Invite you to Second Corinthians 6 is where we are together. Second Corinthians 6. As we dive further into this passage of of scripture, beautiful book of the Bible. I love, love, the book of Second Corinthians and the how frank Paul is in living his life in light of Christ and giving us an inside picture of of what he endured in his ministry in order to to glorify Jesus and bless others for the sake of the Gospel.
And it’s a reminder to us that when we serve the Lord, that serving the Lord is is not always an easy road to walk, that there is there is a cost that comes along with that. But what God ends up doing through our lives as we surrender to Him as a beautiful ministry and a beautiful work for the sake of the Gospel, to the benefit of others.
And Paul’s reminded us in the Chapter five. Chapter six, if you remember, was we got to the end of Chapter five, verses 17 and on. Paul talks about creating, creating within us a new work. You literally become a new creation in Christ and the old has passed away. All things have become new in Jesus. And and God gives you this new identity in chapter 20, where you’re an ambassador and you’re bringing about this work of reconciliation, where it’s acknowledging that this world is not reconciled to God, that there is sin that separates us from God.
But God has created you as a new creation, sent you out as an ambassador to call people into this ministry of reconciliation where they can have a relationship with God to things, things to what Christ has done. And verse 21 reminds us of that, that he became sin, who newness in Jesus became sin, who knew no sin, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Literally, Christ takes our sin that we might take on the righteousness of Christ so that when God looks at us, He sees the perfection of Jesus.
When the Lord looks at you this morning, He doesn’t want you to sit in your shame and your suffering because your shame and your guilt, as you say, because or we could talk about suffering, but especially your shame and guilt because God has has reconciled what is separated you from from him. When Jesus covers your sin, he covers past, present and future. If you want a verse for that Hebrews chapter ten versus 12 to 14, when Jesus paid for your sin, he paid for all of it. Jesus said in John 1930, It is, it is finished. And so God is doing this, this beautiful work in you, and God wants to do this beautiful work through you. But but Paul reminds us in the second Corinthians Chapter six, that with that there is there is a cost. If you look in verse eight, he reminded us of just just that struggle we might experience.
There’s honor, yes. But there’s also dishonor. There’s slander and praise treated as imposters and yet as true unknown, yet known, dying. And yet we we live punished and yet not killed, sorrowful, yet rejoicing in verse ten poor yet making many rich. So he’s acknowledging that before the Lord there is this beautiful position that we have. But from the perspective of the world, there is this the sacrifice that is that is made. There is a battle and a struggle to follow after Christ in in this world and a cost. The costs contempt us to compromise.
Every day we’re faced with those sort of temptations that your identity and Jesus is something different and other than what the systems of this world might offer. And your everyday decisions, you have the opportunity to to glorify Christ through that or to compromise that position for the things of this world. And this is where Paul brings us to in the message this morning is Paul wants to to discuss for us how to live with an uncompromised conviction for the sake of Christ. Paul sees the calling of Christians as important, and rather than wanting them to or seeing them compromise in that, Paul wants them to live differently. And so he starts in the second Corinthians, chapter six, verse 11, saying this We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians. Our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections.
In return, I speak to you as children. Widen your hearts also. When Paul gives us this phrase, he’s giving us this line as one from from a place of pain. He’s pouring out his life and he’s doing everything that God has given him the the ability to do in order to love the Corinthian church. And the Corinthian church is a messed up church. In fact, there’s a book called The Corinthian Catastrophe that just talks about all the New Testament churches. If you want to talk about one of the churches that was really messed up, it’s the Church of Corinth. And Paul has just continuing to lay down his life and to love them unconditionally and and to not let that go. An he’s asking the same thing from the Church of Corinth, yet they’re not reciprocating in that same love towards him. And Paul is in this passage talking about how significant that is for the body of Christ as they work together as a community, that they would have this mutual concern for the well-being of one another as they live their lives, for the glory of God as a community for Christ.
What’s interesting is, as Paul is talking about, his heart being open in their heart being open towards him or encouraging their heart to be open towards him, the literal Greek translation actually doesn’t say heart.
Well, Paul actually says is this is interesting. We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians. Our bowels are wide open. That’s all Paul says. And then he says, and your bowels seem restricted. And so you need to have a better bowel response, a better bowel movement, a verse 13. In return, widen your bowels also. That’s kind of gross so we translate it a little differently.
