Luke- Week 7- Day 1

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,  (28)  Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.  (29) And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also.  (30)  Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.  (31)  And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

Luke 6:27-28

Explanation:

It is helpful to understand these verses within the context of which Jesus spoke them and how Luke related them in the flow of thought of the chapter.

In Luke 6:1-5 we find that Jesus had disciples that were following him. Verses 1-5 describes a problem that the pharisees had with the way the disciples of Jesus were acting.  The Pharisees were complaining that they were breaking the parts of the law that they had defined by plucking ears of corn.  The truth is that the scripture literally says it is ok to do this in Deuteronomy.

When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbour, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbour’s standing corn.

Deuteronomy 23:25 

The disciples were not disobeying the scripture.  They were disobeying the law of people that added to scripture.

In verses 6-11 you see the pharisees upset with Jesus for healing on the sabbath.  Jesus rebukes them for their position.  They were upset with him for healing someone on the sabbath!  Of course, it is ok to do good on the sabbath.

So here you have two accounts of these religious leaders caring more about their religion than the scripture. These accounts set forth a contrast between Jesus’s disciples and the religious leaders.

In verses 12-16 we find Jesus spending all night praying, and after praying He comes down and picks specific disciples to be apostles.  The 12 were not the only disciples, but they were a specific group out of all the disciples.

So, Jesus prays.

Then Jesus picks.

Then Jesus preaches.

The sermon here is like one recorded in Matthew commonly called the “sermon on the mount”.  And in this sermon, we see another similar contrast to the hypocritical pharisees and the disciples.  This contrast is between those who are blessed and those that are cursed.  Those who are blessed are ones that are true disciples of Jesus.  They are acting like those who truly follow Jesus. (v.20-23) Those who are cursed (and thus pronounced with woe) are acting the way these religious leaders were acting.  They were harsh, condemning, judgmental, and holding people to rules that they themselves had made up.  They were not loving or kind.  They were imposing rules as a way of growing in authority, power, and riches.  They are acting as those who are not following Jesus. (vs. 24-26)

Now Jesus made a statement in the Gospels that may shed light onto today’s text in verses 27-36 from a discipleship lens.

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  (35)  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.   

John 13:34-35

Jesus said that the defining mark of his disciples would be their love.  He said that the greatest commandment was to love the Lord our God with all that we are, and the second is to love our neighbor as ourselves.  So, when we get to verse 27, we see this same kind of command:

But I say unto you which hear, Love…

Luke 6:27a

This first command to love is followed by several commands that are parallel to each other.  There is an imperative (command) verb, and then there is the direct object.  The command to “Love your enemies” is a good overall description of what the whole passage is about, because that pattern is repeated.

This week we are going to look at three important questions that Jesus answers that help us know what true love looks like.

1.   How do we love?

Jesus commanded them act a certain way- a way called love.  Look at what love is paralleled with in the rest of the commands:

How do you love?

  • Do good
  • Bless
  • Pray for
  • Do not retaliate in kind
  • Give

Biblical love is primarily not a feeling.  Love is a verb.  Love is an action.  This is why the word “love” here is given as a command. 

Think about it this way:

  • Go love. 
  • Go bless. 
  • Go do good. 
  • Go pray. 
  • Go give. 
  • Do not retaliate. 

This is what it means to love.

And if your confused about what to do in any situation, Jesus sums it up this way

And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

Luke 6:31 

Do to others the way you want them to do to you.

Application:

It is not enough to feel love.  Love is an action that must be expressed.  We love by blessing, doing good, giving, praying for, and treating others the way we want to be treated.  This is what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ.

Response:

Pick one of those other verbs as an expression of love and do that for someone around you today!

Luke- Week 6- Day 5

Regeneration comes through the True Messiah. v.15-18

And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;  (16)  John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:  (17)  Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.  (18)  And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people.

Luke 3:15-18

Explanation:

With such strong preaching and with so many coming to see John preach, there were many who began to wonder what his identity truly was.  The Jewish people were looking for a Messiah after years of God’s silence and a current state of oppression by the Romans.  Verse 15 makes it clear that those who were familiar with John’s ministry “mused in their hearts of John”.  John had come to prepare the way of the Lord, and this was primarily a heart preparation.  God was using him to do exactly what he was brought to do.  How did John know what was going on in their hearts?  We’re not exactly sure, but he seemed to know that an answer needed to be given.  People were starting to wonder if he was the Messiah.  Look at his answer:

(16)  John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose:

Luke 3:16

John states clearly that he is not the Messiah.  He also states clearly that the Messiah is coming.  He says that in comparison with this coming Messiah, he is not even worthy to do the most menial service.  The slave that unlatched the sandle often washed the feet.  This was a dirty and lowly task, and by saying he was unworthy he was elevating the position of Messiah.  The Gospel of John records this attitude that John had about Jesus when he said:

He must increase, but I must decrease.

John 3:30

He went on to compare their ministries:

“he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:”

Luke 3:16b

Some have interpreted “fire” here to mean a spiritual intensity or power.  But I do not believe the context bears this out.  When it comes to a response to Jesus, the saved will be baptized in the Holy Ghost.  This is a one time act of the Holy Spirit that happens at salvation.

