Summary: Fifth in a series on our Church's Discipleship Path. The key to sharing my faith is to see other people through the eyes of Jesus


One of the challenges of being a pastor is that most people tend to think of a pastor as someone who completely has his act together and who has answers to every question. But those of you who know me, understand that is certainly not the case for me, nor do I think it is true of any other pastor I know. Like you, I have my doubts from time to time. And there are also a lot of questions that I ponder that frankly I just don’t have all the answers for. But I’ve come to understand that is actually a good thing because it just means that God is God and I am not so there is just no way that I’m ever going to be able to understand some of the things that God has chosen to keep hidden as a mystery for the time being.

One of the questions that people often ask and one that I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about is “Why do bad things happen to Christians and why do they suffer?” And thinking about that leads to questions like these: “Why does God leave His children here on earth to live in the midst of the darkness and sin that is at the root of tall his suffering? Why doesn’t God just take His children to heaven to be with Him the very moment that they put their faith in Jesus?” Anyone else here wrestled with those kinds of questions?

I’m not sure that I can answer those questions fully, but I think we can arrive at least a partial answer to those questions this morning as we come to the fifth and final step in our discipleship path – Share.



I’m going to come back to this path at the end of the message and challenge all of us to take some concrete steps to apply the things that we’ve learned over the last 6 weeks. So right now, let’s jump right into the fifth and final step – Share. I’m confident that as we do that this morning, we’ll develop at least some partial answers to the kinds of questions I posed a moment ago.

Contrary to popular belief, we will be doing a lot of the same things that we do on earth right now when we spend eternity in the presence of Jesus in the New Jerusalem. We’ll worship, we’ll serve others, we’ll continue to develop our relationship with Jesus and even eat and drink. But I can think of at least two things we won’t be doing there, so it seems that perhaps the reason Jesus leaves us here on earth when we become His disciples is to engage in one or both of those activities.

The first thing that we can do on earth that we won’t be able to do in eternity is to sin. As we talked about in our study of Romans, we will one day be free from the presence of sin because there is no sin in the presence of a holy God.

The other thing that we can do here on earth that we won’t be doing in eternity is to tell other people about Jesus. That is because the only people who will be there with us will have already placed their faith in Jesus since that is the only possible way they could be there.

So which of the two do you think is the reason that God leaves us here on earth for a while before He calls us home to be with Him? I think the answer is pretty obvious isn’t it?


Once again this morning we’ll be answering the same question I’ve posed every week during this series:

1. What concrete actions can I take right now to take this next step in my relationship with Jesus?

But instead of waiting until the end of the message to answer that question like we’ve done each week so far, I’m going to answer that question very early on in this message. And my guess is that you may very well be surprised at how I’m going to answer that question.


Once again today we’ll look at one of Paul’s letters in order to answer that question. So go ahead and turn with me to 2 Corinthians chapter 5. I’ll begin reading in verse 14.

[14] For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; [15] and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. [16] From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. [17] Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. [18] All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; [19] that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. [20] Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. [21] For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

(2 Corinthians 5:14-21 ESV)

Although it may not be stated explicitly in this passage, here is the answer to our question:

1. What concrete actions can I take right now to take this next step in my relationship with Jesus?

The key to sharing my faith is

to see other people through the eyes of Jesus

As I mentioned earlier, I doubt that many of you thought we’d answer our question like that, right? You probably expected that I was going to give you three or four or five steps that you could employ in order to share your faith with others. And I could have certainly done that using this and other passages. But my sense is that for most of us the reason we don’t share our faith more is not because we lack the skills or the knowledge, but because we fail to recognize the urgency of the task that Jesus has entrusted to us. And I think that stems from the fact that we don’t really see people the way Jesus does.

But we’re in some pretty good company there. The disciples, especially prior to Jesus’ resurrection, rarely saw people through the eyes of Jesus, either.

