The Nature and Danger of an Inordinate Love of the World
1 John 2:15-17
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.…

I. WHAT WE ARE TO UNDERSTAND BY THE WORLD. A general inventory of this world's goods is given us by the apostle, divided into three lots. The first contains all the pleasures of the world, called the lust of the flesh, because they are proper to a corporeal nature, or such as the soul now desires, only by reason of its union with the body. The next class is riches, which he calls the lust of the eyes, because the eye takes a peculiar pleasure in gazing at those things which they immediately procure. The pleasures I before mentioned are gone with a touch, these with a look. So unsubstantial are the goods contained in the two first lots of this world's inventory. Let us now examine the third, and see if we can find anything more solid there. This opens to us all the honours, the high stations, the power and preferments of the world. This the apostle calls the pride of life, because it is the ambitious man's great object, and at once attracts and foments the vanity of Iris heart. Bet it never satisfies the vanity which it excites. Ambition is insatiable as arvarice.

II. THE EXTENT OF THIS PROHIBITION; or with what restrictions it must nccessarily be taken.

1. This does not forbid us(1) to prosecute our worldly affairs with application and diligence.

(2) Nor does it countenance, much less require, a total separation from the world.

(3) Nor are we hereby forbid to enjoy the world, or to take any delight in the good things of the present life.

(4) This text does not forbid us to value, or in a certain degree desire to possess the good things of this world: because they are in some respects desirable, and to many good purposes useful; and therefore a wise man will not indulge an absolute contempt of them, or be totally indifferent to them.

(5) Neither are we forbid a conformity to the innocent customs, manners and fashions of the world.

2. What is it then that it does forbid? — I answer in one word, all excessive love of the world, or all immoderate attachment of the heart to it.

(1) We then love this world too much when we neglect our souls, or our interest in a better world, for the sake of it.

(2) 'Tis a certain sign that a ]nan loves the world too much when he grows vain, imperious and assuming, and despises others merely on the score of their wanting that affluence which he enjoys.

(3) When a man grows confident in the world, and trusts to it as his chief good.

(4) We then love the good things of this world too much when we dare to venture on any known transgression with a view to secure or increase them.

(5) When a man has no heart to do good with what he has iii the world, and is averse to acts of charity, piety and beneficence.

(6) When we are tormented with an anxious solicitude about the things of this world.

(7) It is a sign that our hearts are two much attached to earthly things if we cannot bear our earthly losses and disappointments with temper.

(8) It is an indication that we love the good things of this life too much when we are not thankful for them, and forget to make our acknowledgements to Him at whose hand we hold them.


1. I am to suggest a few general considerations proper to guard us against an immoderate love of the present world. To this end then let it be considered.

(1) How many dangerous temptations it lays in the way of our souls.

(2) The more fond we are of the world the greater is our danger from it. The more it engages our hearts the more power it has to captivate them.

(3) An excessive passion for the world defeats its own end. The more inordinately we love it, the less capable we are of the true enjoyment of it. If we squeeze the world too hard we wring out dregs. In our cup of worldly bliss the sweetest lies at top: he who drinks too deep will find it nauseous.

(4) Why should we love the world so much, when there is nothing in it that suits the dignity or satisfies the desires of our souls?

2. Let us now particularly consider those two motives whereby the apostle himself enforces the caution he gives in the text.

(1) An excessive love of the world is inconsistent with a sincere love of God. An immoderate love of the world, or of anything in it, is paying that devotion and homage of our heart to the creature which is due only to the Creator. What vile ingratitude as well as folly is here! To love the world more than God is a plain indication of the apostacy of the heart from him. And from this inward apostacy of the heart begins the outward apostacy in life.

(2) The world and everything in it is mutable and mortal, constantly changing, and hastening apace to dissolution.

(John Mason, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

WEB: Don't love the world, neither the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the Father's love isn't in him.

The Guileless Spirit Loving not the World
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