew 19:18-21)

And there was a long pause; and he wasn't prepared to do it because you see to be able to do that, as He pointed out to him right in the very beginning, when he says in Matthew 19:16:

"...Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God..." (Matthew 19:16-17)

That's where goodness comes from. The idea that he can go ahead and sell everything and just go ahead and get his mind focused in the right direction is impossible without God's Spirit. That's really the heart and core of this passage in here. That's why it says in Matthew 19:24:

"...It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle..." (Matthew 19:24)

It's an impossibility. You cannot do it. But Matthew 19:26 says:

"...with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26)

So perfect love, perfect outgoing concern - where does it come from? It can come from only one source, there is only one good, and that is God, Himself. It's got to come from God. Without it coming from God, it will not be there. So perfect love that casts out fear, the love, in us, that is being perfected in us, has got to come from that source. That is where it comes from. From the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We see this also over in James 1:16 where it says:

"Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift [this love is a gift, something that we need, something that we don't have, something we have got to be given; if it's given it is therefore it's a gift, it's given through the very Holy Spirit] is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures." (James 1:16-18)

It's interesting where it says in this area of being perfect, it says in James 1:3:

"Knowing this, that the [testing] of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, [lacking] nothing." (James 1:3-4)

So this character, this perfection - and the word 'perfect', is not just without any flaw, it also means that it carries with it a ripeness. That's what it means in the original Greek, Strong's 5046, it means to be ripe, it means to have reached the full age, to be mature. This love that we're talking about is a mature love. It's not just a sloppy sentimentality. It's much more than that. This perfect love that will cast out fear, is not just sloppy sentimentality that will cast out fear. It's a rational understanding, but it is an outgoing understanding, an outgoing nature.

It's interesting also that in this particular same passage, James 1:21 coming on from where it talks about "not erring beloved brethren", the perfect gift comes down from above, it then goes on and says:

"Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of [evil], and receive with meekness the [inplanted] word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: [Verse 25] But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty..." (James 1:21-23,25)

It is a perfect law. So you are looking also at the very Word of God that defines this outgoing concern, this love, how it actually is done. As Christ said, if you go ahead and greet only the ones that you want to greet and you won't talk to anybody that you had a 'bust-up' with, then there is a problem. There is a problem. We need to be aware of that.

How Do We Receive It? (PLAY FROM 17:56)

In II Timothy 3:15, again we are looking at how scripture helps us in this process. We are asking the question, how do we get it? Where does this perfect love come from that casts out fear? Where is it that we are going to get it from? It says here:

"And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus [it is the faith which is IN Christ Jesus, by the way, it's Christ's faith that comes from the very Spirit of God]. All scripture is given by inspiration of God [or God breathed], and is profitable for doctrine [teaching], for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness [and the reason it's there is]: That the man of God may be perfect..." (II Timothy 3:15-17)

Have this maturity, come to this ripeness, and part of the aspect of this ripeness, in fact the major aspect of this ripeness is this perfect love. This perfect character of God that casts out fear, that will stop us from fearing. It will allow us to go through life and go into the future time without fearing all the time. II Timothy 3:17:

"...thoroughly furnished unto all good works." (II Timothy 3:17)

So that we can, when come into a situation which is described in Luke 21:12, we are then furnished for all good works. We can stand up with confidence and the Spirit of God will work through us. We don't have to worry. There is nothing to fear. It's got to be developed now. We do have parts to do now and scripture is certainly part of this process. If we go back to I John 2:4 notice what it says:

"He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him [he Word of God is linked in there]. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected..." (I John 2:4-5)

So here is this perfect love of God. It's the love of God being perfected, and it's in combination with the very Word of God. So we do need to link the two together. It's whoever keeps His Word, and it's not just reading His Word; it's applying it, it's keeping it and putting it into practice. It's allowing that Living Word to have its affect within us. It's a Living Word that is there - "who keeps it." I John 2:5:

"...in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked." (I John 2:5-6)

So if you really understand - again there are two aspects there and I'm not going to go into the second aspect about us being in God; but they are all joined together. You can't have one without the other. The perfect love is the perfect love both that is in us, which is the same love that is also around us, that we understand that this world is actually made. It is subject to vanity. It is subject to chewing on, it is subject to hostility, it's in the hand of Satan at the moment. But the ultimate is going to be love, it's going to be outgoing concern. It's going to be the Father of these children that will be born.