• The disciples would look at the crowds gathered around Jesus without much compassion at all. But not Jesus. He was moved with compassion over what He observed – people who were “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).

• The disciples saw mobs of nameless and faceless people. Jesus saw “fields…white for harvest” (John 4:35).

• The disciples saw a hungry multitude with whom they didn’t want to be bothered. But Jesus cared enough to feed them instead of sending them off to fend for themselves.

Jesus often surprised His disciples because they tended to see people through different eyes than He did. And I think that we can fall into that same trap. But in this passage, Paul helps us to understand…



We do that by considering four things.

1. Consider Jesus’ love

Paul begins this section by pointing out that he is controlled by The love of Jesus. That love is more than just the motivation for Paul’s ministry - It is what compels him. The love of Christ that Paul had experienced personally literally seized him and pressed all of his energy into one task, that of leading others to experience that same love for themselves.

In this passage, Paul reminds us of how Jesus manifest that love – by dying for every single person who has ever been born on this earth, from Adam to the babies that are being born right this very moment around the world. And He did that knowing that many people would reject that love.

The love of Jesus should seize us like that, too. It should impact the way that we interact both with the people we love as well as those people who absolutely drive us crazy.

Most of us here have people that we love very much who are not yet disciples of Jesus and that breaks our hearts. But guess what. It breaks Jesus’ heart even more, even if that doesn’t seem possible to you. My prayer for you is that fact would give you hope, even when it looks like there might not be any. So keep on praying, serving and sharing with those loved ones with the confidence that Jesus loves them.

On the other hand, we all have people in our lives who we really don’t like a lot. Maybe they have done something to hurt us or hurt others we love. Sometimes their lives are so far off the rails that we can’t see any possible way for that to get turned around. But with those people we also need to remember that Jesus loves them and we need to let His love controls us as we also pray for, serve and share with them.

The bottom line is that we need to look at every single person with the same compassion that Jesus has looked upon us.

The key to sharing my faith is

to see other people through the eyes of Jesus

And the first way to do that is to consider Jesus’ love.

2. Consider man’s condition

Throughout this passage, Paul describes the condition of man apart from faith in Jesus:

• In verse 14, he confirms the idea that apart from Jesus, all are dead in their transgressions and sins and are incapable of doing anything to bring themselves back to life.

• In verse 15, he reveals that our natural state is to live only for ourselves.

• Obviously the main theme in this passage is that of reconciliation. That word is used in both the noun and verb forms a total of five times in this passage. As we saw a few months ago in our study of Romans, the idea of reconciliation is to bring back together two things that have been separated. For instance, we would use that same word to describe a married couple who had problems and either separated and divorced but then got back together. We say that they have reconciled. And since Paul is writing here about being reconciled to God, the implication here is that without faith in Jesus, every man is separated from God.

• Finally, verse 21 implies that without what Jesus did for us by taking our sin upon Himself on the cross, we would all be unrighteous before God.

That is not a very pretty picture is it? But it describes the condition of every person who has not been reconciled to God through faith in Jesus. I’m not sure that we fully comprehend the seriousness of that condition. I think that is because, just like the disciples often did, we never look below the surface. In fact, the disciples had even done that with Jesus during His earthly ministry.

I think that’s what Paul meant in verse 16 when he writes that he had once regarded Jesus “according to the flesh”. Even though he hadn’t been with Jesus during His earthly ministry, he had been guilty, just like the other disciples, of expecting a Messiah that would fulfill his idea of what the Messiah should do. After His encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, Paul no longer looked at Jesus like that in the same way that the resurrection had caused the other disciples to look at Jesus in a completely new way.

It’s so easy for us to fall into the trap of regarding people according to the flesh. Sometimes we look at people and think that even though they have never made a commitment to Jesus, they have a pretty good life. They have a nice house, a nice car, they love their families and live a moral life. And when we look at people like that it removes the urgency of sharing our faith with them.

