The Cost Of Losing Our Separation
1 Kings 13:7-10 And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward. And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place: For so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest. So he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel.
The man of God kept himself separated in his association with this ungodly king. He would not fellowship, eat or drink, or even stay at this king’s (Jeroboam’s) home; nor would he accept a reward from him. In this, he did well. There is much we can learn from here.
The Lord does not want His children to fellowship with the lost, with the ungodly, with the friends of the world. We had better stay separated if we want to please our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. He Himself has said in John 14:15, If ye love Me, keep My commandments.
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 exhorts us to stay separated and faithful to the Lord: Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
When we lose our separation, our lives are affected and we find that there is a cost to ourselves and to others. Many of these points overlap and we find the cost may be more than we bargained for.
1) The Cost To Ourselves:
Shortly thereafter, the man of God met an old prophet who claimed to have instructions from God (received by an angel) that contradicted the clear instructions the man of God had already received. Upon listening to this new counsel, the man of God disregarded his separation, compromised in his way, and harsh consequences soon followed.
1 Kings 13:11-19 Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father. And their father said unto them, What way went he? For his sons had seen what way the man of God went, which came from Judah. And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they saddled him the ass: and he rode thereon, And went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak: and he said unto him, Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah? And he said, I am. Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread. And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place: For it was said to me by the word of the LORD, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest. He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him. So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water.
Many times, we as Christians (those of us who have received Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour), know what the Word of God says about various areas of our lives (or we can easily learn these things by looking them up in our Bibles). In obedience, we strive to live the way the Lord Jesus would have us live, but then along comes a professing Christian and says that it’s alright to compromise. Don’t be too godly; don’t be too radical. You will have more of an impact on the lost if you become more like them – more like the world. Even King Solomon agrees that this is the philosophy of those under the sun, without God. Ecclesiastes 7:16-17 Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself? Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time? The world says don’t be too righteous, don’t be too wicked. The world likes lukewarm believers, but the Lord Jesus Christ is sickened by them. (See Revelation 3:16) Unfortunately, this ungodly counsel tickles our ears and we give in to compromise. Our old flesh likes to be involved in worldly activities, worldly entertainment, and get caught up in fair sounding worldly philosophies. It is easy for us to remove the boundaries of separation that we have placed around ourselves (in accordance with and in obedience to the Word of God), and we reap the harvest that we have sown: loss of joy and peace, lack of contentment, the consequences of our ungodly living, and the chastisement of the Lord.
Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
The Lord wants us separated in two ways: separated from this compromising, Christ-rejecting world, and separated unto God. God’s children (those who are born again) are to be with and be identified with their Saviour, Jesus Christ, who dwells outside the camp of this world. Hebrews 13:12-13 Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach. (See also Leviticus 20:26)
1 Kings 13:20-26 And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came unto the prophet that brought him back: And he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the LORD, and hast not kept the commandment which the LORD thy God commanded thee, But camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the LORD did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers. And it came to pass, after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass, to wit, for the prophet whom he had brought back. And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcase was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase. And, behold, men passed by, and saw the carcase cast in the way, and the lion standing by the carcase: and they came and told it in the city where the old prophet dwelt. And when the prophet that brought him back from the way heard thereof, he said, It is the man of God, who was disobedient unto the word of the LORD: therefore the LORD hath delivered him unto the lion, which hath torn him, and slain him, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake unto him.
Being disobedient to the clear instructions and commandments found in the Word of God have unpleasant consequences. In the case of the once godly prophet, we find that the Lord delivered him unto the lion. The prophet was then torn and slain by this wild beast.
The enemy of our souls, the devil, is also referred to as a roaring lion. As we can see from 1 Peter 5:8-9, we don’t want to lose our steadfastness because he is near waiting to tear and devour the children of God. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
The devil, our adversary, wants us to walk contrary to God and His Word; he wants us to disobey the Lord’s clear instructions and wander out of the way. He is always lurking nearby and waiting to pounce on those Christians who let down their guard – their guard of separation and obedience. Don’t let your enemy chew you up, maintain your separation. For your own safety and spiritual peace of mind, walk in the old paths of separation and obedience. Jeremiah 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. Don’t be like the Israelites mentioned in this chapter of Jeremiah, choose to walk in the good way, the way of peace and holiness, and you will find daily rest for your souls – the rest of victory in Christ.
1 John 1:6-7 teaches us to walk in the light and have our fellowship with the Lord and with godly Christians. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. The reverse is also true: if we choose to walk in compromise and lose our separation, then we will lose our fellowship with Jesus Christ until we repent of our sins and get right with the Lord.
