Going Deeper: Give – Session 2

Going Deeper into Loving Others

Give: Bought at a Price

Are you ready? It’s time to take the first step into Going Deeper into Give.

We hope you have a sister (or brother) or two to talk with. And don’t forget your Bible and journal.

Lord, You gave so much to buy us back, open our hearts to respond rightly.

Read Reflection Scripture:

For none of us lives to himself and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

Romans 14:7-9 ESV

What insights did you gain from the Reflection Scripture and Reflection Thoughts which helped you see being Bought at a Price as the foundation for the faith action of Give?

Where did these verses take you in connecting them to Give?

Each Reflection Scripture is meant to characterize the heart of the week’s study. It is chosen with prayerful consideration and offered in the full knowledge it is only part of a greater whole.

One of the goals of Sister Talk: Faith is to model and encourage the study of God’s Word for yourself. When it comes to reflecting on His Word, there are several ways to do this. Looking up definitions of the words used in the translation or those found in the original language. Connecting words found in the Reflection Scripture with other passages of the Bible. Reading the verse in context.

The primary point is to prayerfully consider the Scripture and allow the Holy Spirit to lead your reflection time. This moves you down a path of personal revelation to what He wants to teach you specifically.

Today, let’s look at the Reflection Scripture in context. What comes before and after it.

Read Romans 14:1-12

What subject matter is the Reflection Scripture tucked in the middle of?

Judgment. The teaching focuses on accepting people (particularly other Believers) right where they are in their faith without passing judgment on them: Welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.

What relevance does our Reflection Scripture have when it comes to judgment?

In the middle of this lesson on not judging another’s servant, the Word tells us who everyone’s Master is: The Lord Jesus Christ.

In His death and resurrection, He paid for the privilege of becoming Judge of both the living and the dead. The language used is not solely of Believers who have lived and died, but of all people. The Greek translated as dead not only means those who have breathed their last in their bodies, but metaphorically refers to those spiritually dead – those who refuse to recognize God (Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon).

Therefore, Jesus alone has the place of judgment over all people: Believers and unbelievers alike.

Now consider, how is our ability or inclination to give affected when we step into His place of judgment?

When we begin to judge others, we are either more or less likely to give based on our own understanding rather than God’s. We may even refuse to give when the Spirit calls us because we have already deemed the person unworthy. On the other hand, we may give to someone something we think they deserve, which we were never called to give.

Either way we can be a stumbling block to what God is doing in their lives. We must remember He is the Judge of all and all belong to Him.

Who is it we live and die to? who is Lord?

Jesus.

Why?

Because He bought us at a very high price.

We’ve come to see the significance of both dead and living, unbeliever and Believer, being subject to the price Christ paid. He bought us, He gets to judge us. We are all His. He is Lord of all whether we recognize it, accept it, reject it, or refuse to believe it.

What does being bought at a price mean for Believers? those who receive His gift of grace?

For Believers it means we receive Him as Lord. Hopefully we respond by coming under His lordship, giving our lives to Him, and serving Him wholeheartedly.

What does it mean for unbelievers?

For unbelievers, it means they are constantly rebelling against their Lord. First and foremost, by not acknowledging Him at all.

Believers enter into and share His resurrected life.

Unbelievers remain dead.

From a Believer’s point of view, what do you feel when you see yourself as bought and paid for by Jesus? do you see yourself as a good deal?

Carol says:

To consider the high price Jesus paid for me leaves me thank-full and humble.

After all He’s done for me, I see there is no other way except to come under His lordship.

It’s a great deal for me – but probably not so much for Him.

Looking at the lives of those in your world as being bought at a price by God, do you see them differently? How?

Seeing both Believers and unbelievers as belonging to God because He bought them frees us to allow God to work in their lives. Everyone is His responsibility. He alone knows their hearts, how to reach them, if they will receive Him, and how to rightly judge them. He alone has the power and understanding to move them toward Himself.

Recognizing others as belonging to Him prepares us to give our lives to Him for His use in making and growing disciples. Understanding His universal ownership (not to be confused with universal salvation) based on His loving sacrifice, readies us to work with Him. We are enabled to step confidently into a position of cooperation, rather than relying on our own judgments of what to give and what to withhold, especially when it comes to those we desperately love and want to see transformed. 

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

2Corinthians 5:14-15 NIV

He has bought all at a great price.

