Sermon #35 Luke Sermons
Title: FOUR GREAT CONTRASTS
Text: Luke 6:20-26
Subject: True Blessedness and Woe
Date: Sunday Evening – August 13, 2000
Tape # V-97a
Readings: Office: Buddy Daugherty Auditorium: Ron Wood
You all know how highly I rank the glorious gospel doctrines of Divine sovereignty, eternal predestination, free election, particular, effectual redemption, irresistible grace, and the everlasting security of God’s elect in Christ. These great and grand gospel doctrines, so despised by the world, are the glory of this assembly.
However, there are some things far more difficult to be learned than these. There are some things taught in the Word of God which are much stronger meat than these things. In fact, by comparison, the things I will be preaching to you tonight are the meat of the Word upon which only the strong can feed, while those great and glorious gospel doctrines are (by comparison) baby milk and baby food. Many who love to nurse upon the breasts of election and predestination choke on the things revealed in our text tonight.
Turn with me to Luke 6, and we will hear our Master proclaim some of the most important things taught in Holy Scripture. The things revealed in our text this evening are spiritual truths which are most galling to our flesh. May God the Holy Spirit give us eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to heed the things revealed in our text.
· (Luke 6:20-26) "And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. (21) Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. (22) Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. (23) Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. (24) But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. (25) Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. (26) Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets."
While the sermon which begins here and runs through the end of this chapter, in many ways resembles our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount (recorded in Matthew 5-7), It must not be confused with it. I am aware that the vast majority of good commentators say they are the same; but a careful reading of the two makes it obvious that they are not. Though there are similarities, the differences are obvious.
1. For one thing, the sermon recorded by Matthew is properly called “The Sermon on the Mount,” because it was a sermon delivered upon a mountain side. The sermon here was delivered in the plain (v. 17).
2. The Sermon on the Mount was delivered before our Lord had named his twelve apostles. This sermon was delivered immediately after he named them.
3. It is obvious that the two sermons are tremendously different in length. -- It might be thought that Luke was inspired to give a much more brief summary of the same message as Matthew; but there are some things found in this sermon which are not mentioned in the far more lengthy Sermon on the Mount. If this was just a shorter version of the same sermon, we would expect some things to be left out; but we would not expect things to be included here that were omitted from the more lengthy version.
In the verses we have read, the Master is speaking specifically to his disciples, to those who were truly his disciples and those who were his disciples in name only. In these seven, short verses he lays the ax to the root of the tree and distinguishes clearly between true believers and mere lip service professors. He does so by making Four Great Contrasts, four glaring contrasts between true believers and false professors. First he gives us four beatitudes which characterize the true believer. Then he gives us four woes which characterize the false professor. May God the Holy Spirit graciously show us which we are.
I. Four Beatitudes
In verses 20-23, our Savior gives four words of blessing, four beatitudes, four conditions of true blessedness and happiness by which all true believers are characterized.
Who are those men and women whom the Son of God pronounces blessed? The list is remarkable and shocking. It is totally out of sync with the opinion of the world. Here, our Lord singles out those who are poor, hungry, sorrowful, and hated, and calls them blessed. How can this be? Let’s look at each beatitude, and see what the Master here teaches us.
A. “Blessed are ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God” (v. 21).
He does not say, blessed are the poor, but “blessed are YOU POOR.”
1. In the Sermon on the Mount, he said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit” (Matt. 5:1).
Those who are poor in spirit are those men and women who have been taught of God the utter depravity, corruption, and sinfulness of their hearts. They are men and women who are convinced of sin, righteousness and judgment by God the Holy Spirit. The poor in spirit confess their sins and find forgiveness in Christ, being washed in his blood and robed in his righteousness.
All who are blessed of God with grace, salvation, and eternal life in Christ are poor in Spirit. But, here, our Savior speaks of something else.
2. Here, the Master says, “Blessed are ye poor.”
We must not, for a moment, imagine that the Lord is here making physical poverty a spiritual blessing and giving men a claim to heavenly glory upon the basis of earthly poverty. Here, our Lord is talking about physical, earthly, material poverty; but it is poverty accompanied by grace.
The Lord Jesus chose twelve apostles and sent them out to evangelize the world. He sent them out without any means of visible earthly support into a hostile world. When he did, he commanded them plainly not to provide for themselves and not to go begging for help from the world, and told them plainly that they would be hated, persecuted, and driven out from the company of men.
Is it possible to conduct any kind of ministry in this way? Is it possible to evangelize the world this way? Not only is it possible, there is no other way! This is the only way God’s servants and God’s church can perform the work the Lord God has trusted to our hands.
Poverty itself is not virtuous and is not a blessing. In fact, poverty is often the result of divine judgment. In our text, the Lord Jesus is talking about a willing, deliberate, self-imposed poverty. This is not the self-imposed poverty of hermits and monks, but the poverty men and women knowingly bring upon themselves by following Christ, obeying the will of God, and serving the interests of his kingdom.
This is not the poverty which comes as the result of laziness, because a man pretends to be too spiritual to work This is that poverty which comes when a man or woman counts the costs and forsakes all to follow Christ. In the early days of Christianity, those who followed Christ literally gave up everything, even life itself, because of their faith in and love for him.
