Biblical Separation

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”

Matthew 10:34-36


  1. Our text is one of the forgotten, neglected, and rejected places in the Bible, for men want a form of godliness; but they do not want to pay the price of losing family, friends, or position, either religious or socially.
  2. So you really want a pastor? Well, there are times that a pastor must warn against the things that you desire.
  3. Pastors must protect their flocks from the danger on the outside and any dangerous men getting on the inside.
  4. Fathers may choose isolated places to live (out of subdivisions) and private schooling to protect their children.
  5. Separating ourselves from sodomites in Hollywood is one thing, but doing so from friends is another thing.
  6. Church members must grasp the great danger of friendship with belly-worshippers to avoid compromise.
  7. We desire the repentance, conversion, and sanctification of every compromiser, but it does not alter our duty.
  8. What we did a few weeks ago in excluding a brother was necessary and right under the gospel (I Cor 5:1-13).
  9. What we had to do this past week was necessary and right, but it created a need for a reminder on the subject.
  10. Tonight we will practice closed communion – closed to all but our own committed, disciplined membership.
  11. He saved us to be His own peculiar people; our duty and privilege is to be such (Deu 14:2; Tit 2:14; I Pet 2:9).
  12. As with all subjects, we must humble our minds before His Holy Word and reject our thoughts (Ps 119:128).


  1. When the sons of God married daughters of men, God choked the mongrels in a flood (Gen 6:1-7).
  2. God divided Israel from other peoples to be His chosen people (Lev 20:24; Ezra 10:11; Neh 13:1-3).
  3. Moses forced Israel to take sides by saying, “Who is on the LORD’s side?” (Ex 32:26-28). Then he told the sons of Levi to go kill a close relative or friend that had been involved in the idolatry!
  4. God rebuked Jehoshaphat for affinity, family ties, with Ahab, though both Jews (II Chron 19:1-3).
  5. God sent Jesus Christ in a form that was despicable to men to separate them from saints (Is 53:1-3).


  1. Jesus Christ is God’s chosen sign to reveal deceitful and hypocritical hearts of men (Luke 2:34-35).
  2. Consider our text, which most do not even know, let alone understand and accept (Matt 10:34-36).
    1. Jesus did not come to bring peace; peace is not His primary goal; peace is only good in truth.
    2. The examples that our Lord used here are the most dear and precious we have in life. Consider.
  3. Our blessed Lord Jesus Christ caused division (Matt 13:57; John 7:43; 9:16; 10:19; Acts 14:4; 19:9).
  4. Consider the factors of His life that caused men offence (Matt 11:16-19; 13:55; 21:23; John 1:46).
  5. Jesus is precious to believers, but He is an offensive rock and stumbling stone to rebels (I Pet 2:6-8).
  6. Jesus promised men would cast His disciples out for their relation to Him (John 15:18-25; 16:1-4).
  7. When crowds came to Him, He quickly divided them down to the sincere by cost (Luke 14:25-32).
    1. Few ministers tell about the cost, as their religious system is based on numbers and/or comfort.
    2. Very few will pay the cost, as their hearts are truly not dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ alone.
    3. Jesus Christ will arrange the situations where we must choose, to see who truly loves Him alone.
    4. The value of a thing is determined by what you will exchange for it. What will you lose for Him?
    5. You cannot be His disciple – you are not worthy of Him – if you are infatuated with any human.
  8. When men said they would follow Him, He quickly pointed out to them the cost (Luke 9:57-62).
  9. Jesus Christ promised to bring heresies in the churches in order to approve His own (I Cor 11:19).
  10. The early church had many going out from them, who had never truly been of them (I John 2:19).
  11. Even our brother Paul reported that Demas – a belly worshipper – had forsaken him (II Tim 4:10).
  12. He will divide at the last day between sheep and goats (Matt 7:21-23; 25:31-46: Rev 20:11-15).


  1. Jesus Christ requires obvious separation and division from the world of idolaters (II Cor 6:14-17).
    1. He requires separation and division from the great whore of Roman Catholicism (Rev 18:4).
    2. He condemns any conformation or friendship with the world as adultery (Rom 12:1-2; Jas 4:4).
  2. Jesus Christ commands strict identification and avoidance of belly-worshippers (Romans 16:17-18).
    1. There is no difficulty with understanding this text: it is very plain. Where is the difficulty? Why?
    2. What is a belly worshipper? Any one minding earthly things over Christ (Philippians 3:18-19).
    3. Any one causing division or offences contrary to the doctrine of Jesus Christ (Romans 16:17-18).
    4. Their good words, fair speeches, bright smiles, warm hugs, and tearful eyes are bait for a snare!
    5. Simple people, like young children, like weak lambs, must be protected from such evil wolves.
    6. These are not disciples of Christ, regardless of what they say, sing, cry, or put on their bumpers.
  3. True saints, pressing for God’s highest, are to mark and react to the perfect and belly-worshippers.
    1. Godliness and repentance are visible; ungodliness and worldliness are visible. Be not deceived.
    2. Paul and other saints like him, whose lives are heaven centered, are examples (Phil 3:17,20).
    3. Others, who mind earthly things, are dangerous enemies of Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:18-19).
      1. Paul warned often of these people, and he did it tearfully; he said there were many of them.
      2. Their end is destruction. Most were never saved; and the others will be destroyed in this life.
      3. Their glory is in their shame. What they enjoy and boast about, are things shameful to saints.
      4. Their glorying, as if everything is just fine, and their smiling hugs, is just so much vanity!
  4. We must withdraw from the disorderly and reject friendship, but for admonishing (II Thess 3:6,14).
    1. Here are brethren not living according to apostolic tradition, the example being busy bodies.
    2. We cannot have company with them – friendly social interaction. We must rather shame them.
    3. If you encounter disorderly brethren who have been excluded from your church, or from whom you have withdrawn, your conduct should leave them ashamed, if you are an obedient saint.
    4. The only limitation is to maintain enough admonition to show we still desire their conversion.
    5. Simple questions like “Where are you going to church?” “Are you living for the Lord Jesus Christ?” “How are your children’s souls?” are weak efforts at admonition, but they are a start. If you cannot even pull those off, then you have no right even with infrequent socializing.
    6. The body of Christ, or general assembly of all the elect, will assemble in heaven; but it does not have any function here in this world, such as creating a big lovey-dovey body of Christ concept.
  5. We purge our membership and create a new lump as often as needed to please Christ (I Cor 5:6-8).
  6. We are not to have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove (Eph 5:7-12).
  7. To perpetuate separation and division, saints can only marry in the Lord (I Corinthians 7:39; 11:11).
  8. Paul told Timothy and Titus to avoid carnal Christian ministers (I Tim 6:5; II Tim 3:5; Tit 3:10-11).
  9. Paul explained preaching should not be polished to attract any but the faithful (I Cor 1:17-24; 2:1-5).


