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JACK HYLES SPEAKS ON
by Dr. Jack Hyles
Originally published in 1984 by Hyles-Anderson Publishers, Hammond, Indiana.
Electronic printing, May, 1997 by FFEP.
1. The Main Reason for Separation
2. Sanctify Yourself
3. Liberty Through Separation
4. A Christian's Attitude Toward Other Christians with Whom He Cannot Cooperate
5. What About Secondary Separation?
6. Separation from Good Christians
7. Separation of God's Money
8. Separation from Weights
9. Separation from Unbelievers in Marriage
10. Ecclesiastical Separation
11. The Way Satan Breaks Down Separation
12. Why Separation?
13. Separation and Our Relationship with God
14. The Hardest Thing About Separation
15. What Is a Fundamentalist?
I AM WORRIED. I am worried about what appears to be a breaking down of the doctrine of separation among fundamental believers. I am worried because I believe that Biblical separation is necessary for the preservation of New Testament Christianity and the preservation of the nation. I am worried because I love my country, and I believe the doctrine of separation and its practice by God's people is necessary for deliverance of that country and for the avoiding of the judgment of God.
I AM NOT ANGRY at anyone. I am not angry at those who disagree with this treatise. I am not angry at those who will attack it and its author. I am worried-worried enough to feel that this must be in print, that it must be read and considered.
I AM NOT ACCUSING anyone of compromise. I believe that compromise is committed when one knows what to do, but for the sake of convenience or reward does not do what he knows is right or does not preach his own conviction. I am aware that one may disagree with the contents of this manuscript and not be compromising; he can be wrong on his position, but he may nevertheless be sincere, so I am not accusing anyone of compromise.
I AM NOT SLANDERING the character of those who might disagree. Some sincere people will, no doubt, not agree with the author's position. I am not and will not attack them personally or be accusative in my conversation concerning those who do not agree with my position.
I AM NOT ATTACKING. No names of fundamental brethren will be mentioned in the following pages, and there is no desire on the part of the author to be hurtful, unchristian or unkind.
I AM JUST WORRIED. I am worried because I believe Biblical separation is necessary for the salvation of this civilization. I am not asking the reader to believe what the author believes unless the reader finds himself disagreeing with what he wants to believe because of conscious or unconscious drifting from what he once accepted as the Biblical position of separation. I only ask the reader to examine the contents and consider the possibility of its being true. I ask this sincerely, not for the sake of dispute or controversy, but for the sake of my country whose future I believe does not rest in the White House, the Supreme Court or the halls of Congress, but in the behavior of God's people! May these words be read with the same loving spirit with which they are written.
Dear Reader, Please read Introduction before reading Chapter One.
Titus 2:14, "Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." Luke 1:17, "And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." Ephesians 1:5, "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will. " It is obvious from these passages as to why God created man. Man was created for the glory of God. He was created for the praise of God. He was created in order that the great heart of God, Who is love, would have a special object of His care and recipient of His love. God does not want us basically to save us from Hell, though that is one reason. He does not want us mainly to give us Heaven, though that is another reason. He does not want us mainly to give us joy and peace, but that is certainly another reason. God mainly wants us for Himself, that we may praise Him, adore Him, magnify Him, fellowship with Him and become the object of His great love. This is why we are commanded to do everything we do to the glory of God. I Corinthians 10:31, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
One might then ask, "Isn't it wrong to want to receive glory for yourself?" Yes, it IS wrong for man to desire glory, for man does not deserve glory. It is not the desire for glory that is wrong; it is the desire for undeserved glory that is wrong. Hence, it is not wrong for God to want glory for Himself, for He is deserving of glory.
Then why isn't that the reason that God appeals to us to be saved? Why doesn't He come to man and say, "I want to be glorified. Would you trust Me as your Saviour and receive Me as your God because I will get more glory if you do?" The simple answer is that few would be saved through those incentives. So God comes to us, offers us peace, joy, Heaven and salvation from Hell if we will receive Him. When we do receive Him, He then gives us the Holy Spirit Who leads us to desire to praise God, glorify God, to fellowship with Him and to be the object and recipient of His great heart of love.
Now if God does not have us, He is jealous of whatever takes us from Him. This is the basis of separation. God wants the Christian to be separate from everything that would take away the purpose of God's creation and redemption of man. If God doesn't have all of us, He is jealous of what takes us from Himself. Exodus 20:5, "Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me. " Exodus 34:14, "For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, Whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God." Deuteronomy 4:24, "For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God." Deuteronomy 5:9, "Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me." Zechariah 1:14, "So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy." Zechariah 8:2, "Thus saith the Lord of hosts; I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury. " In these and other passages in the Bible we find that God is a jealous God. At one place, He is named Jealous. We find in these passages that He is jealous of His people. He is jealous for Jerusalem. He is jealous for Zion. This means that since God made us for Himself and redeemed us for Himself, He wants us for Himself and desires that we be separate from anything that detracts from His praise, from His glory and from His fellowship with His special creation.
This is the reason God is jealous of and wants us to be separate from liberal theologians and those professing Christians who do not believe the verbal inspiration of the Bible, the virgin birth, the perfect life of Christ, His deity, His vicarious death, His bodily resurrection, His ascension into Heaven and His second coming to earth. When God's people fellowship with such doubters, there is a good chance that some seeds of doubt will be lodged in their hearts. God wants to be praised. Anything that takes away the deity of Christ could be a barrier between the praise and glory that God should receive from us. He does not want us to associate with those who doubt His honesty, His deity and His integrity. Because of this, He tells us to separate from such people. II Corinthians 6:14-17, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you." You will notice that we are to separate from unbelievers, from darkness, from Belial, from the unclean. God is not just being "picky"; He wants us for Himself. He wants the purpose for His creating us and redeeming us to be fulfilled. Therefore, since this would be hindered by our fellowship with those things mentioned in the above passage, He wants us separate from them.
A Christian in bad health cannot praise the Lord as much as a Christian in good health. This is why He wants us to separate ourselves from things that would impair our health, thereby limiting our ability to praise Him, honor Him and glorify Him as we should. God does not tell us to separate ourselves from unclean things such as strong drink, narcotics (which would include tobacco and alcohol), etc. just because He wants to restrain us from a few of His pet peeves; rather, He knows that if we partake of these things, we will limit our physical and mental ability to fulfill the purpose for our creation and redemption.
Since man can praise his God better with a sound mind than with one that is weakened and deadened, He tells us to separate ourselves from those things that would limit our mental ability to give Him the honor, glory and praise that He wants and deserves from us.
"But," says someone, "jealousy is wrong, isn't it?" Certainly jealousy for man is a dangerous thing, but it is not wrong for God. God has a perfect right to our praise, our glory and our honor, and so the attribute of jealousy is certainly justifiable for God.
God wants us especially for Himself. Lamentations 3:24, "The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him."
In the time of the patriarchs, the firstborn belonged to God. Later, God turned to a tribe. Instead of the firstborn being set apart for God's service, the tribe of Levi was chosen. Numbers 3:12, "And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be Mine." The Levites were chosen because of their separation after the "golden calf' sin. Exodus 32:26-28, "Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord's side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour. And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men."
The Levites were divided into three groups-the Gershonites, the Merarites and the Kohathites. Basically, the Gershonites were given the responsibility of transporting the tent and the hangings of the tabernacle as the Jews traveled from place to place. The Merarites were given the responsibility of transporting the bars, the boards and the pillars. The Kohathites were given the responsibility of transporting the furniture. The tribe of Levi had replaced the firstborn of the patriarchal days, as those given to God especially for His service.
When the Israelites got to the land of Canaan, the tribe of Levi was given no inheritance. Numbers 18:20, "And the Lord spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them; I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel." Deuteronomy 10:8, 9, "At that time the Lord separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister unto Him, and to bless in His name, unto this day. Wherefore Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; the Lord is his inheritance, according as the Lord thy God promised him." Deuteronomy 18:1, 2, "The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and His inheritance. Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren: the Lord is their inheritance, as He hath said unto them." Ezekiel 44:27, 28, "And in the day that he goeth into the sanctuary, unto the inner court, to minister in the sanctuary, he shall offer his sinoffering, saith the Lord God. And it shall be unto them for an inheritance: I am their inheritance: and ye shall give them no possession in Israel: I am their possession." God told them that He was to be their inheritance. He was their portion. In other words, God wanted to be all that they needed.
Today all believers have access to the priesthood. God is our portion. He wants to be all that we need. He wants us to Himself. He wants our praise, our glory, our honor, our adoration, our devotion and our worship, just as He wanted to be all that was needed by the Levites.
However, this is not all that God wanted. He not only wanted to be their inheritance and for Him to be their portion, but He wanted for the Levites to be His portion. Deuteronomy 32:9, "For the Lord's portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance. " Not only was He all that they needed, but they were all that He needed. He wanted them separated to Himself so that they could find their all in Him and He could find His all in them. Today, through salvation, all believers have access to the priesthood. I Corinthians 2:5, 9, "That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. "God wants us to find our all in Him, and He wants to find His all in us.
In summary, God made us for Himself. He redeemed us for Himself, and He is jealous of anything that takes us from Him. So He has made "off limits" for us anything or any person that would hinder the purpose for our creation and salvation. He did not just arbitrarily sit down and make a list of things from which He wanted us to be separated, but rather, He listed those things that would hinder the very purpose for His creation and redemption of His people. Any personal pleasures that would detract from our purpose of being, any contact with people who would hinder God's purpose for us, or any endeavor that would damage our union with Christ for Whom we were made are out of bounds. He made you for Himself He wants you for Himself, and He wants you to separate yourself from anything or anybody that would keep Him from being your portion and keep you from being His.
Joshua 3:5, "And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the Lord will do wonders among you." I am worried! Years ago Satan tried to get fundamentalists and liberals together. These Sanballats and Tobiahs exhausted themselves in an effort to unite Bible-believing Christians with those who were infidels. Thank God, they failed. Soon Satan sent a mediator to pull us together. This mediator was simply a hypocritical liberalism hiding behind fundamentalist terminology. He said he believed in the Bible, but not word for word. He believed in a hell without fire and in sin without enumeration. He spoke against liquor but not for total abstinence. He had a Heaven without golden streets and a salvation without regeneration. He was called a neo-orthodox. Soon the fundamentalist stripped him of his facade and showed him for what he really was.
Wounded but not defeated, Satan inserted another intercessor to woo the fundamentalist in an effort to get him to betroth liberalism. This subtle cupid shot his arrows of love toward us until we became ashamed of our hatred for wrong. This evangelist for compromise told us to believe right but to seek acceptability. He sent us to study Barth and prodded us to read Brunner and Niebuhr. He taught us that righteousness and justice meant little and that love meant everything. He sent us to questionable colleges and compromising seminaries and told us that in order to be prepared we needed to know both sides. He made us ashamed of proven terms like "fundamentalism," "mourner's bench," "Hell-fire and brimstone preaching," "altar calls," "revivals," "get right with God," etc. He put liberal eye shadow on our fundamentalist eyes and liberal earrings on our fundamentalist ears. He put liberal rouge on our fundamentalist cheeks and liberal lipstick on our fundamentalist lips. He put liberal powder on our fundamentalist noses and liberal shoes on our fundamentalist feet. He put liberal dye on our fundamentalist hair and liberal terminology on our fundamentalist doctrine. He appealed to our second-generation city slickers in an attempt to make us ashamed of our founding fathers. He reminded us of their lack of education and refinement and assured us that we could be suave AND fundamental. He made us ashamed of our heritage and clouded what our forefathers said by ridiculing how they said it. This was new evangelicalism. We courted him for awhile but soon saw through his man-made love and found it actually to be hatred.
Finally we rejected his proposal only to find that there is another girl in the block. It is hard to tell whether she is loving us to right or seducing us to wrong. She is very attractive, but I worry about the look in her eye. In as much as I want to like her, I feel very suspicious about her.
Now who is this temptress? It is fundamental preachers becoming involved with outsiders in secular endeavors, and I am afraid that this contact with the liberal crowd will make us like them, for believe me, they ARE likable, and this new girl in the block just may accomplish what liberalism, neo-orthodoxy and new evangelicalism could not accomplish.
All of us have one thing in common. We long to see our nation and its freedom preserved for our children and grandchildren. Because of this we find occasion to rejoice. We can rejoice at the growth of our fundamental churches. We can rejoice at the inevitable results of this growth such as Christian schools for our children and Christian colleges for our youth and rejoice because of the men whom God has given us to appear at courts of justice on our behalf, and we can even rejoice at the political clout that has followed our new miraculous growth. It may be, however, that we have become so excited that we can mistakenly feel that we are ushering in the kingdom. We may be tempted to rush out and buy a lion and lamb to lie down together. We may bore a hole in the cockatrice den. It may be possible that we have forgotten the real reason that God spares societies; that is, in a miraculous response to the sanctification of His people. We seem to have forgotten that God was not looking for ten saved people in Sodom; He was looking for ten righteous people in Sodom. We face a peculiar kind of Christianity where a professed, born-again quarterback gives an interview to Playboy Magazine and implies that Jesus would do the same thing if He were here.
A famous singer who is a professing Christian appears at nightclubs, and at giant rallies he testifies concerning his love for Jesus. A publisher of a pornographic magazine says he has been born again yet continues to publish his illicit material. A famous evangelist says that he is not sure if Hell has fire. All of a sudden we old-timers cannot believe it!
The children of Israel were in the wilderness. They had no house of God, they had no law, they had just left Egypt. God's command is for them to sanctify themselves. Exodus 19:10, "And the Lord said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes."
These same Israelites came to a place where they had no flesh to eat and pleaded with God to provide flesh for them, but first they must sanctify themselves. Numbers 11:18, "And say thou unto the people, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow, and ye shall eat flesh: for ye have wept in the ears of the Lord, saying, Who shall give us flesh to eat? for it was well with us in Egypt: therefore the Lord will give you flesh, and ye shall eat."
Now they stand before the Jordan River. It is time to cross the Jordan and enter into the land of promise. God will give them the victory, but first they must sanctify themselves. Joshua 3:5, "And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you."
After they entered the Promised Land, the Israelites lost the battle at Ai. Now they come to Ai for the second time. Before God will give them the victory, they must first sanctify themselves. Joshua 7:13, "Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the Lord God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you."
The ark of the covenant is gone from Israel. God wants them to have it returned, but first they must sanctify themselves. I Chronicles 15:12, "And said unto them, Ye are the chief of the fathers of the Levites: sanctify yourselves, both ye and your brethren, that ye may bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel unto the place that I have prepared for it."
Under King Ahaz there has been terrible apostasy! God raises up the good king, Hezekiah, and revival is about to come, but before revival comes, the people must be sanctified. II Chronicles 29:5, "And said unto them, Hear me, ye Levites, sanctify now yourselves, and sanctify the house of the Lord God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place."
Then there comes even a worse apostasy under Manasseh and Amon. God raises up a young king named Josiah through whom comes a great revival, but first there must come the sanctifying of the people of God. II Chronicles 35:6, "So kill the passover, and sanctify yourselves, and prepare your brethren, that they may do according to the word of the Lord by the hand of Moses."
When the temple was dedicated God wanted the people sanctified before the dedication. II Chronicles 7:14, "If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
America needs a miracle ! Though voting is important, this country will not be spared the judgment of God at the ballot box. We need a Red Sea to part or some walls around Jericho to fall or the sun to stand still or a pillar of cloud to lead us or the fire to fall. If America is saved, she will be saved because of direct intervention from God Almighty in response to a sanctified people. The troubles in our nation are not caused mainly by the homosexuals, though it is a godless crowd. The troubles in America are not mainly caused by the liquor traffic, though it is a disgrace to our nation. The troubles in America are not caused basically by the dope traffic, though it is a horrible Satanic menace. Nations are spared when the remnant is sanctified. God looks for ten righteous people in Sodom. He looks for a covenant of salt. He looks for Gideon's three hundred who are set apart wholly to God. God will intervene and spare this nation when His people are sanctified; when Christian ladies turn off the soap operas; when Christian young people forsake their rock music; when Christian ladies learn to dress modestly; when a liberal is a liberal again and a fundamentalist is a fundamentalist again; when right is right, wrong is wrong, black is black and white is white again; when God's men are prophets again; when we again hear sermons on judgment, Hell, drinking, dancing and gambling; when fundamentalists sing like fundamentalists, talk like fundamentalists and dress like fundamentalists again; and when we get back to our sawdust-trail, mourner's-bench Christianity which preaches holy living from the pulpit and practices it in the pulpit and the pew! Let us fight abortion. Let us fight the liquor traffic. Let us fight communism. Let us fight the dirty television shows.
Let us fight indecent dress. Let us fight homosexuality. Yet, we must face the issue squarely-the salvation of any nation is caused by God's intervention in response to the sanctification of His people in that nation.
Psalm 119:41-46, "Let Thy mercies come also unto me, O Lord, even Thy salvation, according to Thy word. So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in Thy word. And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in Thy judgments. So shall I keep Thy law continually for ever and ever. And I will walk at liberty: for I seek Thy precepts. I will speak of Thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed."
