I'd like to start off by quoting one of my favorite authors, Timothy Keller,
"The church can no longer be an association or a club but is a thick alternate human society in which relationships are strong and deep - in which sex, family, wealth and possession, racial identity and power are all used and practiced in godly and distinct ways. However, while the Christian church must be distinct, it must be set within, not be separated from its surrounding. Its neighbors must see it as a servant society, Sacrificially pouring out its time and wealth for the common good of the city."
I can dissect this one statement for the next six months and never really touch the surface but just at first glance, it's clear that Dr. Keller is challenging the Church (which means called out ones) to be different, distinct, while yet not hiding ourselves. He's challenging us to live our Christian life (which we'll also challenge later in the series) "among" the people and not separate from the people. God never intended us to be ashamed and live our Christian life in secret. No! We're supposed to live it out loud, everyday. How? Start by simply:
First, by serving the people around us, including our community.
Second, giving of yourself and resources for the good of the city
Here's a news flash, "Your City Needs You!!!" They need to see you being an "imitator" of Christ. Ephesians 5:1-3 in the Amplified version says:
"Therefore become imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]; Walk continually in love [that is, value one another-practice empathy and compassion, unselfishly seeking the best for others], just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and sacrifice to God [slain for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance. But sexual immorality and all [moral] impurity [indecent, offensive behavior] or greed must not even be hinted at among you, as is proper among saints [for as believers our way of life, whether in public or in private, reflects the validity of our faith]."
These several versus in Ephesians are LOADED with super charged spiritual vitamins! Think about it ,God actually gives you permission to copy Him! However, it does not happen over night, there is a "Becoming" that must take place. Secondly, you must practice! No one likes to practice but thats the only way greatness is birthed!
Then in verse two, he actually gives us an example of "whom" and "what" he wants us to copy, Christ and Love! This awesome opportunity we have to live the life of Jesus ,out loud everyday, is truly amazing! Whether we are in public or private the bible says, we are expected to imitate Him! Our walk would be so much easier and fruitful, if we just follow the example, Christ.