Sunday, December 06, 2009

[Matt's Messages] "Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Three"

“Jesus’ Followers Are Different: Part Three”
Certain of Jesus:  The Gospel of Luke
December 6, 2009
Luke 6:37-42

We’re in the middle of a mini-series within a bigger series.

The big series is the Gospel of Luke whose goal is that we become “Certain of Jesus.”  Certain about Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and here–teaching.

The mini-series is a 4 week look at Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain, chapter 6, verses 17 through 49, which we are calling, “Jesus’ Followers Are Different.”

Jesus’ followers [or another word for it is “disciples”] are different.

They act differently.
They believe differently.
They value things differently than others do.
They do different things.

Jesus’ followers belong to a different kingdom.  His kingdom.

And His kingdom is different from the kingdom of this world.

Jesus’ Followers Are Different.

They should be.
They must be.

Jesus demands that His followers be different.

Today is part three of this mini-series.

In part one, we saw that Jesus’ followers act differently because they know that things are not always what they seem.  The world lies to us, and Jesus helps us to see things clearly.  Things are not always going to be the way they seem.  And all suffering for Christ will be worth it.  So Jesus’ followers act differently.

In part two, we saw that Jesus’ followers LOVE differently.  They love their enemies! Yes, even their enemies!   They love differently because that’s how their Heavenly Father loved them.  Jesus’ followers love differently.

Did you go out last week and love your enemies differently than before?
Now, today is Part Three. And here, we get more of the same kind of teaching–how Jesus’ followers are going to be different.  And I think we can summarize it in three words: Gracious, Discerning, and Humble.

These are the words of Jesus.

If you have red-letter version of the Bible, you can see that these are all the words of Jesus.

Of course, the whole Bible is the Word of God.  It’s all equally God-breathed.

But these are words are the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ.

They are not merely human words. They are not words from which we can pick and choose that which we want to hear or believe or follow.

If we call ourselves followers of Jesus, then these words are from our Lord to us.

And they should define us.

This is what we should be like as followers of Jesus.


Let’s use the word “gracious” to summarize verses 37 and 38.

We could use the word “merciful” because that’s the word that introduces this passage from last week’s passage in verse 36.

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

And then, Jesus fleshes that out for us in verse 37.

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.  Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Now, when Jesus says to not judge, He’s not saying that we should never make a judgment. 

The rest of the Bible says that believers must make judgments, evaluations, decisions between one thing and another.

The Bible actually says that Christians are (or at least should be) competent to make judgments in ways that the world is not.

But Jesus is calling for a certain kind of attitude here.  A non-judgmental attitude.  He gets at it closer in the next sentence.  “Do not condemn.”

Jesus’ followers are not in the business of condemnation.

They don’t look down their noses at people.  They are not merciless and proud and harsh and condemnatory.

They are filled with mercy and grace.

He goes on to say, “Forgive” and “Give.”

Jesus’ followers are generous.  They forgive those who sin against them.  They don’t continue to hold it against them. They freely offer grace to others.

And they are generous financially and materially, too.  They are full of grace and are constantly giving.

Jesus’ Followers Are Gracious.

Now, if you are like me, the thing you are thinking is, “No, they are not!”

“I know Christians who are more judgmental than anyone else.”
“I know people who claim to follow Jesus who never forgive, never give, always condemn, and are censorious and condemnatory.”

I know people like that, too, but Jesus’ doesn’t claim them as His followers.

Jesus’ followers are gracious.


Because they know that God will be gracious with them.

Did you see how Jesus follows up each of His commands?

“Do not judge, [why?] and you will not be judged.”

“Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.”

“Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

“Give, and it will be given to you”

Here’s the principle: “For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Now, some people look at that and they think, “Oh, Jesus wants us to earn our salvation by being nice to people.  If we are nice to people, then God’ll be nice to us.”

But that misses the context of verse 36, what we saw last week.

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Be gracious, just as your Father was and is and will be gracious with you.

