2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1
STAYING SEPARATE IN A CONNECTED WORLD
Intro: We are living in a time when connectedness is the rule of the day.
With our cell phones, our pagers, our Internet, we are always connected
with those around us. Being connected to those you love and to those who
need you is one thing, but there is another kind of connectedness that is not
Some of the common buzzwords you often hear today are “tolerance,
acceptance, openness, seeker friendly, inclusive.” The idea behind all
of these terms is togetherness, or being connected on a human level. There
is a concerted push in the world today to bring every one together under the
same umbrella, one world, one society, one church. This is the heartbeat
of the world and, sadly, it is becoming the heartbeat of the church. I would
just remind you this evening that God did not call His people to be
inclusive, but exclusive! The fact is, we are called to be vastly different
from the world around us!
This trait of separation was sorely lacking in Corinth. Of all the churches
mentioned in the New Testament, the church in Corinth was undoubtedly
the most worldly. If the church in Philippi was known for its compassion,
and the church in Ephesus was known for its commitment, the church in
Corinth was known for its carnality!
It was a worldly church dwelling in a wicked city. The city of Corinth was
so vile, that to be called a “Corinthian” meant that you were a person of low
moral standards. Sadly, the evil of that society had penetrated the church
and things had gotten so bad in Corinth, that there was little distinction
between them and the world around them.
Paul is letting them know that things do not have to be that way! These
verses tell us everything we need to know to remain separate in a
connected world. While the world and the church are melding together so
that there is little distinction between them anymore, God still expects His
people to be different. He expects us to stand apart from the world around
us and these verses tell us how to accomplish just that.
Now, there may be some here who would like to see Calvary Baptist
Church become more “modern”. Well, these verses not only tell us how to
be different, they show us why we should remain different as well. While all
the church world around us is changing to accommodate the world, we have
some very good reasons for staying in the old paths of righteousness and
worship. Tonight, as the Lord gives liberty, I want to preach on this thought
Staying Separate In A Connected World.
I. V. 14-16 WE ARE MARKED BY SEVERAL CONTRASTS
(Ill. Paul uses several verbs to make his argument: “fellowship,
communion, concord, part, and agreement” all of these speak of
“something held in common, or something shared.” His basic
argument here is that Jesus and His followers have nothing in common
with the world around them. He points this truth out by revealing 3 areas
in our lives where there is to be contrast.)
A. There Is To Be A Contrast In Our Walk - The word
“righteousness” has the idea of “purity of life, or of that which is
pleasing to God.” The idea here is that God children are to be
different from this world in the way they conduct their lives, Phil.
1:27. We are not to put on the world, but we are to put on Jesus in
front of the world, Rom. 13:14!
B. There Is To Be A Contrast In Our Wisdom - Light and dark can
have no fellowship. Even the tiniest bit of light has the power to
dispel the most oppressive darkness! What Paul is talking about
here is this: A life governed by the word of God has no shared
ground with a life governed by the flesh, the world and the
devil! We are to be different because we are to live our lives
according tot he Word of God. We have a different standard of living
than does the world, 1 John 1:7, John 14:21-23. (Ill. We have the
light, let us walk in the light! But, beware of the words of men who
would add to and subtract from the world of God! Avoid legalism,
avoid modernism, but walk in the pure, living Word of God, Psa.
C. There Is To Be A Contrast In Our Worship - Paul reminds us that
we are God’s possession. Just as there is no common ground
between Jesus and the Devil (Belial), and between one who
confesses Christ and one who denies Him, the idols of the flesh and
the world have no business in the temple of God. My friends, let us
be reminded this evening that this church is not the temple of God!
You, who are saved are His temple, 1 Cor. 6:19-20. The things of
this world do not belong in your life, nor do they have a place in your
worship of the Lord! Just as our physical life is to be clean, so too
is our spiritual life!
(Ill. This speaks volume to the modern church! Our duty is not to
make the house of God and our worship here “seeker friendly”.
Our duty is to consecrate ourselves to the will of God and to worship
Him in Spirit and in truth! We have no business changing our music,
our preaching, or lowering our standards to attract the world to the
house of God. But, we are to place the totality of our beings on His
altar, Rom. 12:1-2 and leave the growing business to Him! Instead
of trying to be “seeker friendly”, the church should strive to be
“Spirit friendly!” We need to create an atmosphere in which the
Spirit of God can work, move and bless. As we do, He will see to it
that those He desires to be here will get here be saved and will grow
(Ill. The word “concord” in verse 15 equals “harmony”. It refers to
musicians who play the same piece of music the same way at the
same time. We get our modern word “symphony” from this word.
Just as there is disharmony when a pianist play Amazing Grace at
3/4 time and the organist plays it at 4/4 time at the same time, so
there is disharmony between Jesus and everything evil.)
(Note: The whole point here is this: God’s people are to be different
from the world around them because they possess a new nature, 2
Cor. 5:17; 2 Pet. 1:3-4! A pig rolls in the mud because it is a pig.
If you could change its nature to that of a sheep, it would shun the
mud and head straight for the green grass. If you are saved tonight,
you have a new nature. It is not like the old nature, but it is different
and it is hungry for the Lord and His will!)
II. V. 14, 17 WE ARE MANAGED BY SPECIFIC COMMANDS
A. V. 14 We Are Commanded To Be Segregated - This command
pertains to people. It comes from the Old Testament, Deut. 22:10.