But here as it says, part of the process is that we do keep His Commandments, and we keep His Word. The Word, living in us, that is how that love of God is being perfected. So we are being perfected by that.

Now you say; "Well how does it all fit together? How does this scripture actually start fitting together?" We can also see in I John 5:2, another scripture that backs this up. It says:

"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous." (I John 5:2-3)

So His Commandments, they fit together, but they have got to be kept in a certain way which is what the rich young ruler was told, and it was pointed out by Christ. Let's look over in Hebrews 4:12. Remember we talked about the fearful and unbelieving; it's in the context of those that are overcoming. There is an example that we've got here:

"For the word of God is quick [living, it's alive; we just read this is how the love of God is perfected in us, it's a living Word], and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart [it gets right to the heart and core of each and everyone of us]. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed ['through', is better translated] the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:12-16)

Notice in Hebrews 5:7 what it says. Here is Christ, He has gone through the process, He is the Living Word of God that is dealing with each and everyone of us. But I want you to notice what it says:

"Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;" (Hebrews 5:7)

Now Christ feared. Christ was fearing God, but He also, if you go and read what it says over in Matthew 26:39-44 {1} He didn't want to go through what He had to go through. He said, if there is any other way, let it pass from me. He didn't want to go through it, if He possibly could. What did He do? Again, what did He say? When you go back to that time, you find His final words were what? Matthew 27:46:

"...Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46)

Which are coming from Psalm 22:1. It was the Word of God which was in His mind that He used. This Word and the submission to that Word, in fact the love of God is being perfected. He in fact was able to do that. It says here in Hebrews 5:8:

"...was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;" (Hebrews 5:7-9)

So again, we are looking at the way in which we obtain that. How do we actually get this perfect love that casts out fear? Well, it comes from the same source, the same way that Christ did. He did it by prayer. He did it by study and having those scriptures memorized. He had those scriptures within His head. The Psalms were there. He was able to go back to the Psalms and use them at that time. We can go back and read that particular section. You can actually do a study of that in your own time, as to how this love of God was perfected. In Galatians 2:16 it says:

"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law [by the rituals, by the 'ergon', Strong's G2041], but by the faith of Jesus Christ [it's Christ faith, that is what it literally means, the faith of Jesus Christ], even we have believed in Jesus Christ [so we believe in Him, we believe in that sacrifice], that we might be justified by the faith of Christ..." (Galatians 2:16)

If you've got a modern translation, you can't even see this necessarily, but it's right there in the original. Go back and look at in the original and if you look at it in the King James, it is very clear. Galatians 2:16:

"...and not by the works [not by the rituals]: for by the [rituals] shall no flesh be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid [having been justified, we don't go back to our former life]. For if I build again the things which I destroyed [we have gone ahead and repented of sin and the sin has been pushed away, destroyed], I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law [dead to the effect of the law], that I might live unto God." (Galatians 2:16-19)

Where is this perfect love coming from? It gives the answer in Galatians 2:20:

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me [this Living Word that we just read about over in Hebrews, this Living Word is living within us]: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God [that faith that is working through us, we can also say; that love is working through us, that mindset, that outgoing concern, that perfect nature, that character that is going out there], who loved me, and gave himself for me."(Galatians 2:20)

So it can only come from God Himself. Now if we go over to John 17:23 we find the final words of Christ to His disciples in human form. Here these final words are in the form of a prayer. These final words were in Gethsemane. Part of the teaching that He had for the disciples, here was the final prayer that was offered formally. Almost like closing the meeting in prayer. Closing the Passover - we don't close the Passover in prayer, but these words Christ spoke at that time, He says here:

"I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one [that they may be made perfect in one, so this perfect love has got to come from God Himself]; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. [Verse 26] And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them." (John 17:23,26)

So the living Word within them with that love. The kind of love which is the love of God. So you are looking at that as this particular aspect. Where does it come from? It comes from God Himself. How do we get it? We get it from God Himself through a Living Word within us. That Living Word produces certain action within our lives and that action is a reflection of the very Spirit of God. And it's defined, and we can check whether it's there or not, by the very Words of God Himself. So that's where the scripture comes into it.