In our fundamental churches and schools we have some rules and standards. We have rules about dating, rules about hair styles, rules about clothing, rules about smoking and dancing and rock music, rules about speech and respect and behavior, rules about contact with the opposite sex, and rules about many other matters. Immediately the accusations begin to roll: "Legalism! Legalism! Legalism!" Such statements are often made by men with neo-evangelical hearts who masquerade in fundamental clothing. Sometimes they are made by men who have been fundamentalists and yet have become weary of the battle and yearn to return to the onions, watermelons, leeks and garlic of acceptance.
Then this cry of legalism often comes from the desks of colleges and seminaries built on a fundamental foundation with walls of compromise and a leaky roof of pseudo-liberty.
'Tis sad but true, we have grown to desire that our truth be accredited by worldly error. We want a license from wrong to do right. We want darkness to approve light. We want the unclean to accredit the clean. We want Belial to give Christ the right to exist. In so doing, not only are we betraying the standards of our forefathers, but we are betraying our own standards of a few years ago. If we cannot have padded pews AND Hell-fire and brimstone preaching, then let's return to the sawdust trail in a storefront building! If we can't have organs AND trained choirs without the sevenfold amens and crusty anthems, then let's go back to the piano and the tuning fork! If we can't have a marriage of proper grammar and mourner's-bench Christianity, then let's go back to splitting infinitives, dangling participles and hanging gerunds! If tiled rest rooms and chandeliers aren't conducive to the old-time religion, then let's mark off a path, build an outhouse and use 60-watt light bulbs! If we have to include Kierkegaard, Niebuhr and Brunner in order to be theologically intellectual, then let's go back to the blue-back speller, the A,B,C's and the Word of God!
We have listened too much to the worldly psychiatrists and not enough to the prophets of God. We have listened too much to humanistic philosophers and not enough to men of God.
The beautiful feet of those who preach the Gospel of peace have historically been shod with common shoes. The hands that have wielded the Sword of the Spirit have historically been callused ones. The eyes that look through the helmet of salvation have been tear-stained ones. The bodies that have been protected by the shield of faith have been pure ones. Yet sad to say there are those who would have us forsake our standards of behavior and they cry, "Legalism! Legalism! Legalism ! "
Someone needs to inform these dear souls as to what legalism really is. Legalism is attaching something besides faith to salvation. Salvation by faith plus works is legalism. Salvation by faith plus baptism is legalism. Salvation by faith plus keeping the law is legalism. Salvation by faith plus communion is legalism. Salvation by faith plus confirmation is legalism. Salvation by faith plus Sabbath keeping is legalism.
The legalist is not the godly mother who insists that her daughter be modest. The legalist is not the dedicated old dad who takes his son to the barber shop. The legalist is not the faithful pastor who insists that his Sunday school teachers do not drink or smoke. The legalist is not the godly educator who forbids his students to dance or listen to Satan's music. The legalist is not the man of God who cries aloud and spares not concerning the evil of our generation.
Was Paul a legalist when he told men not to have long hair? I Corinthians 11:14, "Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?" Was Paul a legalist when he told ladies not to have short hair? Was Moses a legalist when he gave us the ten commandments? Was Paul a legalist when he admonished the deacons in I Timothy 3 not to be double-tongued, and to be the husband of one wife, be honest and temperate? I Timothy 3:8-13, "Likewise must the deacons be grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus." Was Paul a legalist when he told pastors to be sober, the husband of one wife, not given to wine and greedy of money? I Timothy 3:1-7, "This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (for if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the Devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the Devil."
Was Paul a legalist when he admonished Titus to tell the aged men to be sober, grave, temperate, sound, loving and patient? Titus 2:2, "That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience." Was Paul a legalist when he told Titus to tell the aged women to be holy and temperate? Titus 2:3, "The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things." Was Paul a legalist when he told Titus to teach the young women to be sober, love their husbands, love their children, etc.? Titus 2:4, 5, "That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the Word of God be not blasphemed." Was Paul a legalist when he told Titus to tell the young men to be sober minded, clean, pure, etc.? Titus 2:6-8, "Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you." Was Paul a legalist when he told Titus to exhort the servants as to their behavior? Titus 2:9, 10, "Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things." Was Paul a legalist when he gave us standards for women's dress? I Timothy 2:9, "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array."
Now why do we have these rules? Notice Psalm 119:45, "And I will walk at liberty: for I seek Thy precepts." The Psalmist says here that he walks in liberty because he seeks God's precepts or because he keeps His commandments. Modern thought teaches us that if we walk in liberty, we don't have to keep commandments, but the Bible says the liberty is in keeping the commandments and not in being free from them.
The Scripture here deals with walls. The Psalmist is likening commandments to a wall of protection around a city. The ancient Eastern cities had walls built around them in order to keep the enemy from the people. Now these walls were not to keep the people from liberty, but to keep the people in liberty and free from those who would kill them or enslave them. Suppose an attack were to come from without and the enemy armies would begin to advance. Where would the people be free? Inside the walls or outside the walls? Inside, of course! The walls were built around the people in order that they may be free from the bondage of the enemy attacking from without. Rules and standards do not enslave; they liberate! The very purpose of commandments, rules and standards is to build a wall so those things which could enslave cannot reach our people. We have a rule against drinking because drinking enslaves. Hence, it is put outside the wall. We have a rule against narcotics because narcotics enslave. Hence, they are put outside the wall. We have a rule against stealing because stealing enslaves. Hence, stealing is placed outside the wall. The very purpose of rules is to build a place of freedom so those things that enslave us cannot reach us.
There is a commandment that says, "Thou shalt not kill." Now where is freedom? Inside the commandment or outside the commandment? Inside, of course! A man may say that he is free to kill, but he loses his freedom when he kills. The same is true with adultery, dope, drink, smoking, rock music, homosexuality and other things that enslave.
Humanistic universities often shoot their satiristic barbs toward fundamental schools and say they are prisons. Nothing is further from the truth! The humanistic school is the prison. Many of the students there are bound by liquor, bound by narcotics, bound by homosexuality, bound by immorality, bound by nicotine and bound by rock music. No one loves them enough and no one is wise enough to build a wall of standards around them in order that they may be free from those things which enslave. Freedom is not in the university which has no rules; freedom is in a university which loves its students enough to build rules of protection around them. Love is not breaking down the walls; love is building the walls! Love is not freedom to go to the captor; love is freedom from the captor!
Recently I was in southern California. It was a beautiful morning, so I took a walk. I saw a perfect illustration of this point. I walked by a corner house which had a fenced-in back yard. Inside that fence was a little Chihuahua dog and outside the fence was a giant bulldog. The little Chihuahua began to run up and down the fence barking. Then I thought I heard him speak a little bit. I think I heard him say, "Let me out! Let me out! Let me out! I want my freedom! I'm tired of being a slave. Let me out. I want to be free. Let me out!" How foolish that little dog was! The big bulldog had already put his napkin around his neck and said grace. Now where was the freedom for the Chihuahua? Inside the fence or outside the fence? Inside, of course. There are millions of young Americans like that Chihuahua. "Let me out. I want to be free. Woof! Woof! I want to be free. " Then they are allowed to leave the freedom provided by the fence. They leave what they think is slavery and are soon captured by those things from without which hitherto were not allowed to reach them because of standards and rules built as a fence for their protection. When I was inducted into the Army in World War II, the first night I slept in a tent in Ft. Sam Houston, Texas. A sergeant came to me and said, "Private Hyles, do you see that fence over there?"
I said, "Yes, I do."
He said, "Those men on the other side of that fence are the worst of the German prisoners of war. You are not allowed to go over there."
Brother, he wasted his time and effort in making that last statement. I wasn't about to go over there, for my freedom was provided by that fence. The boundary itself gave me freedom. To go across the boundary would be a loss of freedom.
Many years ago when I was pastoring in Garland, Texas, I had a daily radio broadcast. Ordinarily the broadcast was live. However, on occasion, if I were scheduled to be out of town for a day or so, I would make a tape and take it to the radio station located on the eleventh floor of the Stoneleigh Hotel of Dallas, Texas. On one occasion I took a tape to the station. When I got on the elevator, I told the operator, who was an attractive young lady, that I wanted to go to the eleventh floor. She didn't hear a word I said! She was in a daze because Elvis Presley had just ridden her elevator. Finally I convinced her that I needed to go to the eleventh floor, and all she talked about was the fact that she had been alone with Elvis Presley for a few minutes. She finally gathered herself together and took me to the eleventh floor. She waited as I took the tape across the hallway to the station and then took me back to the main floor. On the way, however, she stopped the elevator, and Elvis Presley got on. He had on a green satin suit and at that time was in his heyday. I introduced myself to Elvis, we shook hands, and then I asked him, "Elvis, do you know, if you died today, you would go to Heaven?"
His answer was startling. "I certainly do," he said. "I was saved when I was a child." Then he proceeded to tell me the circumstances. As best I remember, he said that his grandmother or some other relative had taken him to hear an old-fashioned Gospel preacher. He had received Christ as his Saviour. He told me in clear, positive language of his salvation.
I then looked him square in the eye and said, "Elvis, how could a person who is born again live the kind of life that you are living?"
He said, "Jack, I got tired of the rules. I wanted to be free."
Need I say more? The very type of death that he died is living proof that though he thought he was leaving slavery to go to freedom, he was leaving freedom to go to slavery.
We have the idea that freedom is detachment, but this is not so. Freedom is being delivered from one master to a higher form of servitude to our Deliverer. Freedom is deliverance from the law for a higher law. Freedom is a higher law liberating me from a lower one. Romans 8:2, "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." Freedom is deliverance from that which God did not intend for me to do in order that I may be a servant to that which God intended me to do.
Jeremiah put it this way. Thou hast broken the yokes of wood; but thou shalt make for them yokes of iron." (Jeremiah 28:13b) Abstinence from liquor is a yoke of wood; when it is broken, its place is taken by alcoholism which is a yoke of iron. Abstinence from narcotics is a yoke of wood; but when it is broken, it is replaced by the yoke of iron which is addiction.
David said, "I will be free," and in so doing, he became a slave to his passions. Lot said, "I will be free," and in so doing, he became a slave to the sins of Sodom. Samson said, "I will be free," and in so doing, he was bound to the mill with his eyes blinded. Solomon said, "I will be free," and in so doing, he became a slave to lust.
I thank God for an old-fashioned wall-building mother who built around me a wall of rules that kept me free from those life-ruining things that would have enslaved me. I thank God for an old-fashioned wall-building preacher who preached multitudes of "thou shalt not's" and in so doing kept me free from the captor. I thank God for old-fashioned schools, churches and preachers who still in this permissive society build little places of freedom and wall these places with rules so that our young people cannot be captured by the enemy.
Choose if you will, the bondage of compromise, but build for me the liberty of fundamental separation, or as one has previously said, "Give me liberty, or give me death!"
Recently I was flying to a speaking engagement. The gentlemen seated beside me on the airplane looked at me and asked, "Aren't you Dr. Jack Hyles?"
I said, "Yes, I am."
He introduced himself to me as a Christian brother who was in the Lord's work full time. He was saved, and yet was aligned with a group with whom I could not align myself in cooperation. However, we had a nice conversation on the airplane. We talked about salvation, how wonderful it was to be a Christian, and many other things that we mutually shared. Now I would not have this brother in my church to speak nor would he have me in his church to speak. There is no way that I could cooperate with him in an endeavor that would cause us to yoke up together, but that did not mean I was unkind to him. That did not mean that I doubted his salvation, and that did not mean that we could not spend a few minutes rejoicing in our common salvation.
Recently I was in a clothing store. A former member of First Baptist Church who is now leading a compromising life was there. I went to that member, talked with him and we enjoyed being together for a few minutes. We have some common experiences and memories that we relived and shared. For about fifteen minutes we talked and laughed and reminisced. Now this does not mean that I would invite this member living in a position of compromise over to my house for an evening, nor does it mean that I would cooperate with him in some kind of an endeavor.
Not long ago I crossed the path of a husband and wife who have drifted far from God and His purpose for their lives. They are saved but backslidden. I chatted with them courteously and kindly and then passed on. I did not have to choose between yoking up with them in some endeavor which involved my compromising and being rude to them. The Bible is plain concerning how we are to behave toward believers as far as our manner toward them is concerned. Following are some of the attitudes that we are to have toward all believers:
1. We are to love each other. I John 3:14, 15, "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him." Romans 12:9, 10; "Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another." Ephesians 4:15, "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, Which is the head, even Christ."
2. We are not to hate a Christian brother. I John 2:9, "He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now."
3. We are not to count a Christian brother as an enemy. II Thessalonians 3:14, 15, "And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother."
4. We are to edify our Christian brother. Romans 14:19, "Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another."
5. We are not to have bitterness, wrath, anger, malice or evil speaking toward our Christian brother. Ephesians 4:30, 31, "And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, Whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking be put way from you, with all malice."
6. We are to be kindly affectioned toward our Christian brother. Romans 12:10, "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another."
7. We are to offer forbearance to those in the body of Christ. Ephesians 4:2, "With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love."
8. We are to respond to their evil with good. Romans 12:21, "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."
9. We are not to sow discord among Christian brethren. Proverbs 6:16,19, "These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto Him . . . a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren."
10. We are not to cause our Christian brother to stumble. Romans 14:10-13, 21, "But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak."
11. We should do all we can to restore a Christian brother o has erred. Galatians 6:1, "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."
12. We should warn a Christian brother concerning unruly behavior. I Thessalonians 5:14, "Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men."
13. We are to do our best to strengthen our Christian brother. Romans 14:1, "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations." Romans 15:1-3, "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not Himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me."
14. When our Christian brother does err, we are to speak the truth to him, but we are to do it in love. Ephesians 4:15, "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, Which is the head, even Christ."
15. We must always realize the possibility of our stumbling. Galatians 1:7-9, "Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." Notice the Apostle Paul entertains the possibility that someday he could come and preach the wrong doctrine. This, no doubt, prevented him from thinking too highly of himself Romans 12:3, "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." He always entertained the possibility that he could also fall. I Corinthians 10:12, "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."
16. We should give extra care in our attitudes toward pastors who are saved and are God's men. They who rule well are to be counted worthy of double honor. I Timothy 5:17, "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine."
We are not to lift our hands against God's anointed. I Samuel 26:9, "And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the Lord's anointed, and be guiltless?" I Chronicles 16:22, "Saying, Touch not Mine anointed, and do My prophets no harm." Psalm 105:15, "Saying, Touch not Mine anointed, and do My prophets no harm."
We are to take extra care in our treatment toward God's men. I Timothy 5:1, "Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren." I Timothy 5:19, 20, "Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. "
There are many other attitudes and manners of behavior that we are supposed to have for God's people. This does not mean, however, that it is always proper to yoke up with the people of God in some kind of Christian endeavor. Romans 16:17, "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them." I Timothy 1:19, 20, "Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme." Philippians 3:17-19, "Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ." There are Christian students in Christian schools to whom our children should be friendly and courteous and kind but with whom they should not have their social lives interwoven. There are Christian young men that should not be dated by spiritual young ladies. This does not mean that they should be looked down upon or mistreated; it simply means that there are some Christians whose lives must cause us not to enter into close contact or social interaction with them.
There are preachers who are saved men but who belong to compromising denominations and who support schools that lean toward infidelity. It is not wrong for us to be kind to these preachers and even to feel kindly toward them. It is unwise, however, for us to choose them for places of leadership or places of honor or have them speak in our churches.
I traveled with such an one recently. He believes the Bible, he is saved and was on the same airplane with me. He changed his seat, came up and sat beside me, and I was pleased that he did. I did not scold him for his relationships and affiliations. He already knew how I felt about that. I felt kindly and brotherly toward him and enjoyed being with him, just as I did with the brother mentioned at the beginning of this chapter. He is my brother in Christ, and though I cannot endorse him nor speak for him or have him speak for me, I nevertheless felt kindly toward him and realized that we are brothers in the same family. There seems to be an attitude that I either have to slander him or cooperate with him. What is wrong with doing neither? What is wrong with being courteous and nice to him, loving him and having forbearance toward him just as I am commanded, and at the same time realizing that he is not in a position spiritually but IS in a position ecclesiastically that would keep me from wanting him to speak for me or wanting to enter into some spiritual endeavor with him. He has chosen the crowd with whom he wants to run. I have chosen the crowd, according to the Scriptures as I see them, with whom I want to run. If I entered into some joint endeavor with him, we would have occasion to be tempted to be unchristian toward each other I can be a better Christian if I am nice and courteous to him at a distance rather than being tempted to discourtesy up close. By at a distance," I mean avoiding joint endeavors, etc.
Whether we believe it or not, we all as Christians practice this type of separation. The wise parent says to a daughter, "I know the young man is a Christian, but he is not living right and I don't want you to go with him." The wise parents say to a son, I know she is saved, but she is not the kind of young lady that we want you to date." A wife may say to a husband, "I know the fellows at the job are saved, but I wish you would not associate with them; they are doing questionable things Wise parents who have children in Christian schools will say to them, "Now you be nice to everybody at school, but there are some of the Christian young people that are doing wrong things and I don`t want you to be close to them You be courteous and nice but don t you socialize with them Now you can call this secondary separation or anything you want to call it It is just something that all spiritual Christians practice.
