Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Separation series #4: Unequal Yoke

 

Over three thousand years ago God commanded His people Israel not to yoke an ox and a donkey together to attempt to work in the fields.  Deuteronomy 22:10

 

The Apostle Paul referring to that command under the Law of Moses wrote by inspiration of God,  “Be 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 Cor.  6:14-18

 

Here is one of God’s  clearest commands to Christians and yet in the past  fifty years, it has been unpopular and  ignored by Christians. Those who obey it are viewed by some who ignore it as being hateful, ignorant  and  obscurantists. What does this command mean?  Before we answer that question, let’s settle what it does not mean.

 

 

WHAT IT DOES NOT MEAN?

 

God does not want us to withdraw from the world and live a monastic life in a commune avoiding all contact with the world.

 

He does not want us  to drop all our unsaved friends and  forget we ever knew them.

 

He does not intend for us to move out of our neighborhoods and live in Christian neighborhoods.

 

God is not asking us to shop only in the stores run by Christians and bank our money only in banks run by Christians.

 

He  does not mean for us to play sports only on church teams.

 

Jesus wants us to be involved in the world, or He would have taken us to Heaven when He saved us.  Why live in a sin cursed world when we could enjoy the glories of Heaven?

Jesus left us here with His Great Commission to take the Gospel to all the world. If we are Christians and have no interest nor involvement in fulfilling this Great Commission, we are disobeying God.

 

Before Jesus returned to Heaven He gathered His disciples together and explained to them, “I pray not that Thou shouldest take them (His Church)  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.” 

John 17:15-16

 

 

WHAT THEN IS THE  UNEQUAL YOKE WE ARE TO AVOID?

 

The unequal yoke basically is accepting as a Christian and attempting to enjoy Christian fellowship and working together in Christian fellowship with anyone who does not abide in the doctrine of Christ. See II John 9-11 on this and then study the introductory message to this series,  The Doctrine of Christ.  Anyone can confess that they are Christians, trusting in Jesus as their Saviour; but if they are not abiding in the doctrine of Christ, they are counterfeits, regardless of how nice they may appear to you.

 

Certainly it applies to marriage.  Christians are to marry only Christians. However, if you are married to an unbeliever, you are not to divorce that person.  I Corinthians 7:10-16 For a fuller treatment of this,  go to  my series of messages on MARRIAGE and also one on DIVORCE.

 

While associating  and working with and befriending sinners,  we are to guard from adopting their ungodly philosophy and lifestyle to the detriment of our testimonies.  We are also to reject working with false teachers in evangelizing the lost and being involved with us in Christian ministry. God expressly forbids the unholy union of Christians and  non Christians from working together to further the cause of Christ.

 

Although we gladly welcome anyone to visit our church and hear the Gospel,  we would not knowingly receive an  unsaved person into our membership.  We would not hire a non Christian to teach in our Christian school  nor would we allow an unsaved person  to teach a Sunday School class in our church or to sing in the choir or to preach in our pulpit.

 

Although the interdenominational cooperation of Bible believing churches in citywide evangelistic meetings is a wonderful way to evangelize the lost and encourage Christians, and has been used effectively for many years;  regardless of who the evangelist is, we are not to take part in a city wide evangelistic campaign in a joint sponsorship with pastors who deny the essentials of the Faith.

 

Those essentials of the Faith would include an acceptance of the Bible as the inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God. It would also include faithfulness to the Doctrine of Christ: an acceptance of the truth that Jesus is God in human flesh and that He shed His blood as the sacrifice for our sins; that a Christian is one who has put his faith in that shed blood and been born again through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

 

It is not our responsibility to judge the heart nor the motives nor the effectiveness of any evangelist or preacher; but we are clearly commanded to avoid participating in an ecumenical crusade where saved and unsaved alike are involved in the sponsorship of the crusade and where converts are directed back into false religion.

 

It would be disobedient to God’s command for a Christian college to hire a professor just because he has  educational credentials;  if he denies the inspiration and infallibility of the Bible and if he does not evidence a personal saving relationship with the Lord Jesus. 

For example, if he professes to be a Christian, but denies that God brought the universe into existance in six literal days as recorded in Genesis 1 and 2 and if he rejects the miracles of the Bible, including the bodily resurreciton of Christ on the third day  and if he believes  that God brought the universe into existence using evolution; he is an enemy of God and has no place in a pulpit nor in a Christian college classroom teaching students.

