Summary: EPIPHANY 7(C) - As believers, how do we measure up - - like the world or like Christ?
HOW DO WE MEASURE (UP)?
LUKE 6:27-38 FEBRUARY 23, 2003
27"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If 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. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even `sinners’ love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even `sinners’ do that. 34And 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. 35But 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. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
37"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
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Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
During this Epiphany we have seen the glory of Jesus. We hear it in our readings. We realize this when we look at the glory of Jesus and see the glory of God Himself. As believers we see that God sets a standard that is higher than any earthly standard. He wants us to measures up to that standard of perfection. This morning as we heard those last words of our text they speak about measuring up and what measuring out. We ask ourselves, ‘How do we measure up in generosity,’ or as Scripture says, ‘How do we measure up?’ We don’t want to look at the comparisons that the world uses. They have a very low standard of what is truly right or wrong, or what they consider as moral or immoral. We don’t want to measure up to the world’s standards. The worldly standards just do not measure up to God’s standards. We want to measure up to the standards that Christ gives us.
From 2 Corinthians, this interesting verse that Paul wrote already in his time: "We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise"(2 CORINTHIANS 10:12). They set their standard on themselves and that of the world around them by saying, ‘Well, I can keep those standards.’ Who can’t? The standards of this world are set so low. Instead, we want to aim higher; we want to aim, as the Lord says, toward perfection. We ask ourselves (not in regard to sin—because in sin, we know we don’t measure up at all) how we measure up by using the faith that God has given us? How do we use that faith to measure up in showing that faith; namely, living our faith in our lives?
HOW DO WE MEASURE (UP)?
I. Like the world
II. Or like Christ
I. Like the world
At the very beginning of our text, the Lord talks about that Christian contrast—how our lives really, really contrast to the world by setting the standard. He says: 27"But I tell you who hear me: (He mentions that right away—you’re going to have to listen.) Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. It sounds just the opposite of what any of us would do but the Lord says that’s the standards for a Christian. These are the standards that go beyond the world. The world is always anxious to go out and take care of those that they hate. They are always anxious to go out and get even. A mark of a Christian is a much higher standard. He said if the believers are willing to do that, they’re no different than anyone else.
Jesus points out the standards of the world, doesn’t he? 32"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even `sinners’ love those who love them. He says the world loves those who love them—their friends and family--they are easy to love. Anyone can do that. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even `sinners’ do that. Again, those that do good to one another do so because others have done good to them. It’s easy to do good to those who are good to you.