HIS YOKE



The Bible, the Word of God, is the living word that speaks to us today just as profoundly and timely as it has throughout history. At this time, when the world is in utter chaos, and things are happening all around us that are truly unbelievable and hard to process, we need to and must look to God’s Word for direction, instruction and understanding.

Paul’s letters to the Corinthians are particularly appropriate for us today, because the Corinthian culture and the Corinthian Christians were much like the culture of today and the American Church of today. For this study, we will be using 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 as our main text:

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light withdarkness? 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.”

To give context to this, in the previous chapter (5), Paul talks about how we groan to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven. These bodies we inhabit, as we know, are temporary….tents that we inhabit while we are passing through this world that is not our home. One day, we will be raised in immortality with our new bodies. When that happens, we also will stand before the judgement seat of Christ, and receive the things done in the body according to what we have done, whether good or bad. Paul then gives further instruction using the phase “knowing the terror of the Lord.” He goes on to explain Christ dying for us all, and that we who are His, should no longer live for ourselves, but for Him who died for us and rose again. Later in the chapter we read the well known verse, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.”

Verse 20-21 says, “Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God, for He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Paul opens chapter 6: 1, “We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.”

This verse shows that it is possible to receive the grace of God in vain. How do we do that? How do we receive the grace of God in vain? Perhaps one way is to fail to discern truth...to fail to mature and be fruitful...to fail to keep our eyes on the only One we need to be following.

Paul continues and mentions nine things which actually are ways we are tested in our walk with the Lord: patience (which the word hypomone actually means more of an endurance or a patient perseverance), tribulations, needs, distresses, stripes, imprisonments, tumults, labors, sleeplessness and fastings.

Then Paul lists nine characteristics of a person of God: purity, knowledge, longsuffering, kindness, the Holy Spirit, sincere love, word of truth, the power of God, the armor of righteousness.

We live in unprecedented times. To say that the world has gone crazy would be an understatement. I actually find it hard to come up with the right words to articulate what we have witnessed in this year of 2020. I keep going back in my mind to the way things were before COVID-19, seeing if there’s anything I could have done to keep it from happening. And of course, there is nothing. One thing we can take comfort in is that God has written history in advance. If you’ve read the books of Daniel, Revelation and the other books and passages on the end times, then you know all of this is just setting up for what those books foretell. It has to happen. And our Sovereign God is in total control.

We have several challenges, though. Possibly our biggest challenge is to know and discern the truth. Deception is at an all time high. Even Christians are being deceived in staggering ways. What the enemy always has done and is artfully doing now is taking the truth and tweaking it ever so slightly, so that it looks and seems just like the truth...but it is not. For some time, we’ve been fed a steady diet of relativism, socialism, New Age and now, even Marxism, so that we are pretty incapable of discernment. All lines have been blurred, so that no one seems to have clear vision. The Bible and the gospel have been replaced with a watered down message, so that we seldom even hear the truth. But this doesn’t lessen our accountability or our responsibility. God’s Word instructs us today more than ever.

With that, let’s dive into the main passage. “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.” An Old Testament reference here would be Leviticus 19:19, “You shall keep My statutes. You shall not let your livestock breed with another kind. You shall not sow your field with mixed seed. Nor shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you.” There are a couple of applications here that are important for our study. One reason why God was instructing this is because there were many pagan customs associated with the mixing of these things. They associated these mixings with magical powers. God wanted Israel to have no part in any of this. And God never changes. He still does not want His people to participate with any paganism or idolatry or any part of the world system. And then there’s the application that you can’t mingle truth and error. Both of these points are crucial for us today. We can’t mingle truth and error. We hear all the time that people qualify truth now with statements like, “Well, it’s her truth,” or “You have to speak your own truth.” No! Truth cannot be qualified. And truth that is mixed with anything other than truth is a lie. And we can’t mix pagan, New Age beliefs with the truth of God’s Word. We can’t mix the world system and the world view with our lives and our Biblical world view.

