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Do Not Love The World

by David Johnson

IMG_0666(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

It is good to be together again as we look into the Word of God.   The title for the lesson is, “Do Not Love the World,” and the text is in the New Testament, the first epistle of John chapter two verses 15 through 17.   Listen to the Word of God.

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.   For everything in the world, the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does comes not from the Father, but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. This is the Word of God. May he add his blessing to the public reading of this Word.

Love of the world’s system under the temporary control of the evil one or worldliness is not for the Christian. Worldliness involves sinful attitudes, being enamored with the world’s system and activities that are carnal, that are worldly, not of God.   Worldliness is a matter of the heart regarding our affections and attractions. Anything in the Christian’s life that causes he or she not to desire to do God’s will is worldly and is to be avoided and abstained from.

In our study passage in 1 John chapter two and verses 15 through 17 the word world is written six times.  It is recorded there six times.  The commandment not to love the world’s system is grounded, first, in the incompatibility of the love of the world versus the love of God the Father.

Secondly, the passing away, the temporal nature of this world versus the eternity of those who do God’s will. Do you remember someone recorded in the New Testament by the name of Demas, a coworker with the apostle Paul?  In 2 Timothy chapter four and verse 10 it says, in part: For Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.  Demas was probably a coworker with Paul for years and had labored with the likes of Titus, Luke and John Mark. Yet in spite of being with Paul and other mature Christians, even authors of Scripture, church planters and faithful servants of God, Demas deserted and went back to the world. Why? Because he loved this world. He was enticed by the many allurements this world’s system offers. And today it is certainly still a problem, still an enticement, still an allurement.  Regarding Demas it says he loved the world more than God’s kingdom. That is basically what it amount to.   This continues to be a source of desertions and defections back to the world today. Possibly the persecutions and Paul’s impending martyrdom for his faith and the sake of the kingdom, the kingdom of God dissuaded Demas who was unwilling to pay this cost, this price for God for his kingdom, for Jesus Christ.

So what about us?   Will we remain faithful to the Lord even in the face of growing persecution? Would we will be willing to die for our faith if that is what it takes? Demas was guilty of spiritual adultery, of apostasy. James, the half brother of Jesus, in his epistle, in James chapter four and verse four warns his readers, including us today: You adulterous people. Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Strong words, because the enticements of this world’s system are great and deadly to eternal life with God.

The love that God hates is love of this world’s system. So let’s look deeper at these details regarding the world.  In 1 John chapter two and verse 15 it says:  Do not love the world or anything in the world. The apostle John here, inspired of the Holy Spirit, by writing and using the term world does not mean the natural, physical world created by God, even though it is now marred by man’s fall. Nature’s beauty, however, still reflects God’s creative power.

Second, the world here does not mean the world of humanity even though sinful. God so loved the world, mankind, that he sent has one and only Son into the world to become its sin bearer.  The world not to love, therefore, is the invisible, spiritual world system of evil. In the original Greek the cosmos or this world order, this world’s way of life under the control of Satan.  In this same letter the apostle John wrote in 1 John chapter five and verse 19 that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. Christians should not have a habitual, patterninstic love affair with the world’s system.  Just as worldly people have no genuine love of Christ, worldly people have no genuine love of the Church or of God’s Word or of God’s commandments, but are of the world, not of the kingdom, the kingdom of God.

The apostle John gives three general reasons that Christians must not love this world’s system. Namely, number one, because of who we are.  Number two, because of what the world does. And, number three, because of where the world is going.  So, first, because of who we are as Christians.

Look, again, at 1 John chapter two and verse 15b, which reads: If anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in him.  Because of who we are as Christians, we are in a loving, obedient relationship with God the Father. The world’s system and love of the Father are mutually exclusive. We cannot genuinely love one without hating the other. They completely conflict and contradict.

For example, Jesus stated in the gospel of Luke chapter 16 and verse 13: No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. And to serve money is a prime example of this evil, selfish, self centered world system that caters to the flesh, to the world and is duped by the devil.

Christians are kingdom people, not worldly people. In 1 John chapter two and verse 16 it describes why we cannot love the world’s system as, secondly, because of what the world does. For everything in the world, the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes, and the boasting of what he has and does comes not from the Father, but from the world. Cravings, lusts, boasting are worldly evil. It is about sinful attitudes and sinful actions.   The unregenerate, sinful world is controlled by the person, the personality and the persuasion of the devil, of the evil one, whether they understand this or believe it or not. Cravings refers to the insatiable, unsatisfied, immoral desires of the flesh, carnality. Lust of the eyes is primarily sexual sins, but also coveting of anything, coveting of other’s property, even other’s talents. Boasting is about sinful pride that even ruined one third of God’s angels. Worldly sinners exalt self to the glory of the creature rather than to the glory of the creator.

And then, thirdly, Christians must not love this world’s system, because of where the world is going.  In 1 John chapter two and verse 17 it reads: The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. Pass away in the original Greek means to disappear.   The present tense of pass away indicates this world’s system is already currently in the process of self destruction. That is, the current, satanic world system has the seeds of its own destruction, because the world’s system is destined for eternity in hell, in the lake of fire as are the devil and his angels, those fallen angels that followed Lucifer, Satan and as are the subjects in adherence of this world’s system who continue to reject Jesus Christ, who continue to refuse to repent, who continue not only to be disobedient, but to be unbelievers.

However, the one who does the will of God has an eternity promised with God and has nothing to fear regarding this world’s system into eternity future. The old order of things will have passed away and everything will be made new, even a new heavens and a new earth and a new Jerusalem into the eternal state.   And nothing impure, nothing unclean will ever enter into it.

Spiritual Christians need to keep ourselves loosely attached to this world. This is not our home. We are sojourners.  We are aliens. We are strangers in this world.  We are just passing through. We are pilgrims on our way to eternity with God to the new Jerusalem, to the heavenly city, to the celestial city that will come down from heaven and either be suspended above the new earth, ultimately, eventually, or come down to this new earth. And when Jesus Christ returns to this earth, a new order, a completely, radically new order, a new system will reign in the renovated earth, in the renewed earth and eventually to the new earth.

A Christian, in the meantime, is in the world physically, but he or she must not be of the world spiritually.  A Christian cannot help being in the world, but when the world is in the Christian, that is trouble. Today many speak of this world system as if it will never pass away. As believers in this passage of Scripture, we can take great comfort and encouragement.

And also in 1 Corinthians chapter seven and verse 31 it reveals, in part: For this world in its present form is passing away.  This is God’s Word. This is God’s will to which we can be ever thankful and realize that this evil world’s system is not eternal, is not forever. It will pass away and we will be able to enjoy a fabulous future ultimately in Christ Jesus.  We are only going to enjoy this fabulous future today through the wounds of Jesus Christ suffered on the cross for the sin of the world, but only effectual to those who receive Jesus personally through faith, a repentant, obedient faith and persevere in Christ Jesus until he comes for us. Either we go through the door of death or if we are yet alive when the Lord catches up his Church and we will be with him forever more and, therefore, we should encourage one another with these words and share Jesus, the cross and the empty tomb with all that we come in contact with, because only those in Christ Jesus can enjoy eternity with God through him, because eternal life is found only in the Son of God.

 

David Johnson is minister of the Sellersburg Church of Christ, Sellersburg, IN.




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