Yesterday I preached from 1 John 2:15-17 in our series titled, “Know” on Sunday mornings.  The focus of the sermon was in line with John’s overall goal in his letter—biblical assurance.  In this passage, John provides a clear imperative regarding this present evil world and how the children of God are not to be entangled in the love of this world.

The Command

John begins by writing, “Do not love the world or the things in the world” (1 John 2:!5).  John is not aiming for legalism or moralistic therapeutic deism.  John’s aim is the gospel and out of the gospel-centered life flows a heart that is so in love with God that he will despise the world.  John is the apostle of “black is black and white is white.”  He is not interested in anyone staying in the gray areas of life.

Interestingly enough, over the years I’ve heard people make comments such as, “That person is so heavenly minded that he is not earthly good.”  Although I’ve heard people make comments like this, I’ve yet to really meet someone who was so focused on heaven that he was good for nothing here on earth.  However, through the years I’ve met plenty of people who were so earthly minded that they were no good for heaven.

The Condition

John moves on to a very important condition.  He writes, “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).  In other words, if a person claims to be a follower of Christ and is filled with the love for the world’s system, the world’s rebellion, the world’s sin, the world’s treasures—such a person will not have the love of God in him.

It doesn’t matter how many bumper stickers a person has with the gospel printed on it, or T-shirts, or bracelets, or how often they put Christian quotes or Bible verses on their social media platforms—if a person loves the world they don’t love God.

James 4:4 – You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

The Caution

As John closes out this section, he points to the allurements of this present evil world.  He writes, “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:16-17).

The desire (or lust) of the flesh is the depraved desires of the human mind and body that find their satisfaction in the world.  This could involve anything that comes as a result of the seed of depravity.  The love of murder, the love of sexual immorality, the love of money are just three popular examples.  John insists that such sinful cravings do not come from the Father.  Instead, they come from the world.

The desire (or lust) of the eyes involves the flirtation and consideration that a person has with the present evil world that eventually leads to the actual sin itself.  Consider how Eve looked to the forbidden fruit before she ate it in the Garden of Eden.  Consider how Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom long before he moved into Sodom.  The world would love to dance through the eye gate and lure you away.  John provides a caution here for everyone to consider.

The pride of life involves the arrogant attitude of life that boasts of the world’s pleasures and the world’s goods.  Many people live by the false assumption that you only have one life so you must live it up here in this present evil world.  That’s simply not true.  All people have another life awaiting them—either in heaven or hell.  John provides this caution in order to prevent people from experiencing a horrible fall.

John then points out that those people who do the will of God will abide forever.  In other words, whoever repents and clings to the finished work of Christ alone will inherit eternal life.  Perseverance in the gospel is necessary to receive eternal life.

Are you a Christian?  Do you love the world more than you love God?  You cannot serve two masters.  Paul Washer once said, “In America, in typical American contemporary evangelicalism…we have a great majority of the people claiming to be Christian but they are living like devils. But, because they claim to be Christian and they identify themselves with Christ, and yet live like devils, God’s name is not praised because of them, God’s name is blasphemed because of them.”


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Author Do Not Love the World

Josh Buice

Pastor Pray's Mill Baptist Church

Josh Buice is the founder and president of G3 Ministries and serves as the pastor of Pray's Mill Baptist Church on the westside of Atlanta. He is married to Kari and they have four children, Karis, John Mark, Kalli, and Judson. Additionally, he serves as Assistant Professor of Preaching at Grace Bible Theological Seminary. He enjoys theology, preaching, church history, and has a firm commitment to the local church. He also enjoys many sports and the outdoors, including long distance running and high country hunting. He has been writing on Delivered by Grace since he was in seminary and it has expanded with a large readership through the years.