Study Notes: Luke 6:27-49
Jesus continuing now with the Sermon on the Mount. Today we're looking at some of the most difficult teachings in the entire Bible. And no matter how hard we look for loopholes and excuses not to practice these things, there aren't any.
6:27-28 Love your enemies
In 2Samuel 16, David came to Bahurim surrounded by his mighty men. A guy named Shimei came out and began cursing and throwing stones at David. "Get out, get out, you man of bloodshed, you worthless fellow!" One of David's mighty men said, "Hey David, let me go over now and cut off this guy's head." But David said, "Let him alone and let him curse... Perhaps the LORD will look on my affliction and return good to me instead of his cursing this day."
How many of us would have reacted in the same way? David's example is a high one to attain to, but Jesus goes farther than David did. After being betrayed, abandoned, arrested, tortured, and nailed to a cross, He prayed,
Luke 23:34 ..."Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing."
Jesus practiced what He preached. Who's been cursing you lately? Will you curse back? Who's been throwing stones in your direction? Will you pick them up and hurl them back? Will you send one of your mighty men to cut off the person's head? Or will you follow Jesus' teaching and His example by loving them, even when they torture and crucify you?
Unfortunately, most of us don't give a second thought to doing the right thing. And oftentimes, our excuse is, "But I can't find it in my heart to forgive them. I just don't have it in me to love them." Believe it or not, Jesus is not asking you to do the impossible, He's actually giving you instruction on how to do it. He says we should love our enemies, and then tells us how to do it. How can you love them? By doing good to, blessing, and praying for them. The neat thing is that when you do this, something supernatural happens. You really do begin to love them. That's because...
Matt. 6:21 "...Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
As you invest your treasure in your enemies, your heart is drawn into supernaturally loving them. How do you invest your treasure in your enemies - those who hate you, who curse you, and who mistreat you?
1) By doing good to them - Do something nice that they don't deserve.
2) By blessing them - that means to not speak evil of them. Love them by the way you talk about them.
1Pet. 4:8 ...Love covers a multitude of sins.
Prov. 17:9 He who covers a transgression seeks love...
The old adage, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" really applies. The next time the opportunity arises, don't say something negative about the person, speak a blessing about them.
and 3) By praying - not praying curses upon them, not praying judgment towards them - simply praying for them.
Rom. 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
"The best victory over an enemy is to make him a friend." (Guzik) If you are faithful to do good to, to bless, and to pray for your enemies, you will find that your heart grows into a genuine love for them.
6:29-30 Christians as a welcome mat?
You've probably seen in the movies when someone takes off their glove and slaps another person in the face with it. Culturally, the slap on the cheek was an assault not on your body, but on your character and your honor. Jesus is not saying, "When someone hits you with a baseball bat, don't defend yourself." In fact, He told the disciples on the night of His betrayal:
Luke 22:36 "...Let him who has no sword sell his robe and buy one."
He's not saying that you can't defend your body physically, or your country patriotically. He's saying don't defend your reputation emphatically, don't defend your honor emotionally, don't defend your rights with hostility.
Then Jesus makes an even harder statement:
Luke 6:29-30 "...And whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back."
The Christian's first reaction to this is, "You've got to be kidding!" G. Campbell Morgan said of these difficult verses: "We say 'these are counsels of perfection. Such action is not practicable'. The only reply is that these were the words of our Lord to His own, and any criticism of them must be referred to Him!" In other words, if you've got a problem with what this says, don't complain to me... talk to Him.
But again, this is not Jesus demanding of us the impossible, He is instructing us to do what is merciful. Jesus is telling us that we must have a love for people that ignores our own rights, a love which knows no limits of self-sacrifice or discomfort. A love of unselfish generosity. James said:
James 2:15-17 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
As we've gone through Luke, and Mark before it, one thing is clear. Jesus gave to all who came needing. He ministered to all who were hurting. He helped all who came to Him for help. He healed all who came to Him for healing. This is how you show the love of Christ - by meeting the needs of those you meet. And then, he brings it all to a head with this verse:
6:31 The golden rule
The Hindu religion, the Jewish tradition, the Baha'i faith, the Buddhist religion all teach, "Don't do to others what you don't want done to you". But Jesus taught, "Do unto others what you want them to do to you". Most of us find it easier to live by the first rule. But Jesus is calling us to the higher standard.
