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Children of the Most High

  • by LA UBF
  • Nov 30, 2014
  • 764 reads

Question

Children of the Most High

Luke 6:27-36

Key verse 35

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.

  1. Read verses 27- 28. What does Jesus say to those who are listening? What do you think we can learn from Jesus? (27-28)

  2. Read verses 29 - 31. What should someone do if someone slaps them on the cheek or takes their coat? What do you think Jesus means by this? (29) What should we do when people ask us for things? (30a) What should we do to others? (31) What does Jesus call us to be like here?

  3. Read verses 32 - 34. What does Jesus say about those who love people who love them and who are good to them? (32 - 33) What does Jesus say to those who only lend to whom they expect payment from? (34) How does Jesus say we can establish good credit with God?

  4. Read verses 35 - 36 How does Jesus say to treat our enemies? (35a) What will happen when people listen to what Jesus says? (35b) What example does God give when dealing with the ungrateful and the wicked? (35c) Why should we be merciful? (36) Can you think of a time when God has been merciful to you?

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Children of the Most High

Luke 6:27-36

Key Verse 6:35

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.”


Some of us have already experienced delicious food that msn Philip prepared. But I am not talking about food set up in his house during eating fellowship but in a plastic bag when we are on a trip by airlines. One day I was going to go to a trip early in the early morning like 5 am and he gave me a ride. Then he gave me one plastic bag. In the bag, I found something like two sweet potatos, banana, apple, water, rice cake, and etc. I did not ask him but he prepared all this early in the morning in addition to a ride. This was not the first time he did it for me. I was the one who was on the trip but I could not prepare my own breakfast. My wife could not do it either, but he did. So I told him, ‘You are more than my wife.’ I saw that he was doing it to others. One day I saw he was supporting shepherd Terry’s family financially when the whole family went to attend Canadian Summer Bible Conference as our representatives. Although I do not know the amount I was deeply moved. I was moved because it shows something about him. It shows who he is. He is a shepherd who has genuine love and care for others. 

Now in today’s passage Jesus teaches his disciples about how they should act toward their enemies who hate them and curse them and mistreat them. When they do according to Jesus’ teaching it will show who they are. It will show they are children of the Most High. So let us see how their action will show them as children of the Most High through today’s passage.


Part I. Do to others as you would have them do to you. (v.27-31)


Look at verses 27-31.

27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

Jesus started with ‘but to you who are listening”. It means there were people who were not listening among those who were there. What does it mean ‘you who are listening’? It probably means those who are willing to obey his teaching. “You who are listening” refer to those who are seriously thinking about obeying Jesus’ teaching. Mainly his teaching in today’s passage was given to ‘you who are listening’. 


Jesus said, “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” 


Jesus knew there were the enemies of his disciples. They would have enemies if they did not have them at that time.


In fact, 2 Timothy 3:12 says 

“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”


If we want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus we will be persecuted even if we do not do anything wrong. In fact we will do godly things but we will be persecuted. And it is unfair, but it is a fact of life. The word ‘everyone’ shows there is no except for the truth. The persecution against everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus comes from the world. Jesus said to his disciples in John 15:18, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”


The appearing enemies of Jesus’ disciples who live godly life is just natural response of darkness toward the light. So there are enemies of Jesus’ disciples. They are the ones who hate them and curse them and mistreat them. 


In addition, these enemies of Jesus’ disciples can arise from their own members.


Apostle Paul said Acts 20:28-31.

28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.”


Apostle Paul was talking to elders of Ephesus in his last meeting with them. They all knew that they would not be able to see him anymore. In his last message for them, he said that some of the elders would rise and distort the truth. In another words, at the time when Apostle Paul delivered the message they were spiritually alert. But later after Apostle Paul was gone some of them would become proud and they would rise and distort the truth. They would become enemies of God. One day they were truthful disciples of Jesus. But then they could become enemies of the truth later. So Paul advised them, “Keep watch over yourselves” ‘Be on your guard!” No one is safe in this spiritual battle. Today we are spiritually sound but that does not guarantee that we will be alert tomorrow. So we should be on our guard and watch over ourselves in order to make sure that we do not become enemies of God later. 