Jesus’ followers know that God, because of what Jesus did on the Cross, is and will be gracious to them.  And that frees them to be gracious with others.

Because they know that grace is on the way.

How gracious is God?

Ha!  Verse 38 gives us a picture.

“A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.”

The picture is that of measuring grain to sell or give to someone.

The seller fills up his measuring bucket or sack full of the grain.

And then what does he do?

He presses the grain down to make sure it’s packed in there.

And then he shakes it and adds some more.

And then, he pours some on top for “good measure,” right?

And then, he pours it out until it pours onto the lap of the person receiving it.

Overflowing!  That’s how gracious God is.

And we can trust in that.  And what?  GIVE!

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Jesus’ followers are gracious because they know that God will be gracious with them.

The opposite is also true.

Those who are stingy, condemnatory, unforgiving, bitter, judgmental and self-righteous will find that God can be those things, too.

“With the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Are you and I gracious?

I want to be known as a personally gracious person.

And I want our church to be known as a loving, grace-giving, merciful church.

You don’t have to abandon truth or compromise with sin to be gracious.

Jesus didn’t.

But you do have to abandon self-righteousness and being holier-than-thou.
Yesterday, I had lunch with Ralph Magill. He had brought Tobi and Linda down to the Ladies’ Christmas Tea, and needed a place for lunch.

Well, we just happened to have some venison steaks on the broiler, and Ralph agreed to come down and share them with the boys and I.

Ralph told me about a friend of his who had been a Baptist preacher and who was now a practicing homosexual–had abandoned his wife and family for another man.

This guy comes into contact with Ralph every so often.

And he’s scared of Ralph. Do you know why?

It’s because Ralph is gracious to him.

At first, he was scared that Ralph was going to be harsh with him. And he had his back up.  But Ralph reached out to him.  When others just cut him off without contact, Ralph had a hug for him.  He said, “This guy didn’t want me to hug him.  I thought that was weird!  A homosexual guy who had a problem receiving a hug from  a man.”

Ralph continues to reach out to him with grace. 

He doesn’t condone his sin.  He doesn’t agree with him.

If this guy tried to join Ralph’s church, he wouldn’t be allowed.

But Ralph is personally gracious with him.  And keeps on giving.

And that scares this guy because he doesn’t know what do with it!

Jesus’ followers are different.  They are gracious because they know that God will be gracious with them.

Are you struggling to be gracious with someone in your life?

Someone you’re bitter about?
Someone who asks for too much?
Maybe it’s that enemy that we talked about last week...

Treat them like you want God to treat you.

Treat them, better, like you expect God to treat you because of Jesus.


Jesus’ followers are discerning, that is, they are careful whom they listen to and whom they follow.  Look at verse 39.

“He also told them this parable: ‘Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?  A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”

That’s a striking picture, isn’t it?

A blind man leading a blind man.

Who is leading whom?  They’ll fall into a pit.

Be careful whom you choose to follow.

Can they see clearly?  Do they know where they are going?

Now, in a few verses, Jesus will make it very clear Whom we should follow–Jesus Himself, right?

But we have lots of choices in life about whom we will follow.

Who we follow at work.
Who we listen to on the radio.
Whose ideas we allow to influence us.

Jesus is calling His disciples to be very discerning about whom they listen to.

And the thing to watch is how that person is living.  Do they really see clearly?  Then it will show by their actions.  We’ll see more about that next week.

Here’s why it’s so important for us.  V.40

“A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”

Whomever you listen to, that’s what you’re going to be like.

Kids, pay attention here.  Who are you following?  Are you following good examples or bad?

Teens, who are your heroes?  You will become like them.

Adults, who are you listening to?  Who is teaching you?  What is the outcome of their faith?  Can these see or are they blind?

Ultimately, we need to follow Jesus. He is our teacher!  We need to become like Him.

But who is helping us to do that and who is getting in our way.