We don’t like to talk about our our bowels or especially in public settings. That’s an uncomfortable conversation. That’s something for you. Get a little retired in life. Maybe that’s something you might achieve as a success. Those kind of those kind of things. But. But. What Paul’s interested in here. It’s for the church to respond. In a Christ like way, right? Paul calls the church to love him. And I think what’s important to recognize here is the reason or motivation behind why Paul asks them to do this.
And it’s not because Paul feels inadequate. Church, I really love you, and I don’t feel really important, and I need you to make me feel important. And so in order to make me feel important, I want you to love me too. Rather, what Paul is saying is, look, I’ve already found myself content in Christ. I find my identity shaped in Jesus. But but what Paul wants the church to recognize is that by not listening, by not listening to the apostle Paul there, they’re cutting themselves off from the very words of the Lord because Paul’s been sent out as an apostle.
And to reject the Apostle Paul is to reject the message of Christ. And so Paul sees the importance of unity in their relationship for the sake of the message that God has called him to share with the Church of Corinth. And so therefore, in order to receive that message and communicate that with with each other and to live as a community for Christ, they need to understand what God says. And so that that relationship becomes paramount to experiencing what God desires for that people. As they live for for his glory.
There’s an old African proverb. Maybe you’ve heard me share it before, but it says this If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far. Go together. How important it is for God’s people to to live on mission, not not as an isolated individual, but as an uncompromised community. And so point number one in your blank, if you want to if you want to live with an uncompromised conviction for Christ, what we need to do is to do that together. So. So number one is to be be united in the Lord. Be united in the Lord. Your heart wide open. When we think about this, this idea of unity, I think it’s important to say this. Look, as God’s people, we’re not calling for unity for the sake of unity.
The goal isn’t unity. The goal is to glorify God. And sometimes if you’re not careful when people talk about unity, the whole motive behind their unity is just simply unity. And unity by itself cannot stand. The whole point of unity is what’s driven for the purpose of that unity. Unity, eventually, for the sake of unity, will fall because there’s nothing motivating it.
And so when Paul is talking about unity here, he’s not talking about unity for the sake of the unity. He’s talking about unity for the cause of Christ, which are called to as a community together. And then then there’s Paul’s understanding of this passage of Scripture is that, look, I care the message of Christ as his as his apostle into this world. And so the message that I carry is sacred and important. And so to deny me is to deny the very message of Christ. And we need to strive together for this cause.
You see this passage, we we realize, as Paul is talking about, the importance of unity. He’s also recognizing that it’s not perfect. It’s not perfect. Meaning meaning as as God’s people, we don’t step into a community. And if things don’t go the way we want, just say to ourselves, Oh, well, we gave it a shot and move on. Rather, what Paul is acknowledging is that because we are individuals and all of us have different wants and needs within life, that we don’t always strive together.
And so it’s important for the sake of the gospel that we work towards striving for, for what God calls us to do as his community in this pursuit, that it takes intentional effort. That an ineffective Christian. Is one who is often isolated. And content to be simply divided. But a Christian that will make a difference is one that dives into community to be a part of what God is calling them to do collectively. It’s something I regularly like to encourage us in, in the state of Utah as this this state has become since 2004, a very transient state.
Since 2004, our population has grown average by about 54,000 people every year, 1000 people a week added to the state of Utah. People come in, people go out pretty regularly. Half of you probably are from California, right? This is how this how our our state is operated, especially as of as of recent. But I want you to know, and this is very important if you just see if Utah is a new place to you or if Christ is a new position that you’re in, in life, you find yourself as in Jesus as a new creation. And you’ve never even been a part of a church family before taking time to invest in communities so sacred to what God wants us to accomplish together. And it takes time. It takes time, but it’s got to be done intentionally.
In fact, statistics say when you move into a new area, it takes about 2 to 3 years before you feel like you’re able to put your roots down and the people around you feel more like family or familiar. Investing in community. Now, certainly you can fast track that and you can be a little more intentional in the way that you spend time. But on average, that’s about what it takes. And when you think about what God wants us to accomplish on mission together, how much more important that is, especially in this valley that we strive for that as God’s people. To be united in the Lord.
When I think about what Alpine Bible Church has represented over the years, because I realize our beginnings, God has just done just a a beautiful thing and and seeing a church building in our and our city. This is the only freestanding church building that a a mainstream Christian church owns within our community. And it’s a beautiful, sacred thing as a pillar and a lighthouse here in our valley.