Now what would you do to your enemies who hate you and curse you and mistreat you? Jesus said, “Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you.” 

If you try to love your enemies they may think that you are trying to trap them at first.

If someone hates you and if you try to do good to him, will he appreciate it at first? Probably not. He may even ridicule you and insult you interpreting what you are trying to do as another evil and even hate you more. 

If you bless those who curse you will they accept your blessing as true blessing? Probably not at least at first. They will probably interpret it as another evil of you. 

If you pray for those who mistreat you will they be happy? No. they will probably say, “You pray for yourself. I don’t need your prayer. You are so wicked that I don’t need your prayer.”

But Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who cure you, pray for those who mistreat you.” 

Jesus’ teaching does not end there. He kept on saying, “29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

Jesus’ teaching here is very challenging. If someone slaps you on one cheek without any proper reason how would you respond? You would probably say, “Why?” and become angry or violent. It is understandable. But Jesus said, “If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also.” It is very challenging to do so. Who can do that? But Jesus was speaking those who were listening to him.


He said, “If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.” This means you should be ready to give even more after someone takes your coat without proper reason. Who can do that? How can you be ready to give even your shirt to the very person who takes your coat by force? But Jesus was teaching those who were listening to him.


In addition Jesus said, “Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.” Jesus said here, ‘everyone’. Give to everyone who asks you. Wow! And if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. What a challenging teaching it is! But Jesus was saying to those who were listening to him.


To give to everyone who asks you is like you are ready to give up all of your possessions without limit. Then Jesus said, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Who can argue with this teaching? So when Jesus taught them to love their enemies and bless those who curse them and pray for those who mistreat them and give to everyone who asks he did not teach them that they should do blindly. They should think the way to promote the best interest of their enemies and do to them. It probably means to understand those enemies deeply first of all and find the best way to help them. 


Jesus’ teaching ‘do to others as you would have them do to you’ becomes clear when we take the shoes of our enemies. In fact, all of us once were the enemies of Jesus and his disciples. I remember once when I was very young like attending elementary school in 1960s I despised the saying of one believing woman who said “Oh, I do not feel tired because of Jesus even though I have to walk many miles in order to sell goods.’ She was selling goods like nail clippers visiting houses to houses. Actually our whole family members laughed at what she said at that time. How do I want her to respond to me and my family members? Do I like if she becomes angry and says ‘How dare you despise me? I don’t like you!”? Do I like if she prays for us, saying, “Lord, have mercy on John Kwon. He does so because he does not know what he is doing. Please have mercy on him and save his soul and his family members.”? Who knows that the lady might have prayed for me and my family members at that time and I was born again later partly because of her prayer?


So Jesus’ teaching “Do to others as you would have them do to you” makes perfect sense because we were all enemies of Jesus and his disciples in the past. In the past we were all like those who slaps someone on one cheek without proper reason and takes what belongs to others. 


Part II. Be merciful as your Father is merciful. (v.32-36)


Look at verses 32-34. “32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full.”


Here Jesus is suddenly talking about ‘credit’. He was saying that we should live a life of faith in a way of increasing our credit. When I first came to America I did not have any credit. I thought that is good credit because I did not have anything bad in my credit. But later I learned that my credit was not good. It just says there is no record about credit. Later I learned that good credit means to have a good record of payment of something like cars or houses or credit cards.


Jesus said, ““If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.” This is true. Here the word ‘sinners’ probably refer to those who do not have faith in Jesus. Indeed even sinners love those who love them. Why not? If someone is kind to you you would be kind to the person as well. It is our natural way of response. Jesus kept on saying, “And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.” That is true. If you receive good gifts from others you feel like you want to give also good gifts to those in return.


Jesus said, “34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full.” As long as you know you do not lose anything you can lend to others without any problem. And even sinners do so as long as they can be repaid in full. So there is no difference between those who are listening to Jesus and sinners if they are repaid in full.


