Occasional editorials written since 2001 

Passion yes, aggression no. Harry Potter All roads lead to God?  
Value of a soul. Homosexuality Passion of the Christ
Islam and Christianity  Love not the world Persecution coming
Biblical or secular worldview? Freewill offering Letter or Spirit?
Faith The sacred and non-sacred Test your self
Discernment The gospel of me Repentance
Sinking sand That awful four letter word Sin
When God offends Walls, gates and electric fences The curse of pornography.
Gender confusion Flowers and weeds The War on Abortion
The abuse of grace God's sword divides  


God's sword divides.

Large rivers like the Thames or the Amazon are composed of many streams and tributaries that flow into them. Likewise the Bible has many streams of truth running through it that make up the whole Word of God.

Psalm 46:4 tells us that there is a river whose streams make glad the City of God.

This teaching today focuses on a somewhat neglected stream that I think needs refreshed in these troubled days.

It is simply this... God divides.

This stream of truth starts on the very first page of the Bible and - as we will see - it finishes on the very last page of the Bible..

Starting in Genesis 1:3-4 - we read,

Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. NKJV

This simple statement on the very first page of our Bible fits neatly into what is often called the Bible’s ‘law of first mention’

This law (or principle or rule) of first mention means that the first mention on an issue (or stream)in the Bible usually presents the clearest and simplest understanding of a doctrinal principle as it further unfolds throughout scripture. Indeed, to fully understand an important and complex theological concept, Bible students are often advised to start with its “first mention.”

So God’s first mention of dividing sets the principle that follows throughout scripture.

...and God divided the light ..from the darkness.

Or as some translations state,

 ...he separated the light.. from the darkness.

When Adam and Eve rejected God’s Lordship over their lives and gave authority to the words of the serpent, God separated them from the garden of Eden with it’s access to the tree of life.

He made a division between Abel’s offering of a firstborn lamb and Cain’s offering of the work of his hands in tilling the ground. Abel did it God’s way. Cain did it his way, and his offering was rejected. God said to him, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?” Genesis 4:7

God divided Noah and his family from all other inhabitants of the earth - because of the world’s wickedness. Genesis 6:5-8

The apostle Peter wrote that - at that time - God also divided between the obedient angels and the rebellious angels. (2 Peter 2:4)

In the Levitcal law God divided between holy and unholy, and between clean and unclean.

... that you may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean, Leviticus 10:10 NKJV

God made a Covenant with Abraham (Genesis 15 & 17) which set him and his descendants apart from other nations.

He dramatically separated between Lot and the sinful cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Genesis 19:29

God made a division between brothers Jacob and Esau, because Esau sold his spiritual birthright .. for a bowl of stew to feed his flesh.

Romans 9:13 states,

Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

When God calls a person, or a people, holy, it means he has separated them out from the unholy. To be His people. A chosen people.

Through Moses He dramatically separated His chosen people out from the worldliness and bondage of Egypt.

Deuteronomy 7:6 & 8

“For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.... the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

This is the clear shadow and type of what God would later do for us through the New Covenant established through Jesus, the Messiah.

God has separated us out from the worldliness and the bondage of this fallen world. He has called us out of darkness and into His light. Peter explains it well in

1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (Emphasis mine)

God dramatically separated Moses from Korah, Dathan and Abiram when they led a rebellion amongst His chosen people. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, their households and their possessions. (Numbers 16)

Through Moses, God showed His chosen people the twin peaks of Mount Gerezim and Mount Ebal as a constant visual reminder of what divides them between blessings and curses.

Mount Gerezim represented His blessings - which would come through their obedience, and Mount Ebal represented His curses - which would come through their deliberate dis-obedience. (Deuteronomy 27)

I could go on, and on, as the dividing - the Divine separating - is relentless between His people and the godless cultures that surrounded them.

The separation He continually outworked between Israel and their relentless embracing of idols and foreign gods. Between His people and their foreign wives. (1 Kings 11:8; Ezra 10; Nehemiah 13:25)

And when Israel - despite the many warnings from His prophets - continually indulged in the sins of the surrounding culture, He separated His people from the very land He had bequeathed them.

God has no concern for public opinion.
No concern for the voices of the newspapers, television or cinema.
No concern for the voices of Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

The Holy Spirit will never mix or compromise with the ruler of this world, the spirit of the age.

James the brother of Jesus wrote in a James 4:4

... anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

Again and again, through physical examples God was clearly declaring that He does not do mixtures.

Leviticus 19:19 states,

‘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.

Deuteronomy 22:10
Do not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together

Through these seemingly strange prohibitions God was simply stating that He does not do mixtures.

Yes, God divides ... between light ...and darkness.

Between holy ..and unholy. Between clean.. and unclean.

God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

So it is no surprise that the dividing continues throughout the New Testament .

