Title & Purpose

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble:

for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand, Joel 2:1.


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Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Biblical doctrine of Separation Part 2

The substance of a number of sermons preached in Newtownabbey Free Presbyterian Church on the distinctive of being a sanctified, separated Church. 
An audio recording can be listened to on the Church's Sermonaudio site.

Part 1 - Introduction

Part 2
The Christian is to be separate in their Affections 
In Numbers 6:3,4: He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried. All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk; the Nazarite was commanded not to partake of wine or strong drink. This requirement placed upon the Nazarite will illustrate and emphasise the wider principle of separation being applied to all our affections.

Sanctification/separation is applicable to our spiritual affections. Because we are fallen, sinful, creatures, we have fallen, sinful, lusts and desires. These are the inclinations of a depraved heart. The root of sin is still present in us. The child of God must seek to crush and crucify those sinful lusts and affections as described in 1 John 2:16; Galatians 5:24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. We are to think and act differently to when we were unconverted, Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. The true child of God is to be different and will be.

The Christian is to set their affections upon those things which are heavenly, Colossians 3:1-3 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God; and that which is upright and holy, Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

The following and satisfying of carnal, fleshly affections and appetites have no place in the life of a true believer and will hinder our service to God. It will dampen our ardour for Christ. If worldly, sinful things predominate in our lives we will be nothing and do nothing for God.



Sanctification/separation is applicable to our sensual appetites. The Word of God has much to say about self control/temperance in this respect. It is one of the fruits of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit working within will be seen in our self control. Paul practised this: 1 Corinthians 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. There are a number of areas where this principle should work:

1. Alcohol. This is a very obvious one because of the commands to the Nazarite. We live in a day where a lack of restraint is seen in this area. Christians see nothing wrong with drinking alcohol. The Free Presbyterian Church holds to a position of total abstinence on non-medical alcohol consumption. 

Kings and priests were forbidden in the Old Testament to consume alcohol, cf. Proverbs 31:4,5 & Leviticus 10:9-10. New Testament believers are the present day equivalents of those Old Testament kings and priests, Revelation 1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen; Rev. 5:10. The requirement concerning Old Testament priests and kings should not be lost on us. 

2. Feasting. The Scriptures warn against a following in the ways of excess which characterises the ungodly, 1 Peter 4:1-5 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. The will of the Gentiles was to walk in wantonness, revellings, and banquetings among other things. They were given to greed, to a carnal satisfying of their flesh. They engaged in a heathen festivals characterised by excess.

3. Pleasure seeking. We live in a pleasure seeking age. Men are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, 2 Timothy 3:4. We read of those who have pleasure in unrighteousness, 2 Thessalonians 2:12. Recreation is different from following sinful pleasures and is permissible in its proper place.

It is asked in the ordination vows that FPC ministers/elders take: Will you publicly denounce the great public vices of drinking, dancing, gambling, and the pleasure crazes of this present evil world and by example live righteously, soberly and godly before all men? The pleasure crazes of the world take in its entertainments and it worldly activities. We are to be separate in these matters.

Christ is to be the source of all the Christian's joys. The Christian's pleasures are not to be found where the world find their pleasures. May we demonstrate that we are Christ's by our sanctification/separation from the world. Charles Wesley in his hymn entitled: Jesus Lover of my soul said: Thou, O Christ, art all I want; More than all in Thee I find. If this is so, and it most certainly is, then we do not need the pleasures of the world to satisfy our spiritual or physical affections and appetites. 

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