 

It is wrong to support a denominational unified  budget if part of the money is supporting theologically liberal missionaries or college professors  who deny the inspiration of the Bible and reject salvation through faith in the shed blood of Christ. If you are giving to any religious cause, it is your responsibility to determine to the best of your ability  the doctrinal position of those whom your donations support.

 

GOD IS CLEAR ON THE MATTER OF SEPARATION

 

As Jesus, we are to  love sinners and associate with them.  Jesus was known as a friend of sinners. Matthew 11:19  So should we. 

  

We are not to separate from sinners,  but from Christians who are knowingly walking in disobedience to God’s Word. I Cor.  5:9-13

 

We must discipline and remove disobedient Christians from our church membership with the ultimate goal of seeing them restored to fellowship. Thus our procedure and spirit must be right.  Matthew 18:15-17 details that procedure.

 

Repeatedly God’s Word presses on us the need to separate from false teachers; not only the teachers from false religions, but also those teachers who call themselves Christians, but hold to and teach heresy.  Read these warnings.

 

We are to identify and avoid false preachers and teachers.  Romans 16:17-18

 

We are to recognize false teachers as under God’s curse.  Galatians 1:8-9

 

We are to turn away from them as teachers.  II Timothy 3:1-7.

 

We are to make an effort to convince them from God’s Word of their error. Titus 1:9-13

 

We are to warn others of their danger.  II Peter 2:1-3

 

We are not to receive them into our homes as teachers; nor are we to ask God’s blessing on their efforts.  II John 7-11

 

We are to earnestly contend for The Faith.  Jude 3-4  That involves standing for that which is scriptural and rejecting that which is unscriptural.

 

We are to study God’s Word and shun false teachers whose teaching can infect our souls  as gangrene infects and contaminates a body. II Timothy 2:15-19

 

 

SATAN WANTS TO JOIN YOUR CHURCH!

 

He may already be at work in your church or mine.  We all need to stay alert and in God’s Word so we can discern what is of God and what is of Satan. Satan not only comes as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. I Peter 5:8 

 

He also comes as an angel of light and as a master counterfeiter of Christianity. The closer the counterfeit to the real thing, the more dangerous it is. II Corinthians 11:13-15.  See the series on DECEPTION on this web site.

 

Over the  years many Christian colleges and seminaries that were once true to the faith have been infected by professors who deny the infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible.  A Christian student is safer in a secular college where he is on his guard, than in a so-called Christian college where he is more apt to be deceived.  Thank God, there are still Christian colleges that have remained  true to God’s Word where Christian students can receive an excellent liberal art’s education in a total Christian atmosphere.

 

 

HOW ABOUT THE CHURCH WHERE YOU ATTEND?

 

Do you always leave church feeling good about yourself?

 

Does your pastor never deal with your sin?

 

Does he only talk about the sins of society in general?

 

Is the worship experience, rather than the preaching, the main part of the service and does it always  give you an emotional high?

 

If you answered yes to those questions, you are being deceived and need to seek God’s will about finding a church where you can hear the truth of God’s Word and grow.

 

Two thousand years ago there were seven churches pictured as lamp stands in Asia Minor (now Turkey) The Lord Jesus had some special individual messages for each of them. He warned some of them of their sins and that He would remove their lamp stands unless they repented. Read about them in the last book of the Bible. Note that some of them were struggling with the same issues then that we struggle with today.

 

The Church of Ephesus        Rev. 2:1-7

 

The Church of Smyrna         Rev. 2:8-11

  

The Church of Pergamos      Rev. 2:12-17

 

The Church of Thyatira        Rev. 2:18-29

 

The Church of Sardis            Rev. 3:1-6

 

The Church of Philadelphia  Rev. 3:7-13

 

The Church of Laodicea       Rev. 3:14-22

 

May God teach us as Christians the delicate balance of loving sinners  and working with them without being infected by sin

 

May He give us discernment to recognize false doctrine and not be yoked together with unbelievers as we attempt to serve God. 

 

May every Christian young person determine now that they will never disobey God in the matter of marrying an unbeliever. Although Christians can and should have unsaved friends, it is unwise to date an unsaved person since dating can lead to marriage. Again, I encourage young people reading this to get further help on the subject of dating and marriage by going to the topic of  MARRIAGE on this web site.

Advertisements

May 27, 2006 - Posted by | Separation Series

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.