What sets us apart?
“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.” - 1 John 2:15 (ESV)
Oswald Chambers said this: “We have become so self-centered that we go to God only for something from Him, and not for God Himself.”
What is John speaking of? Did not Jesus say, that “God so loved the world…” so why shouldn’t we? This seeming contradiction has been posed to me several times. The answer is clear. God made the world. He loves what He made. He hates what He didn’t make. Shortly after creating the world He loved, it was taken over by another being which is made clear in Scripture:
“…the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel… - 2 Corinthians 4:4 (ESV)
And “Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the Devil – the commander of the powers of the unseen world…” - Ephesians 2:1-2 (NLT)
And “Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out…” - (Jesus) in John 12:31
As you can see by these Scriptures, the world mentioned in John 3 is much different than the world John is speaking of in his first letter. John is writing to believers in his first letter. The ruler of this world not only blinds the eyes of the unbelievers, but he distorts the spiritual vision of believers if we aren’t careful.
The things of this world is ANYTHING(S) which takes precedence over Him! Be it pleasure, possessions, people, places… and so on.
You see believers are different. We should be able to see and know the difference between true believers and non-believers. There is a separation that is taking place in this world. In the last few decades this has become apparent and we see the gradual contrast taking place. How can we know we are not “loving this world?” John gives us the answers in the next two verses:
1. The person who loves the world has a craving for physical pleasure.
2. The person who loves the world has a craving for all that they see.
3. The person who loves the world gloats in pride over self-achievement.
This is not an exhaustive list, but it gives insight into what the “world” means of which John is writing. If your life is looking more and more like your unsaved and unchurched friends – there is something wrong.
How do we not do these things? How can we truly have the Father’s love in us?
It’s simple: Please the Father, Do the Father’s will…those will get to live forever!
You see, this is in contrast to doing OUR will… what WE WANT. After all, it’s not our life – It’s His.
So are you characteristic of the “ruler of this world” which will eventually be “cast out.” Or, are you different than those who are in the world and doing what the world does? You see, the ruler of this world has to be cast out of you first!
Think about it – and pray about it!
- Pastor Cliff