The Bible says in 2nd 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." This seems almost at odds with Acts 1:8 where the Lord Jesus said to His followers that they would "receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." There is, however, no contradiction between these two passages of scripture.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the church which was at Corinth in 1st Corinthians 5:9-11 saying, "I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat." So living a separated life does not mean to withdraw from the world. The Lord Jesus, in His prayer for the church in John 17 said in verse 11, "...these are in the world..." and in verse 15, "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil." (See John 17:1-26) So it seems evident that the church should not withdraw from the world but the church should not be of the world.
There are those ministers that say that to win the world one must be like the world. This is patently untrue! How can one be like the world without liking the world? The Apostle John wrote in 1st John 2:15-17, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." You have probably heard the expression, "if it looks like a duck, acts like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck!" How can one look like the world, act like the world, be like the world and not end up loving the world?
How many times have you or I witnessed people who have decided to cast off the supposed legalistic restraints of living for God who have not in the long run become indistinguishable from the worldliness of the world? (Sometimes it hasn't taken so long.) It is a slippery slope and there are no handholds! It is not my place to judge those who choose such a course but they will stand before the Lord Jesus at that day and they will give account for the deeds done in the body whether they be good or bad. (See 2nd Corinthians 5:10) And we shall all stand there one day. Thus the Apostle Paul in verse 11a said, "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men..." The terror of the Lord? I always thought He was warm and fuzzy. But the Bible says in Hebrews 10:31, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Somebody might say, "You are scaring me," I hope so!
For those who have read thus far, understand this, if you profess yourself to be a Christian, the Bible says in Ephesians 5:8 "ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light..." And the Bible says in 1st Thessalonians 5:5 as "the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness." And finally in 1st Peter 2:9 the apostle said, "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light..." More could be said but suffice it to say that God has called you and I out of this world that we might live a holy and separate life unto Him. Not for ourselves, not for our spouse, or children, or parents. Not for the church or the pastor, but for Jesus Christ. "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord..."