The Golden Rule
Topic: The Christian Walk Verse: Luke 6:27–6:36
“The Golden Rule”
Theme: Love empowered by the Holy Spirit is seen by a believer supernaturally loving those unworthy of it.
I. The Obligations to Love – 6:27-28
A. Allow Your Affections to Show Love – v. 27a
- Jesus chooses to contrast those who know His favor to those who are in a place of judgment – the wicked who have no knowledge of His righteousness.
- “But I say to you who hear …” – this is a reference to those who have been illumined by the Spirit of God to hear what Jesus is actually saying – “hear” [ἀκούω - Pres. Act. Part.] – refers to one whose faculty of hearing is working – that is, they are listening and heeding what is being said.
- Hence He is talking to those who believe in Him and are able to comprehend the things of God’s Spirit.
- He immediately provides another major evidence of being a genuine believer:
- First, was the sensitivity to your need caused by sin – the outlook that confesses you have no merit, are grieved by sin, and craving the righteousness of God that is available only by God’s grace through Jesus Christ.
- Now, those who have known that are able to demonstrate the authenticity of their relationship with God by means of the way that they supernaturally love – 1 John 4:7-8
- He says “Love your enemies …” – [ἀγαπᾶτε] – a Pres. Act. Imperative – a love that places the needs of its object ahead of one’s own.
- This is a command that demonstrates that their concern, their affections, ought to consider how they are able to meet the great need of their enemies as their priority – that need being one of salvation.
- The greatest problem that the enemies of the Gospel have is not their treatment of us, but their alienation from God.
- Hostility is the natural response to those who hate you – as people mistreat us, our flesh naturally desires to avenge ourselves – the vengefully retaliate in kind.
- Yet, when you “love your enemies” – you do something that is “unnatural” and thus becomes a verifying evidence of the transformation that God brings to the sinner who is saved from sin.
B. Allow Your Actions to Show Love – v. 27b
- Moving from our sentiments of a greater concern for the lost than for ourselves, we see that we don’t love in word only but in deed and truth – cp. 1 John 3:18
- Thus, Jesus says: “do good to those who hate you.”
- This word “good” [καλῶς] – describes something that is inherently good, not superficially.
- Thus, it describes doing something that is unmistakably good – to the definite benefit of one who hates.
- It is in this way that we “overcome evil with good” – cp. Romans 12:21.
C. Allow Your Attitude to Show Love – v. 28a
- Instead of cursing those who curse us, believers are to “Bless those who curse you.” – that is, to seek to “call down God’s gracious power” on their behalf.
- This is a way that a believer can demonstrate the supernatural love that they have for their enemies – to refuse to have this vindictive spirit that lashes out in like manner.
- Essentially, it is the way by which we leave room for God to deal with a person in the way that he determines is appropriate – cp. Romans 12:14-18
- This does not mean that we ought not to warn them of the impending judgment of God upon evildoers.
- It simply means that we are not to call down wrath upon them – essentially damning them because of their hostilities toward us.
- We are to seek to call down God’s grace upon them so that they might be delivered from the snare of the devil – who has held them captive to do his will.
D. Allow Your Aspiration to Show Love – v. 28b
- Finally, we are to demonstrate our great aspiration for their salvation by praying for them – “pray for those who mistreat you.”
- There is a sense whereby we intercede on their behalf before God, asking the Lord to spare them and save them – cp. Luke 23:34.
- It is as we demonstrate this love in response to the bitter, hostile, abusive, slanderous treatment by sinners that we do all that we can to display the genuineness of our love for God.
- As we do so, we compound their culpability before God – since if they can maintain their hostility in the face of such supernatural displays of the love of God, their judgment is intensified – cp. Romans 12:19-20!
- What is demonstrated when you love an enemy?
- Is there anyone in your life that is hard to love? What can you do to demonstrate truth biblical love toward that person?
- What is the difference in your life between loving in word, and loving in deed and truth?
- Can you give an example of how praying for an “enemy” has resulted in a change in your relationship with them?