Romans 12:1-2 Romans 12:1-2 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
II Corinthians 6:14-16 II Corinthians 6:14-16 14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 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.
II Corinthians 6:17-18 II Corinthians 6:17-18 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
II Corinthians 7:1 II Corinthians 7:1 1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
I Peter 1:15-16 I Peter 1:15-16 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
I John 2:15 I John 2:15 15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
Focus Verse II Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
Focus Thought We are in a culture war, and society will take us to hell unless we separate ourselves from its philosophy. To live for God, we must renounce the world, sin, and the devil.
Introduction Introduction Certain chemical elements just do not mix. Although oil and water are in the same container, they will not coalesce or blend. They retain their individual identity even when brought into contact.
Introduction Likewise, God and sin will not mix or blend under any circumstances. The nature of God is holy, and sin is inherently evil. Therefore, it is necessary for a believer to separate himself from the world and its lusts. As Christians, we should be aware that our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit of God. If God is to remain residing in our souls, it is necessary for us to live godly even in the midst of a perverse society.
Introduction Although sin and ungodliness are as old as the history of mankind, the Scriptures admonish us to come out of the world and separate ourselves from its sinful lifestyle. The origin of sin was pride, rebellion, and disobedience, which caused mankind to fall in Eden in the beginning by disobeying the commandment of God.
Introduction However, God has restored fellowship between Him and mankind through redemption. Individuals should forsake the old life of sin in order to fully appreciate and maintain that holy fellowship.
Introduction When Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt, God gave them His law and ordinances, which He required them to obey if they were to please Him. The dispensation of the law existed then for many centuries until the Cross, which opened the way to redemption through the grace of God.
Introduction While the nations around Israel worshiped many idols, the people of God were called to worship only the one true God as a separated, unique people. Their neighboring nations were given to lives of debauchery and licentious behavior, but they were to live separated lives unto the Lord. Through Israel, God was establishing a pattern for His people to be a holy, separated nation.
The Corinthian Society I. The Corinthian Society (A) World’s Most Licentious City In its time, Corinth was associated with every kind of vile behavior imaginable. Near the infamous Temple of Aphrodite, one thousand religious prostitutes carried on their activities surrounded by bars, brothels, gambling, and amusements.
I. The Corinthian Society (A) Prostitution—both male and female—was rampant in that wealthy merchant and navy town. Worldly minded people from all over the Mediterranean area came there to indulge their lusts because of its lack of standards and morality. Sporting events were also a major part of their lives. Every two years, the Isthmian games were held in honor of the pagan god Poseidon, god of the sea.
Romans 5:20 “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20).
I. The Corinthian Society (A) The light of the gospel often shines the brightest where the night is the darkest. The disillusionment and despair of sin leaves people hungry for deliverance from bondage. After establishing a church in Corinth, Paul wrote two epistles to the believers that included instructions and principles that are part of the inspired Word of God. It appears that the Corinthians had difficulty with carnality, separation from their old lifestyles, adultery, and gluttony.
I. The Corinthian Society (A) The sound teachings of Paul to the Corinthian church provide us with exhortations and guidelines for godly living today. Moreover, the Corinthian society could be synonymous with modern times because the same sins are rampant in our world.
Sinners I. The Corinthian Society (B) Calling someone a sinner has almost become archaic in North American culture, but it still describes the scriptural plight of mankind. Corinth was a city filled with sinners who needed God, and Paul preached Jesus Christ crucified to them.
I. The Corinthian Society (B) The parallels between Corinth and our world today are numerous. As Corinth was given to pleasure seeking, so is our world today. All over North America casinos are being built to hold the throngs of people seeking the chance and thrill of gambling.
I. The Corinthian Society (B) Also, as Corinth was given to sports, so is North America and many other nations of the world. There exists in our world a mad, headlong plunge to indulge in sporting events from the time children are in preschool throughout the rest of their lives. To many people, the world of sports dominates their lives and is an addiction.
I. The Corinthian Society (B) Sadly, our society excuses adultery and extramarital affairs as normal, and multi-tudes parade homosexuality in the streets and throughout the media. The wild pursuit of fleshly pleasures dominates music, clothing fashions, and worldly entertainment. Certainly, the casualties of a culture war are plunging the souls of unredeemed mankind headlong into a certain eternity of damnation.
I. The Corinthian Society (B) Paul was disturbed that the Corinthian believers could not discern between carnality and spirituality. It seemed that they had been so conditioned by their surroundings that sin no longer shocked them. They were condoning outright sin and living as if it were perfectly acceptable and right. However, sin is still wrong! It is nasty, vile, and dirty. Individuals must repent of their sins or they will perish. (See Luke 13:3, 5.)
I. The Corinthian Society (B) True believers in Jesus Christ should renounce sin in this world! They must name it, hate it, preach against it, cease from it, and separate from it, or they will be lost. Certainly, we live in this world, but we are not to be of the world.
The Unequal Yoke II. The Unequal Yoke (A) Two Incompatible Lifestyles Paul used the analogy of a yoke to describe a person trying to live for God while united with unbelievers. In this situation, two people are pulling in different directions and creating mass confusion and pain. We cannot be yoked together in relationships with unbelievers without creating serious problems.