And with each year that we have done ministry here and we’re still a fairly new church, but with each ministry, each year we’ve done ministry here, God continues to just expand the opportunities that we have. It was even the last couple of weeks I just mentioned in the beginning just seeing a missions camp where we had people from all over the United States come here to learn about how to reach people in the state of Utah.
We had seven different states here and and then our food pantry run regularly and then Vacation Bible School that we had just this week. I think we had a little over 80 kids participate in that. I mean, it’s incredible. To see what God is doing and what God is continuing to do and just our hopes and plans for the future, which I’ll share some of that with you as we get towards the later part of the summer. But it’s a beautiful work, and the only reason those things are able to happen is because God has brought a community and in that community there is cooperation. And with our cooperation, it expands our opportunity to do more for the sake of the Gospel in our valley.
But you’ve got to be committed. To work together. And Paul’s acknowledging in the story and in sometimes sometimes it takes effort on our part. Because we don’t always work well sometimes. Sometimes there’s conflict. Sometimes there’s differences. But for the sake of the gospel. And by the way, I’m not saying any of this thinking that we’ve got any arguments happening in our church. I mean, I hear sometimes other horror stories of what happens in communities for the Lord. And to this point, I still drop to my knees and say, thank you, Jesus, for for how gracious he’s been to us over the years.
Because just as a community, we’ve we’ve really worked well together and kept our eyes on what God desires to do in us and through us. So be united. Point number two, let me move on. As be distinct. Be distinct from the things of this world. He goes on and he says this. Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. I’ll just let me stop there and I’ll read the rest of it in just a minute. But I want you to know, verse 14, this this opening thought. Do not be on the equal yoke with unbelievers. The rest of versus 14, 15 and 16 are intended to elevate just that phrase. Right. He wants us to to think through what what that phrase means for us.
And then he goes on even further in the second half of verse 16, 17, 18, he quotes some Old Testament passages to reiterate that phrase in verse 14, do not be unequally yoke with unbelievers. And the question we should ask then is since since all of these verses from verse 14 down to verse 18 is intended to highlight that statement. What does the statement mean? Do not be an equally unequally dwelt visually and automatically. You can start to picture what it means to be yoked or not. You personally. But what what? What it looks for an animal to be yoked.
Like if you’re if you’re a farmer and you’ve got a plow, a field and you’ve got to put two animals together, could you imagine if the if the farmer was to take like a, I don’t know, a donkey and an ox and put try to put them together to plow a field or even a horse in an ox or I don’t know, we could get crazy with this. An elephant and a dog, I don’t know. But could you imagine just how disproportionate that would be? I mean, certain animals would just be dangling there. And if and if your your yoke doesn’t fit right on the animals, if you have two animals that walk at a different pace and they’re at a different size and they’re they’re placed within this yoke to plow together, it’ll at the very least, start to rub you raw. But it could cause pain. It could create sores. It could even break a neck.
And so to be unequally yoked is to have a goal in mind, but really not to be able to achieve the goal because you got two people together that are two things together that will not effectively reach or attain what you’re pursuing. And if they do it, they’ll just irritate each other and maybe possibly even kill one another. And surpassing do not be unequally yoked. You know, one of the interesting things, Matthew or Mark, Mark, chapter six, verse three, it refers to Jesus within that the passage as the carpenter, Jesus, the carpenters, son of Mary.
He talks about Jesus being a carpenter. And one of the words that He uses for Jesus is the same word that we get the word for technical or technology, that word for Carpenter. There’s a few different words you could use for Carpenter. There’s a general carpenter. But but in terms of Jesus, they use this word for for a technical carpenter. And it gives us the idea that whatever Jesus was in carpentry and people speculate a little bit as to what he could be. And I don’t want to get into all of it. But but one possibility that Jesus could have been as a as a finesse carpenter, very specific in a set of skills in order to produce what what it was he decided to produce for his family and his carpentry work.
And some people think and speculate that he might have even been a master craftsman at creating yokes. In fact, the Matthew 11 Jesus says to me, Come to come to me. All of you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest, take my yoke upon you because it’s light and the burden is easy. And Jesus is saying, I know how to create what it is that you’re intended for to help you live out that calling. So don’t don’t take these religious yokes around me. Come listen to me. I have designed the perfect yoke for you to carry out the mission for which you have been called in Christ Jesus.
