Summary: We can’t obbsess over stuff and love God both.
1 John 2:15-17 October 29, 2006
Do Not Love this World
Alpha Ad – Is there more to life than this?
Two weeks ago I preached from 1 John 2:12-14 that gives this great encouragement to us… Read 12-14
I talked about how we can read this message as a message to new Christians, mature Christians & maturing Christians. He gives this wonderful word of encouragement, and then a word of warning. I think that this word is a warning that we need to hear today like no other.
Read passage (15-17)
When you hear this passage, if you’ve been tracking with some of the stuff I’ve been teaching, you might immediately have a disconnect. I’ve been teaching that God loves the world: that he is not only redeeming you and me, but he is also redeeming the whole cosmos. The New Testament does not teach a dualism, that the spiritual world is above the material world, or that salvation is an escape from the material world. If God loved the world so much that he sent his own Son to die for it, why does John say “Do not love the world?”
John uses the word “world” in a couple of different ways – one is for the whole cosmos, the created order, what God calls “good” in Genesis. The other way is for the culture that we humans have created in the cosmos, and in particular, the wrong ways that we regard the created order.
John also uses the word “love” in a few different ways – one is the sacrificing, self giving love that we find in John 3:16 it is the kind of love that wants what is best for the one that is loved. The other is desire, obsession the kind of emotion that wants to possess and control the other, and be possessed and controlled by the other. Books and films often get these two emotions confused and they see this desire to possess as true love.
John gets more specific about what he means by “loving the world” when he says “The cravings of sinful people, the lust of their eyes and their boasting about what they have and do” These things are not the love that God has for the world, they are what is ruining the world.
The cravings of sinful people – “the desires of the flesh” – the need for the next big hit, whether it be the rush of buying something new, the next sexual conquest, the next promotion or raise, the next accomplishment, the next chocolate bar…the continual need for more.
The lust of the eyes – greed for the things we see – we get irritated with kids in a store, when they are constantly asking for everything that they see. I have to set rules as we walk in to stores – “you can show me stuff, but you can not ask for it.” Otherwise they end up sounding like the seagulls in “Finding Nemo:” “mine, mine, mine, mine…” The seagulls are funny and the kids are irritating because the are so close the way our own heart is – “oh! I’d like that, and that… and that.”
Rockefeller – how much is enough? Just a little more.
Boasting about what they have and do
We have become convinced that possessions, accomplishments, attractive relationships are what makes us better people, so when we get them, we have show them off – we have to let slip in the conversation our latest purchase, or the name of some important person we are friends with, or some great thing we’ve done. If all this stuff is going to make us look good, people have to know we have it!
The lure of the world
When we describe the love of the world in this way, we can all say, “Oh I know someone like that!” But I think that if we are honest we can all say, “Oh I know someone like that, it’s me.”
I think that we are all infected with the virus of the love of the world, and if the virus ever gets a little low, we get another hit by turning on the TV, or reading a magazine, or walking down the street where the billboards tell us that we are just not living if we don’t use this product, or look this way, or have a beautiful partner…
Jesus tells this story comparing our hearts to different types of soil in a field:
The Parable of the Sower
"Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times."