Notes on Separation
I God always has had a standard and that standard has always involved separation.
A. Lucifer and a host of angels are separated from God.
1. They rebelled against God.
2. God separated them from their previous condition.
3. They separated themselves from God and God then completed that separation.
B. Adam and Eve.
1. They were in perfect fellowship with God.
2. They rebelled against God. They believed that God had kept a good thing from them.
3. They separated themselves from God and He completed that separation.
C. Man is separated from God by sin. Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23; Rev. 20:10-15
1. We are not being punished for Adam’s sin. We all are sinners!
2. We can be restored to God through the life that is in Christ by obeying Him.
3. The natural man is separated from God and God will complete that separation at the last day.
D. The standard of God is that all be separated unto Him.
When a person is saved and that separation from God is removed, he is restored in relationship and fellowship to God, is there still a requirement of any separation? YES!
II. God’s standard of separation has a purpose. Leviticus 20:22-26
A. It identifies a group.
B. It encourages the group to identify the criteria set forth by God for relationship and fellowship
1. Was it easy for the saints of old time to determine who to separate from and who to fellowship with?
a. The Apostle Peter had trouble with this issue.
1). God prepared Peter for a ministry. Acts 10:9-16
a). He knew that God had turned from the nation Israel and was now establishing his church.
b). The law was given to keep Israel separate from other nations and peoples.
c). The law was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, but was also void as there was no nation to be effected.
2). Peter went to the house of Cornelius and preached to them.
3). Peter was accused of having wrong fellowship. Acts 11:2-3
4). Peter explained the situation. Acts 11: 4-17
5). The people saw that God had led in this and praised Him . Acts 11:18
6). Did this end the difficulty for Peter. No! See Galations 2:11-14.
b. The “Son of Consolation”, Barnabas, was caught up in this problem.
2. We can learn from this that everything is not always as we see it! We must be sensitive to the leadership of God in all things. If Peter had trouble with it, we can be sure that we will.
C. It helps the group to maintain division. (Man is naturally weak and needs help) Deuteronomy 20.
1. Be careful in this area of thought.
a. We know that God wants unity
b. Care must be taken in the knowledge that God does not demand unconditional unity.
2. Remember that God always has a dividing standard.
3. Do not assume that every division is wrong. Genesis 2:24; Acts 13:2
III. God’s demands for separation and grounds for fellowship.
A. Can we have any fellowship with non-Christians or non-church members?
1. We are in the world and therefore must have some fellowship with the world, but must maintain a holy testimony. John 17:13-17; I John 2:15-17
2. We can have fellowship with those that have trusted Jesus Christ for salvation I John 4:7-21
B. Paul instructed the members of the Corinthian church to separate from one of the members. I Corinthians 5:1-7
1. This church member had committed a sin that everyone was aware of.
2. The members had not reproved him and he was not repentant of his action.
3. They were to separate from him. He should learn that he cannot continue to live in this sin.
4. Paul spoke of delivering others to Satan. I Timothy 1:20
5. Notice that the basis of breaking fellowship is that the person is a church member. I Corinthians 5:9-13.
6. The man was restored to fellowship upon repentance. 2 Corinthians 2:6-11.
IV. Notice the autonomy of the church through the instructions about separation. All of this separation was within the confines of the church.
A. Paul again instructed the church to be careful in their fellowship.
2 Corinthians 6:11-7:1
1. Note that these instructions are given to the local church.
2. Note that God works with the church, teaching them what they need to do.
3. Refer to the example of the church in Ephesus. Acts 19:8-20
a. They had the Apostle Paul to teach them for over two years.
b. Many of the people were holding on to the old ways.
c. God used fear to get their attention. vs. 17.
B. When a church was wrong in their doctrine, what did Paul do? Remember that he was in a special position as an Apostle. There are no apostles now.
1. He reproved them. Galations 1:6-9; 5:7-12.
2. He instructed them in right doctrine.
3. He encouraged them. I Corinthians 15:58
4. He motivated and challenged them in ministry. I Corinthians 16:1-4
5. He accepted (and even solicited) their help in his ministry I Corinthians 16:5-9
6. He recommended others to them. I Corinthians 16:10-11
7. He reminded them of (possibly) unfinished business. I Corinthians 16:12
C. How can we determine which churches our church will fellowship with?
1. There are no instructions given about inter-church fellowship or breaking of that fellowship.
(Since there is no connection between churches, there is nothing to break.)
2. The church must set guidelines for itself as to inter-church fellowship.
a. A reasonable guide would be the willingness to accept a church’s member into the fellowship of our church by letter from their church. b. By being willing to accept their member by letter of recommendation, we should be willing to accept their fellowship.
c. If the church has changed their stand since the person became a member, the member may be accepted by statement of faith, and yet no fellowship with the church would be pursued.