BE YE SEPARATE – 7
If we are truly separate from the world, we should be recognized as people that “have been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13 Could neighbors and friends say that about us? What is it like to have been with Jesus? When these words were spoken, Jesus had gone back to His Father in heaven. He was still the Shepherd leading His sheep. He leads us now by the inspired Scriptures and by the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. Jhn.13:35 The way we follow is to keep His commandments. Jhn.14:15,21 As long as Jesus was on earth, the Helper was not needed but now that He was going away, the Helper would be sent. Jhn.14:26
If people can see that we have been with Jesus, we need to follow in His steps. Matt.16:24 Jesus was our example and we follow Him. That is how people can see that we have been with Him. 1 Pet.2:21 Peter gives us a contrast of those who follow Jesus by His Word or those who follow false and deceitful teaching. 2Pet.1:16,20,21
An important difference between those that are separated from the world and those that are in the world is attitude. It has been said that a large percentage of our Christian life is shown by our attitude. All kinds of good deeds could be done but with a wrong attitude they do not glorify God. The right words might be spoken but the attitude with which they are spoken makes a big difference. At youth camp when things get a little out of hand the statement is called out, “Attitude check!” Everyone knows what that means and things settle down. Sometimes we need someone to call that out to us.
Some of these attitudes might be profitable to investigate with the contrast of those that “have not been with Jesus.” What does our life show? Not much could be accomplished without love. 1 Jhn.4:8 tells us that we do not love God if we do not love. It is easy to love those that love us but it is not easy to love those that we might count as enemies. Jesus taught us to love our enemies. Matt.5:44,46 So much conflict in families, congregations, neighborhoods, and even nations would be stopped if we could learn to do that. This makes a great difference in those that have been with Jesus. Lk.6:32,33,35
Jesus and Steven, the first Christian martyr, both gave us the example of asking God to forgive those that were killing them. Forgiveness and forbearance are attitudes we need to have to help us love in all situations. Matt.6:14,15 None of us are so good that we do not need God’s forgiveness. In order to enjoy that forgiveness, we have to do some forgiving ourselves. Forbearance (put up with, tolerance) goes along with forgiveness. Rom.2:4 God uses forbearance with us as He forgives us. Rom.3:25 Neither forgiveness nor forbearance are found in the attitudes of those that live by the world. They are more focused on “self.” What you did to me; how you made me feel; it is all about “me.”
Love has to be real and sincere—from the heart. We honestly feel love for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Rom.12:9,10 We are devoted to them for they are our family in God. Paul prayed that the love of the Philippians would grow more and more. Phil.1:9 He prayed the same for the Thessalonians. 1 Thess.3:12 Love is important. Jesus gave this as the greatest commandment. Lk.10:27 We need to grow in this attitude as well.
The person of the world does not have an attitude of love and it shows in his speech. Lk.6:45 Strong words are used by John against those that claim they love God but don’t love their brother. 1 Jhn.4:20,21 One thing that causes conflict and lack of love among brethren is complaining against one another. James addresses this problem. Jam.5:9
We are not to love the things of this world. 1 Jhn.2:15,16 God loves us but not if we are loving the things of the world. We need to be innocent of these things rather than dabble in what would cause us to fall. Rom.16:19 As we put the attitude of love into our life, we will recognize the contrast with those things of 1 Cor.13:4-7 that make love useless. The world watches Christians. Love toward one another shows that we have “been with Jesus.” Jhn.13:35