"In the world, but not of the world."
These are some of the ways we were thinking about the calling and nature of the church last time, and we ended that reflection by preparing ourselves to see a strong and clear and beautiful picture of this calling and nature, in the person of Jesus Christ.
After all... who demonstrated more "holy worldliness" than Jesus? Who showed himself to be more "in the world, but not of the world" than Jesus? Who exhibited a more "faithful presence" in this world than Jesus?
And if the church really is "the body of Christ" in this world, then the Christ-likeness of the church in these matters... matters.
Consider this description of Jesus our Lord, from John Stott:
"Nobody has ever exhibited the meaning of 'holy worldliness' better than our Lord Jesus Christ himself. His incarnation is the perfect embodiment of it. On the one hand he came to us in our world, and assumed the full reality of our humanness. He made himself one with us in our frailty, and exposed himself to our temptations. He fraternized with the common people, and they flocked round him eagerly. He welcomed everybody and shunned nobody. He identified himself with our sorrows, our sins and our death. On the other hand, in mixing freely with people like us, he never sacrificed, or even for one moment compromised, his own unique identity. His was the perfection of 'holy worldliness.'"This is what God the Father "sent" Jesus into the world to be.
And now, this is what Jesus is sending the church into the world to be...
"As you sent me into the world,
so I have sent them into the world."
"Jesus said to them again,
'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me,
even so I am sending you.'”