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True Disciples

Sermon Date:April 26, 2020

Sermon Topics:Luke 6:37-49

Author:Allen Burns

True Disciples

Jesus expects His disciples will stand out from the world. Sinners of the world have laughter, comfort, and full bellies now, but their fate is hunger and mourning at the end of the age. They are destined for woe.

Jesus’ disciples are to be unlike those who put their faith in this world. They are to put their faith in God for their joy and satisfaction. They may hunger and weep now, but they will be full and have joy at the end of the age.

Jesus teaches that His disciples will demonstrate a godly love that is uncommon and exceptional. He commands His disciples to love their enemies, turn the other cheek, and do good to all people without prejudice. The love of Jesus’ disciples is to be radically different than all people.  

True disciples have profound faith (Luke 6:20-26). They demonstrate radical love toward others (Luke 6:27-36). And finally, Jesus teaches His disciples that they are to have total obedience (Luke 6:37-49).

The disciples of Jesus are accountable to obey His teaching. True disciples will have genuine fruit which proves their obedience. Disciples may not call Jesus Lord if they are unwilling to obey His teaching.

The main idea of the passage is this: Prove to be a true disciple by learning and doing the teachings of Jesus.

True Disciples live by the Golden Rule (v.37-38)

Jesus tells His disciples not to judge. Many people take this verse out of context. The Bible tells us that it is not wrong to judge good and evil. It is not wrong to judge sin and holiness. We are to test the spirits.

If someone in the church is in sin, we are to judge them and call upon them to repent. This verse is not telling us to overlook the sin of others.

It is best to read verses 37 and 38 in the context of the passage to understand what Jesus is saying and draw the right conclusions. Jesus just said we are to love our enemies, do good, and lend expecting nothing in return. We are to be kind and generous to people regardless of how they treat us.

In the process of deciding whether we should love people or do good for them, we make decisions. We might say things like, “I am not going to lend him money because he is lazy and will only waste it.” Or, “I am not going to do good to her because she is one of the meanest people I know.” In other words, we make judgments about people, and we decide whether they are worthy of our love or our favor.

We are to think of the statement, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged, and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned” in the same way we think of the phrase in the Lord’s prayer. We receive forgiveness in the same way we forgive others.

When we do good and are generous to others, without judgment or condemnation, God will bless us with great reward. Jesus illustrates our reward by describing filling up a container with a dry ingredient such as flour or sugar. We can fill a cup loosely with flour, or we can pack the flour in the cup, so it is dense, or fill the cup, so it is heaping.

The way we love others, without judgment or condemnation, will be returned to us in measure. If the cup of love we give is three-quarters full, we will receive back the same in return. But if we are generous and love people with a packed, heaping cup of love, we will receive the back the same.

Jesus is illustrating the Golden Rule. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Judge others the way you want to be judged. Love others with a heaping love.

To what measure are you merciful, kind, forgiving, and loving?

To what measure are we merciful, kind, forgiving, and loving? God does not measure our Christianity by how we love family, friends, or fellow church members. God measures our love by how we love the undeserving.

God loves us and we do not deserve His love. We are to imitate God. 

This teaching by Jesus requires self-evaluation. He specifically asks us not to judge others or condemn others. Let’s take a moment to judge ourselves.

Am I a true disciple of Jesus? If so, I will love my enemies. I will turn the other cheek and give to whoever asks. The measure of my love is to be heaping and overflowing. Jesus’ commands are not optional. We are to love and give to others.

Our love is not to be an occasional love, but a lifestyle of love. As we examine our lives, do we say things like, “I remember a few years ago I helped that person that didn’t deserve it.” Perhaps we love this way twice a year. Jesus commands us to demonstrate godly love every day. It is to be our nature.

How much love are we to demonstrate? Can we say we our love is packed down and generously overflowing? Are we blessing others in such a way that they are profoundly blessed? Or, is our generosity equal to giving others pocket change? To we love until it is sacrificial? Is our love toward our enemy a natural habit or an infrequent event?

Jesus is not only telling us to love our enemies; He is saying the extent to which we love our enemy is measured. The amount by which we measure out love is the amount we receive in return.

Imagine if our church is full of people who love this way!

True Disciples are like their teacher (v.39-40)

Jesus speaks a parable about who we choose to be our teacher. Teachers guide others. But, if the teacher is blind, the teacher will lead their students into a pit. A teacher needs their eyes opened; otherwise, the teacher will lead their student to destruction.

A student can only advance to the level of their teacher. When the teacher is done instructing all that they know, the student will be like the teacher.

