Summary: The church was never meant to be a “secret society” or an “exclusive group of elites.” We were never meant to exist for Sunday! We were never meant to be a club of positive thinkers who would tell each other how good we are.
INTRODUCTION: If you want to know what someone is all about, just listen to what they say. Jesus once said: “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh”. The Living Bible puts it this way: “Whatever is in the heart overflows into speech”.
Sometimes I just enjoy listening in to conversations. My favorite radio programs are those where two or more people are discussing issues. It’s like you are eavesdropping.
Today I want us to “eavesdrop” on one of our Lord’s conversations. It’s found in Luke 10. I think we will find some powerful lessons for living encapsulated in this conversation.
While Jesus walked on the earth, He often met those who would try to “verbally spar” with Him. That is, they would like to trip Him up or trap Him into saying something wrong. In John 7, we find an instance where the Pharisees and chief priests sent officers to get Jesus and bring Him to them in order that they could interrogate them. When the officers went to arrest Him, they heard Him speaking and were so impressed that they returned to the Pharisees without Him. When asked why they came back empty-handed, they responded: “Never a man spake like this man.”
Then there was the time when the “religious” crowd – those who had been described as “beautiful mausoleums – full of dead men’s bones, and of foulness and corruption” – tried to trap Jesus with the woman who had been caught in the very act of adultery. The story is found in John 8. Let’s take a moment to read it:
3 As he was speaking, the Jewish leaders and Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery and placed her out in front of the staring crowd. 4 "Teacher," they said to Jesus, "this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. 5 Moses’ law says to kill her. What about it?" 6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, "All right, hurl the stones at her until she dies. But only he who never sinned may throw the first!" 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote some more in the dust. 9 And the Jewish leaders slipped away one by one, beginning with the eldest, until only Jesus was left in front of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to her, "Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?"
You see, Jesus was well aware of the fact that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue …” [Proverbs 18:21]
Turn with me now to Luke, chapter 10 and we’ll find Jesus answering one of life’s most important, penetrating questions. We’ll begin reading at verse 25
Luke 10:25-37 “And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted[better translated “tested”] him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
There it is. That’s the most important question known to man. That is a question that should be constantly at the forefront of our concerns. The Philippian Jailer asked Paul & Silas the same question in Acts 16:30 “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
I don’t believe there’s a more important question in life than this question. It has eternal consequences. I don’t know what you’ve been asking yourself lately … “What will 2006 hold? When will I be promoted? Who will I marry? What University will I attend?” All of these questions wane in significance when placed beside the ultimate question: What shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
Notice, though the lawyer was not serious. He was only testing the Lord. Look at the Lord’s reply:
26 He [Jesus] said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 27 And he [the lawyer] answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. 28 And he [Jesus] said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
“This do” -- What do? Love the Lord your God with all your being and love your neighbor as yourself.
Now we find what was in the heart of the lawyer: Look at verse 29 But he [the lawyer] willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?”
Somehow I feel this is a question the Christian world is asking today. Just what is my responsibility? Who and how many people do I really have to love? Who do we really have to care for? Isn’t it true that we are only to care for the “household of faith?”