THE QUESTIONS about WORLDLY ASSOCIATIONS

SCRIPTURE STUDY:  2 Corinthians 6:14-18

Although 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 are often applied to various sorts of alliances (e.g., mixed marriages, improper business associations), Paul’s primary ASSOCIATION was probably churchly. 

The CONTEXT of these verses was the leaning tendency of the church at Corinth to listen to and accept the teachings of FALSE TEACHERS and those masquerading in the gatherings of the saints as APOSTLES of Christ.  These false teachers and apostles continually competed for the affections and allegiance of the Corinthian believers, criticizing and lying about Paul in the process.

Paul alludes to this in 1 Corinthians 4:5, where he said,

“So don’t get ahead of the Master and jump to conclusions with your judgments before all the evidence is in.  When he comes, he will bring out in the open and place in evidence all kinds of things we never even dreamed of–inner motives and purposes and prayers.  Only then will any one of us get to hear the “Well done!” of God”  [The MESSAGE Bible].

In 2 Corinthians 6:3-13, Paul defends his ministry.

Showing that he had sacrificed his personal comforts in order to minister to the Corinthian church, Paul points to something obviously missing from the ministry of the false teachers and false apostles.  The false teachers and apostles were merely after a following, ‘fill them church pews on Sunday mornings’, and undue respect and position.

In 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, Paul urges the saints in Corinth to make a judgment, be discriminating concerning the teachers they heard, for some of these people were not real followers of Jesus.

However, Paul also wanted to drive home the point that they shouldn’t try to live with one foot in the world, and one foot in the teachings of Christ.

What they truly believed would affect how they behaved. 

They couldn’t live for Christ while spiritually straddling the fence.

That Brings Us to THE QUESTIONS –

QUESTION #1.  “How can there be Any PARTNERSHIP with the World?”

2 Corinthians 6:14b. c. (NKJV)

“For what FELLOWSHIP has righteousness with lawlessness? And what COMMUNION has light with darkness?”

It might be worth taking some NOTES here:

  1. The word “fellowship” means, “in partnership, participation.  What is there in common, or how can the one partake with the other?”
  2. The word “unrighteousness” [“wickedness”] refers to “lawlessness”. 
  3. The word “communion” is interesting, in that it “…involves close relationship (Arndt), as in marriage or as in the spiritual relationship with God (c.f. 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Cor. 1:9; 1 John 1:3, 6).

Paul is simply saying here that the child of God cannot be close to God while at the same time living in the ways of the world.

The “Stockholm Syndrome” –

John Suk, author, and church minister writes, “Soldiers of the Symbionese Liberation Army kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst on February 4, 1974.  In return for her release, Patty’s kidnappers demanded that her father, Randolph Hearst, give millions of dollars to the poor.  On April 15, 1974, the FBI identified Patty in a videotape of a bank holdup in San Francisco.  On September 18 of that year, Patty was captured.  She served nearly three years in prison for her crime.  It was said that “Patty Hearst suffered from the Stockholm syndrome.  This condition affects some hostages who are so traumatized by their captivity that they IDENTIFY to their captors.”  The syndrome gets its name from a 1973 bank robbery in Stockholm, Sweden, where one hostage fell in love with her captor.  People who then fall prey to the Stockholm syndrome, in essence, sleep with the enemy.”

Many Christians suffer from a “spiritual” kind of Stockholm syndrome.  We find ourselves sleeping with our enemy–the World.

WORLDLINESS is more than a fixation on card playing, dancing, drinking at the local pub after church on Sundays.  True Worldliness is being caught in a sticky web of comments to self.

QUESTION #2.  “How can there be Any PEACE with the World?”

2 Corinthians 6:14-15

The word “Belial” in verse 15 is a synonym for Satan.

Paul stresses the lack of harmony between the children of God and the children of the world with the use of the words, “in common”.  The Greek translation suggests a deep sharing of things–“in common…”  (c.f. its used in Lk. 10:42; Acts 8:21; Col. 1:12)  [Footnote [i].]

QUESTION #3.  “Can there be any PARTICIPATION with the World?

2 Corinthians 6:16 (AMP)

“What agreement [can there be between] a temple of God and idols?  For we are the temple of the living God; even as God said, I will dwell in and with and among them and will walk in and with and among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

The word “AGREEMENT” carries the idea of “…a sympathetic union of mind and a will in a plan mutually agreed to”  [Dictionary.com].

The same idea can be found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

Amos 3:3 (NIV)

[3]  Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?

THE QUENCHING OF WORLDLY ASSOCIATIONS –

Matthew 5:29-3o (NIV)

[29] “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away.  It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”

[30]  “And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away.  It is better for you to lose one part of your body than your whole body to go into hell.”

Terminate SIN, don’t toy with it! (2 Cor. 6:17; Eph. 5:11).

Just a NOTE here concerning the TEMPTATION to ignore SIN.  Charles Spurgeon once said:

“What settings are you in when you fall?  Avoid them.  What props do you have that support your sin?  Eliminate them.  What people are you usually with?  Avoid them.”

