Do not love the world or the things of the world. If
anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in
him. (1 John 2:15)
What is love?
What is the world?
What does it mean to love the world? Do you love the
This is an important question, as the consequences are
Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity
with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the
world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4)
Are you an enemy of God?
Or are you His friend?
How do you know?
The Master told His twelve disciples, “You are
My friends if you do what I command you.” But
what was His command? This is My commandment, that you
love one another just as I have loved you. (John 15:12)
So what is love? Is love a feeling?
How did He love His disciples?
The answer to this question settles the matter of whether
you are a friend or an enemy of God. Do you want to know?
Friends of God
The Greek word translated love in the verses above
means the direction of the will towards whomever or whatever
one finds his joy in, which
is inescapably revealed in how one spends his time, money,
The gospels show us exactly how Yahshua spent His time and energy. He did
not take one thought for Himself. His attention was always
on His disciples. He was always serving them, teaching
them, encouraging them, and correcting them. It was His
full-time occupation. And then He died for them.
Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus
knowing that His hour had come that He would depart
out of this world to the Father, having loved His own
who were in the world, He loved them to the end. (John
That is how He loved them. And that is how He commanded
them to love one another. They
were to lay down their lives for one another daily. It
was to be their full-time occupation. It was no accident
or mistake that the church began as a community, as the
book of Acts records:
Now all who believed were together, and
had all things in common, and sold their possessions
and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had
need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple,
and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their
food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising
God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord
added to the church daily those who were being saved.
Now the multitude of those who believed
were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone
say that any of the things he possessed was his own,
but they had all things in common. And with great power
the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the
Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor
was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who
were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought
the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid
them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed
to each as anyone had need. (Acts 4:32-35)
Living together in community was the only way they
could practically obey their Master’s commandments,
to give up everything to follow Him, and
to love one another as He had loved them, and
to seek first His kingdom without worrying about what
they would eat or what they would wear.
How can anyone not worry about where his food and clothing
will come from? Only if his brothers and sisters are
taking care of his needs. In the true Body of Messiah
all are continually serving one another according to
each one’s particular grace and gifting, doing
the works prepared for them to walk in. That
is how each one practically obeys the command to “seek
first His kingdom and His righteousness,” with
the result that each one has everything he needs. Someone
has the grace and gifting to take care of the clothing
needs for the community, while someone else makes sure
there is healthy food on the table, while others work
to provide an income, to maintain their dwellings, to
teach the children, to shepherd the flock, etc. Every
member of the Body labors on behalf of all, and none
need be anxious for their own life.
That is how disciples love one another. They direct
their will toward the One they love, who lives in their
brothers and sisters. Only by loving and serving them
can they practically love and serve Him. He
lives where they live, and He honors those who serve
Him where He lives — in
the community of the redeemed. They are His friends,
and He reveals Himself to them because they obey His
Enemies of God
So who are His enemies? They are those who claim to
be His friends, but do not obey His commandments. They
claim to love Him, and even to love one another, but
the lion’s share of their time and energy is consumed
in making a comfortable life for themselves in this world.
Remember, what the Bible calls “love” is
not a feeling. It is the direction of your will towards
the object of your love. Your love is measured by what
captures your attention, by what you take delight in,
and by where you spend your time, money, and energy.
That is the fact of the matter, regardless of how you
Whom or what do you love? What is the direction of
Do not love the world or the things of the
world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father
is not in him. (1 John 2:15)
What is the world? What are the things of the world?
For all that is in the world — the
lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride
of life — is not of the Father but is of the
world. And the world is passing away, and the lust
of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
(1 John 2:16-17)
There are the obvious things — television, movies,
sports, luxuries, lust, pursuit of wealth and power.
But these are merely the outward manifestations of living
for one’s self. That is the root of the problem.
You must hate your life in this world. Until
you reach that point, you remain a friend of the world
and an enemy of God.
