Last time, we mentioned that the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke were talking about the same event, where the former used quite a few chapters. We had discussed what was in common in both Gospels and Beatitudes. Today, we’ll discuss the rest of the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Luke, which will basically use the same format. First, we’ll talk about loving your enemies. Jesus not only said so, but He carried it out on the cross. If we don’t quench the Holy Spirit, we can do so as it is illustrated by the example of what Steven did. Secondly, we discuss in detail regarding ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Thirdly, the Bible teaches us not to judge others. From seeing things in the aspect of human, man often thinks that he must be correct. One must see things in the aspect of God. Don’t be proud to the extent of not being able to see by oneself accurately. Fourthly, we talk about the verses regarding blaming yourself with the same heart you use to blame others. Fifthly, we talk about two kinds of fruit trees. That one does things in the name of Jesus is not necessarily sufficient. You have to distinguish good trees from bad ones from the fruits they bear. We also give one example of life to illustrate this point. At last, we speak of two foundations for building a house. We need to build the house on the rock. Both the New and Old Testament consistently says that the rock was Christ.
1. Loving your enemies
In Luke 6:27-30, it says, “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.” Similar words are given in Matthew 5:38-42 when talking about the Sermon on the Mount.
Let us first talk about the fact that Jesus not only said to love your enemies, but He carried it out on the cross. Didn’t He love His enemies? In the cross, it is said in Luke 23:34, “But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” …” What we want to do is to be conformed to the image of Jesus as said in Romans 8:29, “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.” If we see things in the aspect of human, the way to sanctification is really not easy. Actually, this is also said partly in Romans 12:21, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” But to obey the leading of the Holy Spirit, we need only to “Do not quench the Spirit.”(1 Thessalonians 5:19) Then we can do it, as illustrated by an example in the Bible. In Acts 7:59-60, it says, “They went on stoning Stephen …Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” …” Aren’t his words similar to what Lord Jesus said in the cross?
We take a look at the rest of the verses. Apparently, many Christians cannot fulfill the requirements if obeyed literally. Isn’t it contradictory to what is said in Proverbs 6:1-5? “My son, if you have become surety for your neighbor, Have given a pledge for a stranger, If you have been snared with the words of your mouth, Have been caught with the words of your mouth, Do this then, my son, and deliver yourself; Since you have come into the hand of your neighbor, Go, humble yourself, and importune your neighbor. Give no sleep to your eyes, Nor slumber to your eyelids; Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hunter’s hand And like a bird from the hand of the fowler.” We are not supposed to become surety even for neighbors. If we want to obey the verses literally according to Law, it is impossible. For example, it says, “Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.”” If someone asked for everything you have, won’t you have nothing left? Christians are all the adopted sons of God, thus princes of God. Having nothing isn’t the life that God wants us to live! Aren’t Abraham, Isaac, Jacob rich? But this cannot be an excuse to tell someone a lie that he would be rich and successful once becoming a Christian. Let us take a look at another verse in 1 Corinthians 13:3, “And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.” Thus, we need to be in the Agape love, not in the requirement of Law. It may be possible for us all to be in similar situations like the verses said. We need to have the heart of wisdom from God, to do whatever demands in Agape love.
Let us emphasize again. As long as we “Do not quench the Spirit,” (1 Thessalonians 5:19) we can do it. We need to use the words in the Bible to discern. Don’t discount the words of the Bible written in black and white; otherwise, it is pretty easy to create the gods not described in the Bible. Particularly, in supernatural things, since Satan can also perform some of them (ref. Job 1:13-19). Don’t forget what was said in 2 Corinthians 11:14-15, “No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.” And “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”(1 Peter 5:8)
2. Loving your neighbor as yourself
In Luke 6:31-36, it says, “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.” In the Gospel of Matthew, it also talks about love. When we share Sermon on the Mount there, we’ll discuss those verses. Let us now restrict our discussions based on the Gospel of Luke.
Here, let us take a look at what was said in Romans 3:22-24, “even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” Isn’t Jesus merciful to us and is our example? “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?”(Romans 2:4)
It is said in 1 Corinthians 13:13, “But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” The definition in 1 Corinthians 13:3-8 is the one for Agape love, not human ordinary love. You can see similar statements in Matthew 22:37-40, “And He said to him (a lawyer), “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”” Before, I thought that people in depression couldn’t love neighbors as themselves, how can he hope others in depression like himself? Thinking about it now, isn’t it just loving neighbors as yourself? You suffer from depression, and you don’t want others to suffer like you.
