************ Sermon on 1 John 2:15-17 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on October 27, 2019
1 John 2:15-17
"A Love God Rejects"
"God is love." "God loves the world." I hear this all the time. I see a sign behind home plate at the World Series that says this. People want to hear this. They don't want to be told that there are actions and people God doesn't love, that there are times when God does not love.
I God's Love and God's Hate
A But does God love everyone? More than once I've been told God hates the sin but loves the sinner. But this is not true; this cannot be true; heresy, that is what this is. For doesn't God say, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated" (Rom 9:13)? God doesn't love the reprobate.
Does God love everything we do? Of course not! Consider Jesus' actions in the Temple. Did Jesus love or did He hate that the Temple was turned into a den of robbers (Mt 21:12-13)? He hated it; that is why He armed Himself with a whip and drove out the moneychangers. Consider, also the list of Proverbs 6:
(Prov 6:16-19) There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: (17) haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, (18) a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, (19) a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.This list is not exhaustive. There are other things God hates. God hates divorce (Mal 2:16). God hates idolatry (Jer 44:3-4). God hates compromise (Rev 2:6). And the reason God hates all these things is because they are the opposite of what He loves.
Our passage tells us another thing God does not love: God does not love the world.
(1 Jn 2:15) Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.Another way to say this: God hates the world and those who love the world.
B Did you know, we are called to be like God? Like God, we are to love; and, like God, we are to hate. Listen to the psalmist:
(Ps 97:10) Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.Like God, our love for the truth makes us hate error and our love for righteousness makes us hate sin.
(Ps 139:21-22) Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhor those who rise up against you? (22) I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.
C Let me remind you that all along John has been laying out tests by which Christians can know they are Christians. I have dealt with this my entire ministry: "Pastor, I don't think I am a Christian." Or, "Pastor, how do I know if I am a Christian?" What they are really asking about is salvation: How do I know if I am saved? John lays out these tests not to make true Christians doubt but to give true Christians confidence and hope. Remember the tests we have looked at so far? True Christians believe the eternal Son of God took on flesh, they admit they are sinners who need to repent, they obey the commands of God, they love their brothers and sisters with the love of Christ, they want to grow in the faith. And, today, another test: true Christians don't love the world.
II An Old and New Command
A "Do not love the world or anything in the world" (1 Jn 2:15). In verse 7, John mentions that the command to love is a new command and an old command. It is old because we find it early in the Old Testament. It is new because its quality in Christ is different. Our text this morning is another old as well as new command. Since the beginning God has warned His people to come out from the world and be separate; that is, hate the world (Is 52:11). An old, old command. But, in Christ, it is also a new command.
B "Do not love the world or anything in the world." Let there be no mistake about it: this is a command.
Furthermore, this is an important command. A crucial command. A command we ignore at the cost of our soul. "If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1 Jn 2:15). Meaning that if anyone loves the world, they are not a Christian. True Christians do not love the world. Again, this is another test for true faith.
C "Do not love the world or anything in the world." So, what is our relationship with the world? Listen to what James says in chapter 4 of his letter:
(James 4:4) 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.You are either a friend of the world or you are a friend of God. You are not both. You cannot be both. It is the one or the other. Which one are you: Friend of the world? Friend of God?
In 1 John 5:4 we are told Christians overcome the world: "everyone born of God overcomes the world." How do we do this?
(1 Jn 5:4-5) This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. (5) Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.Your faith in Christ has overcome the world.
Those who are in the world listen to the world. For instance, we are told that false prophets "speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them" (1 Jn 4:5). But God's prophets or servants are from God, and whoever knows God listens to them (1 Jn 4:6).
In John 15:19 Jesus speaks of being chosen out of the world.
I need to slip in what Paul says in Galatians 6 about our relationship to the world:
(Gal 6:14) May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.The Ancient World knew what crucifixion meant. It meant death. Christians are dead to the world. Before they knew Christ they loved the world and the things of the world. But no more.
So, let me review this with you. You can't be a friend of the world. You have overcome the world. You don't listen to the world. You have been chosen out of the world. You are dead to the world. You no longer love the world.
III The World
A "Do not love the world or anything in the world." What does John mean by "world"? What is the world we are commanded not to love?
World does not mean the round globe hanging in space. It does not mean the created order described in Genesis 1. We are not talking about nature. We are not talking about the majesty of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, or the grandeur of the Sequoia trees, or the beauty of sunsets and flowers, or the magnificence of the seashore. God looked at this creation and pronounced it good (Gen 1). And, says the psalmist, though creation is fallen the heavens still declare the glory of God and the skies proclaim the work of His hands (Ps 19:1).
