Bad Love

Title: Bad Love

Bible Book: 1 John 2 : 15-17

Author: J. Mike Minnix

Subject: Worldliness



Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor,

The late news commentator Paul Harvey told about the time the Italian sailing team went to Australia to participate in the America's Cup race. Gucci, the famous Italian designer, had outfitted them with all the latest sportswear fashions before they left for Australia. After they arrived, the men had some time to kill, so they rented a car and drove out into the Australian bush to look for some kangaroos.

They not only saw one, they ran into it with their vehicle. They jumped out of the rented Land Rover and ran over to the kangaroo. It was just lying there on the roadway without moving. They took some pictures. Then one guy had the idea that it would be funny if he put his expensive Gucci jacket on the animal and took its picture. So he did. Just after he got the coat on the limp kangaroo and stepped back to take a picture, the creature revived and hopped away so fast he couldn't catch it.

Somewhere in the Australia outback there was a fashionably dressed kangaroo. He wore a Gucci jacket, and in the pocket were the keys to a Land Rover and the team's credit card.

In the same way that the Italian sailors made a false assumption about the kangaroo, Christians often wrongly assume that we have victory over sin and the world. The world may seem to be defeated to us, but when we least expect it, temptation can come to life. [adapted from Campus Journal, Jul 19, 1996.] Today we are going to look at worldliness and how we are to view the world.

The songwriter penned:

“Living for Jesus a life that is true

Trying to please Him in all that I do.”

To live for Jesus a life that is true requires that a believer understand the nature of the Christian experience in this world. Living foir Christ in this world is not a playground but a battleground. There are many enemies that assail the soul of the believer. One such enemy is called the world. Jesus once said to His disciples, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” We know that Jesus overcame the world, but how can I do that and what exactly does it mean to overcome the world?

John tell us that we are not to love the world neither the things that are in the world. To love the world is to engage in BAD LOVE. Worldliness is a tremendous problem for the believer.

  • · It robs us of strength for service.

  • · It takes our eyes off Jesus.

  • · It leads us to display an unchristian attitude and witness before the world.

  • · It causes us to defeat the purposes of God.

  • · It hinders the work of other faithful believers.

  • · It puts us on the devil’s side.

  • · It grieves the Spirit of God in us.

Worldliness is a terrible problem and we must come to understand that we are not to love the world, neither are we to love the things that are in the world. The Scripture states in Proverbs 4:23...

"Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life."

So, let's begin by looking at ...

I. The Definition of the World

John begins by telling us not to love the world. This is not a sugggestion but a command - this is written as an imperative. Interestingly this is written in the present tense, which could be interpreted, “Stop loving the world.”

The Lord was using John to show believers that love of the world is a continuing problem and a dangerous one, but we can't know or understand what we are to do and not do in the world unless we have a firm definition of what the word "WORLD" actually means in this text.

A. What The World Cannot Mean

The term “world” cannot mean the physical world of flowers, mountains, streams, and oceans. Why? Just look at Acts 17:24 ...

"24 God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands."

God created this world and He made all things beautiful in His sight. As God created, He surveyed His work and exclaimed, “It is good.”

Of course we need to be reminded that when Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden, sin marred the creation. We note that Paul wrote that all believers groan waiting for the Lord to come and take them home, and then he added that even the creation groans awaiting redemption.

Even in its fallen state, the beauty of the earth can point one to God. Look at Romans 1 and you see that human beings can come to an awareness of God in merely viewing the very things which He has made. So, when John says that we are not to love the world, he is not talking about loving the beautiful, physical world which our Heavenly Father made. Certainly, we love this world that He has given to us.

The term “world” also cannot mean that we are not to love the people of the world. In John 3:16 we read that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son so that whosoever believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life. This is a reference to the people of world. Certainly, if God loved the world (people in the world), you and I are not told to restrain from loving the world (people in the world). We are to love the world as far as it regards people - all people. We are to love fellow believers, but we are also to love the teeming millions of lost people in the world. God loves them as He loves you, and His Son died for them as He did for you. So, we know that the exhortation not to love the world does not concern people.

When we are told not to love the world, what exactly does John mean? This brings us to the definition of the world as it is presented in the passage before us. The Greek word for “world” used in this passage is “kosmos.” Now you are very familiar with this word in your daily life. For example, there is a magazine called, “Cosmopolitan.” The word cosmopolitan comes from the word “kosmos” and means “person of the world.” In other words, a cosmopolitan person might be said to understand the things of the world and be knowledgeable concerning many aspects of the activities and places in this world. Of course, the word has also come to mean in modern times someone who revels in the things of the world.

Actually, the word “kosmos” means to have things in order. It means an order, arrangement or design. You might be interested to know that the word “cosmetic” comes from the word “kosmos.” When a woman puts on her cosmetics, she is putting things in order - she is arranging her face.

We use the term “world,” which comes directly from the word “kosmos,” to speak of many activities or groups. For example, we speak of the world of sports. We speak of the world of politics. We speak of the world of fashion. Each of these has its own arrangement, people and order. So, we see that the kosmos or world is simply an arrangement, order or design made up of people, ideas, philosophies, and activities around a common theme. There is nothing wrong with a person being involved in activities which are part of this world, after all God saved us to make a difference in this world, not to remove us from it. John is not saying that we should not love hobbies or activities in and of themselves. However, we must be careful as we live in this world to be in the world but not of the world. What does he mean? To understand this, we must get a clear definition of what “world” means in the passage before us.

B. What The World Must Mean

When we are told not to love the world or the things in the world, we are being told not to love or embrace world’s systems, which are contrary to the ways of God. There is a system of ideas, activities and people in this world whose ways or philosophies are against God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

The world system that is against God has a "god" of its own. Look at 2 Corinthians 4:4 ...

