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Summary: Often we enter into partnerships without thinking of the consequences for either us or those that we influence. Though we are not to withdraw from this world, we need to be careful when we entangle ourselves in the values of this age. Today we examine bei

Are you willing to appear as a fool in order to be used more effectively by the Lord?

Who is the main author of the book of your life?

So finally we get to question 3: Are you willing to be differentiated from the world in order to be used more effectively by the Lord?

The problem with the Corinthians was that they were connecting themselves to men who operated with the world’s values, were probably not believers, and were actually agents of Satan (2 Corinthians 11:13-15 ).

14 – 18

Interestingly, there is some thought that this section is actually quoting an early Christian or even Jewish sermon. Part of the quotation is from several Old Testament scriptures including Isaiah 52:11 , and Ezekiel 20:34 . The main point is that if you want to be reconciled to God, you need to be willing to let go of partnerships in the world that would pull you away from that relationship.

In verses 14 through 16 Paul gives us 5 opposites to show the differences and the dangers of partnering between the believer and a non-believer.

Partnership righteousness and lawlessness

The word: partnering means “a sharing in.” It is sometimes translated “fellowship” but it doesn’t mean that we should never have anything to do with non-Christians, it is a warning about becoming connected as partners.

Fellowship of light and darkness:

“Fellowship” here is the Greek koinonia. It suggests “intimacy” as much as “connection.” Jesus used the idea of light vs. darkness to denote the differences between someone who wants and seeks out a relationship with God and to have the evil in them purged:

John 3:19-21 "This, then, is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed. 21 But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God."

To connect with someone who has no desire to come to the light and see evil done away with is going to be like the opposite poles of a magnet, they will repel each other. It’s hard to connect to opposites. Good (through the goodness of Jesus) and evil (through the default human condition) will repel each other so why should they constantly be trying to connect together?

Agreement Christ & Belial

The word “agreement” means just that—to be in agreement. We get the English word “symphony” from this Greek word. Belial was a word used by the Jews in the 1st Century to mean “The Devil” and comes from a word that means “lawlessness”. Our human default position is ownership by Satan. Satan will do anything God allows to keep us from believing in Jesus. His doctrine is diametrically opposed to that of Jesus. The gospel says “you are evil and need a Savior and I am it.” Satan says “you are good and need to do nothing other than look out for number one.” In reality that is a lie. But you can see the fundamental difference. The two are mutually exclusive.

Believer and unbeliever have in common

The word “in common” basically means a dividing, a cleaving asunder. When we come to faith in Jesus we part ways with the flesh (though it still influences us). We are from a different country with a different King.

Agreement God’s sanctuary with idols

The word “agreement” here is the Greek word “deposition” but basically is a “statement of agreement”. The Corinthians had continuing problems with the idol temples, and sacrifices made in those temples. For us, we can no longer agree with the sort of fleshly stuff done by those who still belong to this age. As we’ll see in a second, you now represent God’s abiding presence here on earth.

So the thoughts here are that as a Christian we no longer agree with, share in, have intimacy with, speak positively about, or adhere to the values that belong to this age.

Does this mean that we cloister ourselves inside the walls of the church and not even talk to “unbelievers” – certainly not.

1 Corinthians 5:9-11 I wrote to you in a letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 by no means referring to this world's immoral people, or to the greedy and swindlers, or to idolaters; otherwise you would have to leave the world.

Other versions use the word “yoke” in verse 14. The word means “to yoke up differently.” Deuteronomy 22:10-11 says: “Do not plow with an ox and a donkey together.” There are two problems with doing that. 1) The ox and donkey have different physical makeup and different behaviors. The ox is used to pulling heavy loads and plowing—the donkey used to carrying loads but not very obediently! 2) The ox was a clean animal and the donkey was not (Deut 14:1-8 ).

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