The church is a movement started by Jesus consisting of people who are “called out” together into one body in a single locality charged with the assignment of bringing the glory of God to all peoples in their community and in their world. Elsewhere the Bible calls God’s people “peculiar,” signifying that we are God’s alone and therefore are to be different and distinct in some way from the world. Jesus put it this way,
Just as I didn’t join the world’s ways. I’m not asking that you take them out of the world, but that you guard them from the Evil One. They are no more defined by the world than I am defined by the world. Make them holy—consecrated—with the truth; Your word is consecrating truth.
– John 17:15-17 (MSG)
There are basically three strategies when it comes to living up to our role as a “called out” people. One is isolation whereby we disconnect ourselves from the world around us and move into a spiritual ivory tower. We do this when we establish rules of righteousness that we can easily live by and use to assign others to a notch lower than ourselves.
The second strategy is imitation whereby we become just like like the world in order to reach the world. That is, we adopt the world view and philosophy of materialism, which sees life on earth as all there is without any supernatural or eternal power. When we imitate the world around us, we live for today and not for eternity.
The third strategy is insulation and infiltration in which we insulate ourselves with the truth of God’s Word and then carry that truth into the world with us. God calls very few into full-time ministry. He leaves the rest in their lives as His newly-called missionaries. Your workplace is a mission field, as well as your family and your neighborhood. If you isolate yourself from the world, you’ll never reach it. If you imitate the world, you might “reach” some but you’ll never bear lasting fruit. But if you insulate your life with God’s Word, then infiltrate the world with that truth, God will receive the glory!