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2Corinthians 6:14 – 7:3

Thursday Evening Bible Study

January 22, 2015


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Target 3300 words

Paul had spent nearly three years in Ephesus, during which he wrote his first letter to the Corinthians.

Paul’s stay in Ephesus ended abruptly when a riot broke out in the city because of how the Christian revival was affecting the business of those who made idols.

After the riot, Paul headed up north to Macedonia.

The year is AD 56, almost a year after Paul had written his first letter to the Corinthians.

We’ve talked about how Paul is dealing with the issue of “authority” with the Corinthians.  Some of them questioned his role in their church.

We ended last week with Paul putting his finger on one of the very real behind-the-scenes issues when it comes to their struggles with him:

(2 Corinthians 6:12 NKJV) You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections.
Their real problem started in their own heart.
And just maybe, there’s a reason why their hearts have turned against Paul…

6:14-16 Unhealthy relationships

:14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.

:14 Do not be

The verb is a present tense, which can better be translated,

Lit. - “stop becoming unequally yoked”. 
In other words, some were already guilty of doing it.

:14 unequally yoked togetherheterozugeo (“other of a different kind” + “yoke”) – to come under an unequal or different yoke, to be unequally yoked

A yoke was a tool to harness the strength of an animal.

It is sometimes used in the Bible to speak of a servant, one who is under the “yoke” of a master. (Jer. 28:14)
(Jeremiah 28:14 NKJV) —14 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “I have put a yoke of iron on the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and they shall serve him. I have given him the beasts of the field also.” ’ ”

To be “yoked” paints a farming picture of two animals being harnessed together to do a specific job, whether it’s pulling a cart or plowing a field.

To be “unequally yoked” carries the idea that you are mismatched with the person you are “yoked” to.

The Law of Moses even speaks of this principle.
(Deuteronomy 22:10 NKJV) “You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together.

If you are going to plow a field with an ox yoked to a donkey, you are going to have difficulty.

The two animals will pull differently.

You’ll probably end up plowing in circles rather than in a straight line.

Paul takes this principle and applies it to human relationships.

:14 unbelieversapistos (“not” + “faith”) – unfaithful, faithless; unbelieving

Paul will give five short phrases to elaborate on what he means by being “yoked” with unbelievers.

:14 For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness?

:14 fellowshipmetoche – a sharing, communion, fellowship

from metecho, to “have with”

:14 righteousnessdikaiosune – the state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God; integrity, virtue, purity of life

:14 lawlessnessanomia (“not” + “law”) – the condition of without law; contempt and violation of law, iniquity, wickedness

Righteousness and lawlessness have totally nothing in common.  They are complete opposites. 

Righteousness is about doing the right things.

Lawlessness is about doing the wrong things.

They share nothing.

When you have a connection of sorts with an unbeliever, you may tell yourself that you have lots of things in common (we like the same movies), but at the very core, you are different.

:14 And what communion has light with darkness?

:14 communionkoinonia (“common”) – fellowship, association, community, communion

Light and darkness are also symbolic in scripture of Good and Evil.

Where’s the common ground between light and darkness?

Absolutely none.

But when you become yoked with an unbeliever, you are pretending to yourself that “light” has something in common with “darkness”.

:15 And what accord has Christ with Belial?

:15 BelialBelial – “worthless or wicked”; a name of Satan

It is based on a Hebrew word used 27 times in the Old Testament, often translated “perverted, wicked, or scoundrels” such as,

(Judges 19:22 NKJV) As they were enjoying themselves, suddenly certain men of the city, perverted men, surrounded the house and beat on the door. They spoke to the master of the house, the old man, saying, “Bring out the man who came to your house, that we may know him carnally!
The Old King James translates “perverted men” as “sons of Belial”.

:15 accordsumphonesis – concord, agreement

Does this word sound like something?  Like “symphony”?

A symphony orchestra is a group of different instruments learning to play together, in harmony, time, and rhythm.
I like the word “harmony” describing this.

Imagine Jesus and Satan trying to play a duet together.

Do they make good music?  Nope.

Paul describes Satan’s influence on us before we came to believe:

(Ephesians 2:1–3 NKJV) —1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
Yet now, our lives are different.  We have a different master.


Years ago, the Hollywood branch of the American Cancer Society decided to hold a benefit night in conjunction with a professional tennis tournament. It turned out to be embarrassing for them, however, when they learned that a major tobacco company was sponsoring the competition. Officials of the society found out too late that they had committed themselves to selling 500 tickets to an event that was named after a well-known brand of cigarettes.  The publicity sent out by the Hollywood chapter portrayed a young woman with a tennis racket in one hand and a cigarette in the other.

