How to Live a Separated Life Part 2

Pastor Mike will be speaking on How to Live a Separated Life Part 2. He will be reading out of 2nd Corinthians 6:11-18.

Why is it that I want to be a distinct Christian? Why is it I don’t want to go the way of the world because of my great respect and my great reverence and my great admiration for who God is? Hello, this is Pastor Mike Sanders and welcome to the Hopeworth Having radio program.

Today we’re going to continue our study in 2 Corinthians chapter 6 and we’re learning about how to live a separated life. God teaches that we are to be a people who stand out, not that we’re weird or obnoxious, but that we are a people that are compelling and contagious because we strive to honor Christ in our life.

Grab your Bible and your pen and notepad and let’s begin to study together. I want you to take your Bible this morning and join me in 2 Corinthians chapter 6. We started this study on how to live a separated life last week.

The letter of the apostle Paul is a letter that is constantly affirming God’s people and it’s amazing because the apostle is under attack and there is a lot of criticism but yet he chooses the high road.

He chooses to go to the next level and to walk in the spirit and he chooses to be able to help guide God’s people through the inspiration of the spirit of God. But when we come to chapter 6, the apostle is a little bit more straightforward.

He’s giving that, if you will, that straight talk to God’s people and the reason is because the Corinthians had struggled to make a clean break from their immoral and carnal lifestyles. You are familiar with 1 Corinthians.

The apostle had already addressed this in chapter 10 and chapter 11 and if you’re you’re familiar with the Corinthians, you know that they came from pagan lifestyles, that they were saved out of idolatrous religions.

And so they are now coming into the family of God and they’re bringing in some of those pagan practices. They’re bringing in some of those ungodly ideas and they are struggling. And the apostle is addressing this.

And really what he is saying to them, we are a congregation that’s called to be together. And we’re glad we can do that. But as far as being called together, remember that to be the ecclesia of the church, we also understand that we are called out from the world.

We are called out from the world. So the word ecclesia means to be called out. When Christ called you, he called you out of darkness and to light. When Christ called you, He called you out of unbelief into belief.

When Christ called you, He called you out of the world into a relationship with Him. And as a result of that, as believers, we view life differently. We look at life differently. This is the case that the Apostle was making.

Now the Apostle Paul is a big thinker. He’s not stuck in a list of rules and regulations to try to limit the freedom that we have in Christ, but rather He is a big thinker. He sees the big picture. And when we tackle verse 14 through chapter 7 verse 1 this morning, we’re going to see that because the Apostle is challenging us to think through important spiritual issues.

And one of those issues is being a distinct believer, being different, not being weird, not being someone who is odd in the sense that it’s hard for anybody to relate to us, not feeling that somehow we’re super spiritual or that we are better than others, but rather living a life that is separated from the world.

And as I told you last week, church, God is not calling you to be isolated from the world. Some believers have taken that path. They want to be isolated from others. But here’s what God wants for us to be insulated.

We are to be insulated from the world that the attacks and the influences of the world, that we are insulated from that and we walk a different path. We walk a different road so that we might bring glory and honor to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Last week we spent time learning how to be separated by, first of all, being relational. We talked about our relationship with God and our relationship with others. And we talked about how do we flesh that out because that’s where it all begins.

Because remember what I told you, that rules without relationships lead to rebellion. And that’s true in your spiritual life. That’s true as you’re raising your children and your grandchildren. That’s true in all of your relationships.

So God is calling us to be relational. Just a real quick review. Look at verse 11 of chapter six. Oh Corinthians, we have spoken openly to you. Our heart is wide open. Remember the church has been critical.

The church has been negative towards Paul. They’ve been trying to discredit. Here’s what he says, my heart is enlarged. I have room for you. I have room for my critics. I have room. My heart is open.

My heart is transparent. And I have room for you. in my life because he wants to influence them. The Apostle is not interested in burning bridges, the Apostle is not interested in cutting off relationships, but he wants to continue to have an impact.

And so it is as we live this separated life, as you and I are choosing to be different from the world right there, that is huge. Because what the world wants is to be done when they’re hurt, when they’re offended, when they’re upset.

In the world’s eyes, if you’re not 100% with us, then we’re done with you. But for the people of God that we love the Lord and we love people, we love the church, we love the household of faith, but we also love the unchurched, we love unbelievers.

And even though they’re not all that we want them to be, and they certainly don’t always do what we want them to do, or what we’d like to see them do, there’s still a love in our heart. And that is distinct.

You and I are at a world that if, you know, whatever side politically you are, then you assume the other side is your enemy. But politicians are not our enemies, they are our mission field. We don’t burn down buildings, we pray.

