Set Apart for God

Today’s message is a little bit harder to swallow than most, but none-the-less it is God’s Word. In 2 Corinthians 6 verses 14-18 Paul is warning the believers in Corinth about partnering with unbelievers. First off it is important to realize that there were a lot of false teachers who were infiltrating the church and spreading a false message. They presented themselves as Christians, but did not bear the message of Christ. Secondly it is not saying to hate unbelievers or even to be harsh towards them. Instead it is about the believer and follower of Christ setting themselves apart from the world. It is about not being overcome by evil, but overcoming evil with good (Romans 12:21).

As Christians we are exhorted to Love God and to love our neighbors (Matthew 22:36-40) and by the blood of Jesus Christ we have been made holy for all time (Hebrews. 10:10). To be made holy means to be set apart to God. In the Old Testament the level of holiness determined who could enter the temple of God. Those who were unbelievers or non-Jews, for this example, were not allowed past the outer courts, Jew’s the inner courts, priests the Holy Place, and the High Priest the Holy of Holies and only once a year. The closer to God people got the more holy they needed to be. Luckily for us the curtain of the temple which separated man from God was torn when Jesus was crucified (Matthew 27:51) and because of that we are now able to approach God directly, but we are still to make ourselves holy, confessing our sin to God and repenting, when we approach Him. What that means for us today in regards to the following passage is that we must not team up with those who follow Satan, those who do not follow God, and we must remain Holy so that we can remain in close fellowship with God.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18
14 Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? 15 What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? 16 And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said:
“I will live in them
and walk among them.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
17 Therefore, come out from among unbelievers,
and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord.
Don’t touch their filthy things,
and I will welcome you.
18 And I will be your Father,
and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.”

This does not mean we should not talk to unbelievers, but it does mean that we need to be on guard, it means that we must realize that as long as they choose not to follow God that they are considered enemies of God, until such a time that they choose to follow Him. Military personnel are a prime example of this. When deployed to a combat zone military personnel are often times out in the midst of the “enemy” sometimes the enemy is known and has a face, while other times the enemy is unknown and hiding amongst civilians. Military bases are generally more safe than being “outside the wire” or outside the confines of the base and less vigilance is needed within the confines of the base; however, when going outside of the base everyone needs to remain super vigilant for their own safety and for the safety of their team. That does not mean they are to be rude or mean to people, but it means they must be on guard because there could be someone waiting to cause them harm, and at the same time there may be others who do not want to be associated with the enemy.

As Christians we must be vigilant when we are associating with non-believers so that we do not become like them. We must remain aware that Satan is out to attack God’s people in any way that he can and he will use those who are under his control to do his work, even people that we might consider friends and family. We have been called to live a different life than those who do not follow God. Of course these people may be great people, but if they are not for God then they are against Him and we must be on guard when around them so that we do not go astray.

Being a Christian means that we must go out into the world in order to share the Gospel, but that also places us at risk. On the extreme side of things there may come a time when you feel as though you cannot minister to a friend and you may feel as though you can no longer be around them because of their refusal to accept God’s message, but only you can make that determination as you are so led by the Holy Spirit living within you. Remember it is our responsibility to spread the Gospel message to the world around us and when we place ourselves in the proximity of unbelievers we must not waiver in our beliefs and in our love for God. This is a hard place to be, especially for new believers and those who are weaker in their faith because when we first come to Christ and when we are not firmly grounded in the Word of God we can be easily led astray.

People should always be able to recognize that you are a Christian, even if you are with someone who is not. We are not to hide in our own little safe bubbles where nothing can harm us because then we are doing nothing to let the world know how great our God is, but we must be ever vigilant when we are in the world so that we do not become seduced by the ways of the world.

May God bless you today as you faithfully and courageously follow Him. May He keep you out of the hands of the devil even when you are in close proximity to those who follow his ways. May you be a light to a dark world to bring people to the only one who can provide a full and satisfying life, God. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen and Amen!

Numbers 6:24-26
24 ‘May the Lord bless you
and protect you.
25 May the Lord smile on you
and be gracious to you.
26 May the Lord show you his favor
and give you his peace.’

A Heart of Worship

Do you ever feel like you are simply going through the motions at church especially while singing praises to the Lord? Do you ever feel like you just don’t seem to have what other people around you have? If so I must ask, have you checked your heart lately? Worship is about the heart, not about the words. This day and age we tend to attribute worship with a certain type of music and certainly music can bring us closer to God, but worship is all about the heart. You can sing worship songs all day long and still not worship the Lord with your heart. Where is your heart at? It is from within your heart that everything you do comes from (Prov. 4:23). If your heart is not set on singing praises to God then the words that come from your mouth will not be either.

David Mathis says that “the heart of worship is our heart” it is from within that we worship. Imagine for a moment that the all that could be heard and seen from heaven was worship; worship in work, worship in helping others, worship in loving your neighbors, worship in song, etc… What would the world look like and sound like? Would you be seen or heard? Now let’s come back down to earth and apply this to life. The vision of yourself that you just had is the same way that non-Christians see you. They know when we are faking it, when our heart really isn’t in it, and they know whether or not we are being real.

Do you want to be seen as someone who is faking it, who doesn’t really have something that sets you apart from the world or do you want to be seen as having something that someone else wants… NO …needs? Growing up I remember singing a song called “This Little Light of Mine” and the joy that it placed in my heart. Below is a video of the good that we can do by simply expressing our love for God.

Love is contagious and love is expressed through the light of Christ. Are you sharing the light from within your heart or are you hiding it under a basket? When we live our lives on purpose for God it shows. It shows in how we respond to people, how we treat them, it shows in how we approach every situation. Your actions are contagious whether they are good or bad. The message that you spread through your words and actions is up to you. Do you want to bring darkness into the world or light? For me personally I know that I want to bring light and it isn’t always easy. I mess up and I hurt people, especially when I have been hurt, but we are called to repent when we mess up and to turn towards the Father. We are called to be worshipers, to praise God and be “grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken” (Heb. 12:28-29). It is so easy to allow darkness to settle back in when we are not in worship, so fight! Do not be overcome by darkness, but let your light shine and spread like a fire to all of those around for our God is a consuming fire.

We worship you Father, you are mighty to save, wonderful creator! Hear our hearts cry out Lord as we share the flame that you have given us. Let us not be overcome by the things of this world, but let us be filled with joy and compassion, let us be filled with an all consuming fire and never forget how blessed we are to be loved by you. You are so righteous and loving Father. We want to learn from you, teach us your ways, help us to hear your voice and to follow you with our whole heart. Help us to be a light to all of those around us. We have so much to be thankful for and only you to thank for that. We love, love, love you Father. Thank you for seeing more in us than we can see ourselves. Thank you for redeeming us so that we can one day be in heaven with you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.