|I think that these discussions we've been having are very
interesting and profitible to us as Christians, don't you? I know every time I teach, I
learn something new! I certainly don't know it all! And your comments help and encourage
me as much as I hope I'm helping you.
We've been studying Luke 6, usually called the Sermon on the Plain, for several weeks. We left off with this verse.
Luke 6:41-42 "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, `Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."
Ah, the famous "plank" scripture! Who said Jesus didn't have a sense of humor? This is usually taught to mean that we are NEVER to judge or discern the bad in anyone. But notice what it says "THEN you will see clearly to remove the speak from your brother's eye". Not that we are not to discern when our brother has a difficulty and help him remove it - but to get rid of the 2 by 4 in our own eye first!
So notice that Jesus begins by telling us NOT to judge unfairly - to have a condemning or critical spirit, specifically about character flaws that WE still have! First get rid of the flaw with God's help in our own life, THEN we can help our brother and sister who is having a problem with the same thing.
If you are trying to get a speck out of someone's eye, what tool would you usually use? A jackhammer? A pipe wrench? A chain saw? NO! You usually take a very soft tissue and cautiously touch the piece of dirt or whatever it is. Or you may have to use an eyewash of some kind and gently flush it out. The point is, taking a speck out of someone's eye is a delicate procedure. You want to remove the speck, but not damage the sight.
So it is not that we are NEVER to assist someone in taking care of their character flaws, just do it gently and love, after taking care of our own problems FIRST. Jesus goes on to show us how we can tell the difference between the good and the bad.
Luke 6:43-44 "No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. "
For the past couple of weeks, you've been helping me teach these verses. These are commands directly from our Lord Jesus Christ and we all need wisdom in how to apply them. OK teachers, are ya ready? What does this verse mean?
Some teach that Jesus said to "never judge". But here we are told to examine a person's fruit. There's a difference between discernment and condemnation. What is it?
This goes back to the blind leading the blind. We are to use spiritual discernment, by observing a person's fruit, to see what sort of person they are. And no matter how wise they may SEEM to be, if they are bearing BAD fruit, then something inside is not right.
Did you ever get tangled up in a brier patch? My oh my, that is painful! And sometimes we can get tangled up with those we think are grape vines, but they aren't! They want to fuss and argue, and trip you up, all the while proclaiming to be "Christians" who are gonna teach you how to be just as argumentative, insubordinated and condemning as they are. Don't let no body sling you into a brier patch! Seek peace and pursue IT.
Luke 6:45 "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks."So what does this mean?
What you put into your heart determines what comes out of your mouth. Very simple. If you fill your head with garbage, then garbage will come out of your mouth. If you are having trouble with what comes out of your mouth, what are you allowing into your mind and heart?
Luke 6:46-47 "Why do you call me, `Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice.
Why do you call me, `Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?Well this is a good question isn't it? And one we all need to answer to God in our own hearts. Faith is more than mental assent or agreement with a set of doctrines, it is believing so strongly in something that we obey and follow it daily.
Lord is Kyrios in the Greek, and means master, as a slave has a master. If you call someone your lord, then you are claiming submission to his will. Yet if you do not do what he says, you are a hypocrite. You are giving "lip service" but not heart obedience to that lord.
Jesus goes on to give an example of what someone who obeys Him is like:Luke 6:48 He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.
Who is our foundation? There is no other foundation to be laid but Christ.1 Corinthians 3:11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Matthew 18:16-18 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not REVEALED to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you arePeter [petros, little rock, stone], and on this rock [petra, boulder, bedrock] I will build my church, and the gates of Hades [hell] will not overcome it [or prevail against it].
Jesus is THE rock, known by revelation to our spirits, not to our emotions or intellect. We must dig deep into the Word until we hit BEDROCK - our Lord Jesus Christ - and then build on that. And WHEN, not IF, the storms come, we will not be shaken. What is your foundation today? If it's anything other than Christ Jesus, you will not stand.
Look at what Jesus says about building WITHOUT a foundation:Luke 6:49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete."
