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A Separated Lifestyle

(Matthew 6:24-34; 1 Timothy 6:17-19)

Lesson 2 -- first quarter 2001
December 10, 2000

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2000, Christian Light Publications

Why heart separation alone is not sufficient.

Yesterday I wanted some Pepsi ONE. Now do some imagining with me. To my shock and incredulity, all soft drinks are in unmarked cans. Puzzled at this, I point out the matter to an employee. He assures me that everything is fine because the manufacturer knows what is in each can. When I protest that I also need to know what's in a given can, he sternly informs me that I should rest content in the knowledge that the manufacturer knows. Exasperated at such senseless absurdity, I march off to a competing store . . . and discover the same situation. Resigned, I call the manufacturer, request a special code which will identify a can's contents, and return to the first store. I find a can with the Pepsi ONE code on the bottom, pay for it and go outside for a hard-earned drink. My first mouthful sets me to coughing, spitting and sputtering -- the stuff tastes precisely like pure mint. At this stage I'm perturbed enough to cup a hand and pour some of the can's contents into it. It smells like mint, looks like mint and feels like mint. Knowing it will be pointless to talk to store management, I call the manufacturer again. Their answer? "What comes out isn't important. What you see doesn't matter. It's what's on the inside that counts. And only the manufacturer knows what's on the inside. How dare you judge what's on the inside by what's on the outside?!" Click.

How silly, far-fetched and logically-challenged! Yet we see its spiritual equivalent espoused everywhere by those who want to make Christianity and separation a heart matter only. They seem convinced that a separated heart does not necessarily lead to a separated lifestyle.

I used a long, fanciful paragraph to illustrate that externals do matter. The Scriptures are much more direct and have authority which I shall never have.

"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh" (Luke 6:45).

"Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit" (Matthew 7:16,18).

The Scriptures are unequivocal and clear. Even logic leaves no doubt. Separation from the world that is not a whole-life experience, is not separation at all. We cannot be friends of God in our hearts, but His enemies with our life expressions. How far-fetched!

"Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God" (James 4:4).

We can find another valuable point in James 2:17--"Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." Separation that goes no further than the heart will not last long.

Is separation a godly goal?

No. Otherwise some fifteen years ago I should have commended those young folks in Seattle for their brilliant purple spiked hair.

Yes, because God specifically commands separation for His people -- "Come out from among them, and be ye separate" (2 Corinthians 6:17).

Separation must have conformity to Christ as its motivator and purpose, otherwise it falls short of godliness. How does our separation rank?

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