Luke 6: Part 2 (3)
Pray Psalm 104.1-5.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD my God, You are very great:
You are clothed with honor and majesty,
Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment,
Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.
He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters,
Who makes the clouds His chariot,
Who walks on the wings of the wind,
Who makes His angels spirits,
His ministers a flame of fire.
You who laid the foundations of the earth,
So that it should not be moved forever…
Sing Psalm 104.1-5.
(Creation: The Spacious Firmament)
Bless God, my soul! How great are You, Lord, with majesty and splendor adorned.
The heav’ns He stretches like a tent, and lays His chambers in the firmament.
He rides the wings of winds on high and makes His messengers flaming fly.
The earth on its foundation stands, established forever by His hands.
Read Luke 6.1-36; meditate on verses 32-36.
1. How do we know that God loves evil people?
2. Why must we love our enemies?
True neighbor love seeks nothing for itself (vv. 32, 33), only to be a channel of the grace and kindness of God to others. Even those who are sinners, enemies, and evil (vv. 34, 35). In the Kingdom of God, grace, not personal advantage, is the coin of the realm.
The word χρηστός (chrestos – kind) is the key to understanding grace and how it serves as the currency of the Kingdom. The word carries connotations of being benevolent, better, and kind, of going beyond what is expected or even deserved, to advance a standard of goodness and lovingkindness which refracts the very being of God (v. 36). God is kind, and He calls us to be kind by the grace He daily shows us.
Such grace flows from mercy, both received (from God) and granted (to the undeserving). We are called to rise above the selfishness of others, to supersede their wickedness in kindness, to empty ourselves of possessions, power, privileges, or pride in order, like Jesus, to become agents of grace in the world. Only as we receive mercy and grace can we extend these to others in acts of kindness. We do not look to those we serve for some reward; God will reward us in His way and time as we spend His grace and are spent in loving service to others (2 Cor. 12.15).
Therefore, it is important to practice prayer without ceasing, so that we may always have the mercy and grace we need to show lovingkindness to others (Heb. 4.16).
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Back in the very early 1980s, with four young children in tow, we were busy planting a church when our sending agency decided to stop paying us. I must admit, that was a bit of a blow to our spirits and left us in a quandary about what to do. To say that I was disappointed would be generous. Furious? Close. Totally unhappy and sad. Yes.
That’s when I first read two snappy sayings: When given lemons make lemonade. Truthfully, that one left me wanting to find the schmuck who said it and give them a piece of my mind. But the second has been a closely held truth: Unhappiness is the difference between what you expect and what you experience. Yes, I can resonate with that.
Jesus is telling us the very same thing: Go into your life “hoping for nothing in return” (Lk. 6.35). I hope I’m not appreciated for this act of kindness. I surely hope nobody thanks me for this gift. I really hope that my love is not returned in the way I give it. Boy, do I ever hope that I am not accepted at this church. Man, I hope my kids don’t respect me.
Of course, that sounds defeatist in nature and not a very positive way to live one’s life; but on the other hand, if done and thought through properly, it can save us from a lot of disappointment and wasted time on things we cannot control anyway. Our job is to do the things God has called us to do, regardless of the response.
“Depart from evil, and do good…” (Ps. 37.27).
“A good understanding have all those who do His commandments” (Ps. 111.10).
“I hope for Your salvation, and I do Your commandments” (Ps. 119.166).
“These are the things you shall do: Speak each man the truth to his neighbor; give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace; let none of you think evil in your heart against your neighbor; and do not love a false oath” (Zech. 8.16, 17).
“…do justly…love mercy…walk humbly with your God” (Mic. 6.8)
“…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10.31).
“…hoping for nothing in return” (Lk. 6.35).
For this is the will of God, our sanctification (1 Thess. 4.3). Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we will do well to always look unto Jesus…Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross…For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls (Heb. 12.2, 3).
This is the happiest way to get there.
1. Treating others with kindness must not be conditioned on their responding properly. Why not?
2. What kinds of “rewards” might you expect from God for being faithful in loving your neighbors?
3. How should you prepare each day to fulfill your Kingdom calling to love your neighbors?
The office of love is to pour out again the same goodness that one has received from God on one’s neighbor—to be to him as he experiences Christ is to him. William Tyndale (1494-1536), Exposition of Saint Matthew’s Gospel 5:43-48. 1
Pray Psalm 104.13-23.
Thank God for all the ways He blesses you and the people in your Personal Mission Field. Whom will you talk with today about the loving works of God? Prepare for that opportunity now in prayer.
Sing Psalm 104.12-23.
(Creation: The Spacious Firmament)
The birds beside the waters dwell and sing in the branches, full and well.
You drench the mountains from above; the earth is sated by Your love.
You cause the grass for beasts to grow, and plants for food to feed us so;
and wine to gladden man’s poor soul, and bread and oil to make us whole.
The trees You water with Your grace, the mighty cedars in their place.
In them the birds their dwellings build, and goats inhabit every hill.
You made the moon the times to mark; the sun declines; You made the dark.
By night the beasts pursue their prey, and man to labor goes by day.
T. M. and Susie Moore
You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website, www.ailbe.org, and clicking the Scriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download all the studies in our Luke series by clicking here.
You can learn more about grace, what it is and how it operates in and through us, by ordering a free copy of our book, Grace for Your Time of Need (click here).
If you find Scriptorium helpful in your walk with the Lord, please seek the Lord, asking Him whether you should contribute to the support of this daily ministry with your financial gifts. As the Lord leads, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal or Anedot, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.
Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.