Summary: I want to be Jesus' teacher's pet. I want to be His favorite pupil. This passage gives us the key to pleasing Jesus and becoming more like Him in my life. (Spoiler alert - it has to do with how I treat people I don't like)
OPEN: A great scholar was once asked about a young man who was in his class. The person said, "So and so tells me that he was one of your students." The scholar just smiled sadly and said, "Well, he may have attended my lectures, but he was not one of my students.”
What was that scholar saying? He was saying this young man showed up for class… but he wasn’t really THERE! He didn’t really take the teacher’s teachings seriously. He wasn’t there to learn – he was there to get a passing grade.
Jesus said: “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” Luke 6:40
In other words a TRUE disciple isn’t someone who shows up for class. They’re not there just to put in their time. A true disciple is someone who wants to be LIKE their teacher. They are people who soak up everything they can learn because they want to please that instructor.
In fact, a true disciple is someone we might call “the teacher’s pet”. I looked up the term “Teacher’s Pet” online and this is one of the definitions I found: A Teacher’s pet is “a student in a class who is liked best by the teacher and therefore treated better than the other students.” (Cambridge Dictionary - https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/teacher-s-pet)
I want to be Jesus’ “teacher’s pet.”
I want Him to like me BEST.
In fact, God says He’s looking for folks like that. One of my favorite passages is in 2 Chronicles 16:9 NKJV and it says “the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him….”
God isn’t looking for the smartest kid in class. He’s looking for those who want to be His teacher’s pets, for men and women whose hearts are loyal to Him. And when He finds them He’s gonna SHOW Himself STRONG on their behalf.
Yes sir… I want to be Jesus’ teacher’s pet! And in this passage Jesus is telling us HOW to do that. There are a few things here we need to learn if we’re going to please Jesus.
And the first thing is this: "Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned…” Luke 6:37
There’s a lot of people out there who THINK that Jesus is saying something here that He’s not saying. These are folks who are often involved with a lifestyle that is condemned in Scripture, and they know it. They’ll get drunk down at the bar; they’ll be sleeping with their girlfriend; they’ll be involved with homosexuality; they’ll curse like sailors; and (if you question what they’re doing) they’ll tell you “Jesus said ‘Judge not lest you be judged.’”
On the internet there’s a popular meme that says: “Don’t Judge. You’re not perfect!” In other words – I’ll live as I please and you have no right to tell me I’m wrong because you’re not perfect either.”
Now, I know it sounds kind of harsh – and I hesitate to say it this way – but I’m going to say it anyway: most of these people are hypocrites.
1st – they’re saying you shouldn’t pass judgment on them… but they’ve just passed judgment on YOU by saying that you’re not perfect! Of course, they’re right, but that’s a topic for another sermon. They point to your imperfection to get a pass on their own blatant sin and thus they judge you.
2nd – these folks will often judge others and avoid people who do things that upset them. Many Christians refer to this practice as “church discipline”, “excommunication” or “shunning”. You know what shunning is don’t you? It’s when a Christian confronts the sin in another Christian by refusing to eat with them or be in any kind of fellowship with them.
ILLUS: I have a relative that argued with me about that some time back. She was highly offended by this “shunning” that would take place in a church. She complained that churches were supposed to be a place love and acceptance and it was hypocritical for Christians to shut people off like that. Well, eventually that discussion ended… and about ½ an hour later she’s telling me all about someone that she disliked so much she wasn’t going to let that person back in her house EVER! What was she doing? Shunning.
3rd – these folks will quote Jesus, but they really don’t care much about anything else Jesus says. They don’t want to live the way Jesus would want them to, they just want to live the way they want to live and they don’t want Jesus (or you) telling them it’s wrong.