You want Me to Love People Who? Jesus has this crazy notion that people who follow him should love people who hate them. So, have you ever done something good for someone you considered an enemy, for someone who hated you, cursed you, and mistreated you? Was it easy? Being a disciple, a Christian, is not easy. How did that work out for you when you did something good for an enemy? How did you feel afterwards? Did you feel good? Did you feel sort of godly, or we could say god-like? You were.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE CHAPTER 6

by Delbert Young

You want Me to Love People Who? (Luke 6: 27-28)

You want Me to Love People Who? (Luke 6: 27-28)

Sermon video

audio

You Want Me To Love People Who? part 1 – Luke 6: 27-28

Scriptures: Luke 6:20; Luke 6:35-36; Luke 6:27-36; Matthew 5:48

Last week in our study we began looking at the Sermon on the Plain. There were three groups of people present in the multitude: (1) them – the twelve; (2) a crowd of disciples; and (3) a great number of people who were not disciples (Luk 6:17-18). So, Jesus began the sermon by,

Luke 6:20-26 LOOKING AT HIS DISCIPLES, he said: “Blessed are you who…

Jesus focused this sermon on real disciples – mathetes {math-ay-tes’} a learner, pupil, disciple – those who truly want to learn and change and follow. They want to be transformed into the children of God. For his introduction Jesus gave four “Blessed are you who…”paralleled with four “Woe to you who…” upside down to our thinking.

Blessed is makarios {mak-ar’-ee-os} meaning blessed, happy, happier; used to express the happy and untroubled life of the godsWoe is ouai {oo-ah’-ee} meaning an exclamation of griefBLESSED LIFE IS THE LIFE GOD HAS AND ENJOYS. A WOE LIFE IS THE LIFE EVERYONE ELSE ENDURES. That sounds a little “out there.” We have a difficult time with that thought. However, today’s study section tells us exactly that.

Luke 6:35-36 …Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

We have no problems understanding the children of a king live like the king. We have great trouble getting our head wrapped around the fact we can live like our Father God. In this Sermon on the Plain, Jesus is instructing, not suggesting, how real disciples, or real children of God, live. We can live like the thief, or live like Jesus (Joh 10:10).

Luke 6:27-36 “BUT I TELL YOU WHO HEAR ME: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and YOU WILL BE SONS OF THE MOST HIGH, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, JUST AS YOUR FATHER IS MERCIFUL.

These are not suggestions to do if we want. His statements are emphatic: “Love your enemies;” “do good to those who hate you;” “bless those who curse you…” These are uncompromising commands. If we are real children of God and disciples of Jesus Christ this is how we live. He’s instructing us how to live a blessed life, or a life like God enjoys, not a grief and woe life like everyone else endures. Jesus wants us to live like God. That’s the way Jesus lived.

Jesus has this crazy notion that people who follow him should love people who hate them. So, have you ever done something good for someone you considered an enemy, for someone who hated you, cursed you, and mistreated you? Was it easy? Being a disciple, a Christian, is not easy. How did that work out for you when you did something good for an enemy? How did you feel afterwards? Did you feel good? Did you feel sort of godly, or we could say god-like? You were. You were living like God “sons of the Most High and just as your Father is merciful.” Jesus talking about this identical thing in Matthew said,

Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, EVEN AS your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

You are never more like God – god-like – than when you love your enemies by praying for, turning the cheek (facial cheek), giving, and doing good things for them, and not expecting to be repaid. You are living a life like God enjoys.

Luke 6:27 “BUT I TELL YOU WHO HEAR ME: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,

Jesus began this passage with the conjunction “But…” connecting the blessings and woes given prior to what he is about to say. Then Jesus said, “I tell you who hear me…” Can you hear this? We usually stuff our fingers in our ears on this one and live a life of woes and not like sons of God. Here’s why it’s so tuff. Jesus said, “Love your enemies…” That’s the 180 degree opposite thinking Jesus has when compared to our thinking. We can’t comprehend that kind of love for a reason. It’s the Greek word agapao {ag-ap-ah’-o}. The word was rarely used in any Greek writings or teachings prior to Jesus and Christianity. Jesus sort of exclusively developed the word and he infects his disciples with this kind of love. It’s not natural. It’s supernatural and the only way you get this infection is from God.

