Separation & Purity | Jeremiah Johnson

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14)

Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians is one of the greatest challenges facing believers today. In a world bombarding us with temptation, God’s people need to keep clear the spiritual lines of demarcation, both for the sake of the gospel and our own testimonies. As John MacArthur explains in his sermon “Separating from Unbelievers, Part 1,” Paul’s words mean “we cannot overindulge ourselves in their world to the detriment of our testimony within the body of Christ.”

Highlighting the inherent conflict between believers and sinners, John says:

The pure and the polluted share nothing in common ultimately. And the people of God cannot form intimate relationships with those who don’t belong to God. All relationships like that are superficial. You cannot make a meaningful relationship with an enemy of the gospel. They live in a different world with a different and completely hostile and antagonistic leader.

That does not mean we are to cut off all contact with the world—that’s hardly feasible. And even if it were, such isolation would violate the Lord’s instruction to go into the world and make disciples (Matthew 28:19). But Scripture is likewise clear that we need to avoid the lawlessness and darkness of this corrupt world. Read More »

Paul’s Sufferings as an Apostle

2 Corinthians 11 (Complete Jewish Bible)

16 I repeat: don’t let anyone think I am a fool. But even if you do, at least receive me as a fool; so that I too may do a little boasting! 17 What I am saying is not in accordance with the Lord; rather, this conceited boasting is spoken as a fool would speak. 18 Since many people boast in a worldly way, I too will boast this way. 19 For since you yourselves are so wise, you gladly put up with fools! 20 You put up with it if someone makes slaves of you, exploits you, takes you in, puffs himself up, slaps you in the face. 21 To my shame, I must admit that we have been too “weak” to do such things!

But if anyone dares to boast about something —I’m talking like a fool! —I am just as daring. 22 Are they Hebrew-speakers? So am I. Are they of the people of Isra’el? So am I. Are they descendants of Avraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of the Messiah? (I’m talking like a madman!) I’m a better one! I’ve worked much harder, been imprisoned more often, suffered more beatings, been near death over and over. 24 Five times I received “forty lashes less one” from the Jews. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. I spent a night and a day in the open sea. 26 In my many travels I have been exposed to danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the desert, danger at sea, danger from false brothers. 27 I have toiled and endured hardship, often not had enough sleep, been hungry and thirsty, frequently gone without food, been cold and naked. 28 And besides these external matters, there is the daily pressure of my anxious concern for all the congregations. 29 Who is weak without my sharing his weakness? Who falls into sin without my burning inside?

30 If I must boast, I will boast about things that show how weak I am. 31 God the Father of the Lord Yeshua —blessed be he forever —knows that I am not lying! 32 When I was in Dalmanuta, the governor under King Aretas had the city of Dalmanuta guarded in order to arrest me; 33 but I was lowered in a basket through an opening in the wall and escaped his clutches.

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Paul’s Sufferings as an Apostle

2 Corinthians 11:

16 I repeat, let no one think me foolish. But even if you do, accept me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little. 17 What I am saying with this boastful confidence, I say not with the Lord’s authority but as a fool. 18 Since many boast according to the flesh, I too will boast. 19 For you gladly bear with fools, being wise yourselves! 20 For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face. 21 To my shame, I must say, we were too weak for that!

But whatever anyone else dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, [1] in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?

30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

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