Without malice, bitterness, wrath or clamoring, we choose for ourselves and for our loved ones those particular Christians who are spiritual with whom we want to fellowship and with whom we want our loved ones to fellowship.
If the unseparated Christians will let us, we will help them If they want us to, we will restore them If they seek it, we will forgive them but until they are restored and have proven themselves, we refrain from social intimacies and cooperative endeavors. We all practice this form of secondary separation We don't want our children running with the wrong crowd of Christians. We don't want our children running with Christian young people that run with the unsaved We exhort them to be nice, yes; to be kind, courteous and forgiving of course, and yet not to run with them as good, close friends Now if this be true for our young people, why wouldn't it be true for Mom and Dad? Perhaps parents should not make their close friends and associations with those who run with the unsaved Then why shouldn't it be true also for a preacher? Perhaps a preacher would be wise to be careful not to run with other preachers who run with the unsaved A preacher can be courteous to them and even thank God for the measure of faithfulness they have to the Word of God and even rejoice with them in their salvation, but if contact with them puts him in a position to be tempted to violate the Biblical laws of separation, he might be wise to take extra care. One does not have to choose between running with the wrong crowd and being intimately associated with believers who are running with the wrong crowd and being courteous and kind with all the body of Christ.
When our girls were teenagers I did not feel unkind toward the boys whom I would not let them date There were simply some Christian boys whom I felt they should not date. This did not mean I hated them nor wrote articles against them nor slandered them. It just meant that my daughters could not go with them.
When our son, David, was a teenager, there were some Christian girls whom he could not date. Some of these attended First Baptist Church. I was their pastor, I loved them and I was happy to be their pastor; I simply felt that their Christian lives were not such as I wanted my son to date them. There were young ladies in Hammond Baptist High School that I did not want him to date, and there were young ladies in Hyles-Anderson College that I did not want him to date. I loved them, taught them, trained them, prayed for them, strengthened them, encouraged them, and even accepted the fact that someday they could be restored to a place where David could go with them. They had done nothing to cause them to be expelled from school, but they had not done enough to cause them to be the kind of young lady that I wanted Dave to date and eventually marry.
There are carnal adults, preachers, and members of First Baptist Church with whom I would not suggest spiritual folks become intimately associated Yet I love them and am doing my best to restore them to the position of spirituality they once knew While awaiting that time, I am going to continue to love them. I am not going to slander them. I am going to encourage my people to be courteous, kind and gracious toward them. I am simply not going to suggest that my spiritual people get so interwoven with them that they too will become carnal.
One of the big issues of our day is not only, "Should we separate, from the wrong crowd?" but also, "Should we separate from those who run with the wrong crowd?" We could go on and on and ask, " Should we separate from those who run with those who run with the wrong crowd?" and "Should we separate from those who run with those who run with those who run with the wrong crowd?" To enter into such a subject is like tiptoeing through mine fields, but since the issue needs to be faced, we will do so.
Sin is basically that which causes bad consequences to me or to someone else. This is an oversimplification, but to say the least, sin has consequences. The ultimate consequence of sin is death. Because of this, the wise person will find what leads to death and avoid it. The answer to this is in James 1:14,15. "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." The Bible teaches us that sin brings death. We are reminded in the Word of God that the soul that sinneth shall surely die. We are reminded that the wages of sin is death. If we could just find what brings death and avoid it, we could avoid death-death of dreams, death of homes, death of hopes, etc. Since we don't want to die, then we should avoid sin, for sin brings death.
What brings sin? We find in our text verses the answer to this. Temptation brings sin. Hence, the wise person will stay away from death by staying away from sin and will stay away from sin by staying away from temptation, for temptation leads to sin and sin leads to death. To be two steps from death is better than to be one step from death.
We could be even safer if we could find what brings temptation. Again, our text verses tell us that enticement causes temptation. Enticement is someone or something trying to get us to consider wrong. Since enticement leads to temptation and temptation leads to sin and sin leads to death, then a person is farther from death if he stays away from enticement. If one does not want to die, he should avoid sin. If he wants to avoid sin, he should avoid temptation. If he wants to avoid temptation, he should avoid enticement. If this can be done, we are another step farther from death. Far too many of us walk just inside the boundary of sin, and then one stumble sends us across the line ! However, if a person can find that temptation brings sin and enticement brings temptation, he can be several steps from death; then if he stumbles, he will not stumble into sin but into enticement.
Recently a young lady in Hyles-Anderson College came to my office in tears and completely broken. I asked her what was the trouble. She said, "Dr. Hyles, I am a fallen woman."
I said, "Oh, my, I'm sorry!"
She said, "I know I have broken your heart. I never thought it would happen to me, but it did. I know my parents will be heartbroken! My pastor will be crushed! I know, Brother Hyles, that I have hurt you deeply."
As she told me this she was weeping uncontrollably. I wept with her. I asked her, "Where did this happen?"
She said, "In the halls of Hyles-Anderson College."
I couldn't believe what I was hearing! I said, "Exactly what did you do?"
She said, "Brother Hyles, I held a boy's hand."
Though I continued to look concerned, I could not help but rejoice inwardly. To her, to become a fallen woman was to hold a boy's hand. She had stayed so far away from sin that when she did stumble, she was far enough away from the edge of sin not to go into sin itself How tragic it is that many schools have their rules just between temptation and sin! The only rules are those which keep young people from sin. Why not make rules that keep them from temptation? Then why not make rules that keep them from enticement? Then why not make rules to prevent enticement in order to keep the young people even farther from death? If sin brings death, let us stay away from sin. If temptation brings sin, let us stay away from temptation. If enticement brings temptation, let us stay away from enticement.
If we could find what causes enticement, we could take another step away from death. The answer once again is in our text. Lust brings enticement. Lust simply means "desire." We lust, then we are enticed, then we are tempted, then we sin, then we die. We could take a step farther from death if we could find what leads to lust or desire. Again we find in our text that being drawn away leads to lust. God has a plan for each of our lives. Each of us is to be busily engaged in fulfilling that plan. When we are drawn away from that plan and the work that God has called us to do, we then notice what the world has to offer and we desire it. Once we desire it, there is always someone who can entice us. Then we are led to temptation which leads to sin which leads to death!
If we would keep from death, we must keep from sin. If we would keep from sin, we must keep from temptation, which takes us two steps from death. If we would be kept from temptation, we must be kept from enticement, which makes us three steps from death. If we are kept from enticement, we must be kept from lust, which puts us four steps from death. If we are kept from lust, we must be kept from being drawn away, which makes us five steps from death. It just makes sense that the farther one can stay from death the better off he is, and since death is caused by sin and sin brings death, we should stay as far away from sin as possible. Everyone who goes into sin follows the same pathway. He is drawn away from doing the things he is supposed to do. His eyes see something after which he lusts. Then someone entices him to take, whereupon he is tempted. The temptation leads to sin, and sin leads to death.
When I was a boy my mother taught me to come straight home from school. There was a certain route that I was to take every day. One day I did not take that route but joined some other boys in traveling another way. We had taken the first step. I was drawn away!
On this new way home there was a peach orchard which also had a big pecan tree nearby. We came by, looked at the peaches and pecans and desired them or lusted after them. Now we had taken the second step toward death which is lust.
Then one of the fellows suggested that since I was the smallest, I should climb to the top of the fence and the other boys would keep me from falling inside. I could lean over the fence, pick up some pecans and peaches and throw them out until there was enough for all of us. Then they would pull me back over the fence and we could go our way. There was the enticement. I was a step closer to death.
As I looked at the peaches and listened to their plan, I was tempted, and I was a step closer to death.
Then came the sin! I climbed the fence and reached for the pecans and peaches on the other side. One boy was at the top of the fence holding me, another boy was at the bottom of the fence holding him and the other boy was on the ground holding him. I got several pecans and peaches and threw them outside the orchard, and just as I was about to get enough, I noticed that the police had arrived! I was the only boy inside the fence, and as soon as the other boys saw the police coming, they let me go! I fell inside the fence and they scurried home. (This is always the case! Those who lead you into sin always drop you as soon as they are through with you or as soon as trouble comes.) There I was facing the police officers. Being drawn away had brought lust, lust had brought enticement, enticement had brought temptation and temptation had brought sin. Sin brought the police. (My mother had called them and told them to scare me to death.) They took me to the police station and warned me of my plight. I could see life imprisonment or perhaps even the electric chair! My predicament was caused by sin. My sin was caused by temptation, my temptation was caused by enticement, my enticement was caused by lust, and my lust was caused by being drawn away from the straight route home.
How foolish we are to live just outside sin! How foolish we are to make our rules and standards just outside sin! The farther we can walk from sin, the safer is our walk, and the farther from sin that we can keep those young people over whom we have authority, the safer will be their walk. Too many of us have our rules and standards right after temptation or right after enticement or right after lust or right after being drawn away. The wise leader will keep himself and his followers as many steps from death as possible; hence, as many steps from sin as possible.
Now concerning the matter of secondary separation, this is not even the issue. The issue is to be as safe as possible. If it is safe not to run with the wrong crowd, then it is safer not to run with the crowd who runs with the wrong crowd. Let us suppose, for example, that when our oldest daughter, Becky, was dating the young man who is now her husband, her boyfriend came by one night to get her and had with him a friend. Suppose he said, "Brother Hyles, I want you to meet my friend. He is a sex pervert who has just escaped from the mental ward of the state penitentiary. He is going to go with us on our date tonight. " My daughter would not have gone on a date that night, and I would have told Tim so!
Suppose he would have said, "Brother Hyles, don't you approve of me?"
I would have said, "Yes, Tim, but I don't approve of your crowd. Now you take the sex pervert home before you take my daughter out, and you sever your relationship with him before you think seriously about my daughter."
Now if a person is a Christian, he is my brother in Christ, and I am to be kind to him, but if he is running with the wrong crowd, I will not promote him. I think it not necessary for me to declare the names of those with whom I do not choose to cooperate. I simply quietly use care so that I may stay as far away as possible from sin. Many churches and ministries have died because the pastor and people have not stayed far enough away from death and that which brings death-sin.
I have no tabloids or papers in which I verbally abuse the brethren, but there are brethren whom I love dearly and whom I think are saved whom I will not have preach for me. I am not going to list them, be unkind to them or verbally abuse them, but I will very quietly exercise care. The reader may call it what he wants to call it. I call it being careful. Perhaps this chapter should be called, "Careful Separation," but whatever it is-whether it be the sin of drinking, the sin of adultery, the sin of dope, or the sin of denying Christ and the Bible, the farther that I can stay away from it, the safer I am.
Because the command of the Bible is to be separate from sinners, it is wise that we exercise special care as we deal with others concerning this subject and its implementation.
If a young person wants to stay away from adultery, which is sin, then he would be wise to stay away from heavy petting. If he wants to stay away from heavy petting, he should stay away from petting. If he wants to stay away from petting, he should stay away from kissing. If he wants to stay away from kissing, he should stay away from embracing. If he wants to stay away from embracing, he should stay away from hand-holding. There is nothing in the Bible that says hand-holding is sin, but there is certainly nothing wrong with exercising care and good sense.
I am very aware of the fact that there is a great difference between the hair standards required for our young men at Hyles-Anderson College and what would be called sin. A young man could wear his hair much longer than we at Hyles-Anderson do and not sin, but why stay right next to the edge? The same is no doubt true with standards concerning young ladies' dress, but we believe that there is safety in staying a great distance from sin and its consequence-death. Each man must decide for himself how far that distance is, but there is certainly wisdom in safety.
Now the Bible is plain concerning separation from unbelievers. II John 7-11, "For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds." You will notice that we are not to receive false teachers into our house and we are not to bid them God speed when they leave, lest we become partakers of their evil deeds. If a nice, personable fellow comes by with a briefcase, a tape recorder or slide projector and tells you that he wants to talk to you about religion, you are not supposed to receive him into your house until you are sure that he is not a false teacher.
The Bible promises a great blessing to those who abstain from fellowship with the ungodly. Psalm 1:1-3, "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." Here are five points or steps to guaranteed prosperity and success.
1. Do not walk in the counsel of the ungodly.
2. Do not stand in the way of sinners.
3. Do not sit in the seat of the scornful.
4. Delight in the Law of the Lord.
5. Meditate in the Word of God day and night.
Notice that three of these deal with separation from the wrong kind of people.
There is also a blessed fellowship offered to those who separate themselves from being yoked with unbelievers. II Corinthians 6:14-18, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." Notice verse 18 where God promises a sweet relationship between Himself and the separated believer. To be sure, all of us who are saved are God's children, but sometimes that relationship is strained and God will not treat us like His children. This depends upon our running with the right crowd and being separated.
Unbelievers want us! Acts 20:28-31, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears." Jude 3, 4, "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ." II Peter 2:1-3, "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not."
Just as Sanballat and Tobiah wanted to help in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, even so unbelievers want believers and their fellowship. For one thing, they need our zeal. Their only hope for growth is the zeal and fire of those who believe and preach the Gospel. Apostate denominations love to confuse zealous believers and use them as window dressing. They put them in front of the denomination national meetings in order to convince the denomination that everything is all right while behind the scenes they continue to chop away at the foundations.
They also want God's blessings. This is why they came to Balaam and asked him to come to Moab. Though they themselves were heathen, they wanted the blessings of God that accompany God's men.
Then they want our money. They don't mind you criticizing them as long as you feed them and send your money to their liberal programs.
Then they want our fame. They love to choose some famous evangelist and appear before him because he is famous. The truth is, if he were not famous, they would destroy him if they could. Wrong always wants to run with right. An immoral boy always wants to marry a moral girl. Wrong always entices right, and the tragedy is that right always seems to think that it can change wrong. This is never the case. Those decaying denominations are never salvaged from within by their zealots. A long time before the zealots realize the decay, the places of denominational leadership and the schools have turned toward apostasy.
The Bible is clear that we are not to yoke up with unbelievers, but how about those who do yoke up with unbelievers? That has been discussed from many angles in this chapter. Much care should be taken here. Suppose your son has a good friend, but the good friend runs with homosexuals. Would you want your son to run with a fellow who runs with homosexuals? The truth is, the farther away he can get from the homosexuals, the better he is. Somebody says, "Prove it by the Bible." In this case, I do not have to do so. I can prove it by good sense. I am thinking now of a Canadian preacher who once was a successful evangelist, but he got the idea that he could run with the National Council of Churches and not be affected. He soon became their evangelist. He did not change them; they changed him. He then got out of the ministry. While sitting in a motel room in Canada, I saw him on a television program, and I heard him deny the Bible, deny Christ and even declare atheism!
The hope for America is the sanctity and purity of God's people. It is the hope for your children and mine and for your grandchildren and mine. Too much care cannot be taken to preserve this holy position in order that God may, for His people's sake, spare our generation!
Yes, you read it right. This chapter does not deal with separation from liberals, separation from new evangelicals, or even separation from carnal Christians. It will deal with separation from good Christians, from spiritual preachers, from godly deacons, from good, dedicated Sunday school teachers, and from loyal and faithful staff members. To be sure, Christian fellowship is important for God's people, but this fellowship should be both planned and scheduled lest Christians spend an excess of idle time with each other. Someone has said, "Great minds talk about ideas; good minds talk about things; weak minds talk about people." It would be a good idea for Christians to cease their fellowship when they leave off talking about ideas; certainly before they begin talking about people. Even casual talk will often deteriorate into criticism.
1. The Christian is not to talk about unclean things. Ephesians 5:1-3, "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints." Certainly this includes obscene talk, but it goes beyond that. We are not to talk about unclean things that are true. For example, I was in a certain city preaching. I had been to the same church on two other occasions while another man was its pastor. He had obviously run into some difficulty at the church and had resigned. The young preacher met me at the airport. In a few minutes he said, "I guess you heard about the trouble the former pastor had."
I said, "No. The only thing I heard was that he resigned."
The young preacher then told me that it was a sad story and began to tell me the story.
Immediately I said, "Hold it, son! I don't want to know what happened. I'm here to be a blessing, and if there is something bad about the former pastor, I do not want to know it unless he himself comes to me for help. Then I must learn the story in order to help him. Otherwise I have no desire to know."
During the two days that I was at the church, numerous pastors and laymen mentioned how sad they were about what had happened to the former pastor and each began to tell me. Each time I said, "Hold it! I don't want to know what happened. I don't need to know unless it is to help the brother, and then I want to find the facts from him." Of course, gossip is bad, but it is also bad for the Christian to talk about unclean truth. The mind is the original computer. It is unwise to allow unclean things to enter therein.
The word "covetousness" in Ephesians 5:3 means "wanting to know more." The word "named" means "mentioned or talked about," which means we are not to want to know more or talk about or mention things that are unclean, even if they are true.
Recently I was talking to a friend on the telephone. He said, "Did you hear about so-and-so doing a certain thing that was bad?"
I said, "I don't believe it and don't want to talk about it."
