Summary: 1. Settle the question of salvation (vs. 25-29). 2. Strive to overcome your selfishness (vs. 29-32). 3. Follow the example of Christ’s compassion (vs. 33-37). 4. Bring hurting people to the healing place (vs. 34). 5. Be willing to pay the price (vs. 3
How Can I Love My Neighbor?
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Feb. 26, 2012
*Some years ago, I was blessed to be part of a mission team in South Asia. It was about nine months after a major earthquake in the region. Over 100,000 people were killed, many more were injured, and countless homes were destroyed. We were there to help with disaster relief. For example, we gave much needed blankets to the families in one of the isolated villages. We also shared the gospel by giving our testimonies.
*I saw the story of the Good Samaritan come to life that summer in South Asia. A young mother had been told by a village doctor that she had tuberculosis. He was not trained, and she was afraid to take the medicine he gave her. That’s why she asked our team leader, Mike, if he could get an appointment for her at one of the two Christian hospitals in that part of the world.
*Mike called the doctor and set up the appointment. Then he wrote a letter for the lady to take with her. But he had terrible penmanship, and noticing that I could print, he asked me to make a legible copy.
*This lady was very poor, and told Mike that she was afraid she didn’t have the money to pay for her care. Mike explained this in the letter. He also sent some money with her, and closed by saying: "If this is not enough to cover the cost, I will pay you when I see you again." I thought, "Wow! -- This is just like the story of the Good Samaritan."
*The amazing truth is that WE can be the people God uses to help hurting people! -- You can be a Good Samaritan for someone, and you don’t have to go to Asia to do it. You can be a Good Samaritan right here in Caldwell Parish. You can be a Good Samaritan at work or school, and maybe in your own home.
*You can be like the good neighbor we see in this story. Let’s look into the Word of God and see how.
1. First: You must settle the question of your salvation.
*That’s why Jesus told this story in the first place. It was a question of eternal life. We see this starting in vs. 25, when the lawyer asked Jesus, "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
*Owen Bourgaize tells us that the lawyer’s question reveals how much he misunderstood about eternal life: "What shall I DO to INHERIT eternal life?" Didn’t he see a contradiction in his own words? An inheritance is not something you achieve by some action you’ve done. And inheritance is something you receive because you have a relationship with someone.
*The lawyer misunderstood how eternal life is received. Like so many other people, often well-meaning and decent-living people, this man thought of eternal life as something earned by your good works, rather than freely given by God’s grace. (1)
*That’s what Jesus was trying to get the lawyer to see in vs. 26, where the Lord asked: "What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?" In vs. 27, the lawyer answered: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." And in vs. 28, Jesus replied: "You have answered rightly; do this and you will live." Uh oh. -- The lawyer knew he had a problem. So in vs. 29, wanting to justify himself, he said to Jesus, "Who is my neighbor?"
*Yeah -- He had a problem. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." He had a problem, and so do we.
*You may say, "I DO love God with all my heart." Really? -- Have you done it 24/7 for even the last week? How about the last decade? How about your whole life? There is no way you can ever earn eternal life, because all of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
*What we all deserve is a place in hell, because the wages of sin is death. So eternal life is never about self-justification. It’s about the Savior, Jesus Christ! Eternal life comes from the Son of God and the sacrifice He made when He died on the cross for our sins.
*And eternal life comes through simple, childlike faith in Jesus Christ. That’s what the Lord was talking about back up in vs. 21, when He said, "I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes." When we turn to God and put our trust in Him, our sins are forgiven! We are born again into the family of God, and eternal life becomes our inheritance.