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Do Not Love the World

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
June 28, 2023 12:01 am

Do Not Love the World

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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June 28, 2023 12:01 am

Our society tells us that love is always good and should always be affirmed. Yet God loves us enough to warn against worldly desires that lead only to destruction. Today, Voddie Baucham responds with the truth to twisted views of love.

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There are some loves that are out of bounds. There are some loves that are unacceptable. In other words, there are some loves that are not truly love. Do not love based on your passions and your desires. But love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength, which means your passions are to be turned in His direction and no other. We must reject the lie that says there is no love that is out of bounds. Because ultimately, that lie that says there is no love that's out of bounds is a lie that says there is no truth in God.

Today, the world says that love is love, but the Bible is clear that not all love is acceptable to God. Hi, I'm Nathan W. Bingham, and thank you for joining us today for Renewing Your Mind. Vodie Borkom joined us this past spring at Ligonier's 2023 National Conference in Orlando, Florida, and he taught from 1 John chapter 2 where we're told, Do not love the world.

As each of us strives to stand firm, that was the theme of the conference, we must know what biblical love is, where we are to place our affections, and that to love what displeases God is sinful. Here's Dr. Borkom. Well, good morning. It is a delight to be back at Ligonier.

It has been far too long. If you have your Bibles with you, open them to the book of 1 John. 1 John chapter 2.

And we find here what is in many ways a very controversial text, but I think is a text critical for our day, and I'll explain why. First, let's look at it beginning in verse 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. For all that is in the world, the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride of life, is not from the Father, but it's from the world. The world is passing away along with his desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. In one way, this passage seems like it ought to collapse under the weight of other texts.

It appears to be completely out of place and almost contradictory. In light of the fact that we as Christians are not just lovers, we're profligate lovers. We are called to love like nobody's business. We love because God is love. We love because God first loved us. We love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and we love our neighbor as ourselves. There are myriad commands to love one another. In fact, that's how the world knows that we're Christians, by our love and our love for one another.

But not only our love for one another, we love our enemies. By love, we fulfill the law. The Apostle Paul says in Romans 13, 8 to 10, Owe no one anything except to love each other. The one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments you shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet, and any other commandment are summed up in this word, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no wrong to a neighbor, therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And then there's the issue of the world. This seems to contradict our most beloved verse in the Bible, John 3 16.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. That's what can make this text of ours so confusing. In light of all of this, it comes as a shock to the system when we read the words, do not love.

And yet, there they are. Do not love. Even when I just let that sit there, you don't like it.

You're like finish the sentence. I want you to hear those words. Do not love. It's a command, which means that if we violate it that we're in sin. In other words, love can be sinful.

Remember I told you this is an important word for our day. Love can be sinful. We live in the midst of a culture that needs to hear that.

It needs to hear that from us. Because it's coming at us with this whole love is love mentality. And how can you be against love? Nobody can be against love. Certainly Christians can't be against love because God is love and we are called to love. Therefore, how can you stand in the way of any two people who love one another? But our text today makes it very clear that there are instances when love can be sinful. In other words, this is more than just a theoretical theological discussion for us to have.

This is a very practical rubber meets the road issue. This issue of love being sinful. The question is what makes love sinful? What could possibly make love sinful? Under what circumstances would love be considered sinful? First of all, love becomes sinful when it is directed at the wrong object. Love becomes sinful when it is directed at the wrong object.

Look at verse 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.

Do not love the world. Now it's very important to note that this word world, especially in Johannine literature, is used in at least three different ways. First of all, the world can refer to all creation.

You see this in John 1, John 3, John 4, John 6, John 7, John 8, over and over again. This word cosmos refers to all the world, to all the created universe. John is not saying here that we should not love this universe, this world, this earth that God created. That's not what's being said here. Secondly, the term world refers to the people that inhabit this world that God created. And God is not saying, do not love people, do not love mankind.

