Do not love the world

(This is the manuscript basis of the devotional I gave to the Ikthus East-Bacolod City Men’s group last 02 February 2019. It is part of a series of Bible studies we’re doing on 1st John.)

1 John 2:15-17 ESV
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 desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life— is not from the Father but is from the world. [17] And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.


The Christian life is a battle for our affections. Who will our hearts love: God or the world?

Do not love the world because –


What is the “world”?

The Christian does not hate the world as such. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof.” “For God so loved the world.”

The world here must be understood in a moral sense as the world apart from God.

“Our author means human society in so far as it is organized on wrong principles, and characterized by base desires, false values, and egoism.” (C. H. Dodd)

“[To] John the world was nothing other than pagan society with its false values and its false gods. . . . [The] world which, in fact, had forsaken the God who made it.” (William Barclay)

“[The] world as it places itself over against God. . . . So the command ‘not to love the world’ refers not to the physical stuff of this this world, but t ‘the world’ as it is in rebellion against God: ‘the world’ as the combination of things that draw us away from God.” (N. T. Wright)

We are not to love the world (taken in a moral sense) because the world is anti-God!


(A) Lust of the flesh.

“To be subject to the flesh’s desire is to judge everything in this world by purely material standards. It is to live a life dominated by the senses.” (William Barclay)

Galatians 5:19-21 ESV
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, [20] idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, [21] envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:17 ESV
For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

In a person’s heart there is a white dog and a black dog. The dog you feed is the dog that wins.

1 Peter 2:11 KJV
Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

(B) Lust of the eyes.

“It is the spirit which can see nothing without wishing to acquire it and which, having acquired it, flaunts it.”

Matthew 6:22-24 ESV
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, [23] but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! [24] “No one can serve two masters, for 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 God and money.

Colossians 3:5 ESV
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

(C) Pride of life

“To the ancient moralists the alazon was the man who laid claims to posessions and to achievements which did not belong to him in order to exalt himself. The alazon is a braggart . . . His conversation is a continual boasting about things which he does not possess and all his life is spent in an attempt to impress everyone he meets with his own non-existent importance.” (William Barclay)

Proverbs 16:5 ESV
Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished.

Proverbs 27:2 ESV
Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.


2 Peter 3:7,10 ESV
But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. [10] But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

The way God destroys the lusts of this world is to destroy the people who unrepentantly harbor these.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, [10] nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. [11] And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.


“The man who attaches himself to the world’s aims and the world’s ways is giving his life to things which literally have no future. . . . But the man who has taken God as the centre of his life has given himself to the things which last for ever.” (William Barclay)

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