"4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them."

Ah, we read here that there is "god" of "this world".

Secondly, this world has its own children. Look at the words of Jesus. Jesus once said to a group of people, “You are of your father, the devil.” The world has its own children. The world has its own wisdom, its own spirit, its own corruption, and its own children. Just as we who are saved are the children of God, there are those who are lost and they are the children of this world. Those of us who belong to God are not to love this world - the "god of this world" and we are not to participate in those activities which defy the true God.

No one can describe every worldly activity led by the devil. In fact, if we did try to describe these things, we would be here forever and some of us would probably not agree on what constitutes worldly behavior. I read just the other day in a book that it is considered worldly in Finland to whistle. Not many of you would consider that to be worldly.

How then can I know what is worldly? Here is the answer. Anything that keeps you from loving God, serving Him fully, obeying His will, and fulfilling His purposes according to His Word is worldliness. Anything that comes between you and God, or between you and God’s will for you is worldliness. When we speak or do things that are worldly, we align ourselves with the god of this world, the devil, and we seek to defeat the purposes of God in our lives and in the lives of others.

II. The Distractions of the World

In verse 1 John 2:16 John details what is in the world to distract us from our relationship with the Lord. This tells us how the world performs the work of derailing our love for Jesus and our service to Him. John lists three of these distractions.

A. The Lust of the Flesh

There is a pressure upon you to love the world more and the Father less. What does John mean when he uses the word “flesh.” It speaks of the fallen nature which you received at your first birth. When you got saved, you received a spiritual nature, the new man. The lust of the flesh is the corrupt system of the body which comes in the first birth. Paul wrote, “In my flesh there dwells no good thing.”

The lust of the flesh is a sinful passion or desire which makes its appeal to your fallen nature. Food and sex are perfect examples. God gave you these desires and there is nothing wrong with them as long as they are kept within God’s will. It is only a sin of worldliness when we try to fulfill one of these desires in forbidden ways. The Bible says, for example, that the marriage bed is undefiled but that adulterers God will judge. God is saying that sex within marriage is perfectly legitimate and in factit is a beautiful thing. But, when a person tries to fulfill these passions outside marriage, either before marriage or outside of marriage, it is a lust of flesh. The world uses the physical passion to establish a system that defies God’s ways and seeks to get you to fulfill your passions outside His will and way. That is worldliness. That is loving the world.

B. The Lust of the Eye

The eyes have passions and desires. Someone may say, “Feast your eyes on that.” We are a very visual generation. We can see more wth our eyes than any generation in history. Through television, photographs,magazines, digital devices and movies, we partake of more visual stimulation than any people who lived before this age. It is easy for images to erode our sensitivity to that which is ungodly. Soon we become addicted to things which are actually contrary to the Word, will and ways of God. This is one of the difficult problems faced by Christians in this generation.

C. The Pride of Life

The accumulation of things for self and boasting about them is worldliness. Buying things you don’t need, with money you don’t have to impress people you don’t like is foolish, but so many people do it. There is a temptation to keep up with or surpass our relatives, friends and even people we consider enemies is social and financial standing.

Pride can come from looks, education, skill, athletics, possessions, positions, finances and even in our religiousity. There is a thin line between seeking to appear average or above average in some area, and seeking to appear better than others for the sake of personal pride. If we have no pride, we might become indifferent to cleanliness, our motivation regarding our work, or our need to do our best for the sake of our family, our neighbor or our nation. I think deep down the true Christian knows when he or she is becoming arrogant, selfish and filled with pride in some area of life.

III. The Destiny of the World

A. The Passing Nature of the World

Look at 1 John 2:17 ...

"17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever."

This is written in the present tense. That means that this world is presently, at this moment, at every moment, passing away. When you attach your life to this world, you have attached your life to a floating island that is sinking.

The world always offers more than it can deliver. Look at alcohol or drugs. A person starts to try these things and finds it to be fun. Then it becomes an addiction. Soon enough is not enough and the person's entire life is dragged into defeat and often death. That is the way the world works.

It is said of Jesus that He saves the best for last. The world always offers the best in the beginning and then offers the worst, but Jesus only gets better day after day.

B. The Permanent Nature of the Lord

When the stars have fallen, when the sun no longer shines, when the world is rolled up like a scroll, the children of God will still be rejoicing in Christ. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Everything around us is dying, but all we deposit in the Lord's care will remain.


The songwriter penned:

"I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back."

"The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
No turning back, no turning back." (Sundar Singh)

We should be aware that Jesus saved us OUT OF THE WORLD. Look at John 17:6.

He saved us to deliver us FROM THIS PRESENT EVIL WORLD. Look at Galatians 1:4.

Yet, WE ARE STILL IN THE WORLD as long as we are in this body; Jesus spoke of this in John 17:11.

The Lord then said that He had SENT US INTO THIS WORLD, just as He had been sent into it. Look at John 17:18.

Why has he sent us into the world:

i. Not to Condemn it!
ii. Not to Conform to it!
iii. Not to Condone it!
iv. He sent us to Confront the world with the cross of Christ and His Lordship!

Those who depend upon the world will find they have trusted a false security.

During the great famine of China, the people made "bread" from a kind of edible earth. But this ingredient was devoid of any nutrients, so those who ate the loaves starved. Those who feed on the things of this world are feeding on bread which contains nothing to sustain them in the day of death, the day of eternity, the day of judgment.

Come to Jesus. He is the Bread of Life that satisfies our innermost and greatest need! Trust the One who will one day take you OUT OF THIS WORLD AND INTO A NEW WORLD with Him forever.

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