Summary: Fellowship with God requires that we reject worldliness.

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1 JOHN 2:12-17

BIG IDEA: Fellowship with God requires that we reject worldliness.

Walking in the light implies fellowship with God. Fellowship with God requires that we:

1. Renounce Sinfulness (1 John 1:5 – 2:2)

2. Obey God’s Commands (1 John 2:3-11)

3. Reject Worldliness (1 John 2:12-17)

Read 1 John 2:12-17. This passage will help us answer the following questions: What is worldliness? Why should we reject is?

The three groups of persons addressed in this passage are parts of one family or community of believers. These groups stand for different levels of Christian maturity or experience in the community.

“Children, fathers, and young men” indicate qualities appropriate to the three stages of life, which ought to be true of all believers. All Christians should have the innocence of childhood, the strength of youth, and the mature knowledge of age.


When John used the term “world,” he is not thinking of the material universe, its material contents, and the people in the world. The Word of God did not suggest that Christian should hate the material world or its inhabitants or that he should refrain from contact with them.

We cannot be the salt and light of the world when we isolate ourselves from the earth or the people. We cannot avoid the pleasures and comforts of life in the world because God did not intend life to be miserable but very good.

The term “world” refers to an invisible spiritual system opposed to God and Christ. This spiritual system is Satan’s system for opposing the work of Christ on earth. It is the very opposite of what is godly, holy, and spiritual.

Worldliness is a devotion to this invisible spiritual system under Satan and opposed to loving God and doing the work of Christ.

This spiritual system includes traditions, custom, things, and thoughts that belong to darkness or that sphere of human existence that is alienated from God.


1. Materialism – a doctrine that the only or the highest values objectives lie in material well-being and in the furtherance of material progress.

2. Atheism – a disbelief in the existence of deity.

3. Libertinism – a belief of a person who is unrestrained by morality; a free thinker especially in religious matter.

4. Relativism – a view that ethical truths depend on the individuals and groups holding them.

5. Legalism – a strict, literal, or excessive conformity to the law or to a religious or moral code.

6. Licentiousness – a belief marked by disregard for strict rules of correctness or moral restrains.

Worldliness is not just a matter of activity but also an attitude. It is possible for a Christian to stay away from questionable beliefs and activities but still loves the world, and endorses its practices. Worldliness is a matter of the heart.

ILLUSTRATION Worldliness is anything that cools my love for Christ is the world. —John Wesley

Worldliness is a devotion to that causes a Christian to lose his enjoyment of the Father’s love or his desire to do the Father’s will. Personal devotion to God and the doing His will are the two tests of worldliness.

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