Jesus separated between heaven and hell. Between the narrow gate and the broad road that leads to destruction..

He said,

Matthew 10:34
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.

What did He mean by a sword?

He clearly did not mean a physical sword.

Peter drew a sword to defend Jesus when the crowd came to arrest Him, but Jesus immediately told Peter to put his sword away.

Matthew 26:42 Jesus said,

Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.

I remember reading somewhere that Napoleon said, “what I take by the sword, I have to hold by the sword”

It is in the book of Revelation that we see clearly what God’s sword is. No less than four times it states that the sword - indeed, a sharp, double edged sword - are the words that proceed from Jesus’s mouth!

Revelation 1:12-16

Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.

Revelation 2:12

And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, 'These things says He who has the sharp two edged sword...'

Revelation 2:16

Repent therfore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

Revelation 19:15

Coming out of His mouth is a sharp two edged sword with which to strike down the nations.

To emphasis the reality of this truth - that God divides - I have placed key portions from the
following scriptutres on either side of a sword. (NKJV)

The writer of Hebrews tells us what the sword of His mouth is designed to do.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a descerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12


I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Revelation 3:15:16



Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Matthew 12:33


He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned. Mark 16:16

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. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me. John 14:23-24

He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 10:39

Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3

He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:18


He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. John 3:36


But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:15

For I have come to set a man against his Father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Matthew 10:35

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what aggreement has the temple of God with idols? 2nd Corinthians 6:14-16

He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Matthew 25:33


Then the King will say to those on His right hand, "Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world . . . . Then He will also say to those on the left hand, "Departfrom Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Matthew 25:34 & 41


He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. Revelation 21:7-8

Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. Matthew 10:34
 

Why do I believe that this basic scriptural truth needs refreshing today?

Romans 12:2 states clearly

Do not conform to the pattern of this world,

Yet in recent years, and at an alarmingly increasing rate, the relentless pressure from the culture’s new - and extremely aggressive - sexual revolution, along with its various offshoots, - is causing many church leaders to bow the knee to the spirit of the age.

They are trying to be ‘relevant’ to the changing culture by approving, supporting and affirming what is clearly - in scripture’s strongest possible words - contra-biblical behaviour. We have leaders apologising for scripture offending those who will not submit to God’s authority expressed clearly in His Word.

Mark Sayers is right when he says that the world has evangelised the church.

This is not God’s grace in action, teaching His people it is right to say yes to ungodliness and worldly passions.

On the contrary, the apostle Paul - in Titus 2:11-12a NIV
wrote to Titus telling him that,

“the grace of God teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions.

Charles Spurgeon said,

“Grace is the mother and nurse of holiness, not the apologist of sin”.

I’ve seen protesters’ placards confidently stating “What would Jesus do?” clearly in the belief that Jesus would not want any division between God and the world.

Because Jesus is ‘nice’

Yes, He is nice.
In fact in Song of songs 5:16 in the Bible says that ‘He is altogether lovely’.

However, when Isaiah saw the Lord ‘high and lifted up’ the surrounding angels were not crying out “Nice! Nice! Nice” or “lovely lovely lovely”

They were crying out, “HOLY HOLY HOLY”

Scripture confirms that this was Jesus whom Isaiah saw.

Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about Him. John 12:41

Scripture says in Romans 3:23

All have sinned and fall short of God’s Kingdom standard.

Until you are saved, you are lost.

The great divide.

Refusing to tell people that they are lost lest they be offended is not God’s idea of love.

God’s love is not a sugary pop-song “all you need is love” kind of love.

It is not a carnal-lifestyle affirming kind of love.

It is not a Santa-Claus kind of love.

It is a life saving love.

It is a life changing love.

It is love that comes with such grace and compassion that it took Jesus into the company of those whom religious people normally do their best to avoid. That’s why the religious leaders of the day called Jesus a glutton, a drunkard and ... a friend of sinners.

A friend of sinners, Yes. Oh yes.!

But never, never, ever a friend of, nor an apologist for sin..

A lifeboat must be in the sea if it is to save people, but the sea must never be in the lifeboat.

It is His love for sinners such as us that took Jesus to His sacrificial death on the cross.

And yet, even there, His Presence divided.
One thief cried out to Jesus to save Him. The other continued to mock Him.

A sword divides.

You might ‘sit on the fence’, but you cannot sit on a sword.

A follower of Jesus, will follow Jesus. Not the world’s spiritual Pied Piper.
Not a compromise between the two.

Jesus said,

“Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be.” John 12:26

But if you do follow Jesus, remember what He said...

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. John 15:18-19

In John 1:14 & 17 we read that Jesus came with grace and truth.

We must never separate these. We must be full of grace and full of truth.

Let us ensure that we rightly and courageously divide the word of God.

 
 

Amen!

https://christian-restoration.com/Editorial/God divides.html

also available as video sermon