1 John 4 teaches that God is love, but the Bible also teaches that there are some things that God hates and so should we (See Psalm 5:5-6, Proverbs 6:16-19, Revelation 2:6).
As we see in John 2, God hates the love of the world. When we become Christians, we no longer view this world as our home. Rather, we are looking forward to an eternal home with the Lord. If we truly believe this, then why would we give our time, energy, finances, and passions to temporary things that directly oppose God.
As we surrender, God not only takes us into His kingdom, but He also brings us into His family. John uses three terms to identify the people he is writing to in verses 12-14: Children, Fathers and Young Men.
The term children refers to new believers, the fathers are the mature believers who have been following the Lord for many years, and the young men are the maturing believers who are pursuing God with passion and fervor.
In verse 12, John addresses those newer believers and encourages them with the good news of their forgiven sins. Isn’t it great to know that our sins are forgiven?
Next, John addresses the spiritual fathers and mothers who have been walking with the Lord for many years. When we become Christians, we begin a journey that leads to a growing relationship with God our Father. John repeats this in verse 14 to emphasize the importance of growing in our knowledge of our Heavenly Father. We grow in this knowledge and relationship through life experiences, challenges, and trials.
Then John addresses the people who are growing in their passion and zeal for the things of God. These people are young in the faith, maturing, and fighting hard in spiritual warfare. They are strong because the word of God abides in them.
It is important to remember that we don’t overcome the attacks of Satan by our own hard work or efforts, we rest on the completed work of Jesus on the cross. Satan loves to tempt us and hurl accusations at us regarding our past, but our debt has been paid, in Christ there is no more condemnation (Romans 8:1).
These young warriors are abiding in the word of God and as a result they are strong in the face of temptation and trials.
Sadly, many Christians never grow up and remain as children because they do not have the discipline to read, meditate, and feed on the Word of God.
In the following three verses John warns his readers about the “World”. What he is referring to is a worldview and a way of life that is led by Satan and his demons. Following the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes and the pride of possessions. This is a worldview that leaves God out of our thinking and decisions. Chasing after temporary things while ignoring eternal things.
These verses encourage us to reject anything that goes against God’s word and anything that we would value more than God. That would be an idol in our lives. Worldliness means living only to please our flesh and pursuing the desire of our eyes. This is a life pursuing temporal pleasure and will never satisfy.
John highlights three things the world promises but cannot deliver:
1: The World Cannot Give You What You Need (1 John 2:15).
Everyone of us has a God given need to love and to be loved. But the object of our love needs to be in the right order for us to experience peace. If we choose to love the world, we are choosing to not love God and we will never be fulfilled.
2: The World Cannot Give You What It Promises (1 John 2:16).
This is one of the most important verses in the Bible. It identifies three weapons Satan uses to seduce men and women away from God. These same three weapons Satan used in the Garden of Eden to tempt Adam and Eve.
Genesis 3:6 says, “Then the woman saw that the tree was good for food [lust of the flesh] and delightful to look at [lust of the eyes], and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom [the pride of life].”
The same three weapons were used by Satan when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness in Luke 4. And today Satan still uses the same three weapons against the followers of Jesus. They are effective, because we don’t recognize them and resist them by the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
- The desires (lust) of the flesh appeal to our appetites.
“Desires” means cravings, lust, or passion. The word desire is neutral, but the object of our desire is what determines whether such desires are good or bad. It is important to realize that we are not sinful because we sin. Instead, we sin because we are sinful.
- The desire of the eyes appeals to our affections.
Our eyes, like our natural desire, are not evil (Proverbs 20:12), however, the eyes are windows to the soul by which sinful desires enter. In 2 Samuel 11, David was led to adultery and murder because of what he allowed his eyes to see.
- Pride in possessions appeals to our ambitions.
Pride is an unhealthy self-image, boasting and arrogance to impress others. The “Pride of possessions” or “pride of life” speaks of the person who glorifies himself rather than God.
If you think that you don’t fall into this category, just spend a few moments thinking about how much time and energy you spend trying to earn a few extra dollars or gain that next promotion or buy that nice car or phone. We are all prone to stumbling in this area as in the others because of our human nature.
But there is a better way to live, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you” 1 Peter 5:6.
3: The World Cannot Give You What Will Last (1 John 2:17).
We have two opposing worlds to give our lives to, why would we give our lives to something that is temporary and an illusion. Why would we give our lives to the temporary deception of Satan’s world that leads only to death? The only life that produces eternal fruit, is a life that is committed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and living to do the will of God.
One of the saddest stories in the Bible concerns a man by the name of Demas. In Colossians 4, we read that he is faithfully serving alongside Luke for the Gospel ministry. However much later in 2 Timothy 4:10, the Apostle Paul writes these tragic words, “Demas has deserted me, because he loved this present world.”
The history of Christianity is filled with people who have followed in the path of Demas. Don’t live for the temporal and lose out on the eternal.
What are you pursuing in life?