Commissioned For Separation

by Dr. Ken Matto

If there is one thing which characterizes modern Christianity, is its lack or unwillingness to be separate from the world. Oh yes, on Sunday morning we separate and come together either at church or in a house church. The separation which God commands is a seven day separation and goes beyond just being separate in body. It requires a more intensive separation than just our physical bodies. We may be separate in body but we may be joined in mind or desire.
Throughout the ages, in both the time of the Old and New Testament, God has commanded His people to be separate from the surrounding nations as well as the pagan ideologies. God has never rescinded that command. Yes, it is a command as we will see. God expects us to be the separated people as He has called us out of the world, yet He has not removed us from the world until the time He has ordained for us is complete.
(Lev 19:1-4 KJV)
{1} And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, {2} Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy. {3} Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths: I am the LORD your God. {4} Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the LORD your God.
The word "holy" is the Hebrew word "Qadosh." In the above verse it is in the plural "qodhoshim" which means "a holy people."
(1 Pet 2:9 KJV) But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
The words "holy nation" carry the same meaning as it's Hebrew counterpart. "Nation" is "ethnos" which may also be translated "people." So in both the Old and New Testaments, we are seeing that God has set His people apart as "holy" which means we are a separated people.
(Ezek 22:23-31 KJV)
{23} And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, {24} Son of man, say unto her, Thou art the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation. {25} There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof. {26} Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. {27} Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain. {28} And her prophets have daubed them with untempered mortar, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken. {29} The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully. {30} And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. {31} Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD.
These passages from Ezekiel have given us a great picture of what is going on today in the modern church. The word "conspiracy" means "an unlawful alliance." God had sent Judah into captivity under the Babylonians because of their incessant co-mingling with the false gods and religions of the surrounding nations. There is nothing which can purify a person or people more than some type of adversity. The corporate church along with many individual Christians are making unholy alliances with the world. This is resulting in God's judgment on those congregations which have allied themselves more with the world than with Christ. Let me give a brief list of how God brings judgment on a congregation and then I will give a brief list on how He brings judgment on a believer when they have made unholy alliances with the world.
Congregational Judgments
• Signs, Wonders and Tongues in the church
• False Bible versions (Amos 8:11)
• Unbelievers rule as elders or deacons
• Women pastors, elders, or deacons
• Contemporary Christian Rock music instead of godly worship
• False gospels
• Pastor teaches behavioral theories and history lessons as the norm
• True gospel is prohibited
Individual Judgments
• Confusion (can't find will of God or where I fit in)
• No personal peace
• Restlessness
• Personal problems seem to intensify
• Friends forsake you
• Prayer time seems dry - prayers seem to bounce off ceiling
• Bible study yields little or no fruit
• Our thirst for God seems quenched
• My spiritual conscience is silent
• I lack wisdom
• Personal decisions seem to be continuously wrong
When I speak of individual judgments, I am speaking of God dealing with a Christian who has made unholy alliances with the world. God may use the items in the above list as a way of doing some type of work in our life which is not related to any type of judgment. He may use these items as a spiritual watershed in our life. Let me give some examples of unholy alliances.
Unholy Alliances
• Acceptance of Roman Catholicism as Christianity
• Acceptance of Higher Criticism
• Marriage or business partnership with an unbeliever
• Any amalgamation of true Christianity with false gospels
• Acceptance of worldly principles to order your Christian walk
• Any amalgamation of true Christianity with behavioral sciences such as Psychology or Sociology
• Denial of any parts of Scripture
• Any compromise - whether private or public
• Any sin - as this is the transgression of God's Word (1 John 3:4)
Is the command to be holy or separate still in effect today?
(1 Pet 1:14-16 KJV) As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: {15} But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; {16} Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
The words "Be ye" are in the Imperative Mood which makes it a command. The "Mood" describes the relation of the verb to reality. In other words, does the verb intend to convey an action as really taking place or the possibility that it may take place. "Be ye" falls into the latter but is a direct command.
(2 Cor 6:14-17 KJV) Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? {15} And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? {16} 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. {17} Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
"Be ye" in verse 14 is also in the Imperative Mood but this is known as a "prohibitive statement." It is a negative form of a command. The "be ye" in verse 17 is the same as in 1 Peter 1:16 which we saw above as a direct command.
Neither of these commands to be separate has ever been rescinded. The reason why many Christians do not choose to be separate is because they fear the moniker of "holier than thou." According to the Scriptures we are holier than those unbelievers in the world and we need to act accordingly. There is nothing in Scripture that we are to thumb our nose at unsaved people with a pharasaical attitude either. The separation which God requires for His children is the separation from the ideas, philosophies, and methodologies of the world and when we separate ourselves from them, our actions will then represent our holiness unto the Lord. The reason Christians do not seem to be separate from the world system is because the world holds a subtle principle in its grasp and that is "rationalizing."
The world can rationalize almost anything and cause a Christian to take a wrong path. This is why God has commanded His children to be separate from the world and has not made it an option. Problems arise when we reverse it and make it an option instead of obedience to a command.
(Isa 5:20 KJV) Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
