“Love not the world neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of this world.
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”
There is a fundamental call of God, and it comes to us in many forms and variations, in positive and in negative terms, but it comes down to this simple statement: LOVE ME!
So it is with our present text. The language is largely negative; but its message is plain: LOVE ME!
I say this at the start because I will treat of this text in its negative language.
Love not the world!
Well, what is this world?
There are three meanings to this concept. I know, I know, many are the Scripture expositors who create confusion in your mind by using the term as though there is only one meaning. But I can clearly show that they are mistaken.
Now I ask you, if God loves the world, why would Christ refuse to pray for it? There is only one answer: in these two texts we hear of two different worlds. Here are three different meanings of world:
1) The physical world. Psalm 90:21 “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world . . .”
That world is the heavens and the earth which God created in six days of twenty-four hours each, even though fools prattle of long periods.
2) Second, there is the world which is the object of God’s everlasting love, and for which He gave. Himself in Jesus. Christ our Lord. John 3:16. THAT world God loves, and He proved it. Incidentally, of that world you also hear in I John 2:2. “And He (that is Christ) is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
That world God determined and that world God loved from everlasting to everlasting. That world consists of all the elect and all the chosen angels and all the chosen creation which shall finally be manifested and revealed in the day of Christ.
3) Third, there is another use of world, and it is used in our text, and also in other parts of Scripture. And then it denotes the EVIL world. In John 14 and John 15 you hear of that world And it is stated that this world cannot receive the Holy Spirit. And also that this world will hate you, the believers in God.
I am sure that someone will say: But why did the Holy Spirit make use of this same word to indicate such different entities? The answer is easy. The literal meaning of the word world is HARMONIOUS ARRANGEMENT OR ORDER. Sometimes you read of people speaking of a WORLD ORDER. That’s really nonsense, for both words mean the same thing.
I suppose that you can see now that the word world applies to all three concepts: the physical world, the ideal world, and the evil world. All three are harmonious arrangements and orders. Yes, also the evil world. Jesus said that if the house of the devil were divided against itself, it could not stand! No, the evil world moves, thinks, speaks and operates very harmoniously. Devils and evil men have just one mind and one will: Dethrone God and kill Jesus with His church!
The same is true of the physical world. When God looked at it the first Friday evening, He said: Behold, it is very good!
And the same is true of the harmonious arrangement of the ideal world of God’s everlasting good pleasure. All the angels and all the saints love God and His Anointed.
(Between parentheses I might add that there is a fourth use of the term and that is in I Peter 3:3. The word world is in Greek KOSMOS. Well, Peter uses the term there to denote the means by which a woman makes herself beautiful. Speaking in modem language I would say: the powder base applied, the eyebrows penciled, the rouge applied, the powder sprinkled, the hairdo in place, the beautiful gown is donned, and there you have the whole harmonious arrangement of a beautiful woman. Note that these tools for beautifying are called cosmetics.)
Now, John uses the term in the third sense, the evil world.
Love not this world, this harmonious arrangement and order which surrounds you.
It is the reprobate world composed of fallen men under the inspiration of the devil.
Its things are first, its prophecy, its mind, its wisdom and knowledge. It includes all the idle and vain philosophy which ends in the Beast rising out of the earth. Rev. 13:11ff.
Its priesthood is this world’s love and devotion. Well, all this love is directed to self, the creature and sin.
Its kingship is its power, capacity, ingenuity, subjecting all things to itself. You see quite a bit of this in these times. Remember that they fly around the earth in orbit at the speed of over seventeen thousand miles per hour?
Its love is the yearning, longing for riches, power, honor, wisdom unto everlasting peace. This world does not want war, but it dreams of unity, covenant, bond, friendship, satisfaction, sweet pleasures, peace on earth and a certain kind of heaven in the heart. They dream of that and they sing of it.
But it is not of the Father but of the world!
All this harmonious activity is of man, body, soul and spirit, but broken away from the living God. It is the deep urge of man to be or to become prophets, priests and kings of the devil. They want to possess all this present world in the midst of freedom and plenty without disease and war and selfishness, but without God.
In short, this thoroughly wicked and evil world is seeking and yearning for an earthly heaven: a Haven of Rest!
You must love another world.
You must be otherworldly minded!
That world of God’s good pleasure is beautiful, heavenly, glorious and spiritual.
Its law is the law of liberty, another name for living Christ.
Its things are prophecy, priesthood and royalty under God.
You must as prophet mind the things that are above, but not the things that are below.
You must as priest love God above all and your neighbor as yourself. You read of that in Romans 12:1. You must present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
You must as king use all your power, capacity and ingenuity to the glory of God.
Its love is Psalm 42:1, 2. Read it.
You yearn for God and long for His communion.
For you are a sojourner, a pilgrim and a stranger here below.
Look a minute at the evil character of the wicked world.
The lust of the flesh: the yearning and longing of man, inspired by Satan, to dethrone God and His anointed in eternity against God.
The lust of the eyes: to fully see and enjoy the entire creation, but without God. The eye of wicked man is dark and evil. Read Matt. 6:23. How great is that darkness!
The pride of life: there you have the devilish bathos! Pride is the devil’s sin.
And the poison of that pride he instilled in man from the beginning. The creature manifesting himself as God. The masters of creation.
The end of this pride is when wicked man shall sit in the temple of God and announce himself as Jehovah!
Now all this filthy composite is “not of the Father.”
He thought of something better. He placed man in creation. And He placed Himself in creation to such an extent that every creature, however small, is a word of God calling attention to Himself. So that man might thank and serve Him. God wants us to be satisfied with His image, and that is Christ.
That means His word in creation, in the creature, in the church, on the Cross, and in the heart and mind of man.
When that happens there is just one word which comes to my mind at this juncture, and that one word is HALLELUJAH!
And so: don’t be a fool.
This wicked world with all its riches passeth away, with all its lusts.
There comes a time when wicked, proud man will no longer plan to inhabit space and the planets. Nor will they anymore plan to kill God and His Anointed Son, nor the Church.
The whole business will burn up.
Yes, you must be a carpenter, a mason, a farmer, a business man, a clerk, a mechanic, and what have you.
You must be a husband or wife, or a child. A magistrate or an obedient citizen.
But all these things and relationships are but a pilgrim’s staff and his cruse. You are traveling to a new world, a new heaven and earth where dwelleth righteousness. You are trained unto that in the church.
Do the will of God: believe in His only begotten Son. Love Him, yearn for Him, and you have the new world already in your heart! Amen.