Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Luke's Gospel Studies|
SECTION INTRODUCTION for Chapters 6 to 9
Luke the Herald – Continued
In the first series we observed Luke as a Gospel writer who really heralds Jesus - clearly declaring him to be the Son of God. The early chapters were full of divine interventions, God moving to prepare the way for His Son to come into the world. We left those studies having been given a glimpse by Luke of the dynamic nature of Jesus' ministry.
In the four chapters covered by this Series we will see Luke piling on account after account of the incredibly varied and staggering ministry of Jesus that more and more declares, “This is the Son of God!”
Outline of these Studies
In these Series we will take each chapter as follows:
Down-to-Earth Heavenly Accounts
These chapters are an amazing compilation of the activities of God through His Son. In the midst of them we need to remember the opening words of Luke's Gospel that indicate the care that has gone into ensuring he has collected together truthful accounts. We should not be put off by the dramatic nature of these accounts when we consider Luke's sense of integrity as he has researched what went on. We can believe what we read because of the credibility of the writer! This is a Gospel not only worth reading, but able to be believed.
Part 1: “Teaching – Freedom of spirit”
In this coming chapter, which is all teaching from Jesus, see if you can catch something of the freedom of spirit that is there in the midst of what Jesus is saying. In his day the Pharisees and other religious groupings had turned faith into ‘religion', a man-centred activity with man made rules, which only resulted in spiritual death. In Jesus' teaching we will find a new freedom that brings life, a freedom to be children of God with all the blessings that come with that, and which brings blessings to others as well.
Chapter: Luke 6
Passage: Luke 6:1-11
A. Find Out:
1. Who objected to what, when? v.1,2
2. To whom did Jesus refer? v.3,4.
3. With what conclusion? v5
4. What was the scenario on another Sabbath? v.6,7
5. So what did Jesus do and with what result? v.8,10,11
6. What probing question had Jesus asked? v.9
1. Why do you think Luke put these two incidents together?
2. How did Jesus overcome opposition in the first case?
3. How did he do it in the second?
Luke has been showing us the opposition Jesus had been having from the Pharisees and teachers, and so now he includes two incidents that involved the use of the Sabbath day of rest.
In the first, as he walked, the Pharisees saw the action of his disciples and claimed it was 'work' and declared that they were, therefore, breaking the Sabbath laws. Now they had made a career out of detailing rules of Sabbath use but Jesus was not going to be curtailed by man-made inventions. He simply reminds them, by reference to what David did on one occasion (see 1 Sam 21), saying that getting food and satisfying basic needs on the Sabbath is not unlawful.
In the second instance there, before Jesus, was a man with a physical need of a different kind - he had a shrivelled hand. Now the Pharisees knew that Jesus had the power to heal and so, in the synagogue, they are on the watch to see if he is going to perform this 'work' on the Sabbath. Jesus simply presents them with a very basic principle: if there is a need before you, it is quite satisfactory to heal or save life on the Sabbath. God didn't make the day of rest for it to be turned into a funereal type of day governed by hundreds of rules. No, it's a day of honouring God with blessing, joy and goodness! Jesus confirms this by word and by power.
1. Use of our Sunday?
Do we invent Sabbath rules that detract from God's goodness or do we joyfully use Sunday to remember the Lord and enjoy His provision?
2. Pharisaical Religion
Is our “religion” hard and oppressive or does it release blessing? Does the world find us an irritant or a blessing?
Chapter: Luke 6
Passage: Luke 6:12-19
A. Find Out:
1. What did Jesus do one night? v.12
2. What did he do the next day? v.13-16
3. Where did he next go and what happened? v.17
4. What happened there? v.18
5. What further happened and why? v.19
1. What connection might there be between v.12 and verses 13-16?
2. What does verse 17 tell us about the progress of Jesus' ministry?
3. What is obvious about his ministry?
Luke now tells us about how Jesus came to choose his twelve closest disciples. It is clear from verse 17 that Jesus now had a large number of followers or disciples. But he feels it necessary to choose twelve of them who he will call “apostles”, or “sent ones”. It is time to train and send out disciples, so that it is no longer just he, Jesus, who is “doing the stuff”. So what does he do? He spends a night in prayer and then chooses them. Why pray for the night? Because he wants to hear what his Father in heaven thinks about who should be sent. For Jesus, knowing the Father's will was the all important thing (see Jn 5:19).
