Faithlife Sermons

Lack of Loving Leadership

The Gospel of Luke  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  38:01
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Lack of Loving Leadership - Luke 6:37-42

Intro: “Dad Joke Support Group” - Igniter Media
Dads in our culture do indeed have a reputation for corny jokes. Unfortunately, fathers can sometimes have a reputation for being severe (harsh), ungracious, judgmental, even hypocritical. On the other end of the spectrum, there is a reputation among men in our culture for lacking in leadership of any kind, basically taking up the lazy seat of permanent man-child. Neither of these is pleasing to God.
I’ll take dumb dad jokes over either of the others. Families (as well as churches and communities) need both love and leadership from our men. In fact, loving leadership that takes its cue from the character of God is essential for the stability and growth of Christian community.
The most loving thing that you can do as a father, or as a leader of any kind, is to have a clear and deep appreciation for God’s glory and His love. And as we saw last time, God’s love, which we seek to emulate, is an act of mercy.
Let’s review a few key verses from last week’s pericope and continue the flow of thought into vv. 37-42 of Luke 6.
Luke 6:27–28 ESV
“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.
Luke 6:36 ESV
Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
Luke 6:37–42 ESV
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
As this is a continuation of the previous thoughts in Jesus’ sermon, we must not lose the connection in our understanding of what is being said.
Here’s the overall point I believe Jesus is making in this section of the Sermon on the Plateau:
We cannot be like Him, nor can we be truly helpful to others, when we are lacking in the merciful love of God. We cannot judge rightly when we are lacking in recognition of our own culpability and God’s mercy toward us. - “The demand that the follower be gracious grows out of God’s graciousness extended to us.” (Bock, 606)
By contrast, loving attitudes will spring from a right perspective of God’s love toward us.
So we ought to understand the two negative commands and two positive commands (in 37-38a) together as a depiction of…

Love’s Non-Judgmental, Generous Spirit (vv. 37-38)

Not judging does not mean to allow injustice to go unchecked. - It is an individual ethic and not a governmental one… And it is not acquittal, but amnesty. (Bock, 607)
This is also not to prevent us from recognizing sin in a brother’s life and providing caution and correction. - Judgment comes from the concept of adjudication, which simply means to make a formal judgment or decision about a problem or disputed matter, based upon evidence and some standard.
So Moses judged the people as they brought him their concerns, based on the concerns and evidence they presented, and against the standard of the law God had given for his people. And in wisdom taught him by his father-in-law Jethro, he delegated much of that responsibility other men (to whom he taught the law).
The problem then isn’t wise discernment that evaluates the evidence against the standard of God’s character and commands, rendering a verdict or a recommendation for a right course of action.
This type of judgment, engaging in appropriate ethical evaluation, is in fact commanded of God’s people. We are called to discern whether certain spiritual activity is from God or from false prophets because Satan is behind their lies (1 Jn 4:1). We are expected to recognize and vehemently reject any other so-called gospel that is not based solely on grace through faith in the saving work and Lordship of Jesus (Gal. 1:8-9). And we are commanded to correct and even discipline those within the Christian community who persist in sin (1 Cor. 5:11-13, Matt. 18:15-17). In other words, according to God’s standard, we are to evaluate right and wrong, and call a spade a spade.
The problem then, and the thing Jesus is driving at, is an attitude, a judgmental spirit. - And this happens when a person overlooks the need to evaluate their own heart by the standard of God’s character.
A judgmental spirit is a “tendency to criticize and find fault with others” (ESV Study Bible).
Or this more full description is even better:
“[It is] a perspective toward others that holds them down in guilt and never seeks to encourage them toward God. What is commanded is an attitude that is hesitant to condemn and quick to forgive. What is prohibited is an arrogance that reacts with hostility to the worldly and morally lax, viewing such people as beyond God’s reach.” (Bock, 605)
Therefore, what Jesus instructs his followers to do is to…
We must apply ‘the golden rule’ according to God’s merciful love, and the principle of ‘reaping what we sow’ based on accountability to God.
See the golden rule (v.31) parallel to this list of commands: Treat others the way you want to be treated.
Note too the principle of reaping what you sow: “with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament 6:27–38—Treat Others Mercifully

The image here is of a measuring container into which as much grain as possible is packed; it is then shaken to allow the grain to settle, and more is poured in till the container overflows. Pouring it “into the lap” refers to the fold in the garment used as a pocket or pouch.