Several years ago I was in a motel room fellow-shipping with two great preachers. One of them asked if I had heard something negative about another great preacher. I said, "No, I have not heard it, and I don't want to hear it. In the first place, if I heard it, I would not believe it. In the second place, I do not want a negative thought to enter into my mind about that brother."
I was preaching in a Midwestern city in a church pastored by a dear friend. He asked me if I would go out to eat with him after the service. (He knew that I rarely did so.) I told him I felt like I didn't have time. He said, "Please, Dr. Hyles. You are going to be here only one night, and I want to fellowship with you. Would you come if I promise not to talk about people?"
With a grin I agreed to do so. He kept his promise. We had blessed fellowship together.
2. The Christian is not to spend much time talking about light or frivolous matters. Ephesians 5:4, "Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks." The word "filthiness" in this passage means "shameful." The term "foolish talking" comes from the Greek word "moros" which means "silly" or "comic." The word "jesting" comes from a word that was used concerning the quick movement of apes and people. It means "quick talk" or "chitchat." The word "convenient" means "properly timed. " This means that we should be appropriate with our humor, our jesting and our chitchat. It does not teach that we are never to be humorous, folksy or casually humorous in our talk. It means that such talk is to be properly timed, which should be in good taste and should be limited. God wants us to laugh. He certainly is not opposed to a funny story that is appropriate.
I have known personally some of the greatest Christians of the past. I was an intimate friend of John R. Rice, Bob Jones Sr., Lester Roloff, Bill Rice, G. B. Vick, Ford Porter and other great men of God. All of these men were delightfully humorous, but always with propriety and within boundaries and limitations. God is telling us here that planned, limited, appropriate chitchat and humor are acceptable, but this should not be unbridled, and it should not occupy a great portion of our time.
I suggest to our young people that they plan their dates. I suggest that they plan to do things together and not to spend a lot of time sitting and talking. Perhaps at the end of a date, ten to fifteen minutes could be allowed for chitchat and conversation, but when a young couple just sits and talks they usually will say things they should not say, or they will have a problem in their relationship.
The wise Christian will allow a set amount of time for telephone chitchat. It is a good idea to make notes prior to telephone conversations in order that the conversation may go in a proper direction and to prevent a waste of time. At the end of the conversation, perhaps two or three minutes could be allowed for casual talk, but it is dangerous for people just to call and talk by telephone for a length of time without a planned conversation. Soon the conversation will deteriorate into gossip, criticism, or people talk, or become a waste of time, or all four.
3. The wise Christian will put some time in his schedule for light talk. For over 22 years I shared platforms all over America with Dr. John R. Rice. I preached with him over 2200 times. I have shared the same motel with him, shared hundreds of meals with him and flown tens of thousands of miles with him. When we were together in a Bible Conference, we would set some time for light talk. We would share a funny story. I can hear him now as I would arrive at the destination and see him on a Monday afternoon. He would say, "Dr. Hyles, did you have a good day yesterday?"
I would reply in the affirmative and share some of the blessings of the day.
Then he would slyly say, "You know, that First Baptist Church of Hammond would really go to town if it had a pastor!"
Dr. Rice would come to breakfast in the morning. He would sit across the table from me and I would say, "Dr. Rice, did you sleep well?"
He would look across the table over the top of his glasses and say, "No, Dr. Hyles, I confessed sin all night."
I would say, "Dr. Rice, with as many sins as you have, it probably would take all night."
He would smartly reply, "Dr. Hyles, I wasn't confessing my sin. I was confessing your sin!" We would then enter into conversation about the Bible, about the spiritual condition of America, or about some philosophy. We had our time for light talk, but it was brief and planned.
It is wise for the Christian not to get close to people who talk about people. Certainly we should be their friend, but we should avoid spending excessive time with them.
The same is true concerning family time. Family time should be planned. If Dad is home for an evening, let him plan a game of PingPong with his son. Then maybe they could take a trip to a drive-in restaurant and maybe go for a drive around town. Some of the worst gossip and most idle conversation takes place around the family circle. Many children have been turned off to Christianity and have lost faith in Christian people and in God's men because of casual talk by parents!
When our children were growing up, I spent planned time with them. I would take one of the girls on a date. I would get the basketball and shoot baskets with Dave or play a game with one of the children. The time spent was not as much as I would have liked, but it was planned time and quality time.
Every Monday I arrive at an airport somewhere in America. I am met by a pastor or a Christian layman and driven to my motel room. I am then driven to the services at night from my motel room and again the next morning and again the next night. I try to plan some conversation just in case there is nothing in particular that my driver wants to discuss. Recently I was driven from my motel room to the morning services by a fine man. I decided it would be a good thing for us to talk about the blessings of sleep and rest. When I got in the car I said, "Good morning, my brother. Did you rest well through the night'?"
He replied that he did and asked if I rested well. I then said, "Yes, I slept like a baby, which means I cried all night!" (Now this was a little planned, brief humor.) I followed it with this statement: "My brother, I sure thank God for sleep. How we ought to be grateful if we can sleep well! Millions of people last night could not sleep. Thank God, He gives His beloved sleep."
He replied with a statement of praise, and we had a delightful time driving to the services praising God for rest and sleep. We had had a brief moment of light talk and then about fifteen minutes of giving praises to God.
God is not telling us that we should never be folksy or humorous. He is saying that we should keep it within bounds and that it should be planned and appropriate.
4. The Christian should bypass disagreements in his conversation. I Timothy 2:23, "But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes." The word "foolish" in this verse means "silly." The word "unlearned" means "conversation where no one learns or teaches." The word "avoid" means "to walk around or to detour. "God is telling us that we should detour conversation that is silly or where no one learns or teaches. Many times I am met at the airport by somebody who wants to discuss his pet conviction or his pet hate. He will bring up some controversial subject or some silly thing that divides fundamentalists. I often think that he is hoping that I will disagree with him so he can debate with me and thereby gain some measure of self-esteem.
On the other hand, I am often impressed by some young preacher who will meet me at the airport and will say, "Dr. Hyles, would you mind my asking you a question concerning your book on rearing children," or "Brother Hyles, I am in a building program. Could I ask you a few questions about it?" or "Brother Hyles, I am counseling with a couple, and I need to probe your mind concerning some wisdom." I am not in the car three minutes until I can usually predict the success or failure of my host.
In my contacts with great men of the past, I have always tried to probe their minds in order to gain knowledge, information and wisdom.
5. The Christian should avoid conversation that does no good to anyone. II Timothy 2:16, 17a, "But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker." The word "profane" in this verse could be translated "accessible." The word "vain" means "void of results." The word "babblings" implies "picking up scraps." The word "canker" comes from the word "gangrene" or "an eating sore." God is telling us here that we should avoid conversation that is void of results, that picks up scraps of information or that discusses an eating sore. Notice Titus 3:9, "But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain."
For years I have set boundaries on my fellowship, as follows:
(1) I do not fellowship with those who want to argue.
(2) I try not to fellowship with those who just want to talk.
(3) I will not join in criticism of persons.
(4) I will not listen to nor share gossip.
(5) I will avoid discussing bad truth.
(6) I will do no second-party counseling. In other words, I will not counsel with someone for another so that they can take my counsel to a friend or loved one.
(7) I put a time limit on light conversation.
(8) I refrain from giving my opinion unless I feel it will help.
(9) I am always for the one who is attacked. I defend the one who is absent.
(10) I try never to believe bad about anybody. In other words, when I hear a rumor about someone, I do not believe it.
(11) I try not to have an opinion about something unless my opinion is needed.
(12) I do not seek to know bad news or something bad that a person is alleged to have done.
This means that the Christian must spend much time alone. He will have to separate himself from many unnecessary meals, from much of what is called Christian fellowship, from continuing telephone conversations after their purpose is ended. This does not come easy for me. I love people. I love to be with people. I love humor. The truth is, I can see humor in so many things, but I have to guard myself constantly lest I engage in an excess of idle talk and light conversation. Knowing this, I discipline myself concerning the time and quality of time I spend with good Christians. I believe this helps us to remain good Christians.
That which is God's is supposed to be kept separate- it is sanctified. The word "sanctified" (holy) is a very important word in the Bible. It means, "set apart for God's use only. " When something is set apart for a specific purpose, it is called "sanctified. " The pulpit in the First Baptist Church of Hammond is sanctified. It is not a perfect pulpit; it has scratches and marks and is marred by much use, but it is sanctified. It is set apart for one thing-for the preaching and the teaching of the Word of God. It is used for nothing else. It is a sanctified pulpit. The chairs in the choir are sanctified, which means they are set apart for a specific purpose. The church pews are sanctified.
Some things in the Old Testament were sanctified to the service of the Lord. In such cases man could not touch it. For example, the ark of the covenant was that little piece of furniture inside the Holy of Holies. It was sanctified to the Lord and could not be touched by the hands of men. When Uzza steadied it while it was shaking, he was immediately taken by death because he touched that which was sanctified to God.
In the Old Testament, God sanctified the tithe. It was set apart to Him. It was His, and man could not touch or use it. The first tenth of all the increase was sanctified to the Lord. The firstborn of all animals was sanctified to the Lord. The firstborn child was sanctified to the Lord. Jesus Himself was sanctified. I Corinthians 15:23, "But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming." The Word of God is sanctified. The very fact that we call it "Holy Bible" means "sanctified Bible."
The firstfruits belong to God. The first ten percent of our increase is His. It is not something that we give to Him; it is already His. It is not ours to give. It is holy and sanctified to God.
1. The sin of Adam and Eve was taking that which was sanctified to God. God said to Adam and Eve,- "All but one of the trees in the garden are yours. You can use them; enjoy them, but one is Mine. It is sanctified. That one is not for your use." When Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden tree they were taking that which was sanctified to the Lord. In other words, the sin of Adam and Eve was the sin of not tithing. That tree was God's just like ten percent of our income is His. They took it for themselves, and when they did, a curse came upon the entire human race. An entire race fell because that which God had set apart was taken by the hands of man. They had touched that which was holy which is the same thing that the Christian does when he touches the firstfruits of his income.
I was teaching this in a service one night, and a man who has a great knowledge of botany and horticulture came to me with a startling statement. He told me that all the trees in the world originated from nine trees that were in the Garden of Eden. He listed these trees as the pomegranate, the mulberry, the berry, the rose, the palm, the ebony, the rue, the nut and the vine. If this be true, then there were ten species of trees in the Garden of Eden- nine were for man and one was for God. One of the ten was sanctified. Whether or not the statement from this expert on botany is true, one thing is true for sure, and that is, the one tree that was set apart and sanctified as holy to God was taken by man! This is the same sin committed every Sunday in thousands of churches around the world when God's people walk out of the church building with the tithe in their pockets. Malachi 3:8-10, "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." I Corinthians 16:1, 2, "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come."
The first money that I ever made was as a ten-year-old boy when I had a Dallas morning newspaper route. The first week I made $3. As soon as I got home, my mother told me to change one of the dollars. I did. She took three dimes and set them apart and said, "Son, these are God's. This is the tithe. It is not yours." I confess that 1 did not quite understand it, for God did not throw my papers for me nor get up at three o'clock in the morning to fold them and deliver them, but I believed Mother, and the next Sunday morning I placed my 30 cents in the offering plate. From that moment until this, the first ten percent has always been God's.
2. The sin of Cain was the sin of not tithing. Genesis 4:1-4, "And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering." Hebrews 11:4, "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh." Notice that Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock. This was that which God had set apart to Himself. Nothing is said about Cain bringing the firstlings of his flock. Oh, yes, it was a sin for Cain not to bring a blood sacrifice, but it was also a sin for him not to let God have that which was holy. The firstling of the flock was holy. Abel brought to God that which was sanctified to Him. Cain did not. Cain's sin was that of not tithing. An entire civilization was destroyed because of this wicked sin. Just as a race fell because Adam and Eve did not let God have that which was sanctified wholly unto Him, even so an entire civilization was destroyed because Cain did not let God have that which was set apart.
3. The sin of Achan was the sin of not tithing. When the Israelites came into the Promised Land, God wanted the firstfruits for Himself. The first city was Jericho, so God said that Jericho was a holy and sanctified city, set apart to God Himself. When Achan took the Babylonish garment for his wife, the wedge of gold and 200 shekels of silver, in a sense he was taking the tithe. This was the first city of the land, the firstfruits of the land, and it was God's! It was set apart unto God. Because Achan took that which was sanctified unto the Lord, he was stoned to death, as were his wife, children and animals. It makes one get the idea that not tithing is a pretty wicked thing.
4. The body of the believer is sanctified. I Corinthians 6:18-20, "Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost Which is in you, Which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." The very word "saints" comes from the word "sanctified" and means "sanctified ones." Your body is the Lord's; it is not yours. You are bought with a price and your body belongs to Him. He sanctified it and made it so.
5. Jesus is sanctified. I Corinthians 15:23, "But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming." Notice especially the words, "Christ the firstfruits. " Here we go back to the tithe. The firstfruits are God's. The first tenth is God's, and Jesus is called the firstfruits. He was set apart, holy and sanctified to be our Substitute.
THEN THERE ARE THINGS THAT WE SET ASIDE AS HOLY ! The tithe is already set aside as the Lord's, but there are times when we make promises and vows to God to give more than the tithe. When this vow is made, then the amount of money that is pledged becomes sanctified, just as the tithe is sanctified, and it becomes as holy as the tithe.
This was the sin of Ananias and Sapphira. Barnabas had sold a piece of ground in Cyprus and had given to God all of the money received for the ground. Ananias and Sapphira also had a piece of ground. They made a vow to God that they would sell it and give all the money to Him. When they made that vow, their pledge joined the tithe as being sacred and holy. When they did not give it all to God, their lives were taken. They had done the same thing that Uzza did. Uzza touched that which was sanctified, which was the ark of the covenant. Ananias and Sapphira touched that which was sanctified, which was a vow that they had made to God. Had they not made that vow, they would not have been killed. Suppose, for example, they had promised God half of the sale. Then that half would be sanctified and they could be at liberty to use the other half. If they had kept all of it for themselves except the tithe, they still would have continued to live if they had not made God a promise to give more than the tithe. When that vow was made, God transferred that money into the treasury of the Lord, and it became holy just as the tithe is holy.
When a person makes a promise to give so much to a building program or a pledge to a special offering at his church, the amount of that pledge and promise becomes holy and sanctified to God. It is a serious mistake and tragic sin to use it for one's self. Only eternity will reveal how many people have been taken to Heaven prematurely because they used that which was God's.
Not only does our money belong to God when it is pledged, but have you, dear reader, ever promised God soul-winning time? Perhaps you have promised God a certain time of the week. It is His. When you made that promise, that time became sanctified! It is dangerous to touch that or use that which is set apart to God.
There are others who have promised God a life in full-time service. Romans 12:1, 2, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." When they surrendered their life to full-time service, their life became sanctified or set apart, just as the life of the high priest in the Old Testament. A person who has given his life to full-time service has set it apart as holy and sanctified to the Lord. Not to keep that promise is to take that which is God's. It is the same sin which Adam and Eve committed in the Garden of Eden, which Cain committed, which Achan committed and which Uzza committed-the sin of taking that which has been set aside as sacred to God and using it for one's self.
Many years ago God spoke to me and told me that He wanted my life full time in His service. Just a bit before midnight at a watch night service at the Hillcrest Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, I gave Him my life. At that moment it became sanctified. Then I preached my first sermon. I was so disappointed. I spoke for only three minutes, sat down in embarrassment and failure. That night I said that I would not be a preacher, but God said, "Your life is not yours. You gave it to Me." I had no choice. I had to let God keep that which was set aside and sanctified to Himself or commit the awful sin of being sacrilegious by profaning that which was holy unto God.
Have you promised God a time when you would pray? It is His. Have you promised God a certain time for Bible study? It is His. Have you promised God that you would be faithful to certain services of the church? Then those times are holy. I believe that Sunday is God's day and that God's people should go to church on Sunday. It is a holy day, a sanctified day and should be treated as such. However, for me Wednesday night has equal sanctity with Sunday because years ago I set aside Wednesday night and gave it to God. God said He wanted Sunday. I said I would add Wednesday night. When I did, Wednesday night became as holy as Sunday. It is His. This is the reason I would never think of missing church on Sunday morning or Sunday night or Wednesday night, regardless of the circumstances. Many Christians have some catching up to do. They are holding in their hands sanctified time and sanctified money. Some of these sanctified things are things sanctified by God Himself, and others have been sanctified by a believer's vow.
Hebrews 12:1, "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us."
God has for each of us a unique race to run. In order to run that race effectively, there are two things that we must lay aside: We must lay aside our sin, and we must lay aside our weights! Much is said about the laying aside of sin, but not much is preached about the laying aside of weights.
A weight is something which is not in itself sin but hinders the individual Christian from running the race that God has set before him.
Suppose two men decided to run a race. They enter the 100-yard dash with some other men. The first of the two goes out the night before the race and gets drunk. He takes narcotics, lives in immorality, smokes cigarettes, goes to a disco and listens to rock and roll music. All night he is awake. The next morning he lines up for the beginning of the race. Will he win? Of course not! Why will he not win? Because of his sin! His sin will prevent him from winning the race.