This verse from Isaiah shows how Judah viewed spiritual things. They left the purity of the Law of God and began to follow the false religions and philosophies of the surrounding nations until they could no longer recognize truth resulting in their spiritual evaluation qualities becoming seriously diminished and twisted to the point that truth was no longer recognizable. The Pharisees and Sadducees were so far from the truth that they did not recognize the Lord Jesus Christ as the Messiah who was prophesied throughout the Old Testament. Does it sound familiar? Do we have Christians today both in leadership positions and as church members who cannot recognize truth? There are many clergy in the pulpits who claim that Christ is not God, or that He was just a teacher or martyr for His cause. These types of teachings are in the churches because the church has not separated themselves from the world, especially the religious philosophies of the world.
Why does God command separation of the believer?
Because the true Christian lifestyle begins with separation resulting in obedience but unfortunately as we continue to go on in the Christian walk we tend to make little compromises here and there which eventually throws us off the straight and narrow resulting in disobedience, sometimes getting to the point that we wonder if we are saved. Compromise in any form, large or small, is disobedience.
Let us look at some of the elements in living the separated life:
A Separated Mind
(Phil 2:5 KJV) Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
The same mind which was in the Lord Jesus needs to be strived for in the Christian walk. It would be impossible to list all the ways Christ dealt with people and situations but as you read the Scriptures, you will see the very thought patterns of Christ manifest.
(Rom 8:7 KJV) Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
This verse leaves absolutely no open door for the approbation of the commonly taught false teaching of "Carnal Christianity." If a Christian sins, it does not make them a carnal Christian. If a person continues to sin, then they are carnal (unsaved) and not a Christian. Free Grace is not an open door for free sinning rather it is an open door for free sainthood. Carnality and Christianity cannot be homogenized as they are antithetical to one another.
A Separated Philosophy
(Col 2:8 KJV) Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
The word "philosophy" means the 'love of wisdom." Now as a Christian we are to love and seek after Godly wisdom. You can see a great emphasis on Godly wisdom in the first 8 chapters of Proverbs. We are to seek the wisdom which God gives through His word and through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
In this verse God is warning us that we must not seek the philosophy of the world. The world's philosophy of life and biblical philosophy are also antithetical to one another. Let me give a simple analogy: The Bible says "Wait on the Lord." The world says "Charge It." Our life's philosophy must be according to the Scriptures and not the ways of the world. This also includes the religious realm as much false teaching has come into the church and has adulterated the truths of the Scriptures until the Christian defends the way of the world and actually fights against the truths of Scripture. If you think I am exaggerating, go into a liberal, social church and tell them Christ never commanded the church to physically feed the poor. You will get the boot! The true church is commissioned to send forth the gospel and we have never been commissioned to open soup kitchens. Are soup kitchens wrong? No! But the social churches focus on the physical while the true church focuses on the spiritual.
Let me just make a bold statement to those who pastor inner city churches. If you preach sermons which focus only on the injustices of society, then you have failed and are robbing your people of truth. Your focus should not be on food stamp programs or more welfare, but the sermons need to be focused on Christ who is the great supplier. Nowhere in the Bible is it recorded that God's true people will all be millionaires nor is riches and abundance in this life the fruit of the gospel. Inner city pastors must make Christ the hope and not the government. The reason I singled out inner city churches because I was at a summer camp for a day and there were many children from an inner city church. I figured I would go in to the church service on Sunday morning in the chapel. The man who preached glorified Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King. This man focused his congregation on two mortals and those children left hungry. Christ is the answer, not social reform, which is a good example of a vain worldly philosophy.
Separated Works
(1 Cor 3:9 KJV) For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
The works of the believer is not to try and change the world system but is to build the kingdom of God. In other words, we are to labor in the gospel, to send it forth, and to see other come into the kingdom. Our works are to be separated from those who are trying to better this dying world. For example, a Christian who gives their life to saving the whales, is wasting their life and the kingdom of God loses another worker, by means of a diversion. The Christian who devotes their life to the sending forth of the gospel is the one who is on the straight and narrow. This also includes those who must work each day but is able to become involved after work and on weekends. We are commanded to work but we still have much time left over to do something.
Let me just say before all the whale worshippers e-mail me that I believe that man should not be killing the whales, leveling rain forests for profit, or polluting our lands. I also advocate voting in all the elections you possibly can if your country allows voting.
The progression is simple: If you have a separated mind, then you will embrace separated philosophies, which will result in separated works. Sin, along with false philosophies begin in the mind. When we allow our mind to become programmed to worldly philosophies, we will yield worldly fruit. If we allow our mind to be programmed to the Bible, then we will yield spiritual or separated fruit.
(Rom 16:17-18 KJV) Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. {18} For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
The words "mark them" carries with it the meaning of "examine carefully, or look at." Any time someone brings something into the church which may cause a diversion from the true mission of the church, it must be rejected. There are many well-meaning Christians out there which have taken up causes which have nothing to do with the gospel. It is your responsibility to see that those causes are investigated because remember you are COMMISSIONED FOR SEPARATION NOT CONFORMITY.

This subject is expanded in the article - Separation: A Key to Spiritual Strength (Part 1)  (Part2)