As the original hearers are listening to this from Jesus, “judge not, and you will not be judged,” right after he has said “be merciful even as your Father is merciful,” whom do you think they are supposed to understand Jesus to mean will not judge and condemn them, but will be forgiving and generous toward them? - The answer is certainly God.
Of course, this can be viewed as proverbial in the sense that in most cases of human interaction, if we’re not judgmental and condemning, others treat us in a similar manner. If we are instead generous and forgiving, we are often treated in the same way.
But in context, there’s more to it than that. - Because we are accountable to the standard of God’s own character and his mercy toward us, we are to treat others according to THAT standard, and it is in fact GOD who is holding us accountable and who will bring about blessing or condemnation in our lives and eternity.
Now we must understand this of course in the same way that we explained v. 35 last week. [read it again] “You will be sons does not mean “you will become sons” but “you will demonstrate that you are sons” by imitating God’s care and compassion even for those who are evil.” -Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 1963.
Again: “This is not salvation by merit: rather the thought is that the true disciple is not judgmental. When God accepts people God’s grace changes them. A forgiving spirit is evidence that the person has been forgiven.” -Leon Morris, Luke: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 3, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 152.
In other words, God richly blesses in His children a non-judgmental, forgiving and generous spirit, and he will most certainly reward those who live according to those same character qualities they have seen and embraced in Him.
Therefore, I want us to see more specifically what it is that we are aiming to emulate:
Mercy doesn’t jump to judgment and condemnation. … Why not?
Instead, love is forgiving and generous. … Why?
A judgmental spirit is directly proportionate to our own self-approval. (yuck!) A forgiving spirit is directly proportionate to our saturation in and appreciation for God’s merciful love toward us.
I repeat: a condemning attitude is self-righteous and takes God’s authority as one’s own. A generous attitude gratefully sees oneself as an undeserving recipient of the benevolent generosity of God.
And one thing more before we move on to the unloving leadership problem Jesus illustrates in vv. 39-42....
Can a true believer at times be unmerciful and judgmental, or unforgiving and stingy? The answer is yes, because we are still in a living battle, and ferocious contest with the flesh. “If we truly are in Christ through faith in His shed blood, there is no eternal condemnation (Rom. 8:1). But our deeds will be judged and those that are wood, hay, and stubble will be burned and we will suffer loss. We will be saved, yet so as through fire (1 Cor. 3:15; 2 Cor. 5:10).” (Steve Cole sermon on Luke 6:36-45)
But if a judgmental spirit is so regular that it reveals an approach to life, then the person needs to wonder if their ingratitude is in fact a true reflection of a heart that does not accurately understand and appreciate the merciful love of God... and the power of Christ to transform and to give us a new nature that reflects God’s character.
In other words, like the parabolic instruction in vv. 43-45, such a one is showing their true colors. (We’ll be looking at that closely next week.)
Next we see the sharp contrast between Jesus and judgmental leaders, with a pointed illustration aimed at the one who is quick to judge others but slow to evaluate their own lives (blind to one’s own faults while judging others).

Follow the Leader Who Sees (vv. 39-42)

AND Be Quick to Judge Your Own Sin
Learning from unloving leaders will land us in a pit.
The idea of following those who are so unloving/unmerciful Jesus equates to following a blind guide.
I’m trying to imagine being taught how to drive by someone who has never driven a car.
The student is not above the teacher but will certainly become like him.
If you follow the self-righteous religious elite, you will be like them. If you follow Jesus, who is a perfect reflection of the heart of God, you will be like him. (fully trained = to be like Jesus in every way)
Choose carefully whom you follow… and even whom you promote.
Judgmental hypocrisy is hilariously illogical… and not funny at all.
When you hear Jesus give examples like these, no one should ever accuse Jesus of lacking in good humor. - As the Disney character Mater would say, “That right there is funny, buddy.”
The point? This is proper self-evaluation before trying to evaluate others. Don’t be too quick to try to set other people straight, especially without testing your own heart for the problem you see against the same standard you are ready to hold them to.
Of course, this is not to say that we shouldn’t be helping others recognize their sin: “After humble self-examination to remove the beam, one can see to help someone else.” (Bock, 615)
In other words, we must rightly discern and repent of our own sins in order to help others.
Again, we cannot be like Jesus, nor can we be truly helpful to others, when we are lacking in the merciful love of God. We cannot judge rightly when we are lacking in recognition of our own culpability and God’s mercy toward us.
By contrast, loving attitudes will spring from a right perspective of God’s love toward us.
So coming back to the concept with began with, and to the place that Jesus has now brought us in terms of how this merciful love impacts our leadership, we must…

Learn Love From Jesus to Lead Like Him

We might avoid leadership, or we might be overly eager to embrace the role to assert our authority. Both avoidance and authoritarianism massively miss the mark.
Loving leadership is the privilege and responsibility of all Christ’s followers, with God graciously choosing when and where to give some a greater portion of that responsibility.
If you had to prioritize one single thing in your leadership, what should that be? - Grow in relational closeness to God so that you can perceive Him rightly and love him deeply and trust him wholly to obey him fully. If you do that, you will increasingly reflect his merciful love and wise leadership.
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