When we lose our separation, we lose our spiritual power and influence, and are no longer the salt and light we are commanded to be in this lost world. Matthew 5:13-16 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
2) The Cost To The Lost And To The Cause Of Christ:
Separation from ungodly and worldly friends. This includes guarding our hearts and not courting or marrying someone who is unsaved. Also, not making business partnerships with the ungodly. Eventually, if you are serious about serving Jesus Christ and walking with Him in daily fellowship, you will find yourselves spiritually torn between walking the paths of holiness and the paths of ungodliness. Keep reaching out to the unsaved around you, keep sharing the Gospel, but don’t put yourself in danger by becoming like the lost and losing the ground you have gained in your walk with the Lord. (This is called backsliding – sliding back from the spiritual heights you have already obtained.) I recently heard a saying that is so true and applicable here: To make a difference, you must be different! We will have more impact on the lost if they can see the difference that knowing Jesus Christ makes in our lives. They don’t need friends that wallow in the mud with them, but ones who are willing to strive to pull them out of the mire!
By our participation in ungodliness and the entertainment of the world (covered in the next section), we give the lost the message that their lifestyles and worldliness is not wrong, that God is pleased by whatever we do. That is simply not true. So many unbelievers are led to believe that they do not need to repent and turn from their sin and come to the Saviour, because they see Christians involved in those same sinful activities. If a Christian can live like the devil, why do the lost need to turn to the Saviour? Our influence for the cause of Christ and our testimonies are marred or ruined! And the lost are still on their way to a fiery, eternal Hell!
3) The Cost To Lukewarm Or Professing Believers:
Separation from ungodly and worldly entertainment. The Bible clearly teaches that we are not to be involved in the occult (including witchcraft and sorcery), neither follow after false gods and religions, nor to be involved in fornication and adultery (this includes lusting in our hearts for someone whom we are not married to). (See Matthew 5:28) Ephesians 5:3-4 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. If it is wrong for us to practice these things in our lives, then it is wrong for us to be entertained by them – whether it be through TV, through movies, through video and computer games, through the Internet, or through music, or other forms of entertainment.
The Lord doesn’t want His children listening to the ungodly music of the world! Yet too many professing “Christians” believe it is alright to listen to Rock music or “Christian” Rock (Contemporary Christian Music, a.k.a. CCM). We need to stay separated in these areas!
If I have struck a nerve in regards to music, I challenge you to do one thing first before you get upset with me: thoroughly research these musicians and their songs! Then tell me I’m wrong after you have:
1) critiqued their lyrics – are they in accordance with the Word of God and do they correctly teach about salvation in Jesus Christ, or are they vague or clearly ungodly?
2) critiqued their lifestyles and beliefs – especially if you are listening to so-called Christian Rock or CCM.
I was caught up in CCM for almost half of the ten years I have been saved and, then about five years ago, I started researching the beliefs and lifestyles of these groups. I can honestly say that of all of the groups that I listened to or were familiar with (that were involved in CCM), not one of them was in accordance with the Word of God! In regards to the lyrics, many of the songs by CCM groups were vague or outright contradicted the Scriptures. Some of these groups were members of cults and false religions (ie. Catholics, Oneness Pentecostals, Seventh Day Adventists, or even involved in New Age). If some of these artists do not even understand the Gospel (that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone), how can they write godly lyrics? It is impossible as the unsaved cannot understand the things of God, according to 1 Corinthians 2:14! I have read accounts of so many members of CCM groups being involved in adultery or fornication (even while they were supposedly being led by God to write the songs on their albums!), or being addicted to pornography. There are others that are caught up in the partying lifestyle or play their concerts in bars and other ungodly places. There are many men in CCM who have long hair, in disobedience to God’s clear command in 1 Corinthians 11. Many of these groups are Charismatic/Pentecostal in practice and doctrine; the majority of them are ecumenical. It all boils down to a lack of separation. They look like the world; they sound like the world; they sing about the same philosophies of the world. The Bible teaches in James 4:4: 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. What are you doing fellowshipping with the enemies of God?
1 John 2:15-17 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. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Separation from unsaved or false teachers. There are too many professing Christians who follow after ungodly or outright heretical spiritual leaders. If they are preaching and teaching heresy, we need to stay away from them. The Lord doesn’t want us listening to (or reading) the vain philosophies of the world, nor absorbing the teachings of false teachers. If the person is wrong about what the Gospel is (ie. how to be saved), denies the fundamentals of the faith, or is just outright ecumenical, we are not to get caught up in their books, tapes, or TV programs. In Proverbs 19:27, we find this clear command from the Lord: Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge. Don’t just pick out the bones – stop eating the tainted meat! Philippians 4:8 teaches us what types of things we are to meditate on (and focus on): Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Whatever we fill our minds with will influence us – whether it is godly OR ungodly. Like the saying I have heard countless times in regards to our minds being like computers: Garbage in, garbage out. What we put in our hearts will eventually come back out again! (See Matthew 15:18-19 and Proverbs 23:7)
Separation from heretical denominations and ecumenical alliances/groups. It seems almost redundant to say this, but I feel it is necessary. I know too many people that attend solid, fundamental, Bible-believing churches that participate in Bible studies, fellowships, or conferences put on by wacky or watered-down churches or organizations. If these churches are too heretical for us to attend their services, what are God s children doing attending their Bible studies? What do we think they are presenting in these studies? Their doctrines, of course! Some examples of these types of studies are Women’s Aglow (which is Catholic in doctrine/influence), and the Alpha Course (which is Charismatic in doctrine/influence).
