Separation from Evil Association
2 Cor. 6:11-18
Whether you agree or not, we all are given the right to choose. We always have a choice. A choice to do good or evil, a choice to be Godly or not, to obey Christ or not. The moment we reach the age of accountability, the age when we can discern what is right and what is wrong, till the day we die, we will be making choices. The Word of God tell us to make a choice and here on our text today, we are told to separate ourselves from all kinds of worldly and evil associations which includes false teachers which are doing havoc within the church at Corinth.
I. Brotherly love (2 Cor. 6:11)
A. Ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged…” (2 Cor. 6:11): Paul “addressed” the Christians at Corinth with “our heart is enlarged”.” This shows his real, genuine, and true love to the Corinthians. He tells them that even if they have hurt and offended him, he still cares for them.
B. “Ye are not straitened in us…” (2 Cor. 6:12): There is no restraint in me (my heart). His enemies may have caused some of them to lose their affections to him. However, Paul’s heart was large enough to embrace them all. Paul as a loving father speaks to his children and asks that they open their hearts to him and give him free admission (verse 13).
C. “Be ye also enlarged”. As their spiritual father, Paul urged the Corinthians to respond with the same filial love, which should be exhibited with the same largeness of heart which he himself have showed them. This was all he is asking them.
Illustration 1: Love Was the Motivation
Love reaches for the hurt and takes bold steps without self-interest. It can accomplish unbelievable things merely because it is so void of self-interest.
Some time ago, a teenager, Arthur Hinkley, lifted a 3,000-pound tractor with bare hands. He wasn’t a weight lifter, but his friend, Lloyd Bachelder, 18, was pinned under a tractor on a farm near Rome, Maine. Hearing Lloyd scream, Arthur somehow lifted the tractor enough for Lloyd to wriggle out.
Love was the real motivation.
Calvin Miller, “Rethinking Suburban Evangelism,” Leadership, 1988, p. 68
II. Separation from Evil Association (2 Cor. 6:14-18)
A. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers…” (2 Cor. 6:14): This is the plea for separation. Paul is using a metaphor based on Deut. 22:10 an Lev. 19:19, which forbade plowing with an ox and ass yoked together or attempting to interbreed animals of different kinds. The clear teaching is that believers and unbelievers are so different in character and interest (as well as ultimate destiny), that they should never be “yoked” together in situation requiring strong agreement of attitudes and goals (marriage, churches, business, partnership, lodges, or other organization with religious overtones). The prohibition is not intended to require complete repudiation of all secular or charitable organizations (1 Cor. 5:10) or friendships. When one’s Christian faith is in jeopardy, or his Christian conduct and influence is endangered, then such connections should be cut. One can witness to unbelievers without partaking of their beliefs or sinful behavior.
B. What concord hath Christ with Belial? (2 Cor. 6:15) The Greek word for concord is “sumphonesis” where we get the word “symphony”. “Belial” is an ancient name for Satan, the utterly worthless one (Deut. 13:13). This contrast sharply with Jesus Christ the worthy One with whom believers are to be in fellowship. As Christ has nothing in common with Satan, how can a believer in him have a close intimacy with one who is still under the dominion of the prince of this world?
C. And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? (2 Cor. 6:16). The temple of God (true Christianity) and idols (idolatrous, demonic false religions) are completely incompatible (1 Sam. 4-6, 2 Kings 21:1-15, Ezek. 8). “ye are the temple of the living God”. Believers individually are spiritual houses (2 Cor. 5:1) in which the Spirit of Christ dwells (1 Cor. 3:16-17, 6:19, 20, Eph. 2:22). “As God hath said”. Paul supported his statement by referring to a mixture of texts (Lev. 26:11, 12, Jer. 24:7, 31;33, Ezek. 37:26, 27, Hos. 2:2-3).
D. “Wherefore came out from among them… be ye separate.” (2 Cor. 6:17) This is quoted from Isa. 52:5 and Ezek. 20:33. Read Rev. 18:4. God called Israel to cleanse itself from pagan pollution. “Be ye separate” does not mean segregation. To live a separated life does not mean that we have to segregate ourselves from the world.
The Christian move among his fellow men in all the necessary and proper social, professional and commercial contracts but still retains his identity and integrity as a Christian. One can live in one sphere and still be living by the other sphere. One can walk in the world and still walk as a Christian.
E. “I will receive you… be a Father unto you.” (2 Cor. 6:17d, 18) This is a free
combination of the spirit of several Old Testament quotations, as Jer. 31:1, 9; Isa. 43:6. The two passages teach that it is the Divine will that God’s worshippers should be separate from the world; that if they are thus “separate” He will receive them, and will accept them as His own children. (Rom. 12:1, 2 and James 1:26). As a result of separating themselves from false doctrine and practice, believers will know the full richness of what it means to be children of God. (Rom. 8:14-17).
Illustration 2 : The Unequal Yoke in Marriage
“The unequal yoking” covers the question of marriage between Christians and irreligious persons. The whole spirit of the Bible is against the practice.
Marriages of the “sons of God” with the “daughters of men” caused the sins that brought on the Flood (Gen. 6:1-7).
Alien marriages were forbidden to Israel (Exodus 34:16; Deut. 7:3, 4). This was the pit into which Samson fell (Judges 14:3). To this cause was due the fall of Solomon (1 Kings 11:1-10). Ezra made the Jews put away alien wives (Ezra 9:10). In the discussion of the subject in 1 Corinthians 7, the whole implication is that intermarriage with unbelievers were out of the question. The Christian widow may remarry “whom she will; only in the Lord” (1 Cor. 7:39).
Illustration 3: Separation from the Unclean Thing
The doctrine of separation from “the unclean thing” is neglected today by professing Christians, but it is still here in God’s Word. The context indicates that Paul is warning against Christians being “unequally yoked together with unbelievers” and urging us to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 6:14, 7:1).Such separation does not mean having no contact at all with unbelievers, “for then must ye needs go out of the world” (1 Cor. 5:10), whereas Jesus commanded: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk. 16:15). He also prayed to the Father “not that Thou shouldest take them out of the
world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil” (Jn. 17:15).
He does demand, however, that we not compromise with unbelief or with the unclean thing. We are “born again” into the family of God through simple faith in the person and saving work of Christ, but the full manifestation and fellowship of our relation with the heavenly Father as His spiritual sons
and daughters is evidently, in this passage, conditioned on the vital principle of separation from all unbelief and filthiness of the flesh, with Jesus as our example (Heb. 7:16).
We are specially warned to “turn away” from those who, “having a form of godliness,” yet attempt to accommodate the naturalistic viewpoint of modern scientism within the Scriptures, thus “denying the power thereof” (2 Tim. 3.5). “Be ye separate, saith the Lord.” Source unknown
III. Three types of Separation in the Bible
A. Moral Separation-separation from sin and worldliness,
B. Doctrinal Separation-separation from those whose teaching and practice is contrary to that of the apostles.
C. Practical Separation-separation from brethren who are committed to disobedient paths.
As followers of Christ, we must separate ourselves from sin and error and practice truth and righteousness. The question is, will you obey this? Will you follow the Lord’s command? The answer is yes, you should.