Friday, August 22, 2008
Today's text comes from 1 John 3:11-24 [link]
1 John 3:10-11
"10By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. 11For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another."
It is evident who belongs to God and who belongs to Satan, who is a child of this world and who is a child of God's kingdom, who is a child of Satan and who is a child of God. Those who practice righteousness, hope in Jesus, and love their brother belong to God and those who practice unrighteousness and hate their brother are not of God. No one is neutral. There is no such thing as a spiritual "Switzerland." You either belong to God or you belong to Satan. This message, to love one another, is not new, see leviticus....., but has been made new through Jesus in the way we approach it so none of us have an excuse for not loving one another.
What's John talking about with love vs. hate? Children of God vs. children of Satan? Well, John goes old school on us and pulls an example of what this looks like and pulls it straight from Genesis 4: 1-8
It's almost as if John is saying...."You guys have read your Bibles right? You know the story of Cain and Abel right?" Cain and Abel were the physical birth sons of Adam and Eve but spiritually they were worlds apart. Abel loved his parents, loved his brother Cain, loved God, worshiped God, and made sacrifices to God. Cain loved himself, his stuff, and worshiped everything but God. Cain tried to skirt around God's commands and when he saw Abel's righteousness it convicted him and instead of repenting Cain became angry.
1 John 3:12 "12We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous." John is warning us...."don't be like Cain! Don't be of the Devil! Give yourselves to God! Be born again! Don't be evil practicing evil but be righteous through the new birth through Jesus!"
Why is John saying all of this? I'm not going to murder anyone. I can remember as a kid saying things like...."I love that person in a Jesus way but I hate them in my way." Just because I don't love my enemy doesn't mean I will kill them does it? Do I really have to love everyone? Cain had the message to love his brother, love others, to love God but he couldn't do it in and of himself. He couldn't will himself to love God or to love others. He couldn't obey God because he was not of God. Ultimately Cain failed because he relied on himself, relied on his own false gospel. In fact, when you think of it Cain was following in the footsteps of his parents, Adam and Eve who also thought they could be their own gods. Cain belonged to this world and he belonged to Satan.
Point #1 - Luv, true luv comes only through the new birth that comes through faith in Jesus. The absence of love is hate and hate leads to anger and anger leads to the dark side.
Don't be evil, don't hate your brother. Examine your heart right now...do you have hate for your brother or love?
1 John 3:13-15
"13Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."
Our thoughts aren't just our thoughts. Jesus said in Matthew 12:34 "...For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." John uses the real example of Cain and Abel to show us the two examples of those who belong to God and those who belong to Satan and in doing so we see the implications of how our citizenship effects our lives first from the inside then manifesting itself on the outside in action.
So we see the example of Cain and Abel, we see the two types of families, God and Satan, and we see the results of hate and we know what hate looks like. But what about love? What does it mean to love our brothers? To love one another? John gives us the perfect example in Jesus.
1 John 3:16
"16By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us..."
Jesus loves us and we know love through Him. Not because He had warm and fuzzies for us, not because Jesus had posters of us on His wall, had a man crush on us, paid us lip services, gave us props, patted us on the back but through action!
Jesus was a man of action and we see His love in and through His actions. Jesus Himself said He came to "...seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10), to serve not to be served (Mark 10:45), and "to give His life a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45). He didn't come to sit in His mama's basement all summer watching Xhibit pimp a hummer or to hang out at the pool.
We know love, as John puts it, by Jesus laying down His life for us and often in scripture when we read about the love Jesus has for it is tied directly to the cross (John 3:16, Galatians 2:20, Romans 5:8, 1 John 4:10).
Jesus loves us through action not words and we see this most powerfully displayed on the cross. where He willingly gave Himself to die in our place for our sins as He who was without sin took upon our sins and became sin and took the wrath of God for our sins
Point #2 - For the born again Christian love is always a verb, always action not a feeling.
Just as Jesus showed His love for us by laying down His life we too should lay down our lives for others and while we may not be called to die for our faith Jesus calls us to die daily to our selves, to deny ourselves daily and to follow Him (Luke 9:23).
Yet instead of dying daily, instead of crucifying our flesh and our sinful desires my fear is that we try to manage our flesh, we get into the flesh management business, moving sins around, arranging things just right with the appearance that everything is under control while we neglect each other and neglect the saving power of the gospel.
