Summary: Jesus called his disciples (apostles and others) to refine their values so that they may better serve God in the spread of the gospel. In the gospel text of the morning, Luke records the first part of Jesus’ sermon on the plain – the blessings and woes o
The Roman emperor Charlemagne has an interesting story surrounding his burial. This famous king asked to be entombed sitting upright in his throne. He asked that they place the crown on his head and his scepter in his hand. He requested that they drape the royal cape around his shoulders and an open book be placed in his lap.
That was A.D. 814. Nearly two hundred years later, Emperor Othello determined to see if the people carried out Charlemagne’s burial request. He allegedly sent a team of men to open the tomb and make a report. They found the body just as Charlemagne had requested. Only now, nearly two centuries later, the scene was gruesome. The crown tilted, the mantle moth-eaten, the body disfigured.
Nonetheless, open on the skeletal thighs was the book Charlemagne had requested – the Bible. One bony finger pointed to Matthew 16:26: “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?”
Charlemagne’s unusual request is a statement about his values system; a declaration of his need for the esteem of others, even in death!
1. We define values as the accepted principles or standards of an individual or group. Therefore, a value system is a collection of principles and standards (a.k.a. ethic) that form our behavior and guide our decision-making.
2. Individuals guided by proper values interact appropriately within a society, place other’s needs before their own, and seek peace and harmony with everyone.
3. Corporations develop their core values to instruct employees on proper ethical conduct, and inform them of the reward or punishment associated with compliance or non-compliance.
4. Christians have a value system, too. We are to put God first in all things. Jesus taught us to seek first the kingdom of God, and he will add all else unto us (Mt. 6:33).
A. That is a values system; the driving force in all that we do. Despite what others think, society endorses, or pop culture promotes. Our Christian life and testimony must reflect our values – those established by Christ.
5. Jesus called his disciples (apostles and others) to refine their values so that they may better serve God in the spread of the gospel. In the gospel text of the morning, Luke records the first part of Jesus’ sermon on the plain – the blessings and woes of an errant values system. TWM to Luke 6.
II. BACKGROUND (vv.17-19)
1. By the time of Luke’s record of the sermon on the plain, many people were already disciples (i.e. followers) of Jesus. Disciples were those who had an interest in his teaching, and, because of the influence of his teaching on them, tried to live accordingly.
2. Luke tells us that from this group of disciples, Jesus chooses 12 to be apostles (those who are sent; missionaries), and records their names in vv.12-16. Immediately following this account, Jesus begins to teach the newly appointed apostles as well as others gathered around him.
3. [Jesus] went down with [the apostles] and stood on a level place. Apostles, disciples, and others from Judea and Jerusalem (Jews) were there. Some from Tyre and Sidon (Gentiles/Pagans) also came to hear him teach and to be healed.
A. Evil spirits were cast out; many tried to touch him because power was coming from him and healing them all (v.19).
B. Three groups are gathered:  Disciples (followers),  Apostles (chosen 12 of the disciples), and  a great number of people (uncommitted as of yet). Jesus addresses the first two groups.
II. BLESSINGS AND WOES: A CONTRAST OF VALUES (vv.20-26)
1. Two Kinds of Men: The sermon begins with a contrast between two kinds of men, or more literally, between two types of character with opposing value systems.
A. The first group (vv.20-23) is those who deserve pity by outward appearance, but in the eyes of Jesus are “blessed” (inner peace and fulfillment; the religious joy of the one who has a share in salvation ) because of what is promised to them.
01. The “poor” are those who are pious (devoutly religious). They become this way because they are destitute; incapable of helping themselves, they call on God to help them, trusting completely in his intercession on their behalf . Jesus said that he had come “to bring good news to the poor” (4:18).
02. The association of hunger with poverty is obvious. Matthew adds “who hunger and thirst for righteousness”
03. Those who weep (mourn) refers to sorrow with the world as it is, possibly even of penitence for sin. (cf. Jesus mourning for Jerusalem, 13:34-35)
04. Those who are persecuted for Christ’s sake; when  men hate you,  exclude you,  insult you and  reject your name as evil
a. Christians worshipped with other Jews in the synagogue, but over time the Jews excluded them as their testimony gained momentum.