1 John 2:15, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
Now remember that John is still talking to the Christians that he has designated into three categories, the little children, young men and fathers. He is still addressing them when he continues on to say what he does in verse 15.
This verse on the surface seems very simple and self-explanatory. But I want to delve just a lot deeper into it. Now many well-meaning Christians throughout time have misinterpreted this scripture to mean that because of the Apostles emphatic statement, we are to set ourselves apart and have absolutely no dealings with the “heathens” of this world! Just as the Gentiles in the Old Testament were to be avoided by the children of Israel, so these modern day gentiles are to be avoided by true Christians.
Now, sad to say we even have some modern day churches that teach outright that the “light” meaning themselves, cannot have any dealings with the “darkness” meaning those outside their circle of believers. Don’t be surprised by this if you haven’t encountered it yet, in our younger days the Holy Spirit actually led my wife and I to one of these “churches” so that we might learn what is being taught in the “name of the Lord!” They are a denominational church, but on the fringes so to speak. If you didn’t know different they would sound just like any other Christian Church, denominationally speaking, but it is when you are “wooed” to their services and Bible studies that you soon realize the differences.
We had told the Lord, we would go where He wants us to go and do what He wanted us to do that we might learn more and become more like Him! He truly does take us at His Word! In due time, and since this denomination was BIG in debating doctrine with other denominations, it was a perfect learning ground. We did come to love the people very much because for the most part, they DID love the Lord, they just believe they had to cling to a NATURAL holiness (under Law) rather than a spiritual holiness under Grace!
The Lord did allow us to move on after a little more than a year, and we DID learn a lot, but some of it was truly how NOT to behave or believe as a true Christians, yet even today I can tell you that my knowledge of what goes on in the “church” world HAS been heightened because of the experiences the Holy Spirit allowed us to be a part of through those learning years! The sad part is, even some members that became our closest friends, told us that if we go back into the darkness of mainstream “church” we would no longer be welcome in their “light.” True to their word, there was only one sister, out of a church of about 120 that would ever have anything to do with Sue and I!
Now if what some of these denominations believe is absolutely true, you should be able to realize right off the bat, that the command to, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature,” — Mark 16:15, would be near to impossible and the ability to win a person over by demonstrating God’s love through actions would be equally impossible due to the fact you couldn’t associate with them. The only hope these “religious institutions” have of winning someone to the Lord would be the hope that a “heathen” would see their great love displayed to one another and want to escape the pleasures of the world, or in their street “preaching” to them of hellfire and damnation they would flee the world’s enticements in fear!
In truth, the world that John is speaking about, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is that part of the world system or organization established by man that is in direct contradiction to the Will and desires of the God who created this earth. The world we refer to in this instance is not the material creation that our Heavenly Father made for us to enjoy, but rather the world ideals set up to give men more pleasure and the ability to accomplish what THEY want, aside from the will of the Lord. When we speak of the world as our enemy then, we need to understand and remember that it is NOT the creation, but, and I reiterate, the system that man has established in this world, the system with its lusts and pleasures that are continually enticing men, that which is enmity, or contrary to God Himself. The world, through man has developed its own set of temptations and vices, and just as in everything else that man has put his hand to do, man has left God out of their equations. The very nature of our old self corrupts everything that it’s applied too. The very thing that God created for man for his (mankind’s) benefit is the very thing that man has tried to use against God. The created world, the earth itself, is a gift from God and we are its stewards. As such, we need to keep a proper perspective concerning the pleasures and blessings that we derive directly from this treasure the Lord created for man.
Remember this that the Apostle Paul wrote his protégé, Timothy, “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.” – 1 Timothy 6:17.
The first part of Psalm 24:1 states, “The earth is the LORD’S, and all its fullness, …..”
Also, Psalm 50:12 confirms this in its ending saying, “For the world is Mine, and all its fullness.”
We also need to understand and remember that after God created everything in the world, He looked upon His creation and it is implied that “in His heart” He saw that it was good (Genesis 1:31). The word that is used to describe our English word, good (twob or tobe – Strong’s Hebrew #02986), in the original language means: best, better, great, complete. God did not find fault with His creation as He made it.
**Adam Clarke’s Commentary states it this way: The plan wise, the work well executed, the different parts properly arranged; their nature, limits, mode of existence, manner of propagation, habits, mode of sustenance, etc., etc., properly and permanently established and secured; for every thing was formed to the utmost perfection of its nature, so that nothing could be added or diminished without encumbering the operations of matter and spirit on the one hand, or rendering them inefficient to the end proposed on the other; and God has so done all these marvelous works as to be glorified in all, by all, and through all.
