STANDARDS OF SEPERATION
Elder David Green
adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the
world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the
world is the enemy of God.” (James 4:1-4)
I have struggled for many days on finding a text. Not because of the lack of teaching in the Word of God, but because the Bible has much to say about separation. The more this subject came to mind, and the more I talked to brethren across the country on both sides of the issue, the more I felt led to use this verse as my text. In this passage, the Bible clearly tells us that being a friend of the world is being the enemy of God.
What has happened in our churches? Independent, Sovereign Grace, Landmark, Missionary Baptists have become so worldly that many church-goers leave the church singing “Just As I Am” to go home to be just as they were! In years gone by, many of the older brethren stood against worldliness. Preaching against sin was a common thing! Yet, today's pulpits have grown silent on sin. The modern-day preacher has abandoned such sermons in order to gain popularity with the people. Far too many preachers are afraid to lose a friend or a dollar bill that they leave out areas that might offend someone. Yet, what does the Word of God say about these things?
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.” (II Corinthians 6:14-18)
Christian separation is almost unheard of today. It is sad, but there are church members in the world today that have gone to church faithfully to hear their pastor preach on many different passages and subjects but never on being separate. This passage teaches separation in a great big way. We are supposed to not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. Many apply this to marriage. That’s true, but we also should apply it to dating, friendships, business relationships, etc.
The Apostle Paul wrote this passage under inspiration of God, and he makes it clear that a believer in Christ and a non-believer are as different as day and night. Does the Devil and Christ have a relationship? NO! Does light and darkness have anything in common? NO! Does the temple of God have any place for an idol? Certainly not! So then, we must be separate (saith the Lord). This was wasn't Paul's message. He did not invent it. It isn't a legalistic hair splitting attitude, this is the Word of God, plain and simple!
Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is
departed unto Thessalonica...” (II Timothy 4:10)
Loving the world and not living a life of separation is dangerous to the Lord's work! This man could have been a great help to the ministry of Paul. Yet, because of his love for the world, he forsook Paul. Some brethren in our day might accuse Brother Paul of running him off. Yet, he did not run him off....Demas forsook Paul because he loved the world.
two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos
A very interesting question is found here. For a friendship to happen, two people need to have some kind of an agreement. There has to be at least one thing that the people have in common. In every relationship that I have ever seen between a Christian and a worldly person, it is the Christian that lowers his (or her) standard in order to make the friendship work. And, in order to keep that friendship, that child of God will go without ever taking any kind of a stand against sin because it might scare someone off.
Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that
I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust,
or even as this publican.” (Luke 18:11)
The problem in churches today is that people will try to justify themselves by comparing themselves to others. Friends, we need to stop setting our standards with men, and set God as our standard! The question isn't whether or not someone else is “worse” than we are...the question is are we living the way God has commanded us to live?
I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify
yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy:
ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth
upon the earth.” (Leviticus 11:44)
God is our standard. He demands holiness. Obviously, we will never be as holy as God, but that does not mean we should stop trying. Because He is changeless, this verse is also repeated in the New Testament in I Peter 1.
he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to
every creature.” (Mark 16:15)
This world has a culture that is not our own. They live differently than a child of God should live. Their way of dress (or lack thereof) is different, their language is vile, etc is all very different. We can go into the world and preach the gospel to them but we do not join in with them. We remain separate from them!
have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they
are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that
thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest
keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not
of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As
thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into
the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also
might be sanctified through the truth.” (John
Notice the Lord as He prayed this prayer, said that we are not of the world, even as He is not of the world. He was here, and he dwelt among men but He kept Himself from sin. He remained holy. That word sanctify means to make holy. The Word of God is what separates us from the world!
are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be
hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on
a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good
works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew
The fact is, by separating ourselves from the world, we are being a testimony to the world. Light is different than darkness. The two have no fellowship one with another. Light is brighter than darkness. You can see it from far away. By letting our light shine....by being different from the world...by living these Biblical standards of separation, we are in fact being a testimony to the world.
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