FROM GOOD TO GOLDEN -
~ Pastor Rob Tevis
Today we are going to continue our series on the Sermon on the Mount by looking at a passage in Luke, chapter 6. “Wait a minute!”, you might be saying. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is in the Gospel of Matthew, not Luke! What are you doing?
The section of Scripture that we are going to look at today is a called a parallel passage to the Sermon on the Mount. Both Matthew & Luke record Jesus’ greatest sermon. Both recordings are similar, but each are for a different audience, and a different time and place when Jesus gave this sermon.
Luke's version is shorter, so I thought to myself, "Cool. We get the cliff-notes version of Jesus' Sermon. I like shorter!" Then after studying the passage in Luke, I realized that Luke's is not a condensed version of Matthew. Luke's version has similarities that might show that he used the same source materials as Matthew, but the setting was different and even some of words and emphasis are different.
Both, however, tell us the same thing, this where they are parallel. Taking them together, we discover how radical Jesus was. These two passages together tell us: Jesus came on the scene and was in the business of establishing a new Godly Kingdom.
How do I know? Geography
Read with me Luke 6:17-19.
The first version in Matthew was on the mount and the second version in Luke was on the plain. You see, the first century Jewish audience would have immediately picked up on that. Twice in the life of God's people before Jesus came: God established a revolutionary Kingdom by giving us the Ten Commandments. A whole nation was formed under the two times that the Ten Commandments were given: once as a nomad nation after Numbers 20 and then a nation with borders after Moses spoke the Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy 5. The Kingdom that was established under the Ten Commandments was called Israel. The first time was up on a mountain called Mount Sinai. The second time, however, was on the plains near a city called Beth Peor. Moses was even buried in this second spot (Deut. 34:5-6).
The Ten Commandments brought a people together. It was their rallying point and established a brand new Kingdom on the earth: a theocracy where God was in charge.
As we begin our series on Jesus' Greatest Sermon we have to realize that here in Luke, this sermon was not given on a mountain side, but on a plain. Just like the Ten Commandments - once on a mountain and then on a plain.
So just by the settings we get that Jesus was coming to establish a revolutionary new kingdom based on what God wants!
This Kingdom is not with borders, but established in lives. A Kingdom that has no territory, but has withstood 2000 years of scrutiny; no race of people, but has encompassed the globe; no common language, but is understood everywhere; no defining culture, but transcends culture; and no government, but has ruled the lives of millions. Wouldn’t you want to be part of that?
Here in Luke 6, we find that Jesus has come to get radical. Jesus has come to transform a people and create His Kingdom in their lives.
You see, I believe that the words we will hear in Luke 6 are the greatest words ever spoken that still have the same power today to change lives, yours and mine, then when Jesus said them 2000 years ago.
Let’s read them – LUKE 6:20-26
Blessed are the poor - hungry - weeping - hated - these are not things that we hold up as things we want in our lives. Kids don't say that they want to be poor or hated when they grow up.
Is Jesus saying that there is no chance to be blessed if you are wealthy, well fed, full of laughter, and popular? Let's face it - even the poor in America are richer than the richest in other countries. This means that we Americans have no hope to be blessed. Is that what Christ is talking about here?
The World values being rich, being full, laughing, being popular – and being self-made, independent people. The world would say that these kind of people that Jesus says WOE to are the BEST!
Christ, however, says that to follow me, to be part of my revolution, I don't want you to be the BEST; I want you to be BLESSED. He wants to move you from giving your life to being better than all the rest, keeping up with the Joneses, being the best, TO BEING BLESSED. He wants to move you to a life full of God's ways. A life that gets its sustenance from a powerful source. A life filled with joy. A life that God will reward. A BLESSED LIFE.
Jesus tells us that in order for us to be part of His Kingdom, we need to ask ourselves an important question: Who do you depend on?
Christ wants to bring a new identity in your life. He wants you to be part of His Kingdom and it will take you asking yourself, "Do I depend on Christ for my richness, for my spiritual food, for my joy, for my reward? OR “do I depend on God?"
Well, do you really want to answer that question? Take a look at your family schedule. Do you fill it with sports, TV, school, work, and family activities? Or is there time for you and God? Who do you depend on?
In just 6 verses, Christ is calling us to move from trying to be the BEST to being BLESSED. Move from being good to being GOLDEN!
James 4:8-10 (NLT) - Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.
He asks, "Who do you depend on?"
READ LUKE 6:27-38
In the last section, Jesus asked, "Who do you depend on?" Here Jesus is asking, "Who do you love?"
He says some startling things, doesn't He? He tells us to LOVE OUR ENEMIES!
• Do good to those who hate you
• Pray for those who abuse you
• Don't get even with those who slap you
• Give even more to those who ask of you
• Lend and expect nothing in return
• And oh yeah, don’t judge people, like the world does!
WOW! Jesus, can we go back to the "Being blessed" part?
Everything here flies in the face of what we have been taught since we were kids. We were taught that if someone bullies you, you use whatever means necessary to retaliate. We were taught to look out for those who want to take from you and to put people in their place, especially our enemies.
How do you love an enemy? Jesus is not just addressing those "enemies" from other nations that we are at war with. You may be tempted to say that Jesus is talking about enemies that are across the sea, like the Muslims who have a jihad against us. The truth is: we probably will never come face to face with one in our lives. Very few do.