Prayer of Praise

What did you discover about God or yourself during your time praising Him as Redeemer?

He is the Redeemer. He re-deems. Deems literally means: to come to think or judge, to have an opinion (Merriam-Webster’s). Before the Fall (when man rebelled against God by listening to the serpent, bringing sin and death into the world), God deemed all creation, including mankind, as “very good” (Genesis 1:31).

Jesus came to re-deem what was lost. He paid the price to take what was originally deemed good and make it perfect.

In praising God as Redeemer, we must come to terms with our need to be redeemed and see others as redeemable. Those we consider bad or evil haven’t accepted the truth of their lives being bought at a price. They do not know Jesus’s goodness given to remake us into new creations deemed good.

He bought us at a price to restore us.

In the Word

Read Isaiah 42:21-43:4

The Lord made the law great and glorious for His righteousness’ sake. What is so great and glorious about the law? How does it reveal His righteousness?

The word law in Hebrew is torah. It means law and instruction, but also one’s manner or custom (Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon). Therefore, the law is God’s customary way or manner with man in addition to being His instructions for us.

In the Introduction of Going Deeper into Give we looked at Matthew 22:36-40 where Jesus told us the greatest commandment. He cited two commandments which He said summed up all the law and the prophets.

How did He sum up the entire law?

First, love God wholeheartedly, and second, love others as yourself, which He said is like loving God.

The law is glorious because it is the way of Love, Himself.

What happened to those who disobeyed His law?

God handed them over as plunder to their enemies who looted them and imprisoned them. They suffered greatly but didn’t understand or take it to heart. Yet, He remembered He created His people and redeemed them.

What did He redeem His people from?

The Lord redeemed His people from His wrath. Which equals His judgment.

What was it He said about His redeemed? those He bought at a price?

He told them not to fear because they were His. When they passed through the waters they needn’t fear, He would be with them. When they walked through fire, they would not be consumed.

Do overwhelming water and rivers bring something to mind? what about fire?

Both are pictures of God’s judgment being played out.

In Genesis 6-7, the great flood destroyed everyone except Noah and his family, which was God’s judgment against all those who did only evil. Noah and His family survived in the ark God told them to build.

In Exodus, the Israelites passed through the Red Sea without harm, yet in God’s judgment it came crashing down on the Egyptians who were overwhelmed by the waters (14:21-28).

God’s judgment came through water in the Old Testament. His final judgment will come through fire.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

2Peter 3:10 ESV

On the day of the Lord, the day Jesus returns, the heavens and earth will be consumed by fire exposing all which has been done from the beginning of time to its end. We too, as Believers, will each go through a personal judgment involving fire.

Read 1Corinthians 3:10-15

What will Believers be judged on the basis of?

How we built our lives on the foundation of our faith in Jesus.

What materials are listed as metaphors for the substance of our faith?

Gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, and straw. Some of the materials withstand fire, others are quickly consumed by flames.

What are the various outcomes of those who live by faith in Jesus after the testing?

Those whose works withstand the flame will be rewarded accordingly. Those whose work burns up will suffer loss, but they themselves will be saved as through fire.

Fear not, I have redeemed you… Even if we spend our lives in Christ unwisely, without building one thing which stands the test of judgment, fear not. The flames will not consume us.

One more thought on the rivers which overwhelm. Could the holding back of the flood stage Jordan River (Joshua 3:1-17) as the Israelites entered the Promised Land be a picture of our future entry into heaven? Could it be the waters of guilt which should overwhelm us and destroy us being held back at His name? because He bought us at a great price?

As Redeemer, God is our Lord and Savior. In the Old Testament, He gave men in exchange for His people, the Israelites. The Egyptians were given as ransom for the Israelites’ freedom, and the former inhabitants of the Promised Land who refused God and rebelled against Him were also given in exchange for them to have a home.

The greatest and everlasting exchange was the One who died for all. He Himself came as a man: Jesus. He gave Himself as the Ransom for the redeemed.

Why does He say He redeems His people?

Because we are precious and honored in His sight, and He loves us.

Knowing the heart of your Redeemer, remembering we are all born spiritually dead and enslaved to sin, how are you moved to respond to His love?

He bought us because He believes we are worth it.

Turn to Psalm 107

We read Psalm 107 this week. What is it the redeemed of the Lord are to say to the world?