Listen dear brothers and sisters! If you build your Christian experience on ANYTHING except the Lord Jesus Christ, you WILL be DESTROYED. You may be happy and prosperous for a while. You might seem just as genuine as the rest. You might even attend church, pay tithes, participate in ministry, but WHEN, not IF, the torrents, the storms, the difficulties we all face sooner or later, WHEN these come, you WILL collapse and be destroyed.
So dig deep into the Word, build your foundation on none other than the Lord Jesus Christ and He will cause you to STAND. Glory to God! No satanic storm can take you out! Nothing shall in any wise harm you! This is God's promise to those who seek His face, not His hand.
This must have sounded even more radical to the people who were listening to Jesus than it does to us today - Jesus said that if they did not hear AND do HIS words; they were headed to destruction. Surely this is a claim to authority, if not deity, that could not have been misunderstood by Jesus' hearers!
Basically what Jesus is saying in Luke 6 in His "Sermon on the Plain" is this: What our enemies (and enemies of God) need is NOT condemnation, punishment, and death, but justification, love and life. Jesus came to minister LIFE and as His followers, we must do likewise. What He asks us to do is not only difficult, but impossible "in the flesh".
If we wait on our emotions (feelings) to motivate us to follow His commands we will never do them. But the Agape (Love) that God has shed forth in our hearts is not primarily emotional, but volitional: an act of the will. You can WILL to do good to someone no matter how you feel about them (as an enemy who has done you great harm).
How does this work? Normally people are moved by what they feel. Therefore, their feelings govern their actions, which then tells their will what to do. They are feeling-oriented. If they feel bad, they act badly. So FEELINGSà ACTIONSà WILL.
So what is wrong with living this way? You are subject to your feelings which change constantly - go up and down like a roller coaster. You are moved by circumstances - you're sad when things go bad and happy when they go good. And how many knows that satan can manipulate BOTH feelings and circumstances to see that you NEVER feel good?
Not only that, but you are trapped in a vicious cycle where you are ALWAYS motivated by feelings, whether good or bad. And eventually the bad will probably predominate, and guess who planned for that to happen? And who will use it to defeat you by causing you to give into depression, or anethesize your self with narcotics or alcohol, or become hateful and abusive? You guess it! The DEVIL.
How does God's Word say it should work? First of all we are transformed by the renewing of our minds by reading and obeying the Word and prayer. Then our will is conformed to the image of Christ, and so we base our actions on this renewed will. Since Jesus will never do anything to harm us, our will lines up with God's will and we have the potential to always be filled with JOY.
So the biblical way of acting is SPIRIT = =>WILL = = >ACTIONS = = >FEELINGS. Since we receive God's love in our spirits by the HOLY SPIRIT, if we align our will up with that love, then it is not only possible, but easy to love our enemies and do good to them that spitefully use us. Since it is NOT an emotion-oriented response, then we are no longer ruled by negative emotions: offense, hurt, spite, revenge, or bitterness.
Therefore it is not hypocritical to go good to someone when we do not feel like it -for the love to which we are called is not feeling oriented. Most of us love our relatives and friends - and we should. But Agape compels us to go beyond this standard, for even "sinners" do this.
Although agape is not emotion-oriented, when we live in agape, we will eventually begin to feel the positive emotions that it brings. This is glorious! Although we may start by not caring for the ones we will to love, we will eventually be able to display the positive emotions that we have willed to walk in.
So then the plan is to keep ourselves in line with this: HOLY SPIRIT => Our SPIRIT => WILL => ACTIONS => FEELINGS. Since the Holy Spirit is not going to lead us astray, we have the potential to always be walking in God's will which will eventually bring about those positive emotions. Then we will be free from the vicious cycle of an emotion-based existance and will truly walk in newness of life.
Agape is the love of God and when we walk in this love, we prove that we are sons (or daughters) of the Most High. When we show mercy and compassion on our enemies we are acting like our Father who is merciful.
Remember, whenever God
gives us a revelation, the devil tries to steal it from us. Guard your hearts and meditate
on what you've learned!
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