Though our circumstances are somewhat different today, it is still true that those who follow Christ forsake all to follow him and love not their lives even unto death. All true believers do exactly what our Lord required the rich young ruler to do. They sell all they have and follow him.
Illustration: The Pearl –
“That pearl will cost you everything you have.
Read on. – Verse 21…
B. “Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled.”
1. In Matthew 5:6, in the Sermon on the Mount, our Lord said, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
There our Lord declares that all who are born of God, hunger and thirst for the righteousness of God in Christ. They long to stand before God in the perfect righteousness of Christ, and long to be perfectly conformed to Christ in righteousness and true holiness (Phil. 3). All who do truly hunger and thirst after this righteousness shall have it. They shall be filled.
2. Here, our Lord is declaring that those who hunger for the gospel’s sake shall be filled.
Believers are people who willingly deprive themselves of that which they might otherwise lawfully enjoy for the gospel’s sake. They are willing to get along on less, so that they can give more. They do not have to have the finer things. They do not have to lavish themselves in luxury, but rather prefer to do without so that they may have to give for the furtherance of the gospel. Believers know that things craved by the flesh are only temporal and can never satisfy. So they do not mind giving them up. We look for satisfaction, we look to be filled in another world.
Illustration: “I will not sacrifice to the Lord that which
doth cost me nothing.”
3. These are matters which apply to and are seen in all true believers; and they are matters which must and do characterize Gospel preachers.
· God’s servants are men separated unto the gospel
· God’s servants do not seek to enrich themselves by the gospel, but rather sacrifice the comforts and luxuries of life for the gospel.
· God’s servants do not seek the possessions of men, but their souls.
Look at verse 21 again…
C. “Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.”
Sorrow is not itself beneficial or sanctifying. Our Lord is here talking about those who weep for his sake. Believers, as long as we live in this world of woe have countless nights of weeping and tears.
1. Like all other people, we experience the sorrows of sickness, pain, bereavement, broken homes, wayward children, and earthly trouble.
2. In addition to the sorrows of the world, those who know, trust, love, and follow Christ carry other burdens which cause them to weep.
· Our Sins
· The Souls of Men
· The State of God’s Church
3. Yet, those who sow in tears will reap in joy. – “Ye shall laugh!”
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” The time of laughter shall soon come. We shall, at last, be filled with consolation. We shall soon possess unending, uninterruptible, everlasting joy! The joy of…
· perfect righteousness!
· perfect peace!
· perfect understanding!
· perfect satisfaction!
Now, look at verses 22-23.
D. “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake…Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.”
Our Lord is here talking about religious persecution, persecution brought upon us because of the gospel we preach. The words used here are used specifically with regard to ecclesiastical censure and discipline. Our Lord could not have used stronger words to picture the heaping of man’s wrath upon his people for the gospel’s sake.
Hatred, persecution, slander, and reproach are the devices of Satan, not the tools of God’s church and people. We ought not allow Satan’s rage, displayed in the wrath of men, cause us too much pain. The tables will soon be turned.
II. Four Woes
· (Luke 6:24-26) "But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. (25) Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. (26) Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets."
Stronger, more cutting, condemning statements than these cannot be found in the New Testament. What do these words mean?
· We must not imagine that the mere possession of wealth is a curse. Job’s great wealth was the token of God’s favor toward him.
· We must not think that the mere display of laughter and joy is a sign of God’s wrath. David was a man who often spoke of laughter and displayed it both in song and dance, and he was a man after God’s own heart.
· We certainly must not imagine that the possession of a good name is an indication of a foul heart. Timothy was a man whose name was well spoken of by those outside the church as well as within it.
Who, then, are these men and women of whom the Master speaks, when he says, “Woe unto you”? They are those people who prefer the world to Christ, who prefer the riches of the world to the riches of his grace, who prefer the laughter of lusts to the happiness of holiness, who delight more in gain than in godliness, who love the praise of men more than the praise of God.
You see, our Lord knew, from the beginning, that there would be many in the professed church, many who claim to be his disciples in every age who, though convinced of the truth of the gospel and professing to love it, would yet live for the world, in the lusts of their flesh. To all such men and women, the Son of God says, “Woe unto you!”
This is what our Lord declares. Let men think and say what they may. This is the doctrine of our text.
1. You who are poor because they choose to follow Christ and serve him, rather than enrich themselves, are possessors of the kingdom of God. – You who choose and seek and get riches, will perish with their moth eaten treasures. They have all here they will ever have, the consolation of thick clay.
2. You who prefer to be hungry in doing the will of God to fullness in rebelling shall be filled forever. – You who live to fill their bellies and their lusts shall be hungry forever in hell.
3. You who choose a path of sorrow for the glory of God, carrying the weight of weighty matters upon their hearts, shall be filled with the laughter of complete satisfaction in heaven. – You who live here for pleasure shall find nothing but sorrow forever in hell.
4. You who prefer the favor and praise of God to the favor and praise of men, shall be numbered among the sons of God forever, in everlasting praise. – You who prefer the favor and praise of men to the favor and praise of God shall be the objects of everlasting contempt from both God and men in hell forever!