Live By Jesusí Teachings

Explore the Bible Series

October 10, 2004


Background Passage: Luke 6:1-49

Lesson Passage: Luke 6:27-31, 36-42, 46-49


Introduction: The Scriptures reveal Christ as Prophet, Priest, and King.The lesson for this week addresses the prophetic ministry of Jesus.God spoke through the prophets of the Old Testament, and, as indicated in earlier studies, John the Baptist renewed the prophetic tradition through his preaching in the wilderness.However, Jesusí ministry as a prophet superceded the work of earlier prophets in the following ways.

  1. The Old Testament prophets spoke and wrote of One who was to come. Their message, in a sense, was forward-looking; that is, they realized that their message was anticipatory of a greater prophet to come.Please do not misunderstand the point.The prophets preached and wrote messages relevant to their own social and spiritual context; nevertheless, they uniformly anticipated that their work pointed to someone beyond them. The Lord Jesus, of course, understood that he was the culmination of the prophetic message of the Old Testament.He was the final revelation of the Godhead to humankind.Remarkably, even the stubborn religious leaders of Jesusí day seemed to understand that the Lord spoke with an unparalleled authority.
  2. The Old Testament prophets, to borrow a phrase from the Apostle Paul, saw through a glass darkly.They spoke and wrote the infallible word of God, but they understood only in part.The fullness of the revelation of God was not manifest to them.In Christ, the full and sufficient revelation of God comes to its fullest expression.†† Christ is, we might say, Godís final self-revelation.We might use the analogy of a puzzle.The Old Testament prophets revealed the glorious pieces of the puzzle, but only in Christ does mankind see the majestic panorama of Godís revealed will and way.
  3. The Old Testament prophets wrote of things revealed to them.†† They had no experiential knowledge of the glories of the heavenly court.They had no personal insight into the council of glory.Their knowledge was derived, not personal.Christ, on the other hand, knew these glorious mysteries, shall we say, first hand.He alone had beheld the glory of the Father.He alone took wondrous counsel with the Father and the Spirit.The plan of redemption did not merely include the work of the Son; rather, he communed with the Father and the Spirit to actually contrive the glorious plan of grace. The prophets merely reported the message.The Son was (and is) the message.
  4. Above all, the Old Testament prophets spoke as messengers of the Lord God.Christ spoke as the Lord the God.His authority was not alien and derived. The authority the multitudes recognized in him was the authority of deity itself.





Background of the Lesson Passage:

The first eleven verses of Luke 6 recount the events of two Sabbath experiences of the Lord.The first episode (vv. 1-5) reveals the Lordís challenge to the misuse of the Sabbath Day by the religious tradition of the Jewish leaders in regard to the dietary needs of the disciples.The second event (vv. 6-11) retells the story of the Lord healing an infirmed man on the Sabbath.The Jewish religious tradition had rendered the Sabbath Day an unbearable burden to the people.Both occasions reveal the Lordís sovereignty over Sabbath Day observance (See v. 5).


The second section of Luke Six records the formal call of the Twelve as the Lordís disciples and apostles.The list of the disciples appears several times in the New Testament, and the lists have minor variations. These apparent discrepanciesí however, need not trouble the Bible student.The variations are easily reconciled by careful exegesis and ďharmonizingĒ of the gospel accounts (See A.T. Robertsonís, A Harmony of the Gospels. pp. 271 f.).


The third section of Luke Six finds the Lord descending from a mountainous height to a flat area where he met a great multitude of people from all over the region.The text indicates that they crowds had two reasons for seeking the Savior:they came to hear him teach, and they hoped he would heal the sick.In this context of healing, the Lord lifted up his eyes to bring the remarkable ďSermon on the Plain.ĒMost commentators agree that Luke abridged the Sermon of the Mount (Lenski, Geldenhuys, Hendriksen. Henry, Robertson, Carroll, Morris, and Ryle hold to this view). If we adopt this view, Luke simply summarized the more comprehensive account of Matthew.


Personally, I see no valid reason why the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon on the Plain must, of necessity, be seen as the same sermon.Jesus must have, during his expansive teaching ministry, often repeated comparable themes and used similar language to express his thoughts. This alternate view, it seems, does no violence to the integrity of Christís teaching ministry.Nevertheless, I defer to the distinguished commentators on this point.


