1 John 2:15-17

Introduction: We stay in 1 John and address an interesting couple of verses.

Because 1 John 2:15-17 can create the image of an all-encompassing view, clarity is needed.

Greek word is cosmos is a big word, it covers a lot. =

  • an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government 2) ornament, decoration, adornment, i.e. the arrangement of the stars, ‘the heavenly hosts’, as the ornament of the heavens. 1 Pet. 3:3 3) the world, the universe 4) the circle of the earth, the earth 5) the inhabitants of the earth, men, the human race 6) the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ 7) world affairs, the aggregate of things earthly 7a) the whole circle of earthly goods.

What is at issue here is the facts that many of the things available to us become a competition against God.

  • Flowers are part of this world; we don’t have to hate flowers.
  • Cows are part of the world; we don’t hate cows.
  • We are told in Scripture that we shouldn’t / can’t hate people. People are part of the world.


The problem is that there are definitely things like Endowments, riches, advantages, pleasures, etc., which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ

Again, a good way to think about this is what pulls us away from God. Competition like I just said.

James 4:4 has a very similar theme, Adulterers and1 adulteresses! 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.’ (NKJ)

Word friendship is philia.

You’ve all probably heard it said that Christians are ‘in, but not of,’ the world.

That primarily comes from a passage in John’s Gospel 7:14-19

Notice Jesus’s references to his disciples being “not of the world.” Verse 14:

“The world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”

And there it is again in verse 16: “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”

Here’s a good impulse in the slogan “in, but not of.”

: So, what exactly is John referring to?

I. The Worlds Values

The world can be conceived or understood as a system of values and goals from which God is excluded.


  • Worldly values primarily concern basic human needs to survive and flourish: food, clothing and shelter.
  • This means not only making sure you can pay for what’s required, but also having something extra for luxuries and for security.
  • The more anxious you are about life’s risks and vicissitudes, the more you are likely to want to acquire and accumulate.
  • It is a short step from this position to one fully embracing monetary values; giving them high, if not top, priority. Everyone would like to be rich.
  • They have more than they require to survive and thrive. Those who are wealthy, powerful and famous can have more or less whatever they desire; and this is not always healthy.
  • and pit people into competitionwith each other. There are both unworthy winners and innocent losers.

Transition: The second issue coming from John has to do with worldly cravings.

II. The Worlds Cravings – verse 16

John specified its contents under three well-known phrases that effectively highlight the world’s false outlook. Men of the world live for the cravings of sinful man. “Cravings” translates ‘epithymia’, which is used twice in this verse and once in the next verse. The NIV translates it differently each time: “cravings,” “lust,” “desires.”

In the New Testament the word usually, though not always, connotes desires that are sinful.

Transition: The third problem that is considered worldly is its boastings.

III. The Worlds Boastings – verse 16

The boasting of what he has and does paraphrases the Greek he alazoneia tou biou (lit., “the pretension of human life”), which signifies a proud and ostentatious way of life.

Pretension = the laying of a claim to something. a claim or title to something.
Often pretensions. a claim made, especially indirectly or by implication, to some quality, merit. A claim to dignity, importance, or merit.

pretentiousness the act of pretending or alleging.

Christians ought to have nothing to do with such worldly perspectives as these.

IV. The Worlds Desires – verse 17

1 John 2:17After all, the world and its desires (epithymia) are temporary and pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

  • The word “lives” renders the characteristic Johannine word meno (cf. 1:6).
  • It suggests, as almost always in this epistle, the “abiding life” of fellowship with God. But here is obviously the additional thought that the life lived in God’s fellowship, rejecting the sinful things of this passing world, is a life that has no real ending.
  • A person whose character and personality are shaped by obedience to God will not be affected by the passing away of the world and its vain desires.

Conclusion: So, is it ok to go to the prom, or a party or a crazy, loud sporting event or even a non-Christian concert? Is that loving the world?

The truth is that only you can answer that question and our answer needs to examine our values, cravings, boasting and desires.