Unify in Christ & Come Out From Them – 6-15-22

“I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Second Corinthians chapter 6 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Marks of the Ministry

We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says:

“In an acceptable time I have heard you,
And in the day of salvation I have helped you.”

Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed. But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much [a]patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by [b]sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

Be Holy

11 O Corinthians! [c]We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open. 12 You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections. 13 Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open.

14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what [d]fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what [e]communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you[f] are the temple of the living God. As God has said:

“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.”

17 Therefore

“Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
18 “I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.”

Footnotes

  1. 2 Corinthians 6:4 endurance
  2. 2 Corinthians 6:6 Lit. unhypocritical
  3. 2 Corinthians 6:11 Lit. Our mouth is open
  4. 2 Corinthians 6:14 in common
  5. 2 Corinthians 6:14 fellowship
  6. 2 Corinthians 6:16 NU we

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Acts 4:12- “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

While Paul was defending his ministry we learned about the mind set of God and to be kingdom minded – to see other the way God sees them. Hopefully we pray that God will help us to see others His way and That God helps us get all the goodness of Yesterday’s reading into our hearts.

Paul really goes hard in these chapters here – packing them full of good information, spiritual truths and powerful, life changing verses, if we receive the word of the Lord and get it inside of us.

Paul founded the church at Corinth and stayed there building it for a few years. When they were stable and it was time to move on and continue he missions work, Paul left. Shortly after members of the church came to him and told him there were divisions and problems. Paul wrote a letter to correct them and encourage them and they did not receive it well and things became worse and worse. This letter was written after it all came to a head and Paul is trying to show them that he still loves them, as well as defending against the last few divisions and accusations. Yesterday was some beautiful spiritual help on reconciliation among mankind as well as between mankind and God.

And now Paul starts this chapter with pleading with them to work together with each other, with God AND with Paul (and Paul’s team) just as Paul’s team all works together. And that not working together is, well…

1 We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.”

It is like receiving that transformative gift of grace in vain. I can stay on this one verse all day, because how many of us had at some point received the grace – but nothing has happened since. We were changed. We read strong Biblical messages, we teach the Bible in truth, we follow all those guys who expose the globalist agendas and we know all the right things. We read, check. We pray, check. We study, check! We have all the boxes clicked. But yet, your critically ill friend died – as if your prayers had no effect. But yet, other of you can’t get growth and followers in your ministry. But yet, each of you affected, has your own blockage.
Now let us walk carefully here. Some blocks are the work of the enemy and some blocks are God pulling back, because you received grace in vain. When God pulls back – go towards him with all you have.
You will need to pray about your situation and see which it is in your life.
In my life I have asked God if it is me, am I wrong, and did I miss the mark – and the Lord gives me a message about Job. I ask for confirmation and I received a message about continuing through the storm like a wall – stay on course, from 2 different people who have never met. Now, you may have a block in the spirit because of attacks like storms. OR you may have a block because you aren’t playing well with others!

If you can’t play well with other, Paul shows us that we received our grace in vain – the vain part is because we initially changed and then became a fat spoiled baby demanding our own way. Like the Corinthians we disregard the leadership God puts over us and become divided. Until the abomination is resolved, or reconciled, and we become Kingdom minded and not denominational minded or focused only on the physical building we occupy… Until we get true unity, like Acts chapter 2… Until we can all come together – our mission and work is in flesh and not spirit. Even if we are reading and praying and seeking God and still think we are right. The folks at Corinth stubbornly thought they were right – and until that pride breaks down, their grace was in vain. (I mixed my tenses on purpose – because I see little Biblical or historical evidence that they managed to get over their pride.)

The purpose of grace is to transform us, so we become witnesses, sharing God’s grace in unity as working members of a larger global body where CHRIST is the head, not the denomination, not the local pastor and certainly not any of us reading this!

Now Pau takes an Old Testament passage and applies it here to this stage – to the disunity, pride, and failure to do anything with the grace God gave you, except become a fat baby. I know this is a hard word. The church that raised me is divided and scattered all over town. I left for 15 years or so and I come back to visit them all and see residue and evidence of this very verse – may God reveal its deeper truth to you.

Now, this has not just played out in some of our hearts and in some of our communities – But it HAS and is playing out in the Government of the United States of America. AND it is playing out all over the world. This same division is the SAME spirits, disruptions and flesh problems we saw in the church at Corinth. This call to not be vain Christian applies to us on a global stage as well! It is a prayer and call to ACTION!

