"Hearing and Doing."
August 3, 2022, 4:58 PM

Luke 6:43-49

Our reading from Luke comes from what is known as the Sermon on the Plain. This is a section of Jesus’ preaching that focuses in on the ethics of the kingdom of God. In other words, this section of Jesus’ preaching focuses on how Jesus expects His disciples to live in this world. The Sermon on the Plain begins in 6:17 and ends at 6:49. It is often thought that the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5 – 7 and the Sermon on the Plain are the same event told from two different perspectives. But it is more likely that these are two different preaching events from Jesus. The themes overlap, but that should not surprise us given that Jesus is the one preaching both sermons. Both the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon on the Plain help us see how Christ desires His disciples to live in this world.

In verses 43 – 49 there are three images that Jesus uses to help us understand that true discipleship is not just about hearing Jesus’ words, but also putting Jesus’ words into action. Discipleship is about changed lives that flow out of a changed heart. Let us look at each image.

  1. Bearing good fruit: Jesus’ purpose in using this image is not to give an ecology lesson. His point is that His disciples will be consistent in how they live. We know that bad fruit can come from an otherwise good tree, but if that tree is producing bad fruit consistently then we must reevaluate the value of that tree. Jesus points out that thorn bushes do not produce figs and grapes do not come from bramble bushes. Similarly, a true disciple of Jesus will be consistent in their behavior. A disciple of Jesus will produce love not hate, peace not anger, grace not wrath. If someone claims to be a disciple of Jesus and does not act like it, then we have good reason to believe they are not really a disciple of Jesus.
  2. Good speech: This image is really another look at the fruit image. Our actions are a direct result of who we are inside. If our hearts are bitter and angry, our words will most likely be bitter and angry. Who we are on the inside comes out through our speech and our actions.
  3. Solid foundation: This last image is probably more familiar to people. The house built on the rock is a popular vacation Bible school and Sunday school theme and song. This is common knowledge – if the foundation of your home is not solid, then the home itself is in danger. Jesus points to this common understanding and applies it to hearing Him and doing what He says. Read verse 46 again. Jesus calls out those who call Him “Lord” and do not obey Him. In other words, why do you claim to be a disciple of Jesus and live like you have never heard of Him? To be a disciple of Jesus means that we are called to live like He lived. To call Jesus Lord, that is a title of ownership. If Jesus is Lord, that means He has every right to tell us how to live. If there is any section of your life – money, work, family, social status – that you feel is off limits to Jesus, then you are not a disciple of Jesus. If there is any place in your life where you want to remain in control, then you are not a follower of Jesus. To call Jesus Lord is to recognize His authority over every aspect of your life.

I want you to notice something about verses 46 – 49. There is a basic movement that disciples should follow. Come, hear, do. We are to come to Jesus, hear Jesus, and then obey Jesus. The preaching of the Word in worship supplies the context in which we come to hear Jesus today. The preaching of the Word should be central in every worship service. But it is possible to be in church and not actually hear the Word. Hearing requires more than just listening to what the preacher says. It requires reflection on what was heard. Then, it requires application. This application is the doing or obeying of Jesus’ Word.

To be a disciple of Jesus is not about putting into practice some of what Jesus said when it is easy or convenient. Being a disciple of Jesus is a total life commitment. It is to be totally devoted to God and living the way God desires us to live. So many people want to “discover God’s will for their life.” I have heard people say something along those lines: “I want to know God’s will for my life.” When I ask them if they are reading the Bible every day and spending time in prayer, almost every time the answer is no. God has revealed His will for your life – to belong to Him! God’s will for your life, and my life is to know Jesus as Lord and to live our lives in obedience to Him.

If you are having difficulty reading the Bible and praying, set aside five minutes each day to read and pray. Do not try to skip around each day. Pick a book of the Bible (I would recommend starting with Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) and reading for five minutes. Read through the book entirely before you move on to another book. Spend time in prayer. Take whatever is on your mind and talk to God. It does not have to be formal, just talk to Him. Pour out what is on your heart. If your mind tends to wander while you pray, focus on what distracted you and pray about that. Odds are that whatever interrupted your prayer is something that is upsetting or worrying you. Pray about it.

Guard your speech, be mindful of what you say and how you act, because your speech and your actions reveal what is in your heart. If you notice things in your speech and actions that upset you and that you are not happy with, pray about it and be mindful and purposeful of how you speak and how you act. If you have gotten out of the habit of attending Sunday morning worship, find a local congregation to worship with. God desires His people to be in community. Discipleship is not meant to be a lonely life. Find a community that you can belong to. God desires His people to be together in worship and because in community we find support for our struggles and find that we can offer others support in their struggles.

Allow this section of Jesus’ preaching to help you reflect on who you are. Are you bearing good fruit? Are you speaking well? Are you hearing and obeying Jesus in your life? Pray that God would guide you through the Holy Spirit to grow in your obedience to Jesus.