Summary: Fifth of a six part series ecouraging believers to do whatever it takes in their walk with God. This sermon focuses on ministry.
A “Whatever it Takes” Commitment:
1. Does not hold to convention
2. Is not hemmed in by circumstances
3. Does not heed convenience
4. Is not hampered by criticism
5. Does bring honor to Christ
We’ve spent the last three weeks applying these five principles to:
• Knowing God – Discipleship
• Loving God – Worship
• Loving Others – Fellowship
This week we’re going to see how we can do whatever it takes to serve others, which we call ministry. And let me be real honest with you right up front this morning. This is an area that I struggle with personally. It’s not something that comes real natural to me. And in looking at our church as a whole, I’m also convinced that this is the area where we have the most room to mature and grow.
So this morning we’re going to look at a passage that we’re probably all familiar with – the parable of the Good Samaritan.
Read Luke 10:25-37
In a moment we’re going to focus on the parable itself, but first let’s spend just a few minutes thinking about the reason Jesus tells this parable. In fact, we’re not really sure that this is strictly a parable. This very well may have been Jesus giving an account of a real event.
In this passage we read about a lawyer who comes to Jesus. At first, he seems to have a genuine interest in finding out what it takes to gain eternal life. But as the conversation with Jesus continues, it becomes pretty obvious that this lawyer isn’t as interested in doing what it takes to gain eternal life as he is trying to find away around his responsibilities. And we wonder why lawyers get such a bad rap.
This week I heard a story about a man woke up in a hospital bed and called for his doctor. He asked, "Give it to me straight. How long have I got?" The physician replied that he doubted that the man would survive the night.
The man then said, "Call for my lawyers." When the lawyers arrived, the man asked for one lawyer to stand on one side of the bed, while the other lawyer stood on the other. The man then laid back and closed his eyes. When he remained silent for several minutes, the physician asked what he had in mind. The man replied: "Jesus died with a thief on either side. I just thought I’d check out the same way."
Or there was the time that a surgeon, an engineer and a lawyer were asked which of their professions was the oldest. The surgeon said it was his because in Genesis Chapter 2 God took a rib from Adam to create Eve. The engineer said it was his because in Genesis Chapter 1 God made the world out of chaos. The Lawyer replied: “Who do you think caused the chaos?”
You see, this lawyer knew the law very well, he knew that the Bible commanded him to love God and to love his neighbor. But, as a Jewish man, he was trying to suggest that the definition of neighbor was rather narrow – that it only included others that were like him. So Jesus told this parable, or story, to illustrate the importance of serving others – even others who might be quite different than us. And in this passage we find five principles or requirements that we must meet if we want to serve others in a way that would be pleasing to God.
5 REQUIREMENTS FOR SERVING OTHERS:
The first step in serving the needs of others is that we need to develop an awareness of the needs of those around us. Interestingly, in this parable, all three men - the priest, the Levite, and the Samaritan - were aware of the man alongside of the road. In each case, the passage is quite clear that all three men saw the injured man alongside of the road.
The road from Jerusalem to Jericho was a narrow, windy road that descended about 3500 feet over 17 miles. If you look at the picture of this area on the screen, it’s easy to see why it was frequented by robbers who could find many places to hide. So you can imagine that as each of these three men traveled the road, they were very aware of their surroundings and there was no way they were going to miss a beaten, injured man alongside of the road.
It’s not always quite so easy for us to see the needs of people around us, though. If we really want to become the kind of people who minister to the needs of other people, we have to develop a consciousness or awareness of those around us who have needs. For some of you, you’re great at noticing the needs of people around you, but for me, it’s not real natural, so I have to work at it. So if you have a need in your life and you want me to be aware of it, you probably just need to come to me and be very direct and say, “Pat, this is the need I have.” And if I’ve missed some of your needs, it’s not intentional. I’m working on it, but I just need to develop my awareness of the needs around me.