The ox and the ass were two vastly different animals. The ox was
clean, the ass was not. They possessed two vastly different
natures. To yoke them together was to invite trouble! The “unequal
yoke” is a military term. It means “stay within you own ranks.”
This phrase us usually applied to marriage, and it is wrong to marry
outside your faith if you are saved. But, there is more to it than that!
It has the idea of not walking with the world. The believer needs to
closely monitor all of his relationships, because walking with the
world often results in walking like the world, 1 Cor. 15:33!
B. V. 17 We Are Commanded To Be Separated - This command
pertains to practices. Just as we are to refuse to walk with the
world, we are also to refuse to walk like the world! Let the world do
its own thing, we who are saved are to be different! We are a
“called out people” and we are to be different! (Ill. The word for
“church”) (Ill. Many have read the words of Paul in 1 Cor. 9:19-23
and concluded that Paul altered his lifestyle and message to
accommodate different crowds of people. What Paul did was to
apply the Gospel in different ways to speak to different groups. In
His personal life, he lived in such a way that he did not offend
anyone, whether they were Jews, Gentiles or Christians. In other
words, he lived a life of self-sacrifice and self-control. He didn’t
change to suit the crowd, he just lived to please Jesus!)
III. V. 17-18 WE ARE MOVED BY SATISFYING CONSOLATIONS
A. V. 17 There Is The Consolation Of His Favor - Those who walk the
separated life have God’s promise that He will “receive” them. The
word “receive” means “to treat with favor”. God is saying, “If you
will be separate from this world for my glory, then you will
enjoy my favor. My smile will be upon your life!” I don’t know
about you, but I want God’s favor! I want His smile upon my life,
don’t you? A clean, separated life is how you get that smile on you!
B. V. 18 There Is The Consolation Of His Fatherhood - Now all the
redeemed are the “children of God” and He is a Father to the all.
However, just because all enjoy the relationship, there are many
who do not enjoy the fellowship! Often, there is a rift between the
Lord and some of His children because of what they have in their
hearts and lives. When those things are taken care of and that child
turns back to God in holiness and separation, that child will enjoy the
sweet fellowship of the Lord once again! (Ill. Can you remember
times when there was a breech in fellowship with a parent? Wasn’t
it sweet when it was restored?)
IV. V. 7:1 WE ARE MOTIVATED TO STEADFAST CONVICTIONS
(Ill. Paul tells us that it is the Promises and the Person of God that
should motivate each of us to seek a closer, more consecrated and
separated walk with the Lord.)
A. Motivated To A Clean Walk - We are called upon to “cleanse
ourselves of all filthiness of the flesh and spirit.” Well, the filthiness
of the flesh would refer to those external acts of wickedness and
filthiness of the spirit would refer to those internal attitudes of the
heart that lead to external sin. We could preach all night about the
sins of the flesh, Gal. 5:19-21. However, that which we do on the
outside is merely a symptom of a problem on the inside! Many
people, maybe many of you, have confessed the same sins over and
over and still go right out and so the same things again. Why?
Because you haven’t gotten down to the root of the problem! The
real problem is not with the body, but with the heart! You see, the
body might be chaste and bridled, while the heart is a hot bed of sin
and evil! The body is an inanimate object until it is animated by the
will. And, friend, whatever is in the heart, will be carried out by the
body, Matt. 15:18-19!
Therefore, we must actively cleanse ourselves both inwardly and
outwardly, so that the favor of the Lord can rest upon us and upon
our church! You see, it is not enough for you to ask for cleansing,
the words “let us” are a call for you to become actively involved in
B. Motivated To A Consecrated Walk - The phrase “perfecting
holiness” has the idea of “completing or getting the whole mind
of Christ into the soul.” It is about us ceasing to be driven about
by the flesh, the world and the devil, and about is beginning to be
moved through life by a desire to please the Lord. In other words,
this idea of “perfecting holiness” is the idea of Christ in you and
living in you to enable you to live a life that honors and glorifies the
Lord, Ill. Col. 1:27; Gal. 2:20! But, how is this possible?
1. By resisting and avoiding sin in all its forms - 1 Cor. 10:13!
2. By setting the “fear of God” before our eyes. That is, by refusing
to engage in any thought or activity that would bring God’s
displeasure upon us! (Ill. Where is the fear of God in these
Conc: Are we really expected to remain separate in this connected world?
Yes we are! But, we are to be separated and not isolated! Remember
Jesus? He lived in this world and He lived a perfectly holy life, Heb. 7:26.
But, at the same time, He was “a friend of publicans and sinners.”, Luke
7:34. And, like a skilled physician, we are to practice contact without
contamination in this world. We have to be here and we have to interact
with the world around us. We are to try to reach them. But, even while we
live here in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, we are to shine
as lights in the world, Phil. 2:15!
Let us never be ashamed of the fact that Calvary Baptist Church is out
of step with this world! Let us never ashamed of what we are, what we
believe and of the convictions we hold sacred. Instead, let us strive to
insure that it remains that way until Jesus comes! If we begin to lower the
standard today, we will soon no different than the myriads of churches all
around that have forfeited the presence and the power of God so they might
gain the popularity and praise of men! You see, what you allow in
moderation today, you will do in excess tomorrow! Maybe you would
like to come and pray for your church this evening. Pray that we will stay in
the old paths of consecration and conviction for the glory of God.
Maybe you need to come and talk to the Lord about your personal walk
today. If there are areas of weakness and needs that have been touched
on this evening, then you come before Him and He will meet with you. He
has promised that He will draw near those who draw near to Him!