God uses the lives of those who experience His love as plausibility cases.
God has chosen to make a case for or to validate the truth of the gospel through the community life of His people.
Jesus made this clear when he said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35).
The story of the Bible “speaks from first to last of a God who did not need to create, but who did so out of overflowing and generous love. It speaks of a God who did not need to redeem and recreate, but did so as the greatest possible act of self-giving love.”
“Somehow if we are to address contemporary culture with the message of the Bible, we must get used to combining two things which are normally at opposite poles—humility and truth-telling.”
“Somehow we have to tell the truth but to tell it as the liberating story, the healing story, the true story. And of course… the best way we can do this is by telling, again and again, in story and symbol and acted drama, the biblical story, focused on the story of Jesus himself, the true story of the Word made flesh. That is why the great symbol at the heart of Christianity is the symbol of the eucharist; it is the symbol of that story. But, it is our task not just to tell but to live out the story—the model of God’s self-giving love in Christ must be the basis for our self-understanding, our life, and our vocation.”
“If the Biblical story is told truly, it will subvert the alternative stories. But to tell it truly, you have to be living it” (N. T. Wright).
As we live our calling to be humble, loving, truth-telling Christians in community – in mutual affection and honor for one another, the case is made for the power of the gospel to transform people.
Meditate deeply on this Scripture
“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other” (Romans 12:10, NLT).
When Churches are filled with people who treat each other with honor, esteem, deference and humble service (foot-washing love), they offer a positive subversion to the deceptive and harmful narratives of life without God. When we live the gospel by practicing the mind of Christ in community (see: Philippians 2:3-8), we authenticate the message of the gospel in a way that postmodern culture cannot deconstruct.
What does this community look like?
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Colossians 3:12-14).
We are called to be like our Savior — “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
“The witness of a single life lived under Christ’s rule is powerful. But the skeptic will discount it. He or she will explain it away as being a mutation: ‘She was born a caring person. That can happen.’ But as kingdom citizens live their lives together, actually loving one another, it becomes a different matter. Such a community – whether it is a family, a few believers in a neighborhood, a network of business people, or a church congregation – makes a persuasive statement to an on-looking world that the kingdom, indeed, is among them. The message of the kingdom is amplified as its citizens live out their unique calling in community. As they do, the kingdom grows.” (The Insider, pp. 33-34)