Recession-proof Christian Life
3/8/12 at 05:59 AM 0 Comments

What It Means To Be Set Apart

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The Christian is like an eagle - destined to be set apart.  But what does this really mean.

Revelation 18:4-5 “And i heard another voice from Heaven saying, ‘Come out of her, My people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to Heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.”

According to the New Testament, a major characteristic of a Christian is that he/she has accepted God’s holy call to forsake this world, family, and self, through Christ. 

Christians are saints. According to the Jewish Scripture (Old and New Testament), a saint is one who is set apart/separated from the world system/ideas/ways, while a church is two or more of such persons. Luke 14:25-27 “Now great multitudes went with Jesus. And He turned and said to them, ‘If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”  In those days, everyone knew that when you see someone carrying a cross, it means the person had been sentenced to death by the Roman government. According to Jesus, to pick up the cross means death to self (forsaking human desires) so as to follow Him.

In John 17:14, concerning those who are His, Jesus said to His Father: “I have given them Your Word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”  Most Christian leaders today go against the words of Jesus by making it top priority to be like the world and always at peace with the world. But James 4:4 says “… Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” 

2Corinthians 6:14-18 “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”  7:1 “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”  1Corinthians 15:33-34 “Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits. Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.”

At the core of this issue is what the Jews call “Shema Yisrael” which is a major foundation for true Christianity and true Judaism: Deuteronomy 6:4-9. God instructed through Moses: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, YAH is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind these words as a sign on your hand, they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write these words on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”  On the walls too.  Why?  Because God said “these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children.

(6:4 is also translated as: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD is our God, YAH, the only one.”

Furthermore, in Deuteronomy 7:1-10, God instructed the descendants of Yakob ben Yitzaak (the Jews) “When the LORD your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you … seven nations greater and mightier than you, and when YAH your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them. Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the LORD will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly. But thus you shall deal with them: you shall destroy their altars, and break down their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images, and burn their carved images with fire. For you are a holy people to YAH your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the nations on the face of the earth. The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because the LORD loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments; and He repays those who hate Him to their face, to destroy them …”

Romans 11: Israel (godly Jews) are the root and blessed Olive tree.  Gentile Christians are in-grafted branches partaking of Israel’s spiritual wealth.

God’s promise to the Jews as a nation is everlasting. No Church can replace Israel:

Jeremiah 30:10-11 “Therefore do not fear, O My servant Jacob, says the LORD, nor be dismayed, O Israel; for behold, I will save you from afar, and your seed from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return, have rest and be quiet, and no one shall make him afraid. For I am with you, says YAH, to save you; though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, yet I will not make a complete end of you. But I will correct you in justice, and will not let you go altogether unpunished.”  31:37“Thus says the LORD: If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, says YAH.”  33:25-26“Thus says the LORD: If My covenant is not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth, then I will cast away the descendants of Jacob and David My servant, so that I will not take any of his descendants to be rulers over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For I will cause their captives to return, and will have mercy on them.”

Gentile Christians are in-grafts (spiritually) into Israel, not a replacement of Jewish Christians or Israel. In Romans 11:1-2, Paul wrote: “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! Because i also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew …”  11:17-27“And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, ‘Branches were broken off that i might be grafted in.’ Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? For i do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.”

An idol is any creation or imagination that captivates your heart. Idolatry is very prevalent, it’s human; it’s everywhere. Most teachings about God is idolatry because they fall short of who God is/how God is.  Covetousness/lust/greed is idolatry, yet as prevalent as that is, idolatry still exists in many other forms, such as, people’s adoration of spiritual leaders, sport legends, Rome/Vatican’s products and Hollywood’s imaginations/crafts. To some, family is their god.

Colossians 3:1-8 “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.”

1 John 5:18-21 “We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”  Ephesians 5:6-7 “Let no one deceive you with empty words, because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them.”

Secular Education and Work: Not easy at all: Psalm 26:3-5 “God, Your loving kindness is before my eyes, and i have walked in Your truth. I have not sat with idolatrous mortals, nor will i go in with hypocrites. I have hated the assembly of evildoers, and will not sit with the wicked.”  1:1-2 “Blessed is the one who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.”

In some societies, the experience of true Christians is the following (Hebrews 10:32-39) “But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in Heaven. Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.”  10:25“not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

The type of society a Christian finds him/herself in, will (to a large extent) determine the possibility or impossibility/difficulty of locating a moral job or educational system. But in any society (generally speaking) things will be difficult for a true Christian. Most who claim to be Christian disagree with my statements. But in John 15:19, Jesus said to His followers: “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”  In Matthew 10:16-17, Jesus said “I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of people, because they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues.”  The encouragement for the Heavenly citizen is this: No one stays on this earth forever; the next life has no end. Each person will be repaid eternally, according to their works.

I have learnt not to verbally share Christ at work. God has taught me that when at work, I am been paid for that work, not preaching. But sometimes people ask questions; spiritual discussions naturally come up. When that happens I have to really watch myself and not get carried away with sharing Christ. One should immediately set up a non-work time for such discussions.

Genesis 12:1-4 “Now the LORD had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you … So Abram departed as YAH had spoken to him …”

 Article written by Taiwo Olokun

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