There’s something bigger I want to get to here, but first I must establish a truth. If we are believers, that is, if we have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, there is, unequivocally, no room for racism. In one of the greatest passages in the Bible, Acts 17, Paul tells us in verse 26-28: “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being.” Racism is sin. We are to have no part in it, and we are to fight racism and to work against it, just as we fight against abortion, and all the other sins that we are engaged in warfare against. BUT, it is imperative that we not yoke ourselves with unbelievers in this fight. We cannot have fellowship with lawlessness. We cannot commune with darkness. We, as Christ’s own, cannot have accord with Belial. We have to fight racism and every other sin with the Word of God and not with the tactics that the world would have us use and believe are the right tools. We have to be separate.

The Lord Jesus told us that those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. We have to know the truth. And in today’s culture it is very hard to know the truth. We must be on our knees, asking the Lord to show us the truth. We must every day ask Him to give us discernment and wisdom. And as He shows us the truth, which is revealed in His Word through the Holy Spirit, we must take a stand. Elijah lived in times similar to ours, as he dealt with and confronted the prophets of Baal. He lived in the evil times of Jezebel and Ahab. The famous verse in I Kings 18:21 is just as appropriate for us today as it was when Elijah spoke it: “And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him, but if Baal, then follow him.”

The Hebrew word for falter here is pacach and the Strong’s Definition is: “to hop, i.e. skip over; by implication, to hesitate, also (literally) to limp, to dance:—halt, become lame, leap, pass over.”

The word for opinions is ca’iph means “ambivalence, division, divided opinion.” It’s used in two verses from Job. Chapter 4:13, “In disquieting thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on men,” and Chapter 20:2, “Therefore my anxious thoughts make me answer, because of the turmoil within me.”

This word ca’iph is the root for the word sar’aph which is the word for anxieties in Psalm 139:23, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxieties.” This sar’aph means “disquieting thoughts” or “thoughts that divide and distract.”

Are you beginning to see the picture here? There are many thoughts, many ideas, many distractions out there that can cause us much anxieties. It’s hard to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong, because the enemy of our souls has done a tremendous job of blurring and confusing. We feel very anxious because we are very divided and distracted by the bombardment of information we are assaulted with every day. Our only hope is to know the Word, to know Him who is the Word.

Joshua also instructed his people that they were going to have to decide who they would serve. Joshua 24: 14-15, “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

It’s time to get serious about our faith, about our roles, about our warfare. We absolutely have to know the truth and be able to discern truth from error. We must begin by guarding our own hearts. Proverbs 4: 23-27, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you. Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you. Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil.”

Ephesians 4 tells us in verses 14-19, “that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive, but, speaking the truth in love, may gro up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart; who being past feeling, have given themselves over to licentiousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” (Emphasis mine.)

Paul described the times we are living in in his 2 letter to Timothy in chapter 3, saying, “men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away.” (Emphasis mine.)

Paul continues in verses 12-17, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, know from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

And then, everyday, even moment by moment, we must, according to Romans 12: 1-2 be not conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of our minds.

Let me state again, what I am urging is that we must absolutely know the truth about who we yoke ourselves with. There can be no compromise. Yokes are meant to align. Yokes are meant to curb the will and provide direction. What might seem like worthy causes can have very sinister people and ultimately Satan behind them.  Remember that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.  We will end with Jesus’ words in Matthew 11: 28-30, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” The context for this verse was Jesus addressing the heavy burden of the system of works of the Pharisees. That’s a good analogy of what it feels like today as we face the sin of racism and all the evil that is happening in the world...we are so burdened and want to do something about it. Jesus’ words are still the answer. Take His yoke and learn from Him. He will provide direction as we are aligned with His will and fight His way, and we will find rest for our souls.

Comments

  1. Thank you for speaking the truth and using your God giving wisdom. I praise God for you. I've been blessed by your articles and I am so glad I found this website. Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a great study, thank you for sharing your wisdom.

    Would you make a study about what it truly means to be your husband's help mate?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you! I am working on a study for wives now. I hope to have it ready in a week or two.

    ReplyDelete

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