But there are times when they act differently. 


Look at verses 35-36.

“35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

They will act differently when they know they are not repaid in full. They will act differently toward those who are their enemies and who hate them. Sinners would not love them. Sinner would not do good to them. Sinner would not lend to them. They would probably hate their enemies and do not do good to them and do not lend to them. 


But Jesus said to those who were listening to him, “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.” But why should they respond that way? Here Jesus says two reasons.


First reason is ‘their reward will be great.” There is reward and their reward will be great. Their reward will be given to them according to their credit. If they do not have any credit there will be no reward. If they have a lot of credit they can receive a great reward.


These days there are many reward programs for credit cards. Their reward comes such as cash return or mileage program. If we earn a great credit it works like cash. Some credit card company can send you check if you accumulated your credit in your credit card. For others you can use it to purchase something like airplane tickets. 


In any way, spiritually God also has a credit system. God’s credit system works a little bit differently than our credit system. For example, in the world if someone takes your money and does not repay you fully you do not get any credit. You only get loss. But the good news is that there is a good credit for you in God’s credit system if that happens. It is a good news.


You gain credit when you are not repaid after you lend to others. You gain your credit when you love your enemies and when your enemies do not love you back. You gain your credit when you do good to others and when they do not do good to you back. You gain your credit when you bless those who curse you and when they do not bless you back. You gain your credit when someone takes your coat and does not return. You gain credit when you do not demand what belongs to you after someone takes it. These all becomes your credit. 


Jesus said the same truth in Luke 14:12-14.


Luke 14:12-14

12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lamb, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”


And Jesus said the reward of those who obey Jesus’ teaching will be great. Jesus said, “Your reward will be what?” GREAT!


How much is great? Minimum 100 times. 


Matthew 19:27-29.

“27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.”


Great reward is not the only reason why Jesus said that those who were listening should love their enemies and do good to them and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.


The second reason is that if they do they will be children of the Most High. The future tense ‘will’ shows their spiritual growth.


If they love their enemies people will see who is the Most High from them. They will see how the Most High would respond to the ungrateful and wicked.


It is interesting to know that Jesus called evil men in two groups, the ungrateful and the wicked. So the ungrateful people are special group of the wicked. When we think about it it makes sense. For example, in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve sinned because they were ungrateful. They were allowed to eat any tree in the Garden including the tree of life. But they were ungrateful. They only focused on only one tree that they were not allowed to eat and they became bitter and disobeyed God. Why didn’t they eat the tree of life which they were allowed to eat first and then think about other things? Good question. What they did shows that they even could not enjoy what they had when they were ungrateful. 


But the Most High is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Who is the Most High? The Most High is God Almighty. He is the one whose place and position and power is the highest among all visible and invisible beings. In terms of place his place is the highest place. In terms of position his position is the highest. In terms of power his power is the highest. There is no power greater than his power. Indeed he is the Almighty Creator God with whom nothing is impossible. He is the one who should be praised and honored and worshiped.  


How does he act toward the ungrateful and wicked? He is kind toward the ungrateful and wicked. Since he has in the highest place and position, he can demand  something from the ungrateful and wicked. He has all right to do so. Only he has such right to demand something from them. But instead of demanding something from them he gave his kindness. He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. The kindness of the Most High is revealed in nature too. Matthew 5:45b reads, “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” 


Now when we follow Jesus’ teaching one question remains. What about ‘justice’? If we love our enemies and do good to those who hate us and bless those who curse us and pray for those who mistreat us and kind to the ungrateful and wicked surely they can take advantage of us and sometimes they would do so even at the cost of others’ interests. For example, if we are kind to someone who takes our coat and shirt and everything we may think ‘well, there are many poorer people out there and it would be better to give my possession to them rather than my ungrateful and wicked enemy who already have more than such poor people.’ If we do not resist the evil men and go all the way as they want who will establish justice? What will happen to justice? When I thought about this issue, the word ‘the Most High’ came to my mind. What does it mean by “Most High”? The Most High is the Most High in terms of his power, meaning nothing is impossible with him. It means he will surely has power to establish true justice and that is why he wants us to follow his teaching trusting that he will establish true justice.  