The prayer is this:

“Then I said, ‘I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and in vain; Yet surely my just reward is with the Lord, And my work with my God.’” Isaiah 49:4 NKJV

The next verse says God has heard our prayer and verse 3 gives an example of the action.

For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

This verse is a quote form Isaiah 49 which is about a servant bringing light to the gentiles and unity to all the people who God loves and even thought the gentiles believe, God is remembering Zion. The SAME chapter that the prayer for their vain work was in. (I’ll add the chapter at the bottom of this post in case you want to easily find and read it.) Between the suggested promises here and the stated promises in Isaiah 49, this is a message for ‘We the People’ right now in 2022!

In hindsight, God gave me a bunch of verses on “time” in 2019/2020 and I handed them to my best friend and said – God is saying something to me – and she assured me God would reveal it. And now here we are talking about my divided nation – the body of Christ being divided into denominations and sects – and even my own home people scattered by this same methodology of the enemy. And IT IS TIME for us to take it back. Not in our vain efforts – but by the mighty hand of God! This isn’t about something small, although it has small implications – it is a global revelation that a unified body of Christ is the ONLY way we will survive and even thrive! Some of you were reading back in 2020 when I had so many “time” downloads. The hour is late, later than we think. It is time.

So what do we do?

We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed. But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”

We keep checking off the boxes. We keep doing the things of the Lord. We keep praying and studying. BUT we also work on reaching out to others in other denominations and other churches and planning events together and soul winning campaigns together and Street fairs and we join forces with those in the Christian Patriots movement and those in the Populous movement and we say – it is ok if we do not all believe exactly the same things. Jesus is our head and that is all that matters.
We live a life without offense. We go to those we have offended or who have offended us and we seek reconciliation. And we plan a block party together to tell our testimony to our neighbors – how we have been reconciled in the Lord. (Because as we learned yesterday, to reconcile is to take two things and make it equal a third thing – and that third thing is our Lord!)

11 O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open. 12 You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections.”

Restricted by your own affections. As I says above – God pulls back his grace in your vanity and you feel restricted, lack of growth, fat babies. Paul takes it to the next step here. See if he said it above, man would be trying to figure out the plan and not listen, of maybe not receive the reason. Paul gives the plan first, releases a vision of a united Church fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 49, THEN the reason. Because of their pride – their own affections.

Sometimes it is better to say you were wrong and you are sorry, even if you aren’t wrong. Isn’t unity more important than who was right or wrong here on earth? Granted – some conflicts are not about anyone being wrong of right – it is about needing to separate for the Glory of God and come back together – but sometimes in that process one of them gets offended. Who then must apologize? It doesn’t matter – it is about the reconciliation.

What if that person is toxic? Well, now we have the exact situation Paul is in. Some of these divided, accusatory people in Corinth were extremely toxic to Paul.  So Paul wrote them this letter and there is no record of Paul ever visiting or writing again. Even in John’s revelation of Jesus (book of revelations) the seven churches that heaven speaks of do not include the church of Corinth.
Toxic people often push those who they love away. Sometimes God gives you what you ask for even if you do not realize you are asking for them to be gone from your life. Reconciliation is possible – but both parties buy be open and honest about it.

13 Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open.”

Just like Paul tells these Corinthians – open up and humble yourselves. And Paul is so gentle and gingerly about it. He goes on to explain why. AND funning enough generations of people (and possibly the Corinthians feel like the next verse changes the subject and starts rattling of “to-do”s in Christianity. But friends, Paul has not deviated from his point for 5 chapters now – standing in authority, defending the work of God, and encouraging us to be unitedly heaven minded. So the next verse doesn’t change the subject.

14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?”

Now let us go back and discuss the format of the early church. They did not meet in building – many were secret and underground meetings as Christians were getting killed. So they worked and lived among the heathen and this is ok – we must reach people someway. And then once they are converted, bring them into the fold. SO that is NOT what Paul speaks against.
If a new believer is married to a non-believer, we just read in the last book that Paul says you can divorce, but it is better if you can find a way to stay together for the spiritual covering of the children and for the hope of the spouse and children’s salvations.  So that is NOT what he is saying.
Even though this don’t apply to marriages specifically many have applied it to young believers warning them not to marry unbelievers. Not in context, but just happens to work.
If we never interacted with unbelievers, how would we reach them? MOST of us reach people by our Christ-like living and example at work and in sporting events and the like. So that is not what he is talking about.

