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Sermons on Important Subjects
By J. M. Pendleton

Reasons for Not Loving the World

      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. - 1 John ii:15.

      Nothing is more common than love of the world. Worldly objects engross the affections of the old and the young, the rich and the poor. These objects are invested with a delusive splendor, but men forget that it is delusive, and it operates as powerfully as if it were real. The Savior said to his disciples, "If ye were of the world, the world would love its own, but because I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." This language clearly indicates that the spirit of the world and the spirit of Christianity are at variance. The apostle James informs us that "the friendship of the world is enmity with God." In the text the love of the world is prohibited - " love not the world," etc.


      1. It does not deserve the love of rational and immortal beings.       The man who loves the world, loves either its honors, its pleasures, or its wealth. And what

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is there in these things worthy of love? The honors which the world bestows are not always the reward of merit. They often depend on the accidental and capricious direction which public sentiment takes. Nothing is more fickle than public sentiment, nothing more frequently wrong. Public sentiment once said, "Hosanna to the Son of David," and not long after clamorously cried, "Crucify him, crucify him." Jesus of Nazareth was deemed worthy of hosannas, and then worthy of a cross. If this was the working of public sentiment, on which worldly honors depend, how worthless are these honors.

      The pleasures of the world are unsuited to man's rational nature. They can not satisfy the desires of his immortal soul. They are pleasures which take their flight when apprehensions of death, judgment and eternity possess the mind. What are pleasures worth that are destroyed by a contemplation of the stern realities which every child of Adam must encounter? They are irrational, and, therefore, of no value. They are the pleasures of sin which are but for a season.

      Wealth is unworthy of the love of a rational being. It enables its possessor to gratify the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, but it is degrading to live only for our own gratification. God is often pleased to show the low estimate he places on riches, by conferring them on the most stupid of mankind. Who has ever been made happy by wealth? The Boston millionaire displayed a profound knowledge of

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human nature, when asked how much wealth it would take to satisfy a man, answered, "a little more." Paul applies one epithet to riches, which shows them to be comparatively worthless. That epithet is, "uncertain" - "uncertain riches." The love of the heart can not be rationally placed on any thing so uncertain as riches.

      2. It can not impart the happiness which every man desires. - You will admit the universality of this desire. It animates every bosom. It ought to be gratified - it may be gratified. Happiness, when sought in God, is found. It has never been found in the things of the world. Have the objects to which I have referred ever made their possessors happy? Never, Solomon made a thorough experiment, as he informs us in the following language: "I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards. I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kinds of fruits; I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees: I got me servants and maidens, and servants born in my house; also, I had great possessions of great and small cattle, above all that were in Jerusalem before me; I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings, and of the provinces; I got me men-singers and women-singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts. So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me. And whatever mine eyes

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desired, I kept not from them; I withheld not my heart from any joy: for my heart rejoiced in all my labor: and this was my portion of all my labor. Then I looked on all the work my hands had wrought, and on the labor I had labored to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun." - Ecclesiastes ii: 4-11.

      It is needless to say any more in proof of the fact that this world can not impart happiness.

      3. The example of Christ furnishes a strong reason why we should not love the world. - The whole tenor of his preaching and teaching antagonized with the spirit of worldliness that possessed most of his hearers. He showed the worthlessness of worldly honor, by contrasting it with the honor that comes from God. He indicated the sinfulness of worldly pleasure by saying, "Woe unto you that laugh now, for you shall weep." He taught the inutility of wealth by proposing the question, "What is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" His example gave irresistible emphasis to his teachings. Contemplate it. What lofty superiority to the world. Its brightest glories had no charms for him. He practically pronounced worthless ita honors, pleasures and riches. And here it may he said that those on whom the example of Christ is most influential think least of the world. They consider themselves pilgrims and sojourners on earth. They glory in the cross of Christ and the world is crucified to them, and they to the world.

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      4. The love of the world precludes the love of God from the heart. - "If any man love the world," says the text, "the love of the Father is not in him." The world is opposed to God. It has renounced its allegiance to him. The devil is the god of this world. The nations serve him. Such service is utterly inconsistent with love to the God of Heaven. To love God is the duty of every creature. It is a duty which all holy beings perform. It is an exalted privilege. The affections are never worthily exercised unless they are fixed supremely on him. How sinful, then, to love the world; for the love of the world renders the love of God an impossible thing. The dissuasive language of the text ought surely to be regarded, in view of the fact that the love of the world is incompatible with the love of God. Who would not have the love of the world expelled from the heart, when the expulsion is essential to the entrance of the love of God? How manifest it is that we should not love the world!

      5. Everything pertaining to this world is of short duration. - The world itself is to he destroyed. "The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, and the works that are therein shall be burned up." What is this world worth, destined as it is to be wrapt in the flames of the last conflagration? Death will be to every individual equivalent to the destruction of the world. The drawing of the last breath

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will as conclusively fix our destiny as would the sound of the last trumpet. And how soon will death come!

      Of what value, then, will be the honors, pleasures and wealth of this world! Death places the rich and the poor, the bond and the free, on a oasis of equality. Of all it may be said that they brought nothing into this world, and it is certain they can carry nothing out. How irrational to love a world from all whose objects we are soon to be separated forever.


      1. How many are in love with the world! The young are enamored, of it, and the old feel its fascinating influences.

      2. Love of the world is at this day the besetting sin of many Christians. They love it not supremely but inordinately.

      3. Those who love the world supremely are destitute of love to God. They are disqualified for heaven. Their love of the world is a passport to perdition.


[From J. M. Pendleton, Short Sermons on Important Subjects, 1859. This book is from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Library, Wake Forest, NC via ILL through Boone County Public Library, Burlington, KY. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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