“ANYBODY HERE WANT TO LIVE FOREVER?” 1 John 2:15-17
INTRO – Back in early ‘70’s when Christian music was just beginning to gain popularity, there was a female singer named Evie. Released a song entitled, “Say I Do.” Not about marriage vows, but about eternal life. Lyrics to chorus:
Anybody here want to live forever? Say I do.
Anybody here want to walk on golden streets? Say I do.
Anybody here sick and tired of living like you do?
Anybody here want a home with love forever? Say I do
Sounds like a pretty good question to ask this morning: Anybody here want to live forever? YOU CAN! What an awesome promise for the child of God! Eternal life doesn’t begin when our earthly life ends; it begins the moment we trust in Christ alone for our salvation! Major Ian Thomas: “Eternal life is not a peculiar feeling inside! It is not your ultimate destination, to which you will go when you die. If you are born again, eternal life is that quality of life you possess RIGHT NOW!”
The Apostle John clearly told his readers in 2:17 that “whoever does the will of God abides forever.” Since the majority of us here today want to live forever, we would do well to understand what the Word is teaching us in this passage today. Let’s back up to v. 15 & look at these 3 points:
The Words of Strong Warning – v. 15 – Remember when you were a kid & you gave a warning to your brother, or sister, or that punk kid at school that, if they touched you, you were going to punch them – “I’m warning you! You touch me, & it’s on!” Sometimes they would back off. Other times, their curiosity would get the best of them, & they would have to touch you to see if you were serious. Then you had to decide: Are you going to follow through w/ your warning? Or were you just bluffing?
John is not bluffing here & gives a strong warning in this verse. He doesn’t mince words here. He doesn’t use vague, confusing words. He draws a distinct line in the sand for us to see: You either love the world or you love God. You can’t love them both. It’s the same thing that Jesus said in Luke 16:13 – “No servant can serve 2 masters, for either he will hate the one & love the other, or he will be devoted to the one & despise the other. You cannot love God & money.” Jesus didn’t say, “You SHOULD not love God & money.” He said you “CANNOT” love them both. It’s a spiritual impossibility. It reminds us of what James said in James 4:4 – “Friendship w/ the world is hatred toward God.”
John is warning his readers that they must not love the sinful things of the world. Anyone who does love the world does not have the love of the Father in him, & should not think that they are saved.
Let’s be clear about something: As Christ-followers, we are to love the PEOPLE of the world. Jesus told us to “love our enemies” (Matt. 5:44).
- Our love for the people of the world moves us out of our comfort zones & into their lives. Love of comfort keeps many from moving out & into the lives of those in the world.
- Our love for the people of the world moves us to strive to meet their physical needs. Lack of concern keeps many from trying to meet physical needs of others.
- Our love for the people of the world motivates us to share the Gospel with them so that they may be saved. Lost zeal for the Gospel & our own salvation keeps many from sharing the Gospel w/ the lost.
But we have to be careful to maintain our love for God as we do this. Satan is a cunning adversary & will look for every opportunity to tempt us to begin loving the THINGS of the world, even as we are loving the PEOPLE of the world. So we must guard against…
The World’s Strong Pull – v. 16 – Worldiness – that sin of putting the temporal things of the world ahead of the eternal things of God – is a strong pull in our lives & is dangerous place for us to be. Love what Steven Cole said about worldliness: “Worldliness is, at its core, a matter of the heart. If your heart is captured by the world, you will love the things of the world. If your heart is captured by the love of God, you will be drawn to Him and to the things of God. The only way that our hearts can be transformed so that we love God is by the supernatural new birth.” (https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-9-choose-your-love-world-or-father-1-john-215-17)
Worldliness places us in Satan’s camp, Satan’s domain, & makes us extremely vulnerable to Satan’s influence & attacks. It makes us extremely likely to come under the discipline of God as it hurts our witness, damages our fellowship w/ God & other believers, & brings injury to the Church & the name of Christ.
Here’s where we see the specific ways that Satan comes against us with the strong pull of the things of the world. John gets very specific in v. 16:
- “the desires of the flesh” – word for “desires” is epithumia – passionate longing, deep desire, lust. The lust of the flesh is when we allow the desires of our fallen nature to consume us. Many times, this is a sexual sin, but it applies to any desire of our flesh that gets out of hand – desire for food, companionship, security, success.
- “the desires of the eyes” – This points toward the sins of greed & covetousness, seeing something that is not ours or that we do not have & being consumed with getting that thing.
- “the pride of life” – Lust of the eyes refers to what we do NOT have, while “the pride of life” refers to sinful pride in what we DO have. It’s the driving motivation to be better than others so that you can boast about yourself, your accomplishments, your possessions, your exploits – basically, pointing at YOU all the time instead of pointing at JESUS & what HE has done.
- Interesting that all 3 of these parallel how Eve was tempted in the Garden of Eden:
- She saw that the forbidden fruit was good for food ( 3:6), which was an appeal to the lust of the flesh.
- She saw “that it was a delight to the eyes.” This appealed to the lust of the eyes.
- She also saw “that the tree was desirable to make one wise.” This appealed to the boastful pride of life.
“We all battle these temptations daily, and we often fail. But John’s point is, if you go on yielding to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life as your way of life, you are not maintaining love for the Father. Rather, you are maintaining love for the world. Worldly people wallow in these things; God’s children fight them continually. How do we maintain our love for the Father?” (https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-9-choose-your-love-world-or-father-1-john-215-17)
The Will of Our Strong God – v. 17 – The key to living the eternal life of an overcoming Christ-follower is to know & live out the will of God. It means living a life of continual, ongoing obedience to the commands of God. Doesn’t mean doing that perfectly. But it does mean that obedience to God’s Word & His commands is the overruling passion of our lives. Nothing is more important.
It starts when we obey His call upon our lives to be saved. The Bible makes it very clear that God’s will is for all people to be saved.
- John 3:16
- 2 Peter 3:9 – “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” (NLT)
- 1 Tim. 2:3-4 – “This is good & pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved & to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
- God’s will for ALL of us today is that we turn to Christ alone today, trust Him alone, & be saved.
His will for our lives continues w/ His expectation that we will obey Him for the rest of our lives after we come to know Him. God’s will is for all of His people to obey Him.
- John 14:15 – “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
- John 15:10 – “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”
Friends, God’s will is very clear: He wants you to be saved, & He wants you to live in obedience to Him. So, there are really only 2 questions for each of us to answer today:
- Am I saved?
- Am I obeying God?