One passage that we turn to that would define whether in fact this is taking place is I Corinthians 13. I'd like to apply this, this time to you and to me because we need to ask ourselves is this love is being perfected? Here is the Word of God. Here is the kind of definition. Are we close enough to God? Do we have this kind of perfect love that chases away fear? It says at the end of I Corinthians 12:31:

"But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way." (I Corinthians 12:31)

Here's the more excellent way, I Corinthians 13:1:

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not [this character, this fundamental character, this agape, this outgoing character], I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith [we can go ahead and figure out all this business about the days of Daniel, and all the various ways in which all the prophecies fit together, and we think that is the great meat of everything; that's not what it says], so that I could remove mountains, and have not [this fundamental character], I am nothing." (I Corinthians 13:1-2)

If I don't have this fundamental character, then it's totally worthless. There is nothing there. I Corinthians 13:3:

"And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor..." (I Corinthians 13:3)

Again, people look on this and think; 'Oh this is just going out and doing good deeds.' It's not, it is the fundamental character of God. God is Agape, it is God's character, it is outgoing nature. It is not a sentimentality. It's not just going around and helping people. There is more to it than that. It's an outgoing nature. I Corinthians 13:3 says:

"And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not [this outgoing nature, this basic character which is the character of God], it profiteth me nothing." (I Corinthians 13:3)

You do all that, and it doesn't do any good. And then he defines and it talks about what it is, I Corinthians 13:4:

"[This outgoing character] suffereth long..." (I Corinthians 13:4)

You might not be so longsuffering. You might say; "Right, go ahead and shoot me; give my body to be burned, or whatever." Christ recognized what the rich young ruler's problem was. He said; "If 'you' will be perfect, this is what 'you' have got to do." Others may go ahead and do this. It may be aesthetics. I mentioned about Mother Theresa; Mother Theresa was an aesthetic. She was not doing it for the benefit of the people that she was doing it for. She was doing it because she was part of an aesthetic order. That was the reason for it. It was a means of Gnosticism, of getting this enlightenment by doing that. People don't understand this.

It says you can give your body to be burned, and don't have this outgoing nature, it doesn't do any good at all. This kind of nature is patient I Corinthians 13:4 says:

"[It] suffereth long [it puts up with things], and is [also] kind; [it also] envieth not [this nature doen't envy; it]; vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up [doen't push itself up and push other people down], Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;" (I Corintians 13:4-5)

These qualities are the nature of God that is supposed to be in each and every one of us. This perfect love that casts out fear. As I say, there are two aspects to this. We are looking at the one that is within ourselves. We think, "Hey, we come short. How can we therefore cast out fear?" Okay, but we will come short. It says; "...With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26). It is that contact with God that allows us to have this nature. It talks in I Corinthians 13:5 about:

"Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things..." (I Corinthians 13:5-7)

Now the question is, in our marriages, do we do this? In our personal relationships with our children, do we do this? Is that something that really reflects it? If it's not, if we are having a struggle with that, then the problem is - it's not a problem with just our marriages, it's not a problem just with our children. It's our problem with getting on our knees; and remembering perfect love doesn't come from us. Perfect love comes from God; "... there is none good but one, that is, God..." (Matthew 19:17). Not us, that love has got to come from God Himself. That is where it comes from, with us also. I Corinthians 13:7:

"Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail...[notice verse 9] For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away." (I Corinthians 13:7-10)

It's a process. For us, it's a process. We are not going to be perfect until the resurrection, totally. To the degree we allow God to live His life through us, or Christ to live His life in us, this Living Word, through that very Spirit, then we will have this perfect love. That's the only source of it. There is no other source that is possible.

