Summary: Jesus points out the differences between what he is teaching and what the Pharisees are teaching.
A Study of the Book of Luke
Sermon # 14
“The Life of a True Disciple”
In the previous section (6:27-38) the Lord has instructed his followers on how they should respond when men hate them, curse them and mistreat them for the sake of what they believe.
Jesus has also been explaining the necessity of His followers “marching to the beat of a different drum,” they are to live life by a higher standard, their practice is to be better than others.
Now the Lord points out the differences between what he is teaching and what the Pharisees are teaching. In this text we find Seven great principles for a true disciple to remember.
1. We must be sure that we see clearly enough to guide others in their spiritual walk. (v. 39)
“And He spoke a parable to them: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch?
Legalism can so blind people that all they look for and see in others are the minor imperfections all the while they are blind to their own major faults.
2. We cannot lead others where we have not been. (v. 40)
“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.”
3. We must be sure that there is nothing that clouds our vision, before we attempt to help our brother. (vv. 41-42)
“ And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? (42) Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.”
The speck of dust is the symbol of the smallest infringement of the traditions and practices of men which the Pharisees have elevated to equal with the law of God. These traditions and practices have keep kept the nation is spiritual bondage. The Pharisees are so busy looking for minor infractions of the rules that they have considered the huge inconsistencies in their own lives.
Jesus calls those “hypocrites” who are blinded by their own faults, not just the Pharisees but anyone who is a “pretender” which is what the term means.
4. The fruit is always true to character. (vv. 43-44)
“For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. (44) For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush.”
The nature of the tree determines what kind of fruit one can expect from it. Jesus said that a bad tree brings forth bad fruit because the tree is bad. A thorn or bramble bush cannot produce figs or grapes. Applied to people, the point is that the same one Jesus taught to Nicodemus, “You must be born again.” To bring forth good fruit there must be a change in a person’s nature. Reform is not good enough. Rebirth is essential.
5. What comes out of the lips depends on what is inside the heart. (v. 45) “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
Just as the fruit of a tree is an unfailing indication of the nature of the tree, likewise, a man’s actions, his words and his attitudes are an unfailing indication of the state of his heart. If someone were to evaluate our faith on the basis of the tone and character of our daily speech what conclusion would they draw? As James later testifies we need to learn to control our tongues (3:1-12).
6. Obedience is the final test of Commitment (v. 46)
“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?
People who called him Lord surrounded Jesus on every side; but to call Jesus “Lord” is not the test of being a genuine disciple. The test comes when a person hears God’s word and acts upon it. The real test of discipleship is not in the arena of what we say but in what we do.
7. A Building Is Only As Sound As the Foundation It is Built On. (47)
“Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like:”
Verse 47 is key to understanding this parable. Jesus in effect explains that everyone who comes, hears and does His words is a disciple who can endure the assailing floods of adversity.