Have I Come Out?

Have I Come Out?

“Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord” 2 Cor. 6:17

While reading an article, extolling the virtues of a famous person recently, I was amazed by his accomplishments and honors. Wondering how he had come to such a life I was struck by how easily I could admire someone whose life was deeply embedded in the world and its charms. And then I wondered if I had come out?

To come out is not a phrase unique to the 20th century and needn’t be limited to one’s sexual preferences, instead it is a command of God for His followers…you and I, to come out from the world. To be separate from the world. Have I? Or am I blended like homogenized milk, an equal part of the world, indistinguishable from people who reject Christ as their Savior? Does my lifestyle illuminate the darkness in the world or have I reduced the flame to an ember so as not to offend? Have I come out?

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 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. (Isaiah 52:11; Ezek. 37:27; Ex. 29:45; Lev. 26:12)

In case you are wondering how God sees our coming out from the world, it is important that we understand what He is NOT saying as found in 1 Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 5:9-12 In the letter that I wrote you I told you not to associate with immoral people.10 Now I did not mean pagans who are immoral or greedy or are thieves, or who worship idols. To avoid them you would have to get out of the world completely.11 What I meant was that you should not associate with a person who calls himself a believer but is immoral or greedy or worships idols or is a slanderer or a drunkard or a thief. Don’t even sit down to eat with such a person. 12-13 After all, it is none of my business to judge outsiders. God will judge them. But should you not judge the members of your own fellowship? As the scripture says, Remove the evil person from your group.

Ephesians 5:1-3 Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. 2 Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. 3 Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people.

1 John 1:6-10 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

Often, when faced with a life change, we naturally seek a set of rules to help lay the groundwork, light the path or make the change easier. However, we seek for them in vain since God has made it clear it is what doctors might describe as, “a heart condition.” Coming out for us requires our effort, our diligent effort. But if that were all, then the most disciplined person among us could proudly proclaim their success and right-standing with God.

Coming out from the world is a result of our faith at work (Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith; Heb. 12:2). Reading the Bible, praying, choosing to call upon the Lord when we are weak, admitting to Him we are incapable in ourselves and praising and worshiping our Savior. Contrary to the world, God uses our weakness and dependance on Him to accomplish what is humanly impossible.

1 Corinthians 1:27-31 God purposely chose what the world considers nonsense in order to shame the wise, and he chose what the world considers weak in order to shame the powerful.28 He chose what the world looks down on and despises and thinks is nothing, in order to destroy what the world thinks is important.29 This means that no one can boast in God’s presence.30 But God has brought you into union with Christ Jesus, and God has made Christ to be our wisdom. By him we are put right with God; we become God’s holy people and are set free.31 So then, as the scripture says, Whoever wants to boast must boast of what the Lord has done.

Coming out from the world is not a thing I do, it is a life I live, through the grace of God.

Where Are You?

 

“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”  Ps. 22:1

 

            After twenty-five years as a Christian, Blake’s life seemed to be listless and ordinary. Sitting in his den one evening, he mentally scanned back over the years, looking for reminders of a time when his life with Christ was more vital, more compelling. Finally he settled in on a period when his faith was vital, alive and compelling. It was a time when he trusted God for most of his decisions and actions; a time when just the thought of the Lord brought a smile and energy. Unfortunately, it was a time in the past; too many years in the past.

            With a shudder, Blake realized he had become lukewarm. Surprisingly, his first response was a challenge to God which took the form of Jesus’ words on the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 14:34). Like a shot in the dark, Blake felt the presence of the Holy Spirit reminding him that he never been abandoned. Tears began to flow as Blake confronted his diminished faith and lethargic life in Christ. He realized, with a shudder, that he had become like the Laodicean Church in Revelation 3:16, lukewarm. In his self-pity, Blake was actually blaming God for his weakened faith.

            Rev. 3:14-19   “Write to the angel of the church in Laodicea:

“The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Originator of God’s creation says: 15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I’m rich; I have become wealthy and need nothing,’ and you don’t know that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked, 18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire so that you may be rich, white clothes so that you may be dressed and your shameful nakedness not be exposed, and ointment to spread on your eyes so that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be committed and repent.

            Hope was surging again as the Holy Spirit took Blake to another Scripture of assurance.

            Heb. 12:4-6   For in your struggle against sin you have not yet had to resist to the point of being killed. Have you forgotten the encouraging words which God speaks to you as his children? “My child, pay attention when the Lord corrects you, and do not be discouraged when he rebukes you. Because the Lord corrects everyone he loves, and punishes everyone he accepts as a child.

            Over the years, God had become commonplace to Blake, a friendly and distant connection to the promise of eternal life. His daily worries and plans had edged God aside from first place to second, then third, and so on. Instead of being the cause of joy and peace in his life, Blake’s diminished faith eventually placed God  as the reason for his confusion and feelings of abandonment. “God, why have you forsaken me?”

            1 Thess. 5:23-24  Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

            On his knees, Bible in hand, Blake’s faith was being transformed again, renewed by God’s Holy Spirit as Scripture after Scripture invigorated his soul.

            Rom. 8:28, 31  We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God; those who are called according to His purpose. . .What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

            Heb. 13:5-6  Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never leave you; I will never abandon you.” 6 Let us be bold, then, and say, The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?

            James 4:6-10   You are like unfaithful wives, flirting with the glamour of this world, and never realising that to be the world’s lover means becoming the enemy of God! Anyone who deliberately chooses to love the world is thereby making himself God’s enemy. Do you think what the scriptures have to say about this is a mere formality? Or do you imagine that this spirit of passionate jealousy is the Spirit he has caused to live in us? No, he gives us grace potent enough to meet this and every other evil spirit, if we are humble enough to receive it. That is why he says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

            Like a hot shower on a cold day, God’s word flooded over Blakes mind, soothing his soul and strengthening his spirit. Taking in God’s words and walking in his forgiveness, Blake was back on the narrow path which leads to eternal life.

           

 

 

 

The Naked Cross

The Naked Cross

It is finished. Spear in His side. The evil men do, cannot stem the tide. Pull Him down. Into the tomb. Still and quiet, like a mother’s womb.
Three days slip past, His friends are lost. Is it true, they wonder, the Messiah, at what cost?
Women at the tomb, it’s empty they scream. Indeed, He is risen, tis not a dream
Jesus is alive, delivered from death; raised from the tomb, Obedience gave Him breath.
And now, you and me, what shall we say? If God raised Jesus, He’s with us today. The Master planner, Creator supreme, gives us new life, it’s not a dream.
Be born again, how can that be? Just call out to Jesus, His forgiveness you’ll see.