"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." Ephesians 5:11
"But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine. That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you." (Titus 2:1-8).
Here we see what Titus was supposed to be teaching, and what the men he ordained to leadership over the churches were supposed to be teaching; and that was "things which become sound doctrine." Notice, however, the focus wasn't on the timing of the rapture, the location of "Abraham's Bosom" or the proper explanation of "the sons of God" and the "daughters of men." Are these things important to discuss? Sure, the whole Bible is to be studied and taught, and I wish Christian brothers and sisters would discuss so much more than we do such Bible topics without getting so mad at one another. But we should desire more what the author of Hebrews said:
"But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak" (Hebrews 6:9)
What exactly should accompany salvation? Look at the next verse:
"For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end" (v. 10-11)
As Christians, we are separated unto a work we have been called to do. The rest of the book of Hebrews spells out some of the ways in which we are to diligently minister unto the end:
1. We are to preach and teach that the Blood of Christ is the only hope of salvation (no works based salvation, no exception to those who have never heard, no second chances... trust in the work of Christ alone or perish.)
2. We are to come together as Christians (away from the world) as often as we can and encourage one another unto love and good works.
3. We are to live by faith in God's promises and not by sight and human reasoning.
4. We are to seek peace with men and holiness unto God.
5. We are to obey those who rule over us.
6. We are to avoid delving into strange teachings that don't profit anyone.
Jesus basically gave His church three functions: Worship, Fellowship, and Discipleship. If a fellow Christian appears to be worshipping the wrong god (by the way, covetousness is idolatry according to Colossians 3:5 and other places in the Bible) I want to be distinctly separate from that person's ministry. If a fellow Christian is fellowshipping and being influenced more by the world than by God's people ("Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." James 4:4) I want to be distinctly separate from that person's ministry. If someone is more interested in filling the church with sinful people than they are seeing those people converted and discipled, I want to be distinctly separate from that person's ministry. Don't get me wrong, I realize we are all sinners and that we are all at different places of spiritual growth, but our goal as a church is "the perfecting of the saints," the "work of the ministry," and the "edifying of the body of Christ" (Ephesians 4:12).
But make no mistake, it is not that I want to be separated from one group of Christians unto another faction of believers. I want to be separated unto Christ and His Word. God didn't separate light from light. He made sure that light was distinctly different than the darkness. The only way darkness can fellowship with light is if the light becomes less bright. Who wants a church that is dim and casts a bunch of shadows? Light should totally cast out the darkness.
So, if I feel the need to separate from you, it's not because I don't like the little bit of light I see in you, it is because I don't like the great amount of darkness I see. And I would expect you to want to separate from me for the same reasons. If you see darkness in me, then by all means cast some light my way and then we can have fellowship. However, if you just don't like the way I interpret a passage or two of the Bible, or my "style" doesn't match your style, or because I'm not popular enough for you, well... now you are causing division for the wrong reasons.
Lord, help our lights to shine brightly in our churches and help us be separated from darkness.
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)