Friday, April 3, 2015

As You Love Yourself

In this study we revisit the command "love your neighbor as yourself" to see what "as yourself" really means.

Series: Love Your Neighbor

  • Matthew 22:34-40
  • Matthew 19:16-26
  • Gal 5: 13-14
  • Philippians 2:19-22
  • 2 Cor 5:11-15
  • John 13: 34-35
  • Ephesians 2:8-10

Review (Love Fulfills The Law)

  • Jesus doesn’t mean that loving God and loving your neighbor will allow you to fulfill the law, but that the laws were created so that you would love God and love your neighbor.
  • Loving God and Loving Your Neighbor are God’s main desire for us
  • You can’t love unconditionally without the aid of the Holy Spirit.
  • By loving unconditionally you satisfy the spirit of the law.
  • To love the way God wants us to love we have to put a focus on others higher than our focus on ourselves, material possessions, and the success of the world
  • To love the way God wants us to love we need to put a focus on God highest of all

Matthew 22
34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
  • Is Jesus telling us to love ourselves?
    • No, he’s assuming that we already love ourselves.
  • What does he mean love ourselves?
    • He means that naturally seek to do things that make us happy.
    • We naturally give ourselves what we need instead of what we deserve.

Jesus is saying that we should desire these same things for others.

As You Love Yourself
Jesus commands, "As you love yourself, so love your neighbor." Which means: As you long for food when you are hungry, so long to feed your neighbor when he is hungry. As you long for nice clothes for yourself, so long for nice clothes for your neighbor. As you work for a comfortable place to live, so desire a comfortable place to live for your neighbor. As you seek to be safe and secure from calamity and violence, so seek comfort and security for your neighbor. As you seek friends for yourself, so be a friend to your neighbor. As you want your life to count and be significant, so desire that same significance for your neighbor. As you work to make good grades yourself, so work to help your neighbor make good grades. As you like to be welcomed into strange company, so welcome your neighbor into strange company. As you would that men would do to you, do so to them.
    In other words make your self-seeking the measure of your self-giving. When Jesus says, "Love your neighbor as yourself," the word "as" is very radical: "Love your neighbor as yourself." That's a BIG word: "As!" It means: If you are energetic in pursuing your own happiness, be energetic in pursuing the happiness of your neighbor. If you are creative in pursuing your own happiness, be creative in pursuing the happiness of your neighbor. If you are persevering in pursuing your own happiness, be persevering in pursuing the happiness of your neighbor. In other words, Jesus is not just saying: seek for your neighbor the same things you seek for yourself, but also seek them in the same way—the same zeal and energy and creativity and perseverance. The same life and death commitment when you are in danger. Make your own self-seeking the measure of your self-giving. Measure your pursuit of the happiness of others, and what it should be, by the pursuit of your own.
  • Where else have we seen the “as” used this way?
    • forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors

Give Happiness in the Same Manner You Receive It

Matthew 19:16-26
16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
18 “Which ones?” he inquired.
Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’[c] and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’[d]
20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
  • What brought the rich man happiness or made him feel important?
    • His wealth; his material possessions.
  • What did Jesus instruct him to do?
    • Sell his possessions
  • Why didn’t he just tell the man to sell his possessions?  What’s the significance of including the instruction to give it away to the poor?
    • It wasn’t just about the man not having possessions it was about him giving happiness to others in the same manner which he received happiness.
  • So what must we do to be perfect?
  • So in order to be “perfect” we must find our happiness in giving to others the same things that make us happy

It's Not For You

Gal 5
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.   
14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."   
  • How are we supposed to use our freedom?
  • Francis Chan’s example of UPS guy.
  • Francis Chan’s  example of the man who worked for the gazillionaire.
  • Givers are happier than takers.
    • As with tithing it’s not just about the action of giving it’s about having the heart to do it.