As I said, Agapao was pretty much developed exclusively for Christianity. We easily live out the other Greek words translated love: eros, erotic love; phileo {fil-eh’-o}, family and brotherly love; and stergos, natural affection. All those incorporate a self-serving aspect and are emotionally driven. For example, we phileo love a friend because that is wise. Friends will help us and watch our backs. All those types of love spring from emotions, but Jesus said agapao your enemies. The difference between all the other type loves and agapao is it must be willed. We decide to love. Agapao is a non-self-serving love. It’s willing to love someone not deserving or asking for love. It’s a non-emotional love. We do it because it’s the right thing to do not because it feels good. We decide/will to give it. Jesus said agapao love is a decision, not a feeling. It’s the type love God has and when you can love expecting nothing in return, you live blessed like God.

Who do you love that way? I love my wife that way. I do things for her not so much as expecting a thank you. I love my children that way and even more so my grandchildren who are incapable of giving anything back, but here Jesus didn’t say love your wife or children that way. He said love your enemies.

Luke 6:27 “But I tell you who hear me: LOVE YOUR ENEMIES, do good to those who hate you,

Perhaps a pertinent question is who is your enemy? Jesus said it’s “those who hate you.” It’s not those you hate. You are not to hate anyone. It’s those you’ve hurt. Something dire happened. You did something intentionally or unintentionally causing them to hate you. Now he or she is your enemy. They despise you. Talk evil of you. Look for ways to hurt you. What are you to do now to correct the escalated situation?

Jesus instructs to not simply turn the cheek acting as if nothing happened and you didn’t do anything wrong. You’re to take that blow and another if necessary. “That is easy to say Delbert, but how do I do it?” Jesus lays it out for us step #1, #2, #3.

Luke 6:27 …DO GOOD to those who hate you

Step #1 is do good. God will provide a way when the time is right for you to do something good for your worst enemy. Make yourself do it! Will it! Make the decision. That’s agapao.

Luke 6:28 BLESS those who curse you…

Step #2 is bless. When someone is saying god-awful things about you, cussing you, slandering you, you suck it up and say something good about them. Once, someone was saying all sort of evil about me. People who would come to my study would tell me what was said. I would listen, suck it up, squeeze out a smile, and reply with something good about the person. I said, “He is a good person. I’ve hurt him and I refuse to say anything negative about him.” Don’t defend yourself. It’s not self-purposed. Take it on the cheek. That’s agapao.

Luke 6:28 …PRAY FOR those who mistreat you.

Step #3 is pray for. The emphasis is on for, not against. Don’t do an imprecatory prayer asking God to kill them, or bring all that back on them, or knock out their teeth. Praying “for” correctly is extremely difficult and you will first do it through gritted teeth not even meaning it. You make yourself say it. Putting yourself in their place makes it easier. Ask the Lord to help them forgive you and heal their hurt. Ask God to bless their health and family and occupation. Actually, this is as much for you as for them. Eventually, you will literally feel something in your heart melt. Instead of revulsion you will feel the beginnings of compassion. I remember doing this with gritted teeth, but as I prayed and my heart melted, I found myself on my knees weeping uncontrollably because of what I had done to the person, not because of what the person said about and did to me. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh (v21). God infected my heart with agapao love for the person I knew hated me.

This is tough, but you will never have a blessed god-like life unless you do. We’ve got to see people the way God sees them. People are to love, not hate. People are to die for, not kill. And, we’ve all got a ways to go.

Jesus next went into his use of hyperboles to drive home his point. He gives two. Jesus obviously exaggerated to emphasize truth and make his point.

Luke 6:29 If someone strikes you on one cheek, TURN TO HIM THE OTHER ALSO

It’s better interpreted “if someone were to punch you on the jaw bone.” Jesus exaggerated the thought to drive home his point of keeping yourself under control and do not retaliate. Life will throw some knock out punches through people. You will get the wind knocked out of you. Jesus said the way to handle it is not retaliate. Retaliation is the natural human reaction, not the reaction of a real disciple. Instead, do good to the people who hate you. Help the people who hurt you. Find a way to “turn” it around. You make the decision toagapao. It’s not who can hit the hardest. It’s who can love like Jesus. “Father forgive them…”

Stay under control. IT’S NOT EASY, but agapao doesn’t retaliate. We may think that’s “wimpish.” No, it’s god-like and the God life. I’ll ask you, which requires the most power, to not retaliate, or retaliate? What requires the most power, to defend yourself with hurting words, or not defend yourself? It’s not “wimpish.” It’s power.

Jesus wasn’t teaching pacifism concerning violence and crime and allowing someone to slap people around. Jesus is teaching us how to come out like God – blessed – when it comes to people who are enemies.