Remember when we studied 1 Corinthians and discussed that this was not just a pagan community with multiple temples – but this community was only out templed in number by the Ephesians. And these principalities and powers were deep roots – dating back into the earliest part of the Greek Empire and lasting in mass past the Byzantine Empire and into the early Holy Roman Empire. Even today there are people who still worship in the pagan temples of that area.
In the year 146 the city was destroyed by Rome (about 100 years after this letter was written). The city was rebuilt and in the 4th century destroyed by earthquake and rebuilt. Ironically large portions of those temples remained and still stand.
Like the temple of Apollo Epicurius, built in the 5th century on the remains of an ancient temple that was destroyed in the earthquake. It is the only Greek temple on the UNESCO World Heritage list. It is undergoing restoration, and beneath it is being dug up for archeological finds from the previous temple AND new statues and modern temple items have been made and dedicated to this temple.
The enemy ruling in that area then is still there. Because the people in the church at Corinth wanted to be cool and hip and fit in. They did the same things as the people of the world, and then made compromises in the church as well.
When Paul says not to be unequally yoked it was because the people in the church were being influenced by the world instead of the world being influenced by the church. It was a directive to anyone still trying to be hip. As a teenager – this would have applied to me: trying to dress, act and look like Cindy Lauper and listen to pop music, you couldn’t tell I was a Christian by the way I looked, dressed or acted. I was also trying to make best friends with people outside of my church – guess what, they not only dragged me down, but I also surpassed them and dragged them down. This is what Paul means.
Remember in the last letter the Law in Rome was women were to wear head coverings and men were not. And they had a few rebellious women refusing to follow the law AND they were unruly during services. They refused to follow the law, because there was a huge women’s liberation movement happening in the pagan world and the church women jumped on board. Paul explained not only that they needed to get in line with the law – but that there is also a spiritual benefit as the covering represents authority.
I do not want to rehash it all – but this was a very forward thinking modern city for its times – with very modern social issues.

Paul continues to explain what he means – first we are to be in unity with The Body of believers and not in unity with the pagan, not equally yoked.

15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.”

This alone might be shocking to them, since we know from Paul’s previous letter that they ate with the pagan and sometimes eating the pagan’s sacrifices.
Are you getting the picture? There was no differences in appearance, behavior, anything.

17 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” 18 “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.”

(Cross reference is with Isaiah 52)

Now in 1st Corinthians Paul said there was no unclean thing except that which bring offense. And now he says to not touch what is unclean? Knowing there is NO contradictions in the Bible, and understanding who Paul is writing to and why – Paul just quoted an excellent verse. The Jews were not to touch anything unclean. The rest of this verse is the point! Come out from among them. Since Abraham God marked His chosen people and since Moses His people had different behaviors and laws. The lived with and near pagan, but they stood out and were different. They did things differently. They came out from among them.

As a teenager, I was friends with a family of strict fundamentalist – everyone knew by looking at their long hair and floor length dresses and long sleeves and no makeup – that they were Christians. No doubt about it. The girl my age was permitted to go to the Ball. In a long dress with sleeves of course. But she had on makeup and her hair was curled and she looked so different. All night she said she felt uncomfortable. Later in life she said that night had a profound impact on her. She knew who she was in Christ and that night she was a fraud, dirty in the makeup and sick over the ‘dirty’ dancing. She felt she betrayed Christ. So after she continued to live her life covered with long hair and no makeup.
Her sister was not permitted to go to her Ball the year before. Always felt like she missed out. Her sister became a tad more liberal and permitted herself natural looking makeup, pants, long shorts, dressed below her knew and short sleeves. I do not know if it was because she missed the Ball, but the sister certainly missed the heart felt meaning of being separate, Holy unto God.

Being unified in Christ and coming out from among the unbelievers like Paul, unlike the Corinthians is the message for today – all presented as a defense of Paul’s ministry and authority over them.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

***

Isaiah 49 NKJV
The Servant, the Light to the Gentiles

49 “Listen, O coastlands, to Me,
And take heed, you peoples from afar!
The Lord has called Me from the womb;
From the [a]matrix of My mother He has made mention of My name.
And He has made My mouth like a sharp sword;
In the shadow of His hand He has hidden Me,
And made Me a polished shaft;
In His quiver He has hidden Me.”

