Sermon #35 Luke
Title: FOUR GREAT CONTRASTS
Text: Luke 6:20-26
Blessedness and Woe
Date: Sunday Evening – August 13, 2000
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.
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.
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.
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).
The Sermon on the Mount was
delivered before our Lord had named his twelve apostles. This sermon was
delivered immediately after he named them.
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
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.
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.
“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.”
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
All who are blessed of God with grace, salvation, and
eternal life in Christ are poor in Spirit. But, here, our Savior speaks of
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…
“Blessed are ye that hunger
now: for ye shall be filled.”
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
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
doth cost me nothing.”
These are matters which apply to and are seen in all
true believers; and they are matters which must and do characterize Gospel
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…
“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.
Like all other people, we
experience the sorrows of sickness, pain, bereavement, broken homes, wayward
children, and earthly trouble.
In addition to the sorrows
of the world, those who know, trust, love, and follow Christ carry other
burdens which cause them to weep.
The Souls of Men
The State of God’s Church
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…
Now, look at verses 22-23.
“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
Stronger, more cutting, condemning
statements than these cannot be found in the New Testament. What do these words
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
This is what our Lord declares. Let men think and say what
they may. This is the doctrine of our text.
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.
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.
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.
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!