Our love should follow Jesus' example in that we put aside our desires, put others first, put our flesh to death. Here are a few examples: Husbands love your wives, not based on how she looks, how you feel, how she performs, how great the house looks. What if Jesus withheld His great love from you until you looked a certain way, acted in a certain manner, were good enough to merit His love? Wives, love your husbands regardless of his hairy back and one eyebrow. Don't base your love for your husband on how you feel but on Jesus' example through action.
How about others? Laying down your lives for others, sacrificing one meal to provide for others? Foregoing your 2nd or 3rd vacation to give to missions or better yet to go on mission either local or foreign? Our mantra should be...."we get to give!" (vs 17). As Christians who are the recipients of God's unending mercy, grace, and love we should live lavish lives of generosity in which we give abundantly of all we have to others. If you got good then you are suppose to give (vs 18). Isn't that why God gave them to you in the first place?
Our love proves who we belong to (vs 19-23), it gives us reassurance even though we are sometimes condemned in our feelings, and it gives us confidence.
The person who loves God and loves people abide in God and God abides in them (vs 24) just as it is meant to be.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Today's lesson comes from 1 John 3:1-10 [link].
If you could ask God one question what would it be? Now I'm not talking about....Who really shot JR? Or, why does baseball have some many regular season games? I mean real questions. What would you ask Him? Me? I would ask....why do you love us so much? How can you love us the way you do? Why do you love me so much?
God created the heavens and the earth, the sky and the land, the birds and the animals, the fish, the plants and as He looked upon everything He had created He claimed that it was good. Then on the sixth day God created man and woman, Adam and Eve and claimed that it was very good. Yet our first parents, Adam and Eve, went away from God, chose to follow their own ways, to go their own route, to lean on their own understanding, thinking in their minds they could just like God and in doing so rebelled against God. What once was very good became cursed as their disobedience brought sin into the world effecting everything. Adam and Eve became separated in their marriages, they became separated from God as sin destroyed their relationships.
Because God is holy, righteous, and just sin, rebellions, and disobedience must be answered, must be paid for. Romans 6:23 says that "the wages of sin is death" and still 1 John 4:16 says that "God is love." And even though the wages of sin is death the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
God is love and He showed His great love toward us in a mighty and magnificent way "in that while we were sinners Christ died for us." Romans 5:8.
I can't grasp it. Can't wrap my mind around it and apart from Jesus I have never seen this kind of love before.
David wrestled with the same thought in Psalm 8 [link]. "What is man that you are mindful of him?"
Some of you may ask or have heard it ask..."If God is love how could He allow...personal tragedies, 9/11, tornadoes, earthquakes, abortion, on and on and on." Several years ago Voddie Bachaum visited our church and I like the way he answered this question. He said, "You aren't asking the question the right way. What you should be asking is...How could a holy, righteous God allow me to live after what I did last night? What I thought this morning?"
I am blown away by God's love and so is John. "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God..." Can you believe John almost asks. Look at how good God is! This is amazing! This is the best news I have ever heard! John is literally saying that God's love is from another country, beyond this world! In 1 John 3:1 we see God's love powerfully displayed in that through the cross of Jesus, through Him dying in our place for our sins we can now become children of God. 1 John 3:1-2 we see what we are in Jesus and a hint of what we will become upon Jesus' return.
Point #1 - Through Jesus we are children of God
Not just in name not just through association. Not as being part of a club, group, or an organization but actual, literal, children, of God! This in incredible and comes with so many wonderful ramifications.
When the good news of Jesus forgiving our sins is preached and God awakens dead hearts through His Holy spirit, when people call on Jesus to save them and then place their lives in His hands and follow Him as Lord scripture says that they are made into new creatures. God takes the believer from the world, from the family of Satan and adopts the new believer into His kingdom, into His family and just like the prodigal son God places a seal on us, the Holy Spirit, and places fine linen on our backs (the righteousness of Jesus).
This means that we belong to God. We are His. We are heirs of His kingdom. We are brothers and sisters of Jesus and of other believers and that God is our Father unlike any father we may have or have had here on earth. God is perfect in His love for us. Perfect in His provisions for us and He never gives up on us, will never leave or forsake us, and He never changes.
Point #2 - Everyone who hopes in Jesus purifies themselves and is forgiven.
1 John 3:3 "And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure."
Everyone who hopes, not talking about "I wish" or "keep your fingers crossed" but hopes meaning you put all your eggs in one basket, you follow Jesus regardless of what the world says, you put your life in His hands type of hope, everyone who hopes in Jesus will be purified by this hope and will be forgiven of their sins.
