For His Pleasure

Chapter 5 Excerpt

By Dr. Samuel C. Gipp

180 pages - Paperback

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Chapter Five

Holiness vs. Separation

Should we live Separated from the World?

    In everything there are extremes. In politics you have the Liberals versus the Conservatives. In lifestyles you have the Hippies versus the Amish. For every position there is an opposite view that goes to the extreme. In Christianity there are those who say we should have no part with the world and those who claim we need to be like them to win them. Which is the correct stand?

    The first question that needs answered is: “Does God want us separated from the world?” The answer is relatively simple to locate. In Galatians 1:4 the Apostle Paul tells us that we needed delivered from what he calls “this present evil world.” Furthermore, in John 17:11-17 Jesus tells us that we are to be in the world but not of the world. John himself lets us know in his first epistle that  we are not to love the world neither the things in the world. (1 John 2:15-17) Meanwhile James really lays it on, revealing that “the friendship of the world is enmity with God.” Jude says we should even hate the garment that is “spotted by the flesh.”

    I think we would have to be pretty naive to deny that the world is extremely vile. But we would have to be blatantly dishonest to pretend that God doesn’t want His children to separate themselves from the ways and values of “this present evil world.” To be honest in this chapter, we need to determine just what “the world” is.

What is the World?

    The world is not a friend of God nor His people. It is a number of things that are all anti-God. If we can determine what “the world” is we can have some idea of the direction we should be going as representatives of Christ.

1. The World is the wrong morals

    It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the world and the Bible are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to morals. The world sees nothing wrong with pre-marital sex, adultery or homosexuality. All of which are condemned fiercely in Scripture. Yet the world does not rest with its acceptance of loose living. It promotes it evangelistically in school and college classrooms, books, films and even in the newspapers. Furthermore, the world is so unrelenting in its rebellion against its Creator that it regularly promotes the vilest of men as hero figures. Men like Hugh Hefner, Bob Guzzione, Larry Flynt, Howard Stern and others of their ilk should be driven from the public eye by the righteous railing of the news media. But instead, that very media is a partner in crime with these monuments of immorality.

    Films, news magazines and television programs not only show as much nakedness and immorality as they can but they actively promote such acts as “normal,” “good” and “healthy.” When the most vile man ever to occupy the White House, turned it instead into a whorehouse, the News Mafia was right there not only defending him but murdering anyone who stood against him.

    Then if we are to be unlike the world, it is easy to say that we should take note of its moral depravation and be just the opposite.

2. The World is the wrong music

    Music originated as a medium through which man could glorify God. Throughout Scripture we find it being used over and over to exalt and magnify Him. This music was directed at the spirit of man. It was designed to help man fulfill Revelation 4:11 in an extraordinary way.

    But as the world degenerated music went along with it. Soon we heard about “soul” music. And that’s just what it was. Rather than having God as its focal point as the music of the spirit, (the classics) it made sinful Man the center of attention. From there, music has been reduced to the sensual. It is now directed at the body. It is thundered out without depth in either the tune or lyrics by mangy looking beings, whose language and gyrations  while performing, violate every form of decency. The beat is toxic, the words offensive and the performers are repulsive. Both they and their by-product are happily anti-God.

    Again, only a diabolical person would try to assimilate such abhorrent clatter into our churches in the name of worship. It has nothing to do with God and is even a proud trademark of the forces of the anti-Christian lifestyle.

    So it should be obvious to an honest heart that anyone claiming to love the God of creation should want to separate themselves from this fountain of contamination.

3. The World is the wrong education

    Worldly education is as aggressive against God as is worldly music. Education is not aimed at equipping a young scholar to glorify God. It is instead designed to harden the young heart against its Creator. The fantasy of “evolution” is blatantly taught as though scientific evidence upheld it. “Values clarification” is used to drive the last vestiges of morality from the hearts and minds of innocent young victims. The God that made this country great is no longer allowed to be mentioned in the classroom. Christianity is held in disdain by teacher and student alike. Today’s educational system is no friend of God...or its student body.