“And He said to me,
‘You are My servant, O Israel,
In whom I will be glorified.’
Then I said, ‘I have labored in vain,
I have spent my strength for nothing and in vain;
Yet surely my [b]just reward is with the Lord,
And my [c]work with my God.’ ”

“And now the Lord says,
Who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant,
To bring Jacob back to Him,
So that Israel is [d]gathered to Him
(For I shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord,
And My God shall be My strength),
Indeed He says,
‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob,
And to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles,
That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ”

Thus says the Lord,
The Redeemer of Israel, [e]their Holy One,
To Him [f]whom man despises,
To Him whom the nation abhors,
To the Servant of rulers:
“Kings shall see and arise,
Princes also shall worship,
Because of the Lord who is faithful,
The Holy One of Israel;
And He has chosen You.”

Thus says the Lord:

“In an acceptable[g] time I have heard You,
And in the day of salvation I have helped You;
I will [h]preserve You and give You
As a covenant to the people,
To restore the earth,
To cause them to inherit the desolate [i]heritages;
That You may say to the prisoners, ‘Go forth,’
To those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’

“They shall feed along the roads,
And their pastures shall be on all desolate heights.
10 They shall neither hunger nor thirst,
Neither heat nor sun shall strike them;
For He who has mercy on them will lead them,
Even by the springs of water He will guide them.
11 I will make each of My mountains a road,
And My highways shall be elevated.
12 Surely these shall come from afar;
Look! Those from the north and the west,
And these from the land of Sinim.”

13 Sing, O heavens!
Be joyful, O earth!
And break out in singing, O mountains!
For the Lord has comforted His people,
And will have mercy on His afflicted.

God Will Remember Zion

14 But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me,
And my Lord has forgotten me.”

15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child,
[j]And not have compassion on the son of her womb?
Surely they may forget,
Yet I will not forget you.
16 See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;
Your walls are continually before Me.
17 Your [k]sons shall make haste;
Your destroyers and those who laid you waste
Shall go away from you.
18 Lift up your eyes, look around and see;
All these gather together and come to you.
As I live,” says the Lord,
“You shall surely clothe yourselves with them all as an ornament,
And bind them on you as a bride does.

19 “For your waste and desolate places,
And the land of your destruction,
Will even now be too small for the inhabitants;
And those who swallowed you up will be far away.
20 The children you will have,
After you have lost the others,
Will say again in your ears,
‘The place is too small for me;
Give me a place where I may dwell.’
21 Then you will say in your heart,
‘Who has begotten these for me,
Since I have lost my children and am desolate,
A captive, and wandering to and fro?
And who has brought these up?
There I was, left alone;
But these, where were they?’ ”

22 Thus says the Lord God:

“Behold, I will lift My hand in an oath to the nations,
And set up My [l]standard for the peoples;
They shall bring your sons in their [m]arms,
And your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders;
23 Kings shall be your foster fathers,
And their queens your nursing mothers;
They shall bow down to you with their faces to the earth,
And lick up the dust of your feet.
Then you will know that I am the Lord,
For they shall not be ashamed who wait for Me.”

24 Shall the prey be taken from the mighty,
Or the captives [n]of the righteous be delivered?

25 But thus says the Lord:

“Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away,
And the prey of the terrible be delivered;
For I will contend with him who contends with you,
And I will save your children.
26 I will feed those who oppress you with their own flesh,
And they shall be drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine.
All flesh shall know
That I, the Lord, am your Savior,
And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 49:1 Lit. inward parts
  2. Isaiah 49:4 justice
  3. Isaiah 49:4 recompense
  4. Isaiah 49:5 Qr., DSS, LXX gathered to Him; Kt. not gathered
  5. Isaiah 49:7 Lit. his or its
  6. Isaiah 49:7 Lit. who is despised of soul
  7. Isaiah 49:8 favorable
  8. Isaiah 49:8 keep
  9. Isaiah 49:8 inheritances
  10. Isaiah 49:15 Lit. From having compassion
  11. Isaiah 49:17 DSS, LXX, Tg., Vg. builders
  12. Isaiah 49:22 banner
  13. Isaiah 49:22 Lit. bosom
  14. Isaiah 49:24 So with MT, Tg.; DSS, Syr., Vg. of the mighty; LXX unjustly

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