And it gives the idea that maybe as a carpenter, that was one of the things Jesus might have perfected, is this idea of shaping a yoke perfectly. When you think about the types of animals that might be pulling up a cloud, intending to to shape that yoke, to fit that animal, it becomes important because you want that animal to be able to to plow that entire field and you don’t want them to be rubbed raw. You want him to be able to experience that according to the way that they’re designed and and to delight in a job well done. And Paul is saying the same thing to us in this passage. Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.
Now what does this mean? Oftentimes when I when I hear this passage taught. I hear this a way that’s related to marriage. People tend to say, don’t be unequally yoked, and they immediately dive into the idea of marriage because they think about where in a believer’s life can you put a yoke upon yourself, where where you’re not going to be traveling in the the same direction as someone else? And then they’ll infer from this passage, well, and they’ll highlight marriage. And in fact, you know, I don’t think that that’s necessarily wrong, but I think what’s important is to say this this passage is not talking about marriage.
Jesus says, don’t be unequally yoked. And what he means by that is don’t allow your life to be aligned in a way that will cause you to compromise the gospel. And whatever platform you can think in your life. You understand, Jesus has called you to live for His glory. And so don’t unnecessarily attach yourself to things that you know in the end will lead you to compromise who God has called you to be for the sake of the gospel, whatever it looks like
Some will infer to that it could be it could be related to that marriage. And there’s passages in the Bible that encourage you. In 1 Corinthians 7:39, it talks about a lady who’s become a widow. But then Paul says this once she’s as she’s a widow, then she is free to be married or remarried, to whom she wishes only in the Lord. So Paul is saying, Look, that’s great. If you find yourself as a widow and you want to get you have that desire to be remarried. But when you get married, do it in the Lord, meaning God’s got a goal for your life. And one of the most foundational places for your life is started in the in the home. And you want that home to be a place of peace headed towards that direction, because God has called your home to be a place that blesses the world.
And so when you think about that, the foundation of the significance of the home, the the family is a pillar to society. You want to know how well a society is going to do? Look how well families are doing. And the family becomes that first basis for for nurturing children to then become a blessing to society. So it’s important to have that home leveraged in that way. So when you marry Mary in the Lord now, now that brings people to this position where they start to get concerned. Well, you know, in our home, we’re spiritually divided. What do we do?
Paul tells you in 1 Corinthians 7, if any brother has a wife, it was an unbeliever and she consents to live with him. He should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Well, Paul is saying, is your first mission field or your primary place to live for Christ in a home that may be divided becomes the home. Model. Jesus. Let your family be blessed because of your relationship with Jesus. Let them see the goodness of Jesus and the way you live your life. That doesn’t mean nag them. That doesn’t mean attack them. That doesn’t mean belittle them because they disagree with you.
That means when you walk away from any experience they have with you, they should be refreshed by the sweetness of Jesus through you. So we think about what it means to be unequally yoked you can infer important relationships in life like marriage, but that’s not the only thing this passage is talking about. This passage is encouraging us to set up our lives in the way in which we will have freedom to live for God’s glory, regardless of where we are. It doesn’t mean you shun people from this world just because they don’t follow Jesus. That’s not what it means at all. But it’s encouraging not to put yourself in a position of compromise for the sake of the gospel.
You can think in the Church of Corinth there were a number of places where where that could exist or have been an easy part of the society in in Rome during that time period. And every every region or major metropolitan area would have had a specific deity that that area would have been dedicated to. And so in Rome, they were a pluralistic society and what they worshipped. And so you would have your God based on where you lived and if you traveled to another area, and Corinth was a common place that people would travel to. If you went to that area, even though you worshiped your God, if you didn’t pay homage to the gods of Corinth, it would be considered a maligning or a disrespectful to the people of that area.
And so you can think as a believer going into this area of being monotheistic and God saying that only glory belongs to Him. When you would come to a region like that, being able to stand for the Gospel without compromising that position would be important. Don’t be unequally yoked or or if you were to live in Corinth, all that the people would do within that town would be attached to some sort of of pagan worship. You can imagine if you if you were a master craftsman, you might have often crafted idols. And those idols would be used for worships dedicated to the gods of of Corinth or the goddesses of Corinth. And all of a sudden, being a believer in Christ, you realize you’re contributing to people’s desire to want to worship false gods, and you’re a master craftsman. So what do you do? Do you continue and make those idols knowing that it promotes false worship?