II. The Unequal Yoke (A) Often a spouse turns to God and experiences salvation while the other remains living in sin, which can cause misery for the one who is living for the Lord. Whether the unbelieving spouse comes to salvation or not, the marriage bond remains a holy obligation. Often the believing spouse will win the unbelieving spouse to Christ.
II. The Unequal Yoke (A) If a believer chooses to go outside the faith and marry an unbeliever, however, he or she is violating the teachings of Scripture. Untold numbers of heart-wrenching stories exist where a man or a woman married someone outside the church with the intent of winning the individual to God later, but instead the believer lived a life of heartache and regret.
II. The Unequal Yoke (A) When we are living for God, our bodies become temples of the Holy Ghost (I Corinthians 6:19). We live a life that contrasts with that of the sinner because Jesus is our Lord and Master. A sinner serves sin, the devil, and the flesh, but the desires of a believer are different because he is a new creation in Christ Jesus through the new-birth experience. Therefore, the two contrasting lifestyles will never mix any more than light and darkness; one dispels the other.
II. The Unequal Yoke (A) Paul’s analogy of the unequal yoke also applies to other areas of our lives. Many believers have found themselves in serious trouble when they formed business partnerships with unbelievers. We all desire friendships, and we win others to the Lord by befriending them. Even Jesus was a friend to the publicans and sinners.
II. The Unequal Yoke (A) However, we should be cautious and certain that we affect our friends to lead them to the Lord instead of the friendships affecting us to lead us astray. These kinds of friendships exist for the purpose of providing spiritual assistance and leading the lost to salvation, not for the purpose of mutual fellowship.
II. The Unequal Yoke (A) True fellowship can exist only between those who share a mutual, spiritual bond and experience. Hence, we should carefully choose our closest friends, constantly questioning whether we are affecting our world or whether it is affecting us.
II. The Unequal Yoke (A) When Lot moved near Sodom, he kept his distance at first and was vexed with the perverted living. After a time, however, he was enticed more and more by Sodom, moved into Sodom, and eventually was elevated to a place of authority in the city. He not only moved into Sodom to live, but Sodom’s philosophy got into his family.
II. The Unequal Yoke (A) His daughters were affected by the prevailing attitudes until they were able to excuse incest with their father after leaving the city. His wife left her heart there, and upon leaving she turned back for a fateful look that took her life and made her a memorial to the consequences of sin.
II. The Unequal Yoke (A) When the Israelites left Egypt, they had lived there so long that they pined for it when they were in the wilderness. They had left Egypt, but Egypt was still in their hearts. They also took with them from Egypt a mixed multitude that created problems for them later. They did not make a clean break with Egypt, and thereby they later longed to return.
II. The Unequal Yoke (A) The Scriptures admonish us to come out from the world and be separate. We should make a clean break with the sinful past. We should not unequally yoke ourselves by trying to hold onto both worlds.
II. The Unequal Yoke (A) One wise military leader led his army away from their ships inland to conquer, but he reminded them that they would not be turning back even in the face of difficulties. When they turned to look back at the harbor, they saw their ships burning. There would be no turning back. They had to go forward.
Motive for Pursuing Holiness II. The Unequal Yoke (B) “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23).
II. The Unequal Yoke (B) The strongest motive for pursuing holiness should be our love for the Lord. What an awesome privilege to think that God called us out of sin! When we think of the masses who refuse to heed the gospel and how we had the opportunity to accept or reject it, we are humbly appreciative. Somewhere in our lives we met truth, and our obedience to it is a blessing that we will cherish throughout eternity.
II. The Unequal Yoke (B) We are not motivated to separate from sin and the world to conform to some legalistic set of rules. Rather, we love Jesus Christ so much that we want to please Him in every aspect of our lives. It grieves Him for us to live in sin and carnality. Even though life is more than adhering to rigid guidelines and rules, we do not desire to abuse His grace and mercy by living recklessly without boundaries. Love compels us to bear a cross and live separated from worldly practices and pleasure.
II. The Unequal Yoke (B) What is worldliness? What is worldly? The physical world that God created—the majestic mountains, the wildflowers, and the countryside—is beautiful, and it declares the glory of God. However, when the Scriptures speak of worldliness, it means something entirely different. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines worldly as “devoted to this world and its pursuits rather than to religion or spiritual affairs.”
II. The Unequal Yoke (B) It is commendable to have goals and to desire certain possessions and achievements as long as we maintain balance and perspective. We should remember that this world is not our final destination, and our motives must be in accordance with the will of God.
II. The Unequal Yoke (B) The purpose of our lives is not merely to accumulate possessions but to further the kingdom of God in the earth. We are to be witnesses of what God has done for us and wants to do for others. We are living, breathing witnesses; evangelism of our world should be our heartbeat.
Matthew 6:24 “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24).
II. The Unequal Yoke (B) Mammon is material wealth and possessions. To be worldly is to be earthy, such as Esau, who did not care about his birthright. Therefore, he sold it for something that would temporarily satisfy his earthly craving. The rich fool wanted to tear down his barns and build bigger ones because possessions ruled his life. The rich young ruler went away from Jesus sorrowful because of his possessions, which evidently controlled him.
Luke 12:15 “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15).
Matthew 6:19 “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal” (Matthew 6:19).
The Principle of Separation from the World III. The Principle of Separation (A) Love Not the World It is impossible to love God and the world at the same time. This is not speaking of the physical world that God has created, but it refers to the spirit of worldliness.