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Set Apart to Succeed, Part 2

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
The Truth Network Radio
June 17, 2024 10:00 am

Set Apart to Succeed, Part 2

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

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June 17, 2024 10:00 am

2 Corinthians 6:14 says, do not be yoked together with unbelievers. Is this a call for Christians to disassociate with those who aren’t Christians? What does “yoked together” mean? What are the dangers of being yoked with an unbeliever? Today Pastor Rich answers these questions, explaining the difference between engaging with unbelievers and buying into unbelief and the behavior that comes with it.

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Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. Today Pastor Rich answers these questions, explaining the difference between engaging with unbelievers and buying into unbelief and the behavior that comes with it. You're listening to part two of a message titled, Set Apart to Succeed.

It was first preached on May 25th, 2014. See this is going to be burned in your mind forever. For those of you of the younger generation who've grown up with all this technology, that wooden thing across and around their necks is a yoke. That means they're intended to pull together. Now normally you're supposed to have two oxen in that thing, all right? But these guys are yoked together. Deuteronomy 22 10 says, you shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together.

See the Lord has a lot of wisdom. Now why would he say that? Because they are unequally yoked, meaning they are mismatched. Meaning what? One of them is going to take the other out for a drag.

And this is what he's communicating to us in verses 14 to 16. If you are unequally yoked, if you are mismatched, and we're going to talk about what that means, so hang on to this with me, okay, bear with me. If you are mismatched, then you are letting someone drag you down and you're letting someone hold you back. From what? From your success.

From being satisfied in God and glorifying him. And if that is the case, then your walk of faith is wearing you out and you're finding it frustrating. You're restricted by your affections.

Notice that in the text the Apostle Paul is not so much talking about things, is he? Why is that? Well, because things are not inherently evil. But then there's people, relationships.

Why? Because evil begins and exists in the heart and mind of the created being. And this is why he says, do not be yoked together with unbelievers. And remember, we're not finished with that. We need to understand what the Bible is saying and what the Bible is not saying. So stick with me on this, all right? First Corinthians 15, 33, he says, do not be deceived, evil company corrupts good habits.

We all know myriad examples of that, don't we? I like hanging out here at Grace Bible Church because as I walked into my office this morning, there sit two little bags of Starbucks coffee beans. I like hanging out with this kind of people, they're good for me. Right across the street, Peggy Bridges, do you know how many cakes and cookies she's brought over here?

It's a good place to work. Psalm 1, 1, we all know this verse. How happy is the man? That's what blessed means. How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked or take the path of sinners or join a group of mockers? Ephesians 2, 3, this points out the contrast here.

We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children of wrath. You see, that describes what an unbeliever is. It describes what a believer used to be.

It is nothing in ourselves, in and of ourselves, nothing. But this is the work of regeneration and transformation that God does in the life of a believer. And so God is saying, if this is how God has transformed you, why are you going to be yoked together with the opposite, with what he has transformed you from? And he says, what part in the New King James, what part does an unbeliever have with a believer? It means the two are going to inherit something far different. They're ultimately moving towards two very different ends. Unbelievers, by definition, are living self-preeminent lives.

Why? Because they're not reconciled to God. And their lives are moving in the direction of meaninglessness. Regardless of how much good they may do in this life, if they are not reconciled to God, their lives are ultimately headed towards meaninglessness.

Why would you be yoked together with that? You could take the example of an Olympian. We know that Olympians have to pretty much devote their lives to training and exercise to work for the gold, strive for the gold.

Very rigid, very strict diet, exercise regimens. And let's say this Olympian develops a friendship with another Olympian. And this one also wants to work for the gold, but this one has different ideas about how to do that. He says, oh, well, you know, it's far away.

We've got a lot of time to think about it. I'm just going to indulge in donuts, Dr. Pepper, and dumb TV. And then this guy says, man, you know, but you're my friend, and says, ah, don't worry about that. Come on.

Let's just hang out, you know. And he's so afraid of breaking that friendship that he neglects his exercise and diet. And he just maintains his friendship with this other Olympian who is willing, who is happy to just get along with donuts and Dr. Pepper and dumb TV. Doesn't make much sense, does it?

Because if he does that, he's sabotaging his success as an Olympian. And so it goes with us spiritually. Now, let's get to talking about and defining what it means to be yoked together. Because if you're listening to this so far, you might be thinking that the Apostle Paul is saying Christians should have nothing to do with non-Christians. Let me make this clear. That is not what he is saying.

Not even close. In fact, he says the exact opposite in scripture, well then, Rich, help me out here. What is he saying? He says, don't be unequally yoked together.

There's a difference there. What does it mean to be yoked together, like the picture of that donkey and the ox? Wherever one goes, what? The other one has to go, right?

They don't have a choice in the matter. So to be yoked together, remember in the context of relationship, it means that you are committed with an emotional attachment to the level that you are willing to sin to keep that relationship. That's what it means to be yoked together. To be committed with an emotional attachment to the level that you are willing to sin to keep that relationship. And if that is the case, then the unbeliever will drag you with them in a direction opposite the character and purpose of God.

That's what it means to be yoked together. This is why the Apostle John says in 1 John 2, love not the world or the things in the world. It's speaking of a value system, a system of thought that does not acknowledge God. It's not talk about not loving people.

Clearly we are called to love even our enemies. Speaking of this, I want to offer you a definition of sin and I've offered it before, but it's in print. If you have your bulletin, take your bulletin, look on the back of it and it's a quote by Susanna Wesley. She was answering her son who asked her, what is sin? This is really good.

Listen, this is almost inspired. Whatever weakens your reasoning impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God or takes away your relish for spiritual things. In short, if anything increases the authority and the power of the flesh over the spirit, that to you becomes sin, however good it is in itself.

That's good, isn't it? It requires discernment on our part. Where does that discernment come from? It comes from the Holy Spirit and we're not to be unequally yoked.

Where can that happen? Well, let's talk about some examples. Some of you might be in business partnerships. Is it okay to be in business with an unbeliever?

Yes, it is. However, if that business starts going in a direction that is contrary to the character and purpose of God and you're not willing to break your connection with that business, you're yoked. You are unequally yoked together with that business. Because what you're saying is that your employment in that business or your income from that business is more important to you than your own success.

How do you like that for words? Remember what we mean by success? Satisfied in God, glorifying Him. This verse is most commonly used in the context of marriage. Should an unbeliever marry a believer? Well, what we had in the New Testament is we had in the new church, we had people who had come to Christ. They were already married and one had come to Christ. And Paul had to give instruction.

What do you do about that? Well, if the unbeliever wants to leave, let him leave. If they want to stay, stay with them. He never invites the believer to abandon the relationship, by the way. But if the unbeliever wants to leave.

But here's the point. If two people are going to commit their lives to each other, they're going to become yoked because the idea in marriage is that where one goes, the other goes. And if you two are headed ultimately to two different destinations, how can you walk together?

This is what he's talking about. Are you willing to sever a relationship or only go so far in a relationship with someone as long as they remain an unbeliever? Or do you have to have that relationship with that person that you are willing to sin to keep that relationship?

Then you are unequally yoked. You can even take it at the level of friendship. You have a really close and good friend. If you're not willing to sideline that relationship in order not to walk in a direction contrary to the character and purpose of God, then you're unequally yoked together with that friend. You've been listening to Rich Powell, the lead pastor at Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. The Delight in Grace mission is to help you know that God designed you to realize your highest good and your deepest satisfaction in Him, the one who is infinitely good. We hope you'll join us again on weekdays at 10 a.m.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-17 12:09:22 / 2024-06-17 12:13:58 / 5

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