What about the human world? Are we being commanded not to love our neighbors? Our family? Of course not! God so loved this world that He gave His one and only Son (Jn 3:16). He sent His Son into the human world, the world of men and women and girls and boys. He sent His Son to be the Savior of this world.
We aren't talking about the world of science, the world of sports, the world of medicine, the world of finance -- or any other area of human endeavor.
B "Do not love the world or anything in the world." What is this world John is talking about? In this instance, world means the invisible, spiritual system of evil. This system is under the control of Satan and run by Satan -- as is made clear in 1 John 5:19 when it says "the whole world is under the control of the evil one." This system of evil works in the disobedient. This system, this world, being under the prince of darkness, works against God and the things of God. This system hates God and it hates the people of God. Under the control of Satan, this system is described as wicked, corrupt, evil, fallen, perverse, depraved. It is anti-God, anti-Christ, anti-Bible, anti-church, anti-truth, anti-righteousness. It hates whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable (cf Phil 4:8).
(1 Jn 2:16) 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.
Thanks to Satan this system comes in many different forms today: Muslim, Buddhism, atheism, Eastern religions, the toleration of the mainstream churches, the prosperity gospel, cults and sects, humanism, the worship of pleasure. All of them are the same. They all misrepresent Christ and the way of salvation. They all deny our sin and the great need for salvation. They all believe in the goodness of man. They all are promoted by a host of false prophets. And they all hate not only Jesus but also the body -- the church -- of Jesus.
"Do not love the world or anything in the world." Don't love any part of this system under the control of Satan. Don't love the trash on our TV sets. Have you noticed that almost every TV show has a gay person or couple today? Don't love that. Don't love the decisions of the Supreme Court to allow abortion and to legalize gay marriage. Don't love the rush to legalize marijuana. Don't love the world's view that marriage is old-fashioned and that sex outside of marriage is okay. Don't love the push to keep the Bible out of school and out of the public square. Don't love sin and crime and hatred and bigotry. All of this is part of the world.
There is an episode of the Simpsons where Bart ends up in hell. The Devil sends him back saying, "Don't forget, Bart, lie, cheat, and steal."That's what the Devil loves. That's what the world loves.
C Does any of this describe you? Not if you are a Christian. Not if you are a believer in Christ Jesus. We are not of this world because our citizenship is in heaven (Phil 3:20).
And, yet, we are in the world. So we face temptation. The allurements of the world look attractive to us. We still are proud and selfish and self-centered. So we need to be warned. So we need to be told. So we fallen and sinful people need the command: "Do not love the world."
In the world but not of the world. That's what we are. Do not love the world. Do not love this system of evil. Be vigilant. Be watching. Be careful. Stand on guard.
IV Keeping Yourself Safe
"Do not love the world or anything in the world" (1 Jn 2:15). This is true for you, your children, your grandchildren. Let me tell you where the rubber hits the road.
One. Supervise what your kids watch on TV.
Two. Supervise what your kids do on the computer and on their smart phones. At the very least, no phones or computers are brought into the bedroom at night. Don't allow them at the dinner table either.
Three. You can't be in a false church that prizes tolerance over truth and has caved in to the ways of the world. Find a true church.
Four. Hate sin. Fight sin and temptation.
Five. Hate and oppose the lies of Satan.
Six. Realize we are in a battle -- a spiritual battle. A battle between truth and error, Christ and antiChrist, the Word of God and the word of Satan.
(Eph 6:12) For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.This is a worldwide battle. This is the battle of the ages -- it started with the fall into sin and it doesn't end until Christ returns.
Seven. Arm yourself for battle. You know what Paul says in Ephesians 6:
(Eph 6:13-18) Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (14) Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, (15) and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. (16) In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. (17) Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (18) And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Eight. Make every thought captive to Christ. Paul says this in 2 Corinthians 10. Every thought. Every hope. Every dream. Every word. Every deed.
Nine. Go over the list of things God hates. By the power of Christ and His Spirit strive for the opposite. Go over the things God loves and love them too.
"Do not love the world or anything in the world" (1 Jn 2:15). Do you hear what this means? What this requires?
"Do not love the world or anything in the world" (1 Jn 2:15). God wants us to love but there is a love that God rejects. God rejects love for the world.
You either love God or you love the world. It is one or the other. It isn't both. It can't be both. If you are a Christian, you don't love the world; you don't love the system of evil under the control of Satan; you don't love anything that is opposed to Christ. You don't love the world. This is a love God rejects.
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