Recently I read through 1 Corinthians and noticed this verse, and this morning at church we read through the whole chapter and I was reminded of it.
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people-- not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler--not even to eat with such a one.
The phrase that stuck out to me was where Paul makes a point to say "not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world......since then you would need to go out of the world." The passage is speaking of church discipline and the purity of the church. But, implicit in this statement is the fact that, as believers, we need to be associated with non-believers. We need to follow the example of Christ and be a friend of sinners.
Too often we get stuck in our Christian bubbles. I am by no means saying fellowship is not essential and even vital to this life of walking with Jesus. I am saying that we also need to be cultivating relationships and friendships with non-Christians. We need to live out the gospel with them. Evangelism should be more than spending 5 minutes with someone, throwing your gospel spill on their lap, and then leaving to never see them again. That can definitely be part of it though. I think many believers, including myself, need to be intentional about building relationships with non-believers in order to proclaim, and live out the gospel of grace. We should always be looking for opportunities to witness. We must always keep in mind that the gospel is the power of God for salvation, not nice friendships. I think we need both today though: friendships and gospel proclamation. People today are skeptical to say the least. Authentic Christian living is a great testimony of the power of Jesus.