A. God has always required that His people be a separate people, for His purposes demand it.
B. In every dispensation God has required separation, exclusiveness, and holiness.
Let’s look at God’s design for separation.
I. A SEPARATE FAMILY, in the Patriarchal age.
A. The idea of separation was seen in that age at the call of Abraham. (Gen.12:1)
1. Here we see that separation was the first condition given to Abram.
a. Imagine what all he had to give up -- home loved ones, friends, schools – market place of fruits and vegetables.
b. To live the rest of his life (100 yrs) in a tent, in a foreign country, without his relatives, in a dangerous land where there was no govt. to watch out for him.
2. Yet he stood ready to turn his back upon all these at the call of God.
B. Abraham was moved by faith. (Heb 11:8-10)
1. He didn’t know where he was going, but he knew with whom he was going.
II. A SEPARATE NATION) , in the Mosaic age..
A. God called the Jews out of Egypt. Why? "Let my people go, that they may serve me. ." (Ex. 8:20)
1. Separation was essential to their worship, for their religion was contrary to that of the Egyptians.
B. The Jews were formed into a separate nation at Sinai.(I Kings 8:53) .
They were to be separate for this own good – to stay pure, away from idolatry.
C. Their separation and holiness must be maintained.
( I Kings 9:6 9) . BUT...
1. They were rebellious; they changed God’s government over them; and they served other gods.
a. Therefore, Israel was carried into Assyrian captivity during the reign of Hoshea in 722 B. C.
b. Then over 100 later Judah was carried into Babylonian captivity, piece by piece. Nebuchadnezzar came against Jerusalem and captured it during the reign of Jehoiakim in 606 BC.
2. While Israel was in exile in Assyria, the Assyrians imported into the land five different races to mingle and intermarry with the remnant in the land. This mixed race, with a mongrel religion, continued for centuries and constituted the Samaritans during the time of Christ. No longer separate. No longer God’s people.
D. As for Judah, only upon her reformation did God allow her to re inhabit
1. The First Return was led by Zerubbabel. (536 B. C.), when he returned with 50,000 captives.
2. Later to be followed by Ezra and Nehemiah.
3. 1000 years had passed since the Law was given that requir4ed separation. Surely, times had changed and God had changed. Not so.
E. At the exhortation of Ezra they repented and promised to obey God. Ezra 10:10-12. Until God changed to a new law, they were still under the Old Law in every detail.
III. A SEPARATE CHURCH. 2 Cor 6:17
A. What is the church? The “ekklesia" of God. (I Cor 1:2). The very term “church” means the “called out” – the separated one. The saints.
Note I Pet 2:9
1. The church is "it royal priesthood"
2. The church is "an holy nation."
3. The church is "a peculiar people."
B. God’s people are to be a separate people in what way?
1. Separate in speech. (Titus 2:8)
No gossip, taking the Lord’s name in vain.
a. “Call Bible things by Bible names." I Pt 5:11
b. The language of Ashdod. (Neh.13:23-24) Application: "Reverend", Pastor", church..
Pastor is a Bible term, but must be applied Biblically. Some brethren get bent all out fo shape when some call me pastor, yet they still call the building the church. When we slip into calling worldly things Bible names, and when we start confusing Bible terms, we cloud the issue and the truth. V.25. Maybe that’s what we need to do. (Ha-ha)
2. Separate in doctrine. (2 Tim. 1:13; Titus 2:1)
When we change a little each generation, soon we have left the truth.
a. The nation of Israel was considered by other nations as very peculiar as long as she complied with the commandments of Jehovah. Different, narrow-minded, too strict
b. But the church today will be considered no less
peculiar by the denominational world in contending for the faith.
(1) "You people are peculiar, for you teach that there is only one plan of salvation; one church; one way to be baptized, no women preachers, etc.”
3. Separate in worship. (Deut. 11:16)
a. Like it was with Israel of old, there is the same tendency today toward modern idolatry – to pattern after the denominations of men. Mt 15:8-9
b. We are considered very peculiar in excluding instruments of music from the worship, in observing the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week, only men leaders, etc.
4. Separate in life. Titus 2:11 12; 1 Jn 2:15-16)
a. From the above passages we can see that though we are in the world, we as Christians, cannot love the world to the extent of fashioning ourselves after the world.
Rom 12:1-2 People think it strange that we wear modest clothing, don’t drink or dance.
b. If there is going to be no difference between the life of a Christian and one who is not, then how is the Christian ever to become "the light of the world" and æthe salt of the earth"?
c. To be in Christ is to be a new creature. (2 Cor 5:17). Old things have passed away...
D. Some people have just enough religion to make themselves miserable.
(1) They have too much religion to go all the way with the world; yet they have so much of the world in them that they cannot be wholly consecrated to the Lord.
(2) Hence in their dilemma of trying to hold on to Christ with one hand and to the world with the other, they are the most miserable people on earth.
(3) But the sooner they let go of the world with one hand and take hold of Christ with both hands, the happier they will be and the greater good they will be able to do in the Master’s service.
A. The line must be drawn; we are on one side or the other.
1. There is no half way ground in the kingdom of our Lord. (Matt.6:24; 12:30)
2. We are either wholly for the Lord or we are for the devil. Rom 6:16.. Whose servant are you?
3. Our lives are showing which side we are on.
B. There is coming a time when a separation will be made, when the chaff will
be separated from the wheat, and the goats from the sheep. (Mt 25:31-33, 46)
C. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, says the Lord."
1. May we endeavor to let our lights shine forth into the world that we may truly be "the light of the world" and "the salt of the earth."
2. Only in so doing, and in so being, can we be a separate people, for God’s own possession.
By Robert Raif
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