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A love for Jesus

Updated: Apr 8

Read 1 John 2:15-17


Do not love the world! This is a huge command. It is a striking command.  It is also something that we do not hear often in the evangelical church of today.  Do not love the world! The first question that comes to mind is “well didn’t Jesus come to love the world and not condemn the world?”


“For God so loved the world that, He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him…”


--John 3:16-17


We get our answer if we keep reading onward in John 3:19, we get this picture of two worlds, the world of darkness and the Light (Jesus, God Himself) who has come into that world of darkness to bring Hope, love and salvation from sin.


Verse 19:  “…This is the judgement, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.”


There is a lot to unpack in this collection of verses as we focus on the love of the world versus a love for God.  What does it look like to love God?  What does it look like to love the world?   We need to answer these two questions to understand what John is saying in his letter to the churches.


The Point:  We have a choice:  Love God and the gift of eternity He brings us in salvation from sin OR we can love the world and its sinful kingdom.  Loving our sin, loving the world brings us the reward of Hell. 



1.        If a person loves their sin, has an unrepentant heart, they are not saved and God is not in them.


Verse 15:


“Do not love the world nor the things in the world.  If anyone love the world, the love of the Father is not in Him.”


--1 John 2:15


This is a big verse, the biggest question that comes to mind is “what are the things of the world?”  we get an answer to this thought in verse 16:




“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father but is from the world.” 


--1 John 2:16


John explains the sin of the world through the sin of lust.  HE breaks down lust into two categories: lust of flesh and lust of eyes.  He then wraps it all up with the boastful pride of life.  John is telling us that the world loves sexual immorality in multiple ways AND the world is full of pride.  False teachers and governments usually think they are above God or put themselves on the same level of God: 


Pharoah and Egypt in Exodus (Exodus 6-12).  They thought they were gods—they were false gods, David lusted after Bathsheba which led to murder of her husband—his selfish pleasure and sin led to Him indirectly murdering Uriah.  (2 Samuel 11).


All sin is selfish, prideful and elevates the individual self above everyone else.  Sin leads to pride and pride hardens our hearts before God, it makes us unrepentant and will eventually take us away from God (or not even allow us to be with Him and saved by Him in the first place).


Going back to our definitions of love in comparing John 3:16 to 1 John 2:15 it is clear that these two words “love” are meaning two different things based on their context and sentence structures.  The love in John 3:16 is a love which is unselfish, giving oneself up instead of taking pleasure for themselves (Jesus giving His life).  The “love” in 1 John 2:15 is a selfish love, a love that is self-gratifying, self pleasing and is unwilling to serve another. 


If we look at the usage for “love” in 1 John 2:15 it looks like this in the original language:


The love word used in the Greek

ἀγαπᾷ Verb - Present Subjunctive Active - 3rd Person SingularStrong's 25: To love, wish well to, take pleasure in, long for; denotes the love of reason, esteem. Perhaps from again; to love.


“Agape is the most frequently used Greek word for love in the New Testament. Whenever a Biblical writer is discussing the topic of love, it’s usually referring to this kind. In 1John 4:16, God Himself is equated to be agape-love. Ultimately, this type of love exists because God exists; it flows from His nature.”

--Holy Foundation Bible Study


What John is saying here is “do not wish well to, take pleasure in, long for, or esteem the world nor the things in the world.  If anyone takes pleasure in the world, the love of the Father is not in Him.”

The God’s love, God’s kingdom, God’s law, God’s rule looks the opposite of the world’s—it is selfless, it is serving, it humbles hearts.  God shows us how to live in His kingdom which is why He came to fulfill the law (Matthew 5:17-20)


John is telling us here that when God’s love is in us He takes pleasure in us, he gives us a relational love to pour out through us to our church community and the world of the lost—if we do not have this love which only comes from God then we are not in a relationship with the true God of the universe. 



2.        God Commands us to follow His Rules and Laws; If we love God we will obey His Commands to show our love for Him, in that His glory shines through us. 


Verse 17:


“The world is passing away, and also its lusts, but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”


--1 John 2:17



The will of God.  The one who does the will of God?  What is the will of God?  What are God’s commandments?  (Ex. 20)

1.        No other gods before God

2.        No idols, no carved image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven or above, or that is in the earth beneath

3.        Do not take the Lord’s name in vain

4.        Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy.

5.        Honor your father and mother

6.        You shall not murder

7.        You shall not commit adultery.

8.        You shall not steal.

9.        You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor

10.   You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; wife, or servants, or his possessions (ox, donkey etc)


Jesus sums up the ten commandments and God’s law in this manner:


And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”


--Mark 12:30-31


Paul highlights other moral commands of how to honor God and follow His commands given to us when it comes to other issues regarding ungodly relationships found within the church of Corinth-this church is also rampant in much sin which is why Paul points out ALL of their sin.



“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor [a]effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God…Such were some of you.”

--1 Corinthians 6:9-11a


“And such were some of you: Paul’s point is important: such were some of you. Though these sins characterize those who will not inherit the kingdom of God, Christians can never be unloving or uncaring towards them – because they are right where we used to be.”


--Enduring Word Commentary



3.        We are all sinners.  If we love God, put our faith in God, profess the truth of Jesus Christ (His Birth, Life, Death and Resurrection), then we are saved from all of our sin FOREVER!  Love God—He lasts forever. 


I love the way 1 John 2:17 ends:


“If the world is passing away, and also its lusts, but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”


--1 John 2:17


Friends, we just celebrated resurrection Sunday.  Jesus is alive! Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life, He died an unlawful death, whipped, scourged and then crucified. His perfect blood spilled for the lusts of the world, for the pride of the world, for the temptations that we fall into and face everyday.  Then He came back to life three days later!


His physical body walked out of that grave! Mary and the other Mary held His feet, they touched Him, (Matt. 28:8-9), the disciples touched His wounds and saw His resurrected body in (Luke 24:36-43). 

Death could not hold God down! God defeated Death, God has shown us a glimpse of what our bodies in heaven will look like through the glory and power which only comes from God Himself by showing us the resurrected Jesus.  Jesus is the first fruits of what is to come for us who believe in Him—one day we will be sinless, we will be in His glory in heaven forever because of His life, death and resurrection. 


John is reminding the reader here that these false teachings that are coming from the world, these influences from the world will destroy their lives, destroy the church and ultimately, will pass.  Loving the world leads to death and destruction—the doctrines of the world will change, they will wither and die, they will lead its followers to eternal torment in Hell—but there is hope in this world. That hope doesn’t come from this world—it comes from the One True Light, the Light where there is no darkness, that is the trinitarian God, the one true God, the God man (Jesus Christ) who died so that we can give our sin to Him, repent and be forgiven and live with a supernatural hope of being absolutely sinless, living in His glory, and doing His will forever and ever.


What is God’s will?  What is God’s purpose for us?  Our purpose is to worship and glorify God and to have His light, hope, good news shine through us in this dark world.


The Point:  We have a choice:  Love God and the gift of eternity He brings us in salvation from sin OR we can love the world and its sinful kingdom.  Loving our sin, loving the world brings us the reward of Hell. 


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