What about those who don't worship Jesus? Don't believe He is God? What about people who have different perspectives, philosophies, opinions, ideas? What about those who come from different backgrounds, religions, cultures? What about those who didn't grow up in the deep south going to church every Sunday and eating fried chicken?
1. Shame on anyone not living in the deep south.
2. Shame on anyone who doesn't eat fried chicken...bless their hearts.
Paul addresses these same questions in Romans 1:18-22 [link]. You see, God's invisible attributes are on display and God has testified to His existence and glory since day 1 of creation yet man in his sinful state has chosen to suppress the truth and exchange it for a lie and instead of worshipping God we often worship created things. Instead of worshipping the creator we tend to worship creation.
Point #3 - Everyone without Jesus is under the law, will be judged, and condemned by the law.
1 John 3:4 "Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. " Those who practice sin are lawless, without the law, without regard for God's commands and decrees. Everyone sins period and by this fact we all fall under the penalty of "the wages of sin is death." In the Old Testament something had to die for sin and in the New Testament under God's new covenant someone has to die for our sins.
1 John 3:5 That someone is Jesus. "You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin." Jesus died for sin, He was the propitiation, perfect atonement, complete payment for all sins once and for all.
1 John 3:5-6 "But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him." How can verse 6 be compatible with 1 John 1:8 that says "If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." Verses 5 and 6 point to two truths we must understand:
1. When we abide in Jesus, loot o Him, run to Him, stand close to Him through His word, in prayer, we tend not to practice sin. We find freedom from sin.
2. When we sin it is because we look to other things or other people.
Time Keller - author and founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian church in New York has put for the idea that all of us have created our own personal hells comprised of those things which we are most afraid of. Some people are afraid of what others think about them, some are afraid of failing, and others are afraid of being lonely. Not only do we create our own personal hells but we also craft what he calls "functional saviors" those things that we use to save us from the very hells we create. Here is an example:
Your are very afraid of being alone, unloved, and um important. Your functional savior is new things. So you constantly buy things to save you from your greatest fears and instead of turning to Jesus for salvation from your sins, for salvation from loneliness, instead of turning to Jesus for love you replace Him with stuff.
The gospel is that Jesus lived the lives that we could not live, He died the death you and I should die, and He rose on the third day conquering sin, hell, and death for everyone who believes in Him.
Those under Jesus will be forgiven.
Those who look to Jesus will find freedom from sin.
Those who deny Jesus are under the law and will be judged by the law and it is the law that will ultimately condemn them.
Point #4 - The fruit of our lives reveal who are real daddy is.
1 John 3:6-10 "No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.
7Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. 9No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother."Some of you may have questions like...why does the Bible contain commands that are impossible for me to keep? Be holy, be without sin, when I can't keep them? The answer is simple in that God knows that we will try and in our trying we will utterly fail and in our failure we will once again see our need for a savior and be pointed back to Jesus.
Verse 9 tells us that anyone truly born of God can't joyfully practice sin and verse 10 tells us how to know who our real daddy is. Those who practice sin and hate their brother belong to Satan.
Who's your daddy?
God through Jesus or Satan through your sin and your own works?
Do you enjoy sin, do you make excuses for your sin?
Does your sin utterly destroy you?
Are you reborn? Born into the family of God?
This is just the beginning - what we will be is not yet known but will be revealed upon Jesus' return.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
On Sunday, August 10th Nathan led our class as the new assistant teacher for One.
1 John 2:18-29 (You can read the text here [link])
The apostle John wrote this letter in the early 90s A.D. He wrote to address a serious doctrinal issue that kept coming up in churches. False teachers were teaching a form of Gnosticism in the churches, and some had even broken away from the church and taken church members with them. Although, Gnosticism did not fully develop as a system of belief until the second century, most scholars agree that a form of proto-Gnosticism (Gnosticism in its early stages) was growing in the late first century. Scholars and historians are able to identify two different forms of Gnostic teaching that were growing at the time. Although the details may be different the gist was the same.