  1. It brings the great blessing of God, so rejoice and be glad at separation and persecution (Luke 6:22).
  2. Evil communications corrupt good manners, so we reject false talkers (I Cor 15:33; II Tim 2:16-18).
  3. The prosperity of a church is dependent on deliverance from strange children (Psalm 144:11-15).
  4. Good men have nothing to do at all with sinners or compromisers (Psalm 1:1-3; 101:1-8; 119:63).
  5. When you perceive folly in a man’s mouth or life, you are to separate from him (Prov 9:6; 14:7).
  6. It was the “mixt multitude” that provoked God’s judgment upon Israel with quail (Numbers 11:1-4).
  7. Compromise is deceitfully dangerous, for it occurs one step at a time and does not appear dangerous.
  8. Modification of God’s intent and rules will create a church with insincere and wicked members.
  9. Only an unleavened church, without known, public sin, can be pleasing to Jesus Christ (I Cor 5:6-8).
  10. There is a blessing for us, if we are not by offended in Jesus Christ and His requirements (Mat 11:6).
  11. If we are reproached for the name of Christ, even if for our division, we are blessed (I Peter 4:14).


  1. Unity is far more important to most than truth. Look for “let’s agree to disagree,” which is from hell.
  2. Peace is more important to most than purity. Look for “can’t we just get along,” which is from hell.
  3. Fundamentalists pick essentials, to compromise on everything else; but every word of God is pure!
    1. By this method, each group allows themselves freedom to do as they will and still have numbers.
    2. If you ask these people about marriage in the Lord, grunting the name of Jesus is good enough.
    3. They will happily compromise the doctrine of baptism in order to “take a stand” against wine.
  4. Love freaks think love should cover all differences, and they define love as sentimental mush.
    1. Godly love rejoices in truth and abounds in knowledge and judgment (I Cor 13:4-7; Phil 1:9-11).
    2. Proof of His disciples is love to one another, not to those in error or outside Christ (John 13:35).
    3. What happened to hating those who hate the Lord and His truth (II Chron 19:1-3; Ps 139:21-22)?
    4. Affection was shown to the fornicator at Corinth only after repentance (II Cor 2:6-8; 7:10-11).
  5. Politicians don’t want to offend anyone, ever! But Jesus did want to offend them (Matt 15:12-14)!
    1. When preaching sanctification, the good religious people could not handle it; but He didn’t care.
    2. If men don’t like the plain truth of God’s Word, God is going to root them up for destruction.
    3. He accused them of being blind leaders of the blind, and their whole church could fall in a ditch!
  6. Friendly frauds think differences can be ignored, but true friendship is based on truth (Ps 119:63).
  7. Sissies cannot take persecution, but it is prophesied for us in the last days (II Tim 3:12; Matt 13:21).
  8. Galatia’s belly-worshipping preachers taught circumcision to avoid persecution (Gal 5:11; 6:12).
  9. Find the missing phrase in I Tim 6:5. What do you think it might be? “From such withdraw thyself”!
  10. Joseph was a just man and did not make her a public example? But he did intend to put her away!


  1. Paul spent much of his ministry warning against false brethren within and without (Acts 20:29-31).
  2. If they are not with us, it is because they are against us (Luke 11:23). Jesus didn’t care for words.
  3. We want mercy and truth to meet in us, as it did in Jesus Christ; but His mercy always served truth.
  4. The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable; and it is this order we will honor (Jas 3:17-18).
  5. True Christianity and true discipleship is very rare and very pure without compromise (Ezek 22:30).
  6. Most Christians, and even most Baptists, do not understand the strict Bible mandate to be separate.
  7. Friendship does not win converts; it never has, and it never will; truth is the only means of converts.
  8. Every man is responsible to divide by his own conscience, and Jesus Christ will honor it (Rev 2:24).


  1. A pastor is like a good father, always concerned about danger, and not very interested in risking the family.
  2. There should be no divisions within the local churches of Christ, as we endeavor to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, based on ONE baptism, faith, etc. (Eph 4:1-6; I Cor 1:10; 3:3; 11:18; Matt 12:25).
  3. Separation is costly and painful, but not very costly and painful, if you truly love Christ and sound doctrine, for the preservation of your own soul and those of your children.

For further study:

  1. Sermon Outline: Contemporary Christianity 
  2. Sermon Outline: Marriage – Only in the Lord 
  3. Sermon Outline: What is a Carnal Christian 
  4. Sermon Outline: Jehosphat the Compromiser
  5. Sermon Outline: Church Discipline