Posted by Peter Thompson

I John 2:15-17

Why Not Love the World?

INTRODUCTION:  John begins to talk here about loving the world.  The world in this context is a system that is opposed to God.  It is a system of selfishness and desire to have and get things.  In the gospel of John, this same writer calls Satan the “prince of this world.”  The Bible teaches us that Christian people are in the world but not of it.  This is not our natural habitat.  We are not supposed to care about the same things that this world cares about.  Here John begins this little section by saying, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.”  In our English, “Don’t love the world or the things that are in the world.”  He lines out four reasons why you should not love the world or the things in the world.

  2. The word love is used three times in this verse
  3. It is that word agape
  4. It is a love that you choose to have for someone or something
  5. It is a love that sacrifices and acts on behalf of someone or something
  6. Here the admonition is to not have that kind of action love for the world
  7. The world in this case is a system that is opposed to God
  8. This is a system that does not accept God and does not glorify God
  9. This is a system where sin is common place because there is no concern for what God thinks of that sin
  10. This is a system that certainly does not put God first
  11. This is really the system that we live right in the middle of
  12. The world is concerned about getting money at all cost
  13. The world is concerned about self and not others
  14. The world approves and even glorifies adultery, homosexuality, addiction, gluttony, and a whole host of other sins that God is not pleased with
  15. Do not choose to love that system
  16. Secondly, don’t have that kind of action love for the things that are in the world
  17. Those things are money, sin, drugs, alcohol, anything that can cause addiction, an abundance of food, and even possessions if those possession become more important than God
  18. That is not a comprehensive list, as you go through life you will see the things in the world that do not please God
  19. Do not choose to love those things
  20. Here in the scripture it says that if you love those things, the love of God is not in you
  21. God’s love chooses the systems and things that glorify God
  22. God’s love is giving not selfish
  23. God’s love overcomes sin
  24. God’s love sacrifices for people and brings them closer to God by the actions it takes
  25. You see God’s love is not accepting of the sin of people
  26. God’s love died so that sin could be washed clean so that he could have a relationship with people
  27. The sin was punished and punished severely
  28. It’s just that Jesus took that punishment because of His love
  29. He did what was necessary to bring people to God
  30. He would never allow people to live in their sin without consequence
  31. You see God’s love goes against everything the world stands for
  32. So you cannot have both
  33. Either you have the love of God
  34. Or you love the world and the things in it
  35. If you want to love God, if you want to love others like God does, you cannot love the world and the things in it at the same time
  37. John goes on here to describe the things that are in that world system
  38. “Lust of the flesh”
  39. The word “lust” means “desire”
  40. When we talk about the lust of the flesh, we are talking about the things that your flesh wants
  41. The flesh is the part of you that is not saved, your spirit is saved your flesh is still sinful and will wind up buried in the ground some day
  42. That sinful flesh desires some things, in fact a lot of things
  43. That sinful flesh desires sex outside of marriage
  44. That sinful flesh desires drugs and alcohol that will make it feel good and take away the pain of life
  45. That sinful flesh desires to eat more than the body needs to survive
  46. That sinful flesh desires to punch somebody in the face when they call you a bad name
  47. The list could go on and on, the flesh desires sin, sin and more sin
  48. “Lust of the eyes”
  49. Again “lust” is “desire”
  50. These are the things that your eyes desire
  51. Sometimes some of the same things that the flesh desires
  52. Sometimes the flesh and the eyes desire it at the same time which makes it that much harder to resist

Illustration:  Buffets are really hard for me.  I see all of that food that is sitting out there.  I see it with my eyes and I want it bad.  I want to try everything that is there even if it takes four trips to make that happen.  Even if I am going to feel miserable afterwards.  Even if I know that God does not want me to eat more than I need.  My eyes want it and I’m going to have it.  That is what the lust of the eyes will do for you.

  1. Many relationships outside of marriage begin with the lust of the eyes
  2. He sees that good looking girl, he wants her and it is all downhill from there
  3. People see things they want all the time, but those things are not what God would have them to desire
  4. “Pride of life”
  5. This is trusting in your own power and resources
  6. This is a person thinking that they are something
  7. This is a person doing whatever a person wants to do because no one is going to tell them what to do
  8. This is a person putting themselves on the pedestal that God belongs on
  9. In the garden when Eve thought she could be like God, she ate the fruit
  10. It was her pride of life, trying to make herself the boss and trusting in herself that made her eat
  11. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life usually go hand in hand
  12. A person wants something with their body and their eyes and then they decide they can have it because they are the boss and don’t answer to anyone else, especially God
  13. John says those things don’t come from God, they come from the world system that we have been talking about
  14. God’s things come from God
  15. These things come from the world
  16. John makes a point that they are opposed to one another
  17. You cannot give into the flesh and the eyes and your pride of life and still give in to God
  18. If you choose to love these three things, then you choose not to love the things of God
  19. You see, there is no riding the fence
  20. If you are riding the fence, then you are already giving in to the desires of your flesh, eyes and pride of life
  21. You cannot serve God and your desires at the same time
  22. So when you love these desires, you put yourself in opposition to God
  23. And that is no place for a Christian to be
  1. John says, that world system and that desire “passes away”
  2. That means that it ceases to exist
  3. All of those desires and pleasures of sin are only temporary
  4. Not only that there is coming a time when Jesus comes again that He will set up His kingdom and all of the world’s sin and desires will be no more
  5. Those things are not worth anything
  6. Christian, those things are not for you, the things of eternity are for you
  7. The things that will last forever
  8. The things that will not be burned up
  9. The things that will not tarnish or rust
  10. The works that you do for God
  11. Those are the things you want
  12. Not those temporary desires of the flesh, the eyes and your pride that the world offers
  13. When they are gone all you are left with is heartache and hurt
  14. You will be left empty
  15. And have nothing to show for your life
  17. We find one tiny phrase here at the end of v. 17 that we should really pay attention to
  18. “but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”
  19. The word “but” is a conjunction-in Webster’s dictionary it means “on the contrary”
  20. He has been talking about the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life
  21. The things that are in the world and how they are temporary
  22. Here he says, on the contrary he that does the will of God
  23. You see, the will of God is contrary to the desires of the world
  24. The will of God is what God desires
  25. So a person has the choice
  26. Either do the will of my flesh, my eyes, my pride of life
  27. Or do the will of God
  28. They cannot be done together, they are contrary to one another
  29. It should be the will of every Christian that is going to abide forever with God to do the will of God
  30. You should want what God wants
  31. Because he created you and gave you eternal life
  32. Those things that you do in the will of God, will last forever
  33. They are permanent, you can live in those things, you can be fulfilled in those things
  34. The love of the world keeps you from your true purpose in God’s will

CONCLUSION:  The things that people in the world want should not be the things that you want.  The things they want are the things that fulfill their own personal desires and their own personal wills.  You cannot love the world and its things and love God like you should.  You cannot love the things in the world and walk in the same direction as God.  You cannot love the things of the world and at the same time invest your life in eternal things.  You cannot love the world and do the will of God.  Loving the world will destroy your fellowship with God.  Love the things of God and leave the things of the world behind.  There are too many Christians trying to hang on to the world and its desires and doing Christianity on the side.  Saying they serve God but not quite letting go of the world.  It is either God or the world.  Have a back bone!  Make a choice!  Choose to love God and leave the things of the world behind!