“… Forsaking all others keep only unto her so long as you both shall live. “
The words above are part of the traditional wedding vows. The marriage covenant is an exclusive agreement. It isn’t mean or judgmental for a husband to throw off the flirtatious advancement of a female acquaintance. And it isn’t rude or unkind for a wife to turn from the romantic advances of another man. In fact, it would be wrong not to turn them down.
There are some relationships that that are inappropriate to have while you maintain others. In the romantic world we would call people who do this ‘two-timers’. It’s just not right. But sometimes Christians become ‘two-timers.’
Christians are people who love Jesus and love His family. It is an exclusive relationship. Though we are to love everyone, we must not let any relationship jeopardize our relationship with Jesus or our Christian family.
A Christian must be careful about influences that may pull them away from Jesus. In fact, Paul explains that believers and unbelievers are spiritually incompatible. Like oil and water, they are so different they can’t mix together. There must be a separation.
Some have taken the issue of Christian separation to an unhealthy degree. Some have completely pulled themselves from society, forming a Christian commune and building barriers to protect them from the evil of the world. Having nothing to do with the surrounding community, these Christians have isolated themselves from the very people Jesus wants them to reach.
Jesus wants Christians to be in society to be salt and light. Christians are the world’s only witness to the saving work of Jesus. We are to let our light shine! But when society influences the Christian more than the Christian influences society, there are bound to be problems.
I heard one pastor illustrate this dilemma with a boat. A boat is made to float in the water. But if the water ever gets in the boat, the boat will sink. Christians are to be in the world. But if the world every gets into the Christian, the Christian will sink.
This Sunday, March 24, I continue a 3-part sermon series called “Heart to Heart” from 2 Corinthians 6-7. 2 Corinthians is Paul’s most personal letter and he opens his heart to defend his ministry and the Gospel against his attackers. This week my sermon is simply called “Separation” from 2 Corinthians 6:11-18.
Paul shares how much he loves the Corinthians and how much he wants them to love him. But there is an opposite side of the relational coin. While Paul encourages a close partnership between Christians, he discourages that same kind of relationship with unbelievers. He presents three very logical reasons for holding some separation between believers and unbelievers. It should be an interesting lesson for us all. Remember, balance is the key.
Join us this Sunday @ 10:30 a.m.