    Therefore we should know to be wary of the leavening influences of public education.

4. The World is the wrong goals

    The world focuses its praise on vain and inconsequential things. Sports figures are represented as though they were important to life. Someone who can shoot a basket, hit a home run or score a touchdown is upheld for all to glorify. Talent is exalted higher than the great Creator who bestowed the attribute. To this crowd the least important vocation on earth is preaching, even though a poor, ineffective minister does more good than the greatest basketball player.

    So we as Christians should be careful not to incorporate the world’s misguided values into our own lives. Sports are a source of minor enjoyment but be careful not to take them too seriously.

    Style and fashion are two more worldly distractions that can keep a Christian wasting his energy and resources. Nothing is more shamelessly vain than fashion. And nothing is funnier than watching some vain idiot with a sweater tied around his neck because the god of fashion told him that it was the “in” thing to do. Worrying about being in style is far less important than worrying about being in step with God.

    A Christian who spends his time and money trying to keep up with the latest fashion is guaranteed to waste his time and money on frivolous things of no substantial value. So we, as God’s people, should not be putting too much emphasis on keeping in step with fashion.

    Another misguided goal of the world is environmentalism. It must be noted that the goal of environmentalism is not to “save the earth.” Environmentalists are people who have an  emotional relationship with dirt. I should imagine a person would have to have failed miserably at every emotional relation in life to feel compelled to turn to the relative safety of dirt. Environmentalists are misdirected in several ways. First, they focus their time and efforts trying to please a non-living entity, the earth. The earth has life on it but it is not alive itself. But environmentalists feel very righteous as a result of this love affair with dirt. Of course, loving dirt is a very safe relationship because dirt has never been known to have rejected anyone. In fact, from the seedy look that most environmentalists have, it is probably good that dirt is dead and can’t reject them or they would fail at that relationship too! Environmentalists have turned their desire to please away from God and toward the ground. This is extremely displeasing to the holy God Who made it and them. 

    But American environmentalism is even worse. The solitary goal of environmentalism is the destruction of the American economy. Most environmentalists are loyal subscribers to the goal of having a one world government. A strong America is the greatest single hindrance there is to that goal. Therefore, it is imperative that America be brought down to the economic level of a third world country. Every objective of environmentalists is to injure the American economy. They couldn’t care less about the environment. How do you know? In 1991 Saddam Hussein dumped raw crude oil into the Persian Gulf and set hundreds of oil wells afire. The damage to the Persian Gulf was magnitudes worse than the measly Exxon Valdez incident. Yet, just like the arch-liberal N.O.W. organization during Bill Clinton’s abuse of Monica Lewinsky, environmentalists were mute to this. They should have condemned Hussein as being very near to Adolf Hitler for his vicious attack on their “mother”. Yet they were silent. Why? Because they don’t care about the environment. They only care about financially shackling the American economy.

    So we see that environmentalism is a hateful, dishonest product of the world. Yet many new converts have been deceived into thinking it is a worthy endeavor. No Christ loving Christian should be involved in the pagan rituals of environmentalism.

The World. The perfect Bad Example

    There is a joke about a man who is such a wretched drunkard that his wife has left him, his children are ashamed of him, he can’t hold a job, his health is broken and he is lying in a gutter, homeless. But, instead of being depressed, he enthuses, “My life’s not a total waste. I can always be used as a bad example!”

    The same can be said of the world. It can always be used as a bad example. If a young Christian is uncertain of how they should live their new life they can always look at the world...and go in the opposite direction. Yet today many of these very misguided goals are being espoused by our churches. And usually in the name of soul winning. The morality of our culture has been plunged to new depths by public education and the entertainment world. (world?) In order to attempt to draw these casualties of character in, some churches have turned to contemporary “Christian” music. They have heralded environmentalism as a mandatory tenant of the Christian faith. And fashion is alive and well in most Sunday morning style shows.