Absolutely not. We know that it doesn't mean that. Because the love that we're called to give, even to our enemies, the great commandment, love the Lord your God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself. So John can't be talking about that first world here and he can't be talking about that second world here. That would be a contradiction. However, there's a third use of the term world. And that third use refers to the spiritual realm that is in opposition to God and in rebellion against his kingdom. It is that third sense of world that is being discussed here. So when John says do not love the world, he says your love becomes sinful when it's directed at that system that is anti-God, that system that is anti-kingdom.

That system that is satanic. And he makes it obvious that it's satanic because he uses it several times here even in 1 John. John writes that by faith the Christian is able to overcome the world in 1 John 5, 4 and 5.

In our text he says the world passes away. In chapter 3 verse 1 he says the world is ignorant of God. And 3, 13 he says the world hates believers. And 4, 1 he says it's the abode of false prophets. And 4, 3 it's the abode of the antichrist. And in 4, 5 it's the abode of unbelievers. And last, the whole world is controlled by the evil one. It is obvious here that when John refers to world in this text, he's referring to that world that is under the control of our adversary the devil. That world that is spiritual and ideological and at war with our king and his kingdom. And we are told do not love that world.

Not at all. Listen to Calvin. He had said before that the only rule for living religiously is to love God. But as when we are occupied with the vain love of the world we turn away all our thoughts and affections another way.

This vanity must first be torn away from us in order that the love of God may reign within us. Until our minds are cleansed the former doctrine may be iterated a hundred times but with no effect. It will be like pouring water on a ball.

You can gather no not a drop because there is no empty place to retain the water. Like pouring water on a ball. When your affections, when your love is pointed toward the world there is no room for the love of God. Because when your love and your affections are pointed toward the world they are pointed toward that which opposes God. Thus love can become sinful when it is directed at the wrong object.

James says something similar in James 4 verse 4. Adulterous people do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God. Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. No man can serve two masters. He will love the one and hate the other.

This is an either or situation. You cannot love the world and love God simultaneously. In fact in our regeneration, in our salvation we are taken out of the world. We're taken out of that system.

We're brought out of darkness and into his marvelous light. We transfer kingdoms. We transfer allegiances.

But if our love is still for the world our allegiance has not legitimately been transferred. Which is why in 2 19 just after our passage John says they went out from among us. Because they were not all of us. If they had been of us they would have remained. But they left so that it might be known, so that it might be obvious that we might see that they were never ours.

They were never his. Because their love, their affections were pointed at the system that is opposed to God. 1 John 5 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that overcomes the world.

Our faith. John 15 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own, but because you are not of the world. But I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. John 17 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. John 17 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. Again, we have been sent into the world to proclaim the gospel. But we are not of this world. We are in this world, but not of this world.

And we are most assuredly not to love this world. A great way to see this picture is to think about the love that a man is commanded to have for his wife. How husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. There is a love that husbands are called to give exclusively to their wives. And the moment you turn that love onto another, you are guilty of idolatry.

It's the same point here. The moment you turn that love that we are called to have for God, that love that has been shed abroad in our hearts, the minute you turn that to the world out of which you were saved, that minute you are communicating the fact that you do not have the love of God, or love for God. Beloved, we must constantly examine our hearts for the presence of this love of the world. Now, be careful here. Because there is a tendency to take this in very wrong directions. We've got to fight worldliness, and so what that means is you don't drink, smoke, cuss, or chew, or date the girls that do, right? That's not what this is.

That's the enemy's sleight of hand. Because I can love alcohol and not drink it. Amen? I can love drugs and not take them. I can love these things.

My passions and my affections can be pointed in these directions. And yet, my legalism and my moralism says I'm better, not just than I was, but I'm better than you. Amen? Because I fight the urge. Because I don't participate.

I still love it with every fiber of my being. John's not saying here, don't participate in the world. He says don't love the world.

We must develop discernment in order to determine the difference. But not only that, love becomes sinful when it arises from the wrong source. Not only when it's pointed in the wrong direction, pointed toward the wrong object, but when it arises from the wrong source. Verse 16, for all that is in the world, the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, the pride of life is not from the Father, but is from the world.