If anyone comes to Me and does not hate
his father and mother, wife and children, brothers
and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot
be My disciple. (Luke 14:26)
Love versus Hate
Just as “love” in the Gospels is not merely
a feeling of good will or affection towards someone or
something, neither is “hate” a feeling of
animosity or malice. When the Master called His disciples
to follow Him, He was demanding nothing less than a 180° turn
in the direction of their will. That is what it means
to repent, to hate one’s life in this world, and
to begin serving Him where He is.
Going on from there, He saw two other brothers,
James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in
the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets.
He called them, and immediately they left the boat
and their father, and followed Him. (Matthew 4:21-22)
Until that day all their time and energy had gone into
making a living with their father, and suddenly the direction
of their will changed and all their time and energy went
into serving their new Master. Their father might well
have taken their newfound love for this Messiah as hatred
towards himself, but
they could not serve two masters. They
had to forsake the gods of making their own living and
pleasing their parents in order to follow Messiah.
It was the same with all of the disciples, as Peter
declared, “See, we have left all and followed You!” The
Master’s reply to Peter reveals the result of this
redirection of the will, the result of hating one’s
life in this world in order to love and obey Him:
So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly,
I say to you, there is no one who has left house or
brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or
children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s,
who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time — houses
and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and
lands, with persecutions — and in the age to
come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30)
The result is the common life described in Acts 2 and
4 (quoted previously), the community of those who were
redeemed from their lonely, futile existence in the world,
and given the full-time occupation of loving one another
just as He loved them. In place of whatever they left
behind they would receive a hundredfold new brothers
and sisters, fathers and mothers, children, houses and
farms — along with persecution from those who love
this world and hate the true message of the gospel and
the abundant life it produces.
Friend or Foe?
What is the direction of your will? What consumes your
time and energy? Is it love for the world and the things
of the world? Or is it love for the people and the things
We know that we have passed from death to
life, because we love the brethren. He who does not
love his brother abides in death. ... By this we know
love, because He laid down His life for us. And we
also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees
his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him,
how does the love of God abide in him? My little children,
let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and
in truth. (1 John 3:14-18)
It does not say, “We know that we have passed
from death to life because we asked Jesus into our heart.” How
would you know whether He accepted the invitation? The
validity of our belief is tested by what we do — by
the direction of our will, not by what we think or feel.
It is according to whether we do the principal thing
that the Master said would distinguish us as His disciples:
A new commandment I give to you, that you
love one another: just as I have loved you, you also
are to love one another. By this all people will know
that you are my disciples, if you have love for one
another. (John 13:34-35)
How can you love your brothers just as Yahshua loved
His disciples, laying down your life for them, if you
only see them once or twice a week? Living your independent
life insulates you from actually seeing your brother
in need (materially or otherwise) so that you can comfortably
withhold your life and livelihood from him and spend
it on yourself. But the true gospel produces a life of
true community in which it is possible to obey the commandments,
the foremost of which is to love one another — to
lay down your life for your brothers each and every day.
It takes a community.
Apart from the common life of true believers dwelling
together in unity, demonstrating
that the love of the Father is in them, all
that remains is the love of the world, and the things
of the world — the life of those who are...
...separated from Christ, excluded from
the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants
of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
So have you arrived at a conclusion? Are you a friend or
an enemy of God? Are you with Him or against Him, gathering
or scattering? What
is the direction of your will?
We would like you to gather with us in one of the places
where He has caused His name to dwell, where brothers
are living together in unity. Perhaps you didn’t
even know there was such a place. All our communities
worldwide are listed here.
You are always welcome!
more on the name Yahshua, see What’s
in a Name
15:12-13; 1 John 3:16-17; Luke 9:23; Acts 2:46;
Hebrews 3:13; 12:15
10:29-30; Luke 14:33
12:1-13; Ephesians 4:16; 2 Corinthians 5:15
John 4:20; Colossians 1:24
10:34-39; Luke 12:51-53
the Master Himself had to make this choice
to risk offending His earthly mother in order
to do the will of His heavenly Father (Mark
13:17; Matthew 7:24; John 14:15,21,23,24; Rev
133; John 17:20-23
5:5; 1 John 3:17