2Co 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,"
God commands His people to be separate from the world. We are in the world, but we are not of the world. Making the choice to be a committed spiritual Christian involves the matter of separation.
Here again is a term that needs to be fully understood. Some folks believe that separation means living our lives like, for example, the Amish. Others go to the opposite extreme and have no standards of separation at all. Like so many other areas of the Christian life, I believe we should seek to maintain a proper balance.
I. A Definition of Personal Separation:
A. What is Paul really telling us and the church at Corinth in 2Co 6:17?
1. It helps to understand the context of this verse. Read: v11-18
2. The church was embracing idolatry and worldliness as acceptable.
3. But God expects more from His church!
4. Some view religious tolerance as a positive, but God makes it clear that there must be a separation from darkness.
B. Separation means to be set apart.
1. Negatively: set apart from sin.
2. Positively: set apart unto God for service.
C. Note the biblical basis for separation:
Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked. (Psalms 97:10)
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. (Romans 13:14)
Abstain from all appearance of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:22)
II. Distinctions Related to Separation:
A. It has nothing to do with minor matters
1. The subject of minor matters relates to liberty, not to sin.
2. Whether you eat meat or just vegetables is not a matter of personal separation it is a matter of liberty to make that choice.
B. It isn't isolationism
1. The Amish are an example of isolationism.
2. If we do not have contact with the unsaved, we will not be able to witness to them and lead them to Christ.
3. As a matter of fact, we are commanded to go into all the world.
C. It isn't legalism.
1. If we take a clear stand against sin, sooner or later someone will accuse us of being a legalist.
2. A legalist is one who believes that keeping their set of rules will make them spiritual.
3. Developing standards of separation that are based upon biblical commands and principles is not being a legalist...it is making the choice to be spiritual!
III. Difference of Separation:
A. Godliness is a choice we make
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (Psalms 1:1-3)
1. He doesn't walk in the "counsel of the ungodly".
a. That means he doesn't think the way the unsaved world thinks.
b. He doesn't accept their definitions of honesty, morals, and a good time.
2. He doesn't stand "in the way of sinners".
a. That means he doesn't act the way the unsaved person acts.
b. He won't go anyplace, or do anything that is characterized by sinful actions.
3. He doesn't "sit in the seat of the scornful".
a. That means he doesn't hold the same attitudes as the lost.
b. He doesn't exhibit those scornful attitudes in his own life.
c. And he doesn't enjoy being where those attitudes are being exhibited by others.
d. The godly man is distinctly different from the ungodly in thought, action, and attitude.
B. Daniel's Example .
1. Daniel serves as a great example of a separated believer.
But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. (Daniel 1:8)
2. His godly record was established while he was away from home
3. While he was away from all supportive family members and their influence.
4. Daniel made a conscious choice to be spiritual.
5. He chose to be separated from the influence of the world around him.
6. As a result of this choice, he was greatly beloved by God and highly respected by others.
" Daniel's personal separation began with a decision in his heart. " It was his choice, and it is our choice whether we will be spiritual or not! " Will we dare to be different? " Will we choose to come out from among them and be separate? " It is our choice…let's dare to be different!