That Our Joy May Be Complete #04
1 John 2:12-17
Not All Love Is Good
So, we’ve been talking about the need to love one another. We’ve been told that if we love God, it will show in obedience
But here today we will see that all love is not good …
But first let’s see to whom, John is writing. I’ve actually had some people try and tell me John wasn’t writing to Christians. Course that is people that obviously didn’t read what we are about to read. But it fits their agenda to say that John was speaking to non-Christians. But to whom is he writing?
John uses some classifications here in this letter. We can make some different conclusions based on what he says but it also shows us that no matter where you are in your walk with Christ, we must constantly guard our hearts.
Now, in the Greek, John uses strong masculine terminology but that doesn’t exclude our girls, young women and ladies. In each classification, ladies you can interject yourselves as well.
John talks of “little children” “Fathers” “young men” and “dear children”
Now, I don’t want to belabor the point but look at what he is saying
“little children” – the word is Teknion = little children or born ones – remember that John is an old manso everyone is a “child” to him, but he calls these little children … those who have had their sins forgiven for the name of Jesus. Most likely John here is referring to ALL Christians as he starts and says “if you have had your sins for given because of Jesus, then I am writing to you” … now you could also make an argument that this means brand new Christians who have gone no further than having their sins forgiven
Then he calls out “Fathers” … He uses the male term pater = a male generator, a senior, one advanced in age. He calls these those who have age, seniority, and authority over the younger and defines these as believers who have knowledge of God who is eternal. This knowledge is the word ginosko that is knowledge that comes with experience not just information. He is saying that this group has been in the faith a long time and have come to know much more than just forgiveness of their sins they have come to know our God in a deep way that only comes through time. He says to these mature believers “I write to you”
Then he addresses “young men” the word is meanisko = young men, youth, young person, young attendant or servant. He defines these as overcomers and as strong ones where the Word of God is alive in them. Oh this time as youth is a great time to be in. You may not have all the experience of the mature one, but you have strength and passion to fulfill missions and purpose. You are willing to run to the battle and you will take on hell with a water pistol of God says so. he says "I write to you"
Then finally we have the term “dear children” – This word is different from when he started with “little children” it is the word paidion = young child, little boy, little girl, a more advanced or mature child. He again says “I write to you”
So, little children, Christians, born of the name of Jesus Christ, whether you are mature believers, maturing hot-hearted spiritual young people, or even spiritual children young in the faith, John has instruction of great importance of all of us
Go back to our text then with me
So not all love is good … because we are told here
1. Do Not Love the World
Now just a word of clarification, “the world” doesn’t mean the people who live in it.
We know that “God so loved” say it “the world” … we certainly are to love “the world” to go to all “nations” …
So what is this “world”
It is the word kosmos = sum-total of human life in the ordered world considered apart from alienated from, and hostile to God, of the earthly things which seduce away from God
So we are talking here not about the individual people who God loved so much that he allowed Christ to leave heaven and sacrifice himself to save all who believe. No this means “the world system” that is sinful and separated from God.
Before we came to know Christ, we were part OF the world and this world system hates God and God hates it.
Remember Jesus said if you are not for him you are against him
This system is an “ordered system” and it is ordered by satan himself as the head of this orderly system that has one purpose to fight everything that God loves
So we cannot love the world because
A. It is Opposed to God v15b &16B
Wurst says of this worldly system satan is the head, his fallen angels and demons are his emissaries, and the unsaved of the human race are his subjects, together with those purposes, pursuits, pleasures, practices, and places where God is not wanted.
Oh we have an intelligent, refined, developed, cultured, advanced society, that is nearly entirely Anti-God, Anti-Jesus, Anti-Christianity. It seems today that you can be FOR Anything BUT Christianity, and you can be AGAINST NOTHING Except Christianity. The Only intolerance that is permitted today is intolerance of intolerance. The only thing you can with absolute certainty is that there is no absolute certainty. You can’t proclaim truth and black and white unless it is to say that there is no absolute truth.
The world says that god is what you make him, truth is what you feel or decide.
Satan has been telling us the same lie since the garden. God had said if we disobey me, you will die, and satan said “you will not die” Satan has called God a liar from the beginning and we want to believe it because if God is telling the truth then we are responsible for our actions and if satan is right, then we can do whatever we want with absolute immunity.
But John says if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is NOT IN him
The struggle for all of time has been between a God who says “this is the way it is” and satan who says “no, it’s not that way, make your own way”
Trench defines “the spirit of the age” as “all that floating mass of thoughts, opinions, maxims, speculations, hopes, impulses, aims, aspirations, at any time current in the world, which it may be impossible to seize and accurately define, but which constitutes a most real and effective power, being the moral, or immoral atmosphere which at every moment of our lives we inhale, again inevitable to exhale”
Oh the wave of public opinion constantly changes. Our cultural norms shift and change like a line drawn in the dunes of the desert that is gone the next day.
