SC: Session One, John MacArthur

Highlight Video:

Macarthur began with his pastoral concerns, first of which was the question of separation. He begins by contrasting biblical separation from that of mean-spirited fundamentalism. His emphasis is that we should practice separation, but in the most biblical manner.

2 Cor 6:14ff - we cannot have genuine fellowship with unbelievers. 7:1 - "Therefore," biblical separation has a sanctifying work upon us.

Two opposing realms - light and darkness, believers and unbelievers - and these are mutually exclusive. One is wicked, the other is holy. Believers cannot live in both of those worlds.

America is the first culture that had a separation between church and state. In the Roman world, becoming a Christian had huge social implications: a total break. This could be a lesson to us who are a part of the generation that seeks to mingle culture and faith.

Paul is making a clear call of separation. He is not calling for isolation, where we would never talk to an unbeliever, but he is calling the church to be a separate entity from culture. We don't engage in spiritual enterprises like prayer meetings. Five reasons why:

1 - Engaging in spiritual activities with unbelievers is irrational.
Consider Paul's four rhetorical questions"
  • (quoting from the NASB) "for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness" - unbelievers are characteristically opposed to the law of God.
  • "what fellowship has light with darkness?"
  • "what harmony has Christ with Belial." This refers to corruption, worthless one. A son of Belial or Satan has nothing to do with Christ or a son of God.
  • "what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?"

2 - Engaging in spiritual activities with unbelievers is sacrilegious.
All of those who are not in the true religion are demon worshipers! Or, "what agreement has the temple of God with idols?" (v. 16). We can't mix religions, and we can't bring false things into the church.

Unbelievers, BTW, don't mind engaging in enterprises with us. Note that we are the temple of God.

3 - Engaging in spiritual activities with unbelievers is disobedient.
Note the imperative: 'come out from their midst and be separate,' says the Lord. 'And do not touch.'" Just like Israel was to come out of Egypt, so too were the Corinthians.

Don't touch!

4 - Engaging in spiritual activities with unbelievers is unprofitable.
God embraces those who are separate: "And I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, And you shall be bsons and daughters to Me." Why loose potential blessings from God?

I think I missed a part at this point, because I think MacArthur said he had five points. Oops! (No, I wasn't getting a haircut!)

But he turned to 7:1 - "let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." Those who love God pursue holiness.

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