Series – Reckless Love
Sermon – Lavish Love
Scripture Readings: 1 John 3:1-3, Luke 6:27-36
“But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you…. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:27-31, 35-36)
Monday September 23 — Luke 6:17-26
After choosing the twelve apostles (Luke 6:12-16), Jesus proceeds to teach them, along with the larger group of disciples and an even larger crowd. His teaching covers many of the same topics we find in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthews 5-7). In Luke, it’s called the Sermon on the Plain (see Luke 6:17) and it starts with a series of blessings and woes. Here, as in many other places in the Gospel, Jesus contrasts the Kingdom of God with the kingdoms of the world. He challenges us to trust the Gospel’s promise of salvation. What do you think about what Jesus has to say?
• Prayer: Eternal God, Jesus’ words can be both challenging and comforting. Help me to seek your Kingdom and trust in the gracious promise of salvation. Amen.
Tuesday September 24 — Luke 6:27-36
Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain continues with some of the most challenging words in all of Scripture. Loving our enemies is the last thing most of us are willing to do. Even if we want to follow Jesus, we struggle to accept that loving enemies is really what he expects us to do. It is hard. It helps to remember that loving our enemy doesn’t mean that we have to like them—just that we should seek the best for them and follow the Golden Rule in our relationship with them (Luke 6:31). How might you put these words of Jesus into practice this week? What is the first step you can take?
• Prayer: God of Sacrificial Love, I realize that, on the cross, Jesus shows me what love really looks like. It is hard. Give me the courage I need to follow his example today. Amen.
Wednesday September 25 — Luke 6:37-49
The final paragraphs of the Sermon on the Plain emphasize Jesus’ expectation that his teaching will be put into action. It is not enough to know what he said or simply affirm that Jesus is Lord. Being a follower of Jesus (a citizen in God’s Kingdom) requires that we put his words into action. We are expected to produce good fruit in our lives. The Good News is that hearts transformed by God’s love and grace will produce good fruit. What helps you experience God’s love and grace?
• Prayer: Gracious God, transform my heart today so that I can bear the good fruit of sacrificial love. Teach me to trust that you know best for me and for the world. Amen.
Thursday September 26 — 1 Peter 4:7-11
First Peter has much to teach us about the power of love and grace. Not only does it insist that we are stewards of God’s grace, it says that love for one another “covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). One of the threads running through the whole letter is that mutual love (for one another) should be the defining characteristic for the Christian community. Do you agree with the point of the letter? Does love cover a multitude of sins? Is love the defining characteristic for the Church?
• Prayer: Loving God, thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus, and for the transforming power of your love and grace. Thank you for your lavish love for me. Amen.
Friday September 27 — 1 John 3:1-3
Luke 6:36 says that Jesus’ disciples are to, “Be merciful, just as [our] Father is merciful.” 1 John 3:2 says that, as God’s children, “we will be like him.” These are high expectations—to love the way God loves and to be merciful the way God is merciful. The truth is: we will fail to live up to these expectations and we will need to rely on God’s grace. The good news of the Gospel is that when we fail (and experience God’s grace) we are transformed. How have you experienced God’s grace so far this week?
• Prayer: Merciful God, forgive me for the many ways I fail to live up to your great expectations for my life. Mold me in your image today. Amen.
Saturday September 28 — Psalm 103:1-14
Close this week by using Psalm 103 as a song of praise and thanksgiving. Let the words remind you that God is good, even when we are not, and that God is the source of “steadfast love and mercy” (Psalm 103:4). The only way you will live up to and live into God’s intention for your life is to accept the love of God, offered through Jesus, for yourself. In prayer, celebrate and accept God’s love today.
• Prayer: Almighty God, crown me with steadfast love and mercy today. Take away my sin. Take away my fear and doubt. Create in me a clean heart. Fill me with your Spirit. Amen.