Summary: God commands us not to love the things of this world.
Love of the World
1st John 2:15 - 17
a. By way of introduction, let’s briefly look at our study last time, if you’ll remember, it concerned loving one another.
b. First, we saw that John talked about what appears to be two commandments, an old one and a new one.
c. We saw that the old commandment was one that they had from the beginning; this was to love your neighbor. But, we also looked at the new commandment, a continuation of the old one, which was to love one another, as Jesus has loved us. (John 13:34) This indeed is a tall order!
d. Moving on from the commandment, John begins a discussion of spiritual maturity in verses 12-14. He addresses three groups – children, or those new in the faith, young men, what I like to call journeymen Christians, who have know what it is like to server the Lord, and the adults, or fathers, who are characterized by a deep abiding faith and love for the Lord.
e. Moving on from the topic of spiritual maturity, we will look at 3 verses tonight that address the love of the world. Let’s turn in our Bibles to the 1st Letter of John, chapter 2, verses 15-17.
a. Some years ago, musicians noted that errand boys in a certain part of London all whistled out of tune as they went about their work. It was talked about and someone suggested that it was because the bells of Westminster were slightly out of tune. Something had gone wrong with the chimes and they were discordant. The boys did not know there was anything wrong with the peals, and quite unconsciously they had copied their pitch. So we tend to copy the people with whom we associate; we borrow thoughts from the books we read and the programs to which we listen, almost without knowing it. God has given us His Word, which is the absolute pitch of life and living. If we learn to sing by it, we shall easily detect the false in all of the music of the world.
a. Text - 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
b. The Admonition – v. 15
i. If we look at verse 15, we see that John tells us here first not to love the world, or the things in the world.
ii. So, what does John mean? Let’s look a little closer in the text.
iii. The word for love John uses here in the Greek is agapao, which we saw last time, was a new word that did not exist in Greek literature before the early church, it is a compound word, a combination of the Greek word for much and the Greek word for brotherly love. It is a deep abiding love that was a trademark of the early church.
iv. We saw earlier in the chapter that John tells us to have this kind of love for the others in the Body of Christ. But it is obvious here that this is a direct command – Do not have the same love that you have for each other with the world.
v. What really struck me when I read this is that we see several times in Old Testament scripture that God is a jealous God, who will not share our love with any other (false) gods.
vi. If you look at this commandment, it seems to me that God is not only jealous of our love, but he is jealous for us, to have the love of one another.
vii. So, what is the world John is talking about here? Well, from scripture, we find that there are two words in the Greek that are translated world. One is Oikoumene, which means land, or a region, like the Roman Empire. Another is Kosmos, which is the word used here.
viii. It means the circle of the world, or the universe, or it can mean, and what I am confident John was referring to here, the mass of sinful humanity which is united against God.
ix. The things of the world, are the worldly system. We buy, we sell, we consume. We here in America are a consumer society. We have to have the latest gadget, or new car, or new outfit.
x. I am sure glad I don’t struggle with this! ?!?!?!?