Summary: people we meet that need our help as Christians.
Jericho Road People
Scriptures: Luke 10:25-37
This message is in follow-up to the sermon from last week titled “Looking Saved.” In that message I shared with you the foundational truth that being saved means you learn to love. Not love just in words, but also in deed. The scriptures tell us that a man cannot say that he loves God whom he has not seen and hate his brother who he sees every day. Our love for God becomes evident in our love for our neighbors. During bible study this past week, we had an extensive discussion on how we as Christians should respond to those whose lifestyles and beliefs are different from ours. We talked about several types of “public sins” and how oftentimes those committing those sins are shunned by the Church. All of the discussions focused on how we, as Christians, have a responsibility to demonstrate love in everything we do and with whomever we interact. Yes I know this can be a very hard thing to do, especially with some of the people that we interact with, but the question that needs to be asked is “Do we have a choice?” It is very easy to love the lovable, but it can be extremely difficult to love those who do not fall into this category. It can be very easy to love other “so-called” Christians, but difficult to love non-Christians or those we claim to be part of the “world.”
The title of my message today is “Jericho Road People”. Jericho Road People are those who are in need of help both materialistically and spiritually. They can be black, white, Hispanic, etc. They are our neighbors – even if they do not live right next door to us. In my message this morning, we will look at a story that Jesus told in answer to a question he received from a lawyer. Here was the question: “Who is my neighbor?” The question of who is our neighbor only becomes a problem when we are standing face to face in a situation with someone that we would rather not lift a finger to help. Consider the following examples of who potentially is your neighbor. I do not want you to answer from your spiritual “reserves” of what the answer should be, but from what is actually in your heart. In each example, the question is “Would you help this person if you saw them on the street injured?” The question should be answered with a simple “Yes or No.”
• Your next door neighbor, a person that you like?
• Your next door neighbor, a person that you do not know?
• A fellow Church member?
• A city or state official, politician?
• Confirmed terrorist who had a part in September 11, 2001?
• A racist holding a sign saying that he hated your race?
• The man/woman who harmed a member of your family?
• The man/woman who for years treated your race of people with cruelty?
When you look at these examples, some would qualify for a “Yes” answer immediately while others we’d really have to think about. Although it would be very easy to say “No” to some, it would not be the Christian thing to do. I feel the need to close the loop on the message from last week that bled into our discussion during bible study. We need to understand who is our neighbor and what our responsibilities are for helping them. So, who is our neighbor? Mr. Webster defines neighbor as “One who lives or is situated near another. A fellow man.” It is the latter part of the definition that is the focus of my message today, our neighbor is our fellow man.
I. The Injured Man, The Priest and The Levite
The story of the Good Samaritan is a very familiar story in the bible, one that is used to teach kids and adults alike how to demonstrate compassion. As we walk through this story, I want you to focus on the examples that we discussed earlier of those that your first response to would be “No” if you saw them in need of help.
Turn with me to Luke 10:25-37.
Luke 10:25-37 “On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher, he asked, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ‘What is written in the law? He replied. How do you read it?’ He answered ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.’ ‘You have answered correctly, Jesus replied. ‘Do this and you will live!’ But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’ In reply Jesus said: ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him, he said, and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ ‘Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?’ The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’ Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.”