WHY BELIEVERS MUST BE “SEPARATE”
2 Cor. 6:14-18; Matt. 9:9-13
A. HUMOR: TIMING
1. Most things in life have an expiration date on them.
2. I remember the story about the boy who asked his father, "Dad, are bugs good to eat?" The dad replied, "That's disgusting. Don't talk about things like that over dinner."
3. After dinner the father asked, "Now, son, what did you want to ask me?" "Oh, nothing," the boy says. "There was a bug in your soup, but now it’s gone."
B. THESIS & TITLE
1. Some things need to be dealt with sooner than later for the Kingdom’s sake. Tonight I’d like to broach a sensitive area: who our friends are.
2. The Bible tells us to be careful who we have for our close friends because they influence our life and worldview.
3. Let’s look at a few passages the warn us against different types of people and also what our motivation should be in having lost friends.
4. The title of this message is “Why Believers Must Be ‘Separate.’”
I. WE’RE NOT TO BE FRIENDS WITH UNGODLY PEOPLE
PASSAGE 1: 2 COR. 6:14-18
A. PAIRING OPPOSITES IS NOT BENEFICIAL
1. 2 Cor. 6:14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.”
This is evidently a reference to Deut. 22:10 “Do not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together.”
2. Yoking two such different animals together would cause problems and the plowing wouldn’t work.
3. Why? Because they would have different natures, different sizes, and different strengths. Their work would be plagued with confusion and working against one another.
B. LIKELY OUTCOME: RESULTS IN DEFILEMENT
1. 2 Cor. 6:14B, “For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?” Question: Can something pure be contaminated by contact with something contaminated? Yes. Can something contaminated be made pure by contact with something pure? No.
2. MAJOR POINT: Righteousness will be defiled by ungodliness; but ungodliness will NEVER be made pure by association with righteousness. So the corollary is that Christians are more likely to be tainted than the ungodly be influenced to righteousness. We must beware.
3. Righteousness /purity don’t come by association, but by atonement. It’s not a slow improvement process.
C. WHAT COMMUNION CAN THERE BE BETWEEN CHRIST & SATAN?
1. 2 Cor. 6:14C, “Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people” [Lev. 26:12].
2. We remember the account where the Ark of the Presence of God was put in the idol Dagon’s Temple. Did God and the idols peacefully coexist? No! God’s presence repeatedly threw down the idol and finally broke it to pieces (1 Sam. 5:3-4).
3. Either you’re going to get sin out of your Temple, or the Presence of God is going to leave your Temple. Which do you want more? It happened to Israel (Ezek. 10:18; 11:23).
4. Those who are the children of God aren’t to join with fallen, unregenerate people. Though we can’t wholly avoid seeing, and hearing, and being with sinners, yet we should never choose them for our bosom-friends.
D. EXAMPLES OF BEING DEFILED AND REJECTED
1. Lot in Sodom & Gomorrah, Gen. 13:10-11. Lot chose the company of the wicked. What kind of effect did it have on him? He was “was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard” 2 Pet. 2:8. It corrupted him, little by little. The outcome was that his wife died because she chose sin, and he had incest with his 2 daughters and had children by them (Gen. 19:15-16).
2. Peter outside High Priest’s house. First he associated with the enemies of Christ (Jn. 18:18); then out of fear, he denied Christ (18:25), then he blasphemed (Mk. 14:70-71).
3. “He/she who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm” Prov. 13:20, NIV1983. Their wisdom or foolishness affect us.
E. PAUL’S CONCLUSION: Separation necessary to be received by God. 2 Cor. 6:17 Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you” [Isa. 52:11; Ezek. 20:34]. 18 And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” [2 Sam. 7:14; 7:8]. “Do not envy wicked men/women, do not desire their company” Prov. 24:1.
II. SEPARATION FROM BELIEVERS WHO ARE BACKSLIDDEN
A. THOSE LIVING IN SINFUL LIFESTYLES
1. TEXTS 9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people” 1 Cor. 5:9-11.
2. WHY? Because this scripture relates to the man caught in incest with his step mother. Paul said in verse 2, “Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this?”
3. We should be grieved when Christians choose to sin and not act like it doesn’t matter. The only way they will repent is if they realize they are sinning. If we act like sin is ok, no problem, then they won’t take it seriously also. We are to be epistles from God, known and read by all men.
B. PROHIBITION AGAINST CULT MEMBER ASSOCIATIONS
1. TEXTS “10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. 11 Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work” 2 John 10.
“6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us” 2 Thess. 3:6.
2. a. We don’t want to give assistance to those who are deceiving others or peddling false doctrine.
b. We also don’t want to give other lost people the impression that we are associated with cults. Then they may open the door to them.
c. Also, such deceivers love to discover weak or unknowledgeable Christians because they can more easily get control of them. So we must be careful to protect the weak by
warning them of the deceivers and by educating them about the potential errors.
C. LORD TOLD HOW TO CORRECT THOSE IN ERROR
1. 15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” Matt. 18:15-17.
2. Process: go personally; then take one or two more; then take it to the church as a whole. If they refuse, have nothing to do with them.
III. REASONS FOR ASSOCIATING WITH UNBELIEVERS
9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. 10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matt. 9:9-13.
1. The Lord was questioned about His associating with those in sin. His answer tells us how we must view our relationships with lost people.
2. First, the Lord Jesus was NOT associating with them because He derived any pleasure, entertainment, or close friendship from them. If we are hanging around lost people for friendship, or to date them, or to enjoy the things they have (cars, pools, food, etc.) it’s wrong.
3. The Lord Jesus stated that His purpose among them was to
be their Physician, their medical doctor – spiritually. He was there so they might be saved.
4. So the only correct motives for being around lost people is
for the sake of doing good, being an example, and showing the way of salvation.
5. So you and I have a ministry to unbelievers to be an example, to witness to them, and to be their spiritual physician.
A. ILLUSTRATION: TOO SACRED TO TOUCH
1. On a visit to the Beethoven museum in Bonn, a young American student became fascinated by the piano on which Beethoven had composed some of his greatest works.
2. She asked the museum guard if she could play a few bars on it; she accompanied the request with a lavish tip, and the guard agreed.
3. The girl went to the piano and tinkled out the opening of the Moonlight Sonata. As she was leaving she said to the guard, "I suppose all the great pianist who come here want to play on that piano."
4. The guard shook his head. "Padarewski [the famed Polish pianist] was here a few years ago and he said he wasn’t worthy to touch it." —Source unknown
5. There are some things which are too sacred to play with – one of those is the Presence of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in our lives. We must be careful to stay pure so that when God needs a vessel to use, He has a pure vessel!
B. THE CALL
1. Is there someone around you that needs to be saved? Let’s pray that God may give us the boldness and love to speak the Word of God/ salvation to them.
2. Are you here tonight and you know that you yourself need to be cleansed from past sin so that Christ can dwell in your heart as He would like?
3. Let’s pray!