3. Don’t judging others
In Luke 6:37-38, it says, “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.” It says also in Matthew 7:1-2, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” There are other verses saying similar things. Below are some examples. In Romans 2:1, it says, “Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.” In James 4:12, it also said clearly, “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?” In short, don’t judge others. But remember, what Jesus said in John 8:16, “But even if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone in it, but I and the Father who sent Me.”
A man often cheats himself without knowing as described in Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” One could judge others in a wrong way. From seeing things in the aspect of human, one often thinks that he is correct. Thinking about it, unless one is on purpose saying something wrong as being right, one wouldn’t say anything which he thinks is incorrect. From seeing things in the aspect of human, it seems reasonable to give a teaching which says that I only speak whatever God wants me to say. Well, that person may not be aware that God is infinite and man finite. If one thinks that he can one hundred percent know the will of God in daily life, most probably he is proud to the extent that he cannot see his own being proud, which is just like the examples in the cases of the counting people by David and feeling self-righteousness by Job!
4. Blaming yourself with the same heart by blaming others
In Luke 6:39-42, it says, “And He (Jesus) 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.”
Yes, a blind man cannot guide a blind man. In terms of “A pupil is not above his teacher,” remember in Matthew 23:10, “…One is your Leader, that is, Christ.” Don’t worship man. Don’t worry that I might be above the teacher. We can at most be conformed to the image of Jesus, not exceeding Him. That means that our life can be always improved. There is no upper limit for that. Regarding the point raised by logs and specks, it is also mentioned in Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:3-6 with the additional words, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” Indeed, pigs and dogs don’t recognize the values of these things, and they could turn and tear you to pieces. One shouldn’t judge others. Particularly, he should understand what Jeremiah said that a person could even cheat himself. Actually, if one indeed knows that he could cheat himself, he shouldn’t normally judge others. Unless he is like what was described in John 8:16, where Jesus and God are one. Therefore, the judgment was not from man. When we are indeed conformed to the image of Jesus, we are united with Him. He is then the one who makes judgment, and My judgment is true.
5. Two kinds of fruit trees
In Luke 6:43-45, it says, “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.”
Here, it talks about life. The life of figs and thorns, and grapes and briar bushes, is vastly different. The same is that of good and bad trees. We are not talking about grafting, where a good branch is used in order to get good fruits. Therefore, the verse says, “for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” The verses in Matthew 7:15-23 say clearly, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'”
Aren’t the words ‘thrown into the fire’ the words spoken by John the Baptist in Matthew 3:11-12? “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” You cannot just listen to what people say, but you need to observe what people do. We should ask, “Isn’t it consistent with what they said?” Only those who do the will of God will enter the Heaven.
Let us use an example to illustrate this. The Bible says clearly in 1 John 4:19-21, “We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.” If some people bear the fruit of not loving his brother to the extent of not speaking to him, isn’t it contradictory to what the Bible says? How can such people love God? God doesn’t do anything contradictory to what the Bible says, even He has absolute authority! Of course, it is possible what said in Jude 1:23, “…on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.” For Jude, it is adequate for him to say so. But for people not comparable to Jude, isn’t it judging others by saying so? Let us take a look what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 4:3-4, “But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord.” Indeed, it is the God who can examine and judge people.
6. The two foundations
In Luke 6:46-49, it says, “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.” A similar paragraph is also given in Matthew 7:24-29 on the Sermon on the Mount by adding in Matthew 7:28-29 the words, “When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.” Here we see the authority of Jesus, the crowds could sense it.
Both the New and Old Testament consistently says, “…the rock was Christ.”(1 Corinthians 10:4) When the foundation is built on Jesus, the house cannot be collapsed. It is said clearly in Romans 9:33, “just as it is written, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”” With the same rock, the difference between believers and unbelievers is totally different. Indeed, we have to be doers like what said in James 1:22, “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” When there is true faith, there must have an action out of faith.
(Verses refer to those in NASB unless otherwise specified.)
(You can get all articles in “https://a-christian-voice.com/” under “On spiritual understanding about life.”)