In last week Mandarin service at Petra Church, Ps Moses Largo's sermon was titled "爱，不怕 Love, Fear Not". It so happened that before the service, a FaceBook friend posted "The Three Treasures of Lao Zi". The first of which is Love. Lao Zi in Chapter 67 said that 慈故能勇 "Love enables one to be bold". What an interesting coincidence. It shows the teaching of Ancient Chinese Wisdom matches well with the Bible too.
Back to Moses' sermon. Here are some of the key points that I picked up.
- The most touching part was his sharing of the premature birth of his son and all the challenges, the stresses, the fear, the comforts, the miracles and lessons that he and his wife had to go through.
- Our view of God determines how we act. If we think our God is very strict and unforgiving, then we will live in fear and behave badly. This is the teaching from the servant with one mina who buried it (see Luke 19:11-27). When anything goes wrong, we will think it is God punishing us. Living in fear, we will do as little as possible to get by.
- As an example, breastfeeding of a baby. The lesser the milk, the more stress the mother becomes. The greater the stress, the lesser the milk produced. Fear brings a vicious cycle of defeats.
- Fear is something we give away our control to. We let fear control us.
- Fear, however, is powerful. It will not just stay we us but will also spread out to those around us, especially our children.
- Fear is also like a magnet. Fear draws the bad things toward us. Let Job 3, the things that he feared most had happened to him.
- However, we have a choice to make. We can either give our fear to our children or the Words of God to them.
- Seek God first in all our decision making.
- Use LOVE to overcome Fear.
- However, just receiving love will not remove fears. Fears are overcome by loving others. So go and pray for other people. Go and help others. Love and concern for others will cast out fear.
- A typical meaning for Fear is afraid. Fear of sickness, injury, accidents, harms, even of devils etc.
- However, there is another kind of Fear, the good kind, Fear of God. In Chinese, 畏, and usually, 敬畏, is used for the fear of God. 畏 has many meanings, the two key meanings are afraid and respect. We don't fear God because of His punishment but rather because of His love and honour. We fear that we may cause God to lose face when we sin. We do good things not to gain His approval but because we are already approved and hence want to please Him.
- Apostle John reminded himself as "the disciple Jesus loved" often. Whereas Apostle Peter said he loved Jesus. The one that felt loved was bold to stay with Jesus all the way and be found at the foot of the cross of Jesus. The one who claimed he loved denied Jesus three times. A secured person is bold to help others because he is secured. A person who is a good swimmer is able to jump in the water to save others. A person who is not should not and could not save others.
- Hurt people hurt others. Will loved people love others?
Apostle John showed us that it was. But Jesus' parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Matthew 18:21-35 - The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant - Bible Gateway) seems to indicate otherwise. It is only when love is truly felt inside that will trigger the boldness to care for others. The unmerciful servant only thought it was by his intelligent plead that go him off his hook and hence did not feel love nor grateful. Giving lots of things, giving a lot of blessings, do not automatically trigger love and boldness. It may just produce spoiled brats like the many stories of the bad behaviour of the rich and famous 2nd and 3rd generation children. They think they are the specially entitled people whereas others are not.
- John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. Jesus did that for us without us doing anything to earn it. Henceforth, Matthew 10:8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. We are not just saved, but saved for good work to glorify God (Eph 2:8-10). Loving others become a responsibility because we are of our Heavenly Father.