- Sermon Notes
Becoming Mature Disciples - 2
In Luke 6, Jesus gives one of His most famous sermons about the attitudes of the heart that God wants in us. He is transforming us and making us like Christ. He is teaching us how to have the character, perspectives, thoughts, and attitudes which are found in Him; these are things which are distinctly different than the world.
Jesus is teaching what it means to be a mature disciple, but what does it mean to be a disciple? The root meaning of the word is "one who is learning." But it has a deeper meaning than just being a student. To be a disciple means that you follow after the Teacher so that His ways become your ways, His thoughts become your thoughts, His perspective becomes your perspective, His character becomes your character, and His wisdom becomes your wisdom.
One of the things we’re going to see as we study through these verses is that the attitude of our heart defines who we are. In other words, we are known by our attitude. For example, some people are grumpy; it's the attitude of their heart. Some people are angry in the attitude, some people are bitter, but other people are joyous or gracious or kind.
The attitude of our heart also defines our maturity in Christ. Jesus wants us to be like our Teacher, like Him, and that is best seen in the attitude of our heart.
What's interesting is that there is today in the secular world a movement to produce a positive attitude. The point being that your life can be made better simply by having a positive attitude. And, in fact, there is some benefit in having a positive attitude.
There is actually a famous story written up in the New England Journal of Medicine about a man named Norm Cousins who in 1964 was diagnosed with a form of spondylitis, a very painful disease that causes severe spinal deformity. There is no known cure. Tired of living in debilitating pain, Norm decided to try laughter to treat his illness. Allen Funt heard of Norm’s efforts and sent him all the Candid Camera episodes as well as other funny movies. Norm discovered that 10 min. of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give him at least two hours of pain free sleep. Eventually he recovered and was even able to return to work.
Another interesting story comes to mind; a number of years ago my wife and I happened upon a New Age book on counseling. We have done a lot of counseling and thought it would be interesting to see how the other side approached it. As we were thumbing through the pages, Jordi turned to me and said tongue in cheek, "I have the answer to all your problems. All you have to do is look at yourself in the mirror and say, ‘I love you.’"
The truth is that the world's idea of a positive attitude doesn't even come close to what it means to become a disciple of Jesus Christ. There is a vast difference between a positive attitude and a Christ-like attitude of the heart.
To become a mature disciple means to become like our Teacher; His thoughts become our thoughts, His wisdom becomes our wisdom, His ways become our ways.
I. Become Merciful toward Others
- In verse 36, Jesus begins this section by telling us that we should become merciful.
- He also tells us that when we become merciful, we are becoming like our Father in heaven.
- Then, in the following verses, He gives more explanation as to what that looks like.
- The greatest of all commandments is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. The second greatest commandment is like it, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
- The point is that when we become a mature disciple of Jesus Christ, it will be seen in our relationships to those around us.
A. Do not judge or condemn others
- In verse 37 Jesus explains that this is an attitude that comes back to you, it has a great blessing with it.
- In fact, verse 38 makes the point absolutely clear, "By your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."
- Do not judge and you will not be judged, do not condemn and you will not be condemned, pardon and you will be pardoned.
Illus - You've probably seen this yourself; when somebody points out faults in you, don't you immediately want to look for faults in them?
- This is actually the cause of many conflicts in our relationships and if we could understand this attitude of the heart, oh what joy and peace it would bring to our lives.
- Is there a place for judging in the Christian faith? Yes, absolutely. The problem is that this this so misunderstood. Some take this as meaning that they should become the “righteousness police” and believe they have the authority to point out other people's shortcomings.
- But what I've seen is that this only brings division and troubles to the church. Let's look at what it does mean…
1 Corinthians 6:1-6 What does it take to be a good judge? to hear both sides fairly.
Illus – We often hear only one side and jump to a judgment. "Did you hear what so-and-so did?" "No, you're kidding," and immediately we jump to judgment, but have we heard both sides? Has someone ever judged you and you didn't have the opportunity to explain your side of things?
Proverbs 18:17, The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him.
- No, Jesus is speaking about having a heart of humility. Remember that, "Humility is the loveliest of all attitudes."
B. Take the log out of your eye first
- Jesus then gives a parable; a blind man cannot guide a blind man or they will both fall into a pit.
- Actually, many people lead themselves; a classic example of the blind leading the blind.
- Then these powerful words, "Everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher."
- Jesus then gives the parable that we must take the log out of our own eye before we look at the speck in our brother’s eye. Of course, a speck in our own eye is the size of the log.
- When we look at the speck in our own eye first, it humbles us and gives us a much more gracious attitude towards others.
- The problem is that we so often judge others by their actions, but judge ourselves by our intentions.
Illus - "I didn't mean to hurt him, so therefore I should be considered innocent," is the mercy we want extended to us. But Jesus wants us to extend mercy to others and in so doing we are like our Father.
Illus - the classic examples in scripture is the woman caught in adultery…
John 8:10-11, Straightening up, Jesus said to her, "Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "I do not condemn you either. Go. From now on sin no more."
Illus - Some people say, "The one thing I can't stand is when someone lies to me." Really? Have you ever lied? Don't you just hate it when someone gossips about you? But, have you ever gossip about someone else?
- We need to learn to have humility of heart and look at the mirror of God's Word to see that we are still growing ourselves.
II. Here is a Great Secret of the Faith
- This next section beginning in verse 43 contains a great secret of Christian maturity.
- It's found in the understanding that these are attitudes of the heart. In other words…
A. Godly people think godly thoughts
- Verses 43 to 45 are absolutely powerful verses that we must truly understand.
- Godly character comes from the heart.
- A tree is known by its fruit, a person is known by his nature. An apple tree is true to its nature, a wolf is true to his nature, thus apple trees produce apples and fig trees produce figs.
App - a person must think godly thoughts in order to be godly, that's the application. In other words, godly thoughts come before godly actions. A godly heart produces godly actions.
Illus - How many people would say, "I want to be gracious?" But we can't become gracious until we think gracious. For example, if someone offends you, how do you process that? How do you think about it? Can you take that offense and apply grace to it with gracious thoughts? Or do you dwell on the offense and become bitter in the heart?
But then you see the person in public and remember that the scripture says you should be gracious and so you put on your best face, but inside you’re seething. Here is the point; you can't fake grace.
- A thing will be true to its nature; if you want to be gracious, you must think gracious thoughts.
Illus – “Well I don't want to, pastor.” Well, in my flesh, I don't want to either, but self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Don't let anger or bitterness master you.
2 Corinthians 10:5, We are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,
- If you want to be gracious, be gracious in thought. If you want to be patient, be patient in thought. If you want to be kind, if you want to be forgiving, then be kind and forgiving in thought.
- This is actually a great secret to Christian maturity and we would become like our Teacher when we write these things upon our hearts so that it becomes part of our nature.
Luke 6:40, "Everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his Teacher."
- This is one of the most important truths we will hear as a Christian, we must be godly in heart before we can become godly in how we live.
B. Build your life on this foundation
- When you build a house, the first thing you must build is the foundation. The strength of the foundation will determine the strength of the house.
- Of course, this is applied to our lives. There is no better foundation to build your life upon than the Word of God, the words of Christ.
- When two houses are built they may look just the same from the outward appearance, the only way to see the difference is when a storm comes against those houses.
- Choose you this day whom ye will serve; on which foundation you will build your life.
Luke 6:36-49 NASB