Sharing Life

Feb 15, 2023

Sharing Life

Our apologies for there being no audio recording this week. You can watch the message and service as a video post on our facebook page (even without a facebook account) at

“Love each other in the same way I have loved you, ” – John 15:12

We can all respond to the love Jesus gave us by loving each other, with the help of Life Groups.

Today’s text – John 15:9-17

What do we learn?  (introductory context)

  1. There is love shared within God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
  2. God loves us through Jesus Christ.
  3. God invites us to receive this love and live in response to this love.
  4. Joy will be one of the many benefits of this.
  5. Jesus calls his followers to love each other in the same way he loves them.


Was it only for them? What does this have to do with us? Why does this matter?

Jesus’ prayer for us, so that we would “be one, so that” – John 17:20-26   Jesus-given identity, value, and purpose for us.

Jesus asks Father God to bring us together into healthy functional relationships with each other. Jesus asks that we experience such a perfect unity that it would be recognized as miraculous. Jesus asks that this miracle would bring more people into this love.

“Love each other in the same way I have loved you, ” – John 15:12

What does it mean for us to love each other like Jesus is asking? What needs to be happening in our hearts? What should it look like in our actions?

Love – sincere appreciation, high regard,

Not for what you did for me in the past. Not for what you might do for me in the future.

Make a decision to genuinely hold you in high regard, to serve you, to give to you, to “wash your feet”, to take care of you in the same way I would take care of myself.

We can all respond to the love Jesus gave us by loving each other, with the help of Life Groups.

Life Groups are designed to help us take steps of following Jesus together, including loving each other.

Life Groups provide a predictable time and place for us to gather, learn the teaching of Jesus through discussion, and grow relationships by sharing our lives with each other and praying for each other.

Small groups may be called “Life Groups” because it’s where we “Share Life”.

Sharing is being open with each other about the good and the bad of our reality. This means laughing, crying, talking, and listening.

Life is when our reality is met by His reality.  We help each other.  Then His life causes us to grow in faith through prayer for each other and discussing the Bible. People who have a contagious passion for Christ and a love for family will live the good life.  No matter how broken their past.

The weekend service provides an environment for people to meet God.  And yet we need the gathering in homes to help us take next steps.  This enables us to share the struggles of growing in faith with each other.  This sort of candor is only possible when we’ve spent time talking, listening, laughing, crying, and praying together.  That sense of community only comes when we believe the other people are trustworthy and want to be with us.  This takes time and investment.

Community – the intentional development of meaningful relationships, based on God’s purpose/principles, resulting in each person having a sense of belonging, acceptance, and significance.

“The more genuine and the deeper our community becomes, the more will everything else between us recede, the more clearly and purely will Jesus Christ and his work become the one and only thing that is vital between us.” – Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“In the gospel, winning looks like community. It looks like the individual looking out for the whole. It looks like a decision to love God and love the people around us. It looks like the reunification of the family of believers. It looks like a family of God bringing heaven to earth.” – I’ll See You Tomorrow  Building Relational Resilience when You Want to Quit by Heather Thompson Day and Seth Day

What should we do?

  1. Ask God to help us increase our love for each other and unity.
  2. Ask God what steps we should take.
  3. Participate in Life Groups with an increased sense of purpose – loving each other.
  4. Look for ways to show love to each other.


Example from Black History:

“The independent black church gave African Americans – all of them now free – freedom of expression, freedom of movement, freedom of prayer. In the first decade after the Civil War, thousands of independent black churches sprouted across the South to unify and uplift a community that had been divided and degraded in bondage.” – The Black Church by Henry Louis Gates Jr

“May you all find your portion, with the redeemed and sanctified out of every nation, tongue and people, around the burnished throne of God, with everlasting shouts of joy and praise upon your lips.” – A Benediction for a Peaceful Soul 1889 Anthony Binga Jr this quote from an out of print book I recommend  Conversations with God – Two Centuries of Prayers by African Americans edited by James Melvin Washington PhD

Anthony Binga Jr. was a Baptist minister and educator. Born in Canada, where his parents had fled to escape slavery, Binga became a preacher and principal in Ohio before settling in Richmond in 1872. He served as the minister of Manchester‘s First Baptist Church and became the first African American teacher in Manchester, during that period an independent city across the James River from Richmond. He served in the school system for sixteen years, overseeing secondary education for Manchester’s black students at what expanded to include six schools. His church grew as the city developed, and he quickly became a leading light in the African American Baptist organizations. He was the first chairman of the Foreign Mission Board of the Baptist Foreign Mission Convention, the antecedent to the National Baptist Convention.

A taste of heaven here and now, looking forward to its ultimate fulfillment in the future.

Bonus content:

Why? We are responding to the instruction of Jesus and following the example of those who first heard him.

  • “All the believers devoted themselves…and to fellowship…met together…in one place…and in homes,” – Acts 2:42-47
  • “so also we ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters,” – 1 John 3:16, 18; 4:7-12
  • “loving one another, and work together with one mind and purpose,” – Philippians 2:2
  • “serve one another in love” – Galatians 5:13-14
  • “Make every effort – unity” – Ephesians 4:1-3
  • “motivate each other…don’t neglect gathering…encourage each other” – Hebrews 10:23-25
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