Summary: "Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach...No the word is very near you: it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it."

Theme: The word is very near

Text: Deut. 30:10-14; Col. 1:15-20; Lk. 10:25-37

Read Deut. 30:11, 14 “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach… No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.”

This century has been widely acclaimed the information age because of the tremendous technological developments in this area. The Internet has made the most extensive library in the world accessible to everyone from the comfort of his or her home. Communication is almost instantaneous with the electronic mail and being informed is no longer a problem. However all the information technology cannot be compared in any way to God’s information process. His information process ensures that the word is very near and readily available in our hearts and in the world around us. This is because Jesus Christ, “the image of the invisible God”, created and sustains all things and His pre-eminence is visible in everything. God has called us to honour and please Him and recognize that He is all-sufficient. He has called us to keep His Word, which He has not hidden from us or which is beyond our reach. In the Old Testament the word came to the prophets and made them the bearers of a personal message from God to the people. It was by His Word that God made the world. When He said ‘Let there be…’ something new came into existence. The word then is the communication of what God has in mind. To receive God’s word and live by it is the way to find life. Have you ever said you would obey God if you knew what He wanted – if you knew His word? Have you ever complained that obedience is too difficult for a mere human being? These are unacceptable excuses since obeying the word is the reasonable and sensible thing to do if it is to be beneficial to us. The word is very near and clearly evident to all.

The word points the way to eternal life and the parable of the Good Samaritan begins with the question “what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" We cannot do anything to inherit eternal life since an inheritance is something that is received because of a relationship. It is not something you receive because of what you have done. Like so many people in the world today, the lawyer in today’s parable thought of eternal life as something that could be purchased with good works rather than something that is freely given because of the grace of God. Eternal life is not about what we can do for God, but rather about what God has done for us.

This is because no man can keep the Law completely. Thus the Law cannot save us but it shows us that we need to be saved. There can be no real conversion without conviction and the Law is what God uses to convict sinners. The only person ever to keep the Law was our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. When Jesus asked the lawyer what was written in the Law he had no difficulty with the reply - "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 neighbour as yourself". Lawyers we know belong to the learned profession and he knew the Law. So Jesus advised him to go and put into practice what the Law demanded - what he already knew. The lawyer knew the Law but he could not apply it personally to himself and admit his own lack of love for both God and his neighbour. So instead of being justified by throwing himself on the mercy of God he tried to evade responsibility and justify himself by asking who a neighbour is. There is a story about four friends, one a businessman, one an architect, one a doctor and one a lawyer. They decided that if one of them were to die, those who survived would each put $5,000.00 in the casket before the burial so he would not go to the next world empty handed. The businessman died and at the funeral each of the friends while paying their last respects placed something in the casket. After the burial they began to discuss what they did. The Architect confessed that he felt that $5,000.00 was a waste so he placed $3,000.00 in the casket instead. The doctor also confessed that he had placed $2,000.00 in the casket. The lawyer however did not say anything. After some persuasion he replied. “Well, I collected the cash you put in the casket and left him a cheque for $15,000.00.” The lawyer was really learned and knew that the cheque would never be cashed. We need to know that God has made it possible for us to receive eternal life because of what Christ has done. “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

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