Sermon: The Joys of Being Poor, Hungry and Hated (Luke 6:20-26)

Click Here for Audio Luke 6.20.26

Poor, Hungry, and Hated

Jesus is beginning His first discipleship lesson for the Apostles, the great number of Disciples and the great Multitude.  This is the Apostle’s first Disciple Hour lesson.

Here in Luke, Jesus begins explaining to His Apostles and to us the radical difference between Kingdom Life and secular life.  His point is that if we’re going to be God’s children we must be properly instructed as to what God desires from each one of us.  Our value system used to be that of the secular world around us but now it has to change.  To be a part of God’s Kingdom means that His subjects live differently than the secular world around them.  We must have a God centered worldview.  God has different priorities than does the world system around us.  God has different purposes than the world has.  If we are saved then God has placed us into His Kingdom and we must begin living by His standards not by the ones from our former kingdom.  Jesus knows this.  He also knows that living for God’s glory and by His standards doesn’t happen automatically or come naturally.  We all must be taught what God desires from His people and then begin the hard work of conforming and submitting our lives to His sovereign rule.

In this first lesson, Jesus is going to pronounce a blessing on those people who are poor, hungry, weeping, and hated.  Immediately we see that there is something radical here.  From the world’s standards those are the very people who are not blessed.  Our culture would say that the rich, full, happy and liked are the folks who have been blessed.

Jesus says something else; to make sure we understand that He’s not mistaken, He says the same thing in a negative way.  What He does is declare woes, which is the opposite of blessed, on the ones who are rich, full, happy, and liked.

Ultimately, the question is…Will you be happy with the world’s riches or will you hold out for a greater treasure, namely, Jesus Christ?

Please hear God’s authoritative and inerrant Word…

Luke 6:20-26 (ESV) 

    And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:

“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. [21] “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.

    “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. [22] “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!  [23] Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

    [24] “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.

    [25] “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.

“Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. [26] “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.

So ends this portion of God’s Word may He use it to accomplish His purposes in all our lives.

1. Christ Centered Poverty

Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God…[24] “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.

The first thing we should understand is that Jesus is not saying that all poor people are blessed.  What He is saying is that His poor disciples are blessed.  This is poverty accompanied by grace.  This is being poor in worldly possessions but being rich toward God.  This is forsaking an earthly treasure and laying up treasure in heaven.  This type of poverty is making wise investments in eternity.

Jesus is speaking to His disciples and Apostles and declaring a blessing on them because they have made certain sacrifices from a worldly standard to be one of His students.  From a monetary perspective they have given up much to follow Christ.  So Jesus is encouraging them to continue because while they may be poor now on earth, in heaven they’re rich.

Jesus also doesn’t say, poor in spirit as He does on the Sermon on the Mount.  He has a different purpose here and a different point to make.  Here, He is speaking about money.  He is speaking in terms of wealth.  There are two types of wealth spoken of on the Scriptures.  One can be wealthy while on earth and one can be wealthy in heaven.  Rarely does one receive both.  So, we must ask ourselves, are we rich toward God?  Have we laid up treasure in heaven?  Have we made wise investments?  Or are our investments of a temporal nature, only for here and now?

Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV) 

    “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,  [20] but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  [21] For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Have a heavenly bank account.  Have a heavenly treasure chest.  Jesus wants us all to be wise investors and to not invest in things that will not yield an eternal profit.

He also shows what poor investing looks like…

[24] “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.

To His disciples, He passes eternal blessing.  He declares them blessed not because they gave up everything to follow Him, but in the giving up their true nature is seen.  They are genuine and giving up everything to follow Him is proof that their treasure is not to be found in earthly riches but in heavenly riches.

In the same way, Jesus passes eternal judgment on all who find their treasure in earthly things and not in Him.

These folks are driven to seek monetary wealth.  Their treasure is to be found on earth.  This is their purpose in life, to acquire wealth.  Jesus says that they are receiving the benefits here and now on their earthly investments.  They are receiving a return now so there will not be an eternal return.

These folks who long for riches now are also showing where their allegiance lies.  They have no desire to lay up treasure in heaven and are satisfied with an earthly treasure.

Then Jesus passes eternal judgment when He declares a woe on them.  Literally, cursed are you if you seek happiness in monetary wealth.

2. Christ Centered Hunger

[21] “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied…[25] “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.

Luke is dealing with physical hunger.  Where in Matthew’s report of the Sermon on the Mount, he writes, hungers for righteousness.

In this world a disciple may suffer for righteousness sake.  A disciple may need to make some extreme choices in order to follow Christ.  In the first century this was especially true.  To follow Christ meant often times one would be hungry.

