1 John 2:15-17 / Do Not Love the World (Sermon notes and Audio)

Posted on February 28, 2014


This is the seventh in a series of verse-by-verse expositions of the book of 1 John. This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on the evening of February 23, 2014. This message deals with how a love of the world supersedes our love for Christ. This post contains an audio recording of my message, along with my sermon notes. Please note that the sermon notes are not a full transcript.

AUDIO – Listen Now:


1Jon 2_15-17


1 John 2:15-17

Do not love the world or the things in the world is referencing a love for things that are contrary to God.

Some may object to this verse, saying it contradicts John 3:16

In fact, it may be quite puzzling to some people. It should be noted that the word “world” has two different meanings in these different verses.

John 3:16, is all about people, human souls. In our text, it refers to the evil world system.

Neither does it have anything to do with the physical world, rather it refers to spiritual evil, which is dominated by satan.

This is spiritual warfare.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

The love of the world precludes a love of God, therefore even the thought of something coming before God must be taken into captivity.

God must take first place in a believer’s life.

Matthew 10:37-39

If God does not have first place, then you don’t love Him as you ought.

Matthew 22:37

If you don’t have such a totally and completely devoted love, you don’t have the love of the Father. His love is one of total devotion.

We may not always realize how we place the things of the world before God, but John explains it to us.

The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life are all contrary to God. Yet, they have become so commonplace that we don’t even know it.

These three things encompass any sin you can imagine, and notice that they refer to inward attitudes rather than physical acts.

This is because we become what we think.

Luke 6:45

Therefore, it is necessary to take evil thoughts into captivity.

2 Corinthians 10:5

We should seek a renewing of our minds, not conformance with the world.

Romans 12:2

Notice that a lust does not have to be sexual in nature. A lust is any ungodly desire.

Remember that this was written to believers, so it is important to understand that we are vulnerable as well.

In fact, Peter makes it clear that a believer can commit such sins.

2 Peter 1:9

There are three attitudes referenced here:

(1) craving for physical pleasure—preoccupation with gratifying physical desires.

(2) craving for everything we see—coveting and accumulating things, bowing to the god of materialism.

(3) pride in our achievements and possessions—obsession with one’s status or importance.

When the serpent tempted Eve (Genesis 3:6), he tempted her in these areas.

The thoughts lead to the actions.

Also, when the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness, these were his three areas of attack.

Matthew 4:1-11

To put anything before God is foolish. It does no good to be obsessed with the things of the world.

If you were to gain the whole world, it’d be pointless, because it won’t last.

Matthew 16:26

Would you be willing to exchange your should for the world?

You can have your “good things” now, but if that’s as good as it gets, is it worth it?

Luke 16:25

Beware of anyone who tells you that you can live your best life now! For a believer, the best is yet to come.

This world will pass away, but when the desire for possessions and sinful pleasures feels so intense, we tend to doubt that they will all one day pass away.

The truth is, they will pass away, but the things of God are eternal.

He who does the will of God abides forever. This isn’t works based salvation. This is stating that the true Christian will do God’s will, and will be forever entwined with Christ.

This was John’s conviction based on the facts of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and promises.

God values self-control, a spirit of generosity, and a commitment to humble service, just the opposite of the lusts of the flesh, eyes, and the pride of life.

It is possible to give the impression of avoiding worldly pleasures while still harboring worldly attitudes in one’s heart.

What values are most important to you? Do your actions reflect the world’s values or God’s values?

Knowing that this evil world will end can give you the courage to deny yourself temporary pleasures in this world in order to enjoy what God has promised for eternity.

Posted in: Sermons