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What Fellowship?

A distinction exists between the things of God and the things of this world. A difference exists between God’s people and unregenerated sinners.

When I spoke of the Knowledge of the Holy, I introduced you to the concept of separation. A

distinction exists between the things of God and the things of this world. A difference exists between God’s people and unregenerated sinners.

Apostle Paul highlights this difference in 2 Corinthians 5:17:

If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

2 Corinthians 5:17

When you receive the New Birth, your nature changes. You no longer feel comfortable living after the customs of the world. Instead, you desire to become like Christ.

You no longer have fellowship with the people and works of darkness. Despite this, you will feel…

Forces of compromise.

After accepting salvation, you can’t expect to set your life on cruise control. You have responsibilities to God. You have contrary forces to deal with.

What do you think Satan says when someone gets saved? Do you think he says, “There goes another one to God. I’m going to stop working against him”? No way!

Satan leverages the flesh, the carnal mind, and the world to negate the influence of believers in the world. Many people, including so-called religious leaders, fall for Satan’s tricks.

If you pay attention, you’ll notice that some so-called “Christians” don’t adhere to Bible doctrines. They pick what they want from God’s plan and ignore what seems inconvenient.

By compromising, they lose their chance of positively influencing the world around them.

I want you to be aware of…

Personal compromise.

Sadly, “getting saved” doesn’t eradicate your sin nature. Apostle Paul observes that he must constantly fight an internal war. He says,

I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

Romans 7:23

If left unchecked, you can become captive to the law of sin. Although Christ set you free, you can again become a slave.

I also want you to be aware of …

Success-driven compromise

In Romans chapter three, Apostle Paul alerts us to the fact that some people want to achieve success using the wrong methods.

Let us do evil, that good may come?

Romans 3:8

The world is littered with “Christian” leaders who want to find a new recipe for “success.” They look for ways to modernize “church” to appeal to new generations. Though not necessarily bad, the idea often leads to compromise.

Do you blame them? I don’t. Nobody wants to preach to empty rooms. Who wants to have a “dead” church? Everyone loves being part of a “happening” thing.

Unfortunately, God’s way often seems unpopular. Here’s what Jesus says about it:

Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Matthew 7:24

Also, Jesus promises that

Ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake:

Matthew 10:22

What does that mean in real life? It reveals the unpopularity of true religion.

It means that true Christians will most likely never comprise a fanbase large enough to enrich an entire worship industry.

To compensate, “churches,” “ministers,” authors, and performers loosen their standards to attract the lost.

However,

This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.

James 3:15

James also weighs-in on the matter of compromise:

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

James 4:4

Many have found (and embraced) the lucrative benefits of compromise. But, in the end, judgment will come.

Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

1 Corinthians 3:13

You might also feel pushed toward…

Mandated compromise

Over the past 2,000 years, the world’s governments have worked hard to destroy Christianity. Millions of believers have been slaughtered. Armenia, the Soviet Union, and China have all put to death God’s people.

Major movements in Canada and the USA either have criminalized (or attempted to criminalize) the Bible and its teachings as “hate speech.”

Of course, you don’t have to die for your faith. You can agree to abide by the government’s rules and still have a “church.” Simply by putting the government and political correctness first, you can still expose people to the Gospel. Right?

I’m not so sure.

Compromisers publish new “Bible” translations that accommodate modern political and social activism. Get rid of gender pronouns! Stop talking about the blood! You can’t preach against perversion!

If you don’t like something in the Bible, just take it out. Right? People might still “bump into Jesus.” Right?

Wrong.

We ought to obey God rather than men.

Acts 5:29

The Bible does NOT command us to obey government.

Another aspect of compromise is…

The unequal yoke

Compromise has been part of the New Testament church since the beginning.

We recognize this as Apostle Paul issues a divine command in 2 Corinthians 6:14:

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers…

2 Corinthians 6:14.

I’ve heard this text interpreted to say that a believer shouldn’t marry an unbeliever. While that’s true, the command covers every aspect of life.

If you’ve received God’s salvation, you must not join unbelievers in any common cause.

You must not take part in false religion. You must not offer compromisers warm wishes. If you do, you become partakers of their sins (2 John 1:11).

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into [your] house, neither bid him God speed:

For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

1 John 1:9-11

John simplifies the issue in his first epistle:

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

1 John 2:15

You have nothing in common with the world. You have nothing in common with unbelievers. You have nothing in common with the world’s religion.

You should never attempt to remove that barrier. This is the doctrine of separation.

Right now, you may be aware of “believers” who have yoked themselves unequally in marriage, in business, in church, and in politics.

This should not be so.

What fellowship?

In 2 Corinthians 6:14-16, Apostle Paul asks several questions to help us understand the folly of compromise.

  • What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?
  • What communion hath light with darkness?
  • What concord hath Christ with Belial?
  • What part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
  • What agreement hath the temple of God with idols? 

“None” is the answer to each question.

Righteousness can’t coexist with unrighteousness. Light can’t coexist with darkness. Christ and Belial have nothing in common.

Believers share no common ground with infidels.

God will not share His glory with idols.

But people try to make it happen. They try to make the church look, feel, and sound like worldly entertainment. They change the preaching of the Gospel into a message they hope won’t offend anybody.

Such compromise disobeys God’s Word. In Ephesians chapter five, we learn that Christians are to

Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

Ephesians 5:11

When you compromise with darkness rather than reproving it, You lose. You see, God operates with…

Conditional acceptance.

Now is the time to lay to rest the notion that God accepts you regardless of what you do.

God’s love is unconditional. He loves you regardless of what you do. However, God’s fellowship is not unconditional.

You are God’s temple (2 Corinthians 6:6), but God will not dwell in a defiled temple.

If you want to have fellowship with God, you must separate yourself.

Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

1 Corinthians 6:17

In John’s Revelation, God continues the call to separation:

Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

Revelation 18:4

If you try to mingle God’s light with darkness, you will share in the world’s fate. God will reject you.

If you try to blend unrighteousness and righteousness to make a “new method” of reaching the lost, God will reject you.

If you form partnerships with unbelievers, you’ll lose God’s presence. You can’t put anything above God in your life or He will abandon you.

Respond

Apostle Paul’s reasoning against compromise is clear. First, it doesn’t make sense. How can diabolically opposed entities work together?

Second, our compromise causes God to reject us.

Considering his message against compromise, Apostle Paul, in the following chapter, tells us how to respond.

Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

2 Corinthians 7:1