Google+ 11/14/12 Don't Let Caesar Rule!

1 John 2:15-17

 

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world,

You do not have the love of the Father in you. 

For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure,

A craving for everything we see,

And pride in our achievements and possessions.

These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 

And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave.

But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. 

 

I must confess that the concept of God's love for me is always overwhelming.  John's warning to us today deals with what we do with God's love, not what God's love is.  In other devotions, we have fully digested the idea of Agape love and we will not restate it here, except to say that God's love for us is unconditional.  Our inability to comprehend the scope of God's love leads us to projecting what God might want into worldly things where God simply does not live.  John is warning us about that in this wonderful Scripture.  So you know the context of our Scripture today, John was speaking at the end of the first century A.D.  He was probably located in Ephesus, as history records this as his home toward the end of his life.  While all of John's letters and his gospel reflect his central theme, "that ye may know that ye have eternal life" (5:13), John is writing for a different purpose in our Scripture today.  Growing among the people of Ephesus, was a deviant form of Christianity called gnosticism.  While there were many variations of this movement, gnosticism professed knowledge as a means of salvation (rather than the cross) and matter as evil, hence their conclusion that Jesus could never have come to this world as flesh and blood.  John becomes intent on making sure the people in Ephesus don't fall into this religious trap.  Let's talk about what John is NOT saying so that no one misunderstands.  John is not saying that you can't have things or make money.  It doesn't work very well when I go into the grocery store and explain to the cashier that I am in gospel ministry, so therefore my groceries should be free!  They still want me to use money to pay for what I have in my cart.  The Bible instructs us to be "in the world, not of the world."  Jesus also told us to "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's."  John is saying not to love these things, as they are temporal and are passing away as he speaks.  Please don't fall into the world's traps when they twist Scripture to prove their worldly points.  God set man apart.  God put man in charge.  God loved man more than anything else.  Remember the tree that Adam and Eve ate from, was IN the Garden of Eden.  There was no fence or barrier.  There were no flashing lights, signs, or the robot from Lost in Space waving his arms telling Adam and Eve to stay away from this danger.  There were only God's kind words saying that Adam and Eve could go anywhere and do anything in the Garden of Eden, except touch or eat from this one tree.  John tells us to stay away from loving anything worldly.  As you look around today, realize that God has given you a marvelous place to be today, which is in fellowship with Him.  Give Caesar what is Caesar's and walk away.  Give the rest to God, joyfully and completely.  Don't linger at that one tree today.  You won't find any warning signs.  You will just hear the same voice Eve heard, which we now know was a serpent. If we listen, we will be deceived and encouraged to love the world.  God is not in this false message.   Listen to John's warning and do what pleases God so you can live forever.  After all, God loves you so much!