You may think that you can have an influence on the lost or confused in these denominations by attending their studies and fellowships, but I ask you to consider this: What impression are you giving these people? By your participation in their church studies and activities, you are causing them to believe that their church is alright; that it is not heretical or that is doesn’t believe false teachings. By your lack of separation, you are encouraging others to stay on their path of religiousness. This will not save them; only personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ can, believing in His death for their sins, His burial, and His physical resurrection.
Stay away from ecumenical organizations, like Promise Keepers, and ecumenical churches. So many denominations and cults are blurring the lines of their doctrines so they can be united together. This is just preparing the religious world for the one world church that the book of Revelation predicts will come together in the end times. By the way that’s what ecumenical means: one world, the whole world, or all the world. The uses of this Greek word in the book of Revelation show that the devil clearly has this goal in mind, and the ungodly world rushes madly to fulfill his ecumenical plans. (See Revelation 3:10; 12:9; 16:14)
There are many names of CCM artists and false teachers that I could give in regards to my comments above, but I felt if I mentioned certain ones, someone reading this may just limit themselves to separating from those specific groups and individuals. Put everything in your life under the authority of the Scriptures and you will not go wrong!
As mentioned above, our compromising and lack of separation hinder our influence on the lost and religious crowd, but it also hinders our exhortation and encouragement towards lukewarm believers. We are giving other Christians the impression that they can stay in their backslidden state and still live a life pleasing to God. That is impossible! It is our responsibility to maintain our fellowship and walk with the Lord and then we will be able to properly obey commands to exhort one another. The word exhort means to call near, and Biblically carries the idea of calling other Christians to come nearer to the Lord and obey His Word, to draw closer to Him.
Hebrews 3:12-13 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
Hebrews 10:23-25 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
4) The Cost To The Lord:
For a Christian who wants to please the Lord and see others come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, this cost is probably the most damaging. When we lose our separation, we cause the world to brand us (Christians) as hypocrites and to disregard the message of salvation we desire to share with them. Many times the Gospel message is confused or perverted in the minds of the lost because we contradict God’s Word in the way we live.
When King David sinned with Bathsheba, Nathan the prophet came and told the King what the consequences of his sin were. There was one effect that grieved the Lord most of all, and should cause His children sincere regret and sorrow: David’s enemies used his sin and compromise as an excuse to blaspheme the Lord and His Word. Instead of glorifying the Lord through all we say and do, we find the all too real danger of Jesus being blasphemed when we break down the walls of our separation.
2 Samuel 12:13-14 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.
When we as Christians disregard the boundaries of our separation, and become like the world, our hypocrisy has a damaging effect.
Romans 2:17-24 Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, And knowest His will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.
A perfect example of this cost and the solution is found in 1 Samuel chapter 17. Here we have the account of David’s battle with Goliath. The Israelites were being challenged by the Philistines. Because of their compromise and worldliness, they did not have the strength to face their enemies, and the God of Israel, the true and living God, was blasphemed and defied. That is until David, a godly shepherd, stood up for the truth, withstood the giant Goliath, and defeated him by the power of God.
1 Samuel 17:45-46 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
Let’s live our lives in such a way that the Lord Jesus Christ is glorified and those around us know that He is the true and living God!
Let’s Stay Separated!
Let’s be consistent in our stands! Let’s not be hypocrites – professing one thing and living another! Let’s not cause the name of the Lord to be blasphemed. Let’s let the world, including the religious crowd, know whom we believe in (Jesus Christ), why we are persuaded that He is the only way to Heaven, and why we are to follow Him closely each day. (See 2 Timothy 1:12) Let’s show them that the Bible is our sole authority in life and doctrine. Let’s be separated unto the Lord!
If we stay separated and faithful to the Lord, Satan may desire to sift us through testing and temptations, BUT he will not be able to devour or destroy us. Let’s stay on guard against that old roaring lion! Let’s stay steadfast, sober, and vigilant in our walks with the Lord.
Psalms 1:1-3 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
Isaiah 35:8-10 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there: And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Psalms 18:30 As for God, His way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: He is a buckler to all those that trust in Him.
Let’s stay on the good paths of godliness and separation. Let’s walk in the Lord’s way. Let’s govern our lives by the Word of God. It is the way of safety and spiritual prosperity. Let’s stay separated!
Written May 14th, 2003
By Jerry Bouey