Philippians 2:19-22

19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel.
  • Timothy had 2 traits:
    • He showed genuine concern for their welfare
    • He didn’t look out for his own interest, but those of Christ

We Should Be Different

2 Cor 5:11-15
11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13 If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 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.
  • Why would people say that Paul and company were “out of their minds”
    • Because they displayed a kind of love unlike the cultures

In what ways should we be different than the world?
  • The love we display for others
  • The forgiveness we display
    • forgive us our trespassers as we forgive those who trespass against us
  • Faith

John 13: 34-35
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
  • How should the world know the Christians from the non-Christians?

Ephesians 2:8-10
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—   
9 not by works, so that no one can boast.   
10 For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.   
  • How are we saved from death?
    • By grace through faith
  • What does it mean “good works which God has prepared in advance for us to do”
    • Just as he will give you a way out of temptation, he will give you “a way into good works”

  • God has preordained the types of good works you should be doing based on your unique history and circumstances.  You should strive to give happiness to others the same way you receive happiness.

The Greatest Commandments Overview

Love God

The first commandment is, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (v. 37). The first commandment is the basis of the second commandment. The second commandment is a visible expression of the first commandment. Which means this: Before you make your own self- seeking the measure of your self-giving, make God the focus of your self-seeking. This is the point of the first commandment.
    "Love God with all your heart" means: Find in God a satisfaction so profound that it fills up all your heart. "Love God with all your soul" means: Find in God a meaning so rich and so deep that it fills up all the aching corners of your soul. "Love God with all your mind" means: Find in God the riches of knowledge and insight and wisdom that guide and satisfy all that the human mind was meant to be.
    In other words take all your self-love—all your longing for joy and hope and love and security and fulfillment and significance—take all that, and focus it on God, until he satisfies your heart and soul and mind. What you will find is that this is not a canceling out of self-love. This is a fulfillment and transformation of self-love. Self-love is the desire for life and satisfaction rather than frustration and death. God says, Come to me, and I will give you fullness of joy. I will satisfy your heart and soul and mind with my glory. This is the first and great commandment.

Love Your Neighbor As Yourself

Jesus is commanding that our inborn self-seeking, which has now been transposed into God-seeking, overflow and extend itself to our neighbor. So, for example:
  • If you are longing to see more of God's bounty and liberality through the supply of food and rent and clothing, then seek to show others the greatness of this divine bounty by the generosity you have found in him. Let the fulfillment of your own self-love in God-love overflow into neighbor love. Or better: seek that God, who is the fulfillment of your self-love overflow through your neighbor-love and become the fulfillment of your neighbor's self-love.
  • If you want to enjoy more of God's compassion through the consolations he gives you in sorrow, then seek to show others more of God's compassion through the consolations you extend to them in sorrow.
  • If you long to savor more of God's wisdom through the counsel he gives in stressful relationships, then seek to extend more of God's wisdom to others in their stressful relationships.
  • If you delight in seeing God's goodness in relaxed times of leisure, then extend that goodness to others by helping them have relaxed, healthy times of leisure.
  • If you want to see more of God's saving grace powerfully manifested in your life, then stretch out that grace into the lives of others who need that saving grace.
  • If you want to enjoy more of the riches of God's personal friendship through thick and thin, then extend that friendship to the lonely through thick and thin.
In all these ways neighbor-love does not threaten self-love because self-love has become God-love, and God-love is not threatened, diminished, or exhausted by being poured into the lives of others.
-- excerpt from John Piper (

  • It is okay to seek your own happiness and desires
  • It becomes a problem when that happiness either 1) doesn’t focus on God, or 2) doesn’t include the happiness of others.
  • We should seek happiness in God alone and not through the standards of the world.
  • With Christ’s love we grow from being self centered to being Christ and others centered
  • When you stop focusing on of yourself you can be happier
  • When we take our mind off of our own issues, and needs and focus on the issues and needs of God and others that will allow us to be happy and fulfilled

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