Session 7- Genuine Love
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Central Theme: Genuine Love
Objective Statement: Here are three important questions that Jesus answers that help us know what true love looks like.
1. How do I love? v. 27-31
2. Who do I love? v. 32-36
3. Why do I love? v. 37-38
- Today we are continuing are study in the book of Luke.
- It’s also a Sunday where we sometimes set aside to talk about the value and sanctity of Human life.
- God has made man in His own image.
- The Bible says that man is known and loved by God in the womb.
- The Bible values life in the womb and life that is aged.
- All human life is sacred before God.
- And so we should value life.
- And yet the Bible teaches, and Jesus taught this value, as more than a political position.
- It is more than just a stance to take.
- In today’s text we will see that in God’s economy we must not just be for innocent life, but we must love like God loves.
- It is helpful to understand these verses within the context of which Jesus spoke them and how Luke related them in the flow of thought of the chapter.
- In Luke 6:1-5 we find that Jesus had disciples that were following him. Verses 1-5 describes a problem that the pharisees had with the way the disciples of Jesus were acting. The Pharisees were complaining that they were breaking the parts of the law that they had defined by plucking ears of corn. The truth is that the scripture literally says it is ok to do this in Deuteronomy.
When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbour, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbour’s standing corn.
- The disciples were not disobeying the scripture. They were disobeying the law of people that added to scripture.
- In verses 6-11 you see the pharisees upset with Jesus for healing on the sabbath. Jesus rebukes them for their position. They were upset with him for healing someone on the sabbath! Of course, it is ok to do good on the sabbath.
- So here you have two accounts of these religious leaders caring more about their religion than the scripture. These accounts set forth a contrast between Jesus’s disciples and the religious leaders.
- In verses 12-16 we find Jesus spending all night praying, and after praying He comes down and picks specific disciples to be apostles. The 12 were not the only disciples, but they were a specific group out of all the disciples.
- So, Jesus prays.
- Then Jesus picks.
- Then Jesus preaches.
- The sermon here is like one recorded in Matthew commonly called the “sermon on the mount”. And in this sermon, we see another similar contrast to the hypocritical pharisees and the disciples. This contrast is between those who are blessed and those that are cursed. Those who are blessed are ones that are true disciples of Jesus. They are acting like those who truly follow Jesus. (v.20-23) Those who are cursed (and thus pronounced with woe) are acting the way these religious leaders were acting. They were harsh, condemning, judgmental, and holding people to rules that they themselves had made up. They were not loving or kind. They were imposing rules as a way of growing in authority, power, and riches. They are acting as those who are not following Jesus. (vs. 24-26)
- Now Jesus made a statement in the Gospels that may shed light onto today’s text in verses 27-36 from a discipleship lens.
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. (35) By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13:34-35
- Jesus said that the defining mark of his disciples would be their love. He said that the greatest commandment was to love the Lord our God with all that we are, and the second is to love our neighbor as ourselves. So, when we get to verse 27, we see this same kind of command:
But I say unto you which hear, Love… Luke 6:27a
- This first command to love is followed by several commands that are parallel to each other. There is an imperative (command) verb, and then there is the direct object. The command to “Love your enemies” is a good overall description of what the whole passage is about, because that pattern is repeated.
Here are three important questions that Jesus answers that help us know what true love looks like.
Question #1- How do we love?
But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, (28) Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. (29) And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. (30) Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. (31) And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
- Jesus commanded them act a certain way- a way called love. Look at what love is paralleled with in the rest of the commands:
- How do you love?
- Do good
- Pray for
- Do not retaliate in kind
Luke 6:31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
- Biblical love is not a feeling. Love is a verb. Love is an action. This is why the word “love” here is given as a command.
- Think about it this way:
- Go love.
- Go bless.
- Go do good.
- Go pray.
- Go give.
- Do not retaliate.
- This is what it means to love.
- And if your confused about what to do in any situation, Jesus sums it up this way
- Do to others the way you want them to do to you.
- It is not enough to feel love. Love is an action that must be expressed. We love by blessing, doing good, giving, praying for, and treating others the way we want to be treated. This is what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ.
- Pick one of those other verbs as an expression of love and do that for someone around you today!
3 important questions that Jesus answers that help us know what true love looks like.
1. How should I love?
2. Who should I love?
But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, (28) Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. (29) And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. (30) Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. (31) And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. Luke 6:27-31
- This question, “who should I love?” does not mean “who should I be in love with?”
- This is not the emotive, “falling in love”, romantic type of affection that is a feeling.
- Remember this is love as a verb.
- The question “who should I love” could be expressed, “Who should I go love, go bless, go give to, go pray for and go do good for?” Who should I not retaliate against even when it feels like they deserve it?
- Every one of those commands is followed by a direct object, the first of which is this: Love… your enemies!
- Who are my enemies?
- Jesus gives a clue to that with each of the descriptions of who we should love. Look at them as a list:
- them which hate you
- them that curse you
- them that despitefully use you
- him that smiteth thee
- him that taketh away thy goods
- The truth is that the command to do good, and bless, and give to those who do it in return is not that hard of a command when it refers to those, we are close to like friends and family.
- When I say “I love you” to my wife, she says it back. When I give affection to my kids, they often give it back.
- When I am kind to people like me- with my worldview, with my way of thinking and interests- they are often kind in return.
- But to include people who hate me, who curse me, who despitefully uses me, who hit me and take away my goods, that includes a whole bunch of people that I, in my natural man, do not want to love.
- This means that as a disciple of Jesus Christ, God’s will for me is to have no category of person in my life who I should not love (the verb).
