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Corinthians 6:17-18 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.
17:18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them
into the world.
we become children of God through faith in Christ (John 1:12), we are
set free from the bondage of sin. After we are saved, we are servants or
bond slaves of righteousness or Christ and He is the One who gives us
our marching orders. (Romans 6:18). Even though sin may tempt us and may
deceive us into serving the wrong master on occasion, our real
allegiance is to righteousness.
order for our spiritual Father to play his role as Father, we who are
born again need to recognize that we are now "different". God
calls us His peculiar or special people (Titus 2:14, 1 Peter 2:9). We
are holy, that is, we are a people set apart for God. In order for God
to be a Father to his spiritual children, we need to "separate from
unbelievers" according to 1 Corinthians 6:17. This keeps us from
being influenced by the attitudes of those who have rejected Christ and
His claims, and it frees us to follow the Lord and to get our guidance
from our heavenly Father.
has been understood in various ways. Some think Christians should
completely isolate themselves from the people of the world. However, in
John 17 we are sent into the world to serve and to preach the Gospel. So
how can we serve the Lord in the world and still not be yoked to
unbelievers in such a way that they and not the Lord dictate how we live
and serve? Some say we should go to taverns and bars to reach
unbelievers and others say that a separated people should not do that
because of the temptations that present themselves, and because going to
these places makes it appear that we approve the lifestyle of those who
frequent these establishments.
of us agree that marrying an unbeliever would give the world a place in
our life that it should not have. Most of us understand that business
partnerships with unbelievers will make it very difficult to maintain
Christian standards in the way the business is run. But what is the rule
of thumb that guides us in our social relationships with unbelievers if
we want to be separated unto the Lord and yet serve Him in the world?
need to remember that the Lord is offering the world a new life, and our
relationships with the unsaved should be offering them an alternative to
what they now have. We don't become like the unsaved to reach the
unsaved, we need to be different (or holy or separated) to reach them.
When Paul said he became all things to all men to reach them with the
Gospel (1 Corinthians 9:22), he seemed to be identifying with the way
they thought in order to help them. I think he tried to find common
ground in his discussions with them. However in offering the unsaved an
alternative, I do believe that we can be a separated people in places
and circumstances that would normally make us uncomfortable if we are
there for the right reason doing the right things. I would think that
any relationship or approach to the ministry that causes us to be
something that is not Biblical and that we as Christians would not be if
we weren't nurturing that relationship would be an unequal yoke. In
addition, we should not knowingly be using our money to support causes
that the Lord would not support. Also, we should not socialize in
situations where we have to participate in sin in order to pursue the
believe a separated people serving in the world should be changing the
world by reaching people with the good news of the Gospel. If we are
changing the world and the world is not changing us and if we are
offering the world an alternative to their present lives, then likely
the Lord will be pleased with us. If instead we are being changed by the
world, then we are likely going where we should not go and doing what we
should not do.
for the week of July 1, 2007
73:2 But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh
73:3 For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the
73:17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their
73:22 So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.
simply didn't understand. The wicked seemed to have it good and the
righteous seemed to have it bad. This was about to destroy his faith in
God. But when he considered "the end" of the wicked and their
ultimate destruction, then and only then did he get his thinking
straightened out. David had the same problem in Psalm 37, and it was in
considering "the end" of the righteous that he was able to
walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). As a result there
are circumstances in life that don't make sense to us that we have to
believe make sense to God. Sometimes, like Job, we don't know the whole
story. We don't realize that our faithfulness is being used to
demonstrate to Satan that some people will worship God and be loyal to
Him even when they don't understand the path that God has taken them
down. Even though Job was upright and did nothing for which he needed to
be "punished," Job suffered. However, even though he willingly
submitted to the trial (Job 2:10) Job justified himself rather than God,
and that is the tendency in all of us. I have a friend who has
experienced Job-like trials who recently said, "We are quick to
blame Him when bad things happen and slow to praise Him when good
happens. I think it is part of our responsibility to stand up for Him
and defend Him when he is maligned." That is the true walk of
when life is over and we have perfect understanding, many of us will be
saying, "So foolish was I, and ignorant." I am well aware that
life does not make sense at times. But those of us who are saved know
that the Gospel doesn't make sense. Why should God love us and send His
Son to die for our sins? God knows that there is no earthly person that
does good, no not one (Romans 3:12). But the Lord who is good willingly
died for those who do not do good. Does that make sense? Does being
offered salvation as a free gift (Romans 6:23) rather than paying a dear
price for it make sense?