The lesson focuses on certain sections of the Lordís teaching.


I.                   The Disciplesí Responsibility to Love His Enemies (Luke 6:27-31)

A.    The recipients of Christian love

1.      Enemies (v. 27): those who hate you and manifest settled hostility toward you

2.      Those who hate you (v. 27): those persons who maliciously and unjustifiably hold you in contempt and animosity

3.      Those who curse you (v. 28): those who continually manifest their contempt for you with abusive speech

4.      Those who spitefully use you (v. 28): those who abuse and mistreat you

5.      Him who strikes you on the cheek (v. 29): those who express their contempt for you by striking you with their fist

6.      Him who takes from you (v. 29): those who seek to injure you by taking your possessions

B.     The nature of Christian love

1.      Love (v. 27): continually demonstrate self-denying affection

2.      Do good (v. 27): meet their mistreatment of you with acts of goodness and grace

3.      Bless (v. 28): continually praise, extol, and express kindness

4.      Pray (v. 28): make your enemy the special object of your prayers and intercession

5.      Give generously (vv. 29-30)

††††††††††††††††††††††††† Jesus summarized the principle of love by teaching his disciples the

††††††††††††††††††††††††† Golden Rule (v. 31).


II.                Disciples Must Avoid Judging Others (Luke 6:36-42)

A.    A judgmental spirit condemned (vv. 36-38)

1.      Jesus commanded his disciples to be merciful (v. 36).Just as Christians have received great mercy from the Lord; so, they must extend great mercy to others.

2.      The opposite of the merciful heart is the judgmental spirit Jesus addressed in verse 37.This verse does not forbid the believer to exercise moral discernment, but it does prohibit a self-righteous, severe, censorious attitude.

3.      Verse thirty-eight should be interpreted in the context of Christís teaching on mercy and judgment.Jesusí point, it seems, is that the merciful person will receive mercy in the measure with which he extends it to others.Also, the judgmental man will receive the measure of judgment he has imposed on other people.

B.     A parable illustrating the danger of a judgmental spirit (vv. 39-42)

Jesus warned his disciples of the dangers of fostering a judgmental spirit.Religious leaders, in particular, run the risk of dealing with the sins of others while remaining blind to their own shortcomings.The Lord, of course, used an absurd analogy (a beam in the eye) to make his striking point. Only those who were truly spiritually blind could miss his meaning. The Savior called his disciples to careful self-examination before they dared to address the sins of others.


III.             A Striking Sermonic Conclusion (Luke 6:46-49)

Person Note: During my seminary years a wonderful homiletics professor taught me an invaluable lesson about crafting the conclusion of a sermon.He encouraged his students, as they contemplated the application of their sermon, to ask themselves what difference this sermon makes.ďSo what?ĒThis is the question that will help protect preachers from delivering irrelevant messages.It occurs to me that Jesus ended this sermon in a splendid manner.He reminded his hearers that each of them was building a life.They had, by the grace of God, certain decisions to make.Would they build their lives on a solid foundation or not?Nothing could be more important than answering that question properly.

A.    Christís assertion of his Lordship (v. 46)

B.     The Parable of the Two Foundations (vv. 47-49)

Note the contrast between the two men in the parable.

1.      Both men heard the Lordís teaching, but one did not obey. It is not mere familiarity with the things of God that marks the godly man; rather, loving obedience to the Lordís precepts serves as a sure mark of grace.

2.      One man devoted great time and effort to lay proper foundations for his life.The other man took the easy path to life-building.He built his house hastily and carelessly.

3.      The storms of life eventually revealed the quality of the foundations.Both men experienced a violent storm.One manís house was not shaken because it rested in a sure foundation.The foolish man met with ruin because he built his house without a foundation.



Questions for Thought and Discussion:

  1. How does the obedience of a lost man differ from the obedience of a regenerate man?
  2. How should Christians guard their hearts from developing a judgmental spirit?
  3. How should Christians distinguish between sinful judgment and appropriate moral discernment?