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His steadfast love endures forever!

What were the common threads running through the four different stories of those who were redeemed?

They all ended up in trouble and great distress. They called out to God for help. God heard them and saved them.

Do you think God was oblivious to their dire straits before they cried out to Him?

In every case, God let them get to places of great affliction or near death. In a couple of the scenarios, He brought on the trouble Himself (burdening some with hard labor and stirring up a storm for others).

How can this be a picture of God’s goodness and unfailing love? Is it something He should be thanked for?

Apart from receiving Christ as Savior, we are all doomed for a miserable eternity. It is only by allowing people to come to the end of themselves, where they need someone greater than themselves, that they may be humbled enough to cry out to God for help. Maybe even consider His existence for the first time.

Stacy says:

I love to visit my brother-in-law’s church when we travel to St.Louis. Just this Sunday the preacher’s words revealed something new in the story of Jesus walking on water. Something I didn’t catch before.

Jesus and the disciples just finished feeding the five thousand. They were growing in popularity and needed an escape from the pressing crowds. As evening came, Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and He went off to pray.

While Jesus was praying, maybe even praying for them, a storm began to rise. The preacher reminded us, Jesus wasn’t unaware of their distress. In fact, He knew exactly what was going on with them and He allowed it.

He used it to illustrate no matter what kind of victory you experience, or how popular you are, when you find yourself in the middle of a raging storm Jesus is the only one capable of walking on water.

His goodness and grace can come in all forms of distress.

Which one of the stories could be a picture of your distress and salvation?

Carol says:

Unanticipated storms of life caused me to cry out to Him, and He delivered me.

First, it was my mom’s critical illness which took her life within ten days of being hospitalized. He calmed the storm by revealing her trust in Him. A faith I didn’t know she had. I was so grateful I gave my life to Him.

In the process of using life’s storms, He has led me to the desired haven I didn’t even know I was looking for.

Him.

How do you feel about your Redeemer in the wake of your deliverance?

Read Titus 2:11-14

What does the appearance of God’s grace bring? and what does it do?

When God’s grace appears it brings salvation, which then trains us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, to live self-controlled godly lives while we wait for the One who gave Himself up to redeem us.

In other words, when we recognize God’s grace in our lives and receive the salvation it brings, we gladly come under the training of the Holy Spirit to become all He calls us to be: zealous for the good works He prepared for us to do in advance (Ephesians 2:10), until the day Christ returns.

We looked at this passage in conjunction with Galatians 2:20:

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loves me and gave Himself for me. (ESV)

Considering these verses together, whose are we? and what are we called to give Him in return?

An out and out exchange happened on the cross. Jesus gave His life for everyone who would believe, and in exchange we die and He comes to live in us. Our lives are now His to live through.

Looking at both verses we see we are to give our whole life to Him, including our complete cooperation, our trust, and our character for Him to transform.

Under these circumstance, how do you feel about being bought at the price of Jesus’s life?

In last week’s introduction we read John 3:16-17. John 3:16 tells us why God gave His Son, because He loves the world He created. John 3:17 tells us His purpose in the giving of His Son:

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (ESV)

It’s like buying a condemned building to invest in and rebuild – not destroy! What deserves condemnation and destruction, He chose to pay a very high price for and renew it by His grace.

The Titus and Galatians passages have something else in common too. They were both written in response to false teaching from the circumcision party, which said keeping the law and Jewish traditions were key to salvation (Titus 1:10-12, Galatians 2:11-13).

Paul was frustrated at the false teachers’ failure to recognize the true gift of grace. Their requirement of rules and regulations made the price Christ paid insignificant. They basically said, “What Jesus did on the cross wasn’t quite enough to cover your mess. You’ll need to do a few more things to clean it up.” It was a refusal to receive the gift, the high price Christ paid for us.

Bought at a price… Freedom from the law was the ultimate gift of the Savior. The high price He paid is a gift we can continue to give. We are called to teach others to love God, not obey the letter of the law. This is the heart of freedom.

How could you give this gift to someone in your life?

Stacy says:

God brought a young lady into our lives who I watch struggle.

She knows God’s Word in and out, and if I mention a Scripture, she is often familiar with it. In her world the letter of the law is very important.  

Not long ago after a lengthy discussion about the nature of God she stated, “Y’all are so liberal.” It took me by surprise. Me, a liberal? I think not. I was a bit offended until a second conversation brought the same response.