know that we can criticize God and his ways. Most of us have murmured
and complained like the Israelites of old. Instead of remembering their
great deliverance from the bondage of Egypt and their miraculous victory
over the Egyptians at the Red Sea, they chose to complain about the
miraculous manna that God had used to sustain them. Instead of rejoicing
in their adventure with God and instead of being thankful that they were
part of a miracle, they got tired of the journey. I need to be reminded
from time to time that the Lord who deserved to have it good had it bad;
and I, who deserve to have it bad, have it pretty good. And even if life
doesn't turn out the way I would have liked, I know that eternity will
reminds us at the end of his Psalm, "But it is good for me to draw
near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all
thy works." Instead of grumbling and complaining when life
doesn't make sense, let us stand up for God our Savior and defend Him.
for the week of July 8, 2007
us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his
commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing,
whether it be good, or whether it be evil (bad).
is all about worship. We all worship something or someone. Many of us
worship ourselves. But, if it is our purpose to worship the Lord, we
will have to keep His commandments which means to guard His Truth. One
of the Truths that we will have to guard is the truth that we are
accountable to the Living God of heaven.
preacher who wrote this book was likely the wisest man that ever lived
apart from the Lord Himself. Yet when he examines life, he finds it to
be empty. He planted, he built, he bought, he partied, he learned. Yet
everything he did seemed to be empty. The reason life seemed to be empty
is because of the temporary nature of life on this planet. He knew that
the sun would keep rising and shining long after he was gone. He knew
that there would be generations following him that would not appreciate
what he had done.
we live for riches, at the end of life, what do we have? I know that we
can be more occupied with money when we don't have it than we are
sometimes when we do have it. But still, when is enough, enough? When
the rich man of Luke 12:20, finally got his retirement fund large enough
so he thought he could take it easy, he died and left it all to others.
we build, it may last a long time, but at some point the things we build
will likely need to be destroyed. If we plant, in time the weeds are
going to take over. If we spend our time learning, we will find out that
man's knowledge is always changing and in come cases is absolutely
wrong. Remember that, at one time, barbers did the doctoring though
blood-letting. They would drain the bad blood out of a person and hope
that the blood that replaced it would cure whatever ailed the person. Of
course, sometimes they drained the life right out of a person. I don't
think this is accepted medical practice today.
can live self-centered lives or we can live other-centered lives. The
Lord's commandments that we are to keep or guard can be summed up by two
statements: 1. Love God. 2. Love your neighbor (Luke 10:27). I believe
it takes a change of mind and a change of heart to truly love God, and I
don't think we can worship Him if we don't love Him. That is why the
Lord tells Nicodemus that the new birth is an absolute must (John 3:7).
Solomon who is the preacher who authored this book, appears to have
lived a very self-centered life for much of his reign. He realizes how
empty that was at the end of this book.
we say that the whole duty of man is to glorify or honor God. Since
Jesus is the Son of God, we cannot glorify God without honoring His Son.
We honor His Son when we first trust Him to be the One who not only
could but who did take the punishment that we deserved because of our
sins. Honoring the Lord Jesus changes our outlook from the here and now
to eternity. It changes our thinking from being self-centered to being
other-centered. It changes life from a dismal existence that ends with
death to an eternal hope that never ends.
what is the whole duty of man? It is to fear God and to do what He says.
Our fear should be fear and trembling before we are saved; but,
afterwards, our fear should be the fear of acting like we do not
appreciate Who the Lord is and what He has done for us. We certainly
don't want to end up at the end of life having tried everything except
the One thing that can make sense out of life and that can give life a
sense of purpose. That one thing is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We
need to trust the Lord and we need to do what He says.
for the week of July 15, 2007
Samuel 21:17 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah succoured him, and smote the
Philistine, and killed him. Then the men of David sware unto him,
saying, Thou shalt go no more out with us to battle, that thou quench
not the light of Israel.
16:2 That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye
assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath
been a succourer of many, and of myself also.
2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to
succour them that are tempted.
David was relatively young and before he knew how to use the armor of a
man of war, he was able to slay Goliath with a sling and a stone. He had
already killed a lion and a bear, and he fearlessly took on this giant
of a man in the name of the Lord. All of this is recorded in 1 Samuel
17. I suspect David took five smooth stones because Goliath came from a
big family, and big families tend to stick together. Goliath had four
close relatives, and I believe David was ready to take on Goliath as
well as the four other close relatives (see 2nd Samuel 21:15-22).
However, when David was a seasoned warrior, he needed Abishai to come
along side him and help him destroy one of these sons of the giant.