The Stages We Need to go Through (PLAY FROM 38:21)

Now are there any stages that we need to go through? What are there those stages that we need to go through? Well there is a scripture that does in fact deal with this and that is II Peter 1:1

"Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature..." (II Peter 1:1-4)

What is the nature of God? Well; "...God is love.". That's what I John 4:8 says. So this divine nature, is this word Agape. If you are going to sum it up, you can use this word, Agape. Notice II Peter 1:4:

"...having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this [to get this, to go in this direction], giving all diligence, add to your faith..." (II Peter 1:4-6)

You've got the faith that this divine nature is going to be generated within us, and eventually we will make it. The only way that you and I are going to make it, is if this divine nature is there. If it's not there, we won't be there. You read over in Romans 8 where it talks about that. If we live according to the flesh, we will die. But if we put to death, the needs of the body, then we will live through the Spirit. So divine nature has got to be there. It has got to be there if we are going to be part of the very Kingdom of God.

It is essential that we keep ourselves plugged into the source of it. But here it then goes into a list of things, leading the end of II Peter 1:7 to Agape, this charity, or love, as it says in some translations. Then it goes on in II Peter 1:8:

"For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off [he can't see to that point of that divine nature being there], and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things..." (II Peter 1:8-12)

These were the lasting words that Peter had for the people just before he died. Let's go back and just read them and read what it says in II Peter 1:5:

"And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue..." (II Peter 1:5)

Now the word virtue here, go back and actually look up the word. It's more than just virtue. What does 'virtue' mean? We have a completely different kind of concept about the word. The word literally means manliness. That's what it means. It means to be male. It comes from a root which means to be male. It's kind of a manliness in the sense of stand up and be counted if necessary. So add to your faith and stand up and be counted, be manly, stand up for what you believe. You now start to see a progression. It's a progression from faith. Notice it's our faith, it's our faith in Christ and we then start to build one thing after another on this particular basis. So add to your faith, this manliness. Go back and check if you want. It's Strong's G703 if you want to look it up. It's courage of our convictions. Onto that manliness, onto that standing up and being counted you add II Peter 1:5:

"...and to virtue [manliness] knowledge;" (II Peter 1:5)

Remember we're talking about the Living Word of God. Unless we have the knowledge of that Word, unless we go and find out what the scriptures are talking about, what the scriptures are saying, how can we add to that? We need to study. The knowledge is basically that, it's 'gnosis', it's where this gnostic heresy - gnostic and gnosis and knowledge - it's all coming from the same basis. Gnosis Strong's G1108. We get that from scripture. We read about how; "...the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation..." (II Timothy 3:15). That's part and parcel of this knowledge we've got. II Peter 1:6:

"And to [gnosis] knowledge temperance..." (II Peter 1:6)

Or self control; Strong's G1466, if you want to look it up. Again, put in your notes Galatians 5:22. It's part of the fruit of the Spirit. It's just part of the fruit of the Spirit, this temperance, this self control. In other words, you have this manliness, this courage of our convictions. We learn from scripture what is required of us and we therefore have a certain self control in regard to those scriptures. With that self control we then start to develop certain habit patterns within us. Those habit patterns grow. You see how these things are progressively developing. II Peter 1:6:

"...and to temperance [self control] patience..." (II Peter 1:6)

G5281 is the Strong's number for patience. It literally means to stick with it. It is sticking with it. So you have got the self control, but you are consistently now exercising this self control based on the scriptural knowledge that we've got; based on the fact that you are going to stand up for your convictions; based on the faith that you originally started with. You see how it's building. One thing is building on another. So to sticking with it, G5281, this patience, you therefore add: II Peter 1:6:

"...and to patience godliness;" (II Peter 1:6)

Now looking at godliness, you think; "Oh well, we're going to be godly. We've got to be righteous. We've got to be like God." That's not what it means. That's not the meaning of this particular word. Because that's what it means where it says, the divine nature. That's what we are aiming for, to be like God. The divine nature is the nature we are aiming for, and that is Agape. That is God is Love, that's what it says, this perfect love. But what this means here where it talks about 'godliness' here, Strong's number is G2150, means well devout or good worship. It means, that you are worshiping God in a right way. You are going and approaching God. That is the way in a sense of godliness, you are approaching God in the right way.

