Separation and Our Relationship with God
by Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
(Chapter 13 from the excellent book, Jack Hyles Speaks On Biblical Separation)
Matthew 27:46, "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"
The first recorded words of our Lord while He was on earth were these: "How is it that ye sought Me? wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?" (Luke 2:49) Notice especially the words, "My Father's." The last recorded words of our Lord before He gave up the ghost on Calvary were these: "Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit." (Luke 23:46) Again, notice the use of the word "Father." Between the first recorded words and the last recorded words are such terms as these: "the will of My Father," "ye blessed of My Father," "their angels do behold the face of My Father," "all that the Father giveth Me," "I honour My Father," and "My Father is greater than them all."
The first words of Calvary were, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34) The last words of Calvary were, "Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit." Notice again the emphasizing of the word "Father." Hear our Lord in John 17 in the great prayer of intercession: In verse 1, "Father, the hour is come." In verse 5, "And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self." Verse 11, "Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given Me." Verse 21, "That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee." Verse 24, "Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am." Verse 25, "O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee: but I have known Thee." Notice in each of these verses the use of the words, "Father," "My Father," "Holy Father" or "the Father."
I am stunned then at the middle cry of Calvary when the Lord Jesus said, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46) Why was it always "Father" and now suddenly it is "My God, My God?" Our sins were placed on Jesus. The Father turned His back upon His Son, and Jesus cried, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" The word "forsaken" is a large word. It includes, "My God, My God, why hast thou indicted Me? Why hast Thou convicted Me? Why hast Thou sentenced Me? Why hast Thou disowned Me?" Though Jesus was still the Son of God on the cross, He could not call God His Father because He was bearing our sins. He was identifying Himself with sinners, and the Father, Who is holy and just, cannot look upon sin. Hence, He turned His back upon His Son and in that moment disowned Him that His justice might be satisfied and that a way of reconciliation for sinners like you and me could be made.
This leads to four relationships that mankind can have with his God.
1. Creator-creature. This takes place at birth.
2. God-people. This takes place at salvation.
3. Father-child. This takes place at separation.
4. Friend-friend. This takes place at service.
When the creature accepts Christ as his Saviour and by faith appropriates God's gift of eternal life, he then enters into a new relationship with his God. It is the relationship of God-people. However, notice II Corinthians 6:14-18, "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." Notice especially the words in verse 18, "and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters." Now this does not mean that the Christian was not already a child of God; it does mean that one can be a child and not enjoy the intimate relationship that he should with his Father. Here in II Corinthians 6:14-18 we have the requirement that God gives for those of us who are His children to enter into a sweet Father-child relationship. It is the great doctrine of separation.
In verse 14 we are told not to be yoked together with unbelievers. We are told that righteousness should not fellowship with unrighteousness. We are told that light should not commune with darkness. We are told in verse 15 that Christ hath no concord with Belial and that believers should have no part with infidels. We are told in verse 16 that the temple of God hath no agreement with idols. We have the reminder in the last part of verse 16 that the believer is one of God's people and that he has a God-people relationship with the Father. Then in verse 17 God speaks to the believer and says that if he will come out from among them, that is, the unbelievers, unrighteousness, darkness, Belial, infidels and idols, and be separate and touch not the unclean thing, then God will receive him and will be a Father unto him, and the believer shall be as a son or daughter. (Verse 18.) This is a wonderful, blessed truth.
One night our son, Dave, got in the wrong crowd. He came home. When I realized with what crowd he had been, I said, "Go to your room."
He said, "But, Dad...."
I said, "Don't 'Dad' me. 'Doctor Hyles' me."
He said, "Well, Dad...."
I said, "Don't say, 'Dad,' to me. You 'Doctor Hyles' me." I went upstairs and made him say, "Doctor Hyles, Doctor Hyles, Doctor Hyles," over and over again. Now he was my son, but we were not close at that particular time because he had been in the wrong crowd. The believer in Christ is still God's child, but he has forfeited his Father-child intimacy if he runs with the wrong crowd.