There are TWO equally damaging LIES that Satan wants us to believe: 

  1. Just once won’t hurt.
  2. Now that you have ruined your life, you’re beyond God’s use and you might as well enjoy the ride (sinning)!

Learn to say no, asking the Holy Spirit to help you.

THE QUEST TO CONQUER WORLDLY ASSOCIATIONS –

LIVING IN THE SPIRIT IS A MUST!!!

1 Corinthians 6:19 

“Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you.  Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God?  You are not on your own”  (AMP).

2 Corinthians 6:16b

“I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people”  (NIV).

Ephesians 5:18b  “…be filled with the Spirit.”

Galatians 5:16

“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh”  (NIV).

“LIVING IN THE SPIRIT” doesn’t mean that a prayer thrown out to God after discovering we’ve sinned is being in the Spirit.  It’s a moment by moment experience in our living with complete surrender to God’s Spirit.

My QUEST:  May not a single moment go by in my life that is spent outside the light, love, and joy of God’s presence and not a moment without the entire surrender of my self as a vessel for Him to fill with His Spirit and His Love!

We Must Shine as Lights in the World.

A Christian brother and fellow blogger, Joe Rodriguez, both of us are equally yoked with the burden of shinning the Light of God’s Word.  Joe uses a constant theme in his writings of different Lighthouses found around the world.  I particularly enjoyed reading “A Light Among The Light”, Posted on May 1, 2018 [http://lighthousedevotions.blog/]

JESUS’ sermon on the mount message to the people in Matthew 5:14:  “You are the LIGHT of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”

THE EMPHASIS OF THE LIGHT –

The apostle Paul emphasizes the same LIGHT in his letter to the church at Ephesus.

Ephesians 5:8

“For once you were in darkness, but now you are LIGHT in the Lord; walk as children of LIGHT [lead the lives of those native-born to the Light]”  (AMP).

So, does our WALK backup our TALK?

Here’s where CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT comes in to play.

What is CHARACTER?  

Our Character is best described as “the sum of moral qualities associated with a person and suggests ethical strength and excellence.  It is about doing what is right, regardless of what is convenient or popular.” [Charizma Magazine].

The character of a person is comprised of the core principles and values of who we really are, both inwardly and outwardly, in your behavior and relationships.  That’s not just in Christian assemblies, but wherever you spend your time during the day (e.g. work, social gatherings, grocery stores…).

CHARACTER QUALITIES:

  • Faithfulness,
  • Honesty,
  • Integrity,
  • Trustworthiness,
  • Loyalty,
  • Honor,
  • Dependability,

Even good old-fashioned manners are basic to good character.

But because so few Christians exhibit these traits, there has become a huge credibility gap in society and church today.

Many of our unbelieving associations in observing our everyday CHARACTER consider us a bunch of hypocrites.  We want to win the lost for the LORD…”A LIGHT ON THE HILL” but they won’t listen to us, because they only see the glaring inconsistency between our MESSAGE and our lifestyle.

QUESTION #4 – “Does your Christian TALK square with your Christian WALK?”

Is your HONESTY, your CHARACTER above question?

WE MUST BE LOVERS OF ONE ANOTHER!

John 13:35 (AMP)

“By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples if you love one another” [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].

1 Peter 1:22b. (NIV)

“…love one another deeply, from the heart.”

1 John 4:7 (NIV)

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”

Paul taught that the corrupt ways of the WORLD are totally incompatible with the LIFE that’s in Christ Jesus.

The Apostle has asked the church some searching questions to point out the absurdity of Christians trying to straddle the spiritual fence in their daily lives. 

WHERE DO YOU STAND?

____________________________________________________

CREDITS & FOOTNOTES

Footnote:  [i] – John Gill’s Commentary of the Bible

Dictionary:  Dictionary.com – used for this blog.

IMAGES:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP); other translations used are noted.

 

 

 

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2 Replies to “THE QUESTIONS about WORLDLY ASSOCIATIONS”

  1. You said, “Many of our unbelieving associations in observing our everyday CHARACTER consider us a bunch of hypocrites. We want to win the lost for the LORD…”A LIGHT ON THE HILL” but they won’t listen to us, because they only see the glaring inconsistency between our MESSAGE and our lifestyle.” This is a real heartbreaking truth, especially in the western world. Souls are still being saved, but many more could be rescued if we would only “live the talk.” Spreading the Gospel verbally is crucial in areas where it has never been heard, but spreading it by ACTIONS is of greater importance in areas where even pagans and cultists identify as Christians. Thak you for the admonition. It should remind us that while we ARE IN this world we ARE NOT of it. Keep shining for Jesus and His kingdom!

    1. When it comes to our mandate from Jesus before He left this earth, and ACTIVATED by the Holy Spirit we’re ALL called into ACTION–to do so with our mouths. ‘Fence sitting’ won’t catch it!

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