Summary: Paul taught that the corrupt ways of the world was totally incongruent with the life that is in Christ. The Apostle Paul asks some searching questions to point out the absurdity of Christians trying to straddle the spiritual fence in their daily life.



Worldly Associations

Text: 2 Cor. 6:14, 17-18

Intro: Though Second Corinthians 6:14 & 15 “…are often applied to various sorts of alliances (e.g., mixed marriages, improper business associations), Paul’s primary association was probably ecclesiastical." Though the principles found in these verses can be applied to marriage and business, those were not the topics under consideration. The context of these verses was the tendency of the Corinthian church to listen to and accept the teachings of false teachers, and those masquerading as apostles of Christ. These false teachers and apostles continually vied for the affections and allegiance of the Corinthian saints, criticizing and lying about Paul in the process. Paul alludes to this problem in First Corinthians 4:15, where he said, “For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.”

In Second Corinthians 6:3-13, Paul defends his ministry, by showing that he had sacrificed his personal comforts in order to minister to the Corinthians, something conspicuously missing from the ministry of the false teachers and false apostles. The false teachers and apostles were merely after a following, and undue respect and position.

In Second Corinthians 6:14-18, Paul urges the saints in Corinth to be discriminating concerning the teachers they heard, for some of these people were not real followers of Christ. However, Paul also wanted to drive home the point that they should not try to live with one foot in the world, and one foot in the teachings of Christ. What they truly believed would affect how they behaved. They could not live for Christ while spiritually straddling the fence.

Theme: Notice with me…


A. “How can there be Any Partnership with the World?”

2 Cor. 6:14b-c “…what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”

NOTE: [1] The word “fellowship” means, “…partnership, participation. What is there in common; or how can the one partake with the other?”

[2] The word “unrighteousness” refers to “lawlessness.”

[3] The word “communion” is interesting, in that it “…involves ‘close relationship’ (Arndt), as in marriage or as in spiritual relationship with God (cf. II Cor. 13:14; I Cor. 1:9; I Jn 1:3, 6).”

[4] Paul is simply saying that the child of God cannot be close to God while at the same time living according to the ways of the world. The late Adrian Rogers once asked, “Do you want to live a supernatural life of victory? The Victory Express runs on two tracks: trust and obey.” Unfortunately, many Christians are sleeping with the enemy.

John Suk writes, “Soldiers of the Symbionese Liberation Army kidnapped newspaper heiress Patty Hearst from her Berkeley, California, apartment on February 4, 1974. In return for her release, Patty’s kidnappers demanded that her father, Randolph Hearst, give millions of dollars to the poor. On April 15, 1974, the FBI identified Patty in a videotape of a bank holdup in San Francisco. On September 18 of that year, Patty was captured. She served nearly three years in prison for her crime.

“Patty Hearst suffered from the Stockholm syndrome. This condition affects some hostages who are so traumatized by their captivity that they identify with and become sympathetic to their captors. The syndrome gets its name from a 1973 bank robbery in Stockholm, in which one of the hostages fell in love with her captor. People who fall prey to the Stockholm syndrome in essence sleep with the enemy.

“Many Christians suffer from a spiritual kind of Stockholm syndrome. We sleep with our enemy—the world. Worldliness is more than a fixation with card playing, dancing, or movie going. True worldliness is being caught in a sticky web of commitments to self.”

B. “How can there be Any Peace with the World?”

2 Cor. 6:15 “And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?”

NOTE: [1] Wiersbe says: “The word concord gives us our English word ‘symphony,’ and it speaks of beautiful music that comes when the players are reading the same score and obeying the same leader.” There can be no peace and harmony in the life of a backslidden Christian. The things of God will not resonate with the philosophies, mindset, and actions of the world.

[2] The word “Belial” is “…a synonym for Satan.”

[3] Paul further stresses the lack of harmony between the children of God and the children of the world with the use of the word “part.” This word “denotes…‘a part’ or ‘portion.’” The Greek word used here “…suggests a deep sharing of things in common (cf. its use in Lk 10:42; Acts 8:21; Col 1:12).”

C. “How can there be Any Participation with the World?”

2 Cor. 6:16 “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

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