So you are adding to your faith, the initial starting faith, this courage of your convictions, you're adding to that knowledge from scripture, you're adding to that self control within that knowledge. You're adding to that this sticking with it in that self control based on this knowledge from scripture, and from that you also add therefore this relationship with God so that you are approaching God in the right way. This godliness is to do with our relationship with God. Now once we've got that sorted, and you see the progression, once we start getting that really sorted out in our lives, it says once this correct relationship with God, you then go into, II Peter 1:7:

"And to godliness brotherly kindness..." (II Peter 1:7)

This word brotherly kindness is 'philadelphia', it is Strong's G5360. So brotherly love. A love between brethren. So that we all are going through the same experiences, and we are sticking together. Don't forsake the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is particularly as we see that day approaching. It's important that we do, communication is important, it's important that we do try and do that. So to this godliness, this approach towards God, we add this brotherly kindness, this philadelphia, this brotherly love. And once we've got it sorted out between brethren, then we've got the divine nature, that is Agape. That is the perfect love, which is God's love. This outgoing nature, this divine nature. It's a progression that leads through all of these things.

Peter was the chief apostle at the time, and if there was one thing he was going to leave with everybody, that was it, that was it. That was the heart and core of everything. It was a path to that divine nature, this perfect love that casts out fear.

T And the way in which it is developed within us as frail human beings, that naturally would be afraid. But to that divine love, there is a certain stage by stage stepping aspect of our conversion that we need to be aware of and allow these things to take their course. As it says in II Peter 1:13:

"Yea, I think it [fitting], as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. For we have not followed cunningly devised fables..." (II Peter 1:13-16)

Peter knew what he was going to have to live through. He was going to be crucified. That was what was going to happen to him. He had already been told that by Christ at the end of John. And what was the conversation going on at that time? John 21:15 it was;

"...'Simon, son of Jonas, do you have Agape for me?' He said; 'Well you know I'm fond of you.' So He said; 'Okay go feed my sheep.' Then He said; 'Simon, son of Jonas, do you have Agape for me?' And he said; 'I told you I'm fond of you.'..." (John 21:15-17 paraphrased)

There are several words in there. I think the first one is, Strong's G1006, to pasture my lambs. The second one is, Strong's G4165, to oversee my sheep. The third one is when He says in John 21:17

"He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas [are you fond of me? Strong's G5368 Do you have philadelphia for me?] Then he was grieved because he [had used this term]. And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I [am fond of] thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep." (John 21:17)

Then He gives the incidence where He says the type of death that is required to actually glorify God. That's at the end of the Book of John, John 21:18. But none of that comes out here. Where was his focus? He was focusing on getting these qualities in the people he was dealing with; of leaving something for them. He is not going to focus on fear of what he had to go through. His focus was on leaving these people, leaving some qualities there, helping them, to be there on the other side when the Kingdom of God actually begins, and being part of that Kingdom.

Because why? They've also got this divine nature that he had to learn how to actually develop. They have this perfect love that chases away fear and gets rid of fear, that blocks fear.

God is Always Aware (PLAY FROM 52:14)

But there is another aspect. In addition to having that perfect love in us, turn over to Psalm 91:1. A lot of this aspect is that we recognize that we dwell in that kind of love. Right now as we dwell in this earth, the ultimate - when we are looking down through the annals of time, ultimately, God has got a fantastic purpose that He wants to give to us. It's the outgoing nature of this Being, and He is in control even of the world as we are in it today. Here this is a Psalm that really goes into this:

"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." (Psalm 91:1)

It's the Almighty and we then dwell under His shadow if we dwell in the secret place of the most High. Now it's a case of perception, this Psalm is about our perception. What is our perception of the world that we are in now? Do we live in this world, but it's a rotten miserable world, it's horrible and all this and that? Yes, it is. Why? Because of aversion therapy. Because we are learning what a rotten miserable, horrible world it is. But the ultimate purpose is good, it's outgoing and loving. It says, "He that dwelleth in the secret place..." (Psalm 91:1), in other words he has got his mind focused in that way. Psalm 91:2:

"I will say of the [Eternal], He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;" (Psalm 91:2-5)

There are things in this world, Jerusalem surrounded by armies, the things that are coming on this earth in the way of heavenly signs, the winds raging. Just coming over here, it's quite interesting; the number of broken trees that were down, were just quite huge all across the countryside. Apparently the radio and television masts have been blown down - did the world of good for the area! Psalm 91:6:

"Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday." (Psalm 91:6)

