1 John 2:15 – “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.“
If you have been following along our blog, I have been reading through quite a few, and sometimes commenting on, the writings of Puritan Thomas Manton, and fairly recently, I went through a sermon that I thought had some very interesting, beneficial and challenging remarks about what it means to love the world. This is sermon 9 of a set of sermons on Mark 10:17-27, where the rich young ruler asks Christ what he must do to inherit eternal life.
Here is a link to the entire set of sermons on the topic:
And here is a link to this individual sermon 9 on love of the world:
The below is part 1 of just some of the main snippets from the sermon. I hope you will take the time to go through the entire thing as it has many more rich explanations and many scriptural proofs.
One note: The word “lust” has come to pertain mostly to impure sexual desire, but most often with the Puritans it basically means “desire” or “improper desire,” and so it helps me to just substitute those for “lust” when I’m reading.
From Thomas Manton:
Mark 10:22 – “And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved, for he had great possessions.“
We have hitherto seen the young man at his best: now we shall find him discovered and laid open in his own colours. It was well that he came to Christ with such reverence and seriousness about such a weighty question, as, What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? It was well if he could say truly, All these have I kept from my youth: but now here is the event and issue of this interlocutory discourse between him and Christ, when Christ bid him sell all, and take up his cross, and follow him; then he went away sad, etc.
1. How he was affected with Christ’s advice, he was sad at the saying, and went away grieved.
2. The reason of his sorrow, or why he was thus affected, for he had great possessions.
And observe, that the bare having is rendered as the reason, he had great possessions, and therefore he went away sad: it is hard to have them without lustful affections to them.
Doctrine 1: That a man may go far, and be zealous and forward at first, and yet cool and fall away at last.
Witness this young man, who comes to Christ to learn of him the way of life, and that in such an humble and reverent manner, and makes profession that he had kept the commandments from his youth; and yet when Christ tells him what he must do more, he was troubled, and falls off.
Reasons of this are,
(1.) They take up religion upon foreign and extrinsic reasons, and when those reasons fail, their religion saileth also: as puppets moved by the wires to which they are fastened; so they are moved by credit and esteem, and countenance in the world: they court religion while it hath a portion for them.
Therefore the difference between false and sincere professors is not altogether taken from their zeal and outward diligence; they may be exceeding zealous and forward upon the impulsion of false principles, who have a base heart lurking under it; because the motions of lusts disguised with religion are rapid and earnest, and by-ends have a powerful influence. Though lust be served, yet because it is in the way of religion, men’s affections are much aloft, and they may seem to have great fits and zealous pangs in the service of God, and yet all this comes to nothing.
(2.) Because they many times rest in externals without internal grace. This young man for outward conformity went very far: there is nothing for external duties that a child of God doth, but a hypocrite may do also; he may pray, preach, confer, hear the word, though not in a holy and gracious manner.
(3.) Because that internal affection which they seem to have to the ways of God, is not rooted and fixed, only a slight tincture, that may easily be worn off;
(4.) Their corrupt lusts were only restrained, not mollified and weakened, and so it is but like a sore that is skinned over, and festers inwardly, and will at length break out again.
Many an unsound professor seems to cast the world, and their old fashions behind their back, yet their hearts are not wholly weaned from them, nor are they wholly cast out; some prevalent lust remains that will make them turn back to their old vomit again:
USE. It doth press unto two things; to search for a sound work, and to watch against declinings.
(1.) To search for a true sound work.
Whilst any one sin remains unbroken, all that we do in conformity to God will be lost:
And what is prized besides Christ, will be soon prized above Christ; therefore unless the sweetness of his grace makes all the baits of the flesh unsavoury to us, we cannot be sound.
(2.) To watch against declinings; for we lose ground every day, as a thing running down the hill falls lower and lower, if we do not keep up a constant relish and savour of good things. When you lose your first love, you will leave your first works
Stay tuned for part 2, if the Lord wills!
May God grant us His graces and true zeal, full of His graces, in the heart, for Him!