But Jesus is talking your enemies that live in the same neighborhood:
• A friend who stabbed you in the back.
• An ex who trampled all over your heart.
• A parent who hurt you deeply.
• A co-worker who used you to get ahead in the company.
• A school-mate who gossiped about you.
Whoever stabbed you in the heart - this is who Jesus is calling you to love!
Love is not what you think of doing to these people. But Jesus asks, "If you are part of my Kingdom, who do you love?"
You might be the average Joe and say, "I love my family. I'm a good guy and I generally love the people around me. I love my spouse. I love my Church friends." These are all good! Jesus knows that is where the average person is. He tells us, however, how to go from just GOOD (where everyone else is) to GOLDEN (where Christ wants us to be).
Right in the middle of this call to love people - Jesus tells us the Golden Rule - Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Christ even asks, "If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you?" HE IS SAYING THAT HE WANTS TO TAKE US FROM GOOD TO GOLDEN!
The world tells you to demand your rights:
• You have a right to be angry
• You have a right to hold back your money
• You have a right to keep your dignity
• You have a right to judge
Christ gives you a different value - LOVE
How do you love an enemy that hurt you so deeply?
Well, there are three Biblical steps:
☺ First, find your own forgiveness in the grace that Christ offers.
☺ Second, look at the example of Christ for strength
Jesus doesn't give us commands that He Himself was not willing to follow. He is the perfect example for us, especially in this area of love.
• He was arrested, given an unfair trial, roughed up, and insulted by the government of His day.
• The authorities spat on Him, blindfolded Him, and slapped Him in the face.
• Then the Roman soldiers mocked Him by crowning Him with thorns and putting a purple robe on Him, and a weak reed in His hand as a make-believe scepter.
• They jeered at Him, “Hail King of the Jews!” Then they scourged Him.
• Jesus had the power to strike them blind, to paralyze their hand, to choke them on their own spittle, to condemn them to hell. BUT, with the divine dignity, He loved them more.
1 Peter 2:23 (NLT) – He did not retaliate when he was insulted. When he suffered, he did not threaten to get even. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.
Christ did not demand His rights and asks us "who do you love?"
☺ The third step is the hardest. Third, from the forgiveness in Christ and His example, go to that person and set things right as far as it depends on you.
I told you this Sermon on the Plain is the most powerful sermon ever preached! Hard hitting questions that deal with my heart, not just my religious devotion.
Christ asks one more question, "Who do you follow?"
READ LUKE 6:38-49
Jesus turns from telling us about a life of blessing and loving our enemies to telling us three parables. A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. He tells us the parable of the blind guide, the parable of the bad fig tree, and the parable of the builders.
The parable of the blind guide calls us to look out for being fake.
The parable of the bad fig tree shows us that we need to be fruitful.
Christ moved us in his master story telling from Fake to Fruitful! He then has us take one last step – He wants us to realize that being fruitful is not enough. He wants us to move to being FIRM. From fake to Fruitful to FIRM. We must have a firm foundation on Jesus Christ. Like the song says:
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ Name
On Christ the solid rock I stand.
All other ground is sinking sand.
You see, Christ gives ends his powerful sermon with a story that we can relate to – you have a flooding river that destroys homes! In the past few weeks, we have seen the mid-west ravaged with floods or who can forget what happened to New Orleans a few years ago? We have seen at least on television with our very eyes what a river can do to people’s homes.
Imagine these two men building houses for their families.
Notice the similarities between the builders:
• Both are builders – they are hard workers. They know what its like to pound away at the nails while the sun is beating down their backs.
• Both are building houses – they each have a plan that they have thought through. I can imagine that each of them has detailed blue prints for their house. They know what they are doing.
• Both are hit by a storm in their life.
AND it is the storm that proves the difference. When the storm comes, one house is left standing and the other is destroyed.
Jesus told this tale so that we would see clearly the differences between a life not of His Kingdom and one that follow Christ.
They each had their own type of foundation – one of sand, and the other of rock.
• The first hears the Word and then builds upon it.
• The second hears the Word but chooses to ignore it
How do you get to be like the first builder? Jesus tells us– Be the one who “hears my words, and acts on them.”
James 1:22 – Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
Jesus didn’t preach this message so it would sound nice or so that we could sit around and discuss it. He preached it so that we could act on it. He wants you to ask yourself, “Who do you follow?” Now, don’t answer with words. Answer with action.
Why did Christ finish His Sermon on the Plain with a house being destroyed? Again, it comes back to Geography.
You see it was Geography, “where the house was built”, that had it destroyed. It was built on the shifting sand of the world. The parable is about a destroyed home. One of the most basic needs of humans is shelter. The man would build again. The question is “where?” And would he pay attention this time to the foundation?
We each get a chance to rebuild our lives as well. Christ wants to rebuild in you His Kingdom. He wants you to worry about the geography of your faith. Are you on the shifty sand, or the golden foundation of Christ’s Words?
So move from good to golden by:
1. Giving your life to Christ – believe, repent, confess, be baptized, and live the golden life.
2. Making a U-Turn – maybe you bought into the world’s lie – living a good life is enough, but today you want to come back and live the golden life.
3. Asking for prayer – maybe there is something that you want to live out in the golden life, but need God’s help.