The Christian and the World (2) - I John 2:15-17
Sunday, April 16, 2017
Note: The first part of this article appeared in the Bulletin of March 19th. Thanks to everyone for the cards and calls during my illness. And especially, thanks for the prayers. I still face several more weeks, including surgery, before I will be back to full strength. However I was able to attend worship and Bible Study yesterday for the first time in several weeks, and I was back in the pulpit last night also. Please continue to remember me in your prayers as I continue the healing process. Paul
We continue to answer the question, “Why should Christians not love the world?” The answer is: Because of what loving the world does. It makes it impossible to love the Father (v. 15b). The term “love of the Father” must mean “love for the Father” and not the Father's love for us, because He loves us even as sinners (Rom. 5:8). John is not the only person to say this (James 4:4; Matt. 6:24). Our sinful pride may rebel against this thought, but Jesus, James, and John are very emphatic on this point! The choice is ours! (Josh. 24:15).
In order to see why this is true, let's define “the love of the Father.” What does it really mean for me to love the Father? John defines it in I John 5:3: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” To this definition Jesus agrees: John 14:15; John 14:21; John 15:10.
If we love the world, we cannot keep God’s commandments! If you are driven by “the lust of the flesh” to commit fornication or adultery, then you cannot keep His commandment to “defraud not your brother” in I Thessalonians 4:3-6. If you are overcome by “the lust of the eyes,” so that you constantly want more and more, and you are determined to hold on to what you have, then you cannot keep God’s command to help those in need (I John 3:16-17), nor His commandment to “be content” with “having food and raiment” (I Tim. 6:8). And if you are filled with “the pride of life,” so that you consider yourself more important than others, then you will not be able to keep the command to imitate Christ in Philippians 2:3-5. We need to look at II Corinthians 4:7 & I Corinthians 3:7 often to help us understand our importance. Paul reminds us of where the power lies: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us (II Cor. 4:7). I Corinthians 3:5-7 needs to be read by every preacher often in order to understand his importance. Paul said, “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then “neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.”
So it is impossible to faithfully serve God and His Son, thereby showing our love for them, if we allow ourselves to “love the world”! But John gives a third reason why we should not love the world, and we will look at that next week.
Paul M. Wilmoth