The proto-Gnostic teachings that John addresses are, in their most basic sense, a form a dualism. The culturally acceptable belief was that all matter was essentially evil and all spirits were essentially good. Therefore, as far as human beings were concerned, the body of a man was evil and the spirit of a man was good. Also, there could be no coexistence of the two, and so, consequently, Gnostic philosophers had a serious problem with the incarnation of Christ. In accordance with Gnostic teaching, Jesus could not have been both God and man at the same time, and therefore the doctrine of the humanity of Christ could not be accepted. Although rejecting the humanity of Christ was the most serious error of Gnostic teaching, other errors followed. For instance, because the spirit was good and the body was bad, you could do anything you wanted to with your body. Anything! Sex, drunkenness, whatever, it did not matter because the spirit and the body of a man were not related, according to Gnostic teachings. Furthermore, relationships did not matter, so you could treat anybody any way you wanted. Also, there was a serious emphasis on knowledge and the goal was to obtain this special form of knowledge which led to a very elitist group with elitist teachers.
John writes this epistle amidst this backdrop. One important point to remember is that these Gnostic teachings were being taught in churches. Not just any church, but churches founded by the apostles. Many Christians were left shaken by what had transpired in their churches. John was the last remaining apostle at this time and was considered to be an authoritative voice because of his close relation to Jesus. No doubt, many Christians were eager to hear from the apostle John.
Introduction to the Text
John’s first epistle instructs believers on how they can know that they are indeed Christians according to 1 John 5:13, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” Many of the proto-Gnostic teachers, who taught an elitist view that you had to obtain special knowledge for salvation, no doubt left many wandering about the certainty of their salvation.
John spends chapter 1 and chapter 2, through verse 17, affirming the truth of the incarnation, stressing that Christians walk in the light and not in darkness, and that Christians love their fellow believers. Beginning with verse 18 of chapter 2, John begins to specifically address the false teachers teaching this false doctrine. He begins a contrast of believers to nonbelievers. In essence, John leads us into a courtroom and lays out the evidence before us. He plainly explains the evidence of a Christian.
1. The Evidence of Continuing with the Fellowship (verses 18-19)
John reminds us in verse 18 that many Antichrists have come. Antichrists, as it is used here, refer to “pseudo” or “false” Christs who are, even though they may not realize it themselves, are against God and teaching a false doctrine. These false teachers had infiltrated churches and had left many churches and taken other members of the congregation with them. John tells the recipients of the letter in verse 19 that these people “… went out from us, but were not of us.” In other words although they were with and part of the congregation, they did not belong in the fellowship of believers because they were not Christians. Because, as John goes on to write in verse 19, “… if they had been of us, they would have continued with us.” If these people, who taught and believed this false doctrine, were indeed Christians, they would not have left this fellowship of believers. True Christians have a desire to be in fellowship with other Christians. In accordance with Hebrews 10:25, there should be an evidence for a desire to receive instruction from God’s word, worship God corporately, and experience mutual encouragement and edification from other Christians. And, as John reminds them, because these teachers and their followers left the congregation, they made it very plain to see that they were not truly Christians.
2. The Evidence of the Holy Spirit (verses 20-27)
In verse 20, John reminds his readers that they have been given the Holy Spirit. True Christians will show evidence of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. The work of the Holy Spirit is not in the past tense, as in, “I prayed a prayer 20 years ago to receive Christ.” The work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is in the present tense. In other words, the Holy Spirit is working in our lives right now in the following ways:
A. Relationship with Jesus – John tells his readers in verse 21 that they “… do know the truth.” John is not only saying that they know the truth of the gospel, but that they know the TRUTH, Jesus Christ. In John 14:6 Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” True Christians will not cling to dogmas or good works, but only to Jesus Christ. John 3:16 is one of the most well-known bible verses. However, there is wonderful nugget in it that on the surface we may not see to clearly. In the original Greek, the word translated to “believes” (“… whoever believes in Him…”) is in the present participle tense. Therefore, a correct translation would be “whoever is believing in Him.” John writes in verse 24, “Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.” The implication, once again, is that true Christians remain or continue with Christ because if you are abiding in Christ, then Christ is abiding in you.
B. Reliance on Sound Doctrine – Remember that these proto-Gnostics denied Jesus’ humanity. Therefore, because they denied Jesus, they did not have Jesus. True Christians will continue with the sound teachings of the church. Anyone who begins to deny doctrines cardinal to the faith gives serious doubt to the genuineness of their salvation. As John writes in verse 25, those who remain with the truth of the gospel have eternal life, those who do not, do not have eternal life.