But if we look at them through the eyes of Jesus, we see them as they really are – dead and separated from God, both now and for eternity. The more we begin to see people like that, the urgency to share our faith goes up dramatically, doesn’t it?

The key to sharing my faith is

to see other people through the eyes of Jesus

And in order to do that, we must consider man’s condition.

3. Consider God’s plan

In verse 18, Paul makes it clear that the work of reconciliation is 100% God’s work. Although we don’t often think of God in these terms when we read the Old Testament, the fact is that from the very beginning, it has been God’s nature to reconcile fallen man to Himself. We’ll see this in more detail next week, but when Adam and Eve sinned and hid from God, it was God who sought them out and who made clothes to cover their nakedness. And God has been in the business of reconciling man to Himself ever since.

We see several important elements of God’s plan to reconcile man to Himself in this passage. Most of us are probably familiar with them but it never hurts to be reminded of these basics:

• In verse 19, we see that every person commits what Paul calls “trespasses” here. As we’ve discussed before, that word conveys the idea of falling away from righteousness and truth. That is what causes the separation from God that requires reconciliation.

• God provided a way for those trespasses to be forgiven by having His Son, Jesus die on the cross. As Paul writes in verse 21 God made Jesus, who was completely sinless Himself, to be our substitute and take our sin upon Himself so that in Him we might be considered righteous before God. It is through that sacrificial act of Jesus that we are credited with the righteousness of Jesus and thus can be reconciled to God.

• So far that is completely consistent with what we find frequently elsewhere in Scripture. But Paul describes one more element of God’s plan here that we don’t find nearly as often in the Bible. That is the idea that God has given us the “ministry of reconciliation” and that He has appointed us to be ambassadors for Jesus. Since that is somewhat of a new idea for many of us, I’m going to cover it more thoroughly in the last aspect of seeing people through the eyes of Jesus that we’ll look at this morning.

• While God has done everything that is necessary for us to be reconciled to Him, it is clear here that not everyone ends up being reconciled to God. Look first at verse 15 and the phrase “that those who live might no longer live for themselves”. The clear implication there is that not everyone ends up living like that. Then in verse 17, notice the word “if”. Again the clear implication is that not everyone is ”in Christ” and becomes a new creation. Finally, at the end of verse 20 Paul implores his readers to “be reconciled to God”. Again the implication is that there were some of his readers who had not yet done that.

Here is why it’s so important that we understand this aspect of God’s plan. Each individual person is responsible for his or her response to Jesus once that plan has been revealed to them. That means that when we share the gospel with others, God only holds us responsible for being obedient to Him and sharing and not for the decision the person makes to either accept or reject God’s plan. That means we can’t take credit when someone is reconciled to God and it also means that we’re not a failure if they choose to say no to God.

The key to sharing my faith is

to see other people through the eyes of Jesus

And in order to do that, I need to consider God’s plan.

4. Consider my assignment

In this passage Paul describes three different aspects of our assignment from God and each of those aspects gives us some important insight into the nature of that assignment. But before I get into the details of those three descriptions, let me first point out that this assignment is not just for the pastor and Elders, but for the entire body. Notice that Paul uses the plural pronouns “us” and “we” throughout this passage.

• First, in verse 18, he says that God has given us the “ministry of reconciliation”. The word “ministry” comes from the same root word from which we get our English word “deacon”. The Greeks used that word to describe menial tasks like waiting tables. So I think this means that one of the ways that we carry out our assignment is to serve the needs of unbelievers. It means that need to be willing to go to great lengths to do things that might be considered menial in order to be the conduit of the love of Christ is a very tangible way.

• Second, in verse 19, he writes that God has entrusted to us the “message of reconciliation”. The word translated “message” there is literally “word”, although in this context, “message” is not a bad translation at all. It is a word that was used in ancient times to describe something that was true and trustworthy. The practical application here is that carrying out my assignment from God will at some point require me to pass on that message through the use of words.

