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COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, November 2, 2003


"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" (II Corinthians 6:17-18).


The doctrine of separation is one of the most important teachings in the Bible. Christian separation means that you come out of the world and trust Christ. Separation is well described in the nineteenth chapter of Genesis. God told Lot to separate himself from the people in the city. God said,

"Up, get you out of this place: for the Lord will destroy this city" (Genesis 19:14).

Lot reluctantly obeyed God, and left Sodom. But Lot's wife did not want to separate herself from her lost friends. As Lot was leaving, his wife turned around to go back with her lost friends. And the Bible says,

"His wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt" (Genesis 19:26).

The fire and brimstone that came down on the city covered her. She was encrusted with the brimstone and her body was encased in a molten pillar. And Jesus said,

"Remember Lot's wife" (Luke 17:32).

If you turn back into fellowship with the lost people of the world, you will be destroyed with them in the fire of God's judgment.

"Remember Lot's wife."

Our great Baptist forefather John Bunyan doubtlessly had the story of Lot and his wife in mind when he wrote Pilgrim's Progress in the 17th century. Bunyan tells of a man who starts out searching for Christ. The story is told as a parable, in the form of a dream. Bunyan said,

Now I saw in my dream that the man began to run. He had not gone far from his house when his wife and children came crying after him to come back. But he put his fingers in his ears, and ran on, crying, "Life! Life! Eternal life!" He did not look back, but increased his speed toward the middle of the plain.

His neighbors came out to see him run and, as he ran, some mocked, others threatened, and some called after him to return. Among those who did so were two men who resolved to go after him and bring him back…Then said the man, "Neighbors, why have you come?" "To persuade you to return with us," they answered. He said, "That can never be. You [live] in the City of Destruction…And all who die there will sink lower than the grave into a place that burns with fire and brimstone. Be convinced, good neighbors, and go along with me." "What!" exclaimed [the man who followed him]. "And leave all our friends and comforts behind?" "Yes," said [the man seeking Christ], "for all that you [give up] is not worthy to be compared with…that which I seek…" (John Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progress in Today's English, retold by James H. Thomas, Moody Press, 1964, pp. 13-14).

What a powerful picture Bunyan gives us! This is what happens to every person, in one way or another, who experiences interest in becoming a Christian. The lost people in the City of Destruction will do their best to pull you back, and keep you from Christ. "What? And leave all our friends behind?" Yes, said Bunyan, for that is the way to salvation in Christ. It was true in Lot's day. It was true in Bunyan's day. And it is still true today! Separation is required.

"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you" (II Corinthians 6:17).

I. First, separation is taught throughout the Bible.

Please look at II Corinthians 6:14,

"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" (II Corinthians 6:14).

"Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers." Matthew Poole says, "Do not become such as in the same yoke draw another way. It is a metaphor drawn from horses or oxen; which should draw together, being in the same yoke" (Matthew Poole, A Commentary on the Whole Bible, Banner of Truth, 1990 reprint, volume III, p. 618).

"Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers." This phrase is rooted in the commandment in Deuteronomy 22:10,

"Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together"
   (Deuteronomy 22:10).

Dr. John R. Rice gave this comment,

One of the plainest doctrines of the Bible is the doctrine of Christian separation. It was the one teaching that God pressed daily, repeatedly, eternally, upon Jews…When the Israelitish farmer hitched up his team, he said in his heart, "God commands me not to plow with a mixed team. I may plow with two oxen or two donkeys; but I cannot mix them, because God wants me to remember that I am not to mix with those who are not God's people" (Dr. John R. Rice, The Unequal Yoke, Sword of the Lord, 1946, pp. 4-5).

Separation from fellowship with unbelievers is taught from one end of the Bible to the other.

"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" (II Corinthians 6:14).

II. Second, separation takes you out of fellowship with the world
and into the fellowship of the local church.

Please turn to John 15:19, and let's stand together and read it out loud,

"If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you" (John 15:19).

Focus on those words, "I have chosen you out of the world." Read those words out loud, "I have chosen you out of the world."

Now turn to John 17:6,

"I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world …"

You may be seated.

The Greek word translated "world" in both of these verses refers to lost mankind. Jesus said,

"I have chosen you out of the world" (John 15:19).

This implies separation. We are chosen "out of the world."

