We are living in a time when connectedness is the rule of the day. With our cell phones, internet, and social media, we are always connected with those around us. Being connected to those you love and to those who need you is one thing, but there is another kind of connectedness that is not so good.
Some of the common buzzwords you often hear today are “tolerance, acceptance, openness, seeker-friendly, inclusive.” The idea behind all of these terms is togetherness or being connected on a human level. There is a concerted push in the world today to bring everyone together under the same umbrella, one world, one society, one church. This is the heartbeat of the world and, sadly, it is becoming the heartbeat of the church. I would just remind you that God did not call His people to be inclusive, but exclusive! The fact is, we are called to be vastly different from the world around us! This trait of separation was sorely lacking in Corinth. Of all the churches mentioned in the New Testament, the church in Corinth was undoubtedly the most worldly. If the church in Philippi was known for its compassion, and the church in Ephesus was known for its commitment, the church in Corinth was known for its carnality!
It was a worldly church dwelling in a wicked city. The city of Corinth was so vile, that to be called a “Corinthian” meant that you were a person of low moral standards. Sadly, the evil of that society had penetrated the church and things had gotten so bad in Corinth, that there was little distinction between them and the world around them. Paul is letting them know that things do not have to be that way! These verses tell us everything we need to know to remain separate in a connected world. While the world and the church are melding together so that there is little distinction between them anymore, God still expects His people to be different. He expects us to stand apart from the world around us and these verses tell us how to accomplish just that.
Now, there may be some here who would like to see Calvary Baptist Church become more “modern”. Well, these verses not only tell us how to be different, but they also show us why we should remain different as well. While all the church world around us is changing to accommodate the world, we have some very good reasons for staying in the old paths of righteousness and worship. Are we really expected to remain separate in this connected world? Yes, we are! But, we are to be separated and not isolated! Remember Jesus? He lived in this world and He lived a perfectly holy life, Heb. 7:26. But, at the same time, He was “a friend of publicans and sinners.”, Luke 7:34. And, like a skilled physician, we are to practice contact without contamination in this world. We have to be here and we have to interact with the world around us. We are to try to reach them. But, even while we live here in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, we are to shine as lights in the world, Phil. 2:15!
Let us never ashamed of who we are, what we believe and of the convictions we hold sacred. Instead, let us strive to insure that it remains that way until Jesus comes! If we begin to lower the standard today, we will soon no different than the myriads of churches all around that have forfeited the presence and the power of God so they might gain the popularity and praise of men! You see, what you allow in moderation today, you will do in excess tomorrow! Maybe you would like to come and pray for your church this evening. Pray that we will stay in the old paths of consecration and conviction for the glory of God. Maybe you need to come and talk to the Lord about your personal walk today. If there are areas of weakness and needs that have been touched on this evening, then you come before Him and He will meet with you. He has promised that He will draw near those who draw near to Him!