Jesus is calling us to examine our teachers. Do our teachers demonstrate faith? Do our teachers love with radical love?

Who are your teachers?

There are many voices in this world who try to teach us. People in the news try to teach us information about what is happening so we can be informed. They try to sway our opinion with their teaching.

When we listen to them and follow their advice, we become their disciple.

Marketing and advertising executives proclaim life will be better if we listen to them and invest in their products. Educational such as universities and online teachers claim they can improve the quality of our life if we become their disciple and study their curriculum. Fitness gurus want us to be their disciple and follow their program to improve the quality of life.

These are only a few of the many examples of teachers and disciples. Products, education, and fitness are not bad. What they teach is largely neither good or evil.

Let’s ask ourselves, do the voices that I listen to, do my teachers, know Jesus? Do my teachers teach me how to love my enemy? Do they put their faith in the kingdom of God or this world (as described in verses 20-26)?

We need teachers who have eyes to see and ears to hear. Our teachers should not have one foot in the world and another in the church.

Hollywood celebrities, fitness gurus, Wall Street executives, professional athletes, college professors, news reporters, and politicians do not understand how to mourn or be hungry for the sake of Jesus. They don’t know what it means to be blessed by God because they suffer persecution for the sake of the gospel. They do not give us words of wisdom telling us how to bless those who curse us or know how to pray for those who mistreat us? When is the last time we heard an ad teach us how to give to those who ask, or give our shirt to those who take our coat?

We turn to blind people every day at work, in the community, and in the marketplace. The world is blind to what it means to be a disciple of Christ. We need to stop turning to the world for advice and counsel on how to succeed in life.

The disciples of Jesus are not a lazy student. Disciples of Jesus are discerning. They listen to what people say and do not compare it with Scripture. We need to know enough about the Bible so we recognize whether our teacher is blind. The majority of people who profess Christ sadly lack discernment.

Jesus is telling us that His true disciples do not have blind teachers.

True Disciples are not Hypocrites (v.41-42)

Jesus cautions His disciples against hypocrisy. Hypocrites say one thing and do another. A hypocrite is a pretender. They proclaim to have certain beliefs, but when we examine their life, we see they do not live as they should.

Jesus expresses the truth in ways that are memorable. Most people know and understand the phrase about having a log in their eye while trying to help someone with a speck in their eye.

True disciples take care of their own life before trying to remove the sin in the lives of others. True disciples are not hypocrites.

When is the last time you took a long look at your Christian walk?

When is the last time we sat down and took a long look at our Christian walk? Do not rate your friend's Christianity on a scale of one to ten. Never mind that neighbor watches movies you would not watch. Stop looking around the church and feeling good about your attendance compared to the other guy.

Every Christian needs to open the Bible and ask, am I faithful to the Scriptures? Am I a pretender? Am I fooling myself into thinking I am a good Christian because I compare myself to others? What is my measure of Christianity?

Jesus calls His disciples to self-accountability. We are to be humble and not puffed up sin police. Too often, we look down our noses with disgust at the sin of others while ignoring our own sin.

Let’s examine the greatest command. Do I love God with all of my heart, mind, and strength?

Do I love God with all my heart? Do the passions of my heart reflect the passions of God’s heart? Do I love holiness and hate sin?

Do I love God with all my mind? Do I fill my brain with godly content, or do I continually dump the world into my mind? Do I use my mint to get to know God and His purpose and plan? Does my mind reflect my love of God?

Do I love God with all my strength? Am I using my talents and abilities for God’s kingdom? How hard do I work for God’s glory?

And what about the second greatest command? Do I love and treat others as I want others to love and treat me?

Do we have logs in our eyes? Let’s pray and ask God’s Holy Spirit to convict when conviction is needed. Let’s be true disciples and not hypocrites.

True Disciples Bear Good Fruit (v.43-45)

True disciples bear good fruit. Jesus repeatedly will tell His disciples that they are identified by the fruit they bear.

Jesus gives us another memorable way to remember by describing the fruit of a tree. Good trees bear good fruit, and bad trees bear bad fruit.

When we look closely at what Jesus says, we think of the tree as to how it is recognized by others. The tree does not determine if the fruit is good or bad. The consumer judges the tree.

People do not gather figs from a thorn bush, neither do they pick grapes from a briar bush. What kind of fruit comes from our hearts? Speech is one way to judge the fruit. A worldly tree will speak about the world. A heavenly tree will speak about Biblical truth. The words of a person are the best indicator of whether or not Jesus is in their heart.

What is the fruit of your Christianity?

What is the fruit of our Christianity? What do we speak about, which shows what is in our hearts?