Our weapons of warfare are not the weapons of the world, they are the weapons of Christ. And we keep that in mind. Now the second thing we’re learning on how to live a separated life is to be rational.

God is calling us to be rational. We talked a little bit about being unequally yoked, and we broke that down for you, but let me just read it to you. Verse 14, do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.

This is an important part, because he’s basically saying is that Christians should not be bound together to other non -Christians in any relationship that causes them to compromise their values, their their principles in their testimony for Christ.

So God is calling us to be a thanking people. God is not saying, check out your brain, but rather he is saying, I need you to think through this distinction. You may struggle with being unequally yoked and this forbiddance that God has given us, this separation of being yoked together with someone who does not believe as we believe or someone who does not have the spiritual nature that we have.

And the idea is not that I can’t be your friend, remember that. It’s not that I can’t be someone who wants to help you and reach out to you and to care for you, but I can’t put myself in a situation where I’m being negatively influenced to go a direction that is dishonoring to God.

And so you say, Mike, spell that out for us. Listen to me, friends. You have the spirit of God in you. I don’t need to spell it out for you. And everybody’s different. You know, I always tell these young ladies that dating is not a mission field.

You gotta be careful about that. Because when you become bonded with a husband who does not believe in God, it’s gonna be a battle. It’s gonna be a battle. Everybody has to be led by the spirit of God.

This is what I’m challenging. So now, after making this commandment to not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers, the apostle gives us several questions for us to ponder. Remember what I told you, that God uses questions all the time to get us to think.

And the questions you ask are more important than the answers you give. Too many times, we’re ready to tell people what to do. We’re ready to give the answer. But many times, what we need to do is we’re helping people work through something is to ask them the right questions that causes them to think.

That’s exactly what the apostle does under the inspiration of the spirit of God. He does not wanna brainwash us. What he wants us to do is to think for ourselves. So what are these questions? Let’s look at them this morning.

First of all, he says, what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? Again, he uses this word fellowship and it means to have something in common. It is the sharing. The Bible says the early church was devoted to fellowshiping with one another.

They had a common, it’s Koinea. It is the commonness. They have something that they share alike. It’s not that they shared alike in personalities. It’s not that they shared alike in preferences, but those big rocks, those big value points in their life, they shared together.

And so God says what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness. And when we think about that, we’re reminded of James chapter four, verse four, who said, To adulterous people, do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?

Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. He’s not saying you can’t be a friend to an unchurched person. He’s not saying that you can’t reach that coworker for Christ and try to build a relationship where they would trust you as you share the gospel with Christ.

That’s not what he’s saying. He is saying that if you want the world to like you and all of its value system, don’t you know that the world and all of its ungodly system is against the kingdom of God and that the values do not match up because you have righteousness and lawlessness.

We’re watching a world right before our eyes that has become lawless, aren’t we? That’s what the Bible tells us. When the Bible describes. the Antichrist, he is described as a man of lawlessness. Now friends, what I want you to know is that when you already see the tea leaves of what the signs of the times are, how close are we to the rapture of the church and eventually the tribulation of the world and the return of Christ on this earth?

It is very short. We know that the Lord is at hand, that our time on this earth, that night time is drawing near, which Jesus said no man will work. It’s day right now. We have the opportunity to labor for the Lord.

Let’s do that. But the time is coming. Here’s what the Bible’s telling us, that righteousness and lawlessness don’t fit together. They don’t come together. So God condemns any relationship in my life with unbelievers that leads me as a believer into a sinful life, behavior, or thought patterns.

That’s the way I got to look at it. That has to be the driving principle in my life. Again, Proverbs four, verse 14 and 15, enter not into the path of the wicked and not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, pass away.

This is a warning to each of us to be careful who we associate with, to be careful who we bond with, to be careful with who we’re allowing to influence our life. Because when we choose to let the world influence our life, though it may be subtle, we are abandoning our loyalty to God.

And in that case, we have to think this through because righteousness and lawlessness cannot fellowship together. The next question that he gives us is what communion has light. with darkness. Again, it’s the same Greek word.

There’s just a variation of it. And that’s why the translators gave a variation of it from fellowship to communion. It’s the same Greek word, kĊineia. And it is the idea of common ground. It is the idea of what connection does light and darkness have.

But light and darkness are not aligned together. He is teaching us that we are to avoid aligning ourselves with those who walk in darkness, to avoid aligning ourself with people who behave in dark ways.

He called me to bring light to the darkness. He didn’t call me to enhance the darkness. I understand you wanna reach people who look like you, act like you, and that way you’re more comfortable. But you know what God says?

Mike, get out of your comfort zone and reach people who aren’t like you. Take the gospel to people who don’t behave like you, that sometimes you struggle with their ways. And you see friends, believers should not be attacking unbelievers.