There are certain things that are coming that are pretty horrendous, but we don't have to fret about that. We don't have to worry about that. Why? Because here is a Being that is Omnipresent. The world in which we live is controlled by His Word, by His Breath. That's what upholds the reality. His outgoing nature is the nature that will dominate eventually. This is a present evil world for a limited space of time. Psalm 91:7:

"A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the [Eternal], which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;" (Psalm 91:7-9)

That's where the focus is. That's where our mind is focused. That's what our mind is set on. So let's go back to I John 4 again and just look at it in that light, in this second aspect. It's not just the case that this perfect love is in us, but that we are in this perfect love, that ultimately that is Who is in control of this earth, and all the things that we will have to live through. This then will give us the ability to cast out fear. It starts in the preceding chapter, let's pick it up in I John 3:22:

"And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name [or authority, or the power] of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him [notice, these two aspects; we dwell within God, ultimately the One that is in control, is the One who is a Loving God, and also this Loving God, this perfect love is in us]. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us." (I John 3:22-24)

I John 4:1:

"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but [test] the spirits ...

The word spirit means breath. The word in both Hebrew and Greek can be translated both breath or spirit. It is 'ruach', Strong's H7307, in the Hebrew and 'pneuma', Strong's G4151 in the Greek. Pneuma is where we get pneumatic tyre from, the pneumatic tyre is pneuma, it is air. The spirit, the breath, the air. And ruach is the same, it is the spirit, the breath, the air, the moving air. I John 4:1:

"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but [test] the [breaths] spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world [people who are speaking and the breath coming out of them is from a different breath, from a different spirit; that's the meaning of these words]. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth [homologos is the word, Strong's G3670, it means, 'the same word as' or 'as if'] that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:" (I John 4:1-2)

In other words, it's the same word that is coming out of that person's mouth, is if it were Christ coming in the flesh. Because it's coming from the same Spirit. Because Christ is the Anointed One in the same Spirit, the same Breath and is producing the Word that is of God. I John 4:3:

"And every spirit that confesseth not [homologos] that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world." (I John 4:3)

This is how you determine between these two Spirits. What is coming out of the mouth? Is it the Word that is preceding from; as we just read in II Peter, this progression that goes through a knowledge of this Living Word of God, biblically based, that fits within the Word of God, the scriptures that make him wise unto salvation? I John 4:4:

"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them [the Two Trees that Mr Armstrong went on about; two trees, two different ways of life]. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error." (I John 4:4-6)

That's the difference between the two. Whether in fact it reflects the Living Word of God that is coming from the Spirit of God out of the mouth of these prophets or whatever, these people speaking like I'm speaking now. That's what it's talking about.

This God is a Loving God (PLAY FROM 1:00:39)

Then he goes into another section and says in I John 4:7:

"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is [begotten] of God, and knoweth God." (I John 4:7)

He is going into, now; "We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us..." (I John 4:6). So here are these people all speaking the same way, speaking the same thing, looking in the same direction, developing this perfect love. This perfect love is actually operating through them. He says; "This therefore binds us all together." I John 4:8:

"He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love [this is his central character]. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him [that's where perfect love comes from]. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (I John 4:8-10)

In other words, it's not just a case of us having this within ourselves. It's the case that we are dwelling within that love also. Our entire salvation eventually rests on the ability to have our sins forgiven. That's part and parcel of the process. That's part of the "He that dwelleth in the...shadow of the Almighty." (Psalm 91:1), that we just read over in Psalms. I John 4:11:

"Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another [this same kind of love is coming out]. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us [that's how this perfect love is developed]. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit." (I John 4:11-13)

So we can perceive not only that He is dwelling in us, but also we are dwelling in Him. So this perfect love - we look at the world in a certain way and looking at the world, as well as having this love within us, casts out fear as we go on. I John 4:14:

"And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess [or have the same Word] that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God." (I John 4:14-15)

So this mindset; again you are looking at these two things; God dwells in him, and he dwells in God. These two things are there, the two things that are mentioned continually. I John 4:16:

"And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us [literally means; 'that has God in us']. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love [he dwells, he stays rooted, understanding the world in which he is in] dwelleth in God, and God in him [two ways round]. Herein [this is how, in those two aspects] is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world." (I John 4:16-17)

