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Are You Strange?

I.        INTRODUCTION

A.      Let us consider a passage of Scripture from 2Corinthians 6:14-18.

                                                             1.      Notice three terms found in verse 14: “bound,” “partnership,” and “fellowship” (NASB).

a.       In the King James Version, these terms appear as “unequally yoked,” “fellowship,” and “communion.”

b.       The first term, “bound,” is more accurately expressed as “unequally yoked.”  It conjures the image of two beasts of different kinds, such as a donkey and an ox, being harnessed together.  The differences in the two animals make such an arrangement inappropriate for pulling together.

c.        The second term, “partnership,” is from the Greek word metoche and is accurately translated.  It indicates a joint participation in some endeavor.

d.       The third term, “fellowship,” is a slightly broader term than “partnership.”  It indicates a communion or sharing in common.

                                                             2.      All three of these terms are used to denote something that believers in Christ are not to have with unbelievers.  Believers should not be unequally yoked with unbelievers, they should not have partnership with unbelievers, and they should not have fellowship with unbelievers.

a.       The meaning of this is that believers cannot have spiritual fellowship with unbelievers.  There are fundamental differences between them that make spiritual fellowship impossible.

b.       The differences are profound, and this is demonstrated by the contrasts shown in verses 14-16.

                                                             3.      The logical conclusion to this truth is in verse 17, “‘Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,’ says the Lord.”

a.       This indicates that there is to be a discernable difference between believers and unbelievers.

b.       Notice that this is not a physical separation (1Cor. 5:9-10).  Rather, it is a distinction in beliefs and behaviors that set Christians apart from the world.

B.      Are we making the proper application of 2Corinthians 6:14-18 by distinguishing ourselves from the world?

                                                             1.      We sing, “This world is not my home, I’m just a-passing through.”  Do we prove it through what we do?

                                                             2.      Many Christians want to think that they are internally different from the world while appearing to be exactly the same.  Yet the Lord has said, “Come out from their midst and be separate.”

                                                             3.      What makes you different from the world?  Are you strange?

 

II.      ARE YOU STRANGE?

A.      Do you have strange priorities that set you apart from the world?

                                                             1.      The Lord declared what our top priority should always be: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33).

                                                             2.      A Christian’s life is to be dominated by his or her pursuit of the things of God above all else.

a.       Consider Colossians 3:1-4.  Notice how a priority upon the things of God affects everything that a Christian does.  Paul even said that Christ is our life (v. 4).

b.       Paul’s life demonstrated the priority that he had set upon the kingdom of God, for he said, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21).

                                                             3.      Do your priorities set you apart from the world?  Can it be said that Christ is your life?  Does anyone in the world notice your strange priorities?

B.      Do you have strange beliefs that set you apart from the world?

                                                             1.      Today, the so-called “wise” of the world believe in such philosophies as evolution and humanism, as well as practices such as abortion and homosexuality.

a.       Persons who believe in such things often deride and mock those who do not, labeling them as foolish, uneducated, old-fashioned, bigoted, or superstitious.

b.       However, “the foolishness of God is wiser than men” (1Cor. 1:25).  The Scriptures describe those who forsake God for man-made wisdom, saying, “Professing to be wise, they became fools…” (Rom. 1:22).

                                                             2.      A Christian does not believe as the world believes and is not ashamed of it.

a.       Consider 1Peter 3:14-16.  Rather than cowering when our faith is assailed, we should honor the Lord and present a defense for the hope that we have.

b.       Too often Christians avoid controversy over their beliefs because they are afraid of rejection or of offending others.  Therefore, they determine to blend in with the world rather than defending their Lord who bought them.

                                                             3.      Do you stand out in the world because of your strange beliefs, or do you try to keep your faith a secret?  Does anyone in the world notice your strange beliefs?

C.      Does your strange behavior set you apart from the world?

                                                             1.      There is a constant effort in the world to promote all kinds of ungodly behavior.

a.       This effort has increased in the United States in recent history due to the various new media used to spread ungodly ideas, but the world has always tended toward ungodliness.

b.       In any age, God’s people must resist the influences of the world to participate in any ungodly deeds, regardless of how widely accepted such deeds may become.

                                                             2.      While the world pursues ungodliness, believers in Christ should be all the more outstanding because of their good behavior.

a.       Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).  The darker our world becomes, the brighter our lights must shine.

b.       Consider 1Peter 2:11-12.  Notice the distinctions that Christians are to have as “aliens and strangers” who are to “keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles.”  That excellent behavior will be a source of glory for God in the “day of visitation.”

c.        Such godly behavior will surprise worldly minded people.  Peter said, “In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you” (1Pet. 4:4).  To the world, it is strange that a Christian does not drink alcohol, dance and party, watch filthy movies, etc.

                                                             3.      Are you set apart from others around you because of your choice to refrain from common, ungodly practices?  Are you distinct because you choose to do that which is good in the service of God?  Do they notice your strange behavior?

D.      Do your strange words set you apart from the world?

                                                             1.      Worldly people use filthy language and suggestive speech.  This is very common on television, in movies, and in every day life.

                                                             2.      However, God has intended for His people to speak in such a way so as to bless others and glorify Him.

a.       “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” (Col. 4:6)

b.       “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” (Eph. 4:29)

c.        “And there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.” (Eph. 5:4)

d.       “Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God…” (1Pet. 4:1)

                                                             3.      Do your words impress others that you are a servant of God?  Do they notice your strange words?

E.       Does the clothing that you wear show that you are different from the world?

                                                             1.      Many modern fashions are patently immodest and indecent, such as shorts, miniskirts, tight clothing, “hip huggers,” short or low-cut shirts, and bathing suits.

                                                             2.      Believers in Christ should understand that their bodies are not objects for lustful display, but rather they are “temples of the Holy Spirit” that are owned by God (1Cor. 6:19-20).

                                                             3.      Are you careful and modest in the selection of the clothing you choose to wear?  Does your modest apparel give you a different appearance from unbelievers?

 

III.   CHRIST WAS STRANGE

A.      Our goal is not simply to be different from others in the world.  It is to be like Christ, who happened to be different from the world and was rejected by the world (John 1:10).

B.      Therefore, let us imitate Christ, who is our example (1Pet. 2:21).  Even if people in the world consider us to be strange, we must be faithful to the one who died for us.




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