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Summary: Separation. What is it? What does it mean? How do I become separated? Separated from what? Unto what? And why? Link inc. to formatted text, audio, PowerPoint.

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A Separate Message

2 Corinthians 6:11-18

http://gbcdecatur.org/sermons/SeparateMessage.html

Separation. What is it? What does it mean? How do I become separated? Separated from what? Unto what? And why?

These are some heavy questions to ponder, and this passage does not answer all these questions directly, but I believe we'll find some principles that we can apply that will help each of us answer these questions for ourselves.

Survey: Answer the above questions, with some specific things God has led you to separate from in the past. A practical discussion here will benefit everyone. [examples range from the obvious such as alcohol or tobacco to the 'secret' things like porn or bitterness -- other examples to bring up for discussion: TV, movies, worldly music, cursing, gambling, sex outside of marriage, flirting, gluttony, laziness, dancing, envy, fighting, selfishness, materialism, 'workaholism,' pride of life, disobedience, addictions to anything like technology or worldly pleasures, Satanism and the occult [Ouija boards, séances, consulting of spirits, horoscopes, astrology, Goth, and TV programs which try to normalize such]

Obviously, some of these are forbidden in Scripture and some are areas of personal liberty/conviction, but we can apply Bible principles to anything and in good conscience make peace with God.

Sin that used to slink down the dark alley now struts down main street. Christians are less separated from the world than ever. In part because we are looking at the world instead of looking at God.

ill.--we look at the world and keep a certain distance from it, when we should look to God and keep a certain proximity to Him. As the world worsens, we find ourselves right where the world was a few years ago...and so we are worldly!

Paul just seems to cry out here. Oh, how ye yearned for those converts of his in Corinth. They are little baby Christians, babes in Christ, carnal Christians, but his heart went out to them. It seems his heart almost breaks in this chapter and the next one.

O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged.

Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.

Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged [2Cor. 6:11-13].

Paul is opening up his great heart of love, and he stirs up the hearts of those who love him. The interesting thing is that he apparently also stirred up the hearts of those who hated God and His Word and who tried to work injury upon those who loved Him and loved the Scripture. We find that was true in the early history of the church, and it is true today. If you stand for God, you will find that it will really cost you something.

We come now to an important passage of Scripture. It is a section which has been often abused and misinterpreted. Some folk try to make it hard as nails, unyielding and unloving. Yet what Paul is saying here is coming from the tender heart of a man whose heart was almost breaking because of his great concern for the Corinthian believers.

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? [2Cor. 6:14].

Paul here makes an appeal to the Corinthian believers to make a clean break with the old crowd of idolatry. They are to make a break from the sins of the flesh. They are to be separated from the worldliness that is in the world. Today we use the term "separated believers." There are many Christians who consider themselves to be "separated believers" who are actually as worldly as can be.

Back in the Old Testament under the Mosaic Law God gave a law to His people who were largely engaged in agriculture. He said that they were not to yoke together an ox and an ass. That would be yoking together unequal animals.

One was a clean animal and the other was an unclean animal. Here God is speaking to believers, and He says that the believer should not be yoked together with an unbeliever. How are people yoked together? Well, they are yoked together in any form of real union such as a business enterprise, a partnership, a marriage, a long-term enterprise.

Certainly marriage is the yoking together of two people. An unbeliever and a believer should not marry. A clean animal and an unclean animal should not be yoked together to plow. A child of God and a child of the Devil cannot be yoked together and pull together in their life goals.

Another example of such a relationship is identification with an institution. If a man is a professor in a seminary and he is conservative and holds the great truths of the Bible, but the seminary has gone liberal, such a man should get out of that seminary, because he is drawing a salary there and he is identified with their work and their organization. He is associated with it in a very tangible, real way. He is unequally yoked with unbelievers.

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