Jesus is encouraging the disciple to keep going.  Don’t cave in because you’re doing so well.  Remember, you may be hungry now, but there is coming a day when God will forever satisfy you with riches untold and you will never be hungry ever again.

This promise is mainly focused on the Kingdom when it arrives in its fullness.  The great banquet feast is an example of never being hungry ever again.

Psalm 107:3-9 (ESV) 

    and gathered in from the lands,

        from the east and from the west,

        from the north and from the south.

    [4] Some wandered in desert wastes,

        finding no way to a city to dwell in;

    [5] hungry and thirsty,

        their soul fainted within them.

    [6] Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,

        and he delivered them from their distress.

    [7] He led them by a straight way

        till they reached a city to dwell in.

    [8] Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,

        for his wondrous works to the children of men!

    [9] For he satisfies the longing soul,

        and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

3. Christ Centered Sadness

    “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh…”Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.

Jesus knew that these disciples would be put to the test.  He is building strong persevering men and women.  He is getting them ready because poverty, hunger, and weeping are coming their way and He doesn’t want them to be surprised when it does.

When events in our lives cause sadness remember this life is only a vapor compared to eternity and this life is lived in the realm of sinfulness and in the realm of the curse.

2 Cor. 4:16-18 (ESV) 

    So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.  [17] For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,  [18] as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Think biblically about sadness and even use it to remind yourself that in heaven no one will ever be sad again.  Lord, thank you for this real reminder that the best is yet to come.

Always remember, Jesus is not saying everyone who weeps is blessed; only those who weep and are in Christ are blessed.

4. Christ Centered Affections

[22] “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!  [23] Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets…[26] “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.

Jesus is using the secular world as the litmus test for kingdom blessings.  If the lost world hates you because of the Gospel then you have a great reward coming your way in the kingdom.  God will reward you.

Remember, Jesus isn’t saying that everyone who is hated will receive a reward, only those who are hated because of Jesus and the Gospel.  When the day comes when people hate you because of the Son of Man, leap for joy because your reward is great in heaven.

Then He says, this is exactly what they did to God’s prophets in the OT.  Why did the lost people hate the prophets?  They hated them because they stood up and spoke the words God had them to speak.  They called people to repentance and faith and for the most part the people didn’t want to repent and did want faith, so they were hated.

The false prophets, on the other hand, were adored by the people because they spoke soothing words to their ears.  Their lies were exactly what people wanted to hear.  The people loved them and held them in high esteem for their good sounding flattery.

If all people are speaking well of you, if it’s your goal to be liked…if the fear of man causes you to cave in and let people have their way and let them think that everything is alright with their souls, then you will be liked but you will be cursed for all eternity.  False prophets should enjoy their lives now as much as possible because the life to come will be a life of weeping and suffering.

We should pause and consider how we’re doing.  Are we poor, hungry, and hated because of the Gospel or are we rich, fill, and liked?

Let’s get to the heart of what Jesus is getting at as we consider these issues.  Jesus’ truth taught is we must be willing to give up everything if need be for the sake of Christ and the Gospel.  It is possible to have this attitude if we understand that in reality we’re not giving anything up at all.  We are trading temporal comfort for eternal joy.

Satan’s desire is to get us to love the things of this world supremely, Jesus, on the other hand, is telling us the truth, we must love Him supremely.

When the Fall took place and Adam and Eve allowed the serpent to deceive them, the earth and everything in it was cursed.  Satan’s goal is to get us to love the things of this cursed world more than we love the things of the world to come.  He wants us to love things that are cursed by God more than the things blessed by God.  When we find ourselves longing for riches etc of this world, we’re really telling God that we would rather have temporary cursed things than the wonderful eternal blessed things He has waiting for us.

Satan has a counterfeit life that he promotes as being greater than the real blessed life God has in store for us as His children.

Jesus wants us to learn that while things of this world look really good they are not really good.  He really wants us to see what the good life looks like vs. what looks like the good life but really isn’t.—Duncan

Jesus is building a Kingdom army that is ready for struggles of this world.  He is amassing a people who will not fall for the schemes of Satan.  He is putting together genuine disciples who when given the choice between riches now or riches later are wise investors and hold out for real riches and don’t fall for the fake stuff Satan has.

Remember, as believers this is not our real home.  Our real home is in heaven.  Our citizenship is in the Kingdom of God and God’s ways are not the ways of this current fallen, cursed world.

I pray you’re living by kingdom realities now even though its fullness is yet to be seen.