Sermon: The Gospel’s Great Reward (Luke 6:27-36)

The Gospel’s Great Reward

If you remember, last time we were in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus began to teach His disciples what Kingdom living is to be like.  His purpose was to set their minds on the things of God.  His purpose was to show them what proper values and behavior look like now that they are God’s children.

Luke 6:22 (ESV) 

    “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! 

Luke 6:26 (ESV) 

    “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.

Jesus is now building on the idea that living as a believer; we are really foreigners in this world.  Because we have a different set of values and a different world view all together, there are going to be people who don’t like us, hate us, and even persecute us.

What Jesus gives us now is how these words apply in various situations.  Jesus gives us some very difficult words to live by…He has gone from preaching to meddling.—L. Duncan

Remember, Jesus is creating a people for God…ones that have a different set of standards and ones who Love Christ and the Gospel above all things.  In teaching about how we are to behave toward our enemies, Jesus is really exposing a counterfeit gospel and putting in its place the real gospel.  He is also exposing our treasure.  Are we seeking Christ and His kingdom or are we seeking the praise of men?

Please hear God’s Word…

Luke 6:27-36 (ESV) 

    “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  [28] bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.  [29] To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.  [30] Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.  [31] And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

    [32] “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.  [33] And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.  [34] And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount.  [35] 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 is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.  [36] Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

May the Lord cause us to love in the same way He has loved us…

1. Three Ways to Love Your Enemies (6:27-29)

But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  [28] bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.  [29] To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 

The Jews had limited God’s teaching on love, to Love your neighbor.  Even then they wanted to find some loophole to get out of it.  They asked Jesus, who then is my neighbor?  He told them the story of the Good Samaritan.

Here, He completely goes to a new level of love and care.

He exposes our motives for what we do when it comes to how we love people and especially those who don’t like us or are our enemies.

Let’s look to see how radical this is:

A. do good to those who hate you- Those who would rather see you dead, extreme hate.  As a child of the King, we are to do good things and treat with kindness those who hate us.  If you have an enemy who is going out of his way to set you up or in some way show hostility toward you, as a Christian, you are to do good things to them.  Do good things to them.  Not retaliating and paying back an evil deed with another evil deed but we are repaying an evil deed with a kind deed.

B. bless those who curse you- Those who would rather see you cursed, bless them.  This is speak well of them.  Don’t go around telling everyone who bad they are but speak well of them.  Here, we’re not going to retaliate with our words.

C. pray for those who abuse you- Those who may take advantage of you, rather than retaliating by thinking bad thoughts concerning them, Jesus says, pray for them.  Do not retaliate even in our thoughts.

We are to do good to, speak well of, and pray for those who hate us or are our enemies.

2. Three Ways to Love Those in Need (Luke 6: 30, 31)

[30] Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.  [31] And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

A. Give to everyone who begs from you

Here, Jesus has in mind someone who is in need.  This is in the present context of someone begging from you.  If someone is in need do not refuse to give them either food or clothing.

I could go into a great discussion on what constitutes need and what doesn’t.  We don’t have time for that.  Here, Jesus has in mind someone who is in desperate need of an essential of life, as a Christian, we must meet their need if we can.

B.  one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.

Even if someone has stolen from you to meet a real need they have, don’t demand that they pay it back.

C.  Treat everyone in the way you would like them to treat you.

If I have a need, I would want someone to meet that need for me and so I should to the same to someone else.

Jesus isn’t saying there is no place for justice and that believers are to be pushovers.  He Himself at time demands justice and executes justice.  That may very well be in the other’s best interest.  No matter, we are to be merciful, loving, and giving.  Rather than being revengeful, unloving, and stingy.

3. The Gospel’s Great Reward (Luke 6:35b,36)

and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.  [36] Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

Jesus now tells us how it is we can accomplish these very trying commands.  He shows us two reasons why we can do what He commands even as radical as it truly is.

A.  You can love your enemies in real and tangible ways because that’s exactly what God has done for you.  and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.

Jesus is showing us that as a part of being a Kingdom citizen, we must begin to exhibit motivation and behavior that is consistent with the King.

This may come as a shock to some by we were the ungrateful and the evil ones that God showed love to.  God was kind to us while we were still rebellious toward Him.  God showed kindness to us while we even still hated Him.

I can love my enemy because God loved me when I was His enemy and I must begin behaving as a Kingdom citizen.

Romans 5:8-10 (ESV) 

    but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  [9] Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.  [10] For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 

B. I can give to everyone in need (including my enemies) because I have a treasure stored up in heaven.

[35] But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great.

This is a very good motivation as well.  There is nothing wrong with allowing your eternal reward to motivate your giving while on earth.  I can give because I have something far better waiting for me in heaven.  I can give because the stuff I have is not really mine but God has placed me as a steward of it.

4. Gospel Motivation is Pleasing God not Man (Luke 6:32-35a)

When we love our enemies and when we give etc.  We do so with the pure motivation of not getting anything from them.

    [32] “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.  [33] And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.  [34] And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount.  [35] But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return,

Jesus is teaching the difference between Gospel motivated love and a secular version of love.  The world loves for two reasons: One, worldly folks love you and treat you well as long as they hope they can get something from you in return.  This is illustrated in the business man who attends church services and smiles at everyone and shakes their hand in order to network and make friends that will later pay of in some sort of financial endeavor.  This man is your friend until he can no longer get something from you.  Second, they love if there is hope that it will benefit them in the future.

Jesus wants us to love and not expect anything for those we do good to.  If you love an enemy, odds are that they will never love you back.  We’re not even to love in order that someday they won’t be our enemies any longer.  We are simply to show Christ’s love to everyone, even the ones who we consider enemies.

What we do get in return is a great reward from God in the world to come.  When His Kingdom is fully realized, our reward will be great if we practice what Jesus teaches us here and in other places.

So we see here a great difference between what Jesus teaches and what the world teaches and even what many liberals teach.  In most liberal circles, the love of mankind rules the day.  The motive is we love mankind because we feel better about ourselves or God will like us more.  Here, Jesus teaches that our love for mankind is an outflow of our love for God.  We are kind to sinners, because God in Christ was kind to us.  We love them because we are really loving God.

I can do good to those who are undeserving and unlovable because I am doing it for the glory of God, not to try to get something in return.

I’ve been sitting across the table from counselees who claim to have lost all love for the other.  They have gone so far as to say they hate each other because of some infidelity or a seemingly irreconcilable difference.  I direct them to Jesus’ teaching in this text.

I often tell them that if they feel like the other person has used them and abused them.  If they feel like their perspective is turning from love to hate then I often say, Jesus tells you exactly what to do.  They say really what?

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  [28] bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you…    [32] “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.  [33] And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 

Do good to them, bless them, pray for them, give without expecting anything in return.

Behave this way towards them even if you never receive anything in return.  Behave this way towards them even if things never get any better.

We must live this life here and now for the Kingdom to come.  What we do now does affect eternity later.  Love others looking not to be rewarded now but to be rewarded later by God.

Our motivation is to please our Father who is in heaven and whatever happens in our relationships here and now happens.

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