Summary: We have been called to impact the world for Christ and not to become absorbed by the world. We are to live differently - to stand out as salt and light. Without separated lives we cannot fulfill this mandate.
Nelson Thomas Mumbai wrote in an article entitled The Truth of Separation: Meaning and Importance, "In Kerala South India, brethren believers are called the ‘separated people’. More than a century ago when our forefathers came out of the ecclesiastical system to worship the Lord according to the New Testament pattern, not only they separated themselves from the traditional churches, but also they adopted a distinct life style- even in their dress and business. They stopped growing ‘pan’ plants saying if we don’t want to use it we should not grow it for others as well. Many of them had to face much hardship from their dear ones, even to the extent of leaving their home, just because they chose to stand for the word of God. That much zeal they had in practicing separation in their spiritual life. So the people around them called them ‘separated ones’. But sad to notice that today, it seems the reverse is taking place. Many of the present generation, does not know the importance of separation and the Biblical basis of it. Knowingly or unknowingly many follow the trend. Some even began to separate themselves from the NT truths and pattern our forefathers dearly held! Not only in India, we see, all over the world there is a deliberation to forsake the distinctive teachings and practices that separate born again Christians from the nominal ones. They consider such a step towards change and progress. So, it is high time we consider our identity, our standard and stay true to the word of God."
What does Christian separation mean? Realize that your effectiveness as a Christian hangs on your concept of what separation means. We have been called to impact the world for Christ and not to become absorbed by the world. We are to live differently - to stand out as salt and light.
I. Called to be Salt and Light
A. Matthew 5:11a "You are the salt of the earth..."
B. Christ said that Christians are the salt of the earth and to have an influence in the lives of those we come in contact and on the world around us.
C. In biblical times, salt was highly prized and often used as a medium of exchange. In the Old Testament book of Ezra salt was mentioned in the context of the pay of the Persian king's servants. Roman soldiers were paid an allowance to buy salt, the origin of our salary. A man worth his salt is efficient or capable.
D. Salt adds flavor to that which is bland and makes food palatable.
E. Colossians 4:6 "Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one."
F. Salt preserves food from decay and destruction. The ancient Greeks said that salt could put a new soul into dead things. Without salt a thing putrefied and went bad. As believers we too are to seek to preserve the faith from corruption and error.
G. Jude 3-4 "Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. for certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ."
H. In America our faith is being challenged daily.
1. Between 1980 and 2012 the number of Americans claiming to be "Christian" dropped from 86% to 76%.
2. The American Religious Identification Survey conducted by the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society & Culture at Trinity College was one of the most comprehensive studies on religion in America that has ever been done. According to that study, 15 percent of all Americans say that they have “no religion." 25 percent of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 say that they have no religion.
3. The Barna Group asked participants in the survey if they agreed with the following six statements….
1) Believing that absolute moral truth exists.
2) Believing that the Bible is completely accurate in all of the principles it teaches.
3) Believing that Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic.
4) Believing that a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or by doing good works.
5) Believing that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth.
6) Believing that God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today.
Less than 1 percent of the participants agreed with all of those statements