Summary: An Expository Sermon From Luke 6:43-49 On The Two Attributes That Identify True Disciples
Pastor Larry Sarver
New Life in Christ
1633 SW 34th St. Palm City, FL 34990
Illustration: In 1999 John F. Kennedy, Jr., his wife, Carolyn, and her sister, Lauren, had a wedding to attend. Since John had his pilot’s license, they decided to fly home. Now John didn’t have a lot of solo time piloting the small plane they boarded for the flight in the conditions that were present that day, but I suppose he must have believed he could handle it. That plane never made it to it’s destination and unfortunately all were killed.
Many have asked, "What possibly could have gone wrong?" According to the National Transportation Safety Board, three simple letters resulted in the tragic death of such an influential young man, VFR-Visual Flight Rules. In essence, John Kennedy was flying that evening only by what he saw visually. For all he knew, it was a picture perfect flight. But he made one very fatal mistake; he failed to fly by IFR-Instrument Flight Rules. If he would have read his instruments and relied on them to guide his flight, he probably would have known that he was headed in the wrong direction and could have made the necessary corrections land his airplane safely.
The instrument panel is what identifies the truth. A pilot can not depend on their feelings, eyesight, or the opinion of others. Those instrument gauges of the only reliable source for determining one’s true position. If you do not pay attention to them as a pilot you’ll most likely crash.
Now most of us are not claiming to be pilot’s and therefore we do not need to know about airplane instruments but most of us do claim to be disciples or followers of Jesus. We claim and think our lives are headed in the right direction bur are they really? How would we know? What identifies true disciples who are going in the right direction? Can we depend on our feelings, ideas or the opinions of others to guide us to the right answers and in the right direction? No! Like a plane has instruments to indicate it’s true position there are also the spiritual indicators or gauges that we can look at so that we can know our true position as true followers or false followers of Jesus. We must know what these indicators are and we must pay attention to them so that our lives do not end in disaster. What indicators identify true disciples? The answer to that question is found in Luke 6:43-49.
Read Luke 6:43-49
What identifies true disciples? In one sentence this passage can be summarized as saying that: "True disciples are those who have the character of Jesus and are totally committed to Jesus." True disciples are those who have the fruit (character) and the foundation (commitment.) These two spiritual indicators act as our instrument panel so that we can be assured that we are true disciples of Jesus or so that we can be warned that when our lives are going in the wrong direction.
Before we look at the two spiritual indicators of true disciples we need to understand why Jesus spoke these words why the Holy Spirit used Luke to place them at this particular point in his account of Jesus. Remember that Jesus had just finished teaching some very difficult things such as: the blessedness of being humble and hated, the need to love your enemies, he commanded us to speak well of those as the evil against us, Jesus said that we were to do to others what we would want them to do to us, he told us not to judge but rather to show mercy, and he instructed us to focus on our own faults first.
Some of Jesus’ listeners, even some of those who considered themselves to be his disciples would have considered these things too hard and too radical to be practiced in their own lives. They probably would have listened approvingly but not really applied or acted on what they had learned. In essence they would have had the appearance of being disciples while at the same time rejecting certain aspects of Jesus teaching that were not to their liking.
Illustration: It is popular at many restaurants in our area to have an extensive salad bar. That I personally like salad bars a great deal. The reason I like salad bars is because I can pick and choose to place on my plate those things that I like best. For instance I like lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, peaches, etc. and so I placed those on my plate but I do not like raw broccoli or cauliflower so I simply leave them there.
Many who claim to follow Jesus approach his teachings like they would a salad bar. They have an attitude of taking what they like while ignoring the rest. For instance many people approve and accept Jesus teaching on God forgiveness, God love, and God provision for their life while at the same time they either ignore or refuse to practice what Jesus taught about money, forgiving our enemies, a faithful prayer life, etc. This is salad bar type discipleship and it is not authentic Christianity. Those who follow Jesus in this manner are false followers who are most likely self deceived because they consider themselves to be authentic true disciples. In many ways they are like a pilot who ignores the instrument panel and believes that they are going in the right direction while in reality their going in the wrong. To avoid this serious dilemma Jesus in his great mercy tells them and tells us what the spiritual indicators are of true disciples.