C. Internal Polygraph Machine – True, maturing Christians should be able to determine a false doctrine when they see one. In verses 26 and 27 John tells the readers that the Holy Spirit will enable them to determine the truth from error. Because knowledge was so central to the proto-Gnostic teachings that only special, elite people who had the knowledge could teach others. John reminds them that they do not need a special teacher because they have the Holy Spirit.
3. The Evidence of Righteousness (verses 28-29)
As we discussed earlier, the prevailing Gnostic philosophy was that because the body was matter, then the body was bad. Because the body was bad and separate from the spirit you could do whatever you wanted involving your body. A few weeks ago when B.J. covered 1 John 1:5-9, he pointed out that Christians cannot live lives of habitual sin. That is exactly the case here, so I will not spend a lot of time rehashing that point. True Christians will show evidence of growing in righteousness. That does not mean that we are perfect and never sin, but it means that our lives are characterized by a desire for wanting to be more like Christ.
You may be wandering what does this have to do with us? Well, it has a lot to do with us, and it is a pretty serious matter. What we have been discussing is known as the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. However, it has been watered down in recent times in evangelical circles and become known as “eternal security.” Often, preachers and Christians refer to someone who has prayed a prayer of salvation and been baptized as eternally secure. Is a person who has shown no evidence of being a true Christian a Christian if they prayed a prayer 30 years ago? No, they are probably not. I am not a judge and I am not trying to be a judge, but our faithfulness and obedience to the gospel is at stake. We cannot lead people down a path of destruction by allowing them to believe they are Christians, when indeed they are not.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Please pray for great weather on Saturday because we are headed to the World's Fair Park!
What: ONE Fellowship Event
When: Saturday, August 9 at 11:00 a.m. til ??
Where: World's Fair Park interactive fountain/splashpad (parking for the WFP can be found next to Fort Kid across from the Museum of Art, also near the Foundry and the L&N Station).
What To Bring: Swimsuit, towel, sunscreen, picnic lunch, drinks, lawn chairs and/or blanket.
In case of rain, we will cancel the fellowship (again). If cancelled, you will receive an email and/or text message. And you can check this site Saturday morning to see if we're still on.
Hope to see everyone on Saturday!!!!!!
Monday, August 4, 2008
1 John 2:12-17
12I am writing to you, little children,
because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.
13I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.
14I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God abides in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.
Have you ever been embarrassed over an email you sent out by mistake? Maybe you sent it to the wrong "Terry" or copied someone who should have never been copied? Maybe you responded in anger, Jerry McGuire style only to wish you had never sent it as soon as you hit the enter key?
John's doesn't write the letter as a list of suggestions for us to consider, he writes the letter in reaction to reports he has heard about the church, and what he has seen believers doing in their lives. The letter up to this point tells us that we are liars, that we have called God a liar, that we are not from God, that we are blind, deceived, that we couldn't find our way out of a paper bag, and that our mom dresses us funny. To say the least this letter has not been filled with pleasantries, niceties, and terms of endearment and encouragement.
And unlike our emails that went to a co-worker by mistake, a work group by mistake the damage for the most part was isolated at least within a certain group of people. John's letter is to "The Church", to billions and billions of men and women past, present, and future and once this letter was sent there was no retrieving it.
Now John realizes that there are indeed men and women who read their Bibles, who pray, who serve, who truly follow Jesus, who love Jesus, and who are great ambassadors for His kingdom and John is sensitive that there is the capacity for some of those who read this letter to be grieved by it, to question, to feel guilty even though they are at no fault. So beginning in chapter 2:12-14 John acknowledges those in the church who are faithful to Jesus, those who know the eternal God, those who are living for Jesus, and those young men whom the word of God lives in and who are strong in Jesus.
John covers the gambit of age groups, children, young men, and fathers and he lets them know that he knows that they are forgiven, their theology is correct, they are strong in Jesus, and they have overcome the evil one and he does this right before he hits the church square between the eyes with his sternest command yet.
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.
Every time the word is read silently, taught openly, preached and proclaimed loudly it is meant to reveal the glory of God to man, it is to take the glory of God as bright as the sun and shine it into our hearts, our dark hearts exposing the things deep deep inside. Hebrews 4:12 12 says "the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." And so the goal of scripture is to live within us, to be active within us, to cut away the dark parts of our hearts, to judge the dark parts of our hearts, to show us our sins, to show us where we have sinned in word, thought, deed, or inaction, to bring us the gift of repentance and to repentance so that we will be changed, going in a new direction, the right direction.
