February 13, 2022  Luke 6:17-26

Today’s Gospel reading from Luke chapter 6, verse 17 to 26 is about Christian discipleship.  And I am going to tell you straight up front, this was a hard sermon to write and it is a hard sermon to hear, because it will challenge you and it may even annoy you, but it is what it is.  The dictionary says a disciple is somebody who strongly believes in the teachings of a leader, a philosophy or religion and tries to live according to them.  But as Christians there is something more important that tells us what discipleship is about.  God’s Word, His Holy Scriptures.  

One of the most commonly quoted passages of scripture comes from Matthew 28 verse 19 and it tells us to go and make disciples of all nations.  Every Christian is a disciple and is called to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ.  This means believing in ALL the teachings of Jesus as found in the Bible, Holy Scriptures and His way of life above everything.  Jesus is not just part of our lives but our aim is for Jesus to be the reason for our lives, is the reason for why we do the things we do 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

So think about the Psalm 1:1-2 “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”

Blessed is the one who obeys the law of the Lord.  He doesn’t follow the advice of evil people.  He doesn’t make a habit of doing what sinners do.  He doesn’t join those who make fun of the Lord and his law.  Instead, he takes delight in the law of the Lord.  He thinks about God’s law, day and night. Now remember when you hear the word law in the Old Testament we should not confine this to simply a set of rules that we must follow, ut rather when you hear law in the Old Testament think of it as teachings of God.  This is the way of a disciple of Jesus Christ to think about God’s law day and night.   His teachings day and night.

The Gospel reading today highlights the absolute importance of relying on God, listening to God as a priority in your life over other things and people in our life.  When a world that is so corrupted, so polluted with sinful actions and people are encouraging and fighting for the moral filth and moral corruption of our world we need to stand firm of God’s Word!  I heard it said recently we are living and looking at a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah right in front of us everyday and it is devouring once righteous and upright people as they forsake the Wisdom of God’s Word for the Folly of this World. 

Today’s Gospel reading reminds us to regularly open up scripture and be exposed to God’s wisdom.  Why?  1 Corinthians chapter 1 verse 21 says the world does not know God’s wisdom.  For many people it does not make sense, they would rather live the life that the world suggests to live than the life God suggests to live.  God turns everything upside down in today’s Gospel reading as we see that what is considered important for many people in the world wealth, having plenty of food, being happy and looking good and being liked is dismissed by God as unimportant.  In fact God indicates that if these are your goals in life, if this is what is important to you then you are living a dangerous life, a life that could very well affect your salvation and the salvation of those close to you.  And a bit later we will discover why???

Also what many people consider unimportant and unworthy not worth associating with God considers special and important.  God indicates if you are poor, hungry, mourning or being spoken poorly of because you speak the truth then you are blessed by God.  But before we explore these two aspects of discipleship

lets consider what comes before these words of Jesus and how this affects our view of discipleship

Discipleship involves Jesus meeting people at their level.

Listen to verse 17 “He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples were there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon..”  The people we Jesus came to were from two types of regions

One region was renowned for its dedication to God, the other was not so renowned.  Jesus shows no favors he comes to both, even today Jesus does not discriminate, He comes to everyone’s level.  But He brings them to His level!  He does say just I love you and everything will be OK, no He says I love you and I will work with you and bring you out of that sinful behavior.  He doesn’t leave us where we are.  Where does Jesus meet you?

When bible translators, translated the bible into languages people could read and understand, this was Jesus coming down to our level.

When you share Jesus’ love through your life at work, amongst your family and friends, to people you know this is Jesus coming down to their level.

When any member of the congregation comes visiting you, bringing you support and encouragement,

whether they indicate they are from the church or not, this is Jesus coming to your level. 

There are many things that come into our life so as a disciple of Jesus Christ we need to be focused on Jesus.  Discipleship involves being focussed on Jesus above anything else.  And being focussed on Jesus means listening to Jesus.  Listen again to verses 18 and 19  “They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by evil spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.”

People whether they go to church or not recognize there is power in Jesus.  Not an oppressive power, but a caring loving helpful power.  Isn’t it interesting that when people are trouble or in need that one of the first places they turn to is the church.  Why?

Because as one person seeking help one day said to a Pastor “I believe that God is a God of love and that the church is God’s agency where this love is available?” Think about that for a moment.

How do you react when you see someone asking for help?  Or when someone asks you for help?

Remember the people who cross your path are the people God has put in your life so they can experience His love through you!!  Wow now that is a heavy burden to carry with us. 

If we are honest with ourselves, we probably have become jaded and skeptical, I know I have been burnt several more times than I like to admit.  I need to remain focused on Jesus and the unconditional love He wants people, especially undeserving people to experience. 

So part of the responsibility of being a disciple of Jesus Christ, is to receive God’s love and to share his love.  This week is the week of Valentine’s Day!  I give you the challenge to share God’s love with someone you think does not really deserve it

God blesses those who are struggling. Why? Because God’s love and blessing are clearer when we need to rely on Him more.  I have come across people and met people who fill their lives with our own importance with what they have and achieved.  When this happens it is easy to push God aside and out of the picture and trick themselves into believing how good they are.  But I have met others who step aside and let God shine in their lives and step aside so others can see God and not themselves.  Maybe you are one of those people I have come across.  You see the reality is what we are capable of is very little even what we achieve on this earth is because of the gifts and the opportunities God has given us?  And even if we think we have achieved something, how long will it last, what affect does it have on our eternal future?   Not only will you experience difficulties as a disciple of Jesus Christ but other disciples around you will as well. 

When we are truly focused on bringing the Good News to people then our values and way of life formed by Jesus will at times conflict with the values and way of life that the world attempts to form us into adopting.

And so when you see someone who is poor, hungry, crying or having their named drag through the mud then get beside them show them God’s love, be God’s light in their life.  This is what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.   Amen