Interestingly the word LOVE here is agapao which is a perfect love, a sacrificial love, an unconditional love
John is not saying that you might not from time to time have desires that are fickle and cause you to be tempted … but he is saying that if we belong to Jesus Christ and we have pledged our LOVE and allegiance to Him, then we cannot give that same love and affection to the worldly system that is opposed to God in every way. It is impossible because we can’t be on both sides of a coin at one time we can’t move north and south or east and west, we can’t go up and down at the same time. We can’t have positive and negative energy at the same time
And we are not to give our most valuable precious love to this world system because it is a waste of our time because that system is
B. Fading Away 17a
V17 the world and its desires pass away
Matthew 6:19-21 says
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Oh people we must daily examine our pursuits and be careful that we are not wasting our time on the useless.
What if I took you down to the biggest bank in town, and I took you into the vault where I had stored my “treasures” in a safety deposit box. There I said I was going to show you my greatest treasures and I opened up the box to show you it was full of jumbo marshmallows … you would think me crazy … If I’m going to store something it up it better have value AND it better be able to stand across time and the ravages of decay
If I have 100 million dollars but put it in a paper bag and bury them in the back yard, when I come back, they will be GONE
1 Timothy 6:18-20 says
/Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
20 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge,/
I Corinthians 3:12-15
If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
Folks read the book of revelation and find that we WILL stand before God. Both Christian and Unbeliever and this earth will be laid bare and what we have done will be judged and the only things that will remain are what we have done WITH the Name of Jesus and what we have done IN the name of Jesus.
Anything you have done in your own name or in the system of this world will pass away and will be meaningless
If you are trying to make a name for yourself, you will find it is empty and meaningless in the grand scheme of things
Chad Javon Johnson was born in Miami Florida in 1978 and played for Oregon State University. Then he was drafted by the Bengals he is a talented Receiver … but wasn’t getting enough attention so wearing number 85 and taking his identity from who he is on the field and in order to have MORE identity, he changed his name to Chad “Ocho Cinco” Spanish for 85.
Oh he certainly made a name for himself, but before long he was more known for being known than for what he actually accomplished.
In 2009 he talked about changing his name again, this time to Hachi Go … 85 in Japanese
Continuing in this pursuit, he’s danced with the stars, he tried out for a Major League Soccer Team. He tried to ride a professional Bull, which threw him as soon as the gate opened
And then this year he announced that he was legally changing his name BACK to Chad Javon Johnson.
Folks if we want our names and deeds to go on our pursuit must be for Christ and for his name for which we have been forgiven our sins for which we can come before God.
So, do not love the world
And since this world system is against God it is also against those of us who seek after God and bear his name so no matter if you are a child, young person, or mature believer we must
2. Be Wise To Its Schemes
Satan has a 3-fold pattern for coming against us in order to separate us from the rule of God in our lives
When verse 15 says “the love of God is not in him” it doesn’t mean that it is necessarily an evidence that we are not believers, when we surrender to the pattern of the world but it means that when we surrender to the passions of the world system, that the love of God does not DWELL as the Ruling Factor in our lives … when we given in to that, we are not in UNION, in accordance operating by the principles of the RULE of God in our lives …
So, how does the world seek to separate us from the love of God?
How does this one seek to entice us to be unfaithful to the love we profess?
THE NIV read “the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does”
The ESV says “desires of the flesh, desires of the eyes, and pride in possessions”
NASB says “lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, the boastful pride of life”
And the NLT says “craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions”
People, EVERYTHING in the System of this world, whether physical, mental, or emotional seeks to lure us away from the ONLY LOVE that is pure and seeks to give us the very best. Everything in this world system is temporary and will fade away.
It comes at us on every level
A. Lust of the Flesh
Is one way of rendering it … but
For us when we see this word lust … we confine it to only a sexual term, so craving in a deeper meaning …
And flesh as some translations use, also is confining in our thinking … but the NIV saying “cravings of the sinful man” … this is a deeper understanding
Satan comes at us with the passionate cravings of our natural self that is completely depraved to the core.
John addressing the false Gnostic teaching that our body was inherently evil.
There is NOTHING wrong with our body, unless it is CONTROLED by my depraved natural sinful nature opposed to God
Romans 1:24 says of those who refused to receive his revelation of himself and his love and says God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts
When we were without God, Romans 3 teaches us that we NATURALLY sought everything opposed to God … but we don’t LIVE their anymore as people indwelt with the Spirit of God, but satan would seek to entice us to make visits to our old ways our old house, our old neighborhood.
The schemes of satan would include EVERY part of our physical selves that can
Any area of our physical selves that we allow to be out of control is in this scheme of the worldly system
Every aspect of our physical selves when controlled by our natural depravity would seek to entice us away from God’s best and take us away from the God who loves us and has a plan for our lives
And then John says there is
B. Lust of the Eyes
It is the same word, epithymia – desire, craving, or lust of the eyes …
This is the enticement that sees it and wants it … it is a MENTAL temptation
There is nothing wrong with your eyes … Proverbs 20:12 –ears that hear and eyes that see both are a gift from God -
But it is when our eyes become a vehicle to let the desires of our mind take over.
