The Book of Luke, The Sermon on the Mount – Love Your Enemies – Lesson 75
Luke 6:27-36, But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, 28Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. 29And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also. 30Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. 31And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. 32For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. 33And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. 34And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. 36Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. 37Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: 38Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
The commands of this passage are too hard for me to obey.
The admonitions of this passage cannot be kept by me.
They are too tough to keep.
My natural inclination is against turning the other cheek and I do not have it in me to love someone who hates me.
As we study the words of our Lord Jesus Christ as he continued his sermon on the mount we should admit that we are naturally opposed to what Jesus has to say here.
For what he has to say here is tough to do and we naturally kick against this kind of instruction.
He begins this portion of his Sermon on the Mount by saying “But I say unto you which hear”
So this message is to those who hear.
The “hear” of the Bible implies the doing of what is heard.
An understanding of what is heard which prompts the doing of what is heard.
The Bible tells us to not only be a hearer of the word but we are to be a doer of the word.
So in spite of the fact that this message is too hard for me to obey I must understand that Jesus Christ expects me to obey it anyway.
And if Jesus Christ expects me to obey it he must have something to enable me to obey it in spite of any natural inclination in me not to obey it.
So I am without excuse it I do not obey it.
See how faith always comes into the picture.
See how God expects us to exercise faith in him in spite of what our natural inclination tells us.
See how we, if we have been born into the family of
God, are not expected to live by natural means but we are expected to live by supernatural means?
We are certainly reminded of Paul’s words in Romans 1:17 that tells us the just shall live by faith.
The preaching of Jesus Christ always promotes this principle and it is no different here in this passage.
When Paul asked the Lord on three occasions to deliver him from his infirmity the Lord said: My grace is sufficient for my strength is made perfect in weakness.
Do not depend on deliverance from your infirmity in order to serve me Paul, depend upon my grace.
So to do the things commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ we are driven to the grace of God for we are indeed weak.
So these words are clearly given to those who hear.
And those who hear are those who follow Christ.
It is not meant for those who do not follow Christ for it is impossible to obey this message without the enablement of Jesus Christ.
The first three verses of this passage call for a certain behavior or practice of the followers of Jesus Christ.
This behavior or practice is not to be a one time thing but it is to be a life practice, a way of life.
Jesus said he is the Way and now he communicates some of that way through these commands and we can only go that way if we are in Christ.
Luke 6:27-30, But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, 28Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. 29And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also. 30Give to every man that asketh of thee;
I think we can conclude that Jesus is telling those who would follow Him, those who hear, what practices are required of them if they truly follow Jesus Christ.
The practices which our Lord requires here all pertain to our “enemy,” a specific one who hates, curses, mistreats, attacks, and takes advantage of us.
No one in their right mind likes such treatment and our natural reaction is to give back what our enemy gives us.
We, in our natural state, practice retaliation.
Our enemy is not seeking our best interest at his expense.
Our enemy is striving to achieve his best interest at our expense.
The practices which Jesus requires of his followers are all responses to a specific evil done to us personally by our enemy.
The evils done against us may be due to the fact that we are followers of Christ or they may not be.
But the responses to these evils are clearly required of Christ’s followers.
The actions or responses our Lord requires are those which were contrary to the religion of Judaism, contrary to our and their culture, and to our own fallen nature.
The actions which Jesus requires are supernatural responses.
We would not do them normally, nor are we equipped to do them normally.
So we see here that the responses that Jesus Christ expects of his followers set his followers apart from all others.
In general, following these commands are a call by the Lord to set aside our own personal rights.
Oh, how we naturally protect our rights but Jesus Christ in this passage tells his followers that there are higher things to seek than our rights.
Seek ye first the kingdom of God!
Your rights are not as important as you may think.
If the Kingdom of God is first in your life you will be amazed at how that will cause you to project the light of the word of God on every situation you face.
But the list of practices which Jesus laid down here is not all inclusive but are defined by the principle
“Do not return evil for evil, but overcome evil with good.”
The things Jesus requires of us require faith and supernatural enabling.
These are not acts which one does in his own strength, in order to be saved, but are acts which one who has been saved does, due to the new mind and the new strength Christ gives through His Spirit.
The commands of this passage naturally follow the “blessings” pronounced by our Lord in previous verses.
Doing as Jesus commands may make us poor.
As Paul questioned whether or not he could serve God with an infirmity we may ask whether or not we can serve him as poor.
By following Christ we may not only lose our cloak but we will lose our coat.
And what about our rights concerning our goods when they are asked of us, we are expected to give them without thought of return.
and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also. 30Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.
Our natural inclination is to protect our goods, to protect our riches but this is not what Jesus commands even if we will become poor by doing so.