I have met so many people recently who claim to be believers, but say they won't go to church because of how they've been treated in church. The majority of the church body isn't even following the standard of Hindus, Jews, Baha'is and Buddhists, much less the standard that Jesus set forth! Jesus said to his disciples:
John 13:34-35 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
John 14:15 "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments."
If everyone in the church followed Luke 6:31, there would be a lot less hurting Christians in the world.
6:32-35 Even sinners love their loved ones
By now, the people listening to Jesus deliver this teaching, (and us too) are thinking, "Well, I love my family and friends. I do good to them, and I lend my stuff to people who lend me stuff. Isn't that good enough?" No, it's not good enough. Jesus is calling us out of the world. We're supposed to be different than sinners. Even sinners love those who love them. Even sinners do good to those who do good to them. Even sinners lend to people who will lend to them.
6:36-38 A time to Judge, and a time not to Judge
The Lord is our example. Can you imagine if He was like us? One slip-up on our part, and He'd forsake us. Two slip-ups and He'd destroy us. But we are to be following His example. And the Lord is merciful.
But verse 37 is too often used to forbid all manner of judgment - "Judge not!" When we we try to bring correction to someone who is in sin, the response is often, "Judge not" When we point out those who teach erroneous, abberant, or even blasphemous doctrines, the response is often, "Judge not!".But Jesus is not forbidding judgment. He said in John 7:
John 7:24 "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."
So, although we are not to make condemning judgments, we are called to have judging discernment. I will make Biblical judgments about the teachings and doctrines of others, for I desire the same measure to be measured to me. But I will not watch people's lives and point out every deviation from perfection, every stumble, every fall, because if that measure were measured to me, I would be blown away.
6:39-42 Blind men and lumber
Jesus is expounding on His statement about judging, and using ridiculous, humorous words. A blind man being led about by a blind man. Someone with a log sticking out of their eye. If we're blind to our own faults, our judgment of others shows us to be hypocrites, and it's ridiculous and obvious to everyone but us. Paul wrote in Romans 2 that if you:
Rom. 2:19-22 ...are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature... you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one should not steal, do you steal? You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery?
Again, using the life of David as an example,
2Sam. 12:1-7 ...The LORD sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said, There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a great many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb Which he bought and nourished; And it grew up together with him and his children. It would eat of his bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom, And was like a daughter to him. Now a traveler came to the rich man, And he was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd, To prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him; Rather he took the poor man's ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him." Then David's anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, "As the LORD lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die. And he must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion." Nathan then said to David, "You are the man!"
You see, David was judging the speck in the rich man's eye, when in reality, he had a log in his own eye. He had done the same thing in taking his neighbor's wife, and yet he was blind to his own sin while judging another's.
6:43-45 Fruit trees and men's hearts
Only God knows the secrets of the heart. So, in making discerning judgments, we can't see into a man's heart, but we can see the fruit of what is in his heart. It is either good or bad. According to the book of Galatians, the bad fruit is:
Gal. 5:19-21 ...Immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these
And the good fruit is:
Gal. 5:22-23 ...love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control
6:46-49 The foundation
And finally at the end of the teaching, when we've heard everything and think, "This doesn't apply to me." "I'm walking with the Lord well enough.", or "I just don't have it in me to even attempt any of this", Jesus says:
Luke 6:46 "...Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?"
People, this is the exhortation: being doers of the word is our foundation. When the floods of tribulation and the torrent of trials hits our houses, our survival depends on the foundation that we've laid.
©2006 Ron Daniel - Any distribution not for profit is permitted
All Scripture (unless otherwise indicated) taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE
©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.