We are tempted in many ways every day. The temptation is not a sin, but if I allow my eyes to dwell on it, if I gaze longingly
Oh the beauty that our eyes can let into our lives
Oh the compassion that our eyes can stir when they gaze on the needs of this world
But oh the danger that our eyes can pose for us if we allow our gaze to wander and go unchecked
We certainly need to guard our children’s eyes when they are young, but as they grow, we need to teach them to redirect their eyes, because we won’t always be there to change the channel, or cover their eyes, nor tell them to look away.
Our eyes of the ability to allow our mind to move into the realm of sin before our body has even had the opportunity
The problem with our eyes being in control and leading our mind is that as Daniel Akin of Southeastern Seminary comments “these temptations of the world focus on enjoyment in the present without an analysis or understanding of the future ramifications.
He goes on to advise us to consider, How an action, or its value, compares with the worth of the eternal things that come from God must always be factored into the equations
When the eye sees and the mind wants, the first place I must go is, where will this take me …
And finally John speaks of
C. The Pride of Life
If the others are physical and mental, this one is EMOTIONAL …
Look what I have and look what I have done …
Oh people if what I have, outside of my possessions in Christ and what I have done above which what I have done with and in the name of Christ, controls me, I am headed for trouble.
Pride – Boasting – alazonia = pretention, false pride, vain glory
Vincent describes this word as “empty, braggart talk or display, swagger”
Swagger, that’s a word that we hear a lot …
The idea is being tempted to take pleasure, pride, or confidence in what I have done, have attained, or THINK that I can do or attain for myself.
All of these longings, are cravings … they all have the same purpose, to distance us from the God who loved us with an everlasting love, so loved us that he sent his son to die for us and redeem us from our depraved self and make us right and return us to relationship with him
What’s in YOUR "crave case"?
Is it Eternal? Or is it Passing Away …
John says … these things in your crave case are not from God … remember it is by HIS name that we have been saved “little children” and that is NOT what God’s children do … so don’t waste your time …
Why? Again, those things are passing away
Parago – to pass by – but the word is passive voice meaning that something outside of it is causing it to pass away
Our God, our Lord Jesus Christ are changing the culture, ushering in an eternal Kingdom so we, his saints, his new born believers, his children in the faith, his maturing hot hearted believers, his mature seasons saints, we are part of a new eternal order that is putting an end to the physical cravings, the mental cravings, the emotional cravings that are controlled by our depraved selves. And the only things that will remain are the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual things we do controlled by Spirit of God that lives within us
2 Timothy 2:20-22 says
/In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. 21 If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
22 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. /
So I ask you today …
3. Where Are You?
A. Born One
Have you been born into the Kingdom of God? Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:3 that unless we are born again or born from above …
Have you been born of God’s Spirit? Have you surrendered your life to Jesus Christ, confessed your sin, and received his forgiveness available in the name of Jesus Christ?
You need to today, that you might be redeemed from a system that is passing away before it is too late
Are you an
B. Immature Believer
You have come into the family of God but you still are a little one, you are most susceptible to the attacks of the evil one so be careful … little eyes what you see, be careful little one what you want, be careful little hands what you do … it might seem harmless in your immaturity but John is warning you like a parent warning a child not to touch something just because it is shiny when it might be dangerous. Warning not to devour the candy that may taste good, but will make you sick if you take in too much.
You need to stay close to the Mature ones, that you might learn how to live, learn when to look away, learn what good desires are and how to act as a citizen of the Kingdom
C. Maturing Young Person
You have grown enough to get some experience, to win a few battles and you are hot hearted and excited. You read the word and believe it can be true. Oh that is exciting … but guard your heart. You may be strong, but you still lack wisdom. Be humble, learn and submit to leadership and authority. The Maturity of Wisdom can see down the road because they have been there. Don’t let our caution ease your passion but let our experience lead and encourage you on to victory.
You run ahead to quickly
D. Mature Believer
Don’t think just because you are older and more experienced that you are not susceptible to the dangers of our sinful self
But also don’t allow our age and experience to slow our passion for the battle
We need the younger ones behind us to relight in us the fire to take on hell with a water pistol
We need their sense of excitement and invincibility combined our own growing sense of urgency knowing that with every day our days are numbered one less
What do you love? What’s in your crave case?
Alexander the Great offered the philosopher Diogenes anything he asked he could have.
Diogenes said, "give me a little immortality."
Alexander said that he wasn’t able to give that gift …
“Really” said Diogenes, “then why does Alexander work so hard to conquer the world, when you cannot assure yourself one minute to enjoy it?”
Oh people, love God, love his Kingdom, love his purposes, his passions, his ways for these temporal things are passing away … don’t work so hard to attain things that you cannot keep, while losing what you cannot afford to let go.
And as John says “the one who does the will of God lives forever”