So I asked her. “What do you mean?”

She replied, “Not in the political sense. What I mean is you are a free thinker when it comes to God.”

Well… maybe she’s right. And I realize this “free” thinking she is experiencing when I respond to some “letter of the law” in a new way is the best gift I can give.

He bought us at a high price to set us free.

Read Romans 6:9-13

How are we to live in response to the redemption we have in Christ?

In the redemption process, Jesus bought us out from under sin and its bondage. From now on we are to consider ourselves dead to sin and we are to live for God, because that is where we find life.

We are called to present our lives to Him for His use and not for sin. Depending on our choices, we are constantly doing one or the other: serving sin or serving Him.

Understanding we are bought and paid for – no longer our own (or under the illusion of being our own) – should make us consider who it is we belong to and what impact they have on our lives.

Believers have come to terms with the transaction. Hopefully we see it as a great deal and give ourselves over to our Great Good God for His use and purpose. Knowing we will not be abused, misused, or mistreated by Him, and will ultimately be provided for eternally.

Giving our lives to Him consequently affects every area of our lives.

The sanctification process, becoming more Christlike and holy, is the push-pull of giving up complete control, of not just our Sunday mornings or how we spend our time, but handing over what we think, do, feel, say, and how we relate to others.

Carol says:

I’m currently reading a book on discipleship which solidifies this concept of giving your whole life over to God. Takes it to an even deeper level than I would’ve come to on my own.

Once we say Yes to Christ, our whole life – every moment, 24/7 – is to be about His mission on earth. The great co-mission He gave us: Go and make disciples… (Matthew 28:19).

The author says we primarily make disciples through conversation with the people we already have relationships with or are building relationships with for the purpose of making disciples.

He says all our conversations, especially with other Believers, should be purposeful.

The reason we engage in redemptive discussions with our friends is that both of us are committed to following Jesus. We want to be like him and to do His will and work. Every time you meet with your friends, you need to keep that objective in mind. …

If we want to serve God first, others second, and ourselves last, we need to shape the direction of our discourse.

– D. Michael Henderson, Making Disciples One Conversation at a Time

What I visualize happening spiritually, especially with our conversations, is moving from baby babble (worldly topics, gossip, trivialities) to intelligible speech (praise, thanksgiving, truth, testimonies), which is filled with power and impacts the Kingdom of God.

Spiritual baby talk can get us into trouble, cause frustration and pain in our lives we might not even identify as being connected with our unsanctified conversations. But if we become attentive and move toward speaking words of grace, all the time, we will find ourselves more at peace with Him and others.

Maybe this seems like a stretch to you, but when we refuse to give our whole lives to God, we will struggle spiritually until we cry out to Him for help. Just like those various wandering souls in Psalm 107.

He has bought us at a price.

Give Examen

On Day 5 of our study we examined our giving and considered whether it was God-centered.

What did you discover about the giving you did this last week? Was it God-centered? Where was your heart in the giving?

Have you ever given something to someone and been offended at not receiving a “Thank you”? Why or why not?

A “Thank you” matters when we give from the flesh expecting to be appreciated for what we’ve done.

God-centered giving removes this need, because in reality, when we give as He calls us to, we are giving to the One who already gave us everything! We are giving to the One who deserves all our thanks.

When we understand what He’s done for us, what He redeemed us from, we are filled with a desire to serve Him, know Him, worship Him. Even give our lives to Him for His use.

It is in the revelation of what He has done for us that we want to give all to Him.

The greatest fear in the prospect of giving our lives to Him, is the fear of missing out on something we really want. We are afraid to lose ourselves. But, it is only in the losing of self in His name where we really find ourselves and who He created us to be.

Your real, new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him.

– C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

According to Lewis, when we “blindly” give ourselves to Him we begin to see who we truly are and become the new creation He intended us to be all along.

“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” –Jesus

Matthew 10:39 ESV

This understanding of being bought at a price moves us toward Openhanded living. Our focus for next week’s study of Going Deeper into Give.

Click the link for a PDF of the homework to print out: Give Week 2 – Openhanded – Homework

Father, Son, Holy Spirit, prepare our hearts to fully receive all You have to give, and to fully give all we have received. In the name of our Holy Redeemer. Amen.

[Feature Image by Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash]

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