“Do you renounce the Devil, and all his works, and all his ways?” Our Baptism unites us to Christ. Being united in true Fellowship with Jesus means forsaking all ‘fellowship’ with lawlessness, darkness, the devil, idolatry and unbelief…for the Lord has called you together to stand apart, to be his living temple, sons and daughters of Our Father, through Christ Jesus.
Hear the full audio of “Called Together to Stand Apart in His Fellowship“
2 Corinthians 6:1-18 (ESV)
1 Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For he says,
“In a favorable time I listened to you,
and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”
Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 3 We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4 but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5 beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; 7 by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8 through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.
11 We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. 12 You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. 13 In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also.
14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,
“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
17 Therefore go out from their midst,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
then I will welcome you,
18 and I will be a father to you,
and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.”
Bible Study/ Sermon Outline Notes
INTRODUCTION: Series Recap
PART ONE: The Grace that Reconciles us to God
A. Follows on his appeal for genuine reconciliation with God and each other in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5) Ambassadors of Reconciliation, God making his appeal through us.
1. Reconciling a checkbook (financial/legal accounting aspect)
2. Reconciling a marriage or family (relationship/restorative aspect)
B. The Hardship Paul Willingly Endures from those outside the Church, to draw them into Fellowship by the preaching of the Gospel
1. Dangers of travel, calamity (shipwreck), health problems (Paul’s thorn), violence, persecution, etc.
2. “beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger” (v.5)
C. The Opposition The Apostle Faces from those inside the Church
1.Restricted by their own affections (things they personally desire and prefer, v.12)
2. Preference for favorite personalities/leaders, personal pride at tolerating incest/promiscuity, desire to hold on to pagan activities and idolatrous worship practices, disagreement in clinging to personal opinions against the apostolic teaching/Word of God. (See many issues/examples in First Corinthians)
D. Paul strives to constant, positive response
1.) Gentle, good behavior: “by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love” (v.6)
2) Faithful adherence to the Word: “by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left” (v.7)
PART TWO: Some Irreconcilable Differences in Christ
A. Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.
1. Sometimes in reference to marriage of a believer and unbeliever (1 Cor. 7:1-16), here he means yoked together in Christian Fellowship
2. Reference to ‘unbelievers‘ can include disciples (Thomas in Jn 20:27) or people who claim to know God (see unbelieving false teachers in Titus 1:10-16, portion allotted unbelievers at final judgment Rev. 21:7-8)
B. Five questions, five words, showing what he means by “unequally yoked”
1. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? (hapax) Or
2. what fellowship (x19) has light with darkness?
3. What accord has Christ with Belial? (OT name for the Enemy, Satan)
4. Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? (x5)
5. What agreement has the temple of God with idols?(hapax)
PART THREE: CALLED TOGETHER TO STAND APART
A. CALLED TOGETHER with God & Each Other
1. Called by God into Fellowship with His Son
2. Called by the Preached Word into Fellowship with Us
3. Called out of Darkness into Light and Fellowship
4. “For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (v.16)
B. TO STAND APART from lawlessness, unbelief, etc.
1.Inclusive unity in Christ with sinners forgiven, justified by grace, reconciled with Father, Son, apostles, prophets, etc.
2.Together in Christ’s reconciling and uniting purpose–for righteousness, in light, with believers, as the temple of God
3.Fellowship includes genuine partnership, accord, portion/inheritance, agreement, sharing in God’s grace and blessing
4.Excludes all lawlessness, darkness, Belial’s divisive & destructive purpose, unbelief, idols. Christ redeems us by His blood, saving us from these things. Belonging to Christ means separation from and renouncing of “the devil and all his works and all his ways.”
5. “Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you.” (v.17)
6. Standing apart as family, relatives in the blood of Christ, sons & daughters together with Our Father (v.18)
7. Our Lutheran forefathers teach us to apply these verses to discerning our relationship (or lack thereof) to others who self-identify as Christian, but deny Christ and His Word, elevate their own authority and opinions over the Lord’s, and would require introducing changes to worship contrary to the Gospel (TPPP, 41; FC, Ep. X, 6; FC, SD X, 6; FC, SD X, 22)
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