This is why it’s important to be in a good church.

I think this is a good one.  I love it.  But everyone has to figure that out for themselves.

A bad reason to be in a church is that your family goes to it or has always gone to it.

Well, who cares what they teach?  My family goes here.

You will become like your teacher.

This is why it’s important to be careful what programs we have on whether on TV or radio or podcasts or whatever.

“Everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”

Whom are you listening to?

I know that it’s a scarey thought that you are listening to me today!

“Everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”

Do you want to be like me?

If not, then don’t listen.  Don’t hang around.

If you look at my life and you don’t like what you see, find somewhere else to be.

Tell me before you go, so that I can be encouraged to change.

I take it very seriously that I could be a blind man and lead people into a pit.

And I fight against it with all of my might.

Because I want to lead you to green grass and quiet waters like our Good Shepherd does for us.

We have to be discerning.  Satan would love to get us off track.

Let’s not let him.

Jesus’ followers are discerning.


Look at verse 41.

“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.”

Now, this is the classic word picture illustration for Jesus!

I love how Jesus teaches with pictures!

One guy has a speck of sawdust in his eye.  He has a problem, a sin, a shortcoming, a fault.  We’ll call him “Curly.”

Another guy (We’ll call him, “Moe.”), says that he wants to help out his brother and get that speck out of his eye.

Thanks!  There is only one problem–Moe has a 30 foot telephone pole sticking out of his eye!

And you can imagine the fun as he tries to get the speck out of Curly’s eye.

Jesus says that’s what it’s like when we don’t humble ourselves and check “our own stuff” first.

Now, Jesus isn’t saying that we never confront anyone with their sin.

He says in verse 42 that we can see clearly to remove the speck from our brother’s eye.

But only after we humble ourselves first.

And this is true in marriage, in parenting, in church life, at work, in the neighborhood.

Jesus’ followers humble themselves before they go around sticking their noses into other people’s business.  Even people whose business is their own.

Jesus’ followers are humble.

They know that they are sinners, too.

Do you sense a theme running through these verses?

Verse 37 says to not judge.  Verse 42 says to get the plank out of your eye before you  address someone else’s sin.

Jesus’ followers are different.

This is not the way the world works.

But we are not like the world.

It’s easy to fall into.  It’s easy to judge, to condemn, to be bitter, to be stingy, to be undiscerning, to be self-righteous, to be proud.

But it’s not Jesus’ way.

I was telling my friend bout this sermon that was coming up, and he told me that the last time he was in Pakistan, he was at a supposedly Christian wedding where the wedding party and family showed up drunk and then proceeded to fight with each other.

And he said that he handled it okay on the outside but on the inside, he was mad and disgusted and judgmental about it.

And then the “good” Christians came up to him and kept telling him about who was drunk and who was fighting and the undercurrent was that they were good and they didn’t do things like that.

And my friend got up on Sunday and confessed his judgmental attitude and called up on the families in the church there to humble themselves, too.

It had an effect on them.

And it should have an effect on us.  Because these are the words of Jesus.

Jesus’ followers are different.

Not different in that they never sin!

We do.

But that we know that God has been gracious with us because of Jesus and His Crosswork, so we can be humble and gracious with others, now, too.

Do you need to hear that this morning?

Is there someone that you are disgusted with and you are tempted to look down your nose at and pick out the speck of sawdust in their eye?

Have you dealt with your plank yet?

Jesus’ Followers Are Different.

We are not perfect, but we are gracious, discerning, and humble.

May we grow in generosity, discernment, and humility.

For Jesus’ sake.

Messages So Far in Certain of Jesus:
Certain of Jesus
The Back-Story of Jesus
The Birth of Jesus
Jesus - A Very Special Child
Preparing the Way for Jesus
Jesus Is the Son of God
Jesus in Galilee
Jesus and the Sinners
Jesus Brings Real Joy and Rest
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part One
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Two