• Finally, in verse 20, we learn that we have all been appointed as ambassadors for Christ. The word “ambassador” conveys exactly the same idea it does in our culture. An ambassador is someone who goes to a foreign land to represent his or her own government. Their job is not to represent themselves or their own personal desires or ideas but rather to represent the positions and interests of their country.

As ambassadors for Jesus, we are citizens of heaven and we represent our King, Jesus. Our job is not to promote our own ideas or to deliver our own message or to make our own promises, but merely to deliver the message that Jesus has entrusted to us to deliver to the world around us.

It is also important to note that it is not our job to try and change the culture around us. Think about it. If an ambassador from another country came to the United States and started demanding that we live according to the way they live in his culture, we wouldn’t look upon that favorably at all. And because of that, it’s pretty unlikely that we would listen to the message he came to deliver on behalf of his country.

But I wonder if we haven’t often been guilty of trying to do exactly the same thing as ambassadors of Christ. I wonder how many people don’t want to hear anything we have to say because we’ve come into their culture and condemned them for the way they live and told them that they need to live their lives according to our cultural norms.

One recent study revealed that 78% of Americans view the evangelical Christian church as the most judgmental group in America. Far too often instead of drawing people to Jesus through love and compassion and letting Jesus transform their lives, we’ve attempted to force “Christian behaviors” on people through our politics and our laws. I’m obviously not saying that we shouldn’t speak up for Christian values, but when we do that It’s critical that we demonstrate Christ-like behavior in the process.

When we focus on trying to force a change in behavior – a task that has not been given to us – rather than share the message of Jesus and let Jesus change lives – the task we have been given – all we end up doing is building anger and resentment and hearts are rarely changed when that happens.

The key to sharing my faith is

to see other people through the eyes of Jesus

And in order to do that, I need to consider my assignment.


You see, Jesus did not remove us from this earth the very moment that we became His children, because He has an important assignment for us, one that can only be carried out as long as we remain here. And that requires us to be right in the middle of a world that is messy and dark and where sin means that we will often face tragedy and trials.

But when I look past all that junk and begin to look at other people through the eyes of Jesus, then I am going to want them to have what I already have and that is going to create a sense of urgency in sharing my faith with others. When I begin to see people not just for who they are right now, but for who they can become in Jesus, sharing the gospel won’t be something that I dread, but something in which I delight.

When someone we love is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, there is not one of us here this morning, who wouldn’t do everything we possibly could to find a cure or a treatment. We would do research and investigate possible treatments and raise money if that was needed to get the proper treatment. We might even give up our own blood or bone marrow or body part if that was required.

Well, the world around us is filled with people who are terminally ill spiritually and we have the cure. Don’t you think we owe it to them to share that cure with them with the same degree of urgency?


Today concludes our sermon series on our Discipleship Path – at least for this year. But we will certainly continue to revisit this in various ways throughout the year and in future years since it is so foundational for our growth as individuals and as a body.

You will notice that the Share step that we’ve discussed this morning leads right back into the first step in the path – Come. That is because this should be a path that all of us remain on as long as we are here on this earth. As we’ve seen over these last six weeks, we never fully arrive as a mature disciple of Jesus. This is also a reminder that we are not just called to be disciples, but also to make disciples, which means we are to continuously travel that path both with those who can help us to grow in our relationship with Jesus and with those who we are helping to grow.

While this model certainly can’t begin to describe all that is involved in being a disciple of Jesus, I truly believe this discipleship path is a useful tool for all of us as individuals and for us as a church to continually evaluate our walk with Jesus and consider what additional steps we can take to grow that relationship.


So I’d like to ask everyone to consider taking one or more of the following actions:

1. If you missed any of the messages, or if you just want to review any of them again, go to the website and watch, listen to or read the text of those messages.

2. Prayerfully consider at least one concrete step that you can take to grow deeper in your relationship with Jesus.

3. Share that step with someone else who can hold you accountable and pray for you.

4. If you need some help, ask for it.