Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

Do Not Love the World (1 John 2:15-17)

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1) Introduction

"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. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever" (1 John 2:15-17).

In multiple occasions, Our Lord warned us from loving the world. He taught that we are NOT of this world just as He is not. Our beloved Church exhorts us in every Liturgy after the readings of the Catholic Epistles with the same message.

But why should we, Christians, not love the world?" lets find out.

2) Because of What the World is

- The "World" in this passage

  • It is NOT the "physical world" i.e. God's creation for it is "very good"

    "Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good" (Gen 1:31).

  • It is NOT the "human world" i.e., mankind for God Himself loves the world of men "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

    So what is the world that we are called NOT to love?

  • It is the world of "sin", the world of "evil" i.e., the "sphere" in which sin, evil, and Satan dominates. Just as the phrase "the world of sports" describes the domain in which sports dominates, so this "world" is one in which sin dominates

- According to the passage, three Things in Particular Make up this "World"
      1. "The lust of the flesh"
      - Sexually (fornication, adultery, licentiousness)
      - Socially (hatred, contentions, jealousies)

      2. "The lust of the eyes"
      - This can be summed up in one word: "covetousness" or "materialism"

      3. "The pride of life"
      - This would include pride based upon such things as past accomplishments, money, status, power...etc

- A Noteworthy Observation...
Each of these three things often strikes harder at different times in our life:
  • The YOUNG are most often affected by the "lust of the flesh"

  • The MIDDLE-AGED are usually afflicted by the "lust of the eyes"

  • The AGED are likely to be plagued with the "pride of life"
Whether it is immorality, materialism or pride, it is still part of the "world" we are not to love!

Why else should we not love the WORLD????

3) Because of What Loving the World Does.

- It Makes it Impossible to Love the Father.

The passage states that if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

St John is not the only one to say that if we love the world, we cannot love the Father. Lets examine the other passages in the scriptures that speak to this truth.

"Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God" (James 4:4).

"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon" (Mt 6:24).

In order to understand why loving the world makes it impossible to love the Father, we need to first define the love of the Father.

According to St. John, the love of the Father means keeping His commandments, "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments" (1 John 5:3).

- It We Love the World, We Can Not Keep His Commandments

  • If you are overcome by "lust of the eyes", you will not keep God's command to help the needy. Consider this verse
    "But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?" (1 John 3:17).
  • If you are filled with "the pride of life", you will consider yourself more important than others. You wont be able to keep the command to imitate Christ. Consider this verse.
    "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil 2:3-5).
Why else should we not love the WORLD????

4) Because of Where the World is Going.

- According to the Passage, The World is Passing Away

Consider these verses:
"Because "All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away" (1 Peter 1:24).

"Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away" (James 4:14).

- In Contrast, He who Does the Will of God Abides Forever.
Even his/her "works" will follow them

"'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.' 'Yes,' says the Spirit, 'that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them'" (Revelation 14:13).


Let us live in the world while preventing the world to live in us. Let us be "a spring shut up and a sealed fountain" from the world of sin (Songs 4:12) while remembering that our citizenship is in heaven (Phil 3:20)

If we carefully consider what the world is, what loving the world does and where the world is going, we will understand why we are called to "Not Love the World".

It important to note that the journey does not end here. Not loving the world is just the beginning of a greater purpose in our life... Loving the Father, that is.

Glory be to our Lord and Savior Forever.

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