The Greek word translated "church" in the New Testament is "ekklesia." It means "the called out ones," from "ek" out of, and "kaleo" to call (Vine). So, the word "church" means "the called out ones," or "an assembly of called-out ones" (Scofield, note on Matthew 16:18).

Please turn to Acts 2:47. Here we have a description of what happened at the local church in Jerusalem. Let's read the second sentence of this verse out loud,

"And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47).

Jesus said,

"I have chosen you out of the world" (John 15:19).

"And the Lord added to the church [the called out ones] daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47).

Thus, we see that we are called out of the world and into the local church.

"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord…" (II Corinthians 6:17).

Biblical separation takes you out of fellowship with the world and into the fellowship of the local church. You leave the world behind, and make a whole new set of friends in the church.

III. Third, separation is a matter of the heart.

Please turn to James 4:4. Let's stand and read it out loud,

"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).

That is a clear statement, isn't it? "Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." You may be seated.

Jesus was kind to lost people. He even ate with publicans and sinners. But His close friends were the Disciples, Mary and Martha, and Lazarus. His friends were all true Christians - and He calls you to follow Him.

"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"
      (II Corinthians 6:17-18).

Albert Barnes gives these remarks, based on our passage in II Corinthians 6,

They who are about to make a profession of religion should resolve to separate themselves from the world, verses 14, 15. Religion [i.e. Christianity] cannot exist where there is no such separation, and they who are unwilling to forsake infidel [i.e. unbelieving] companions and the [worthless, foolish] amusements and vanities of life, and to find their chosen friends and pleasures among the people of God, can have no evidence that they are Christians…there must be an effectual line drawn between the friends of God and the friends of sin…While we do not refuse to mingle with them as neighbours and citizens as far as we can without compromising Christian principles, still our chosen friends and our dearest friendships should be with the people of God. For, his friends should be our friends; and our happiness should be with them, and the world should see that we prefer the friends of the Redeemer [Christ] to the friends of gayety, ambition, and sin (Albert Barnes, Notes on the New Testament, II Corinthians, Baker Book House, 1985 reprint, page 162).

Barnes told us, "They who are about to make a profession of religion [Christianity] should resolve to separate themselves from the world…and to find their chosen friends and pleasures among the people of God" (ibid.).

As John Bunyan put it, to those who tried to pull a man back from seeking salvation,

"You live in the City of Destruction…and all who die there will sink lower than the grave into a place that burns with fire and brimstone. Be convinced, good neighbors, and go along with me." "What!" exclaimed [the man who followed him]. "And leave all our friends and comforts behind?" "Yes," said [the man seeking Christ], "for all that you [give up] is not worthy to be compared with…that which I seek…" (John Bunyan, ibid.).

You are called out of the world to Christ. The person who refuses to stop looking to the friendship and comfort of the world will not look to Christ. You cannot look in two directions at once! "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways" (James 1:8). A "double minded" person will not look savingly to Christ!

"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate…and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you…" 
      (II Corinthians 6:17-18).

Separation is a matter of the heart. Christ wants you to stop trusting the world and trust Him instead. As the old hymn puts it,

"Give me thy heart," says the Saviour of men,

Calling in mercy again and again;

Grace more abounding is mine to impart,

Have I not died for thee? Give me thy heart.

"Give me thy heart, Give me thy heart,"

Hear the soft whisper, wherever thou art;

From this dark world He would draw thee apart,

Speaking so tenderly, "Give me thy heart."
    ("Give Me Thy Heart" by Eliza E. Hewitt, 1851-1920).

Will you come out of the world, and trust Jesus, the Son of God? Will you look to Him in Heaven, and be washed clean from your sins by His Blood? I would like to talk with you about that in my office. Will you come and stand here in front of the pulpit? Then we will go to my office and talk about you trusting Jesus. You come, while Mr. Griffith sings that song, "Give Me Thy Heart." You come, while he sings it.


(END OF SERMON)

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: II Corinthians 6:14-18.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"Give Me Thy Heart" (by Eliza E. Hewitt, 1851-1920).

THE OUTLINE OF

COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"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" (II Corinthians 6:17-18).

(Genesis 19:14, 26; Luke 17:32)

I.   Separation is taught throughout the Bible, II Corinthians 6:14;
Deuteronomy 22:10.

II.  Separation takes you out of fellowship with the world and
into the fellowship of the local church; John 15:19;
John 17:6; Acts 2:47.

III. Separation is a matter of the heart, James 4:4; 1:8.

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."