That’s not what we’re here to do. What we are here to do is this, Philippians 2 .15, that you may become blameless and harmless children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation among whom you as light in the world.

You see, I never led anybody to Christ by putting them down. I never led anybody to Christ by beating up on them. Every person I brought to Christ, they were a sinner. And whether their sins were private or public, or whether their sins were gross or acceptable in our culture, it didn’t matter because no matter where you’re at on the scale of your sinfulness, we’re all in need of God’s great.

God’s called you to be a light, not for the world, but for Him, for the kingdom of God. And so we have to establish guidelines and standards in our life that protect us from the darkness and that we don’t associate with the darkness.

We don’t handle things in the flesh. We don’t respond like the world does, but we respond like Christ did. You remember they came to get Christ in the garden of Gethsemane? And you remember that Peter pulled out his weapon and he started swinging it haphazardly.

And people say, man, he’s incredible. He cut the guy’s ear off. I don’t think he was trying for the year. I think he was trying for the neck and missed it and got the ear. I think that Jesus said to him, put it away.

Because if you live by the sword, you’ll die by the sword. You see, friends, that was distinct. That was different. That was God saying, I want you to be different. I want you to be a light. to these soldiers.

They’re just doing what they were told to do. I’m not mad at the people who are trying to implement. I may not agree with them, but listen friends, there’s a difference. There is a difference when you try to hinder my faith and you hinder me going to the grocery store to get a hamburger.

You understand that? It’s okay. I tell you, God works in mysterious ways. The next question He asks us is, what accord has Christ with Belial? Belial is a word that literally means worthless. In the Old Testament it was a term to describe the people who were wicked and lawless.

We see this several times. In Jewish literature it became known as a noun that referred to the title of Satan. When the Apostle says, what accord or what connection does Christ have with Satan, if you will?

God’s people and Satan’s people cannot work together to accomplish God’s goal Friends, we must daily declare our allegiance we must daily declare our commitment to Christ and we have to be careful because the things that we do and the things that we say and the way that we think really Manifest whose side we’re on people say Mike whose side are you on?

I’m on Christ side I’m not on the world side. I love America, but listen to me friends. I’m realistic America will eventually go the way of every man -made kingdom. It will decline It can all it has to happen according for revelation to come true I know you don’t like me saying this and I appreciate all those who served our country and I continue to stand With them and I think they ought to be helped But listen, this nation is eventually going to go the way of the world But here’s the one thing that has to be true for us Our allegiance is the kingdom of God the advancement of the gospel of Jesus Christ And so what what harmony what alliance?

does Christ have with Satan the next question that he wants us to consider this morning is what part What portion has a believer with an unbeliever? Again, I keep reminding you that what he is teaching us is What part does an unbeliever have to influence us to rebel against God?

We have to be careful We have to be wise We as believers have to choose our friends very carefully because the people that are influencing us Need to be the kind of people that sharpen us for Christ that motivate us to live for God That’s why the Bible says in Proverbs 4 verse 23 to keep by heart or guard your heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life.

Your heart, my friends, affects everything about you. Your beliefs affect your behavior. Out of your heart flows the issues of life. What are the issues of life? Why am I here? Out of your heart flows your purpose.

Out of your heart flows your significance. Out of your heart flows your identity as a believer. I want to make sure that I protect this heart, that I keep this heart sensitive to God, and that I keep this heart tender towards the things of God.

You see, when I’m out in the world, hanging with the wrong people, my conscience, my heart, everything about me gets hardened. I have to be careful who my close friends are. Believers are called to be in the world, but not of it.

Jesus said in his prayer in John 17 verse 15, I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them or guard them from the evil one. Remember what I said, don’t be isolated, be insulated.

Close, godly friends, insulate me from the world. Daily Bible reading, studying the scriptures, insulates me from the world, the influences of the world. It’s not that Mike’s not in the world. It’s not that he’s not running down here and there to the store.

It’s not that he doesn’t know people who are in the world. It’s just that our closest friends for Terry and I are people who love Jesus Christ, who wanna go to the next level for God, and they want to make a difference for Christ.

I mean, I have two categories. You gotta be passionate for God, and you can’t be negative and critical all the time. But God is calling us to come out of the sadness of the world into the joy of his kingdom.

He is calling us to come out of the darkness of the world into the light of his salvation. He is calling us to come out of the distress of this crazy world to come into the peace of Jesus Christ that can inhabit every part.

We are reminded in Romans 12 too, verse two, to not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by renewal of your mind that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

What the world will do is they will blunt your discernment as a believer. You will make bad decisions and choices that will lead you to be down a path that is dishonoring to God. But when I refuse to let the world conform me but be transformed internally by the renewing of my mind in Christ.

