Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 5 Study # 21
Thesis: The provision of what is needed is presented by Jesus as the greatest exercise of power possible.
Introduction: This morning we come to the end of a major part of Jesus' instruction to His disciples. That "part" has to do with Jesus' characterization of the Kingdom of God as a Kingdom wherein a certain kind of "love" dominates absolutely. That "love" is, at a most fundamental level, committed to the production of "joy" in the souls of others as the mechanism for the production of "joy" in one's own soul. The degree of commitment to that production of joy is seen most clearly when it is seen as the objective of God for Himself. Men best understand the issues of what is important when they are pressed to answer one question above all else: What is most important to you? Because of this, the answer to the question, "What is most important to God?" is the most revealing statement regarding the character of the Kingdom of that God. When we see that God, Himself, pursues "Joy" at the expense of everyone and everything else, we understand the nature of His Kingdom. There is a brief parable in Matthew 13:44 that actually tells us this: the Kingdom of Heaven is like ... and the driving issue is the "joy" that the treasure produces.
Last week we attempted to show how the production of joy for oneself by means of the production of joy for others is not "evil". Whether we accomplished that goal is for you to decide, but this morning we are going to be assuming that we did, so that we can understand that the pursuit of a great reward in the Kingdom of God is a great good. No one, from God on down, pursues "nothing" on purpose. Everyone, from God on down, has objectives in mind and Jesus told His disciples at the beginning (6:23) and at the end (6:35) of this segment of His teaching about the Kingdom of God that being rewarded by God was an objective that they should pursue with all that is in them.
It, therefore, stands to reason that if Jesus actually intended for His disciples to seek a great reward from God, He would tell them the most effective way to do that. And, indeed, that is precisely what we find in Luke 6:35: Love your enemies, do good, and lend without expectation of return. But, in order for men to be motivated to pursue such a difficult course, they must be able to see that it will, in the end, actually accomplish what they seek. So, in our study this morning we are going to see that Jesus put as much "punch" into His instruction as He possibly could to get His disciples to commit to the pursuit of "joy" by the production of "joy" for others.
March 2, 2008
- I. The First Consideration: Being Sons of the Most High.
- A. We have said that being a "son" of someone does not primarily mean being produced by that one, but being "like" that one, so many times that the statement is in danger of becoming like an irritating clang of a cymbal.
- 1. For that reason, we will not belabor the point any more than necessary.
- 2. But necessity demands that we are clear on this concept: to declare that a person will be a "son" to another person by means of certain attitudes and actions taken is to declare what that other person is like.
- 3. This means that we are clear on this fact: God's nature is being revealed by Jesus' insistence that His Kingdom heirs are to love, do good, and lend.
- B. Perhaps the greater issue before us this morning is this reality: Jesus deliberately chose to make this "sonship" a revelation of "the Most High".
- 1. The grammar of the identity is this: the word "High" is a superlative adjective.
- a. Superlative means that we are dealing with final issues: there is nothing beyond.
- b. That the word is an adjective means this: its "noun" has been so absorbed into its descriptive nature that it is no longer needed (in grammar this is called a nominal adjective; "ADJECTIVES that denote a class of entities by describing one of their ATTRIBUTES are called nominal adjectives, e.g. The poor, the sick, the elderly, ..." [www.ucl.ac.uk/internet-grammar/glossary/n.htm]).
- 1) The "absorbed noun" in this case is "God".
- 2) We actually have three of these nominal adjectives in the verse before us: Highest, unthankful, and evil.
- 2. The significance of this identity is seen in the contexts in which Luke employed it.
- a. In Luke 1:35, in Gabriel's answer to Mary's question regarding the "impossible", it is "the power of the Most High" that answers the question and it is the continuing explanation that Jesus "shall be called the Son of God" that supplies the "absorbed noun".
- b. In Luke 8:28-29 the "Legion" of demons chose "Son of the Most High" as their way to address Jesus because He had commanded them to come out of their human host -- a further (and final, for Luke in Luke) reference to the issue of maximum power.
- 1) Demons do not "volunteer" to do the good will of God; they must be forced into obedience.
- 2) It takes a greater "force" to "force".
- 3. What this boils down to is this: Jesus was unveiling the most powerful tool in the arsenal of the Kingdom of the Most High God for the attainment of "Joy" in the final expression of that Kingdom.
- a. It is an enormous error for men or demons to think that they can reach "Joy" by applying power to others in order to force them into serving their wants as the executors of power [this is the "mistake" of "enemies", "those who hate", and "those who lend in order to enrich themselves at the expense of the needy"].
- b. The power of the Most High God for the production of "Joy" is not to be found in the realms of compulsion against the nature of those being compelled.
- II. The Second Consideration: Being "Kind" to the Ungrateful and the Evil.
- A. It is in this that the disciples become "sons" of the "Most High" ("Most Powerful God").
- B. The characteristics of those who are to be the objects of "kindness".
- 1. They have no concept of the true "grace" of God.
- a. They cannot express it toward others.
- b. They do not sense it from others because they think they "deserve" what "good" they obtain from others.
- 2. They are embroiled in an aggressive attempt to force others into compliance with their lusts.
- C. The meaning of "kindness".
- 1. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says the word so translated fundamentally refers to whether something or someone is "useful".
- a. The notion of "usefulness" assumes some kind of "objective" sought.
- b. The assumption of the unthankful and evil, from God's point of view, is that they have an enormous "need": to be turned from their thankless, evil ways because of what it is going to cost them in the long run.
- 2. In Romans 2:4 Paul sets "the kindness of God" forth as a primary cause of repentance.
- 3. Thus, "kindness" is not "niceness" but, rather, an actual meeting of a need.
- a. The greatest "need" of an "enemy" is to see "love" as it is.
- b. The greatest "need" of one who "hates" is to see "goodness" as it is.
- c. The greatest "need" of the "greedy" is to see "unselfishness" as it is.
- d. No one is going to see these things as they are unless they see them in the disciples of the Most High God.