Summary: God has called His people to be separate from unbelievers, and to separate from so-called believers who are living immoral and profane lives. Yet God has given us the ministry of being spiritual medical doctors to the lost and dying around us.
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.