The second of these two goes home the night before the race and gets a good night's rest. He does nothing that will hinder his effectiveness in running the race the next day. He gets up after a good night's sleep and cares for himself. Now it is time for the race. He lines up at the starting blocks, buttons his overcoat and laces his combat boots. Will he win the race? Of course not! His problem, however, is not sin. He did not drink nor live an immoral life nor take narcotics nor go to the disco. His was a clean life, but his overcoat and boots will prevent him from winning the race. As far as the race is concerned, his weights are as detrimental as the sins of the other runner.
Now let us suppose that the runner who engaged in sin lays those sins aside. He goes to the altar and confesses them. The night before the next race he gets to bed early; he does not go out into sin. He rises the next morning with his sins laid aside. He approaches the starter's block for the 100-yard dash. He then buttons HIS overcoat and laces HIS boots. Will he win the race? No, he will not. Why? He has forsaken his sin; he has laid aside the sin that did so easily beset him, but he has not laid aside his weights. He will fail in the race just as much because of his weights as he did because of his sins, and as far as the purpose of God in his life, he will be just as unable to accomplish it and perform it as he was the day after his escapade into sin. The great problem with sin is what it keeps us from doing. The great tragedy, for example, about being where you should not be is that if you are where you should not be, you cannot be where you should be. There is a race to run. Just to lay aside the sin and keep the weights will do little to help us win the race. The weights must also be laid aside. Hence, the church altar should be a place not only where God's people lay aside their sin but also a place where they forsake their weights. The preacher should cry aloud against sin, but he also should cry aloud against weights. The Christian should confess his sin, but he also should confess his weights.
Someone says, "Okay, I'm convinced. Show me my weights and I will lay them aside." Now this is the great danger about weights. They are not the same for all of us. Sin is the same for every Christian. It is wrong for anybody to drink strong drink. It is a sin for anybody to steal. It is a sin for anybody to murder, but our weights are not the same. My weights are not yours, and your weights are not mine, for my race is not yours and your race is not mine. Since each of us has his own individual race to run, each of us has his own particular and unique weights to lay aside. There are some things in my life that are not sinful, but my race forbids me from doing them. You, perhaps, can do them. On the other hand, there are some things that I can do which you cannot do because your race is different from mine and these particular things may hinder your race whereas they would not hinder mine.
Suppose, for example, that you came to hear me preach somewhere and you waited outside the front door to watch me arrive because you wanted to shake my hand. You are shocked as you see me drive up on a motorcycle. I have on a helmet, goggles, leather jacket, turtleneck sweater, blue jeans and boots. You are amazed; you cannot believe that Dr. Jack Hyles would come to a preaching engagement dressed like that riding on a motorcycle! Is a motorcycle sinful? Of course not. Is it a sin to wear a helmet? Of course not. Is it a sin to wear a leather jacket, a turtleneck sweater and blue jeans? Of course not. Is it a sin to wear boots? Of course not, but for my race these would be weights. It would hinder me from accomplishing the purpose of my life in the service where I was to preach. Now if one of the teenagers of the church rode up dressed in the same attire riding on the same type vehicle, it would not be a weight to him. No one would be surprised. It would be a weight to me because it would hinder my race.
When I was a young man I was a semiprofessional softball pitcher. When I was in the army I was an all-star softball pitcher. When I got out of the army, I went to a Christian college. A local softball team was playing a championship series. They felt their pitching was not strong enough to carry them to victory. They were allowed to draft one player who did not play with them through the year. They asked me if I would pitch for them. I agreed to do so. There were two games left, and if they won both games, they would be champions, but these games were against the best team in the league, which was favored to win the championship. The first game I pitched was a one-hit shutout. We won 5-0. The second game was for the championship. If we won the game, we won the city championship. If we lost the game, we came in second place. Along about the fourth inning the score was tied 0-0. One of our players hit a ball down the first base line. Their first baseman fielded the ball and dropped it. He crossed first base without the ball in his hand. The umpire, however, was behind the first baseman and called our batter out. I could not believe it! The ball was on the ground and most of the people saw it. I rushed to the umpire, told him that the first baseman had dropped the ball. The umpire said, "I did not see it."
I said, "Ask the first baseman." The umpire asked him. He refused to admit he dropped the ball. I was infuriated. Everybody there except the umpire knew that the first baseman did not have the ball in his hand or in his glove when he crossed the base. The first baseman said some things to me that were less than complimentary, whereupon I replied, "You wait until you get up next time. You had better be sure and say your prayers."
As fate would have it, the first batter up in the next inning was the first baseman. Now I did not aim at his head; I aimed at a target, and just before I pitched the ball, the target moved in front of his head. I threw the ball at the target, and it went straight toward its suggested destination. The batter threw the bat in front of his head and the ball dribbled down the first base line, halfway between home plate and first base. This meant that I had to field the ball on the first base line, and the batter who was the first baseman who had cheated, had to run right past where I was fielding the ball. He and I collided and a fight followed. After we had fought a few minutes, suddenly I realized what a poor testimony I was! At that very time I was pastoring a little church outside town in the country, and my members had gotten together and come to the game that night to watch their pastor pitch. Now there he is on the first base line fighting with the first baseman. I screamed, "Hold it! Hold it! Hold it!" I got up, took the ball, put it in my glove, took the glove and the ball and placed them on the pitcher's mound, walked to my car and drove off in the middle of the game, and I have not pitched a softball game from that day until this. Now there is nothing wrong with pitching softball, but for me it became a weight. No doubt there are many readers who pitch softball, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. It was not a sin for me to pitch softball; it was a weight.
One of the fine men in our church bought a $30,000 Mercedes-Benz automobile, drove it out in front, called me outside and said, "Preacher, it's yours!" I turned it down! It would be a weight for me. Now I do not think it would be a sin if I drove a Mercedes-Benz, but certainly it would be a weight. I could not run the race that I am now running and drive a Mercedes-Benz.
Driving a Mercedes-Benz is not a weight for some, but it is for me and there are things that would be a weight to the Christian that drove the Mercedes-Benz that would not be a weight for me because our races are different, making our weights different.
On September 24, 1966, I was spending my last day in my thirties. I decided to stay awake until midnight so I could be conscious through the last minute of my thirties. I went to the basement of our home, and there God broke my heart for my country. On my desk at the time were letters opening every door to me that a fundamental preacher could imagine entering. Two different colleges were offering me their presidency. One seminary asked me to become its president. Twenty-two letters were there from ministerial groups in large cities asking me to come and preach city-wide revival campaigns in coliseums and stadiums across America. Some of the largest cities in our nation were represented. None of that appealed to me. I did not feel that I was supposed to be a seminary or college president at the time, and I did not feel that I was to be a city-wide evangelist, but I had a thousand invitations on my desk from all over America asking me to come to meetings to stir preachers and churches and Christians to evangelism, church building, etc. The Holy Spirit began to speak to my heart. Suddenly I began to weep uncontrollably for my nation.
I went upstairs at about a quarter of midnight on September 24, 1966, and awakened my son, Dave, who was 12 years old at the time. I asked him to come to the basement which he did. He said, "What's wrong, Dad?"
I said, "Doc, God has broken my heart tonight for my country." I showed him the letters. I reminded him that somebody needed to stir churches and Christians and preachers across the nation. I reminded him that unless something miraculous happened, he and his three sisters would not have a free country, and that someday he might even be killed for preaching the way his dad preaches. He said, "Dad, what does it mean if you decide to go and take these invitations on a regular basis?"
I said, "Doc, it probably means that you and I have been fishing for our last time. It may mean that we have been to our last ball game together." Then I said, "Doc, what do you think I ought to do?"
He looked at me through tears and said, "Dad, I think you ought to go," and Dave and I both fell to our knees and he began to pray aloud without my even asking him to do so, and this is what he prayed:
"Dear Lord, tonight I give You my dad." Now there is nothing wrong with having a dad, but for at least one young man in America, having a dad at home with him all the time was a weight. Somebody had to go and stir preachers to build great churches that somehow America might be spared.
What is your weight? What is that thing that is not wrong in itself but is hindering the race that God has set before you? Lay it aside! It is as necessary for you to lay aside your weight as it is for you to lay aside your sin!
Nothing quite so displeases God as when His children intermarry with children of wrath, for nothing so corrupts a nation as does polluting of the people of God by intermarriage.
1. Intermarriage with unbelievers was the main cause of the flood. God says that the flood was caused because the wickedness of man was great in the earth. Genesis 6:5-7, "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth Me that I have made them." The basis of this wickedness, however, was the intermarriage of the descendants of Seth with the descendants of Cain. Genesis 6:1-4, "And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh; yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown." Because of this intermarriage between God's people and the heathen, God's wrath was so stirred that He destroyed every person on the face of the earth except eight. Think of it! The flood was caused because the godly line of Seth, that is, God's people, intermarried with unsaved people. The descendants of these marriages became so wicked that God destroyed earth with a flood. You see, when a lost person marries a saved person, the children usually follow the unsaved parent instead of the saved one. The reason for this is that the disobedience of the saved person in marrying an unsaved person usually causes him to lose his testimony so the children usually follow the unsaved parent instead of the saved one. Such was the case when the descendants of Seth married the descendants of Cain. They followed the way of Cain instead of Seth until the earth became so wicked that God destroyed it.
2. God gave different languages in order to prevent intermarriage. In Genesis 11 the people built a tower called the Tower of Babel. Genesis 11:6-9, "And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let Us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth." Notice again verse 6, "Now nothing will be restrained from them which they have imagined to do." Compare that with Genesis 6:5 when before the flood God said, "that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." The imagination in Genesis 6:5 was intermarriage. Now God says that since the races are getting together in the building of the tower of Babel, they will once again imagine what they imagined before the flood and nothing will be restrained from them, which means intermarriage between God's people and the heathen. Because of this, man's language was confounded in an effort to prevent intermarriage.
3. The unholy union between Abraham and Hagar shows God's displeasure with the mixing of His people. A famine came in the land. Abraham and Sarah, at a time when their faith had lapsed, fled to Egypt. There they hired a young lady named Hagar to be a servant. When they returned to Canaan, Hagar went with them. In the process of time, Abraham had sexual relations with Hagar in an effort to perpetuate his seed. Not only was the adultery wrong, but the crossing of lines between God's people and heathen people was also wrong. From their unholy union came a son named Ishmael. Ishmael became the father of the Arabs. He and his descendants claimed that the Promised Land was theirs because God had promised this land to Abraham and to his seed. Genesis 12:7, "And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land; and there builded he an altar unto the Lord, Who appeared unto him." Ishmael justifiably had a right to claim it, for he was the firstborn son of Abraham. On the other hand, Isaac had a right to claim it because he was the son of promise and was given to Abraham and Sarah in their old age. So we have two races- the Jews and the Arabs- both justifiably claiming the land, the Arabs claiming it because Ishmael was the first son of Abraham, and the Jews claiming it because Isaac was the son of promise. Now for nearly 4000 years there has been nothing but war and strife in Canaan because of this unscriptural union between Abraham and Hagar. Hagar was a descendant of Cush, who was a son of Ham.
4. Esau married a heathen woman against the will of God. Esau married Ishmael's daughter, who was also Hagar's granddaughter. Esau's name was changed to Edom, which means "red" because he had sold his birthright for a bowl of red soup. This unholy union between Hagar's granddaughter and Esau brought forth a heathen nation known as the Edomites. They were a constant thorn in the flesh to God's people, giving special trouble to them as the Israelites entered into the Promised Land after their departure from Egypt and their forty years in the wilderness. Generations of heartache have been caused by God's people marrying unbelievers.
5. Moses erred in marrying the Ethiopian woman. Now to be sure, Miriam's criticism of Moses and this marriage was punished by God because the judgment belongs to the Lord, not to Miriam or any other human being, but the fact is, Moses saw few good days after this unscriptural marriage.
6. The error of Balaam was leading God's people to intermarry with the heathen. Jude 11, "Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core." When Balaam went to Moab for a reward, he did not intend to compromise his message, but he should not have gone to Moab. Because he did go to Moab, God's people followed and the inevitable intermarriage followed. Not only was the purity of the race destroyed but the purity of their faith was also destroyed.
7. David's marriage with Bathsheba was an example of an unscriptural yoke in marriage. So much is said, and rightly so, about David's sin with Bathsheba and his murder of Uriah the Hittite, Bathsheba's husband. Little is said that David's marriage to Bathsheba was unscriptural. David was one of God's people. Bathsheba and Uriah were Hittites. The Hittites were descendants of Heth. Genesis 10:15, "And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn, and Heth." Heth's father was Sidon; his grandfather was Canaan, who was a son of Ham. Genesis 10:6, "And the sons of Ham; Cush and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan." So David's sin was more than adultery and murder; it was an unscriptural yoke in marriage.
8. Samson and Delilah formed an unholy yoke. Judges 16:4, 5, "And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver." You will notice that Delilah was a Philistine. The Philistines came from Philistim. Genesis 10:14, "And Pathrusim, and Casluhim, (out of whom came Philistim,) and Caphtorim." Philistim was the son of Casluhim, who was the son of Mizraim, who was the son of Ham. Genesis 10:6,13,14, "And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan. And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim, and Pathrusim, and Casluhim, (out of whom came Philistim,) and Caphtorim." Once again, there was more than adultery involved; there was a mixing of the seed of God's people and those who were not God's people.
9. Jezebel and Ahab corrupted Israel by an unscriptural yoke in marriage. Ahab was an Israelite; Jezebel was the daughter of the king of Sidon. Sidon was the son of Canaan and the grandson of Ham. Genesis 10:6, 15, "And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan. And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn, and Heth." Not only was Jezebel a wicked woman, but she was an unbelieving woman, and she led Israel into wickedness and idolatry. This was unnecessary and would not have happened if Ahab had not disobeyed the commands of God in an unholy yoke in marriage.
10. Solomon married unsaved women who turned away his heart. I Kings 11:4, 5, "For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites." Because of this, God removed the ten tribes of the kingdom from Solomon's son. Solomon's downfall was marrying heathen women.
11. Nehemiah rebuked the Jewish remnant because they married unsaved women. He used Solomon as an example of such unholy action. Nehemiah 13:23-27, "In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and Moab: and their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews' language, but according to the language of each people. And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves. Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin. Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying strange wives?"
12. The Samaritans became bitter enemies of Cod's people and were people founded on unscriptural marriages between God's people and unbelievers. When Nebuchadnezzar took the Israelites captive to Babylon, he took the wealthy and middle class, but did not want the poor people. They were left in the land. Assyrians migrated into the land while most of the Israelites were in captivity and intermarried with the remnant that was left. Now these Assyrians were from Babylon. Their founder was Nimrod, who was the son of Cush, who was the son of Ham. From this unscriptural union came the Samaritan people, who are bitter enemies of the Jews and cause them much heartache.
13. God forbade the Israelites to intermarry with the Canaanites when they came to the Promised Land. The Canaanites were the descendants of Canaan, who was the son of Ham. Genesis 10:6, "And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan." As such, they were heathen people. This is the reason God wanted the Israelites to drive the Canaanites out of the land. They were idolatrous people and God did not want His people to intermarry with them.
When God's people intermarry with unbelievers, they are rebelling against the Word of God and sinning against God. They are also sinning against their unborn children and their children and their children. It should be ingrained in every child in his earliest days that he should never marry an unsaved person. Hence, he should be taught that he should never date unsaved people. Think of it! Intermarriage between God's people and the heathen caused the entire world to be destroyed and also caused man to have his language differ from others. This has caused and is causing all the trouble in the Middle East and has brought grief and heartache to millions of people who have violated the command of God and to millions of people who are children and grandchildren of those who have violated the command of God. Marriage is a yoke, and we are plainly commanded not to yoke up with unbelievers.
The subject of this chapter does not deal basically with standards and separation concerning personal behavior, though our hair is getting too long on our men and seeing a fundamental lady in pants is something we never saw until recent years, and it might be good for our people if we pastors preached a few sermons against mixed bathing, smoking, card playing, miniskirt wearing, seeing movies, and singing and listening to rock music! Also, we must take care not to have a Heaven without a Hell, not to have a resurrection without a judgment, a do without a don't and a love without wrath; yet, the subject at hand is ecclesiastical separation.
Maybe we fundamentalists have become too enchanted with famous people. Maybe we should let the little widow testify for a while. Maybe we HAVE gone too far toward having famous people who are baby Christians testify in our churches before they have become rooted and grounded in the faith. It may be that our Shimeis are sent from God and that we need to consider their barbs. Our critics' guns may have been loaded by our own mistakes, and maybe that friend with a questionable disposition can help us to reestablish a proper position. Maybe we are too careless about the crowd with which we run. Maybe we ARE sliding back toward our own mother of harlots who once cast us out as illegitimate children. Maybe one step to reuniting fundamentalism would be to check carefully to see if our houses are in order. Maybe we SHOULD check to see who our playmates are!
Maybe there ARE things not wrong to do that may not be wise to do. Maybe we HAVE invited Sanballat and Tobiah to help us in building the wall. Maybe we HAVE fallen asleep on the trip and need to look out the window to see where we are. Maybe we SHOULD check the church memberships of our guest speakers and check their check stubs to see where they invest their tithes and offerings.
