In the Image of Christ
Colossians 3:8-11

Holy and Separate, or Worldly?

    Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.  (2 Cor. 6:14-18)

          This month’s passage addresses the matter of unequal yokes, being joined together with unbelievers. This passage is applicable to the believer’s life in many different areas. A true Christian should not knowingly marry (or date) someone who is not saved; a true believer should not go into a business partnership with an unbeliever, nor have close fellowship with someone who doesn’t believe. But this passage goes far deeper than this. It pertains to our relationships with family and friends, our co-workers, and also, very importantly how the church as a whole should relate to those who are of the world.
        In this outwardly religious community, I have seen a disturbing trend of the church interacting in an unholy way with unbelievers. For example, recently I received a letter saying that a local youth group was going to be taking a trip out west, and that they needed to raise funds so the young people could go. The letter sought donations from the company of which I am part owner, without knowing whether I am a believer or not. It went on to explain that they would also be having a car wash to raise money for the trip.
        The idea of the church soliciting money from unbelievers is both outrageous and unholy. What an insult to God, to go to the world soliciting funds to sponsor something that (if it is really what it professes to be) is supposed to be separated to the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus died and shed His blood for those that would believe in Him. He has “called out”  from among the world those that are a part of the Church. That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish (Eph 5:27).
        I wonder how much thought and prayer was put beforehand into the above activity, asking Jesus to supply the needs. The Bible says the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. James 4 says that we have not because we ask not, but the thought is asking Him in prayer, not asking businessmen and the unregenerate to supply our needs. We should go to the One who owns the cattle on a thousand hills. God is able, and if something is put to prayer and is His will, He will provide. If He denies our request, it should be taken that this is not His will, or might not be His timing, and true believers can rejoice in that. I happened to drive by the place of the car wash on the scheduled day. What I saw shamed and angered me. Those claiming to be Christians allowed a young lady who was very immodestly dressed to stand by the road, attracting people with herself and a sign, to come and get their vehicles washed. This is the type of thing that the world does, not believers! We are not to be joined together with unbelievers, nor should we act like them, and that certainly includes immodest dress and activity. By no means should the holy church ask those of the ungodly world for money for so called “church activities”.
         Yet another congregation holds an auction to help pay for their new building. They, too, go to area businessmen and ask for cash donations or items that they can auction and apply the earnings to the debt they have incurred. How is it that the Lord Jesus Christ hung on a cross suffering for our sins, and through His death He saves us out of the filthiness of this world and the wrath to come, and yet  when we need something the first thing we think about is running right back into the world, from which we were saved, to gain the things we want? This should not be.
        There is a local Christian organization that advertizes on the internet. The problem they have is they use a page that advertises a lot of gambling houses and casinos. So what do they do they slap a disclaimer on their site and say they don’t recommend you visit these places but they use it because it gives them the most free memory for their web page. Is this being separate? Is this what God intended for the church and other so called Christian organizations? God isn’t interested in disclaimers He wants holiness and separation of those that claim to be His!
        Another local meeting sent out surveys to the community to see what programs were wanted in the church. Think about it, addressing those about whose spiritual condition you know nothing, asking them what programs they would like to see in a church. The true Church is the body of Christ, designed by God “according to His will” (1 Cor. 12), not “tailor made” by worldlings. The apostles didn’t try to tailor the church to the world. God has already given us instructions, apostolic doctrine, about how the church should be. Those who are believers desire to follow that pattern, nothing added and nothing taken away. We are not to be unequally joined together.
         The above passage asks, what communion hath light with darkness? Light refers to those that are saved and darkness to those that are unsaved. Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?  We are supposed to preach the gospel to a lost and dying world, not solicit from them and see how much of our activities and buildings we can have funded by unbelievers! Has the Church forgotten who God is and what He is able to do, or are we able to do it better our own way? It is an insult to God for the “so called” church to behave thus, in direct violation of the prohibition of unequal yokes. The Church belongs to the Lord Jesus, He even died for it. We should only look to Him for our needs, as Matthew 6 clearly teaches, “your heavenly Father knows what things ye have need of.”
        Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. Just as Israel was “called out” from among the nations to be a people separated unto God, the Church to is “called out” from the world system. Yes, we still live in this world, but those of us who are born again realize that it is not our home. We work for heavenly things, laying up treasure in heaven, not on earth (Matt. 6:19-21), and thus the things of this world become strange and distant to us. We no longer seek the things of the world; our desires and behavior should change. We should be a people separated from the affairs of this world. Yet I see many churches that name the Name of Christ holding hands with the world, seeking its favor and approval,  and even asking the unbelievers and God haters to meet their wants. Instead, the church should separate itself from the world and cleave to the One who shed His blood for her. What better way for God to show His power than through the church that has separated itself from the world, and looks to Him for its needs and heart desires. But those churches that run to the world every time they want something, have taken God and His Son, Jesus Christ, and made THEM insignificant in the sight of unbelievers. They beg and solicit just like the unbelievers, as if God didn’t exist! We who are truly in the Church and have done these things should be on our knees before God, repenting of this terrible sin. The sin of unbelief, worldliness, covetousness, avarice, and blindness to what God has done through His Son (Ro. 8:32; Eph. 1:3).
        The true members of God’s Church have a very serious obligation to those of the world. That obligation is to preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified. How serious do you think that those around us are going to take us if we come preaching, “repent for the kingdom of God is at hand,” when our hand is constantly out asking for money to build our new building or take our young people on a trip some where? The French infidel Voltaire once commented sarcastically: “when it comes to money, all men are of the same religion”. Many modern so-called Christians prove him right, and bring shame upon the cause of the Lord.
        Our supreme example is the Lord Jesus Christ. He lived and walked among sinful men, but He always turned to God the Father when in need. We as people that have been “called out” to be separate from this world need to seek our heavenly Father for our provisions. It is shameful and even sickening to think that the professing Church holds it’s hand out to the world for want, and then turning and giving lip service to the Lord. This shouldn’t be!
        I leave you with the words from Isaiah 1. They were spoken to the nation of Israel, a people that had been called out and separated unto God, describing their condition before God. I think this verse very fittingly describes the condition of the professing church today.

From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.  Isaiah 1:6 (KJV)

He is willing to forgive if you are willing to repent!!!

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