I John 2:15-17 Rivals for the Human Heart

I. Introduction

A. We must be careful to understand what John meant by the use of the word WORLD (Cosmos)

1. The cosmos is God's creation - it included the beauty of nature, the breathtaking wonders of the mountains, beaches, rivers

and trees we all enjoy

2. Jesus often took dis illustrations from nature

a. Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed as beautifully as the lily of the field

b. the earth is not the devils - the earth is the Lords and the fullness thereof

B. Cosmos over a period of time not only came to refer to nature but it acquired a moral sense

1. It came to mean the world of human society apart from God.

2. C.M. Dodd, it is human society insofar as it is organized on wrong principles and characterized by base desires, false values and egoism

3. To John the world was nothing other than pagan society with its false values.

C. This word "world" is used 23 times in this epistle and suggests a threefold description of the world

II. The World of Mankind (I John 2:2)

A. The first use of the word refers to the human race of mankind

1. This is the world that God " Loved" and for whom Christ died (I John 4:14)

2. It is this world that is the object of God's love

a. race, color nor ancestry exclude anyone from being loved by Sod

b. Christ at Calvary was the supreme demonstration of that love.

B. Though the Christian is part of this world of mankind, he is to be distinct and separate from it (1 John 4:4-5)

1. The Christians place in this world is expressed in the words of Jesus "Ye are the light of the world"

2. What a dark place this world is. How sorely is that light needed

a. as a Christian we are never to complain that we are called upon to live in a dark and dangerous place

b. all lighthouses are in dark and dangerous places

c. that's exactly where they are needed

d. what! our Lord may ask, are you here for?

e. Phil. 2:15 - In the midst of a perverse and crooked nation you are to shine as lights in the world.

III. The World of Morals (I John 2:15-16)

A. Second use of the word "World" means the present order of human affairs - the world system

1. Satan is it's god (John 12:31 ; II Cor. 4:4)

2. Paul, in Galatians describes it as evil (Gal. 1:4)

a. John tells us in this letter I John 5:19, the world Lieth. in wickedness

b. the word wickedness is literally "the wicked one"

c. we can contrast him with the "Holy One" in I John 2:20

d. it is this spirit of Satan that denies the Deity of Christ

e. John says, this spirit is already in the world (4:3-4})

f. the subject of this system is the hosts of unbelieving men

B. John warns us against loving this order of things - this world system (James 4:4)

1. The Christian is exhorted - be not conformed to this world system (Rm. 12:2)

2. The child of God lives in this world of mankind but he is not to take his values from the "Morals of this World"

3. We live in the world but we are not to be like it nor for it

IV. The World of Materialism (I John 2:15 - 3:17)

A. The third use of the word world suggests the sum total of earthly things - called in text, "the things that are in the world", "this world's good"

1. The word "good" denotes material goods

2. It refers to the sum total of temporal possessions

a. Jesus set temporal and eternal possessions in contrast in Matt. 16:26

b. what is a man profited if he gain the whole world and lose his soul?

3. Keep in mind that it is not wrong to possess this world's goods If we come by them honestly.

a. and if we consider them a trust from God

b. there is one further obligation and that is to assist any brother who gives evidence of being in distress

B. To live for them is sinful, to neglect our family and our church to gain them is also wrong

1. The scripture admonishes us to be content with such things as we have

2. Paul learned this secret (Phil. 4:11)

3. We are told this, at godliness with contentment is great gain

C John gives a specific reason why a child of God should not cultivate a fondness for temporal possessions. (I John 2:17)

1. Apostle Peter tells us this world is doomed (II Peter 3:10-12)

2. No reasonable person should live and consume his energy for that which is doomed to perish

a. Paul warns us in I. Cor. 7:29, 31 - Use this world as not abusing it, for the fashion of the world passes away

b. Col. 3:2 - Jet your affection on things above, not on things on the earth

V. A Personal Warning

A. One of the men that Paul calls his "fellow laborer" in Phil. 24, actually succumbed to the lure of this world's pleasure

1 There was a day he stood with Paul for the things of Christ bit then we read a sad note:

a. II Tim. 4:10 - Demos hath forsaken me, having loved this present world

b. what a contrast to Moses - We chose to be mistreated along with the People of God rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for

a season

2. God want us and has provided for us to over come the lure and temptation of this world. (I John 5:4-5)