23 May You can’t have it both ways
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15
I’m teaching through the book of 1 John at the church where I pastor. www.gracepointedenton.com A few weeks ago I taught on this verse and the one thing that God made clear to me is that we can’t have it both ways. We can’t love the world and love God. When he talks about “loving the world” he’s talking about a system. He’s saying that we should not value the things the world values. We should not love the things the world loves. We should not do marriage the way the world does marriage. We should not set our hearts on things that are temporal and not eternal. Don’t buy into the world’s value system and the world’s way of looking at life. It’s easy to do and sometimes we don’t even realize it. But John is clear, we can’t say we love the world and also say we love God. It’s one or the other. What about you, which is it?
“The world is anything that cools our affection for Christ.”
Demas & John Mark
2 Timothy 4:10 – “For Demas, IN LOVE WITH THIS PRESENT WORLD, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica.” We know that Demas started well in ministry with Paul, but he didn’t end well. He was lured away by the pull of the world and sought to find in the world, what only God can give. If you go down to verse 11 in this same chapter 2 Timothy 4:11 we see another story unfolding.
2 Timothy 4:11 – “Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry.”
That’s very hope-giving verse. Remember Mark deserted the team. During their first missionary journey with Paul and Barnabas, Mark left and returned home to Jerusalem. (Acts 13:13). We don’t know why, but Paul didn’t approve. Later Barnabas wanted to bring Mark back and Paul said No. But here is Mark at the end of Paul’s life, fully reconciled to Paul, trusted by Paul and useful in gospel ministry. Demas started well but ended poorly. So I think the warning for all of us is found in 1 Peter 5:8-9 “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”
And let me also say…let’s not give up on those who may be like Demas and desert the gospel. Remember Mark, he gives us hope. He had a weak start, but a strong finish. He rejoined the battle and proved to be faithful. So friends, when you want to give up on people because they have abandoned God for the ways of the world, don’t quit on them! Don’t lose heart. Continue to teach. Continue to pray. Continue to love. Continue to believe. Continue to pray bold prayers for God to draw them back to him. Nothing is impossible for God!