Maybe we SHOULD be extra cautious of those who are staying in to "CLEAN IT UP."
Maybe we ought to get "cleaned out" instead of trying to "clean up."
Daniel didn't clean up Babylon. Abraham didn't clean up Egypt. Lot didn't clean up Sodom. Balaam didn't clean up Moab. Jacob didn't clean up Haran. Jehoshaphat didn't clean up the northern kingdom. Naomi didn't clean up Moab. Ezekiel didn't clean up the Medes and Persians. W. B. Riley didn't clean up the Northern Baptist Convention. R. G. Lee didn't clean up the Southern Baptist Convention. Chuck Templeton didn't clean up the National Council of Churches. Bob Shuler didn't clean up the Methodist denomination. Charles Spurgeon didn't clean up the London Baptist Association. Jack Hyles didn't clean up the Southern Baptist Convention. Maybe you can't either!
Maybe we are wanting to enjoy a certain intellectual standing. Is that why we are so obsessed with accreditation? Is that why we seem dissatisfied with the old King James Bible? Are we afraid of being called unscholarly? Are we unwilling to be simple?
Maybe we were smarter when we were dumber!
We didn't have enough sense to conjugate a verb, but we had enough sense not to let Communism take over Cuba. We were too dumb to graduate, but we kept Communism off the campuses.
We may have been too dumb to learn theology, but we were smart enough not to take graduate study under Niebuhr, Brunner, Kierkegaard and Barth. We may have said, "l have did," instead of "I have done," but what we "had did" was faithful to the Word of God! We may have said, "I have saw," instead of "I have seen," or we may have said, "I seen" instead of "I saw," but what we "seen" was worth seeing, and what we "had saw" was the right thing to see!
We may have done right wrongly, but bless God, we didn't do wrong rightly!
Our disposition may have been wrong, but bless God, our position was not wrong!
We had better come back to separation! Running with the wrong crowd will affect all of us sooner or later. Daniel kept on praying. He went to the lion's den. He refused the king's pizza and enchiladas. He wouldn't drink the king's wine. He proved it pays to do right! However, later when the Jews were allowed to return to rebuild the temple, those who wanted to return could do so, but the list in the Bible nowhere includes Daniel! I wonder where he was. Zerubbabel and Ezra returned, but it seems that Daniel would have been the logical one to have headed up the expedition to return to Jerusalem for the rebuilding of the house of God. Could it be that Daniel should not have gone to the university of Chaldea? Was he influenced? Maybe so!
We speak well of the courage of Esther, and we should, but was it right for her to marry a king who was divorced, unsaved, a winebibber and lustful? God doesn't change His principles for anybody! Suppose your daughter came to you and told you that she wanted to marry a man who was divorced, unsaved, a winebibber and lustful. You would be opposed to it, of course. Could that be the reason why Esther never mentions God? The word "God" is never mentioned in the book of Esther, but it would have been if Esther had spoken about God to the king.
The wrong crowd will damage anybody's life. If Abraham had not been with the wrong crowd in Egypt, there would never have been an Ishmael or our middle eastern crisis. If Balaam had not gone to the wrong crowd in Moab, the race would not have fallen. If Jehoshaphat had not run with the wrong crowd in the recapturing of Ramoth in Gilead, he would never have joined up with Ahab and Jezebel, and his son, Jehoram, would never have met Jezebel's daughter, Athliah, and tragedy would have been averted in the southern kingdom! If Esau had not run with the wrong crowd, he would not have married a heathen woman, and the wicked nation of Edom never would have begun! If Samson had not run with the wrong crowd, he would never have lost his power in the lap of Delilah! If Solomon had not run with the wrong crowd, he never would have lost the blessing of God because of his strange wives! If Lot had never run with the wrong crowd, he would never have gone to Sodom, committed incest with his daughters, and had two heathen nations born as a result of that incest! If Peter had not run with the wrong crowd, he would not have denied our Lord and the faith! If the descendants of Seth had not run with the wrong crowd, there never would have been a flood to destroy the world! If Jacob had never been with the wrong crowd, he would have never spent 20 years outside the will of God and married the wrong person! If Ahab had not run with the wrong crowd, he would never have met Jezebel! If Elimelech and Naomi had not run with the wrong crowd, they would never have gone to Moab and lost their two sons in death, nor would have Elimelech have lost his life there!
Fundamentalists, let us be fundamentalists! We do not need liberal rouge or National Council of Churches eye shadow or ministerial association eye lashes or eccumenical toupes Let us be what we are old-fashioned, Hell-hating, sin-fighting, separated, soul-winning, Christ-honoring, window-rattling, barn-storming, God-fearing, Bible-loving, compassionate, weeping fundamentalists- and bear the name with joy and pride!
The Christian has three enemies: the world, the flesh and the Devil. The Christian is a threefold person: He is body, soul and spirit. Each of his enemies attacks a particular part of the Christian. The flesh attacks the body, the world attacks the soul, and the Devil attacks the spirit. In the Garden of Eden, Satan could not attack the soul with the world, for there was no wicked world. He could not attack the body, for there was no fallen flesh. Hence, he could appeal only to the spirit. So he came through the only entrance that he had.
The Devil could not come to Adam and Eve and suggest that they get drunk or kill someone, so he attacked them in the only way that he could- through the spirit. He promised Eve that if she would eat the fruit that she would be as gods, knowing good and evil, or discerning good and evil. Notice that Satan was telling Eve that she would be a better Christian if she ate the fruit. He appealed to her through a noble temptation.
The Christian is admonished to be like God. Philippians 2:5, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." I John 4:17, "Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world." Psalm 17:15, "As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness." John 14:12, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father." John 20:21, "Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you."
So Eve saw spiritual growth by eating the forbidden fruit. Here is something new spiritually. Here is a chance to be like God. Here is a chance to have spiritual insight that she had never had before. Satan was appealing to her through spiritual methods. He does the same thing today!
1. He appeals to the Christian to change the world. Now certainly the world can be changed through Christ, but it is changed as people are born again and know regeneration. The changing of the world is a by-product of the Christian. The main thing is to work with the individual.
Years ago a famous preacher was in his study. His little five-year-old granddaughter was with him that morning. He put her in the outer office and asked her to play for awhile so he could study, but she kept bothering him, asking him for a drink of water, etc. Finally he thought of an idea. There in his office he had a jigsaw puzzle of a map of the world. He went to the outer office and asked his little granddaughter if she would like to play with the jigsaw puzzle. She was thrilled at the possibility. He told her that he would give her another drink of water as soon as she got the puzzle put together, then retreated to his office for what he thought would be a lengthy time of study. In a very few minutes his granddaughter came to his door to inform him that the puzzle was all put together. He didn't believe it, but sure enough, when he went to the outer office he saw the world all put together, and the jigsaw puzzle was completely in the proper order. "Who's been in here?" he asked. "Who helped you?" he questioned.
"Nobody, Granddaddy," she replied.
"Then how did you do it?" he asked.
She said, "Granddaddy, it was easy. I found that on the back side of the map of the world was a picture of a man's face. So I turned it over and worked on the man. When I got the man together, the world took care of itself."
Ah, what a great truth which Christians seem to forget!
Satan comes to the child of God to detract him. He takes him from the main thing which is soul winning and building up the individual Christian and gets him excessively involved with changing the world. Notice, this is a noble motive. The Devil knows he cannot come to a good, separated Christian and persuade him to get drunk, to be immoral, to curse or to steal, so he comes and appeals through his spirit to do that which is noble. He suggests that we change the world. Now in changing the world, we must get involved with it, and when we are involved with it, we are not separated from it. Soon we will be like it. We are soon captivated by worldly personalities. Then sin becomes less sinful and less shocking to us.
A quarter of a century ago some of us set out to travel the length and breadth of this country to encourage church-building and soul winning on the part of God's people. Thank God, all over this nation great churches were built. Conversions and baptisms multiplied, and the breath of God was upon us. Because of this, our numbers increased and because our numbers increased, our voting power increased and because our voting power increased, we were influential in being a part of electing men to office, but in so doing we traded the best for the good. We then made the enemy aware of us and crystallized him against us. We caused him to organize resistance. Pastors who once went soul winning now are excessively involved with politics. Churches that once were centers of evangelistic zeal and phenomenal growth have now settled back to complacency. Somehow we fail to realize that we influence the world more when we work on the individual and less when we work on the world. Now preachers who used to be separated have joined in endeavors that caused them to be in contact with cultists, false teachers and liberals, and whether they admit it or not, it has taken its toll. We become like our associates. We cannot help but be affected by our environment. Convictions are changing, standards are sliding, soul winning is decreasing, attendance is down in many of our churches that once were great centers of evangelistic fervor, and, by the way, we are influencing the world less than we were.
It all started with a spiritual motive and with Satan appealing to our nobler person.
2. Satan appeals to us through soul winning. Again, he comes to appeal to the flesh through the spiritual. He says, "Now, to win them you must be with them, and in some cases you must be like them." Notice that the motive is wholesome. He is trying to get us like the world, but he knows that he cannot appeal to the spiritual Christian with that tactic, so he says, "Go to the beach and win them, but you must dress in beach attire or they will think you are some fanatic." He will say, "To win the rock and roll crowd, you will have to appeal to them through their music. Of course, put some religious words to it, but use their beat." He will convince us that if we win them, we must dress as they dress and our young men must wear long, hippie-type hair in order to win their long-haired friends. He breaks down our separation through a holy and noble motive. How wise he is! How foolish we are!
I know a fine man who is a good soul winner, but he is affluent, a man of means. He set out to win the elite to Christ. This appeared to be a good motive, and he did win some elite people. Then he brought them to his church, but they were not impressed with the old-fashioned atmosphere and old-time religion of his church. He soon became discouraged and disenchanted and came to his pastor informing him that he could no longer be a member of the church where he had attended for many years because his affluent friends did not like to come there, and if he won them, he would have to go to a more affluent church. So he left one of the greatest churches in the world to go to a church filled with compromise. Now he has lost his separation, he is with the wrong crowd, in the wrong church and, yes, doing the wrong things. Satan did not come to him and say, "How about running with the wrong crowd?" He came to him and said, "You should win everybody you can," and through this noble and holy motive, the Devil led this man away from the great truths of separation.
Satan will come to your spirit and suggest that you find a religion that will help your body and soul. Because of this, you then must find a religion that pleases the body and soul. Now you are using the body and soul to choose your religion. Then you will choose a religion to approve the body and soul. Now you have idolatry. Your mind and body are choosing your religion, which means that the spirit is not the guiding factor, but you are making yourself a religion with your mind that will appeal to your intellect and to your senses. This is as much idolatry as the heathen in the jungle who makes an idol with his hands.
Those of us who have lived awhile have watched Satan break down separation by his aforementioned method. How sad to see a spiritual person tempted to do good by using questionable means of doing good! How wise and shrewd is Satan! Of course, he can tempt the weak Christian by appealing to his flesh or to his soul, but the spiritual Christian is attacked through his spirit, even as was Eve, who had no fallen flesh or wicked world to lure her. She was lured into a breakdown of separation by a satanic appeal to her spirit. What an appeal it was for her to be like God, for her to have spiritual growth, for her to know things she never could have known before! This is one of Satan's favorite methods in our generation. May God help us to walk in the Spirit and walk in the Word so we can resist the satanic attack upon the spiritual, noble and higher part of us!
Perhaps the first hint of separation in the Bible is in Genesis 1:2-5, "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day." Notice especially verse 4b, "God divided the light from the darkness." As we know darkness, there is simply the absence of natural light. Matthew 27:45, "Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour." There are, however, figurative meanings of darkness:
1. The place of misery. Matthew 22:13, "Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
2. Ignorance. John 3:19, "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."
3. Secret. Matthew 10:27, "What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops."
4. Wickedness. II Corinthians 6:14, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"
Hell is called "outer darkness." Matthew 8:12, "But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matthew 22:13, "Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matthew 25:30, "And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Satan is called the god of this world II Corinthians 4:3, 4, "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine unto them." Satan's rulers are called "rulers of darkness." Ephesians 6:12, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." God's people are called "children of light," and those who are not God's people are called "children of darkness." Since God divided the light from the darkness at creation, God always wants light divided from darkness.
The Christian is commanded not to walk in darkness. John 8:12, "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." John 12:35, "Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth."
The Christian is commanded not to abide in darkness. John 12:46, "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on Me should not abide in darkness."
The Christian is reminded that he is not in darkness I Thessalonians 5:4, "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief."
We are reminded that hating our brother is a work of darkness. I John 2:9, 11, "He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes."
We are commanded to have no fellowship with the works of darkness. Ephesians 5:11, "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them."
Evil deeds are associated with darkness. John 3:19, "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."
We are told to put off the works of darkness and put on light. Romans 13:12, "The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light."
We are reminded that in God is no darkness. I John 1:5, "This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all."
All of this is simply to remind us that God has from the beginning separated light from darkness. Since He uses darkness as a figure of speech for so many forms of evil, and since He uses light as a figure of speech for Jesus, for the Christian and for the Christian life, the basis for separation is the very fact that God has, does and will continue to divide light from darkness. Matthew 5:14, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid." John 8:12, "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." Ephesians 5:11, "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them."
In Genesis 4, when the first man in darkness who rejected the light killed his brother, God separated that darkness (Cain) from light. When in the process of time the children of darkness from Cain intermarried the children of light from Seth, the entire world was ruined and destroyed by flood. Later when these children of light and darkness tried to get together again, God confounded their languages. Genesis 11:6-9, "And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let Us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth."
Why is God so careful to remind His people to have no fellowship with darkness? There are several reasons:
1. God wanted a people for Himself, and He made us to be that people. When we walk in darkness to any degree, it takes us just that much away from the purpose of our existence, and that is to fellowship and walk with God. Amos 3:3, "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" Since God is light, we do not agree with Him when we yoke up with darkness. This takes us away from fulfilling the main purpose of our redemption.
2. The Christian who walks with darkness forfeits his right to sweet fellowship with God's people. I John 1:7, "But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." Whatever degree we walk with darkness, we sever not only that degree of fellowship with God but we also sever that degree of sweet fellowship with the children of light.
3. The Christian who walks with darkness lessens the chance of the unsaved coming to Christ. When we walk with the unsaved, they begin to feel as one of us, making it more difficult to get them lost. This is the reason that the churches who preach or practice separation can get more people saved than the churches who compromise The unsaved man knows something is missing. Isaiah 48:22, "There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked." Isaiah 57:21, "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." The unsaved man knows that he has no peace. If he can see a distance between him and the saved, he can see some hope for himself if he gets saved, but if the saved man is yoked up with the unsaved, sings his music, goes to his theaters, drinks his beer, uses his language and even goes to his churches, the unsaved man can see no difference! He needs a change and he knows it. If he can see changed people, there is hope for him, but if the saved man appears to have what the unsaved man has, why is there the need of salvation?
4. When light yokes with darkness, the testimony of light is hurt. The Bible seems to say that Lot was saved. The Bible speaks about him having a righteous soul. II Peter 2:7, 8, "And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked. (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds.)" However, Lot showed no evidence of being saved. He went to Sodom, interacted with them and brought light into fellowship with darkness. When the destruction of Sodom was imminent and that destruction was revealed to Lot, he went to his sons-in-law, told them of the destruction and warned them to flee, but they had no confidence in him! Lot's light had been yoked with darkness and he seemed to them as one that mocked Genesis 19:14, "And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place: for the Lord will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law." Here is another perfect example of compromise hindering soul winning. Lot's sons-in-law perished without God because Lot had yoked up with darkness.
The only thing the unsaved like about the saved is their light The unsaved man wants a saved girl. Why? He likes her light. The unsaved employer likes the light of a saved employee. When the First Baptist Church of Hammond decided to go into the Christian school business, we were besieged by people begging us not to do so because of the good influence that our students had had on the public schools. Darkness liked our light. Hence, when the Christian compromises and yokes up with darkness, he takes away the thing about himself and about his faith that darkness likes, and this hurts the testimony of the cause of Christ.
5. When light yokes up with darkness, their children marry. This is one of the main reasons why God teaches us the doctrine of separation. Children of the children of light intermarry with the children of the children of darkness, which weakens the chances of their children being saved. Usually when a saved person marries an unsaved person, their children do not become Christians. There is a reason for this. The very act of disobedience that is committed by the saved person when he or she marries an unsaved person brings the saved parent closer to the position of darkness, and it is usually indicative of other acts of disobedience which will follow. For that matter, it almost always follows other acts of disobedience which have gone before No Christian can be spiritual when he marries an unsaved person, for he is going in direct disobedience to the Word of God. It is always a carnal Christian marrying an unsaved person, and a carnal Christian plus an unsaved person usually equals unsaved children.
If, for example, a saved woman marries an unsaved man, the unsaved man will not want to go to a separated, fundamental church. In an effort to get him to go to church, the wife will continue to compromise and choose to go with him to a liberal church where there is no Gospel preached and which inoculates or vaccinates their children with religion and prevents them from ever becoming a new creature in Christ by regeneration.
