Matthew 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

35 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. (See also verse 21.)

36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (See also Luke 14:26-27.)

Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

II Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. (See verses 4-16; also Isaiah 52:11.)

Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

II Thessalonians 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. (See also I Corinthians 5:11, I Timothy 6:3-5 and II Timothy 3:5)

I John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.


MEMORY VERSE: And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. — Revelation 18:4


CENTRAL THOUGHT: Alongside Scriptural admonitions concerning the unity of the brethren are warnings that a division must be made between truth and error, clean and unclean, darkness and light; even between close family members when some have a mind to follow Christ and others do not.




II Thessalonians 3:6 “Disorderly”: Not in proper arrangement; irregular (morally); undisciplined. “Tradition”: instruction passed on from one generation to the next.




Making a separation between good and evil was not an unfamiliar thing to the new Jewish Christians. Clear back in Noah’s time people were known as either “sons of God” or “sons of men.” Abraham was called to leave his idolatrous family and nation and remove to another land. The Israelites were commanded to make distinctions between clean and unclean in their diet, hygiene, marriages, and worship. They could not marry nor intermingle with the idol-worshipping people of Canaan; rather they were commanded to destroy them (Numbers 33 50-56; Deuteronomy 13).

In the tabernacle worship, the anointing oil which was poured on the high priest was described later by the Psalmist as a symbol of the precious unity of the brethren (Psalm 133). Yet in its very design and function it was kept pure and free from contaminants and prohibited from personal use or use on strangers (Exodus 30). A separation is implied.

In this lesson, Jesus informed His disciples that peace in the heart doesn’t necessarily bring peace among people; even in the home the follower of Jesus may experience persecution and bitter division from loved ones who are “of this world.” Paul’s instructions to the saints at Rome, Corinth, Ephesus and Thessalonica were to mark and avoid those who cause division or bring offenses (they are not really serving Christ); to come out of unequal yokes or unions with unbelievers or idolaters, echoing the call given by the prophet Isaiah; to have no fellowship with those whose works were produced by spiritual darkness; and to withdraw from those whose lives were disorderly. John warned about false prophets and spirits that were anti-Christ, and the voice from heaven which he heard while the revelation was given, warned to flee from fallen, apostate religion—Babylon—and not be partakers of the sins there.

Throughout the Old Testament and continuing on into the New, God put a clear command to His people to keep a separation between righteousness and unrighteousness, clean and unclean, light and darkness, true worship and idolatry.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck



  1. Foes in His Own Home: Explain or give examples of what this means.
  2. The Right Attitude: If a division must be made, describe the attitude one must have in keeping with Jesus’ commands to love one another.
  3. The Balance: By “withdraw” does the apostle mean simply to avoid or break fellowship? How do we balance between warning, praying for, trying to win, and breaking fellowship?
  4. A Distinction: Name the specific things which bring about a Biblical division. Over which things should there NOT be division? (Think about it! Cite Scriptures!)




The one disclaimer in this series of lessons on unity is the solemn fact that there are Biblical reasons why two may not walk any longer together. It is a delicate balance, and while I do not wish to make it more difficult than it is, here are things to consider prayerfully:

God hates divorce, or the splitting up of the marital union. He hates the sowing of discord among brethren. But He also hates false doctrine, dishonesty, pride, and idolatry. When a soul would follow the Lord all the way and those with whom he or she is closely united either by family, marriage, or church affiliation make it their choice to closely fellowship with the idolatry of this world, doctrines of devils, apostate religion (Babylon), or lifestyles of pride or dishonesty, there will come a separation. Many times a choice has to be made to serve the Lord or sever the relationship. (Concerning an unbelieving spouse, the Bible is clear that if the unbeliever is pleased to stay married to the believer, the believing spouse must do his or her best to live, married, in such a way as to win the spouse to Christ.)

Many times the persons who are choosing a different way do the separating and walk away. But sometimes when there is clearly no spiritual agreement between individuals because one has chosen a hypocritical or dishonest lifestyle, or the doctrines of the group admit to sinful and/or unbiblical doctrines and practices, the one desiring to obey the Lord must not fellowship with such any longer.

Such a decision calls for much prayer, holy wisdom and discernment. Things should be done in the right time and in the right way. Precious souls are involved. Most of the time when children and young people are involved, a division results in their disillusionment and rebellion against anything religious altogether. There are great wounds and deep hurts that are rarely, if ever, healed. Certainly such a decision should be the absolute last resort. It should not be made because of hurt feelings, wounded pride, personal agenda, ambition, personality conflicts, or minor differences of opinion.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck




God established a division between species in the plant and animal world. These divisions are not to be broken down. Leviticus 19:19 says, “Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.” Planting corn and wheat together in the same field dissipates both crops. Planting together different kinds of the same seed may even result in useless fruit. “And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:25). God created every species to remain in its kind.

Greek mythology has depicted crossing different kinds of animals and men, which is an abomination to the Lord (See Leviticus 11:43-47 and Leviticus 18:23-30). God made the chromosomes of animals to vary in length, shape, and number from one kind of animal to another. Because each different kind of animal has its own unique number and arrangement of chromosomes, when animals mate their chromosomes split apart and must line up and match up with each other before they can combine to form a fertilized egg! It’s like God put a certain combination lock on each kind of animal to keep them in their distinct kind. What great order and clarity our God put into His creation! He knew beforehand what man in his depraved state would try to do. God’s requirements for reproduction make it a perversion for man to mix what God created to be separate.

In Deuteronomy 22:11 it speaks of the separation of divers kind of fibers. “Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts.” Think about having a coat one-half wool and one-half linen. What would happen when it got wet? Linen is made from fibers of flax plants; it is strong and cool, and it shrinks very little. Wool is durable and warm, but wool shrinks to roughly half of its original size. Wool fibers are 1.5 to 2 inches long; linen fibers are 6 to 40 inches long. Because only fibers of similar lengths can successfully be spun together, one cannot spin wool and linen together into a durable thread. Blending the two together would result in a fabric that would literally tear itself apart when washed and dried.

God has given us counsel concerning separation from unbelievers. “Make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land” (Exodus 34:12-16). “Separate the precious from the vile” (Jeremiah 15:19). “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (II Corinthians 6:14). I Peter 2:9 tells us we are a peculiar people chosen by God and not to be mixed with the world. Read Ephesians 5:6-17. We were in darkness but are now the children of light.

—Bro. James Bell