Or maybe you’re a farmer and in the animals that you farm are sold directly to the temple. And in that temple they sacrifice those animals towards those false gods. Do you do you continue to sell your animals to the temple? Or what about if you live in Corinth and and, you know, when you go to the marketplace, the cheapest meat to buy is the meat of the animals that were sacrificed in the temple.
And maybe that month, in order to save for your family, you feel tempted to to buy that meat sacrifice to the idols. But the people around, you know that you’re buying that meat. And then it becomes a poor testimony to the sake for the sake of Christ, because in your home, you’re eating meat, sacrificed to to pagan gods. Or what if you set up at the marketplace and the place that you choose to set up and the things that you create are for certain holidays related to activities that take place in the temple. Will you continue? To make those products for those false gods, knowing it’s in the celebration of something that’s contrary to Jesus. What do you do?
For the sake of the gospel. What do you do? A cost can bring a temptation to compromise. And Paul’s encouragement for us is to be distinct. Because can I tell you, in our in our culture today, I think how important this is in our culture today, we’ve sort of gotten to the place of saying, look. And unless you validate everything I do, you hate me. And we we try to push everyone to agree with what everyone else wants. Your purpose is to always validate me. That’s the way the culture goes. But. But I think Christianity calls us to stand distinctly in saying, look, I don’t need to validate everything people do.
I am called to always love people no matter what. Because everyone’s made in the image of God. But that doesn’t mean I have to agree with what everyone does. And that’s an important place to stand in as a believer. Because it lets our message shine.
You know, some people will get worried about the way that our culture is going, and I’m not real thrilled about it either. But I will say this at the end of the day, the greater the darkness, the greater the opportunity the gospel has to shine. And so let it shine. Sometimes in a society that’s just simply good, the gospel kind of gets lost in that. It gets replaced with moralism in a lot of ways. And it shouldn’t. But when society starts to go dark or down a destructive path, it provides a beautiful place for God’s people if they’re willing to pay the cost to take a stand for Jesus. And it doesn’t mean we’re disrespectful to people when we do it. We’re always, always, always loving the people. But never to the compromise of our message.
In fact, one of the most unloving things you can do for people is to let your message be compromised. Because Jesus says the truth shall set you free. It’s the truth that transforms our life. And to step away from that is to step away from this the sacred message that changes the lives of others. Do not be unequally yoked.
I’ll tell you, every year, multiple times a year. I’ll get this phone call. For the sake of unity, someone will call me and say, You know what we should do? We should combine our religious churches and have a worship service together. Of which I always have the same remark to people when they call me that, as I’ll say to them, Look, I appreciate the sentiment that you have here and for the sake of unity or wanting some unity. And I will tell you, if there is an earthquake in our society, if there’s a flood here in town, any natural disaster, you better believe shoulder to shoulder, we’re going to be beside one another, doing whatever we can to preserve life, protect life, and help people in need.
But when it comes to worship. I can’t do that. We’re not going to get under the same roof and hold our hands and sing Kumbaya to two different gods, because that’s not pleasing to either of our beliefs. Our message is so important. I don’t want it lost for the sake of unity. Because the question is, what are we unified behind? The message of who Jesus is becomes important for us. And so he’s saying, look, don’t be unequally yoke with unbelievers.
And as he makes this kind of a statement, he then peppers it with just some questions to consider. He says, for what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness. Or what fellowship agreement is there between light and darkness, or what accord has Christ with Belial? He’s saying, Look, what does what does Jesus and Satan have in common? That word accord is literally, literally a symphony. You got two notes that aren’t matching each other, and when you do that, it does not sound pretty. There is not harmony among it. This is not helpful. Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the Temple of God with idols for? We are the Temple of the Living God.
Do you think that the privilege of that statement means that God’s presence dwells within you. And in this society Paul saying, look, people have built temples dedicated to a specific God all over the place, and they’re not going to allow another God to be worship within that temple because it belongs to that god. And the same thing is true with you. That you belong to Jesus and are the temple of God. Therefore, you should allow your heart to to strive with him and to be dedicated to him.