    The new Christian should be hearing messages designed to free their minds of these wayward ideals. They should hear that their solitary purpose for being here is to be a pleasure to their Creator. 

Close, but Not Quite

    Some groups in Christianity recognize this trend and reject it zealously. They are called “Separationists” (“Legalists” to anyone looking for an excuse not to separate from the world.) Their favorite verse of Scripture is 2 Corinthians 6:17, Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,... These folks definitely believe in separation. They have “convictions” about the length of a man’s hair, the length of a woman’s hair, the proper dress for each of the sexes, marriage and divorce, where to buy your groceries and just about anything else you can think of and some that you couldn’t think of. I have seen where two pages of rules and standards had to be fulfilled before a teenager could attend a church function. Mind you, this is far better than the free-for-all that goes on in the modernist churches. But it does get a little overbearing at times.

    Are the Separationists wrong? Let’s say that they are in the right church but the wrong pew. Basically, most Separationists are militantly determined not to be corrupted by the world. They fully recognize the innate wickedness in the world system and would rather die than have it invade either their families or churches. They are steadfastly turned away from the world. Ever looking back to make sure that it does not overtake and thus pollute them. For them the easiest way to curtail the influence of the world is with what has become known as “Checklist Christianity.” You can always tell when you meet a separationist because they feel compelled to “check you out.” It won’t take long before they’ll be asking you questions like, “Do you go to movies?” “Do you believe in mixed bathing?”, “What’s your stand on marriage and divorce?” Fail to agree on one point and you’ll probably get a sermon on that subject. Failure on two and you shouldn’t hold your breath waiting for them to invite you out for fellowship. Miss too many answers and you’ll probably be anathematized and be the subject of a sermon!

Behold I show you a Better Way

    Separation from the world is good. It is always good. Even if it is for the wrong reason or through the wrong manner. But we are not called to just be separated from a corrupt world system. We are called to be “saints”! (Romans 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:2) Saints are more than just separated from the world. They are to be holy.

    When a Christian realizes that they are here with the sole purpose of being a pleasure to the Lord they will examine their life for things that the Lord would find unsavory. We’re not to run from the world. We are to run to the Lord.

    When you love someone you desire to please them. You find out what they like and do it. You find out what they don’t like and don’t do it. It’s that simple.

    If we love the Lord we should also want to please Him. We should find what He likes and do it. We happen to know that the Lord wants to be worshiped for the great God that He is. What is the best way to worship Him? Forget your petty opinion and prejudice. God wrote down what He wants in His Book.

1 Chronicles 16:29

    Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

Psalm 29:2

    Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

Psalm 96:9

    O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.

    Has a “light” come on yet? Do you have any idea of something you could add to your life that would be a pleasure to your Creator and help you fulfill your obligation of Revelation 4:11? If not, let’s see if this will “flip your switch.”

1. Our bodies are to be holy - 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.

(Romans 12:1)

2. The church is to be holy - That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (Eph. 5:27)

3. We are to be holy as individuals - According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (Eph. 1:4)

4. Our women are to be holy - There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. (1 Cor. 7:34)

5. The Pastors are to be holy - But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; (Titus 1:8)

6. The results of personal holiness -

    12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

    13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

    14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

    15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. (Col. 3:12_15)

7. He wants us holy at our presentation to Him in Heaven - 

    21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled

    22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: (Col. 1:21, 22)

    Now let’s look at these areas and see how establishing holiness in our lives will not only be a pleasure to God but will take care of the concerns of separation without a list.

1. Our bodies are to be holy - Forget about somebody telling you, “You can’t do that.” or, “You’re not allowed to do that anymore.” Instead ask yourself questions such as:

    “How can my body be holy if I put liqueur in it?”

    “How can my body be holy if I smoke?”

    “How can my body be holy if I watch, read or listen to filth?”

    “How can my body be holy if I............?”

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that answering those simple questions will keep you clear of wicked , unclean or just questionable practices as you strive to be holy rather than comply with somebody’s list.