When he comes down, he comes back to a large number of his followers there, together with many people who had just come to get healed. Note the difference between the two groups. First there are disciples, those who are there to learn to follow, to be and do the same as Jesus. Then there are the crowd, those who are there for purely selfish ends: they are sick and want healing and the wonderful thing was that the power of God, the power of the Spirit, was so with Jesus that you only seem to have to touch him to be healed.
Outwardly this seems a time of great success in Jesus' ministry: he has many disciples, he is sending apostles, the power of God is with him, and many are getting healing. But perhaps we should wonder, is that all success is?
1. A Disciple?
Are you a disciple or just a self-centred seeker? Am I seeking to receive to serve, or receive to get?
Is prayer the thing WE do before making major decisions? Do I sense the need of Father's guidance before making big decisions?
Chapter: Luke 6
Passage: Luke 6:20-26
A. Find Out:
1. What 4 states of blessing does Jesus give? v.20-22
2. Why in each case is it a blessing? v.20-21
3. How should we react under persecution and why? v.23
4. What 4 states are matters of woe according to Jesus? v.24-26
5. Why are they so? v.24-26
1. How do verses 24-26 compliment verses 20-22?
2. Read Mt 5:1-10 What are the similarities?
3. Yet how are the Luke verses quite different?
These are Luke's equivalent to the Beatitudes of Matthew 5. They are similar in that there are blessings, but different in that Luke also has woes. Matthew's also seem more spiritual than the practical feel of Luke. Luke's are simply “poor”, not “poor in spirit”. Luke includes “weeping” and only one about persecution to Matthew's two.
Luke has complimentary woes. Blessing for the poor, but woe to the rich; blessing for the hungry but woe to the well fed; blessing for those who weep, woe for those who laugh now, blessing when hated for Gospel, woe when well spoken of.
And the reasons? The rich have their comfort; the poor can receive the kingdom which will be open to receive them in their need. Those who are well fed now, if they don't care for the hungry, will eventually go hungry themselves, but the hungry will be satisfied with God. Those who laugh now are carefree and confident in themselves, whereas those who weep will seek and find God and will be comforted by Him. If you are a disciple and are well spoken off by all, it means you aren't communicating Jesus, for he was rejected, and so will we be (by some). We're not to worry about rejection because that was how every messenger of God has been received by the unrighteous who refuse to hear. These blessings appear practical but they still have spiritual foundations.
1. Seekers in need
The person in need will be the person who seeks and finds the Lord. Have I sought Him out of recognition of my need?
2. The self-satisfied person will be content with hell.
May I never sink into self satisfaction but seek first His kingdom.
Chapter: Luke 6
Passage: Luke 6:27-31
A. Find Out:
1. Who are we to love and do good to? v.27
2. What are we to do for those who curse and mistreat us? v.28
3. What is to happen if we are struck of have things taken? v.29
4. What are we to do when asked for things, or things are taken? v.30
5. How are we to act towards others? v.31
1. How do these things speak about our attitudes towards people?
2. How do they also speak about our attitude towards our possessions?
3. What do we need to be able to do these things?
These are tough verses! In fact without the love and grace of God within us they are positively impossible verses! Everything in us, the natural man, the self-centred man, will rebel against them.
First there is ATTITUDE TOWARDS PEOPLE, not nice people, but nasty people, people who are your enemy, people who hate, curse and mistreat you (notice the development there: attitude, words, actions). Our instructions are quite simple: we are to love, do good to, bless and pray for them!
“Love” means having the heart of Jesus towards them.
“Do good to” means put it into a practical outward expression.
“Bless” means we are to desire good for them.
“Pray” means we speak to God for their good.
What this does is release the Lord to release blessing on us AND on them so they perhaps cease to be our enemy-persecutor - but if they don't, we keep loving etc.
Second there is ATTITUDE TOWARDS POSSESSIONS because these people, or indeed others not so aggressively against us, may come demanding or asking for what we have. So, says Jesus, if they ask for your goods, give and don't expect back. We are to hold our things lightly. We are to love and bless others as we would want them to love and bless us - in all ways. They may not be behaving like that, they may but be loving and blessing us, but we are to love anyway, as we would wish to be loved.
