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Separate from the World

In my last couple of posts, I’ve been talking about not being too attached to the world system or people in the world.  We should have a very different mindset.  Paul continues this thought.

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.”
2 Corinthians 6:16

First, the apostle asks another question.  He literally asks, how can the temple of God and a temple of idols share the same opinion?

That’s a good question.  In our society, it’s sometimes difficult to see a difference between the opinions of the church and the world.  How we approach life should be based on the Word of God.

He makes it clear that we’re the temple of the living God.  The world, on the other hand, is full of idols.  The world chases after things that only give temporary fulfillment.  They can’t give us the answers to what our souls long for.

We are a people that the God of the universe lives in and walks among.  Yet, in many cases, we don’t live in that knowledge.  We are God’s people.  That makes us very different than the world around us.

Paul then makes reference to some Old Testament Scriptures.

“Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.  Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”
“I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
2 Corinthians 6:17-18

I know there are a lot of people who use these verses to abuse other believers.  What Paul is saying is that there should be a clear separation between the church and the world.

However, what most Christians don’t realize is that in quoting the Old Testament, Paul sometimes changes the wording a little in order to bring it into a New Testament setting.  That’s the case when he says to touch no unclean thing.

This is a quote from Isaiah 52:11.  Isaiah uses a word that means, don’t come into contact with something unclean.  Paul quotes it by saying, don’t attach yourself to anything that has not been cleansed.

Then Paul adds something that Isaiah doesn’t say.  If we’ll only attach ourselves to those that are clean, God will receive us into His favor.

The second quote was a promise made to King David (2 Samuel 7:14).  The difference is that now there will be both sons and daughters of God.

The reason for these verses was not to pummel you with guilt.  Paul is using positive examples to motivate us to stay separate from the world system.  If we do, then we’ll live under the blessing of God.

Question: How should this separation between the church and the world be lived out?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2020 in Relationships, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Are You a Home-wrecker?

In my last post, we saw that our bodies are the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.  When you think about it, that’s an incredible gift.  But it’s also an awesome responsibility.

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?  If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17

We need to live with the understanding that our whole life is a temple dedicated to God.  That’s even more so when God’s people gather together.

The physical building is not the “house of God”, even though we refer to it like that sometimes.  On the contrary, it’s the in the gathering of believers that the Holy Spirit makes His presence known.

The word for destroy, in the above passage, means the process of withering or spoiling.  It’s not instantaneous destruction.  If someone corrupts God’s people, they begin a withering process that will affect their own lives.

God’s passion for His Temple was illustrated in the life of Christ.

In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money.  So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.  To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!”
John 2:14-16

We need to understand what was making Jesus so upset.  It was all about greed on the part of the priests.

There were some provisions in the law to make it easier for the people to tithe.  If I lived far away from Jerusalem, I could sell the sheep I was bringing for a tithe.  Then I travel to Jerusalem with the money and buy more sheep when I get there.  In that way, it was less of a burden on the people.

Unfortunately, religion changed all that.  The priests made a rule that you could only buy specially inspected animals at the Temple for an inflated price.

On top of that, you could only use specially minted Temple coins to buy these animals.  These coins were purchased from the money-changers at a high rate of exchange.

The result was that if I started at home with 100 sheep as a tithe; by the time I was through with this process I might only be able to afford 50 to offer at the Temple.  So the priests and salespeople were getting rich while the people and God were being robbed.  Jesus was reacting to the thievery that He was witnessing.

But the real question is; how does this apply to us?  In the above Scripture, Jesus said to take this stuff out of the Temple area.  More importantly, My Father’s house is not an emporium.

That’s why it’s important to know that a church building is not my Father’s house.  Right now – I am my Father’s house and you are too.  We are the dwelling place of God’s Spirit.

Are we truly the house of God; a place of worship?  Can people see by our lives that our whole fellowship is devoted to the worship of the Lord?  Do all the parts revolve around Him?

His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
John 2:17

Do you hear what the Holy Spirit is saying?  Zeal for YOUR HOUSE will CONSUME ME.  Our zeal to be a place of worship should consume all that we are.  Think about that in relation to our lives.

This should be the attitude of all believers. I’m not all about the temporary, material things of this world. I must maintain the integrity of the living temple where God reigns supreme.

Question: What can we do to keep our Temple a place of worship?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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