:15 Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?

:15 partmeris – a part as distinct from the whole; an assigned part, a portion, share

Does a believer have any parts in common with an unbeliever?

Not at their core.

:16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God.

:16 agreementsugkatathesis – a putting together (of votes); hence approval, assent, agreement

It’s an agreement that has been made by taking a vote.

To me this seems to describe a relationship where both parties have a “vote”.
This is not like having an unbelieving parent, or having an unbelieving family – you don’t have a vote in that election.

Does the temple of God ever vote for the same candidate as the idol temple?

(Amos 3:3 AV) Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

:14 unequally yoked


Bad Relationships

What kind of relationships could be considered “yokes”?
It’s a relationship that can be described with the words fellowship, communion, harmony, part, agreement.
If you are locked into a relationship with an unbeliever that can be described this way, you’re heading for trouble.
It’s got to be a deep connection relationship, one that affects the course of your life.
You have to go where that person goes because you are connected by the “yoke”.
These kinds of “yoke” relationships are going to affect your relationship with God.
It could possibly include a business relationship.
But it would have to be the kind of business relationship that you are unable to get out of.
It definitely describes marriage
Marriage is supposed to be the union of two people at such a level that it affects you to the core.
Marriage will affect your relationship with God.
Jehoshaphat was a good king.  He loved the Lord.
But he made the mistake of becoming “unequally yoked” with a bad man.

(2 Chronicles 18:1 NKJV) Jehoshaphat had riches and honor in abundance; and by marriage he allied himself with Ahab.

For some reason, Jehoshaphat decided he needed to make an alliance with the northern kingdom, which was ruled by wicked Ahab.  He made the alliance by having his son marry the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel.
Because of this alliance, Jehoshaphat was drawn into a war at Ramoth Gilead.  Ahab ended up dying, and Jehoshaphat almost lost his own life.
Jehoshaphat was rebuked for this.

(2 Chronicles 19:2 NKJV) And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to King Jehoshaphat, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Therefore the wrath of the Lord is upon you.

While Jehoshaphat responded by cleaning up much of the bad stuff in his kingdom, he was still “yoked” to the northern kingdom because of his son’s marriage to Ahab’s daughter.  It would drag him into bad business transactions with Ahab’s son, and a prophet spoke…

(2 Chronicles 20:37b NKJV) … “Because you have allied yourself with Ahaziah, the Lord has destroyed your works.” Then the ships were wrecked, so that they were not able to go to Tarshish.

The messy “yoke” with the northern kingdom got even messier after Jehoshaphat died.

(2 Chronicles 21:4 NKJV) Now when Jehoram was established over the kingdom of his father, he strengthened himself and killed all his brothers with the sword, and also others of the princes of Israel.

Death in the family resulted.

Even after Jehoram died, his wife, the daughter of Ahab, would eventually…

(2 Chronicles 22:10b NKJV) …she arose and destroyed all the royal heirs of the house of Judah.

Even more death.

All this trouble because of what?

Because Jehoshaphat was unequally yoked with unbelieving Ahab.

The ultimate “yoke” relationship is marriage.
If you are not married, the FIRST thing you should find out about someone you’re interested in is their walk with the Lord.
Don’t wait until you’re too involved in the relationship to find out.

Remember Jehoshaphat.


Life with unbelievers

Does this mean we shouldn’t ever be friends with unbelievers?
Paul wrote,
(1 Corinthians 5:9–13 NKJV) —9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. 10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person. 12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? 13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”

God doesn’t want us to go live on a mountain top that is only populated by Christians.

God wants us to be in the world, loving the world, reaching the world.

Jesus set the example for us.  He was known as the “friend of sinners”.
(Matthew 9:10–13 NKJV) —10 Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

We don’t want to stop hanging out with “sinners”, we need to love on them.

But at the same time, we do need to be careful about developing deep, committed types of relationships with unbelievers.

:14 yoked together


Marriage defined

One of the most important of “yokes” is marriage.
Look at the five different “yoke” descriptions that Paul uses, and think about them in the context of marriage.
The best idea of that word was “sharing”.
Marriage is all about “sharing”.
You share time together.
You share “stuff” together.

Be careful about having too much “mine” and “yours” stuff.

koinonia is about having things in common.
As believers we have Jesus in common.
We think of “communion” as what we share with Jesus, all sharing the same piece of bread, the same cup of wine.
Marriage ought to be about enjoying our relationship with Jesus together.
Jesus needs to be an active participant in your marriage.
This was that “symphony” word.  It was all about “harmony”.