This not only has taken the saved spouse from his or her purpose of life, that of fellow-shipping with our Creator, but it also has lessened greatly the chances of their offspring ever fulfilling the purpose for which God made them- fellowship with God through Christ.
In summary, God made us for fellowship with Himself. He is opposed to anything that would hinder, mar or break that fellowship. Since our fellowship with Him is severed to whatever degree we fellowship with darkness, God gives us the great Bible doctrine of separation in order that we may fulfill the purpose of our creation and redemption and in order that our children and their children may fulfill the purpose of their creation and redemption.
Matthew 27:46, "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"
The first recorded words of our Lord while He was on earth were these: "How is it that ye sought Me? wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?" (Luke 2:49) Notice especially the words, "My Father's. " The last recorded words of our Lord before He gave up the ghost on Calvary were these: "Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit." (Luke 23:46) Again, notice the use of the word "Father." Between the first recorded words and the last recorded words are such terms as these: "the will of My Father," "ye blessed of My Father," "their angels do behold the face of My Father," "all that the Father giveth Me," "I honour My Father," and "My Father is greater than them all."
The first words of Calvary were, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34) The last words of Calvary were, "Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit. " Notice again the emphasizing of the word "Father." Hear our Lord in John 17 in the great prayer of intercession: In verse 1, "Father, the hour is come." In verse 5, "And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self." Verse 11, "Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given Me." Verse 21, "That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee." Verse 24, "Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am." Verse 25, "O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee: but I have known Thee." Notice in each of these verses the use of the words, "Father," "My Father," "Holy Father" or "the Father."
I am stunned then at the middle cry of Calvary when the Lord Jesus said, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46) Why was it always "Father" and now suddenly it is "My God, My God?" Our sins were placed on Jesus. The Father turned His back upon His Son, and Jesus cried, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" The word "forsaken" is a large word. It includes, "My God, My God, why hast thou indicted Me? Why hast Thou convicted Me? Why hast Thou sentenced Me? Why hast Thou disowned Me?" Though Jesus was still the Son of God on the cross, He could not call God His Father because He was bearing our sins. He was identifying Himself with sinners, and the Father, Who is holy and just, cannot look upon sin. Hence, He turned His back upon His Son and in that moment disowned Him that His justice might be satisfied and that a way of reconciliation for sinners like you and me could be made.
This leads to four relationships that mankind can have with his God.
1. Creator-creature. This takes place at birth.
2. God-people. This takes place at salvation.
3. Father-child. This takes place at separation.
4. Friend-friend. This takes place at service.
When the creature accepts Christ as his Saviour and by faith appropriates God's gift of eternal life, he then enters into a new relationship with his God. It is the relationship of God-people. However, notice II Corinthians 6:14-18, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." Notice especially the words in verse 18, "and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters." Now this does not mean that the Christian was not already a child of God; it does mean that one can be a child and not enjoy the intimate relationship that he should with his Father. Here in II Corinthians 6:14-18 we have the requirement that God gives for those of us who are His children to enter into a sweet Father-child relationship. It is the great doctrine of separation. In verse 14 we are told not to be yoked together with unbelievers. We are told that righteousness should not fellowship with unrighteousness. We are told that light should not commune with darkness. We are told in verse 15 that Christ hath no concord with Belial and that believers should have no part with infidels. We are told in verse 16 that the temple of God hath no agreement with idols. We have the reminder in the last part of verse 16 that the believer is one of God's people and that he has a God-people relationship with the Father. Then in verse 17 God speaks to the believer and says that if he will come out from among them, that is, the unbelievers, unrighteousness, darkness, Belial, infidels and idols, and be separate and touch not the unclean thing, then God will receive him and will be a Father unto him, and the believer shall be as a son or daughter. (Verse 18.) This is a wonderful, blessed truth.
One night our son, Dave, got in the wrong crowd. He came home. When I realized with what crowd he had been, I said, "Go to your room."
He said, "But, Dad...."
I said, "Don't `Dad' me. `Doctor Hyles' me."
He said, "Well, Dad...."
I said, "Don't say, `Dad,' to me. You `Doctor Hyles' me." I went upstairs and made him say, "Doctor Hyles, Doctor Hyles, Doctor Hyles," over and over again. Now he was my son, but we were not close at that particular time because he had been in the wrong crowd. The believer in Christ is still God's child, but he has forfeited his Father-child intimacy if he runs with the wrong crowd.
Notice Romans 8:14, 15, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." Here we have another passage that teaches the same truth. We are told that the sons of God are those who are led by the Spirit of God. Romans 8 deals with the Spirit of God leading the child of God to live the spiritual life, not the carnal life. If the child of God follows the leadership of the Holy Spirit into a spiritual life, he then becomes the son of God. This does not mean that he was not already God's child. It means that he now has a relationship as a father and son should have. This same teaching is implied in Matthew 5:9, "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
A little boy was bad. His dad sent him to his room and then spanked him. He then told the boy to stay in his room and think what a bad boy he had been. After awhile dinner was ready The dad very curtly said, "Son, come on to the table and eat!" The boy came to the table. His parents were still his parents, but he had lost the sweet relationship with them that a child should have with his parents. His dad then looked over to him and in a very stern voice said, "Son, you ask the blessing! You need to pray!" Whereupon the boy said, "Heavenly Father, I thank Thee that Thou preparest a table before me (sob, sob, sob) in the presence of my enemies!"
When our girls were small, I had dates with them. For many years I had dates with Becky, who is our oldest daughter. I used to say, "Becky, do you want to have a date with Daddy?"
Her little three or four or five-year-old voice would say, "Goodie, goodie, goodie! I'm going to have a date with Daddy!" I would escort her to the car and ask her where she wanted to go. She would always say she wanted to go to the ice cream store. We would drive to the ice cream store. A waitress would come up and ask to take our order. Becky would always order a chocolate milk shake. I would likewise order a chocolate milk shake. When the waitress brought the milk shakes, she put Becky's in front of her and mine in front of me and a straw in each, whereupon Becky would say, "Daddy, let's drink out of the same milk shake together." I put my milk shake to the side and put my straw in Becky's and we would share the same milk shake. People would walk by and say, "Look at that mean old man drinking that little girl's milk shake!" (I did get more than Becky got because I had a better sucker than Becky had!)
After we would have our milk shakes we would go to the Jack and Jill Shop and I would buy Becky a dress or something else that she might have needed. Then we would get in the car and go to Riverside Park and swing. Becky would get in the swing, and I would push her. Then I would get in the swing, and she would try to push me. We did this every week. It was a ritual with us. This continued while Becky was three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve and thirteen; but when she became fourteen, one day I said, "Becky, do you want to have a date with Daddy?"
She said, "No, sir."
I said, "What do you mean?"
"No, sir. I mean I don't want to have a date."
I said, "Why?"
She said, "Because Tim is going to call."
Who was Tim? Tim was a boy she had learned to like better than she liked her dad, and she would rather wait for a phone call from Tim than to have a date with her dad. (Every parent who has ever reared a child knows how I felt!) I went to my prayer closet and asked, "What's wrong? I've lost my daughter!"
(The Heavenly Father is asking "What's wrong?" between Him and many of us because we have lost our sweet relationship that we once had. )
I decided to add to the incentive. I was going to preach in the Los Angeles area and so I said, "Becky, would you like to go to Los Angeles with Daddy? We will go to Knott's Berry Farm and Disneyland ! We will fly in a big airplane, have a few days in a hotel, enjoy room service and breakfast in bed!"
She asked, "Can Tim go?"
I said, "No, Tim cannot go!"
She said, "Then I don't want to go."
Finally one day I was taking a trip to the Holy Land. I said, "Becky, would you like to go to London, Paris, Rome, Athens, Cairo, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Bethany, Nazareth, Cana of Galilee, the Jordan River, the Dead Sea, the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum and Jericho with Daddy?"
"Is Tim going?" Becky said.
"No," I said, "Tim is not going!"
"Then I don't want to go," Becky said.
She would rather talk with Tim on the telephone than go around the world with me! (I did not know at the time that this was the natural thing. I know it now; I did not know it then!)
After a few years, Becky and Tim got married. God has given them three lovely children. When the first child was just a baby, they came home for a visit. I had to go to the store, and I announced that I was going to the store. Becky said, "Daddy, can I go, and can we have a date?"
My eyes filled with tears and my heart leaped with joy as my grown daughter wanted to have a date again with me. It had been years ! I put out my arm and escorted her to the car. I said, "Puddin', where would you like to go?"
She said, "To the ice cream store."
To the ice cream store we went! A waitress came to take our order. (It was not the same waitress.) Becky said, "I would like to order a chocolate milk shake."
Through tears I said, "Make that two chocolate milk shakes!"
The waitress brought the milk shakes, put Becky's in front of Becky and mine in front of me and a straw in each. Becky said, "Daddy, could we drink out of the same milk shake together?"
I said, "Why sure, Puddin'." I put my milk shake on the side, put my straw in Becky's and we drank out of the same milk shake. (I still got more than she did because my sucker was still better than hers!)
After we shared her milk shake, we shared mine. Then I said, "Puddin', you wouldn't like to buy a new dress, would you?" (Don't ever ask an adult lady that question!)
She said, " Yes, I would. " We didn't go to the Jack and Jill Shop, we went to Rosalee's, a women's store, and Becky picked out a dress just like we used to do.
I said, "Puddin', we had better go home."
She said, "Daddy, aren't we going to go to the park and swing?"
I said, "You want to go to the park and swing?"
She said, "We always do on our dates, don't we?" So we went to Riverside Park! Becky sat in the swing and I pushed her; then I sat in the swing and she tried to push me.
Then we went home, and I went to my prayer closet, got on my knees and said, "Lord, does it make You as happy when I love to be with You as it makes me when my children love to be with me?"
Yes, it does, except ten thousand times more! The great heart of God wants to have a sweet relationship with His children, and He wants not only positionally to be our Father but practically He wants to treat us as father would treat a child.
When a famous ball player was first born again, he was interviewed by an adult magazine which is filled with nudity and pornography. Someone asked him why he did that since he claimed to be born again. He said that Jesus would have been interviewed by that magazine. Now this football player might be born again, but when he comes to his prayer closet, he will have to say, "Dear God," and not, "Dear Father."
A famous Hollywood singer sings in nightclubs using his charisma to attract people to the liquor and other sins of nightclub life. Then on Sunday he goes to a church and tells how much Jesus means to him. He may be saved, but when he comes to pray, he has forfeited the right to say, "Dear Father."
There is a wonderful relationship that God wants to have with us and to offer to us, but that relationship must be based on our being separated. Do you have God's money in your pocket? Is there rock music on your record player? Are you watching soap operas on your television? Is there a critical nature in your heart? Do you have liquor in your icebox? Are you yoking up in organizations with unbelievers? Then though He is your Heavenly Father, you may not treat Him as such, and though you are His child, the treatment will not be as intimate as He would like it to be, and it will not be so until you are separated!
We have noticed that the Creator-creature relationship comes at birth, the God-people relationship comes at salvation, and the Father child relationship comes with separation, but there is yet a fourth relationship, and that is Friend-friend. John 15:14, "Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." This comes at service when we obey our Heavenly Father's commands. Of course, His great command is to go and teach all nations. In other words, the great command is to be a soul winner. God spoke of Abraham as being His friend. Moses spoke to God face to face as a friend. God wants to have that sweet Friend-to-friend relationship with His people, but He will enter into that sacred relationship only when we become soul winners and faithful servants of our Lord.
Many years ago I was invited by Dr. John R. Rice to preach at a Sword of the Lord Conference in Lake Louise, Georgia. The speakers were to be Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., Dr. R. G. Lee, Dr. John Rice, Dr. Bill Rice and others. I was still in my twenties, and I could not believe Dr. Rice meant that he wanted me to come! I thought the letter was sent to me by mistake, so I had my secretary call Dr. Rice's office to confirm the invitation. Not long after that, I sat on the same platform with Dr. R. G. Lee when he preached his famous sermon, "Payday Someday," and then I was introduced to speak. I looked at my outline and was almost ashamed to preach. How could a kid preacher like me follow the most famous sermon of our generation? After I had preached, I sat at the same table with Dr. John R. Rice, Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., Dr. R. G. Lee and others. I could not believe that it was true. Then for 22 years I shared the platform with Dr. Rice, and at over 2200 occasions he and I preached on the same program!
A few years after I had begun preaching with Dr. Rice, I asked him very privately if he would unofficially adopt me as a son. I said, "Dr. Rice, you have six daughters; you have no sons, and my father has been dead for a long time. If I don't tell anybody about this while you are alive, and if I do not presume upon our relationship, could we have an understanding that I am sort of your adopted son?"
He put his right hand in mine and his left hand on my shoulder and said, "You've got yourself a deal, son."
For 22 years I never missed sending him a Father's Day gift nor did I fail to call him on Father's Day. (I never told anyone this- not even my family or closest friends.) When he was well up in years, Dr. Rice suffered a serious heart attack and a stroke and was unable to travel, and in 1980 he went to Heaven. I miss Dr. Rice very much.
Hebrews 13:10-14, "We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come." Deuteronomy 23:9, "When the host goeth forth against thine enemies, then keep thee from every wicked thing." Leviticus 16:27, "And the bullock for the sin-offering, and the goat for the sin-offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place, shall one carry forth without the camp; and they shall burn in the fire their skins, and their flesh, and their dung."
The Israelites could eat the flesh of many sacrifices. Such was the case of the passover lamb. Then there was a special offering that could be eaten only by the priests. There was one, however, of which no one could eat. This was that which was offered on the day of atonement, which was the tenth day of the seventh month of the year. This offering was a special one It's skin, flesh, hair and dung were taken outside the camp and burned. Can you imagine the odor of such a burning?
As the Israelites traveled, some had to stay outside the camp. They could not enter into the camp. Among these were the eunuchs. Deuteronomy 23:1, "He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord." An illegitimate child also had to stay outside the camp. Deuteronomy 23:2, "A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the Lord." The Ammonites and the Moabites who were descendants of the illegitimate sons of Lot and his daughters were also outside the camp. Deuteronomy 23:3, "An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the Lord for ever." A sodomite, such as homosexuals and lesbians, was outside the camp. Deuteronomy 23:17, "There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel." A dog could not be in the camp. This was the term probably used for male prostitutes. Deuteronomy 23:18, "Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the Lord thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the Lord thy God." Prostitutes, or whores, could not come in the camp. Deuteronomy 23:17, "There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel." The leper was outside the camp. Leviticus 13:45, 46, "And the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean. All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be."
Now the offering on the day of atonement being outside the camp and the motley crowd that could not be inside the camp with the Israelites represent God's people. When the Lord Jesus was crucified outside the walls of the city of Jerusalem, He went outside the camp to identify Himself with sinners, and now He calls us outside the camp to Himself Hebrews 13:13, "Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach." Can you imagine how obnoxious the odor of the skin, the flesh, the dung and the hair burning must have been? Imagine how obnoxious it was to those who traveled inside the camp as they looked out and saw those without the camp- the homosexual, the lesbian, prostitute, male prostitute, the whore, those with venereal disease, the eunuchs etc.
God is teaching us that when we come outside the camp of this world unto Jesus and are separated, we will be looked upon with the same disdain and disfavor with which the Jew looked upon those who were cast out of the camp and we will be just as much an odor to those in the camp of this world as were the skin, the flesh, the dung and the hair of the sacrifice burned outside the camp! This is the hardest thing about separation! When Jesus was put outside the camp, this old wicked world was saying to Him "You affect us like the outcasts and the odor of the burning flesh affected Israel." When we go outside the camp to Him, then we become equally as obnoxious to the world that crucified Him.
This is not easy. Everybody wants to be accepted. It is not easy to love and then be considered by the world as unloving. It is not easy for the scholar to be considered unscholarly by his peers It is not easy for depth to be considered shallow by those who are shallow and think they are deep. It is not easy to be called the off-scouring the remnant the leftovers, the dung, the hair, the flesh, the skin the hide. It is not easy to be looked upon with the same disdain and disfavor with which the Jews looked upon those that were not allowed to travel inside the camp. The temptation is to come inside the camp and justify our entrance in many ways.
A quarter of a century ago I became Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Hammond Indiana I had always pastored churches that were outside the camp- churches of good, dedicated Christian people, but churches with standards and convictions. We were looked upon by the apostates with disdain. They called us unloving, uncooperative, unscholarly and shallow Suddenly I was Pastor of the First Baptist Church in the downtown section of a large metropolis. The elite began to shower me with attention. I enjoyed it. It was a great temptation for me to come inside the camp There were many ways I sought to justify such a course of action-until one day one of the wealthiest of our members told me that he was tired of the little dirty bus kids! He told me that he had met with some of the affluent people and they had decided that I had to choose between them and the bus kids! If we kept the buses, they would leave with their money. If we stopped the bus ministry, they would stay. They threatened me by withholding their offerings, assured me that we could not make it financially without their wealth, and gave me a few days to make up my mind. God revealed to me that I should not forsake the poor and the needy, and on my face after a night of prayer, I chose the bus kids over the wealth of those who threatened me. Suddenly, I was outside the camp again, and to those who considered themselves to be the elite, affluent and scholarly, I was as obnoxious as the motley crowd that was expelled from the camp of Israel and as disdained as the burning flesh outside the camp.