Sometimes we have the strength to do what needs to be done and sometimes
we need help. It may have been that David was just too old to be
fighting the way he once had. But that really doesn't explain his need
for help; because when he slew Goliath, most would have said he was too
young and too inexperienced to fight the giant.
is likely a lesson here involving our need to realize that every battle
is the Lord's whether we are inexperienced or whether we are seasoned
warriors. Sometimes after doing the Lord's work for a while we may think
we are now equipped to handle whatever comes along, and we may forget
that we cannot depend upon our own abilities. We must depend upon the
Lord. Most of us need to learn this lesson over and over again.
the lesson that has appealed to me is that all of us need helpers to
come along side and to gsuccorh us at times. Abishai took over for David
or David might have lost the last battle with a giant even though he won
the first one. In Romans 16:2, Phoebe seems to have been a real helper
to many including Paul. The best person to turn to when we are weak is
the Lord Himself Who is able to succor them that are tried.
or the ability to give relief is one of the gifts mentioned in 1
Corinthians 12:28. How can we help one another? We can pray for one
another (Ephesians 6:18). We can bear one another's burdens (Galatians
6:2). We can also have fellowship with one another's work (Philippians
1:5). We can encourage each other (1 Thessalonians 5:11). A little
praise that is well-deserved is not flattery and is uplifting. We can
admonish one another (Romans 15:14). A timely word of correction given
in humility may be just the thing that will keep someone from making a
terrible mistake that they will regret for the rest of their lives.
when we are carrying something heavy, it is a real relief to have
someone who is strong come along and help bear the weight. It is even
better when they say, gHere, let me carry that for you.h Sometimes we
need helpers or succorers in our spiritual lives who can give us relief
from some of the burdens that we are carrying. And the Lord is the One
who can actually carry the burden for us if we will just let Him. We are
admonished to cast all of our care upon Him because He cares (1 Peter
5:7). Christ was able to bear our sins in His own body on the cross (1
Peter 2:24), so He obviously can handle the weight.
for the week of July 22, 2007
19:13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and
said unto them, Occupy till I come.
Corinthians 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup,
ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.
2:25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.
week my wife and I were in the Waterloo, Iowa, crowd that welcomed the
Iowa National Guard's 1st Battalion 133rd Infantry home after nearly 2
years serving in Iraq. Crowds lined the streets and highways from
Dubuque to Waterloo. Families were reunited. It was an awesome
Lord Jesus fought a greater battle for us at Calvary. He was victorious
as the empty tomb proves. The Lord has promised to come again; however,
He has not been gone two years but two thousand. He has asked us to stay
busy until He returns. He has asked us to remember Him and to proclaim
His death until He comes. He has asked us to remain faithful and to not
give up hope until He comes.
"absence makes the heart grow fonder." We saw that when
the soldiers came home and were being greeted with tears and hugs by
those that loved them. Sometimes "out of sight is out of
mind." We saw a few soldiers looking for loved ones that they
could not find. Hopefully, they did find them later. It would be a sad
experience to come home after being gone for two years and to have no
one there to meet you. But when the Lord comes will we be waiting
expectantly for Him, or will we be slumbering and sleeping like the ten
virgins in Matthew 25? Will He find us busy doing His work or will we
have decided that there is no reward for being faithful since He has
waited so long to return? The Lord has given us all equal opportunities
to serve Him whether we are saved early or late in life or whether we
are saved early or late in this dispensation of grace (Matthew 20:12).
We have all been given equal responsibilities to serve Him (Luke 19:13).
But we have been given differing abilities to use to serve Him until He
comes (Matthew 25:15).
thing we can do "until He comes" is to "remember
Him" or to memorialize Him with a cup of wine and loaf of bread.
This is a symbolic fellowship meal and cannot be done alone, but is
always done with other believers in the Scriptures. The word
"together" is used five times in this section of 1 Corinthians
11 dealing with the doctrine of the Lord's supper. There is no sacred
value in the emblems. Taking them does not save or remove sin, but
taking them reminds us that we have a Savior who did die to forgive us
and remove our sin. Congregations that place an emphasis on remembering
the Lord until He comes keep their focus on Him instead of focusing on
themselves. They stay reminded that the Lord is coming. They are
motivated to stay occupied with the business of doing the Lord's work
until He comes. They believe that salvation is a free gift but that the
Lord will reward faithfulness when He comes.
our soldiers came home, our governor was not there. Not one of our Iowa
congressmen was there. They all sent "representatives."
I do not understand why those who have been involved in voting for the
war resolutions could not be there to thank the young men and women who
had fought for them. Will it be like that when the Lord returns? If the
Lord were to tell us that He was coming today (which He hasn't), would
we be so busy with our lives and our commitments that we would not find
time to meet Him in order to thank Him for what He has done for us?
are certainly not waiting for Him and would have no joy in meeting Him
since He will be coming as their judge. But believers should be longing
to get that first glimpse of our returning Lord and Savior.
for the week of July 29, 2007