2 Corinthians 6
As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. 2 For he says,
‘In the time of my favour I heard you,
and in the day of salvation I helped you.’
I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation.
3 We put no stumbling-block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8 through glory and dishonour, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
11 We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. 12 We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. 13 As a fair exchange – I speak as to my children – open wide your hearts also.
Warning against idolatry
14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
‘I will live with them
and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they will be my people.’
‘Come out from them
and be separate,
says the Lord.
Touch no unclean thing,
and I will receive you.’[d
‘I will be a Father to you,
and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.’
‘do not be yoked with unbelievers’ (verse 14)
We live a very political correct City where we are expected to embrace others – no matter what their religious, social, and otherwise stance may be.
But is that entirely right for Christians?
Are we not expected to remain separate in this so-called connected world? Yes we are! But we are to be separated, and not isolated! Remember Jesus? He lived in this world and He lived a perfectly holy life. Yet at the same time, He was ‘a friend of…sinners’.
We must be intentional always, to know Christ and to make Him known where He is not known.
Many people in our neighbourhood, in our circle of friends, in our sphere of influence do not hold to what we believe from Scripture. Yet we are commanded to love them like we are loved by God, through Jesus. As we pray for opportunities to engage with them, we pray too for gentleness and respect as we give them the reason for the hope we have.
As someone said, ‘like a skilled physician, we are to practice contact without contamination in this world’.
We have to be here and we have to interact with the world around us – but even as we live here in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, we are to shine as lights in the world as we saw in our studies in Philippians recently.
Never must we be ashamed of the fact that TCC is out of step with this world! We must never be ashamed of what we are, what we believe and of the convictions we hold dear. Instead, we must strive to ensure that it remains that way until Jesus comes!
‘Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will live with them
and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they will be my people.”’ (verse 14-16)
Please God, that we do not even start to lower the standard, because when we do, we will soon be no different than churches all around that have forfeited the presence and the power of God so they might gain the popularity and praise of men!
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, in our world where the common buzzwords are of tolerance, of acceptance, of openness…and a society in which we live where the idea behind all of these terms is togetherness, or being connected on a human level. Where there is this push in our world to bring everyone together under the same umbrella, one world, one society, one church…please protect us from becoming like our world instead of being different. Remind us that You did not call us Your people, to be inclusive, but to be exclusive. You have called us be vastly different from the world around us! Please give grace to do that in a way that will not impede our witness to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Help us as a church to remain faithful as You are faithful. Amen.