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Do Not Love the Things of the World

This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, Your Friendly Enemy.

1 John 2:15-17

The World Is Our Friendly Enemy

1 John 2:15-17

If you love health, you will hate disease. If you love peace, you will hate war. If you love cleanliness, you will hate filth. If you love life, you will hate death.

If you love people, you will hate sin.

Love of the World

There are things you cannot love and be a child of God.

1 John 2:15
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Obviously John is not talking about planet Earth. There is nothing wrong with loving God’s Creation—you can love the rocks, hills, trees, bees, and flowers. This is your Father’s world, and you ought to enjoy it.

John is also not talking about the world of people. If God loves the people of this world, we are to as well.

What is John talking about, then? An order, a way of doing things. John is talking about an ungodly, devilish system that is set against our Lord and His Christ. You are not to love that world—although that world may be very friendly to you.

Do Not Love the World

What is the world like?

The Prince of this World

Satan is the prince of this world. “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19).

He is the mastermind behind this world system. People have dark, Machiavellian conspiracies here and there, but there is a bigger conspiracy than people dare dream. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities…” (Ephesians 6:12a).

The Wisdom of this World

There is a network of ideas and values skillfully woven together to entrap the most innocent. “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (1 Corinthians 3:19a). This world is wise, but it is wise in order to do evil.

The Mission of this World

The world has a calculated plan: to draw you away from God, His Word, His will, and His ways.

Have you ever wondered why the world hates Jesus? Not because He healed the sick, blessed the children, turned water into wine, or fed multitudes—not even because He died on the cross. Jesus said to His disciples, “The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil” (John 7:7; emphasis added).

The Holy Spirit dwells in you, representing Jesus. This world will break your neck if it can. Jesus said, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you” (John 15:18).

If you are a friend to this world that hates Jesus, you are an enemy of God and a traitor to Christ who died on the cross.

The People of this World

When you got saved, you came out of the world. You are born again among people who are still in the world, so you find yourself swimming against the tide all the way. If you were of the world, the world would love you. But this world is not your home. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2a).

The Things of the World

1 John 2:16
For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.

This world has three main appeals to seduce you from following Jesus. Those who succumb to these appeals are trapped in “worldliness.”

Lust of the Flesh

“The flesh” does not mean your skin and sinews; it means your old Adamic nature. We received the flesh from our first birth. We receive the Spirit from our second birth. “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another” (Galatians 5:17). The new nature wants to serve God, and the old nature doesn’t want to be dead.

The desires of the flesh are primarily material: gluttony, laziness, drunkenness, immorality, perversion. God has given you certain normal hungers. Appetite and ambition are good. Sex drive is a gift from God. But Satan wants to take normal, God-given cravings and pervert them.

Good things are bad things when they are out of place. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

Lust of the Eyes

Your eyes have an appetite also. To desire the sophisticated, intellectual, and beautiful is legitimate—but to want more than we need and to be dissatisfied leads to lustful desires of the eyes. (See 1 Timothy 6:10.)

Is the first goal in your life to be a godly person? Or are you trying to be a successful person? Maybe you are looking around, thinking, “I want that, I want that, and I need this.” Is there any material possession you would not part with for the glory of God?

The Pride of Life

This part of the world’s system deals with being. This world says, “Be somebody! Get a name for yourself.” You think you have to be noticed. That is why people dress outlandishly or buy cars when they don’t need them. They gossip. Like men drowning in a sea of insecurity, they think that if they pull others down they somehow elevate themselves.

Adam and Eve fell for Satan’s appeal in the Garden of Eden. “The woman saw that the tree was good for food…” Passions. “That it was pleasant to the eyes…” Possession. “And a tree desirable to make one wise…” Position. Do you see how old this system is?

Love of the Father vs. Love of the World

Every temptation is a perversion of something that is good. God wants you to be in the business of being and doing, and Satan wants you to be in the business of having.

Your Future in Christ

Do you want something to do? Serve God.

Do you want something to have? Give your heart to Jesus Christ. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).

Do you want to be somebody? Be a child of the King, living in the Father’s love, next of kin to the Holy Trinity. Jesus is “not ashamed to call them brethren.” (See Hebrews 2:11.) Those who live for Jesus know what life is all about.

Why take second best?

The Future of This World

Another reason you are not to love the world is because of where it is headed. The Word of God says:

1 John 2:17
The world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

Jesus said, “The ruler of this world is judged” (John 16:11b). If you live for this world, you are painting the decks of a sinking ship.

“If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15b). Such a person loves the world because the love of God is not in him. He has nothing else to love.

You don’t have to be in a back alley eating tin cans with the devil’s billy goats if you have been feasting on Jesus—you are satisfied. But this world will never satisfy your heart.

You were made for God.

List of Scriptures Referenced in this Article

1 John 2:15-17, 5:19; Ephesians 6:12; 1 Corinthians 3:19; John 7:7, 15:18, 16:11; Romans 12:2; Galatians 5:17; Matthew 5:5, 6:33; 1 Timothy 6:10; Hebrews 2:11

More Bible Verses on “Do Not Love the World”

James 4:4
Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
John 12:25-26
He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.
1 John 3:1
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.