- This Sunday is “Sanctity of Human Life” Sunday. On this Sunday we are quick to affirm the life of the innocent in the womb. We should. It is right.
- But the truth is that as disciples of Christ, we do not just affirm the right to life for every unborn human being.
- We must also affirm the command to love every human being, including our enemies.
- This does not mean that we agree with our enemies.
- It does not mean that we affirm the sin of our enemies.
- It does not mean we ignore truth in the name of love.
- It does not mean that we must have the “warm fuzzies” for those who hate us.
- No, to genuinely love someone is to affirm the truth. Equipped believers, according Ephesians 4, are people who speak the truth in love and grow up into Him in all things, who is the Head, even Christ.
- We love the innocent.
- We love those who love us.
- But we also love those who are difficult to love. We love our enemies.
- Who is someone in your life that could be categorized as an enemy? How can you express love for them today?
3 important questions that Jesus answers that help us know what true love looks like.
1. How should I love?
2. Who should I love?
3. Why should I love?
- Jesus here pre-emptively answers our unverbalized question.
- Those who are listening and think that it is too high a moral bar to demand that we love our enemies might ask, “Seriously? Love our enemies? Love those who hurt us, and use us, and speak evil against us? Is that what it really takes to be “blessed” and not receiving “woe”? Is that what it takes to be a true disciple?
- What is Jesus’ answer?
1. Identity with God
For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. (33) And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.
- Even those who are the most evil love those who love them. Even those who are the most evil do good to those who do good to them.
- He asks this fundamental question- “What thank have ye?”.
- He is asking us this kind of question: “Do you think you’ll be “blessed” by God by only loving those who you know will love you back? Do you think that you will be considered Jesus’ disciple by “loving” in the same way that even the most evil “love”?”
- Our motives for this wrong kind of “love” is even more poignantly expressed in the last question.
And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
- Even those who are evil give and lend in hopes of getting something in return. Often the way we “love” is really more for us than it is the other person.
- Christ followers love differently. They love like God loved.
But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest
- Jesus tells his disciples that those who love like this will be rewarded by God in a big way.
- Those who love like that show that they are his disciples.
- They show that they are blessed.
- Those that display this kind of love show that they are “children of the Highest”.
- Their identity is connected to God because they are loving the way God loves.
- The next phrase is the key to the whole passage:
“for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. (36) Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.”
- Our motivation for loving is not the performance of those we are called to love.
- Our motivation for loving is found in the fact that God loves us when we did not deserve it.
- God is kind to the unthankful.
- God is kind to the evil person.
- That means God has been merciful to us.
- Since God has loved us when we were undeserving, we ought to love those around us that we may feel do not deserve it either.
- Romans 5 says something particularly important about God’s love for us.
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (7) For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. (8) But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (10) For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
- If God loved us when we were His enemies, this means He loved us when we did not deserve it. He did not wait to demonstrate His incredible love for us when we were deserving. He loved us first.
- When we love others unconditionally, intentionally, and as an action, our reward will be great. We will demonstrate that we are people who God has changed. We will demonstrate that we are born again!
2. Reward from Men
Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: (38) Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
- Jesus goes on to continue to state what love looks like.
- Love looks like not harshly and unmercifully judging or condemning. Love means forgiving. Love means giving.
- Jesus makes the case that when we love this way- when we love genuinely, without the motivation to manipulate others to love us back- we will have great relationships with those around us. People will that express that kind of love back to us.
- Jesus uses the common sights of the marketplace to describe how much we will be rewarded. It is not like potato chips, where half of the bag is empty. No, it is good measure! Pressed down, shaken together, and running over! He is talking about blessings that are full and overflowing.
- He then states the principle this way:
“For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”
- What you sow is what you reap. When you love authentically with no expectation in return, you will be more likely to receive that kind of love.
- We can often tell when people are not genuine in their expression of love to us, and when we do feel like the love is not genuine, we tend to reject it. When people are genuine in their love, we tend to love them back genuinely.
- When a whole community of people come together and love each other genuinely, it becomes a testimony to the outside world. When they love people that they should hate, it is a testimony as well.
- Who is someone you should demonstrate genuine love to today?
- At Canton Baptist there is a Christian Hall of Fame that contains paintings of notable Christians in history.
- In 1956 Life Magazine did an article on the life of 5 missionaries who died trying to get the gospel to the Wadoni Indians deep in the jungles of Ecuardor.
- Here is that painting.
- One of those men was a guy named Nate Saint- the one in the middle on the bottom row.
- Nate’s Wife, Rachel, and Jim Elliot’s wife, Elisabeth, went back those people and worked among them with other missionaries. Eventually churches were established and many in the tribe were lead to Christ.
- One of those that killed Nate Saint and the other missionaries is a native called
- Rachel brought up her son Steve, Nate’s son, among the people who killed their dad.
- Steve Saint calls Mincaye, this one that killed his dad, grandfather. This man knows Jesus Christ as Savior today.
- A journalist once told Steve, “I understand possibly forgiving the man who killed your father, but loving him? That’s almost morbid.”
- Steve replied, “It would be if it wasn’t true. The answer as to why this could happen is very simple. It is God’s grace and the power of His Word.”
- These two men love each other, and many have been saved because of the demonstration of love poured out by these families on who were there enemies.
- When they were struck, they turned the other cheek.
- This is what a disciple of Jesus Christ loves like…
- Because this is how God loved us!
- Who should we love? Everyone, including our enemies.
- How should we love? Unconditionally, as a verb.
- Why should we love? Because we were loved by God when we didn’t deserve it!