Luke 6:29 …If someone takes your cloak, DO NOT STOP HIM FROM TAKING YOUR TUNIC.

The cloak and tunic hyperbole is more difficult for us to understand. Basically, the cloak was the outer garment – shirt, pants, blouse, dress, etc. The tunic was the undergarment, or we would say underwear. Jesus is saying if someone takes your shirt; give them your underwear too! It’s a hyperbole. Jesus wasn’t teaching public nudity allowing people to undress you. Don’t be taking your clothes off to give them away.

To me, the principle is you’ve simply have to let some things go and sometimes that means letting even more things go. If someone does something bad to me, curses me, makes me angry, etc., I have a difficult time letting it go. I’ve gone to bed lying for hours rehearsing the event in my mind getting angry about it again and again. I lose sleep. I stress. My blood pressure goes up. Who’s experienced this? Let it go. Live like God. Don’t let that thing take years off your life. When I hold on to the thing and justify myself above my enemy, the thing will never end. Let it go. “How do you do that, Delbert?” Jesus told us. Pray for those who mistreat you. It’s not easy, but it is agapao. It’s living like God. Father, forgive them. Bless them. It’s upside down.

If we are serious about God, if we desire to be real sons and daughters of the Most High God, if we want a god-like life, the abundant life living like God then we must learn this love. We’ve got to be infected with agapao especially when it comes to enemies.

Luke 6:30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.

That’s difficult isn’t it? Does Jesus expect us to give to every beggar who walks up? No. It’s the hyperbole thing again. He expects us to use wisdom and be good stewards of what God has given us. The point is agapao love. One Sunday Kevin and I were the last to leave. As we locked the building, a woman came walking up to me asking for more money. The church had already given her money, but she wanted more. Initially, my carnal nature wanted to say, “What! How brazen of you!” I didn’t. We just gave her Don’s number to call for benevolence. I did do that, but felt the Lord poke me. I gave her money out of my pocket. Sometimes that’s so difficult for me. The truth is that’s agapao. I knew I would never see her again and she would never repay me. (I do need to let you know our church gives thousands and thousands of dollars to people every year.) How about you? Do you give in agapao?

 Luke 6:31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Of course, we all know this as the “Golden Rule.” It’s actually the definition of agapao love and most of us are in agapao kindergarten. We usually treat people the way they deserve instead of how we would like to be treated. What if God treated us the way we deserve to be treated? Instead, God loves us with agapao love. He knows we can never repay him. It’s impossible to repay God for salvation. We slap God in the face consistently with our sins and actions. Yet, he turns the cheek and treats us so amazingly well.

Jesus gave us several examples illustrating the life and love those who actually hear him will have. It’s radical and 180 degrees opposite of what we want and “feel” to do. It’s how we “do to others as you would have them do to you.”

Luke 6:32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full.

Most frequently, we only love people who love us back. That’s easy. Here’s why. We know there’s benefit in it for us, but “even sinners” do that. Usually, we only do good to those who are good to us. That’s easy because we know there’s some eventual benefit in it for us. That’s wise. Those we do for, will do something for us, but “even sinners do that.” It’s not too difficult to lend to those who will pay us back, but “even sinners lend to sinners expecting to be repaid.” Jesus expects those who hear and follow him to be radically different.

Luke 6:35, 36 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, AND YOU WILL BE SONS OF THE MOST HIGH, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Jesus hasn’t stopped talking about enemies and how we are to love them, but if you can do it for an enemy, you will do it for everyone. Anyone can love friends, but the test if you really hear Jesus and if you are a Christ follower and child of the Most High God is can youlove your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back? If we are real, if we are children of God, this is what we do. It’s not a suggestion. It’s an uncompromising command. This love is not based on emotions or feelings. It’s based on Jesus Christ. If you refuse to do this, you are not a son (daughter) of the Most High. This is the essence of Christianity. It is agapao – loving without the need for emotions, loving people who hate you, loving without retaliation, loving without expecting reimbursement, loving like God who is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. You’re just as your Father when you do this. You will live in God-likeness. Love people who mistreat and hate you.

Other Related Sermons:

You want Me to Love (Agape) Who? part 2 video audio notes Luke 6:27-36

Easter Blood Sacrifice – sermon video audio notes

The Resurrection Proofed – Easter sermon video audio notes

Also see:

Sermons Change The World

Life Gate Church sermons by Delbert Young