We are commanded to "not love the world" which means we should begin stockpiling canned goods, ramen noodles, powdered milk, and 55 gallon barrels of gasoline as we build our compounds upon 529 acres of fenced in farmland right? Doesn't this scripture reinforce the need to isolate ourselves from the world, to withdraw from the world to keep from being contaminated and our children from being contaminated by the world? How does this jive, "not to love the world" with John 3:16 that says that "God so loved the world"? Isn't this a contradiction? Does it mean that we are to hate the world and only God is to love the world?
1. Don't start on that compound just yet and please...step away from the ramen noodles.
The Greek used in John 3:16 is ton kosmon and refers to the whole cosmos of men, including Gentiles, the whole human race while the Greek used in 1 John 2:15 is Kosmos which refers to an ordered system. "Here it is the ordered system of which Satan is the head, his fallen angels and demons are his emissaries, and the unsaved of the human race are his subjects, together with those purposes, pursuits, pleasures, practices, and places where God is not wanted. Much in this world-system is religious, cultured, refined, and intellectual. But it is anti-God and anti-Christ". (Wuest, Kenneth S.: Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament : For the English Reader. Grand Rapids : Eerdmans, 1997, c1984, S. 1 Jn 2:15)
This verse could literally be translated as "stop loving the world" or "don't have the habit of loving the world" and "stop loving the things in the world" or "don't have the habit of loving stuff".
In the movie, The Bounty, staring Anthony Hopkins and Mel Gibson, Anthony Hopkins plays Lieutenant William Bligh a British Naval Captain commissioned by the King to pick up breadfruit plants in Tahiti in the hopes of growing them and taking them to the West Indies where they will be cheap food for slaves. All is well until the ship arrives in Tahiti, a paradise on earth for most of the ships crew. The king of Tahiti agrees to grow breadfruit for the crew and for months the men lounge around the island, swimming, sunbathing, mingling in with the women, learning the language, and eventually falling in love with the culture. The crew, whose home is England and whose loyalties should reside with the King have now come to dread the day they must leave Tahiti, must leave the very world they have fallen in love with. Eventually the men, lead by Fletcher Christian (Mel Gibson) rebel against Mr. Bligh, mutiny, and take command of the ship never to return to their home or to their King.
God's command isn't for us to stop loving people, (see 1 John 2:10) or for us to remove ourselves from the company of people.
Point #1 - God wants us to stop loving this world, it's system, and the things in this world.
You and I don't have the capacity to love two things that are so diametrically opposed such as God the ways of this world (Matthew 6:24). If we choose this world scripture makes it very clear that "the Father is no in" us. If we don't remove ourselves, isolate ourselves, how can we guard ourselves from such love? Isn't it easy for us to fall in love with our own paradise here on earth? Isn't it easy for us to be lulled into a false sense of home? And what does John mean by do not love the things of this world? Does he mean T.V.? Liberal news programming? Twinkies?
Point #2 - God gives us clear indicators of what things to avoid.
16For all that is in the world— the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.
1. desires of the flesh
2. desires of the eyes
3. pride in our possession
These are what we are to guard our hearts against while we are living here on earth as we are ambassadors of the Kingdom of God. You and I have the capacity to forget our King and our kingdom. Our loyalties can change if we don't guard ourselves and we too can mutiny.
Point #3 - Everything and everyone apart from Jesus is temporary.
17And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
Materialism, money, food, desires of the flesh, of the eyes, the possessions that posses us give us only temporary joy and are void in and of themselves of life, do not have the ability to give life, sustain life and are temporal in that they quickly lose their luster as well as will one day be judged, condemned, and consumed by the presence of Jesus.
Jesus is returning. He is coming back and upon His return He will gather everyone who is in Him to Himself. Jesus will judge everyone who is not of Him, condemn those apart from Him to an eternity of separation from Him in Hell.
The good news is that none of us have to endure this. The good news is that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of everyone past, present, and future and that by believing in the finished work of Jesus on the cross and by calling on the name of Jesus you will be saved. Jesus will renounce your citizenship here on Earth and welcome you into His eternal kingdom. You will no longer be a subject of Satan but a subject of the King, Lord Jesus and upon His return you will be given your new glorious body, Philippians 3:20-22, to live in His new heaven and new Earth.
Stop loving the world system and the things in the world. Start loving people and loving God and using stuff to love people and to love God for everything apart from God is already passing away and in the end only that which is of God will remain.