2. The church is to be holy - The church, the body of Christ,  is made up of individual believers. How can it be holy if we are not?

    The church, local, should not only be holy due to the actions of its individual members but should be the prime mover in directing and instructing Christians to be holy.

3. We are to be holy as individuals - Just as there are questions to ask concerning the body there are questions to ask concerning us, the soul.

    “How can I be holy and gossip?”

    “How can I be holy and try to hurt a fellow Christian?”

    “How can I be holy and be concerned only with exalting myself?”

    “How can I be holy and split a church or destroy a preacher?”

    “How can I be holy and do....that?”

    These soul searching questions will do far more to prevent havoc in a church than all the sermons on “Touch not God’s anointed!” in the world.

4. Our women are to be holy - God made women special. They are wonderful. They are a gift from God. Because they are special to Him, He pays special attention to them in the area of holiness. Their questions may go like this:

    “How can I be holy in body and in spirit and wear revealing clothing?”

    “How can I be holy in body and in spirit and dress like a man?”

    “How can I be holy in body and in spirit and act like a man?”

    “How can I be holy in body and in spirit and not desire to please the Lord?”

    Forget about “legalism”. Being holy for God will transform the hardest woman into a delicate treasure of God’s grace. I’ve seen it!

5. The Pastors are to be holy - Preachers are called of God and as such carry a much greater burden for holiness. He should ask:

    “How can I be holy and touch a woman in a sensual manner?”

    “How can I be holy and try to destroy a fellow minister?”

    “How can I be holy and visit that Website?”

    “How can I be holy and do ungodly things when I’m where no one knows me?”

    “How can I be holy and be motivated to exalt only myself?”

6. The personal results of holiness - Well what do you know? We do have a list! But it isn’t a list of “Don’ts”. It is rather a list similar to those found in Romans and 2 Peter as gauges of our spiritual  growth. Accomplishing holiness in our lives will also result in the additional benefits of: mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, a longsuffering attitude, forbearance, a forgiving attitude and, of course, charity.

    Look how far into Christian maturity the addition of this one spiritual attribute will take you. Can you imagine what pleasure it must be for the Lord to see these properties blossom in the life of one of His children? There is so much more to the Christian life than just soul winning.

7. He wants us holy at our presentation to Him in Heaven - Notice that the passage eludes to the fact that we started this life as enemies and aliens. Yet through salvation in Christ and years of spiritual growth we can be a pleasure to our Creator in a multitude of different ways. But wait! Time and again in the Old Testament we see that a man who had been a good king failed the Lord late in his life. Imagine having lived a life in a holy manner for years, decades in fact, and then, one time an opportunity to be impure comes up that, due to weakness or some other emotional low point, we suddenly find ourselves tempted to surrender to. Think of the years wasted if we indulge.

    I know you want to be holy when you are finally presented to Him in eternity. Don’t give in to weakness this late in the game.

    In the previous chapter we looked at attributes that need to be added to the Christian life. Let’s take a moment to review them, adding the benefits of holiness.

    1. Patience

    2. Experience

    3. Hope

    4. Faith

    5. Virtue

    6. Knowledge

    7. Temperance

    8. Godliness

    9. Brotherly kindness

    10. Charity

    11. Mercies

    12. Kindness

    13. Humbleness of mind

    14. Meekness

    15. A longsuffering attitude

    16. Forbearance

    17. A forgiving attitude

    Isn’t it amazing! We end up with a list after all. But it’s not a list of things to be removed from your life. It is a list of things to be added to your life. And if these attributes are successfully incorporated into your personality over the years you will more than succeed at fulfilling anyone’s list of “Don’ts”.

The Highest Goal of all

    There is great value to separationism. It will, if only by brute force, prevent some Christians from drifting into sin. But, in spite of this separation it will not produce holiness in the individual. That takes years of being submerged in the Bible and walking circumspectly. And the best part about holiness is that the benefits that we receive from it are incidental. For holiness in us is pleasure to God.

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