1. My Attitude
We need Jesus' love and grace to be Jesus to people. Am I loving, doing good to, blessing and praying for those who are against me?
2. Loving others means laying down self.
Am I willing to give up my pride not to have vengeful thoughts towards those who are against me?
3. Holding my Possessions Lightly
Do I hold my goods lightly? Am I willing to give to others to bless them?
Chapter: Luke 6
Passage: Luke 6:32-36
A. Find Out:
1. What does Jesus say isn't credit to you and why? v.32
2. What next does he say isn't credit to you and why? v.33
3. What finally does he say isn't credit and why? v.34
4. What 3 things does he say to do to your enemies? v.35a
5. Why? v.35b
6. How are we to be and why? v.36
1. What are the 3 things Jesus now speaks about?
2. How are we to go beyond sinners?
3. How are we to imitate God?
Jesus has just spoken about loving, doing good to, blessing and praying for our enemies. He now chides his followers who may be happy to love the loveable but balk at the sinner.
Look, he says, it's easy to love someone who loves you, it's easy to do good to those who do good to you, it's easy to lend to someone you know will repay you, but I want you to go beyond that. Even sinners love sinners, that's not exceptional, but I want you to go beyond that and (implied) love those who don't love you, do good to the person who probably won't do good back to you, and lend to the needy person who probably won't be able to repay you.
How can we do this? Well he gives us one motivating factor: God does it! If God does it and we call ourselves his children, then we ought to be just the same. If God is kind to the ungrateful and wicked, then we should be also. If our heavenly Father is merciful, then we should be also.
This whole section of v.27-36 really challenges the reality of our discipleship. In a day when it is expected you will get and get, to give without thought of return (whether it be love, kindness or gift) is quite alien, and we will need all the grace of God to be obedient to Jesus – but when we do, we will reveal we are his followers.
1. Loving the Unlovely
It's easy to love the loveable, but Jesus says go beyond that. Do I need to pray to be filled with his love for the unlovely?
2. It's easy to give when you expect return, but Jesus says go further.
Chapter: Luke 6
Passage: Luke 6:37-40
A. Find Out:
1. What 2 things are we not to do, and why? v.37a,b
2. What 2 things are we to do, and why? v.37c,38a
3. How was the extent of that described? v.38b,c
4. What did Jesus say couldn't happen, and why? v.39
5. Who is not above who? v.40a
6. Who will be like who? v.40b
1. What are the negative attitudes Jesus warns about here?
2. What are the positive things he says for us to do?
3. What point do you think he's making in v.39,40?
Jesus has been speaking about practical love, especially towards enemies. He next takes two tendencies we might have towards such people:
a) to judge or assess them and then,
b) condemn them for what they are.
Instead, we are to forgive them their wrongs against us, indeed we are to give towards them without reservation (v.30) and we are then to trust God's promises that HE will give back to us in real abundance. There is a freedom in Spirit required to be like this. It is necessary to have faith to be able to be this sort of person.
A traditional approach to v.39,40 suggests that Jesus is changing the subject and is now referring to the scribes and Pharisees who were spiritually blind, but let's see it in the ongoing context of what he has been saying already. Your enemies are blind and if you respond to them in the same way they treat you, you'll be declaring that you also are blind, and the result of two lots of bad behaviour is simply that you both fall into a bigger mess.
No, you who are a Christian should be able to see their real state and have pity and understanding for them, so that you respond to them in a good way. In that way, perhaps, you may be able to lead them to the light, to being able to see. If you are a disciple of Jesus you should be teachable, so that you become like your teacher and you do that by following these instructions of Jesus.
1. Light of the world:
We are supposed to be the light of the world (Mt 5:14 ) but i won't be that if I judge and condemn. Do i need to pray for grace?
2. Spiritually blind?
Do I see my enemies in their true state, in a place of great need? Do I see myself with God's love, there for them?
Chapter: Luke 6
Passage: Luke 6:41-45
A. Find Out:
1. What did Jesus say they were doing and not doing? v.41
2. What did he say they went on to do? v.42a
3. What did he say they should do? v.42b
4. What did he say about fruit trees? v.43,44
5. What did he say comes from where? v.45a,b
6. What principle did he state at the end? v.45c
1. What is the point Jesus is making in v.41,42?
2. What point is he making in v.43,44?
3. How does he expand on that in v.45?
Moving on from speaking about right attitudes towards enemies etc., Jesus has started to say (v.39,40) that we need to be aware of ourselves and seek to learn, so we are not blind, and so we become more like him. Now he takes that on further and warns about thinking that everyone else is wrong and we are right, while we fail to see the wrong thoughts and attitudes in our own lives, a very common temptation!
