Say NO To The World!
A Study of Worldliness In 1 John 2
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Sermon Delivered 6/12/04
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." 1 John 2:15-17
As we begin this message we need to define world kosmon – kosmon (from kosmos). It is a word with a wide range of meanings. It can mean all of mankind as in John 3:16 – For God so loved the world…. It can also mean the earth as we see in Matthew 13:35. However, in the context of 1 John 2, THE WORLD means the organized system of philosophies, theories, values, ethics and attitudes that are in opposition to God and the Bible. The Apostle Paul calls this the "present evil world." Galatians 1:4 When Christians think and act in a manner consistent with the philosophies, theories, values, attitudes and ethics of this world instead of the Scriptures, they are being worldly. Or, more specifically, when our motives, attitudes, values and conduct are shaped and molded after the world, we are worldly! The question I put to you is, are you worldly?
Another word for worldly is the word carnal. The Christians at Corinth were called carnal because they were living in many ways like unsaved men; they were living under the power of the carnal nature 1 Corinthians 3:1-4. The tragedy is, that in our day in the Christian community, and in this church, it seems that there are those who are more anxious to enjoy the world to than secure God’s favor. It is as A. W. Tozer said, "Evangelical Christianity is now tragically below the New Testament standard. Worldliness is an accepted part of our way of life. Our religious mood is social instead of spiritual. We have lost the art of worship. We are not producing saints. Our models are successful businessmen, celebrated athletes and theatrical personalities. We carry on our religious activities after the methods of the modern advertiser. And scarcely anyone appears to care!"
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. 1 John 2:15a
First, the Apostle John says in no uncertain terms –"Love not the world…" For my Greek students the phrase love not is a present active imperative which means either to stop loving the world or do not have the habit of loving the world. Therefore John insists that Christians STOP loving the world. Or, more specifically, stop letting the world shape and mold your motives, attitudes, values and conduct. Paul corroborates John’s position. This is clear from Romans 12:1-2 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Second, we are not to love "…the things that are in the world." The obvious question is, what are the things of the world or the things that are worldly? John lists three things: "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." 1 John 2:16
Before we begin to consider the sinful things of the world, I need to define for you the world lust. It is the Greek word epiyumia epithumia (ep-ee-thoo-mee’-ah) and it means the desire for what is forbidden, longing, desires, or craving.
The Lust of The Flesh
The phrase, "the lust of the flesh," here means that which pampers and indulges the appetites of the sinful nature. The focus is living for pleasure. Young people are specifically susceptible to this kind of lust and told to flee it (2 Timothy 2:22). However, adults are not exempt from it either. The old Baptist, Dr. John Gill say the lust of the flesh "includes all unchaste desires, thoughts, words, and actions, fornication, adultery, rape, incest, sodomy, and all unnatural lusts; and which make up a considerable part of the all that is in the world." And the greater tragedy is that many, who claim that they are Christians, and even people in this church, have embraced the sexual morality (or rather immorality) of the world.
Gill goes on to say that the lust of the flesh includes excess in eating and drinking… drunkenness, and all the sensual pleasures of life." The lust of the flesh is a pleasure-focused life rather than a God focused life. Paul said worldly people are "lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God." 2 Timothy 3:4
The question I put to you is, are you worldly? Do you spend more time pursuing pleasure or pursuing God? A large part of the world lives to pursue pleasure and an increasing number of those who name the name of Christ are down the same road. Next we move on to…
The Lust of The Eyes
The lust of the eye is wanting what the eye sees. It is the desire for possessions. It is the sin of covetousness, the objects of which are visible things, as money, houses, lands, clothes and possessions. These things take priority over pursuing God and His will. Simply stated, The lust of the eye is a life where possessions are the focus and the priority of life, rather than God and The Bible. Our Lord said, "Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." Luke 12:15. Turn to Matthew 16:26 "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
One of the most obvious effects of the lust of the eyes is seen in the children from Christian families. Thousands of children that come from Christian homes are lost to the world! And one of the main reasons why is that BOTH parents were so busy working so that they can accumulate money, houses, lands and possessions that they neither have nor take the time to rear their children biblically.
The question I put to you is, are you worldly? Is your priority your possession first then God and obeying His will? I remind you of the words recorded in Matthew 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
Let’s review briefly. 1) The lust of the flesh a life that is focused on indulging in sinful pleasures. 2) The lust of the eyes is a life focused on possessions. Finally we come to…
The Pride of Life
The pride of life is the desire for power and prestige. It is the thirst to be noticed, honored, admired and applauded like the Pharisees who "loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." John 12:43. The pride of life is the desire to be the sovereign instead of the servant. It is the desire to have power over others. Further it is trusting in ones own resources instead of relying on God. If you are, that is worldly. Therefore the question I put to you is, are you worldly?
So why does it matter? First, these things are "not of the Father." Second, "…the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." 1 John 2:17
I like the way Arthur W. Pink put it – It is much to be
The great tragedy is that so many Christians do not see that the world as a gigantic fraud but are like Demas. He had been active with Paul in Christian service according to Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 1:24. But, Demas got distracted by the world. Turn to 2 Timothy 4:10 "For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica…" John put it this way in 1 John 2:19 "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us."
Christian friends, forsake worldliness before its hooks
get in your jaw drags you off to Thessalonica.