Invitations to speak at civic clubs ceased. Dinner engagements with the elite were stopped, and suddenly I found myself outside the gate, rejected by the self-styled elite, affluent and scholarly of the area. There I was with the bus kids, the poor, the halt, the maimed and the blind. I was lonely I did not want to love and be considered unloving. I did not want to be considered unscholarly and uncouth. It was dark. It was lonely. Then suddenly I heard a Voice say, "Welcome." I looked up to see Whose voice was speaking. I saw nail prints in His hands and feet. I heard Him say, "Welcome. I am glad you have come outside the camp to Me." Suddenly I realized that Jesus was already outside the camp and that He was just as unpopular with that elite crowd as I was. Ah, how sweet the fellowship! How wonderful was His presence! I was outside the camp WITH HIM! What a bargain! What a deal! What a Saviour!
The term "fundamentalist" is a relative one, like "conservative" or "liberal." As it applies to organizations and denominations, "fundamentalists" would define those who hold to original doctrines and convictions and standards of a movement. This means that at the beginning of a movement all of its adherents would be fundamentalists. However, movements change. Denominations change. As they do, those who hold to the original doctrines and convictions fight for their preservation and for the return of the movement to its fundamentals. History tells us that these attempts have failed. Finally realizing that their hopes are futile, a group will pull out of the original movement or denomination and organize another according to the original dogma, standards and convictions of the apostate group. When this happens, the new group can be labeled "fundamentalists." Hence, to be a fundamental Methodist would not be the same thing as to be a fundamental Presbyterian. To be a fundamental Baptist would not be the same thing as to be a fundamental Episcopalian. The important thing to note here is that the term "fundamentalist" is one that has been given to those who pull out and return to the original intents, purposes and doctrine of the group that they feel has gone liberal.
There are some Methodists who feel that the mainline Methodist denomination have departed from the position of its founding fathers. These may be called fundamental Methodists. The same thing is true with the Presbyterian denomination. The American Baptist Convention, Southern Baptist Convention and other groups such as the General Association of Regular Baptists, the Baptist Bible Fellowship, World Bible Fellowship, the Conservative Baptist Fellowship, Bible Presbyterians, Wesleyan Methodists and the Southwide Baptist Fellowship might be included in this category. If and when any of these organizations or movements shows signs of decay, there will be those who will withdraw and go back to what they believe are the original doctrines, purposes and convictions of the mother group. Then they will become fundamentalists also. This means that the term "fundamentalist" usually defines a movement rather than a position.
It is rather popular to define the term "fundamentalist" as one who believes the fundamentals; for example, one who believes the verbal inspiration of the Bible, the deity of Christ, the virgin birth, the vicarious death, the bodily resurrection and the second coming. Now, to be sure, such a one believes the fundamentals, but the term "fundamentalist" probably should not be ascribed to him if he is still a member of an apostate denomination. The term "fundamentalist" is given not to those who simply believe the aforementioned fundamentals but to those who have separated themselves from those who do not. This brings the doctrine of separation into focus as a vital and necessary part of being a fundamentalist. This author, for example, could not call a member of the American Baptist Convention who believes the verbal inspiration, the deity of Christ, virgin birth, the vicarious death, the bodily resurrection and the second coming of Christ a fundamentalist, nor could he call a Southern Baptist who believes the fundamental doctrines a fundamentalist. I certainly feel kindly toward men who believe these doctrines who are still in their denominations. I admire their stand and appreciate their fight for the Bible. I am pleased with their evangelistic zeal, and I gladly call them Christian brothers, but in no way could I associate the term "fundamentalist" with them, and I could not do so until they severed their yoke with the movement which is departing from the faith. If just believing the verbal inspiration of the Bible, the deity of Christ, the virgin birth, the vicarious death, the bodily resurrection and the second coming of Christ makes one a fundamentalist, then many who are yoked up with apostate denominations would be classified as fundamentalists.
There are several interesting things about the Old Testament law of separation for Israel.
1. They were not allowed to sow different seeds together. Deuteronomy 22:9, "Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled."
2. They were not allowed to plow with an ox and an ass in the same yoke. Deuteronomy 22:10, "Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together."
3. They were not allowed to wear a garment with different materials such as wool and linen in the same garment. Deuteronomy 22:11, "Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together."
In the Bible, seed is a type of the Word of God. Psalm 126:6, "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." Luke 8:11, "Now the parable is this: The seed is the Word of God." The spiritual teaching is that we should not mix the Bible with other seed. The Bible is not one of God's books, it is THE Word of God! There is a special judgment on those who add to the seed. Revelation 22:18, "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book."
A garment in the Bible is a type of salvation. Adam and Eve, as soon as they had sinned, tried to cover their nakedness. Genesis 3:7, "And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons." Their own efforts failed, and God covered their nakedness with the skins taken from a slain animal. Genesis 3:21, "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them." The Apostle John reminds us that the linen garments worn by the redeemed are symbolic of righteousness. Revelation 19:8, "And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." This means that it is an abomination when anyone adds anything to salvation apart from faith in the finished work of Calvary. It is not salvation by faith plus baptism, it is not salvation by faith plus communion, it is not salvation by faith plus confirmation, it is not salvation by faith plus the sacraments, it is not salvation by faith plus good works. This is mixing material in the garment of salvation. The song writer put it well when he said, "I gave Him my old tattered garments; He gave me a robe of pure white." The robe of salvation is made by God Himself and is given to all who realize their sinful condition, who realize they are under the condemnation of God, who believe that Jesus has paid the penalty for their sins and by faith receive Christ as Saviour and His payment on the cross as full payment for sin.
Now we come to the yoking of an ox and an ass together. An ox in the Bible is symbolic of the man of God. Deuteronomy 25:4, "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn." I Timothy 5:17, 18, "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the Scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward." In I Timothy 5:17, the word "elder" is a synonym for "pastor" or "man of God," which means that the man of God should not be muzzled. Hence, the ox is symbolic of God's man. I Corinthians 9:9, "For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?"
Just as the ox is symbolic of God's man, the ass is symbolic of false prophets and apostates. God is saying to us that just as He does not want His Word diluted, and just as He does not want His plan of salvation diluted, He does not want the testimony of His servants diluted by their being in a yoke with unbelievers. II Corinthians 6:14-18, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." You will notice in verse 14 that a believer is not to be yoked up with an unbeliever. Righteousness is not to be yoked with unrighteousness, and light is not to be yoked with darkness. In verse 15 you will notice that we are not to yoke a believer with an infidel. In verse 16 we are forbidden to yoke the temple of God with idols. In verse 17 we are admonished to come out from among them. (This takes us back to the origin of the term "fundamentalist.") God does not want His people yoked up with unbelievers. II Chronicles 19:2, "And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the Lord." Notice God's attitude toward His man being in the same yoke with those who are not God's people. When we do such a thing, we ourselves become enemies of God. James 4:4, "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." The Apostle Paul admonishes us that we are not to fellowship with darkness. Ephesians 5:11, "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." We are taught in Psalm 1 that we should not walk in the counsel of the ungodly nor stand in the way of sinners nor sit in the seat of the scornful. Psalm 1:1-3, "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." God teaches us very plainly that we are not to intermarry with unbelievers. Marriage is a yoke. When a Christian marries an unsaved person, he disobeys the command of God; he yokes a believer with an unbeliever; he yokes righteousness with unrighteousness; he yokes light with darkness.
In the day of Nehemiah when Jewish men married unsaved women, Nehemiah rebuked them. Nehemiah 13:23-27, "In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab: And their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews' language, but according to the language of each people. And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves. Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin. Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying strange wives?"
The downfall of Solomon was in marrying heathen women. I Kings 11:4-8, "For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods." Not only does this passage show Solomon's downfall, but it shows how it happened. He married wives who worshipped heathen gods. Because of this, his heart was turned away from his own God, and he even built heathen places of worship. How tragic for a man who was so wise to be so foolish!
In Genesis 4:25, 26, we are told of the birth of Seth. "And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew. And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord." Seth was a Christian man whom God gave to Eve and whose seed would replace the seed of Abel, who was killed by Cain. Seth had a son whose name was Enos, who also called upon the name of the Lord. However, Seth's descendants began to intermarry with unsaved people. This led to wicked practices and finally to the judgment upon the earth by the flood. Basically this tragic judgment came because of God's people intermarrying with those who were not God's people. Genesis 6:1-7, "And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth Me that I have made them."
Lest some believer become carried away with a misguided zeal, God plainly instructs the Christian who is ALREADY married to one not a Christian not to break his vows and not to leave the unbelieving mate. I Corinthians 7:10-16, "And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?" After the marriage is made, it is too late to prevent tragedy. The best thing to do is stay with the unsaved mate and live the kind of life that perhaps can atone for the sin of the marriage.
The Apostle Paul teaches us that widows may marry, but they can marry only Christian men. I Corinthians 7:39, "The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord." Notice the words, "ONLY IN THE LORD." In other words, when a woman's husband is dead, she has a right to marry, but only in the Lord.
This yoke, however, pertains to more than marriage. A man of God should not yoke up with unbelievers in a ministerial association. He should not yoke up with unbelievers in a united evangelistic crusade. He should not yoke up with unbelievers in an Easter sunrise service, a Thanksgiving service or a Good Friday service. A man of God should not preach under the sponsorship of unbelievers. Immediately critics would say, "Well, I have heard that you have preached in taverns." Yes, you heard correctly. I have preached in taverns, and there are conditions under which this is acceptable. Suppose, for example, that I get a letter from the local tavern keeper and he says, "Reverend, I would like for you to come and bring a Bible message to my customers at 3:00 on Good Friday." So, at 3:00, I enter the tavern. The tavern keeper calls the people to attention and introduces me. He says, "Ladies and gentlemen, I have Reverend Hyles to speak for us today. He is Pastor of First Baptist Church, and I have asked him to come and bring a Good Friday message. I am happy to present to you Reverend Hyles." If under those conditions I speak, I am appearing in a yoke with the tavern keeper. He and I are sponsoring the service. We are working together in the same yoke.
Now suppose I go to the same tavern some day and walk in and start preaching. I am not invited, and I warn the people against the sins of liquor and strong drink. The tavern keeper does not stop me, and I continue to preach. Everybody there knows I was not invited by the bartender or the owner. Everyone knows I came on my own. I was not sponsored by the wicked liquor traffic. I am there to oppose his business; I am there on my own; he did not know I was coming, and he did not invite me.
The Bible has more bad things to say about false teachers than about tavern keepers and bartenders. For that matter, the Bible has more to say about false teachers than it does about strong drink. If an unbelieving pastor invites me to speak for him and I accept, I am being sponsored by him, and he and I are in the same yoke in holding a service. This is unscriptural and something that is an abomination to God.
The argument is advanced, "But think how much good you could do if you preached in liberal churches." It is best to let God decide how much good can be done. He has already decided this and on the basis of how much good can be done He has given us His commandments. Wise Christians will obey and trust the eternal judgment of an omniscient God rather then the reasoning of finite human minds.
Satan has always wanted to dilute the message of God through the unequal yoke. He asked his liberal prophets to extend a hand to the fundamental prophet so that they might work under the same yoke. The fundamentalists in general refused his offers, but the Devil was not through. If he could not get the fundamentalists to join hands with the liberals, he called in another to join hands with the liberal and to offer his hand to the fundamentalist. This other was the neo-orthodox which means, "new orthodoxy." This is the one who believes wrong but talks right. He talks about an inspired Bible, but he does not mean a verbally inspired Bible. He talks about a Heaven but not the one of the Bible. He talks about a hell that has no fire. He is liberal in his heart but is deceitful with his mouth. He joins hands with the liberal and then extends his hand to the fundamentalist. All the time Satan is trying to get the fundamentalist in the same camp with the liberal.
For the most part, however, this failed. The fundamentalist refused to join hands with the neo-orthodox, but Satan was not through. He then brought someone else into view. We call him the neo-evangelical. He is the one who believes right but talks wrong. He is probably saved, believes the verbal inspiration and other fundamentals of the faith, but he is not willing to bear the reproach of Christ and the stigma of separation, so he joins hands with the neo-orthodox who has already joined hands with the liberal. He then offers his hand to the fundamentalist. Satan knows that if the fundamentalist can join hands with the neo-evangelical who has joined hands with the neo-orthodox who had joined hands with the liberal, then he will have the fundamentalist and the liberal in the same camp. How shrewd he is!
However, in most instances, he failed again. The fundamentalist refused the enticement of the neo-evangelical, but Satan is not finished yet. He must find a link that will join the fundamentalist with the liberal. Sad to say, he found that link. He placed a politician between those who joined hands with the neo-evangelical. He then offered his hand to the fundamentalist and gullibly the fundamentalist accepted! Now the fundamentalist joins hands with the politician who joins hands with the neo-evangelical who has joined hands with the neo-orthodox who has joined hands with the liberal, and we find fundamentalists, liberals, new-evangelicals and neo-orthodox joining together in the same yoke in order to get better men in office. Now we have Baptist preachers, Catholic preachers, liberal preachers and even cultists joining together in a common cause.
"But," cries someone, "this is not a religious endeavor. This is a secular endeavor." The truth is, however, that everything is sacred to the man of God. It is also true that the more we are around evil and evildoers, the less sinful sin becomes. These false teachers are usually likable people, and once we learn to like them, their doctrine will not be quite so bad.
Another tragedy is what this yoke does to the following generations. When Balaam was asked to come to Moab, he refused to go. Later on he went and with him he carried the purity of the faith. He had broken down the wall between the heathen and God's people. It wasn't long until their children intermarried and God's people were poluted through and through.
When Ahab was king of Israel (the northern kingdom), he had a wicked wife named Jezebel with whom he led the nation astray. The southern kingdom, however, was ruled by a good, godly man named Jehoshaphat. One day Ahab invited Jehoshaphat to enter into a nonreligious yoke with him. There was a parcel of land that was a very coveted possession that once belonged to Israel. Ahab suggested to Jehoshaphat that the two of them join together to take Ramoth in Gilead back from the heathen. Now this was a secular endeavor. When they got together, Jehoshaphat's son, Jehoram, happened to meet Ahab's daughter, Athaliah. They fell in love and were married. So he took the daughter of Jezebel, who was a "little Jezebel," back to the southern kingdom. Soon she polluted the southern kingdom just like her wicked mother, Jezebel, had polluted the northern kingdom. This would not have happened if Ahab and Jehoshaphat had not entered into the same yoke. The problem here is that our children should not be exposed to heathen young people less they meet them, court them, love them and marry them. The Christian young man will just as likely want to date an unchristian young lady whom he meets at a political meeting as much as he would one whom he meets at a united Thanksgiving service.
When God's people returned from Babylonian captivity to rebuild the wall and the temple at Jerusalem, enemies tried to thwart and hinder their work. They used many methods such as hatred, slander, ridicule, etc. Included in those methods was an offer to unite in the work. "Let us build with you," they said, but God's people refused to yoke up with them in this secular endeavor. Rebuilding the wall around the city was not a spiritual work but a secular one.
One never catches good health. If someone has hepatitis, he is not asked to get near someone who doesn't have hepatitis in order that the healthy person may cure the diseased. You don't cure mononucleosis by having someone with good health breathe on him. One hepatitis plus one non-hepatitis equals two hepatitis. One mononucleosis plus one non-mononucleosis equals two mononucleosis. You don't fall upward. No one falls and stumbles on the ceiling. The law of gravity is a downward pull. God's people cannot associate with the unbelieving, Christ-rejecting world without being adversely influenced and finally contaminated. This is why people who are in denominations which have gone liberal should withdraw and become fundamentalists. It is not believing right within the movement that makes one a fundamentalist; it is the withdrawal FROM the movement and returning to the original dogma, practices and convictions of the apostate group that gives one the title of fundamentalist. The basic difference is the degree of importance that one places on the doctrine of separation.
When I was a high school student, I attended the W. H. Adamson High School in Dallas, Texas. I once had a date with a girl who attended Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas. Everything was fine until there was a football game between our two schools! We agreed that during the first half of the game we would sit on the side of the field where the Adamson High School student body and fans sat; then for the last half, we would go across the field and sit with the student body and fans from Woodrow Wilson. For the first half all was well. I cheered loudly and courageously However, the last half posed a problem. The first time one of the players from my school made a good gain, I stood and screamed at the top of my voice. Then suddenly I realized I was the only one cheering ! The next time Adamson made a good play I remained seated and cheered softly. The next time I simply waved my hand in the air. The next time I silently said, "Rah, Rah!" I still believed in Adamson High School; I was still a student at Adamson High School, but my voice became silent, my testimony became nullified, and I would have not been classed as a loyal adherent to W. H. Adamson High School.
When the believer for any purpose sits side by side with the unbeliever, he will find his cheering for Jesus gets a bit quieter, his zeal is lessened, and soon his testimony will be silenced!
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