How was He in this world? It's not just the fact that this perfect love was living through Christ, it was the fact that Christ recognized the world in which He was living, and the purpose of the present age that He was living in. It was both ways, round. So He understood that; "...as he is, so are we in this world." (I John 4:17). It's both ways round. I John 4:18:

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment [punishing, Strong's G2851]. He that feareth is not made perfect in love [this again is way in which it is cast out]. We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also." (I John 4:18-21)

So, two aspects to this; first of all the fact that God is Omnipresent. Turn over to Ephesians 1:22 and it says:

"And hath put all...under his feet [talking of Christ now], and gave him...the head over all...to the church," (Ephesians 1:22)

I have crossed out the words that are there in italics, because I think it reads better with those missing. It says He has put all under His feet, everything has been put under Christ's feet, the Lord of all, and He gave Him the head over all, He gave Him to the Church. Ephesians 1:23:

"Which is his body, the fulness of him that [it's like a wife, the fulness of Him; the one that makes Him complete] filleth all in all." (Ephesians 1:23)

Now this Being, Jesus Christ, it says He fills all in all. How does He do that? Through the very Spirit. You can put into your notes, Jeremiah 23:24:

"Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the [Eternal]." (Jeremiah 23:24)

That same Jesus Christ is the God of the Old Testament, talks about how He fills heaven and earth, the Spirit fills heaven and earth. This entire room, however it works, this entire room - one way we can conceptually look at how we live in the love of God is that God fills heaven and earth. And therefore we live in a world that He is completely, and totally aware of; that He has constructed and that He allows, and is using for a certain purpose. We therefore can look at the world in that way. You can put in your notes, Psalm 33:6 and 9 that talks about how by the Word, the heavens were made:

"By the word of the [Eternal] were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. [Verse 9] For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast."

But turn over to Matthew 10:26, and here we find quite a classic passage, talking about how God is completely and totally over the world that we find ourselves in:

"Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul [psuche, the breathing creature, the consciousness]: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in [Gehenna]. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father [without Him knowing]. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows." (Matthew 10:26-31)

We tend to lose track of this. We forget about this. We think that we live in this world, and we are on our own. We tend to go through life many times, and we forget. We just forget to pray, we forget to pray continually. We forget that God is perfectly aware of whatever is actually happening. Matthew 10:32:

"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 10:32-33)

It goes on about the troubles He will find on the earth, but it is all within this context. The context of those troubles are in the context that God is perfectly aware of everything that is going on. So this perfect love, this aspect to it, is that God is perfectly aware of all that is going on. God is Omnipresent.

The other thing is, if we turn back to I John 4:8 and just remind ourselves what it says here. This Being, this God that is Omnipresent, as it says:

"He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." (I John 4:8)

God is this outgoing character. That is what His character is. It sums up what this Being is. So this Being that knows all that goes on, the ultimate purpose and the ultimate thing that He is doing, you are looking at His outgoing character. I John 4:16:

"And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." (I John 4:16)

Notice it says again, God is love, this is His character. This is His focus. Let's turn back to I Corinthians 13:4 that we read; and again notice what it says when we are looking here at this Being. Remember this word charity as it is translated here, is this same word, this perfect love:

"[This Being] suffereth long, and is kind..." (I Corinthians 13:4)

This Being is patient, He's kind. He's not going to go and destroy people just for the sake of it. He's like a Father. He cares for us as a Father. This is why Satan tries to destroy fatherhood, he is determined to destroy fatherhood, because it pictures this Being. I Corinthians 13:4

"...[this Being] envieth not; [this Being] vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up [He's not doing this for His own personal aggrandizement, this Being is outgoing, He's doing it for us and for our benefit, so that He can share the might that He has], Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;" (I Corinthians 13:4-5)

He doesn't deal with us according to sin. This Being is the One whom; "...we live, and move, and have our being..." (Acts 17:28). Through this Spirit that fills heaven and earth, and not just heaven and earth, but time as well. Throughout all time He is Eternal. I Corinthians 13:6:

"Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth [this is the type of Being He is]; Beareth all things [puts up with all things], believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things [He delivers, this world that we are looking at today is here for a temporary time, He is patient; He] never faileth...[Verse 10] But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away." (I Corinthians 13:6-8,10)