Harmony is about blending different notes, different tones.

A good marriage doesn’t require that both people be exactly the same.

In fact, in every marriage, there are two different people involved.

Video:  Weird Things Couples Fight About

Marriage is about learning to “harmonize” your differences, celebrate your differences, enjoy your differences.
Just as koinonia is about having things in common, this word is about having “parts” of our lives in common.
As husband and wife, we need to explore and discover those sometimes few things we have in common, the things we both like.
There is great value in “studying” your spouse.  Earn your doctorate in your spouse.  Learn all about them…

Video:  Tim Hawkins – Study your wife

The word had to do with “voting”.
Marriage should not be a dictatorship where one partner makes all the decisions.
I know that sometimes one person’s personality is more dominant in the relationship than the other – and I’m not talking about men being the head and the wife submitting.

I’m talking about your personalities and the fact that one person may tend to make all the decisions.

Sometimes the less dominant one just gives in so they don’t rock the boat.

In marriage you need to work towards both parties having an equal voice, an equal vote.

Paul explains his previous statement that they are the temple of God by going on…

:16 As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.”

:16 I will dwell in them

This is the classic definition of a temple – a place where a “god” dwells.

If God dwells in us, then we are His Temple.

Paul is quoting from,

(Leviticus 26:11–12 NKJV) —11 I will set My tabernacle among you, and My soul shall not abhor you. 12 I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.
This is taking us back to the days of the Exodus, where the people lived in tents, and God literally lived among the people.

Another strange passage that talks about God walking among the people has a strange but practical twist to it:

(Deuteronomy 23:12–14 NLT) —12 “You must have a designated area outside the camp where you can go to relieve yourself. 13 Each of you must have a spade as part of your equipment. Whenever you relieve yourself, dig a hole with the spade and cover the excrement. 14 The camp must be holy, for the Lord your God moves around in your camp to protect you and to defeat your enemies. He must not see any shameful thing among you, or he will turn away from you.
Even though God is dealing with literal waste management, there is a graphic picture painted about what is “holy” and what isn’t.
Our sinful ways are like poor hygiene, leaving a stinky, yucky mess.
God wants to “walk” in a clean place.

Yet sometimes our actions, or even the relationships we enter into a yoke with, result in us creating an “unclean” place.

God doesn’t enjoy us living in filth.

6:17-7:1 Exhortation

:17 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.”

:18 “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.”

:17 Come out from among them

Paul is quoting from bits and pieces of several Old Testament passages (Is. 52:11; 2Sam. 7:14) including

(Isaiah 52:11 NKJV) Depart! Depart! Go out from there, Touch no unclean thing; Go out from the midst of her, Be clean, You who bear the vessels of the Lord.
(2 Samuel 7:14 NKJV) —14 I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men.


Clean the poop

His point is that since God dwells among us, and we are His Temple, we need to learn what “holiness” is all about.
God is holy.

He is different than us.  He is separate from sin.  He is pure.

He wants us to be more like Him and less like the world.

We don’t deal with the poop like the Israelite camp did by burying it.
Our cleansing starts with admitting our sin.

(1 John 1:9 NKJV) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

After admitting our problem, we may need to make some changes. (“come out…”)

7:1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

:1 all filthiness of the flesh and spirit

Paul mentions both flesh and spirit, both the inner and the outer man.  Sometimes when we try to “clean up our act”, we only concern ourselves with the outer man, with just our actions.  Paul is saying here to clean up your inside as well.  It’s your thoughts that lead to your sinful actions.

:1 having these promises

In 6:17, God promises that if we would be “separate” from the world, He would “receive” us.

In 6:18, He promises to be a Father to us.


Obedience and Intimacy

Our relationship with God is based on His grace.
He loved us enough to send Jesus.
We only have to believe to be saved.
Yet there is a principle in Scripture that our level of intimacy with God is tied to how we obey Him.
(John 14:21–23 NKJV) —21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

God is holy, and He desires that we learn to be holy, pure, clean as well.

7:2-3 Corinthian relationship

:2 Open your hearts to us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have cheated no one.

:3 I do not say this to condemn; for I have said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together.

:2 Open your hearts to us


Walk affects relationships

We go back to the Corinthians’ struggle with Paul and his role in their lives.
Paul cares for them.
His heart is very much open towards them, though their hearts have been closed towards him.
Could it be that some of the Corinthians had developed unhealthy relationships with unbelievers, and those relationships had not only affected their relationship with God, it has affected their relationship with Paul?