Notice Romans 8:14, 15, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." Here we have another passage that teaches the same truth. We are told that the sons of God are those who are led by the Spirit of God. Romans 8 deals with the Spirit of God leading the child of God to live the spiritual life, not the carnal life. If the child of God follows the leadership of the Holy Spirit into a spiritual life, he then becomes the son of God. This does not mean that he was not already God's child. It means that he now has a relationship as a father and son should have. This same teaching is implied in Matthew 5:9, "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
A little boy was bad. His dad sent him to his room and then spanked him. He then told the boy to stay in his room and think what a bad boy he had been. After awhile dinner was ready. The dad very curtly said, "Son, come on to the table and eat!" The boy came to the table. His parents were still his parents, but he had lost the sweet relationship with them that a child should have with his parents. His dad then looked over to him and in a very stern voice said, "Son, you ask the blessing! You need to pray!" Whereupon the boy said, "Heavenly Father, I thank Thee that Thou preparest a table before me (sob, sob, sob) in the presence of my enemies!"
When our girls were small, I had dates with them. For many years I had dates with Becky, who is our oldest daughter. I used to say, "Becky, do you want to have a date with Daddy?"
Her little three or four or five-year-old voice would say, "Goodie, goodie, goodie! I'm going to have a date with Daddy!" I would escort her to the car and ask her where she wanted to go. She would always say she wanted to go to the ice cream store. We would drive to the ice cream store. A waitress would come up and ask to take our order. Becky would always order a chocolate milk shake. I would likewise order a chocolate milk shake. When the waitress brought the milk shakes, she put Becky's in front of her and mine in front of me and a straw in each, whereupon Becky would say, "Daddy, let's drink out of the same milk shake together." I put my milk shake to the side and put my straw in Becky's and we would share the same milk shake. People would walk by and say, "Look at that mean old man drinking that little girl's milk shake!" (I did get more than Becky got because I had a better sucker than Becky had!)
After we would have our milk shakes we would go to the Jack and Jill Shop and I would buy Becky a dress or something else that she might have needed. Then we would get in the car and go to Riverside Park and swing. Becky would get in the swing, and I would push her. Then I would get in the swing, and she would try to push me. We did this every week. It was a ritual with us. This continued while Becky was three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve and thirteen; but when she became fourteen, one day I said, "Becky, do you want to have a date with Daddy?"
She said, "No, sir."
I said, "What do you mean?"
"No, sir. I mean I don't want to have a date."
I said, "Why?"
She said, "Because Tim is going to call."
Who was Tim? Tim was a boy she had learned to like better than she liked her dad, and she would rather wait for a phone call from Tim than to have a date with her dad. (Every parent who has ever reared a child knows how I felt!) I went to my prayer closet and asked, "What's wrong? I've lost my daughter!"
(The Heavenly Father is asking "What's wrong?" between Him and many of us because we have lost our sweet relationship that we once had. )
I decided to add to the incentive. I was going to preach in the Los Angeles area and so I said, "Becky, would you like to go to Los Angeles with Daddy? We will go to Knott's Berry Farm and Disneyland ! We will fly in a big airplane, have a few days in a hotel, enjoy room service and breakfast in bed!"
She asked, "Can Tim go?"
I said, "No, Tim cannot go!"
She said, "Then I don't want to go."
Finally one day I was taking a trip to the Holy Land. I said, "Becky, would you like to go to London, Paris, Rome, Athens, Cairo, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Bethany, Nazareth, Cana of Galilee, the Jordan River, the Dead Sea, the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum and Jericho with Daddy?"
"Is Tim going?" Becky said.
"No," I said, "Tim is not going!"
"Then I don't want to go," Becky said.
She would rather talk with Tim on the telephone than go around the world with me! (I did not know at the time that this was the natural thing. I know it now; I did not know it then!)
After a few years, Becky and Tim got married. God has given them three lovely children. When the first child was just a baby, they came home for a visit. I had to go to the store, and I announced that I was going to the store. Becky said, "Daddy, can I go, and can we have a date?"
My eyes filled with tears and my heart leaped with joy as my grown daughter wanted to have a date again with me. It had been years! I put out my arm and escorted her to the car. I said, "Puddin', where would you like to go?"
She said, "To the ice cream store."
To the ice cream store we went! A waitress came to take our order. (It was not the same waitress.) Becky said, "I would like to order a chocolate milk shake."
Through tears I said, "Make that two chocolate milk shakes!"
The waitress brought the milk shakes, put Becky's in front of Becky and mine in front of me and a straw in each. Becky said, "Daddy, could we drink out of the same milk shake together?"
