It takes just seven minutes to read or listen to Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain — even less to read this Bible study summary on Luke 6. Wow! When was the last time you heard a seven minute sermon? You’ve never heard such a masterpiece as this one!
If we give seven minutes to listen to Jesus we can begin experiencing heaven on earth with him!
In this sermon, which follows the same structure as his longer Sermon on the Mount, Jesus shows us that the good life is to be a loving person and he shows us the way. According to Dallas Willard, Jesus is answering the four most important questions of life:
- What is reality?
- What is the good life?
- Who is a good person?
- How do I become a good person?
Whether we realize it or not, we all live by and communicate “answers” to these four worldview questions. Of course, Jesus’ answers are best! Jesus’ four-fold message in Luke 6’s Sermon on the Plan is the foundation of God’s wisdom for us as parents, preachers, teachers, counselors, and leaders.
1. Step Into Spiritual Reality
Today we think of the material world defines what is real and we trust science and research to explain this to us. But Jesus shows us a greater reality (consistent with good science and intelligent thinking) that is eternal when he prays all night in the spiritual world of God’s kingdom. Even though he’s all alone and get’s no sleep he’s strengthened by the Father’s invisible presence and inaudible words. (verse 12)
In the morning we see the fruit of Jesus’ vigil of abiding in prayer: he picks twelve apostles from the many disciples following him, ministers healing to those who are suffering, and preaches his life-transforming sermon. As was routinely the case, people are pressing in closer to Jesus to touch him because God’s love and power are coming out from his body. (verses 13-19)
2. God Wants to Bless You!
Jesus begins his message by pronouncing God’s blessing upon everyone who will open their hearts to him, including those who are considered unfortunate because they don’t have what the world values — they’re poor, hungry, grieving, or hated by people. But Jesus says to them, “You are blessed when you enter God’s kingdom.” (verses 20-22)
On the other hand, those who spurn a spiritual life with Jesus under the Father’s rule and instead put their trust in the world (its riches, food, laughter, and approval) will have an increasingly empty and unhappy life and an eternity without God. (verses 23-26)
3. You Can Be a Good Person
What is a good person like? In our world we applaud those who are successful, pretty, or make a show of their good deeds. Jesus’ morality is quite different. In his Luke 6 sermonette he shows us that a really good person is the one who is overflowing with agape love. He gives us two examples of being a loving kind of person:
- “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (verses 27-28). Jesus is not telling us to be doormats, living in fear and shame over being abused! He’s showing us that when we learn to live in the spiritual reality of God’s kingdom — healed and empowered by the Father’s great mercy for us — then we’ll have the capacity to offer compassion to someone who is angry with us or to give to someone who is taking advantage of us. (verses 29-36)
- “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.” (verse 37) Of course, Jesus wants us to be discerning about other people, but we can do that without making negative judgements about them. A good person is the kind of person who doesn’t condemn other people, but views others generously and is quick to forgive. Before we try to remove specks from other people’s eyes we need to take the board of condemnation out of our own eyes! (verses 37-42)
4. How to Become a Loving Person
“Love is about action,” people say. “The Christian life is about behavior.” This is a misunderstanding of Jesus’ teaching and the Bible in general. Actually, focusing on action is the approach of the Pharisees; it’s a form of legalism that invariably leads to a widening gap between professed ideals and actual daily life behavior. Jesus puts the focus on becoming the kind of person who would do what’s loving. To paraphrase he says, “Become a good tree and you’ll produce good fruit — store up good things in your heart and these will come out your mouth” (verses 43-45).
Jesus teaches us to build a good foundation so that our house can withstand the storms of life. We do this when we come to Jesus, not just once or occasionally but continually, to be hearing his words and putting them into practice. (verses 46-49)
Living the Sermon on the Mount
After studying Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and Dallas Willard’s The Divine Conspiracy which unpacks it, I wrote a paraphrase of the whole text of Matthew 5 to 7. You’ll love this! I wrote it for my own meditation and then put this into a booklet for you. It includes a coaching tool to apply Jesus’ teaching and soul talk questions and experiments for small groups. Click here to get a copy of Jesus’ Greatest Teaching.