Going Deeper into Loving Others
We’re continuing our series Going Deeper into Loving Others. We hope you’ll gather others to join you on the journey.
Lord, open our hearts to all You have to teach us when it comes to loving others in Your name.
Our teaching on faith has been in progress for more than a year and a half. With a focus on the importance of active faith.
Read James 2:14-17
… faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (NIV)
Faith as simply head knowledge, intellectual assent, is no faith at all. It must be actively pursued, not just in words, but through our lives. It should come out in our actions through our hands and feet, fingers and toes.
Over the next six weeks, we will pursue Share as the second act of faith in Going Deeper into Loving Others.
We began with Respect. Respecting everyone as someone for whom Christ died. Learning to respect their freedom to choose and their freedom to walk away. We also talked about the importance of respecting authority and having respect for God’s unique love for all people.
Grounded in an attitude of Respect we can now see everyone as someone worth sharing with.
Sharing our lives, our stories, our gifts, and our possessions in the pursuit of loving them as God calls us to. We will also see a truth at work in Christ Jesus: Sharing with others leads to a blessing of becoming less to become more.
Sharing means to divide something into smaller pieces and distribute it to others. You can have a share in a business.
For example, Stacy had the controlling share of this business until Carol came along. Carol bought 50% of the business. Which Stacy was agreeable to or she wouldn’t have accepted the offer. What got smaller for her? What benefits are there in sharing a business?
Stacy’s control over decisions made in the business was decreased. But now she is no longer alone in the day to day running of the business. Responsibility is decreased and Carol now shares the risks and benefits with her.
We also share in common experiences. Going to a movie is usually more fun with others than by yourself. Also eating out. These are experiences most of us want to share.
We share history with our family and common traditions with our church families. These types of sharing are great for those who have a share, but it can make it harder for outsiders to become a part. It takes time to share history.
We can also share with words by telling our thoughts, feelings, or experiences to others. This sharing is usually rooted in a desire to be known or because someone wants to know you.
What are your experiences with sharing? Let’s start with good ones. What good experiences have you had when it comes to sharing?
What about bad experiences you’ve had with sharing?
What are you most willing to share?
What is difficult for you to share?
What are the risks of sharing? the benefits?
At the shop during our gathering today we shared in the celebration of one the ladies birthday with singing and the cake.
Who can you share with today? Is there something you have which you can divide and share with others? As you consider what you could share, think about both the risks and benefits of sharing. It would be a great way to begin the study of Share.
Read Hebrews 13:16
We’ve talked about good experiences and bad experiences when it comes to sharing. What does this verse call the act of sharing?
Who does it please?
Why, do you think such sacrifices (doing good and sharing) please Him?
To share is a sacrifice. The original Greek translated as sacrifice means the act or the victim (Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon). When we share our lives as God calls us to, we are not only making a sacrifice, we are the sacrifice.
Does this sound like what Jesus did for us? Not only did He make the sacrifice of leaving His heavenly home to come to earth to share His life with us, He came as the Lamb of God to be the atoning sacrifice for us.
Read Romans 12:1
In light of God’s mercies, how are we to live?
As a living sacrifice.
What might that look like when we put this verse alongside Hebrews 13:16?
Sharing our lives with others as Jesus did with us is our spiritual act of worship which is holy and acceptable to God. He finds the sacrifice of sharing our lives pleasing, because we are fulfilling the call to live as Jesus did. To do for others what He did for us.
Sharing is an essential part of living out our faith.
We’ve talked about our experiences with sharing. How can some acts of sharing be bad and some good? What’s behind our classification of these experiences?
Could it have to do with our perspective of the situation? The way we see each instance of sharing, will determine whether we see it as good or bad.
perspective — 1a: a mental view or prospect b: a visible scene: especially: one giving a distinctive impression of distance: vista 2a: the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed… point of view b: the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance 3: the appearance to the eye of objects in respect to their relative distance and positions 4a: the technique or process of representing on a plane or curved surface the spatial relation of objects as they might appear to the eye b: a picture in perspective
Considering the examples of sharing we talked about and what we heard in the experiences of sharing, what does perspective have to do with whether it’s good, bad, or sacrificial?
Perspective is an integral part of our topic for the next few weeks, maybe the most important part. Being aware of our limited perspectives and becoming intentional about considering a different perspective can help us share with others in a more meaningful way.
We are often encouraged to look at things from a different perspective. What does that mean to you? How exactly do we look at something from a different perspective?
- We consider another’s viewpoint
- Take into account someone’s history or story
- We let go of our own desires or demands
Over the last few years, I have put most of the answers above into practice. As I face a circumstance or listen to someone share their story I try to think about their perspective. The problem is even when I sincerely attempt to see someone else’s viewpoint, I’m still looking through my own eyes. Here in lies a major flaw… ME!
