You have probably heard that Christianity should be a relationship. That is true, but what kind of relationship? Is it friendship with God and others? Or, is it citizenship under God and with others? This series looks to apply Jesus’ expectations of those who live under the laws and mandates of a new Kingdom.
Luke 6:27-36 (NLT) “But to you who are willing to listen
Are You Willing to Listen? I’m sure you have asked or been asked, “Are you listening to me?” It is tough to listen. There is so much noise. There are so many distractions and so many ways to misunderstand.
And remember, we are talking about Jesus here. The things the guy who rose from the dead stated are beyond important. Today we consider His words regarding how life, relationship, and citizenship work for those who have “received power to become the sons of God” (John 1:12).
Luke 6:32-34 (NLT) “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! 33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! 34 And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.
Change Your Mind About The Way You Know
Guilt, Shame, Fear, Effort, and Lack. These are the tools of a broken and corrupt world. It’s the Janet Jackson mentality, “What have you done for ME lately?” If you do something for me, I will do something for you. But, you go first.
Why is there so much guilt, shame, and fear? Why do you experience so much of it? Why is it so hard to get free from it? It’s important that we find a way to freedom.. You can’t give grace if you haven’t received it. You can’t give resources if you don’t believe you have enough. You can’t encourage others if you have no courage within you. You can’t bless without experiencing blessing.
Return Good for Evil. What are we supposed to do when someone mistreats, betrays, or hurts us? Don’t we often experience resentment? Unforgiveness? A desire to get even? But, that’s how it works in the world. Is Jesus being unreasonable? How can the culture of Heaven possibly be used or applied in a corrupt world? Isn’t that the problem? Does heaven even fit here? How do we return good for evil?
Jesus presents four scenarios in Matthew 5:38-42. It seems he is teaching us that when things go too far, we should do something about it. We should transform the loss into a gift. Don’t get unwillingly robbed; instead go farther and make the theft a gift.
But, why not try God out on this one? Why not see if God will restore what the enemy steals? Why not see if God will deal with the offenses and the offender? Why not let God be the judge who decides justly and you be the citizen who heaps kindness, blessing, and prayer upon those that harm you? Learn to change your mind about the world’s way. Instead, decide that God’s Way is better.
Luke 6:35-36 (NLT) “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.
Change Your Mind About the Things You Lose
This World Can Only Take From You the Things it Gave to You. And those things are fading away. You were in the process of losing them anyway. So don’t lose them, ‘loose’ them. Let them go! It has been said, “You will never lack in the things you learn to give away.” When our losses become gifts, they become investments in our future.
1 Corinthians 15:58 (NLT) So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.
Change losses into investments. Rather than slowly lose them, why not invest them? Send your resources into the kingdom.
While You Have it, Give it. And, when you lose it, you’ll be glad you gave it. Change your mind about your losses and you will never lose again.
Ephesians 2:12 (NLT) In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope.
Change Your Mind About Your Situation
The Question is, are You a Disciple? Are you a sinner, failure, slave, or orphan? We feel like we are those things. But this isn’t who or what you are in God’s Kingdom. Once you set your course with Christ, who you are changes.
Colossians 3:12 (NLT) Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
The Holy People God Loves! That’s who you really are. It’s time to change your mind about that. The sinner was nailed to the cross with Jesus and DIED there.
But, do You Believe that? Have you changed your mind? That is what repentance is all about, changing your mind to align with what God says is true. Only then can we begin to behave in ways that are very different in our world. For example, by loving our enemies.