1 JOHN 2:15-17 ETC. - PAGE 1


Real Christianity #8, Studies in 1 John



Let’s talk about loving God.

We will use 1 John 2:15-17, the next passage in our 1 John series as an important part of the discussion. 

But, we will include other passages as well.  Let’s look at:




Matthew 22:35-40 - Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, [36] Master, which is the great commandment in the law? [37] Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. [38] This is the first and great commandment. [39] And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. [40] On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.


Jesus summed up the whole Old Testament Law and Prophets with two quotes:


Deuteronomy 6:4-5 - Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: [5] And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.


Leviticus 19:18 - Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord.


·        According to John MacArthur, loving God with all our hearts is to love him from “the core of one’s personal being”.

·        Loving God with all our soul is equivalent to emotion. We should be emotionally committed in our love for God.

·        Loving God with all our minds “is used here in the sense of intellectual, willful vigor and determination, carrying both the meaning of mental and endeavor and of strength” John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Matthew 16-23 (Chicago, Moody Press, 1988), p.339


Now, humanly speaking to love the Lord my God in such a way, I would have to keep the Old Testament Law, especially the 10 Commandments. The first four commandments are in relationship to loving God.  The last six are in relation to loving others. Because we are talking about loving God, let’s just list the first four commandments.


1.     Exodus 20:3 - Thou shalt have no other gods before me.


2.     Exodus 20:4-6 - Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: [5] Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.  


3.     Exodus 20:7 - Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.


4.     Exodus 20:8 - Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.


So the love of God is commanded.  But there is a problem.  You can’t do it! 


You can’t love the Lord your God with all your heart soul and mind, nor can you love your neighbor as yourself. 


Somewhere along the line, you have already broken the Ten Commandments, and have, therefore failed to love God the way you should. Romans 3:23, Isaiah 64:6


Before the Ten Commandments, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden also failed to obey God when they ate the forbidden fruit.  Their disobedience showed they did not love God with all their hearts, souls and minds.  You too, have failed to obey God and have not loved Him with all your heart, soul and mind.  




There is a cause, a reason for us to love God completely.

We could not love God the way we should. We could not obey His commandments.  We failed to love God.


But God did not fail to love us. 1 John 4:10, Romans 5:6-8


Either a person pays for His own sins and spends eternity in hell, or someone needed to satisfy God’s righteous judgment by paying for us.  The person who paid for our sins had to be someone who had no sin Himself.  That was the Lord Jesus Christ.


What love God has shown for us!  That love becomes real in our lives when we accept the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, when we trust Him for forgiveness and eternal life. John 3:16


If you have trusted Christ you have every reason and every motivation to love the Lord your God with all you heart, soul and mind. You can say with the Psalmist:


Psalm 40:2 - He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.


1 John 4:19 - We love him, because he first loved us.


Our love for God should be in response to His love for us!

We should love Him completely, because He loves us completely!




Although we have due cause to love God completely, we are challenged in our love.  This brings us to our 1 John text.


1 John 2:15 - Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.


We are challenged by the pull of the “world”.

The world wants us to love it.


In this verse the word “world” does not refer to the earth, nor does it refer to the people on the earth.  It refers to the “world system” or the world’s evil way of doing things.   


God is telling us here that we will either love the world’s wicked ways or we will love God.  It will be one or the other.  The one who loves God does not love the world.

The one who loves the world does not love God. Matthew 6:24


Our challenge is this: Even as Christians it is possible for us to love the world. And loving the world is the last thing that we should want to do! James 4:4


So what exactly do we love when we love the World?


1 John 2:16 - For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.


Lust is desire.  Not all desire is wrong. If we didn’t desire food we wouldn’t eat.  If husbands and wives don’t desire each other there would be no children.  If we didn’t desire rest we wouldn’t sleep.  If we didn’t desire liquid we wouldn’t drink.


The “lust of the flesh” is when these desires get out of hand.

The one who lusts after food is a glutton.

The one who lusts after sex is a fornicator, an adulterer, or worse!

The one who lusts after rest is lazy!

The one who lusts after the wrong kind of liquid is an alcoholic!


Whenever I allow my own physical desires to get out of hand, I am guilty of “lust of the flesh”.


The “lust of the eyes” is when I desire to please my eyes more than I try to please God.

Most of us would not argue that pornography is wrong! It is when I allow my eyes to feast on things that are sensual.


But anytime we look at a member of the opposite sex with the wrong motives, we are guilty of the lust of the eyes. Matthew 5:27-28


Lust of the eyes often allows us to enter a fantasy world of entertainment that distracts us from the love of God.


Americans love their sports entertainment, their video entertainment, their television entertainment and their world wide web entertainment.  And when these fill us with visions and thoughts contrary to God’s holiness or rob us of time that should be devoted to God, they are wrong!


Another way the “lust of the eyes” affects us is through our wanting what other people have.  We want to “keep up with the Jones”.  We want the car, the house, the gun, the dress that we really don’t need, but we want it more than we want to please God!


When these things rob us of our commitment, love and loyalty to God, they are wrong!  


“Lust of the flesh”, “Lust of the eyes” and “the pride of life”. 


There is nothing wrong with taking pride in your work or in your appearance.

Pride is wrong when you think yourself better than others and even say so!

Pride is what often keeps us from admitting we are wrong, or apologizing, or asking for forgiveness.


John wraps up this little section of Scripture by saying in Vs. 17, And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.


Beloved we have a challenge on our hands.  We are challenged to love God and not the world, and quite frankly, it is not easy.  We have a tendency because of what the Bible calls “the Old Nature” to want to love the world instead of wanting to love God.


We need help and our final point supplies it.







I was not able to save myself, to justify myself before God.

I could not love God completely in my own strength before I was saved.

I can not love God completely in my own strength after I am saved.

I will succumb to the world.


The help I need is based on the fact that I am identified with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection. Romans 6:3-4


When Christ died, I died.

When Christ was buried, I was buried.

When Christ rose to new life, I rose to new life.


Romans 8:1-4 - There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [2] For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. [3] For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: [4] That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.


The righteousness of the Law is to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul and mind.  I will do this when I am controlled by the Holy Spirit.


The righteousness of the law is fulfilled in me as I walk under the control of the Holy Spirit of God in my life.

He is the one that will enable me to walk after the Spirit!


Galatians 5:16 - This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.


Galatians 5:22-24 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, [23] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. [24] And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.


How do you become filled with the Spirit?


·        Consider yourself “crucified with Christ”.

Galatians 2:20 - I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.


·        Ask God to fill you with His Spirit and believe He will!

Luke 11:13 - If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?


John 14:13 - And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.


The only way you will truly love God is when you appreciate what Jesus has done for you, submit to Him as Lord of you life, and ask Him to control you by His Spirit.