In fact, Paul goes on from there in verse second half of verse 16, it says, What agreement has the Temple of God with idols? This is in Leviticus, chapter 26, verse 12 four We are the temple of the living. God has got to set. I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God and they shall be my people. He’s saying, Look, in the Old Testament, remember what it says in Leviticus 26, the God wants to dwell among you and be with you and your heart given over to him. And then he he quotes in the book of Isaiah, I think it’s 52, verse 11, he says, verse 17, therefore go out from their midst and be separated from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing. Then I will welcome you and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.
What he’s quoting here in Isaiah is, is the passage where Israel’s been taken because of their pagan idolatry, God has allowed them to be taken into captivity in a Babylon. And now God is calling them back out of Babylon, and they’re taking what belongs to the Lord to set it apart again, to worship Him. And as if he’s saying to Israel, look, or to Corinth, look, Israel struggle throughout all of the Old Testament. God is saying from the Book of Leviticus all the way to Isaiah, he’s been calling his people to be separate, to be distinguished, to let their message be unique. It’s crucial for life and human flourishing and in eternity in relationship with God. And it’s sacred to your identity. And don’t don’t let this go.
Don’t let yourself be in a position where this is compromised as you think about how Israel has has waged with this this battle in their own life to to be distinct. And I think you think about the Old Testament in my mind, no one did this more beautifully than Daniel. And the book of Daniel, especially the first six chapters, talks about Daniel and his friends deported into Babylon or carried from Israel into Babylon. And it says in Daniel chapter one, verse eight. But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself. He just determined as he was carried away as a teenager that whatever he was going to stand for at the end of the day, it would be for the Lord and he would not compromise.
In fact, Jeremiah, when he talks about being taken into captivity, he says this thus the Lord, the thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel. To all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, build houses and live in them, plant gardens and eat their produce, take wives and have sons and daughters. Take wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage that they may bear. Sons and daughters multiply there and do not decrease, but seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile and prayed to the Lord on this behalf, for in its welfare, you will find your welfare.
Verse eight, Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you, deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream for. It is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name. I did not send them, declares the Lord. So God’s saying to them, Look, go into the town and watch. You’re a foreigner in this land and live to bless, live to bless. You’re not shunning. You don’t have to isolate. You don’t have to cast stones at people. Well, I want you to do is influence for the sake of Christ. For the sake of the Lord influence.
It even says and sometimes people are even going to be tempted to teach you messages in verse that are contrary to what Jesus is about, what the Lord is about. Don’t listen to that. Take your stand. Take your stand and. And bless. I have heard it often said there was a story of a and I can’t remember who who wrote this or what book it was in. So I give credit to whoever the author is. I can no longer remember. But but they have a they have a story in this book where there were these two women that traveled one one from India to American America to India. And they both got home and they reported what they found. And the American lady returned and they said, What was it like? And she said, the country is beautiful.
But, you know, the family that I stayed with, it was it felt dark to me because I went into their home. And when I walked into their living room, all of their furniture was pointed in one direction towards this idol in the center of the room where there were incense was always burning. It was dedicated to to their to their God. And they would sit around in their living room and dedication to this idol and they would converse one another. And I just. I didn’t like it. And. And then the lady from India, she returned back to her home and they said, What was it like? America was great. I enjoyed my time there. But but when I went into the family’s home, it was so weird. It felt dark. They I walked into their living room and their living room was all centered around one object. It was all, all focused on the television. They worship the television.
I heard one person say once, you know, I don’t watch TV for the same reason. I don’t drink from the toilet bowl. Um. You’ll get it. Some of you did. There’s a lot of garbage. We compromise and tolerate a lot of garbage. For what? The sake of entertainment. I mean, you take what we put on TV today and you go back 50 years and try to suggest that to people. They would wonder what’s happened to our country.
When soft porn becomes the norm for entertainment in our homes. With the kind of garbage that we allow ourselves to see. To not be unequally yoked. What Jesus says matters. One move to point number three. Point number three is to say this. Be on mission beyond mission. You could obsess about not being unequally yoked. I don’t wanna be unequally yoked all day long and still not hit the purpose for which you were created in Christ. So at the end of the day, what ultimately matters for us is not that we’re simply not unequally yoked, but that we understand who we are in Jesus and want to live in light of that, that we live on mission to make a difference in this world, to be a blessing to people around us that when they encounter us, that they see the goodness of Jesus and they desire more.