You know, to believe in the Most High means to trust God. We trust God when we marry. We trust God he will lead our life and marriage life. So we commit our lives to him far more than our wives and husbands. We trust God when we make offerings. We trust God he will provide our financial needs. We trust God when we sacrifice our careers or anything believing that he would reward us. It is the same when we love our enemies who hate us and mistreat us and who are ungrateful and wicked. We trust the Most High will surely establish justice. The Most High will reward us greatly with his true reward.


When we love our enemies and do good to them and lend to them without expecting to get anything back we will be children of the Most High.


These days we heard about the news of Michael Brown in Ferguson. He was a black young man who was shot by a white policy man. And people are divided about the decision of the grand jury. What is true justice? Only God knows. But it was very impressive to me to hear that the parents, the father of Michael Brown, asks people to demonstrate in peace instead of becoming violent. I was moved by him because it shows something about him. He could have simply said, “It is not fair” and left the other matters in the hands of demonstrating people. But he asked people to protest in peace. Although he believes his son was dead unfairly he shows something about who he is when he asked people to protest in non violent way.


When I was in high school I did not know God personally. At that time I was deeply moved by Mahatma Gandhi in India. He wrote his autobiography and I read it many times. The title of his autobiography is ‘searching for the truth’. In his book he explained how he breathed even every moment to search the truth. He also explained the reason why he led no violent resistance movement against British government when he wanted India to be independent from British. At that time British government used policy officers to keep the order and suppress those who wanted independence of India. In the course of time there had been violence. Now Gandhi explained the reason why he wanted to lead ‘non violence’ movement something like this.


Let us assume here are British police officers. They can beat us without proper reason when we have peaceful demonstration for India’s independence. When they do that it is easy for us to be angry and violent and attack them back. But when we do so our strength and energy goes out to them. If our energy and strength goes out to them and is used to fight against evil in them we don’t have energy to fight against the same evil in us. Therefore we should use our energy and strength to fight against the same evil which is in us first and then we can respond properly to the policemen who beat us unfairly. In this way we can win over ourselves and eventually win the policemen too. His great insight shows that he was keenly aware that the Indian people who were demonstrating for the Independence of their own country also have the same evil and injustice in them. It is easy to see the evil in the British policemen. It is not easy to see the same evil in them. But Gandhi saw it and that is why he asked his people to fight against their evil inside of them first instead of responding violently. Otherwise they would miss their true enemy which was their evil inside of them. This morning I was very surprised to be reminded of the fact that he was assassinated. If I am correct, he was assassinated by one of his own people.


I also heard what happened to Martin Luther King Jr. He led non violent movement whereas a person like Malcome X led violent movement like Black Panda. But who won? Martin Luther King Jr. Why? Because his non violent movement shows he is a child of the Most High. People saw the Most High who is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. They could see the mercy of the Most High. They could see Martin Luther King Jr. was merciful toward his enemies who hated him and mistreated him. Eventually he was assassinated. But what he did shows he is a child of the Most High. We are moved by him. He had a dream and indeed his dream is expressed in today’s passage.


His dream and our dream reminds us of Isaiah 11:6-9.


“The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.”


Wow! This is the picture of the paradise. This is our dream, and it will be fulfilled at God’s time. It will be fulfilled because the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord. What is the knowledge of the Lord? Today’s passage shows the knowledge of the Lord.


27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.”


But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful just as your Father is merciful”


Ultimately the knowledge of the Lord is clearly shown on the cross where Jesus died for our sins and rose again. The Lord is merciful to the ungrateful and wicked. We also belong to the ungrateful and wicked. So the Lord forgave all of our sins through Jesus and will raise us up at the last day and give us perfect life and body. Only through his mercy we have received our salvation and paradise. Praise our Father who is merciful to us although we are ungrateful and wicked.


One word: Children of the Most High.










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