My desire to love God and others has led me to realize perspective when it comes to sharing is so much more than looking at something from a different side. It is looking at it through God’s perspective. I call it “perspective theology.”
Theology is the study of God and His relation to the world (Merriam-Webster’s). So perspective theology is our study of God’s perspective. It all begins in the Trinity. Father, Son and Spirit are the perfect, complete community. Each unique person of the Trinity has a perspective.
Looking at perspective through the three aspects of God gives us a more complete understanding and can reveal hidden spiritual truth. As we dive deeper into share, we’ll consider these three viewpoints.
The Father. Father God’s point of view is as Creator. Looking at things from His perspective helps us see things in right relationship and its appropriate importance. Understanding God’s sovereignty and purpose in creation, the world, and our circumstances moves us to enter into any situation or interact with anyone, with a heart to share as He shares with us. He is always working for His glory and the good of His people.
The Son. Jesus’s point of view is grace. No matter what Jesus faced or who He encountered His message was the same. Grace is His greatest work. When it comes to the Son’s perspective there is no room for judgment. Jesus never failed to share grace.
The Spirit. Holy Spirit’s primary perspective is how He can work in our hearts to move us toward the character of Christ. When we see things from His perspective we are more apt to look inward, see where our own sinful desires might be exposed in a situation where we are called to share and don’t want to. He is all about working into us a willingness to become less, so His presence and influence increases in our lives.
Turn to John 13 before we go to John 14 to look for a biblical basis for perspective theology.
In John 13, Jesus just finished sharing a very heavy truth with His disciples. He washed their feet, and told them of His betrayal. He identified the one who would betray Him and warned Peter of his own coming denial. What do you think the disciples were feeling or thinking at this point?
They were most likely confused, troubled, and anxious. What was He talking about!?
Read John 14:1-4
What perspective does Jesus give?
Jesus provided comfort to the disciples by sharing with them the Father’s ultimate perspective. The big picture. The final outcome: I am going to prepare a place for you in My Father’s house.
We must remember to look at life from the vantage point of our Eternal Father. When we do, it allows us to share in the joys and sorrows of others’ lives without trying to fix or rescue them. We are able to enter into another’s pain by offering mercy and love because we understand it is all part of God’s plan to bring them into a full relationship with Him.
Read John 14:5-14
What was Thomas’ perspective at this point?
Earthly. Physical. He wanted to know the physical location and directions.
How did Jesus respond?
Jesus didn’t beat around the bush with this teaching. He boldly spoke of the “only way” to the Father. What was it?
I am the way. The only way to the Father is through Jesus. The one word to describe this perspective is grace. Jesus intervened on our behalf, paid the debt, and continues to intercede for us in the presence of God.
Just recently the sister commented on this Scripture when it comes to the church. She mentioned Jesus’ words: we will do even greater things than He did. We briefly discussed what He did. He healed, He delivered, He redeemed.
What we forgot was grace. Every aspect of Jesus’ earthly ministry was grounded in grace. There’s no greater sharing than offering it to others. So yes, we do have the capability to do even greater things. Because the greatest thing we can do is put on the perspective of grace.
Read John 14:15-26
Who did Jesus say would be coming?
Another Helper, the Spirit of Truth.
What did Jesus tell us about the Helper to come?
The world cannot receive Him, because it can’t see Him or know Him. But He tells His disciples they know Him, and He will be in them.
Jesus also said: The world will see me no more, but you will see me. Jesus would no longer be seen by the world, only by His disciples who lovingly obey Him. To them He will manifest Himself.
What does Judas’ question reveal about his perspective?
Judas’ question, like Thomas’, comes from an earthly, physical perspective. How could He show Himself only to His disciples and not anyone else? How could Messiah NOT be seen by the world when He came into power?
How does verse 26 describe Holy Spirit?
He will teach you all things. Holy Spirit is the one who takes all that is happening and works it in our hearts to change our perspective. This is where we look at the world and ask how God can use our situation or circumstance to renew our own hearts.
As Believers we have the unique opportunity to view the world through God’s perspective. When we do we are able to share with others in ways we can only describe as holy. For the next few weeks we will go deeper into five aspects of share with the backdrop of learning to seek God’s perspective.
Each week you will have homework. Your homework includes Scripture for reflection, a focus of praise, and daily study. The study includes a spiritual discipline you might not have tried before. It comes from the teachings of Ignatius and is called the Examen.
Examen is a prayer exercise designed to help us look at our own perspectives and the motives behind them. It will also guide us to consider God’s perspective in the ways we discussed today.
Our first week is focused on Share as The Heart of Fellowship. In all our interactions with God and with His people, we’ll find the faith action of sharing at its heart.
God: Father, Son, Spirit, open our hearts to Your perfect perspective as we go deeper into learning to share.
Have a great week!
Click here for homework: Share Week 1_ The Heart of Fellowship – Homework