However, after Adam and Eve sinned, the ground was then cursed and tainted, its beauty diminished and stained for as long as sin remained on check. It wasn’t because the CREATION wasn’t perfect, but corruption due to sin then came into play. The depth of this disaster hit home to me years ago as a young man in my twenties and fairly newly married. I was living in Washington state, where I was born and raised, and I was visiting Mount Rainier National Park with my new brother-in-law, his wife and mine. It was only the second or third time I had been there and we were visiting an area of the park in which I had never been before. We were standing on a bridge overlooking a huge gorge, with evergreens and firs blanketing the floor below us. As I looked into the mountainous distance, the word “breathless” took on a whole new meaning; it was so beautiful and awe inspiring that it literally DID take my breath away. My brother-in-law, who later became a pastor in Washington, said something I will probably never forget as long as I live. He said, “Remember that with all its breath-taking beauty, it is still marred and stained by sin.”
The impact of that statement drove home to me the awful significance of man’s far reaching sin, and even to this day, many years later, when I recount this story and think about it, I still want to weep in sorrow. It left a life-long impact on me. What I had viewed, and the beauty I could see, was only a fraction of what God, our Heavenly Father, truly meant for His children to enjoy.
“For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” — Romans 8:20-21.
This material creation that God Almighty made for us to enjoy, is bound by the same corruption that has ensnared us, and ITS hope is tied to our hope, its freedom will come when we are totally free from corruption! In this day and age when all you hear is argument and debate about the causes of global warming, the pollution overtaking the sea and the earth itself, you can begin to comprehend the far-reaching taint of man’s corruption on an environment that was created for our enjoyment! Now, when you think of that, take into consideration what we have done to the space AROUND our earth. ***As of 5 July 2016, the United States Strategic Command tracked a total of 17,852 artificial objects in orbit above the Earth, however, these are just objects large enough to be tracked.
God has never been pleased with any of His children conforming to the ways of the world system. Read 1 Samuel 8:7-18, where the children of Israel wanted a king, just like other nations. They were in essence rejecting God as their king and leader. There is instance after instance in the Old Testament, as well as in the New Testament, that lets us know of God’s displeasure with mankind’s choices. Unlike what false teachers and false doctrines would try and convey, conformity to this world and its set of values is an indication of spiritual decline, rather than spiritual enlightenment.
The Apostle Paul stated, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” – Romans 12:2.
I have stated it on my Facebook page as well in other lessons that there are teachings going on today that reference the “renewing of your mind,” but not in the Biblical or Scriptural sense, and they are enticing the hearer or reader to “open up your mind” to dream, conceive and believe. They teach that whatever you can make your mind believe, you can actually bring it about to fruition! Some teachers in this are even trying to bring Theoretical Quantum Physics into the equation. The truth is, some of these concepts DO WORK!! (Just don’t forget the science part is theoretical and not proven). Also remember this, the concepts can come under the heading of being NEW, or in many cases, New Age, not even disguised for what they are. The concepts are anything but new, going back before Christianity and even Judaism!
Remember this: “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'”
Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” – Genesis 3:1-5.
Your mind will be renewed and open and you will be JUST LIKE God, able to create and bring your own desires to fruition. You can have wealth and prosperity, health and wholeness, you will be popular and successful if you can just believe, conceive and dream it!!! In other words, if you can do it yourself, you don’t NEED God! This has been the GREAT lie from the very beginning and sadly there are churches teaching this stuff under the guise of renewed thinking!!!
We have to develop a new mind set, yes, a new way of thinking when we come to God, belong to God and surrender our lives to Him. But, when we accept salvation, redemption, we are not just asking for His forgiveness but also putting our very lives into His hands, giving Him control, knowing that He knows what is best for His children. Our wills become secondary in the knowledge that his will for us is perfection in our lives lasting into eternity! Proverbs 14:12 confirms this by stating, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” AND Psalm 37:23-24, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the LORD upholds him with His hand.”
Jesus, Himself told the disciples, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal.”
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
“And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? Is anything worth more than your soul?” — Matthew 6:19, 24, 16:26 (NLT).
Jesus tried to point out to His disciples that just one soul is worth so much more than all of the world. If you set your sights on winning what the world has to offer, it is often at the expense of losing your soul. You may think you have won or gained something in the short run, but in the eternal scheme of things you will definitely come out the loser.
As Jesus expressed to His disciples, we cannot divide our loyalty, man does not have that ability, and, God does not want anything put before Him for anything that takes priority and precedence becomes an idol, a god in our lives. He has commanded us not to put any gods before Him, and anything we value and esteem more than Him, becomes our god.
We CANNOT love this world and what it offers and LOVE our Heavenly Father. It cannot be done! We trade the pleasures of such a short time for the treasures of an eternity! As a loving Father, He WANTS us to have the true treasures!