In other words, when this perfect love, which is coming from God. This perfect love, He is going to bring that to the world. Romans 8:28 Here is this Being with that kind of concern, with that kind of love, in whom we dwell. In other words, we consciously understand the purpose of this present life that we are in:

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow [so He foreknew this called group, He didn't know them individually, but He knew that there was going to be a group, that a group was going to be called], he also did predestinate [He planned] to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." (Romans 8:28-29)

What's His Son? He's got perfect love. So we are conformed to that. We live in a present world and that world is governed by, eventually will be governed by this Being. The plan is flowing towards this conclusion. Romans 8:30:

"Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified [there's a progression, He's determined that progression will be accomplished]. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again [it's not just that He died, but He is risen again and is actually living His life through that Living Word in us], who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ [he who dwells within your secret place, in the shadow of the Almighty; who is going to separate us from that]? shall [trial], or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" (Romans 8:30-35)

Are any of these things going to separate us when we really understand that we live within a world where God's Spirit fills heaven and earth? Where He knows what's going on and whatever happens is for a certain purpose, which is a loving purpose with an outgoing element to it which ultimately will have that outgoing element as the predominant element within it. Romans 8:36:

"As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:36-39)

We are in that love. We regard ourselves as under the shadow of the Almighty. Why? Because He is inexorably involved in our life. He is actually the Master potter, He is the One that is doing that. And so this perfect love casts out fear. It's not just the perfect love in us. It's that we are in this perfect love all the time. The ultimate conclusion is going to be that nothing is going to stop Him. It is going to be the case. We are predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son. So we are going to be there in the future.

A couple of scriptures you can put down is Isaiah 51:12, I read that before. It talks about how we fear men so often. And another one you can put down is II Timothy 1:7 it says:

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (II Timothy 1:7)

That's the Spirit of God. What I want to do is end up in Acts 4. Because part of the reason for giving this is that last week I commented about this subject, about Luke 21 and the things that are actually coming on the earth. I read this scripture here in Acts and I didn't go on and finish it. Here in Acts 4:1 it says:

"And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide. Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand [there was quite a commotion, 5000 people is quite a number to suddenly hear when this word gets around]. And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes, And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?"(Acts 4:1-7)

Here they were being put before the council and being asked these questions. What were they told by Christ? Whatever happens do not premeditate. There is no need to premeditate. Acts 4:8:

"Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said unto them [it was the Holy Spirit that gave them the answer at that time], Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole [so it's complete and total boldness. Verse 13]. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned men[there was nothing special about them], they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it." (Acts 4:8-10,13-14)

They couldn't say anything against them. So here we find people standing and having this boldness that's there. What exactly was it? They had just had the day of Pentecost and this perfect love was in them and it was speaking through them. It was through the Holy Spirit that he was actually saying these things. So this was in them and it was coming through them. They also understood the power that they were able to have. That they were in fact, living within this perfect love also. Very much the case the way I John explains. So there was a boldness there. Notice Acts 4:18:

"And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done. For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed. And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:" (Acts 4:18-24)

Now notice what they were thinking. Here is The Creator, God who controls all that goes on. So it wasn't just the Holy Spirit that was speaking through them. It was the fact that they were also living in a world they recognized God had complete control over. There were two things that were there. One was the love of God in them, the other was that they moved and they lived within that love. This Being was there in ultimate control. Acts 4:25:

"Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? [They start singing a song, this was Psalm 2, you can go back and read it] The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ." (Acts 4:25-26)

It's actually a prophecy for the future. You go back and read Psalm 2. It's a prophecy on how The Christ, The Messiah, is going to behave when the nations come against Him. Acts 4:27:

"For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done [it wasn't a case of just the Spirit of God in them, they lived within this world controlled by that Spirit]. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spake the word of God with boldness." (Acts 4:27-31)

Why? Because perfect love casts out fear. That's what it's about. The perfect love in them through the very Spirit of God, and they are recognizing that this perfect love that they lived within, because of the jurisdiction of God over all things, that cast out the fear.

That's what we also need to understand and put into practice in our own lives.


Footnote:

{1} Mr Bowles was probably meaning Matthew 26:39-44 here.