In C. S. Lewis’s brilliant address “The Weight of Glory,” he talks about our “desire for our own far-off country.” Then he asks,
Do you think I am trying to weave a spell? Perhaps I am; but remember your fairy tales. Spells are used for breaking enchantments as well as for inducing them. And you and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness which has been laid upon us for nearly a hundred years.
On March 1 I preached a sermon on 1 John 2:15–17 in Bethlehem College & Seminary chapel about breaking “the evil enchantment of worldliness.” (By the way, preachers used to address worldliness more often. I searched Charles Spurgeon’s published sermons and discovered that he used the word worldliness over 350 times.)
Here’s a video of the 40-minute sermon:
I ask and briefly answer twelve questions about 1 John 2:15–17:
- How does this passage fit in the letter’s argument?
- What is this passage’s main idea? (vv. 15–17)
- What does “love” mean? (v. 15a)
- What does “world” mean? (v. 15a)
- If it is sinful for us to love the world, then why isn’t it sinful for God to love the world? (v. 15a)
- What are “the things in the world”? (v. 15b)
- How does the second half of v. 15 relate to the first half? (v. 15c–d)
- Does “the love of the Father” mean (a) the Father’s love for us or (b) our love for the Father? (v. 15d)
- How does v. 16 relate to v. 15? (v. 16)
- What are “the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and pride of life”? (v. 16b–d)
- How does v. 17 relate to vv. 15–16?
- How should we apply this passage to how we live today?
I spend the most time on the final question. Two sources that served me well for that include Kent Hughes’s Set Apart: Calling a Worldly Church to a Godly Life (Crossway, 2003) and a book C. J. Mahaney edited: Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World (Crossway, 2008). (I reviewed Worldliness for Themelios in 2008.)
The following phrase diagram (which I prepared using our school’s website www.Biblearc.com) displays how I think John argues in 1 John 2:15–17:
(I’ve updated the sermon manuscript as an article, which The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology plans to publish in early 2018.)
Update: I preached this sermon on July 16, 2017, and this video switches over more consistently to show my computer screen when I use it as a whiteboard.