But what does it mean that the Messiah will baptize with fire?  He is referring to the fire of judgment.

(17)  Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.

Luke 3:17

The truth of the matter is that everyone will either be transformed by the Holy Ghost or will be judged because they are still unrepentant and in their sin.

Saved or lost.

Eternal life or eternal death.

Faith in Christ alone for salvation is God’s plan. 

In John 14:6 Jesus said,

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.   

John 14:6

Application:

The world is really separated spiriutally by Jesus Christ.  There are those who have repented of their sin and turned to Christ by faith as the only way of salvation.  There are those who have not repented of their sins and face condemnation and judgement.  This is the point Jesus made to Nicodemus in John 3:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  (17)  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  (18)  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 

John 3:16-18 

Response:

Which group are you in?  Have you repented of your sin and turn to Christ by faith?

Luke- Week 6- Day 4

And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?  (11)  He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.  (12)  Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?  (13)  And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.  (14)  And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.

Luke 3:10-14 

Explanation:
In these themes of John’s preaching we find out that our own personal sin must be dealt with through repentance. We have learned that God’s judgement for sin will be on all who not repent. We have learned that neither religious ritual or birth can substitute for true repentance and faith in Christ.

Upon hearing these themes there was a response from those listening in the form of a question. Verse 10 records it well. “What shall we do then?” What does genuine repentance look like? John quickly answers this question with yet another one of the themes of his private counsel. His private counsel and public preaching had the same message. What should they do? They should live in accordance with repentant hearts!

Notice that the fruit of repentance dealt with areas of temptation that came to each area of these people’s lives.

And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?  (11)  He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.

Luke 3:10-11

Those who are rich tend to think that everything that they have is for their consumption. To the rich he said, “Repentant people are generous.”

(12)  Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?  (13)  And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.

Luke 3:12-13

Those who were tax collectors enriched themselves by gouging people with extra taxes and pocketing the money. They were known to be people who swindled others out of money. To the tax collector he said “Repentant people have integrity.”

(14)  And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.

Luke 3:14

Soldiers had both physical strenght and training and the power of the Roman government behind them. They could use this position of power to hurt people and leverage circumstances for what they wanted. To the soldier he said “Repentant people are just, honest and content.”

Application:
Every person finds themselves in a circumstance that affords them some temptation to rely on something other than repentance and faith in Christ for salvation. We all have temptations specific to our situation that will cause us to stray. There really are fruits in keeping with repentance. James said it this way:

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?  (15)  If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,  (16)  And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?  (17)  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.  (18)  Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

James 2:14-18

Genuine faith and genuine repentance also produces good works. Good works do not produce salvation. Salvation will be justified by the works that God produces in us.

Response:
Are there genuine fruits of faith and repentance in your life?

Luke- Week 6- Day 3

Rejection of Religious Ritual and Ancestral Heritage.  v.7-8a

Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  (8) Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 


Luke 3:7-8

Explanation:

Repentance necesitates a rejection of religious ritual as something that we depend upon for salvation.John was experiencing a certain segment of people coming to see him to be baptized.

John’s baptism is somewhat different than the baptism that Jesus commanded the disciples to do once people had accepted Christ as Savior.  The scripture teaches that the baptism that we do in the local church is a picture of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.  It is a picture being dead to sin and alive to Christ because of the inner transformation of the Holy Spirit in regeneration.

John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance.  John was having these jewish people be baptized the way a gentile convert would do when they decided to follow judaism.  This would have been a shocking admission for those in that culture.  They were saying that their sin was so bad that they were willing to admit that they were as far from God as a pagan gentile. People were coming to be baptized as a symbol of repentance, but John was warning them not to do the symbol without the reality being true.  Apparently some of them were not doing it with this kind of seriousness.  They were hoping that an outward expression could keep them from doing the inward work of repentance of heart.

Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  (8) Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance…

Luke 3:7

The symbol was only meaningful if the reality that the symbol represented was true.  If there was true repentance, there would be good works that followed that true change of heart.  More on that in the coming verses.

John continues in his preaching to warn them against depending on their heritage to replace genuine repentance.  Look at the rest of verse 8:

“…and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.”

Luke 3:8b

Just like ritual can not replace genuine repentance, neither can your heritage.  It has been said that “God has no grandchildren.”  God requires all men everywhere to repent and trust in Christ alone for salvation.  Being Jewish was no justification for living in sin.  Being Jewish did not make them right with God. 

Application:

Going to church, reading the Bible, praying regularly, teaching a Sunday School class, taking the Lord’s Supper, getting baptized, giving to the church or some other charitable community, going to confession, praying to Mary, journeying to Mecca, going on a missions trip, feeding the poor…. will not make you right with God or get you into heaven.  There is no ceremony or religious practice that substitutes true repentance of the heart.

Being the child of a missionary, nun, priest, pastor or rabbi will not do it either. To be right with God we must repent on our own and place our trust in Jesus Christ.

Response:

What religous practice are you tempted to believe is a substitute for repentance?