The Gospel of Luke - Part 22: The Lord's Disciples - Luke 6:39-49

(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 Perspective  6:20-26
  The Lord's Love6:27-38
 • The Lord's Disciples6:39-49

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

Last week we saw that Jesus instructed us to love our neighbor, and that our neighbor is the person nearby, whether it is next door or at work or in the family or an acquaintance. And he told us to love them like he loves us — unconditionally.

Like Stuart and Jill Briscoe said, it is the “In-spite-of” love, undeserved, just like Jesus loves us, in spite of who and what we are.

This morning we will look at The Lord’s Disciples, the last of these sections.

I.   Discipleship means that Jesus is our Guide:

And He also spoke a parable to them: “A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will they not both fall into a pit? A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye. For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 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 6:39-49
Do you remember how Jesus began this message?
And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say... —Luke 6:20
What Jesus says in Luke 6:20-49 particularly applies to His disciples. In fact, this passage is intended to help us better understand discipleship, what it means to be Jesus’ disciple.  Discipleship means choosing to follow Jesus. Jesus starts off talking about blind men. In verse 39 Jesus starts by the following question.
“A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he?”
Every person is spiritually “blind”. Jesus came as One who was without sin, who can “see” the way we need to go. He is the only reliable guide for us.

The word “lead” here in Greek is 'οδηγειω [hodegeo] and is also translated "guide". In fact, it is the same word used in John:

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. —John16:13
In these two verses — Luke 6:39 & John 16:13 — we see that one of the biggest decisions we face in life is whom we will follow.

Who/What are some popular “blind guides” in our culture?

Charles Colson writes, “Never confuse the will of the majority with the will of God.”

There are a lot of warnings against false teachers in the Scriptures. Jesus repeatedly warned His disciples about them:

Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. —Matthew 7:15
Paul also warned believers about the dangers of false teachers:
I know that after my departure, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. —Acts20:29
Whom do these false teachers target?

I read somewhere recently that wolves (the animal) target three particular types of animals to “devour”: the young, the weak and the isolated.

Chuck Swindoll says:

"The same is true for Christians. The spiritually young, spiritually weak or spiritually isolated believers are especially vulnerable to false teachers and false teaching. These three types of Christians need to be protected and helped."
What do the false teachers teach?

There are three subjects that virtually all cults seek to attack and distort. Therefore, it is very important that every Christian be clear about what God says on these issues. Let’s consider them as questions we must be certain in the answer:

  1. Who is Jesus Christ?
  2. What is God’s Word?
  3. How do I get to heaven?
Ruth Van Reken, a Christian author, wrote: “Our human reasoning alone isn't enough to discern truth from error. The best protection against deception is to know God's revealed truth, the Bible.”

We have only one true Guide. In contrast to the many false guides all around us, Jesus is the one true Guide, the only one.

There are many great verses and promises about God’s guidance:

I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, Otherwise they will not come near to you. —Psalm 32:8-9

For such is God, Our God forever and ever; He will guide us until death. —Psalm 48:14

Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. —Proverbs 3:5-6

I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, In paths they do not know I will guide them. I will make darkness into light before them And rugged places into plains. These are the things I will do, And I will not leave them undone. —Isaiah 42:16

Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way you should go.” —Isaiah 48:17
Abraham Lincoln said,
“I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My wisdom, and that of all about me, seemed insufficient for the day.”
Even Christians can fall into the trap of following a person, even a godly Christian leader, rather than keeping their focus on following Christ.

I worry about that for some of you in this class. What might be some warning signs that a person is more focused on following a particular person than following Jesus?

II.   Discipleship means becoming like Jesus:
A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher. —Luke 6:40
The Greek word for "pupil" here is μαθητης [mathetes] and is the Greek word for "disciple". It means, literally, a "learner".

Whose disciple are you?

The word for "teacher" used here is διδασκολος [didaskolos]. It’s used about 60 times in the New Testament, about 50 of those found in the Gospels. About 40 of the times it is used, the word refers to Jesus. In fact, "Teacher" is one of the most common titles for Jesus used in the Gospels.

Jesus says that everyone — notice the inclusiveness here — everyone, regardless of education, economics, race, nationality, can choose to follow Jesus and have Him as their Teacher.

"Fully trained" is from the Greek word, καταρτιζω [katartizo]. It can also be translated "to make complete", "to perfect", "to equip". Another use of this word was to describe the process of mending fishing nets. As Jesus was teaching in Galilee and as he was picking his disciples we read in Mark 1:19:

Going on a little farther, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who were also in the boat mending the nets. —Mark 1:19
So this training is to repair, to put back into perfect condition, they way they are supposed to be.

Back in Luke, notice how the wording suggests someone else does the training, the mending. Jesus says after he has been fully trained. Though we must cooperate with Him in the process, it is Jesus who works in us the process of making us more and more like Himself.

Verse 40 states an important principle, connected to what Jesus just said in verse 39 — everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.

We will become like those we follow. If we follow the world, we will become like the world. If we follow Jesus, we will become like Jesus.

Athanasius was a great Christian leader who lived in the 300’s A. D.   He said of Jesus, “He became what we are that he might make us what he is.”

This is the ultimate goal of discipleship.  To become like Jesus.

