Love Not The World

Here is a passage of Scripture I put on Facebook on Super Bowl Sunday, making no further comment because I intended to do so later in a blog entry.

To whom it may concern:
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 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. And the world is passing away, and the lust thereof, but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17).

Here now is that blog entry.

First, how is “the world” to be defined?

John spells it out plainly enough; can we make it even more simple? It is what “the world” loves—the world of those who know not God—that is “the world.”

Now let me cut to the chase. If the Super Bowl is not “the world” I have no idea what “the world” is. Something like 170 million TV viewers and live streamers watched the Super Bowl (but compare that with the 3.5 billion who watched the Word Cup last year). My point is that the Super Bowl was a great table spread for the lust of the flesh and of the eyes and the pride of this life, and multitudes sat down for the feed. Does it not, then, number among those things that the apostle John has in mind when he calls disciples of Christ to not love the world?

I have no idea how much money was involved in this; I make no mention of the kind of money the players make; I need not labour that to any sensitive conscience that knows Christ’s teaching on the service of God and Mammon. I did see that advertisers paid $5.6 million for a 30-second Super Bowl ad. Bookies and gamblers made and lost fortunes on the game. Apart from the game itself, one Christian social media commenter called the half-time presentation “The Sodom and Gomorrah Show” and shut his TV off. (Then why even take in the game, I ask?) Another, a woman with growing daughters, commented, “No wonder the Moslems hate us.”

Those “of the world,” of course, will do what they will do, and God will judge them for it. What concerns me is that the Church of God which He has sanctified out of the world must have nothing to do with the things that those in the world pursue—and we ought to be judging ourselves concerning these things lest we be condemned with the world. Yet in many churches this does not seem to be taking place. I am aware that both in Canada and the United States many genuine brothers and sisters in Christ sat down to their own feastings and watch parties. Can we not see how discordant it is for disciples of the cross of Jesus Christ to be involved in something like that? I ask the question sorrowing, very aware that many apparently do not see it. Why the blindness?

Beloved, we are going to have to go further than this if we are going to see the testimony of Jesus Christ shining forth in our churches. We are to be characterized by the love of the Father, not the love of the world.

I think often of the Great Awakening in Wales in 1904-06. Wales too was a country preoccupied with football, but in the days of that awakening they could not scrape up enough men to form a football team; no one was interested in sports. Drama troupes were advised that to tour Wales would mean financial ruin; no one was interested in entertainment. They were all consumed with an incomparable love. We still sing about it, don’t we. The love song of the revival. But is that all it is to us—a moving song that evokes in us a wistful yearning?

Or… are we doing the will of God?

That’s what John brings this down to. The world with its desires is passing away, and with it those who pursue those desires. It is the one who does the will of God who abides forever—even though that will lead him or her in the way of fellowship with One whose love for the Father’s will was revealed “on the mount of crucifixion.”

That One “shall never be forgotten throughout Heaven’s eternal days.”

Am I coming across the way I hope? It is with regard to our love that we need so deep, so deep, a heart searching. What will it be, beloved? The love of the world? Or the will of God. The love of the world? Or the Father’s love—and the cross that comes our way in a world at perpetual enmity with Him. That is what doing His will inevitably brings upon us.

9 responses »

  1. Well said Allen,

    18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.[i] 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

    21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. 23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.

    24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires.

    I am beginning to believe that humanity has willfully chosen to refuse to believe and worship the God who created all things.

    I believe It takes a lot more faith to not believe in the God of creation than to believe in him.

    What the end of this road looks like, God only knows.

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    • I think you are right, Joe, and that makes it all the more serious when those whom God has called and sanctified unto Himself are involved in “love affairs” with the things of the world.

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  2. Monday night I went back to an old obsession (the god of this world does not allow relationship) volunteer work and the caucus!!!! Oh, I had been entertaining a thought:
    That one guy should be nominated to run against what’s his name.
    At the caucus, one individual from each group gave a sales pitch (a multitude of
    voices). As the voting progressed, confusion broke out over the process and counts.
    Conviction came as I pondered the confusion and division politics causes, that night
    and out of darkness it flows daily. (We are the salt of the earth, the flavor of life
    and I stepped back into the world to have a bite to eat. It was bitter. My Lord did
    forgive me and look at His creation: looking for hope.) And yet the peace that
    surpasses understanding created a calm parameter which some entered and
    asked,” Will you help us?” Lord, continue to expand the parameters of my heart and my ears that never clouds the cries of the hearts around me. “Son of David, Have mercy on me!!”

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    • Allen, you wrote, “I had been entertaining a thought.” That’s where it begins, doesn’t it. A little thought. Oh, that we might have keen discernment to recognize the source of our thoughts, and entertain only those that originate in our Lord!

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      • YES BROTHER. bring all into submission. Don’t hold back, Just jump right
        into His Love. Allow no interference with the big hug from Father. I believe
        it was Andrew Murray who encouraged: experience the power of His death
        and His LIFE!!

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        • Amen, Allen, we have been “translated (transferred) into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Col 1:13). Let us always stay within the boundaries of that kingdom, and never leave for other loves that tempt us to go out!

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  3. The Love of God brings us to the love of His people and places our hearts to be at enmity with the world and its ways while yet filling us with an overwhelming love for the world by the which caused God to send His only Son to offer salvation to all. As God sent His Son into this world so sends He us as well… May His Light shine through us…

    We are called to love, but we are not to love AS the world loves with partiality and division…

    46 “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
    47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
    48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
    Matthew 5:46-48

    It is the infiltration of the love of the world invading His Church which has wrought such desolation and powerlessness to His people. The power of God lies in unity and it is to such that He pours out His Blessing…

    “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
    2 It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;
    3 As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.”
    Psalm 133

    May we hear the cry of the Spirit of God in our day…

    “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment”
    1 Corinthians 1:10

    May the Lord hasten this work in each of our hearts in the today of our walk with Him.

    Blessings to you,
    Brian

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    • Hi Brian, there are many other passages along the same line. Here is one:

      “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also” (1 Jn. 4:20,21).

      That, says John, is the test of whether we actually love God or not.

      Paul writes, “Let love be without hypocrisy” (Rom. 12:9) following that immediately with, “Abhor that which is evil, cleave to that which is good.” And then, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love…” showing what this would “look like” by adding “in honour preferring one another,” which means “taking the lead in honouring one another.” (So much, then, for the pursuit of personal ambition in the church of Jesus Christ.)

      Again Paul speaks of “unfeigned love” (it’s the same word as in Romans, un-hypocrital) as one of the qualifications of a true “minister of God” (2 Cor. 6:6) and Peter uses the same word speaking of soul purified “unto unfeigned love of the brethren.”

      It’s something I’ve been really seeking to heed– that it’s possible to outwardly present an “actor’s show” of love that isn’t real love (that apparently is the meaning of the Greek word “hupokrisis,” ie, hypocrisy: something done by an actor on a stage). May we indeed abhor that kind of evil. May there be no such leaven in our lives.

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