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.