On the evening before He died, Jesus told His followers the main way the world would recognize and long for His presence: by the disciples’ love for one another (John 13:34-35). Genuine Christ-like love is the DNA of an authentic community of believers. If we are to have the type of authentic community that Jesus commands us to have, let’s consider what authentic community is and how we can live it out.
Authentic community should always have the same basic shape, whether it’s the first century or 21st. The first group of disciples were spiritually born into a world already opposed to Jesus and His message. Public leaders of the time created cult followings around themselves, wrong was celebrated as right, and right was marginalized as bizarre. Our world is eerily similar. Because those first disciples knew Jesus and had been transformed by His ministry and message, they continued to meet amidst that opposition. Their love for one another was attractive and noticeable to the world. By it, Jesus was authentic and compelling.
Living out that type of authentic community is compelling but also challenging! Our current culture continues to oppose Jesus; but the opportunity before us is to shine all the more brightly into our dark world with the tangible love of Jesus Christ. Are you living for Christ with a group of believers right now? Sharing your life? Sharing your resources and gifts? Sharing your love with others in missional pursuit of their hearts for Christ? I’m pursuing these things with you at West Park and am eager to see Jesus reveal His love through our authentic lives together.