So there's a problem first with the object and now here there's a problem with the source. That this love for the world arises from the world. Just like our love for God and for the things of God arises from God. It is God who gives us the capacity to love God.

But here we have a love that is arising from a different source. The first two categories that are mentioned here, cravings and lust, are sinful desires. Boasting, however, is sinful behavior from internal to external. The first two are internal and hidden sins.

The last one is revealed. The first two pertain to the individual person. The last one pertains to this person in community with others. Kistemacher says, three categories, cravings, lust, boasting. These things arise from the world. Cravings, inordinate desires for things. And again, we have to separate these two.

When we say cravings and lust and boastings, we have to recognize that we're talking about this third world and not the first two. For example, in that first world, I can love the beauty of a sunset. I can love the beauty of a perfectly cooked steak.

Sorry. I can love the beauty of music, art. Again, those things in this world that God has made. I can and I must love the people whom God has created in this world. But the kind of love that I have for those things is a love that arises from God Himself. But even those loves can be perverted. And so now, instead of me loving the beauty of a sunset or a beauty of God's created order, now I worship God's created order.

I worship the creature rather than the creator. Rather than loving the beauty of those things that God has given us, now all of a sudden those things become means to an end, to satisfying myself, to gratifying my flesh, to quenching my lustful desires. That's when they've crossed a boundary. And then there are these boastings.

That's when it gets outward. My cravings, my lust, and then my pride. True love can lead me to share my testimony. Pride can make me exaggerated. True love can cause me to use my voice to proclaim the truth of the gospel. Pride makes me love the sound of my voice so that I just talk too much. True love can lead me to share my story, but my pride causes me to make myself the hero of every story I tell.

It can make me one of those people who constantly gives you their resume. That's what it looks like when it becomes outward. True love can show gratitude for the things with which God has blessed me, but my pride can make me constantly give you the price tag of those things so that you can be impressed.

Are you smelling what I'm stepping in? So our love can become sinful based on its direction and based on its source. And finally, and ultimately, and most importantly, our love becomes sinful when it produces the wrong fruit.

When it leads to the wrong ends. Look at verse 17. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Here you have these two opposite ends. On the one hand, you have this world that is passing away and on the other hand, you have our God who abides forever. Love becomes sinful when it leads to wrong ends and produces wrong fruit. Our passions become sinful when they are pointed in directions that lead to death and destruction, as opposed to leading to life. 1 Corinthians 7, 29 to 31. This is what I mean, brothers. The appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it, for the present form of this world is passing away.

There is no life there. And this leads us back to what I was mentioning earlier. The poignant way in which this is so pertinent to our times, because of the love is love crowd, particularly in the area of same-sex marriage. How can you be opposed to same-sex marriage when same-sex marriage is just about people who love each other being allowed to express that love? But that's a love that's pointed at the wrong object. That is not a love that comes from God or that brings glory and honor to God.

It is pointed at the wrong object. It is a love that arises from the wrong source. Look with me, if you will, at Romans chapter 1, beginning of verse 18. Familiar passage, but I want us to look at it. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness, and the unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them, for his invisible attributes, namely his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived ever since the creation of the world in the things that have been made.

So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up to the lusts of their hearts to impurity.

Here we are. These lusts, these desires to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the creator who was blessed forever. Amen. For this reason, God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Dishonorable passions. The desires themselves are dishonorable. Enough already with this gay Christian stuff.

And I don't just say enough already. I don't mean this in the sense of, you know, they're over there and I'm over here. I mean this in the pastoral sense.

How cruel is that? That man comes to me talking about a desire for a woman who is not his wife. I'm not going to tell him to just go ahead and embrace the desire, because the desire in and of itself is okay.

