March 9, 2010

They Shall Separate You from Themselves

Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Luke 6:22.

An aspect of the Christian faith that seems to be overlooked and maybe often neglected in its needful evangelistic communication, is a perception that when someone becomes a Christian, their life will now become one big happy life story with a few bumps along the road, but nothing too severe of an experience that cannot be overcome by faith. You'll be loved and admired by all, especially those whom are not saved like you are.

This couldn't be more further from the truth!

It's kind of odd that Jesus would be saying that it is a blessing to be hated because of Him too. I don't know too many Christians, or have ever heard people come to faith in Christ because Jesus said that it is a blessing to be hated by your friends and/or your family. The blessing of this separation is for our benefit, but more for the glory of God, so read on, please!

Yet, if we observe this a little more closely, we see that in this verse it is non-believers who are separating themselves from those who are believers in Christ.

The Greek word for separate here in this verse is aphorizō (af-or-id'-zo), which means divide or sever. Christians become divided or severed from the company of those who are not Christians, not in a nice way either, but in a reviling and/or evil way, as we see in the text.

This isn't a division within God's kingdom, but a division from two kingdoms, the kingdom of Darkness (Satan) from the kingdom of Light (God).

The Christian believer wants nothing more than for their friends and family to be part of God's family, to truly have the right to be called one of His children, but can't because they have neither believed in His name, nor have they been born of God (John 1:12-13). But because of their new faith and life in Christ, this person often becomes ostracized in some way, maybe eventually experiencing a complete avoidance of their life altogether by those whom they care about tremendously and have had 15, 20 or more years of a relationship as friends too.

As heartbreaking as it is to see family and friends, whom Christians care about so deeply, especially for the salvation of their soul, to have them sever themselves from having anything to do with your life, because you are a Christian is hurtful, but I can't help but think they are being used to the glory of God in this manner of separation too.

And you shall be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine. Leviticus 20:26.

Jesus said in a parable concerning the Dragnet (Matthew 13:47-52) at the end of the age, the angels will come forth and "separate the wicked from the just," (v.49).

The Christians are those that are just and those that aren't are the wicked. So what happens to these wicked ones that have been separated from the just. The answer is found in verse 50, where they will be cast into the furnace of fire, which is no other place but hell.

They will not be sent to purgatory or some other fairytale place of waiting. No, the wicked, those who have separated themselves from believers through their unbelief, reproaches, reviling and evil speech against Christians, will be cast into the furnace of fire...and it's not cozy there either. Just read what the rich man said about hell in Luke 16:19-31, it is a place of torments.

All I can do as a Christian, a soon to be preacher/pastor, an evangelist of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preach the Gospel to all that would hear. Those who do, we will rejoice together and serve our God and King for all of eternity. Those that reject the Gospel, we will continue to pray that your heart and conscience would be illuminated to the precious gift of mercy, grace, forgiveness and love that is only found in the cross upon which Jesus was crucified.

Here the words of the Lord Jesus Christ concerning His desire to have everyone be with Him at the Great Supper feast (Luke 14:15-24) in heaven, verse 23:

Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.

The cross is compelling enough to make any man or woman find a seat at the Table with Christ. Don't make excuses why you can't join Him now. His blood will make a seat available for you at the table to be with Him. Will you let His blood cover your sins, His garment of salvation clothe you in His righteousness, to sit at His Table?


Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

Phil Morgan said...

Uncanny! My devotion this morning was in Psalm 64, which parallels your posts ... particularly your opening paragraphs. (v1-6) David talks about fierce opposition from enemies; BUT (v7-8) he is confident of God's defence. Then in the last 2 verses (v9-10) God will receive all the glory. SO, opposition is a blessing for the believer who truly desires the glory of God above all else, for it becomes the opportunity for God to reveal His strength.

It's quite a shift in perspective to be even grateful for trouble, not just because we have the blessing of seeing God work for us ... but even GREATER joy in seeing God's great name praised. Oh, that we might consider our temporary affliction trivial and purposeful alongside the greater importance of our God being praised.

Thanks Kurt!