I said, "Why sure, Puddin'." I put my milk shake on the side, put my straw in Becky's and we drank out of the same milk shake. (I still got more than she did because my sucker was still better than hers!)
After we shared her milk shake, we shared mine. Then I said, "Puddin', you wouldn't like to buy a new dress, would you?" (Don't ever ask an adult lady that question!)
She said, " Yes, I would. " We didn't go to the Jack and Jill Shop, we went to Rosalee's, a women's store, and Becky picked out a dress just like we used to do.
I said, "Puddin', we had better go home."
She said, "Daddy, aren't we going to go to the park and swing?"
I said, "You want to go to the park and swing?"
She said, "We always do on our dates, don't we?" So we went to Riverside Park! Becky sat in the swing and I pushed her; then I sat in the swing and she tried to push me.
Then we went home, and I went to my prayer closet, got on my knees and said, "Lord, does it make You as happy when I love to be with You as it makes me when my children love to be with me?"
Yes, it does, except ten thousand times more! The great heart of God wants to have a sweet relationship with His children, and He wants not only positionally to be our Father but practically. He wants to treat us as a father would treat a child.
When a famous ball player was first born again, he was interviewed by an adult magazine which is filled with nudity and pornography. Someone asked him why he did that since he claimed to be born again. He said that Jesus would have been interviewed by that magazine. Now this football player might be born again, but when he comes to his prayer closet, he will have to say, "Dear God," and not, "Dear Father."
A famous Hollywood singer sings in nightclubs using his charisma to attract people to the liquor and other sins of nightclub life. Then on Sunday he goes to a church and tells how much Jesus means to him. He may be saved, but when he comes to pray, he has forfeited the right to say, "Dear Father."
There is a wonderful relationship that God wants to have with us and to offer to us, but that relationship must be based on our being separated. Do you have God's money in your pocket? Is there rock music on your record player? Are you watching soap operas on your television? Is there a critical nature in your heart? Do you have liquor in your icebox? Are you yoking up in organizations with unbelievers? Then though He is your Heavenly Father, you may not treat Him as such, and though you are His child, the treatment will not be as intimate as He would like it to be, and it will not be so until you are separated!
We have noticed that the Creator-creature relationship comes at birth, the God-people relationship comes at salvation, and the Father child relationship comes with separation, but there is yet a fourth relationship, and that is Friend-friend. John 15:14, "Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." This comes at service when we obey our Heavenly Father's commands. Of course, His great command is to go and teach all nations. In other words, the great command is to be a soul winner. God spoke of Abraham as being His friend. Moses spoke to God face to face as a friend. God wants to have that sweet Friend-to-friend relationship with His people, but He will enter into that sacred relationship only when we become soul winners and faithful servants of our Lord.
Many years ago I was invited by Dr. John R. Rice to preach at a Sword of the Lord Conference in Lake Louise, Georgia. The speakers were to be Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., Dr. R. G. Lee, Dr. John Rice, Dr. Bill Rice and others. I was still in my twenties, and I could not believe Dr. Rice meant that he wanted me to come! I thought the letter was sent to me by mistake, so I had my secretary call Dr. Rice's office to confirm the invitation. Not long after that, I sat on the same platform with Dr. R. G. Lee when he preached his famous sermon, "Payday Someday," and then I was introduced to speak. I looked at my outline and was almost ashamed to preach. How could a kid preacher like me follow the most famous sermon of our generation? After I had preached, I sat at the same table with Dr. John R. Rice, Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., Dr. R. G. Lee and others. I could not believe that it was true. Then for 22 years I shared the platform with Dr. Rice, and at over 2200 occasions he and I preached on the same program!
A few years after I had begun preaching with Dr. Rice, I asked him very privately if he would unofficially adopt me as a son. I said, "Dr. Rice, you have six daughters; you have no sons, and my father has been dead for a long time. If I don't tell anybody about this while you are alive, and if I do not presume upon our relationship, could we have an understanding that I am sort of your adopted son?"
He put his right hand in mine and his left hand on my shoulder and said, "You've got yourself a deal, son."
For 22 years I never missed sending him a Father's Day gift nor did I fail to call him on Father's Day. (I never told anyone this--not even my family or closest friends.) When he was well up in years, Dr. Rice suffered a serious heart attack and a stroke and was unable to travel, and in 1980 he went to Heaven. I miss Dr. Rice very much.
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