Monday, December 9, 2013

Separation From the World

All scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible. The Hebrew and Greek meaning of the words mentioned are from Strong's Hebrew Greek Dictionary.
The Apostle Paul said in 2nd Corinthians 6;17-18, "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." He prefaced those words in verses 14-16 "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 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." The Bible declares God to be "a jealous God" in eight verses in the Old Testament. The first example is found in Exodus 20:5 where God speaking through Moses said, "... I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me..."  Perhaps the most telling verse is found in Deuteronomy 4:24,  "For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God."

In Isaiah 42:8 God spoke through the prophet and said, "I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images." It is interesting to me that not only will God not give His glory to another but He declared His name to be LORD also. In the Hebrew, according to Strong's Hebrew dictionary, the word used here as LORD is really the tetragrammaton, that is the four letter name of God, pronounced either as JeHoVaH or as YeHUeH. I have copied and pasted Dr. Adam Clark's comments on the above verse. "I am the Lord - אני יהוה  ani Yehovah. This is the famous tetragrammaton, or name of four letters, which we write Jehovah Yehovah, Yehveh, Yeveh, Jhuh, Javah, etc. The letters are Y H U H. The Jews never pronounce it, and the true pronunciation is utterly unknown. That is my name - A name peculiar to myself." It is interesting that in John 8:56-58, when the Lord Jesus told the Jews that "Abraham rejoiced to see My day: and he saw it and was glad." The Jews said "Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am." How wonderful that the Lord used the words "I Exist." giving the same meaning as the tetragrammaton's meaning, e.g., the Eternal Self Existent One.

He was the God of the Jews, the God of the Old Testament standing in their midst as the Son of God, declaring Himself to be that very God. It is no wonder that to the Jews, the Lord Jesus had committed the cardinal sin as verse 59 says, "Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by." This then was that God the Apostle Paul spoke of in  2nd Corinthians 6;17-18. And He is a jealous God Who will not give His glory to another.

There are those who apparently professing themselves to be wiser than God have let go of the concept of separation from the world with the ostensible goal of winning the world. I remember a number of years ago while I was still working a secular job, I was in the San Francisco Bay area for some training. As I had to be there for a couple of weeks, I looked in the ministerial directory for a United Pentecostal Church to attend. I found a couple of them listed and went to one of them that Sunday. When I arrived in the parking lot of the church, I noted a number of people going into the church that did not appear to be Pentecostal. I assumed that maybe they were either new saints or perhaps the church was in revival services. When I went inside the church, I saw that most of the people in the church including those on the platform rehearsing a song did not look like Pentecostals. A young man came over to greet me and when I said somewhat incredulously that I thought this was a United Pentecostal Church, I was told that they had been one a year or so before but they weren't any longer. I sat down in the church and soon the pastor came over to greet me. When I told him I was minister of the United Pentecostal Church, he proceeded to explain that they had changed their standards in order to reach the whole bay area with the gospel. While I do think a burden for lost humanity is necessary, I do not think that becoming like the world to win the world is the way to obtain that objective. 

The Lord Jesus (Who, by-the-way, as the Son of God had the Eternal Self Existent God dwelling in Him and was in fact God, manifested in the flesh, See 1st Timothy 3:16) said in John 15:18-19, "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." And again in Matthew 10:24-26 the Lord Jesus said, "The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known." I am reminded of an article I read in the Pentecostal Herald toward the beginning of my walk with God. A young South American man who had heard the gospel by one of our missionaries in the City of Quito, Ecuador and given his heart to the Lord Jesus. As I recall he went back to his town to tell his family of the wonderful thing that had happened to him. He was caught reading his Bible, arrested at the behest of the local Catholic priest, then beaten severely, breaking his collar bone in order to make him recant. When our missionaries heard of it, they were able to get him released and he came back to Quito. When they saw how severely beaten and black and blue their recent convert was, they exclaimed, "What have they done to you?" His reply, "To think He counted me worthy to suffer for His name!" I don't think I shall ever forget that testimony. 

If you stand for what is right for Jesus' sake, the world will not love you for it. Last weekend, my wife and I were in Phoenix, Arizona at a McDonald's fast food restaurant. I noticed what appeared to be a homeless young man there. I felt the need to witness to him and so after thinking about it for a few moments, I went over to where he was standing. I tried to tell him about the Lord and his response was, f--- you and f--- God.When I told him I was a preacher, he said "you're a liar."  He called me a liar several times. I offered to buy him food but he refused and said he would take the money instead. I didn't have any money on my person and after realizing my witness was rejected out of hand, I told him I would pray for him no matter what he said. No, becoming like the world to win the world will never make the world love you. 

No one likes to be hated, especially without cause. I am no exception. But as the song, I'd Rather Have Jesus, written by Rhea F. Miller expresses my sentiment, I have reproduced it below;

     I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
     I'd rather be His than have riches untold;
     I'd rather have Jesus than houses or lands;
     I'd rather be held in His nail scarred hands.

Perhaps the second verse says it best;
     I'd rather have Jesus than men's applause;
     I'd rather be faithful to His dear cause;
     I'd rather have Jesus than worldwide fame;
     I'd rather be true to His holy name.

You see to me  
     He's fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
     He's sweeter than honey from out of the comb;
     He's all that my hungering spirit needs;
     I'd rather have Jesus and let Him lead.

     Than to be the king of a vast domain,
     And be held in sin's dread sway;
     I'd rather have Jesus than anything 
     this old world affords today.

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