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren. —Romans 8:29
The New Living Testament says it this way:
For God knew His people in advance, and He chose them to become like His Son, so that His Son would be the firstborn, with many brothers and sisters. —Romans 8:29 (NLT)
Still in the New Living Testament:
And all of us have had that veil removed so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him and reflect His glory even more. —2 Corinthians 3:18 (NLT)

Yes, dear friends, we are already God's children, and we can't even imagine what we will be like when Christ returns. But we do know that when He comes we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He really is. —1 John 3:2 (NLT)
In his book, The Way of Holiness, Stephen Olford, who spoke here before his recent death, wrote,
“…we cannot personally reveal Christ until we have received Christ, but if there is a genuine experience of the indwelling Savior, then we have a supreme responsibility to reveal Christ consciously, conspicuously, and continually in every area of life.”
What do you think are some keys to becoming more and more like Jesus? III.   Discipleship means working on your own problems:
Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye. —Luke 6:41-42
What do you think are some things we can learn from these verses? Our job is to cooperate with Jesus to fix ourselves, not to fix everyone else. It’s tempting to focus on the shortcomings of others rather than on my own sins and failures. It is a lot less challenging.

There is a funny cartoon, where a priest is talking to a man. The priest says, “It doesn't work that way, Mr. Markson. You're supposed to confess your sins.”

How would you define or explain hypocrisy?

Jesus says, "You hypocrites".   Jesus isn’t talking about people who are unaware of some personal failing. By calling them hypocrites, He makes it clear that He is focusing on those who intentionally conceal their sins, shortcomings and personal failures.

The words “hypocrites” and “hypocrisy” occur 27 times in the New Testament. Of these, 21 times are in the words of Jesus. Clearly, this was an attitude that Jesus was very concerned about.

Hypocrite is from the Greek word  'υποκριτης  [hupokrites]. You may have heard that this Greek word that was used to describe Greek and Roman actors. These actors would hold a large mask in front of them and then speak through the mask.

That's a pretty graphic description of a hypocrite. A hypocrite is someone who presents a mask to the world, who acts in a way that is not consistent with what he really thinks and feels, a fake.

Soren Kierkegaard, a 19th century philosopher says,

"There are, in the end, only two ways open to us: to honestly and honorably make an admission of how far we are from the Christianity of the New Testament, or to perform skillful tricks to conceal the true situation."
Jesus calls what we see in someone else’s eye a speck and what we have in our eye a log. Through this illustration Jesus shows that we often criticize the minor faults of others while covering up major faults in our own lives.

Jesus tells us to first take the log out of your own eye. This is a critical attitude for a disciple. If I get caught up in straightening out other people and stop working on my own life, stop becoming more like Jesus ... then I stop being a disciple.

Steve Green, Christian singer and recording artist, says: "Accountability to me is unnatural. My tendency is to only let you know enough about me to give you a good impression. I am a recovering hypocrite."

Karl Rahner, a 20th century German Jesuit writer, says: "The number one cause of atheism is Christians. Those who proclaim God with their mouths and deny Him with their lifestyles is what an unbelieving world finds simply unbelievable."

IV.   Discipleship means bearing good fruit:

For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. —Luke 6:43-45
The word, and word-picture "fruit" is found over 60 times in the New Testament.  In the handout you’ll find a whole list of references related to our bearing fruit as Christ’s disciples.

We don’t have time to look at these verses in depth but we do need to consider the basic premise — good trees bear good fruit. If Christ is in our hearts, if we are surrendered to Him, then the fruit of our lives should show this. Here are four types of fruit that indicate where we are spiritually:

  1. Character:
    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. —Galatians 5:22-23
    These are the “good fruit”; the previous verses (5:20-21) list the “bad fruit”. Which are more present, more prominent in your life?


  2. Conduct:
    ...so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. —Colossians 1:10
    Here is the fruit of “good works”. Jesus’ life was characterized by deeds of compassion and service to others.
  3. Conversation:
    …for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. —Luke 6:45

    Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. —Hebrews 13:15
    What might be some “bad fruit” in terms of our speech? What might be some “good fruit” regarding our speech?
    Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. —Ephesians 4:29
    ...words that

  4. Converts (Influence):

    Paul says to the church in Rome:

    I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far) so that I may obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles. —Romans 1:13
    Just because I go to church doesn't mean I'm a Christian or a disciple. It’s not just what I say I believe. The fruit of my life shows the reality of my relationship with Christ. Discipleship also means obeying Jesus.
    “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 “Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 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. 49 “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 6:46-49

    “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”
What do you think we can learn from this verse?

An early 1900 poet by the name of Edwin Markham wrote, “We have committed the Golden Rule to memory; let us now commit it to life.”

That illustrates what Jesus is saying here - it’s not enough to call Jesus our “Lord”; it’s not enough to know His commands. As Jesus simply put, we need to do what He says!

The fundamental measure of discipleship is obedience.

What do you think are some general principles that can help us put into practice the teachings of Jesus?

Someone wrote: “Some people build their lives on possessions — how much they own.
Some build their lives on passions — the satisfaction of their desires.
Some build their lives on position — the jobs and offices they hold.
Some build their lives on power — the people under their influence.
And some build their lives on pleasing Jesus, doing His will and discover that this alone can truly satisfy the deepest longings within us.”

Keeping God's commands boils down to choices. We choose either to obey or ignore what God has said. We started the study of Luke Chapter 6 with the quote from A.W. Tozer who put it this way:

“Millions call themselves by His name [Christians], it is true, and pay some token respect to Him, but a simple test will show how little He is really honored among them. Let the average person be put to the proof on the question of who is above, and his true position will be exposed. Let him be forced into making a choice between God and money, between God and men, between God and personal ambition, God and self ... and God will take a second place every time. Those other things will be exalted above. However the person may protest, the proof is in the choices he makes day after day throughout his life.”
__________

Next week: ...we will have a presentation by Mike Dicker on his work in China. Mike used to attend this class, several years ago. He is now teaching English in China and witnessing at the same time.   Don’t miss his presentation about his work.

In two weeks we will continue our study of Luke with Chapter 7. During the next two weeks, read through Luke 7.