The Gospel of Luke - Part 21: The Lord's Love - Luke 6:27-38

(These notes are based on lesson notes prepared by Rob Mahon for connection class leaders at Hoffmantown Church.)


Review:

This morning we continue in Luke Chapter 6. Remember we broke this chapter into five sections:

Lessons in Lordship
*The Lord’s Sabbath6:1-11
*The Lord's Apostles6:12-19
*The Lord's Perspective6:20-26
The Lord's Love6:27-38
The Lord's Disciples6:39-49

We have now studied The Sabbath, The Apostles, and The Lord’s perspective.

The take-away from last week for me included the fact that the teaching by Jesus recorded in Luke is clearly intended to make a change in our lives, to be transformational. It is not just knowledge, it is intended to create a change in our heart and in our lives.

As Rick Warren said: "Changed lives are a church's greatest advertisement."

And as D.L. Moody said: "The Bible was not given to increase our knowledge but to change our lives."

Jesus’ teaching on the mount is that we need to see and understand how God sees things, the spiritual view, the long term (eternal) view, and that that view is opposite from the view of society and the world.

As Moses Malone is quoted saying; “That information has caused me to make a 360 degree turn.”

Jesus understands geometry a little better and states that it will cause a 180 degree turn.

John Stott, writing about the Sermon on the Mount says, “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

The Lord's Love - 6:27-38

Let’s go back and reread this section of Jesus’ teaching:

But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; 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. Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. 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. Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” --Luke 6:27-38
The next instruction after what we covered last week is to love our neighbors. The original command is found in Leviticus:
You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord. --Leviticus 19:18
The command is repeated by Jesus and several other times in the New Testament. Jesus said:
You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” --Matthew 5:43

“Honor your father and mother” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” --Matthew 19:19

The second is like it, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” --Matthew 22:39

The second is this, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these. --Matthew 12:31

And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” --Luke 10:27
This last quote from Jesus is actually a quote from the Old Testament:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. --Deuteronomy 6:5

You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord. --Leviticus 19:18
Paul said, quoting what Jesus had said and taught:
Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. --Romans 13:8-10

For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” --Galatians 5:14
James says the same thing, repeating the teaching of Jesus:
If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. --James 2:8
So, how good are you at loving your neighbor? The word neighbor comes from a word meaning “near by”. To love your neighbor means more than just loving those who live in houses next to your house. It means loving the people who are “near by” wherever you are - at home, at work, at church, wherever. Nearby may be physically, or relationally.

We know whom Jesus said we are to love, but now let’s see how are we to love.

In this passage, Jesus introduces a theme that will continue throughout His ministry - that we are to love one another with God's love. Consider this passage:

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 13:34-35
What Jesus describes here is an unconditional love. It's the way He loved people every day of His life on earth:

In verses 27-30 He told us to Love our enemies ... do good to them, bless them, pray for them and to give to them.

One of the most distinctive characteristics of Jesus’ love is how He treated those who opposed Him. Throughout His ministry, He sought to reason with His “enemies”. Remember His prayer on the cross?

“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” --Luke 23:34
What we usually pray is, “Father, get them for what they are doing!” Verse 31 says:
Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.
This is the “Golden Rule” - This is a great guideline for our conduct: v.32 - If you love those who love you...

This is the way the world loves, conditionally. In this world we're taught to love those who will love us back, to do good to those who do good to us, to lend to those who will pay us back. If this is the way you are, you're no different than any pagan. This isn't the way Jesus lived and this isn't what He taught.

v.35 - ...and you will be sons of the Most High.

Jesus points us to God as our example of love:

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. --Luke 6:35
v.36 - Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Our tendency is to love people the way that they love us. But Jesus teaches us to love people the way that God loves us. Consider:

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. --James 1:17
Every “good thing” we enjoy in life comes for God - health, happiness, success, friendship, every good thing.

How thankful are you? Do you give thanks for “every good thing” you experience in life? Verse 35 speaks of how most people are “ungrateful”. -- ...for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. They don't acknowledge God as the source of all their blessings. They don't take the time to thank Him throughout the day for His blessings like the New Testament teaches us.

...always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father. --Ephesians 5:20

In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. --1 Thessalonians 5:18
In verses 37 and 38, Jesus takes the “Golden Rule” to a higher plane. Instead of loving others as we would want them to love us, now we are to love others the way we would want God to love us:
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.  Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” --Luke 5:37-38
How do you want God to treat you? What one truth from Jesus’ teaching on whom to love and how to love that you want to remember and apply? This morning, why not just pick one and try it?

Stuart and Jill Briscoe write,

After our honeymoon, we discovered traits in one another that disturbed us. Icebergs in our sea of matrimony began to surface, chilling our voyage. Not only that, but we realized that colliding with any one of them could have wrecked our precious craft and destroyed our cargo. A collision such as that must be avoided.

In answer to prayer, we learned how to change our course. We discovered that marriage needed another kind of love: "in-spite-of"  love. That kind of love is unselfish. "Because-love" is selfish. It says: he is handsome, therefore he makes me feel proud; he is kind, therefore he will comfort me; he is reliable, therefore he will give me security.

"In-spite-of love" is different. It says: he is careless, therefore, even though it will make more work for me, I will try to compensate for his weakness and patiently endure; he is moody, and that disturbs my peace of mind, but I will do my best to help him cultivate a better mood; he is a spendthrift and that makes me feel insecure, but I will try to understand his generous spirit and charitable nature.

“In-spite-of” love - That’s the way Jesus loves us.

He loves us "in spite of" our sinfulness, our selfishness, our daily failures and disobedience. God loves us, not because we are loveable, but because He is loving.  God said something like this to Israel in Deuteronomy:

The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers. --Deuteronomy 7:7-8
And Jesus expects us to love others as He loves us - with “in-spite-of” love.  By His grace and power, we are to love others, not because they are loving or even because they deserve our love, but because He has commanded us to love them.
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Next week - we will be looking at The Lord’s Disciples in the latter part of Luke Chapter 6.
Read through Luke 6 again to prepare.