So Paul encourages into this passage second Corinthians, chapter seven, verse one, since we have these promises. Beloved, let us cleanse ourselves. And the promises he’s talking about are the quotes from Leviticus 26, Isaiah 52, that God’s presence would be with us, people calling us to come apart, that we could experience the goodness of God in our lives. We have a religious direct relationship with the Lord. That’s what He’s promising us. And since we have these promises, beloved, and that’s a beautiful phrase to say right after those promises, isn’t it? You have a relationship with God.
And what does that mean, man? He loves you. He loves you so much. He’s given his life for you that you could experience the freedom that you have in him and a new identity and all things have passed away. Behold, all the things have become new that you were beloved in Christ, which is a far greater calling than anything this world can give you. Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit and bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God. It’s talking about this word completion as perfection. To really strive for what God has called us to in Him.
Sometimes I’ll have people ask me this question. Yeah, but how close can I get to the boundary of sin before God really technically calls us and like hell? How far along the edge can I walk? I just want to kind of be the the back row Christian, not not any of you guys in the back road today, but you get what I mean, right? Like, I just want to be there. I just want to I just kind of want to toe the line, which I kind of flirt with the world, but Jesus still counts me his. Where is that line? I want you to know, if you’re asking that question in your relationship with the Lord, you’re completely amiss to what God calls you to.
The question is, and how good can I be where God counts me good enough. The question is that we should ask ourselves is How can I be near Jesus? How can I know Christ? It’s not about where the line is at all. It’s about what can I do to lay myself down more in order to experience the goodness of what God calls me to in these passages, since we have these promises as beloved. How do I live in light of that? And Paul saying Be on mission. And here’s why it reminds us. Because over time. Mission drifts and vision fades.
Over time, your mission will drift. Being the world can sometimes just wear you out. But we need a reminder ourselves and be reminded constantly of the importance of what what we’re doing for the sake of Christ. Costs can bring compromise. But Paul’s encouraging us to something completely different.
Let me let me illustrate with this last this last point. 1982. Almost want to ask how many of your alive, but I’ll leave that. I’ll learn from it. January 13th, 1982. There was an Air Florida flight traveling from Washington, D.C. to Florida. But it didn’t make it very far. It ended up clipping a bridge, taking out four vehicles and their drivers and plummeting into the Potomac River. 79 people were on board. 74 of them did not make it. Four of them were rescued by a helicopter that flew over it and dropped a line. The people that could grab it and they were lifted over to the shore and dropped off.
But there was one lady. Her name was Priscilla Tirado. By the time the helicopter got to her, she was the fifth person in that icy water and she no longer had the grip strength to grab hold of the rope to be lifted out and carried to safety. And on that shore, there are hundreds of people that have now gathered around watching the events unfold as the plane was sinking into the water and and one lady still remained.
Then all of a sudden. This guy named Lenny Scott. Nick. Dove into the icy water. Made his way over to the lady, grabbed a hold of her and swam back through the ice to the shore. And both of them survived. Afterwards they asked Lenny. They gave him an award for being a hero, but they asked him, out of all the people standing on the side of the shore, what compelled you to jump into the middle of that ice in order to rescue this lady? And Lenny looked at it and he just said, you know, I’m not really sure. I just saw a lady in need. And I didn’t even think. I just knew I had to act. While cost can bring compromise. Because something that Lenny taught us in the story is that crisis can also bring out conviction.
Crisis can bring out conviction. At the end of the day when you know what the stakes are. And you know the difference that you can make. Sometimes we’re compelled to dive into those waters. When I think about. Where we’re at as God’s people. And the message that we carry. And the opportunity it brings for others. How precious. Your position in Jesus is. A crisis brings out our convictions. And I think there is no greater battle in this world than the consequences of sin. And what it means towards our relationship with God as human beings in general. But whatever the reason is, this morning, you find yourself here looking at a passage of Scripture to remind yourself of the significance of Jesus.
And when I think about you and your position in Christ in this moment, I think about how how beautiful an opportunity then it presents not only for your life, but what your family needs. That you would uncompromisingly seek Jesus. That they would be blessed because of that, even if they don’t walk with him, that they could see Jesus emulated in your life because they they see within you how important that message is. And not only your family.
What about what about our our community around us? What about our country? Crisis brings about our convictions. And it’s that conviction of Jesus that we need to see the significance in our lives to never compromise. But to walk and strive for unity as God’s people, to be distinct and to live on mission.