What fruit do people pick from our tree? When people come to talk to us, what is the fruit they pick?

Do we find people come to our tree to pick the fruit of complaints? Are you a tree with a juicy apple of gossip. Misery loves company. Are we a tree with the fruit of misery?

Are you a party tree? Do drinking buddies congregate in your shade? Are you the tree of coarse joking and foul language? Others pick your fruit because your speech tastes good to their worldly ways? Do others congregate at your fruit tree because they know they will feast on the things of this world?

The tongue bears fruit. James (James 3:1-12) describes the tongue as untamable. Out of the abundance of the heart, our mouth speaks. With our tongue, we bless God, sing holy songs, and later in the day, we curse other people with vile words. Disciples of Jesus do not use the same tongue to bless God and speak badly to others.

The disciples of Jesus bear good fruit. A disciple of Jesus bears the fruit of humility and repentance. A good tree in the kingdom of God bears the fruit of righteousness.

Disciples of Jesus are indwelled with His Holy Spirit and will bear the fruit of the Spirit.

Listen to the tape recorder of your heart and ask God to show whether you are a true disciple.

True Disciples Do the words of Jesus (v.46-49)

Jesus ends His teaching to His disciples by speaking about obedience. He asks the question, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” The word Jesus uses means supreme authority. Jesus is the Son of Man with supreme authority.

Talk is cheap. As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. If we do not do what Jesus says, He is not our Lord.

Those who love Jesus obey Him. We are not in a relationship with Jesus when we disobey what He says. To not obey Jesus but call Him Lord is hypocrisy.

Jesus finishes His sermon by declaring a promise to those who obey His commands.

“Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.” (Luke 6:47-49)

What do the storms of life reveal about your faith?

The promise Jesus makes is that when we do what He says and obey His teaching, our life will have a solid foundation.

The house in Jesus’ illustration is our life. If we obey Jesus, our house is built on a rock. If we disobey Jesus and disregard His teachings, our house is built on sand.

To understand how to build our house on the rock, we need to understand the relationship between faith and obedience. Life will always present two options from which to choose—the rock option or the sand option. We can choose to live according to the sand of the world, or we can choose to obey the rock of Scripture.

Our choices reflect what we believe will provide us the best outcome. We put our faith in the option we choose.

If Jesus says to tell the truth, and we choose to lie, it is because we believe the lie will make our life better. Our faith is in the lie and not telling the truth.

If Jesus says to be generous, and we choose to withhold when someone asks, it is because we believe not giving is our better option. Our faith is in the option we choose.

We face choices every day. Every choice is a spiritual decision. We need to realize that our choice to say something unkind is a spiritual decision. Our choice to be lazy is a spiritual decision. Our choice to not share the gospel is a spiritual decision. Every word we speak, and every action we take is the result of a spiritual decision. How we live proves whether Jesus is our Lord.

Many people who say they are a Christian, think their house is built on a rock because they profess Christ. However, that is not the case. Having a profession of faith does not guarantee a life with a rock-solid foundation.

Our faith is revealed in what we do, not what we say. Jesus says those who are His disciples act on His words. They do what He says.

Saying Jesus is our Lord is nothing. Obeying Jesus as Lord is everything. Obedience is a life with a rock foundation. Having a rock foundation is calling Jesus Lord and doing what He says. Having a sand foundation is listening to Jesus but living in the world.

When our house is built on the rock of obedience, the storms of life will pound upon us, and we are not moved. Persecution may rain upon us, but we have the peace of obedience. Financial hardship brings hurricane-force wind outside, but inside our hearts, we are not moved.

There will be storms in life. Jesus never promises to take away the tornado, hurricane, blizzard, or earthquake of life. We will have trouble. What Jesus promises is that the only way to persevere through trouble is to obey His commands.

When we obey God, we can put our head on the pillow and sleep in peace in the midst of a storm (like Jesus on the boat).

Main idea

Jesus uses many word pictures that help us remember His teaching. Many of these principles are taught in the world by non-Christians.

  • We are blessed when we hunger and weep now, for we shall one day be satisfied and laugh.
  • Love your enemies.
  • Turn the other cheek.
  • If someone asks for your coat, give them your shirt.
  • Remember the golden rule.
  • The blind lead the blind.
  • Take the log out of our eye.
  • A bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
  • Build your house on the rock.

True disciples think about these illustrations. They measure their faith and strive to follow Jesus in the areas they fall short. True disciples have teachers who can see and are not blind. True disciples are not hypocrites. True disciples bear fruit. True disciples weather the storms of life because they are obedient.

The only way we can be a true disciple is with the strength of God’s Holy Spirit. Pray for His help.