By Mark Fogarty
- Many people today have the wrong concept of church.
- Some think all the church wants is your money – which is not true.
- Others think that the church has no right to require anything of its members – what about Hebrews 12:14? “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:”
- Others think that the church cannot have rules or regulation because this causes guilt – but what about 2 Timothy 2:5? “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.”
- What about Matthew 28:20? “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
- What about Acts 2:37-38? “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
- While the church is not only about rules and regulations; they are necessary components of the church.
- Separation is what the makes the church so unique.
- Separation is not to make us different, hermits or isolationists or this alone would make us the church.
- Separation is a command and not optional –
2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 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. 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, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
- Definition of Holiness
- Holiness in reference to God is absolute perfection and purity – Hebrews 7:26 “For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens”
- Holiness in reference to humans is conformity to the character and will of God.
- Holiness in our appearance expresses conformity to the character (holiness) of God.
- This is the will of God for humanity.
- Dressing immodestly does not represent God’s character.
- Holiness has a twofold definition.
- Holiness = separation from (sanctification) the bad.
- Holiness = dedication to the good.
- Holiness is not only about subtraction it is about addition.
- One without the other is incomplete holiness.
- Separation is a Necessity
Why is separation necessary?
- Because we are the temple of God – 1 Corinthians 3:16– 17 “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”
- We are the people of God – 1 Peter 2:9-10 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”
- We are the children of God – Galatians 3:26 “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
- The Higher Purpose of God Demands Separation
- We have a calling to a higher purpose – 2 Timothy 1:9 “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”
- The more important our calling is to us the more important separation will become.
- The will of God demands that we be separated – Ephesians 1:11 “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:”
- Examples of those separated because of higher calling:
- Barnabas and Saul – Acts 13:2 “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.”
- Paul – Romans 1:1 “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God”
III. Separation Involves not Touching the Unclean Things –
- Separation means that there are some things that we cannot be associated with.
- The Old Testament states – Isaiah 52:11 “Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD.”
- The New Testament states – 2 Corinthians 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,”
- Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament explains this passage.
- Touch not the unclean thing – “Have no close connection with an idolater, or an unholy person. Be pure; and feel that you belong to a community that is under its own laws, and that is to be distinguished in moral purity from all the rest of the world.”
- Adam Clarke’s Commentary offers this explanation of the same passage.
- Touch not the unclean thing – “Those who will have the promises of God fulfilled to them must come under the conditions of these promises: if they are not separate—if they touch the unclean thing, God will not receive them; and therefore will not be their God, nor shall they be his people.”
- Perfecting Holiness is a Continual Growing Process
- We are commanded to grow in grace –2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”
- This means that we are to grow under the divine influence of God.
- Separation does not mean separated from outward cleansing.
- Separation involves both inward and outward cleansing.
- Cleansing the spirit as well as the flesh
- Lack of soap and water does not demonstrate holiness
- 4. 2 Corinthians 7:1 “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
- Judge with caution other’s motives or status with God.
- We must perfect holiness in the fear of God.
- We should all seek to please God in our Christian walk.
- We must give great consideration to others when it comes to separation.
- God deals with us as individuals through His word and His ministers.
- We are warned about how to deal with our brothers that may fall short – Galatians 6:1 “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”
- Give great consideration before you judge someone else’s separation.
- The matter of judging.
- The scripture does not teach against judging.
- The scripture is very clear that we are to take caution in how we judge.
- Notice – Matthew 7:1-2 “Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”
- Judging will always come back to you just like you judged.
- Areas of Separation
There are some specific areas that we must endeavor to be separated from the world. While this is not a complete list it gives us some areas to consider:
- We have a different attitude about love – Ephesians 4:32 “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
- We are to have an attitude of love – 1 Corinthians 13:4-12 “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
- We are to have an attitude of service – Matthew 20:25-27 “Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant”
- We have a different attitude about what we think – Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
- We are to have the mind of Christ – Philippians 2:5 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”
- We have a different attitude about our bodies – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
- We have a different attitude about what we say – James 1:26 “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.”
- We have a different attitude about what we see – Job 31:1 “I made a covenant with mine eyes…” Psalm 101:2-3 “I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. 3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.”
- We have a different attitude about our appearance – 2 Corinthians 5:20 “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”
- We should represent God well.
- We have a different attitude about where we go – 1 John 2:15-17 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”
- Separation is the basis for an intimate relationship with God – Exodus 33
Exodus 33:1-23 “And the LORD said unto Moses, Depart, and go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it: 2 And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite: 3 Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way. 4 And when the people heard these evil tidings, they mourned: and no man did put on him his ornaments. 5 For the LORD had said unto Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, Ye are a stiffnecked people: I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee: therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee. 6 And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by the mount Horeb. 7 And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp. 8 And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle. 9 And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses. 10 And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door. 11 And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle. 12 And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. 13 Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, show me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people. 14 And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. 15 And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. 16 For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth. 17 And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. 18 And he said, I beseech thee, show me thy glory. 19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. 21 And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: 22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: 23 And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.”
- Separation is the basis for God’s miraculous deliverance – Joshua 3:5
Joshua 3:5 “And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you.”
- Sanctify means to separate; to set apart for special use.
This article “The Necessity of a Separated Life” was excerpted from: Plumb Line Principles DVD by Mark Fogarty. It may be used for study & research purposes only.