Because what? what I allow to come into my mind eventually comes out. So I’m wanting to fill my mind with godly thoughts, godly people and his word, his truth would sanctify me. I wanna hang around people that are pursuing the excellency in Jesus Christ.

I wanna hang around people who are helping me to be more devoted, more committed to Christ. I refuse to enter into any relationship or partnership or endeavor that I believe would compromise my integrity and my Christian values that God has called me to live by.

Now here’s our third and final point on how to be separated, be reverential. Now I want you to jump down to chapter seven, verse one, but I want you to see this and we’ll come back and hit verse 16 through 18.

So hang in there. Therefore, whatever you see therefore, you have to ask, why is it therefore? He is saying as a result of. Because of what I just told you having these promises Beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit.

He’s talking about within you your attitude Perfecting holiness in the fear of God underscore that the fear of God This word fear means reverence. That’s why I say be reverential hear me my motivation for Separation from the world is my reverence and healthy fear of God Why is it that I want to be a distinct Christian?

Why is it I don’t want to go the way of the world because of my great respect and my great reference and my great admiration for who God is Friends you know that I grew up in an unchurched home You know that I got saved as a young boy But I had many flaws and many failures in my life Probably should have grown a little bit more before I went to Bible college a man you understand You’re getting the best that you can get of Mike Sanders You’re not getting the guy with all these rough edges if you think I’m bold and blunt now You should have seen me when I was younger God help you But when I went off to Bible college, I ran across this beautiful young lady Her name was Terry and we would talk about faith We would talk about God and we would talk about our plans And I remember Terry teaching me a principle in our conversations that she would never want to do anything that disappoints her father her love for her dad was a Motivation for her to be the best and to fulfill what God had called her to do And that’s what I’m trying to say is that our love for Jesus Christ You may have had an absent father.

You may have had a father who was abusive You may have had a father who was disconnected. I don’t know I I’m just saying that you got to transfer those emotions and those desires to your heavenly Father who loves you.

And here’s what the Apostle says. Look at verse one of chapter seven. Having these promises. There’s over 3 ,500 promises in the Bible. Verse 16, 17 and 18 are all promises that are written in the Old Testament.

They are promises that God gives us and they are to be a motivating factor in our life that we have a heavenly Father who loves us and he promises nothing but his best for us. Now his best sometimes is suffering.

His best sometimes is dealing with hardship. Though we don’t see it that way, but in God’s ways, he is refining us, he is shaping us, he is sharpening us for the kingdom of God. And the Apostle said through much tribulation we enter into the kingdom of God.

But it’s our reference. It’s our reference for God. Now this reference is fleshed out not only by knowing the promises of God. but also by understanding who I am in Christ. So we back up to verse 16 and he says, what agreement has the temple of God with idols?

You are the temple of the living God. You see, friends, you say, who am I? You are the temple of the living God I declare unto you. In the Old Testament, God’s temple was the dwelling place of His presence for His people.

You see, friends, the temple is no longer made with hands of men, but the temple is made by the hand of God and you are that temple. And the Spirit of God lives in you. First Corinthians chapter six, verse 19 and 20.

Do you not know that your body is a temple and the Holy Spirit within you whom you have from God? You are not your own for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. So much to say, but let me say this, that God promises, God promises to not only meet every need of His people, but to be with His people.

God lives in you and wherever you go, it’s a double -edged sword. You have God with you, it’s an encouragement. When I walk through the valley, God is with me. But when I go to places that are dishonoring to God, I am bringing the presence of God in there and that, my friends, can send the wrong image.

In this sense, you cannot join wickedness and light together. He says to us here again in verse 16, what agreement has the temple of God with idols? He’s challenging us to think differently. So my friends, what I want you to know is that worship, here’s what I leave you with church, worship.

It’s not limited to music. Worship is a way of life. It’s not simply limited to Sunday, the Lord’s day. It’s not limited to a particular time at 8 a .m. on Sunday Morning but worship is a way of life every day you are the temple of God and everything that you’re doing is an act of worship unto God. Why should you be different you are the temple of God he has called you to be separated from this world and my challenge to you this morning is to have such a strong fear and reverence of God that you would never want to do anything in your heart in your body in your mind that would disappoint your heavenly father. Well this message has been a message that speaks directly to our heart the Spirit of God has the capacity to speak specifically in our life so I want to encourage you to be willing to confess whatever you need to the Lord and to ask for his strength to change whatever he’s calling you to change in your life.

This is pastor Mike Sanders reminding you that in Christ there is hope worth having.

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