Thursday, November 23, 2006

A True "Coming Out"

Revelation 18:4-5: Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes.

The apostle John is warning believers to come out of the world so they will not fall under God's wrath. The question is how? What practical steps can we take to come out of the world - while still living in the world? 2 Peter 3:11 asks the same question: Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? Peter teaches us four practical steps so that we may come out and not share in the world's sins.

1. You ought to live holy and godly lives (3.11): the general direction of your life is to be set apart and patterned after Jesus Christ.

2. Make every effort to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with him (3.14): our life direction and passion, our efforts will be towards godliness and peace - not with the world - but with God. We will seek to be God pleasers not man pleasers.

3. Be on your guard (3.17): fundamentally, we need to know we are in a battle. John Owens writes: If sin be subtle, watchful, strong, and always at work in the business of killing our souls, and we be slothful, negligent, foolish, in proceeding to the ruin thereof, can we expect a comfortable event? There is not a day but sin foils or is foiled, prevails or is prevailed on; and it will be so whilst we live in this world. (Vol 6, p. 11) A good lesson - most battles of coming out are lost because we do not even know we are in a battle. Peter's words are wise: be on your guard - be able to recognize the enemy and then know the power of the Lord - He is gracious.

4. Grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: pick up God's Word and grow in holiness, godliness, peace, and grace. Knowledge apart from grace is harsh; grace apart from knowledge is foolishness; but knowledge and grace together is growth so we may be strong enough by God's Spirit to come out and stand for God in a world against Him.

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