AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH
January 30, 2005
BE PLAIN, BE CLEAR, BE
CLEAN, BE SPIRITUAL:
AND DON'T PARADE WITH REBELS
Signals from Glory in
II Corinthians 6:1-7:1
I THE CALL …II Cor. 6:1-2, 7:1
DO NOT receive the grace of God in vain! Paul quotes Isaiah 49:8 concerning the Christ then to come, now soon to return, and shows that there IS an acceptable time, and it is now; for when Christ is available, THAT is the time.
HOW COULD anyone receive the grace of God ‘in vain’ ? Very easily, as readily as pouring beer down your throat, or acid out of it! The seed hits the hard ground where the underlying rock of non-repentance and continuity of slavery to the concepts, the culture or the constraints of this world operate, and it soon dies, so that the word of God giving grace, finding an ultimate disgrace, found no place.
HOW COULD anyone then be sure that this is not so ? In II Cor. 7:1 Paul declares, “Therefore having these promises beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” The promise just stated above 7:1 is this, that people should leave the polluted premises of having communion with darkness, unequal yokage with unbelievers; for what has light to do communing with darkness, or what place has a saint of God linked to the ploys and plyings of the devil ? Unbelief is rebellion and truth is to be sought at any price. If you come to Him, leaving all, then HE will be a FATHER to you, and you a child of His own! That was the promise (II Corinthians 6:16-18).
Having done this, then, how to
you proceed to cleanse yourselves from filthiness of spirit and
flesh ? What is this preoccupation with unclean spirit, unclean flesh ? It is nothing less than a Lot’s wife syndrome, where failing to be salty, to be alive to the leading of the Lord, and the life in His presence and by His word, she BECAME herself a salt source, though then dead! You EXAMINE YOURSELVES (II Cor. 13:5) as “to whether you are in the faith”, for if Christ is not in you, says the apostle, YOU ARE NONE OF HIS! If He is, He fills your life as water fills the cup, or the river bed.
Is there an error in your past ? repent of it, do not frame it! Is there a sin lodged in the psychology of your desires now ? repent of it, do not pursue it. Have you cheated someone, failed someone, been selfish, or do you pursue the field of self-interest ? If then you are your own god, how can you worship the One who IS God, whether worshipped or not, or escape judgment! IN all things be sincere, serviceable to the Lord and submissive to His will, and trusting in the Lord, you will find that you are not ashamed; but you MAY have to purge many things from your life, and putting first things first, be readable as so doing, like modern Noahs, who though few would follow you, yet build in the kingdom of God, and not for yourselves.
The life in Christ is not coming to Church to be good as well as effective in life; it is putting Him first in quality, in concept, in truth, in passion, in perspective and in practical events, so that your light so shines that men glorify God; it involves being full of light (Luke 11:34), so that darkness is as stench.
II THE CALLING … II Cor. 6:3-10
Like sea water, walking in the light purifies. You act in your calling as builders in the kingdom of heaven, sheep of His pasture, ships of His steering, and as you do so, the relief from His presence, the strength from His power, the faithfulness from His covering promises (II Peter 1, John 5:24), the love from His heart and compassion from His grace are like stars, shining endlessly in the heights of heaven; but these, they shine in our hearts. It is disobedience that is nonplussed; it is obedience by faith through grace, and that not of ourselves, it is this which is purposeful and blessed (Eph. 2:8), it is here that treasure is found: being enriched, you grow, growing you rejoice, and He is near, your coach and your trainer, your teacher and your friend. But you will suffer!
See Paul’s list of HIS service (3-10) in sincerity and consider! See it in these verses in FRANK FACT, in SPIRIT as in FEARLESS HONOURING OF THE LORD! seeking His mind in all things.
III THE CALLING OUT … II Cor. 6:11-18
Here Paul is
asking them not to make the divine yoke a carnal joke!
It is a temptation to be a mere formalist, whether in church or in personal life.
Let us then consider the apostle’s message here. What COMMUNION does light have with darkness ? Does it join it in its colourlessness ? does light rejoice in the spiritual blindness that is produced for the sightless one who sees not, though eyes are there ? does it have comradeship in sin, or row in the same boat to the opposite shores, to those set ? Or do you yoke your neck with contrary kine to find the ways that are on stony soils, avoiding the richness of divinely directed living, because Christ is near ? Scarcely: or do you stray in such company because you value His word ? WHY, Christ asked, do you call me Lord, Lord and NOT do the things that I say (Luke 6:46).
His words are not suggestions for your employer’s box, but commands; nor hard if you KNOW Him and LOVE Him entirely beyond your self, your world, your desires and your self-sufficient hopes, or self-serving desires or ways. If you do however so love Him, and do put your heart into keeping His words, are prepared to sever from false partnerships with rebels, sullied spiritual darkness, then His life is near (II Cor. 6:14ff.). John 14:21-23 repays intensive study, prayer and thought!
Would you join with fatuous DIS-faiths ? When it comes to the sharing of life, of life’s deepest pursuits, of friendship, of business partnership, of marriage, of fellowship, of heart to heart rumination, there is Christ, and whatever company fits with His presence. Do you want to win another to Christ ? then act with salt, talk with truth and let it be that that one is won; but do not sit slovenly in unspiritual squalor and call this living … in Christ! Or honour what dishonours Him, or sit with the rebels.
If darkness and its denizens are so valuable, who is it then who so values it? But if it is not so valued, why then put all your energies into the way of light, the grace of truth, the government of Christ, the following of His leading and the kindness of His compassion, to find His will, follow His way, using the gifts for service which He gives, and finding your place in the building team which is His, called the Church, the one which HE calls you to work in; for the darkness comes when no man can work (John (John 9:4). The TIME is NOW for work, for building, for testimony and virtue.
Next Sunday we plan communion, and it is fitting before it, to EXAMINE OURSELVES as in Paul directs in II Corinthians 13, a chapter strongly recommended for reading, along with II Corinthians 5, outlining the rushing rapids of divine grace in salvation, on the other side.