In v.41,42 he graphically says look to your own areas of blindness before you go criticising others. In v.43,44 he starts giving them further means of diagnosing themselves. Essentially he is saying that look at the fruit of your lives and it will show you the state of your heart. Is your life producing good fruit, say that of Gal 5:22,23? Is it producing say, patience, gentleness, self control? If it isn't, it is an indication that there is a heart problem, a heart not fully surrendered to God!
In v.45 he takes the diagnosis a stage further: listen to the words that come out of your mouth because they, more than anything else, reveal the state of your heart. Do we constantly bring words of gossip, criticism, words that are negative, judgmental, or do we bring words of kindness, encouragement, blessing? Our words reveal our inner state, and it may be we need to have fresh dealings with God! Words reveal our heart, and perhaps our heart needs attention!
1. Self Assessment
Do I look to myself before I judge or criticise others. Do I rightly assess my own state?
2. What I speak
My words reveal the state of my heart. What are they like? I need the Lord's help to watch them today.
Chapter: Luke 6
Passage: Luke 6:46-49
A. Find Out:
1. What contradiction does Jesus point out? v.46
2. Who does Jesus speak about first? v.47
3. What picture does he paint of this person? v.48
4. Who does he speak about next? v.49a
5. What picture does he paint of this person? v.49b
1. What is the key issue Jesus points up at the start?
2. What are the long-term effects of being obedient to Jesus?
3. What are the long-term effects of not doing what he says?
Jesus has been giving some very basic teaching on being one of his disciples. At the end of it all (and Luke indicates this is the end of it in 7:1), he highlights THE most basic point of all: you cannot call Jesus Lord and NOT obey him.
If you call him Lord it is imperative that you DO what he has said. At the end of Matthew's Gospel we find Jesus' same command there (Mt 28:20) – “teaching them to OBEY everything I have commanded you”.
Jesus then goes on to show the effect of being obedient. He pictures a man building a house who puts down deep foundations. When upset comes the house stands firm.
Next he shows the effect of not being obedient. Again he uses the picture of a man building a house but he doesn't put down foundations. For him, when upset comes, the house collapses.
The imagery is so clear we sometimes just focus on the pictures and forget the meaning. Very simply, Jesus is saying that the person who hears his words and follows them, putting into practice what he teaches, will find stability in life, especially when the pressures of life come upon them. The disobedient person who hears but doesn't apply Jesus words will find that his life falls to pieces when the pressures of life come. Watch when a crisis comes – death, job loss, illness or whatever. Watch and see how the involved person copes.
My obedience to what Jesus says brings guaranteed stability and blessing to my life. Am I being obedient in all things?
2. The Long Term
Disobedience may appear tolerated, but will produce collapse in the long term. Am I fooling myself in the short term?
RECAP: "Teaching - freedom of spirit" - Luke 6
In this first group of 8 studies we have seen :
In this chapter, we have seen, by both Jesus' actions and his words, what can really only be described as a “freedom of Spirit”, a freedom to live and bless and not be fettered by man-made rules. His approach to the Sabbath is that it is for blessing, not for legalistic restriction. His teaching says be blessed with the real values of life, which are different from the world's. In his teaching about other people he is saying be free to bless them, to give to them, to think well of them. Don't get caught up in hatred, cursing , revenge, judgement. Let your heart be transformed. This is what Christian faith is all about!
1. A day of rest is about honouring God and being blessed.
2. Seek the Father's heart before making big decisions.
3. Realise kingdom values are different from the world's.
4. Have an open heart towards all others.
5. Be free in your spirit when it comes to blessing others.
6. Let your self-knowledge keep you from finger pointing.
7. Check your heart by what comes out of your mouth
8. Establish your life by being obedient to what Jesus says.
Ask the Lord to help you apply each of these lessons
PART 2 : "Human Interaction – all about People"
In the next chapter we move from teaching to human interaction. Watch what happens with each person. This is largely a chapter of people who encounter Jesus and so watch how he deals with each of them.