It's not. God gave them up to dishonorable passions, for their women exchanged the natural relations for those that are contrary to nature. And the men likewise gave up natural relations with women, and were consumed with passion for one another. Men committing shameful acts with men, and receiving in themselves the due penalty of their error. There is the bad fruit. It's pointed in the wrong direction. It is arising from the wrong source.

And it is producing bad fruit. Therefore, it falls into the category of love that is sinful. It falls into the category of love that does not glorify God. It falls into the category of love for that third version of the word world. Not the first. God's created order, not the second. People in the world.

But that third. That system that is openly opposed to all that God is. And that rebels against the reign of God and his kingdom. And that is precisely where we are, brothers and sisters.

And not only that, this rebellion is no longer covert, but it has become overt. It is out there, and it is in our faces, and unfortunately it is being urged along by people within the church. Who are essentially arguing that love is always righteous. Love is always godly. Love is always appropriate.

Because God loves everyone and God loves everything. And right here, the Bible says, do not love. There are some loves that are out of bounds. There are some loves that are unacceptable. In other words, there are some loves that are not truly love. And if you're here today, and you wrestle with that, let me say to you that the last thing you need to do is to give in to that love and define yourself by it.

Because that's love of the world. Do not love the world. Do not love based on your passions and your desires. But love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. Which means your passions are to be turned in His direction and no other. We must reject the lie that says there is no love that is out of bounds. Because ultimately that lie that says there is no love that's out of bounds is a lie that says there is no truth in God. I'm a father nine times over. What that means is I am very well acquainted with the fact that love is not defined by allowing those whom you love to have what they want when they want it just because they want it.

Some of the most loving moments between me and my children have been moments when I have said, authoritatively and unequivocally, no. Amen? And we see that here in this text. Why? We'll end with this.

Look at it again. The world is passing away along with its desires. But whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Do you see what's happening here? This do not love the world is not God saying, listen, there's good stuff out there that I want to keep from you. That's the lie of the serpent.

This do not love says that looks good to you and may even feel good to you. But in the end you will perish. I'm calling you away from it because I actually do love you and in loving you I want you to abide in God, to remain in God and to not perish.

Because our desire is that Christ indeed may have the fullness of the reward for which he died. So do not love the world. Let's pray. Our gracious God and our heavenly Father, God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God who created this world and everything in it, the God who is the king and ruler overall, God we bow before you as a humble and grateful people and we bow before you recognizing that we have a tendency to love the world. Ironically we have to fight to love that first world and fight to love that second world and fight not to love that third one because we are fallen and frail human beings. Grant by your grace that we might have not only the wisdom to see the difference and the faith to trust you, to transform us, but that we might also have the will to deny our flesh and to not love the world. Father I pray that this would not cause us to flee out of the world, but that we would be wise enough to be in the world and not of it. And that in doing so we would be distinct and continue to be those who are known by and marked by our love. Love for God, love for the brethren, love for mankind, love for the lost, even love for our enemies, but not love for the world. Grant by your grace that this may be true of us, for we ask it in Christ's name and for his sake.

Amen. You're listening to Renewing Your Mind and that was a message from Vody Baucom that he gave at Ligonier's 2023 National Conference. As we heard today, the serpent twists and distorts the Word of God, trying to convince us to believe a lie instead of the truth, which is one reason why it is so important for us to be diligent in our study of the Scriptures and to truly know what it is we believe as Christians.

One resource to help you do that is R.C. Sproul's book, Everyone's a Theologian. In clear and digestible chapters, Dr. Sproul lays out what it is we actually believe as Christians. And this book can be yours for your donation of any amount. When you give your gift at or by calling us at 800-435-4343, we'll send you Everyone's a Theologian by R.C.

Sproul and also give you digital access to the eBook edition. So give your gift today at If you were a Christian living in the first century, you probably wouldn't have referred to yourself as a Christian. You would have seen your primary identity as one who was in Christ. And that's what we'll consider tomorrow here on Renewing Your Mind. Thank you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-28 03:25:25 / 2023-06-28 03:36:39 / 11

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