Current Sermon Notes
THE BEATITUDES (BLESSINGS), According to Luke
Heritage Church Luke 6:20-49 May 7, 2023
Matthew’s description of the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ varies from Luke’s for
at least two reasons: Jesus proclaimed the sermon many times and in various
forms and at different forums. So Matthew’s ear caught more of the religious
themes for the Jews. But Luke catered to the Gentiles, so he gave encouragement
to people in poverty or new to God’s covenant blessings, as were the Gentiles. For
example, Matthew says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit” (Mt. 5:3). Luke simply
says, “Blessed are you who are poor.” (Lk. 6:20). Both accounts give God’s
complete teaching of these Kingdom truths.
Luke 6:20-26 tells us the poor are eternally better off than the rich. Their
reward “is great in heaven.” People who are rich and well-fed hate and insult poor
people, laugh at them, and ostracize them. In days of old, the financially well-off
rejected the prophets and paid no attention to God and His word. These rich who
laugh now will mourn and weep in the future. Their good life is short term.
Mother Teresa, in her 1979 acceptance speech of the Nobel Peace Prize,
said, “To the nations who have legalized abortion, they are the poorest nations.
They are afraid of the little one, they are afraid of the unborn child, and the child
must die because they don’t want to feed one more child, to educate one more
child, the child must die”
To the church of Laodicea, John says, “Because you say, ‘I am rich and have
become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are
wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked” (Rev. 3:17).
Or consider Proverbs 21:13, “He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor, will also cry himself and not be answered.”
Luke 6:27-33 tells us we should love our enemies, do good to those who
hate us, bless and pray for those who mistreat us, turn the other cheek or give a
shirt when a coat is stolen, and in all ways and with all people practice the golden
rule: “And just as you want men to treat you, treat them in the same way.” (6:31;
see Mt. 7:12; Lev. 24:22).
It seems Jesus is telling us to look for opportunities to live outside the box of our normal comfortable relationships. We need to actively approach that hurting
‘Samaritan’ (Luke 10:25-37) who has a history of disliking us, so through God’s love we can create a better world. It is up to us to break the barriers of misunderstanding in our homes and communities.
Luke 6:34-38 tells us to love our enemies and DO good all the time, which
includes lending money expecting nothing in return. Jesus puts these activities in
the category of ‘good works,’ and tells us our model and inspiration is God Himself who gives common grace to everyone, even the ungrateful and evil. We are to be merciful, moved by the fact that God is merciful. We are not to be the judge of other people and their activities (Rom. 2:1-2 and ‘balance’ with 1 Cor. 5:12-13).
In fact, we are to do the opposite of judging them and pardon them—not just try, but really do it. And IF we pardon, then we WILL BE pardoned (6:37). The
word ‘pardon’ has the meaning of ‘release’ (see Matthew 18:32-35). Compare this
command to pardon with the sentence in the Lord’s Prayer which says, “For if you
do not forgive men for their transgressions, your Father will not forgive your
transgressions.” Our forgiveness is directly obtained by forgiving others.
Luke 6:39-42 gives us Jesus’ parable of the Good Teacher. The ultimate
teacher in our lives is Jesus and the Holy Spirit (see 1 Jn. 2:20;27). When we are
transformed, we are not like one blind person giving wrong information to another
blind person, but we submit to the better way of our most excellent Teacher.
We do this by first of all extracting the ‘log’ out of our own eye. Only after
we effect this surgery will we be able to take the ‘speck’ out of our brother’s eye
(6:41-42). We must look ourselves in the mirror and annotate carefully how we
have contributed to the problem. It is only when we have been super serious with
ourselves that we can begin to see the relationship problem clearly.
Luke 6:43-45 explains the long-term product of good teaching. It took five
years for my new prune tree to develop fruit, and another couple of years for it to
bear ‘good’ fruit that compares admirably with my 40 year old prune tree. It takes
time to build up a significant treasury in our hearts. We save and invest carefully
to fill our spiritual bank account. Some people spend their money foolishly.
Our mouth speaks from our heart, and Jesus says in Mt. 12:36-37 (ESV), “I
tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word
they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be
Luke 6:46-49 lays out the moral imperative for our lives. We can’t just call
religiously on His Name: “Lord, Lord.” As James 1:22 tells us, “But prove
yourselves DOERS of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”
Jesus finalizes these kingdom sayings by giving us the parable of the Two
Builders. One of the builders carelessly built the foundation of his house, and it
immediately collapsed when the river burst against it. But with more difficulty the
careful builder constructed his house on solid rock. And which builder are you?