Thursday, April 04, 2024

2024.04.04 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 John 2:15–17

Read 1 John 2:15–17

Questions from the Scripture text: What two things mustn’t believers love (1 John 2:15)? What is true of one who loves the world? To what three desires do the things of the world appeal (1 John 2:16)? From where do such desires not come? From where do they come? What is happening to the world (1 John 2:17)? What is happening to its desires/fulfillments? Who does not pass away? 

What  mustn’t a Christian love? 1 John 2:15–17 prepares us for the second serial reading in public worship on the Lord’s Day. In these three verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that a Christian must not love the world.

Do not love the world1 John 2:15. Do not “use Father” in love of the world. Employ the world out of love for Father. Only one may be your beloved, and the other will then be in service of your love.

Watch against the heart-conditions of a world-lover1 John 2:16. If you love the world and the things of it, this love expresses itself in various desires that never come from the love of the Father: the desire/lust of the flesh, the desire/lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. 

The lust of the flesh is not merely those desires that satisfy physical longings. For the “flesh” most often means that which is from our original nature in our first father, and that is what it means here. Love of created things as ends in themselves gratifies the desires of the sinful nature.

The lust of the eyes goes two ways. The first is the ever-increasing desire for what we can see; this is the destruction of faith, which rejoices in that which is unseen, and quickly enslaves one to the lusts of the flesh, so that the second item in the list flows from the first. But the lust of the eyes also speaks of other people’s eyes, and the desire to appear great to them. So the second item in the list also flows into the third. 

The pride of life includes not just appearing to others to be great, but that insanity of sin in which one is convinced of his own importance. Here is the worldliness that is found in ambition, where one never feels like his status measures up to what it should be; or in boasting, in which one never seems to tire of telling his own greatness (would that we would boast instead of Christ!); or in haughtiness, in which all others are despised in one’s eyes; or in hubris, in which one has seemingly no limits to what he is bold to say or to do.

A lasting life vs a losing life. How very different are the things that the apostle esteemed in 1 John 2:12-14 and that the worldling esteems! It is our Father with Whom we have life and fellowship (cf. 1 John 1:2–3). The things of this world perish with the using, and the world itself will soon pass away (1 John 2:17) with any hope of satisfying the lusts of the list in v16.

Those who do the will of God (1 John 2:17c), exposing them as loving God Himself (1 John 2:3-5), will abide forever in fellowship with Him Who is their life. So, as you use the good things that God has given you in this world, to do the good things that God has given to you to do, see to it that you do so out of love for Father. For, if you love the world or the things of it, you will find yourself trying to “use God” in service of those loves! 

In which parts of your own life must you especially watch against loving them in a way that would put God in service of your love rather than the other way around? 

Sample prayer:  Lord, forgive us, for we have often taken the good things that You made as ends in themselves, rather than as opportunities to enjoy and express love for You. Grant that, rather than operating out of love that comes from our former nature in Adam, we would operate out of love that comes from our new nature in Christ, we ask in His Name, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP73C “Yet Constantly I Am with You” or TPH467 “Cast Down, O God, the Idols”

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