Summary: A neighbor is anyone we encounter who has a need we can help with.
Ever wonder why there are so many religions in the world?
Let me ask this question: Would there be religion if there aren’t any people??
Religion is based on people. Only people do religion! People create religion!
Now, how many people are there in the world??
There are over 6 billion people in the world and everyone has a need for religion. Why do people need religion??
There are at least 3 basic reasons why people need a religion:
1. reason for living (why do I exist?)
2. desire to know origin (where did I come from?)
3. created in the “image” of God (the need to relate to someone greater)
There are over 6 billion people in the world and each one has a desire relate to a god and so people come up with all sorts of religions. Even those who say they are atheists and don’t believe in God, they really still have a god don’t they? Atheists still have a need for a reason to live? Atheists live for themselves and some see themselves living for humanity. Many atheists are do-gooders; their religion is help humanity.
People with religion is like this picture….. (trying to reach some higher power).
I’ve shared all of this to prepare us for our passage for this morning. Please open your Bibles to Luke 10:25-37…
Before reading our passage, let us together pray our commitment to God’s Word…..
We will read about an “expert of the Law” asking a question to Jesus Christ. This expert of the Law is a very religious person who knew and taught God’s Old Testament!
Let us learn from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by reading Luke 10:25-37 ….
Look again at v25; The expert of the law stood up and tested Jesus. What does that mean? Picture a classroom for a moment; what does it mean when someone stands up and questions a teacher??
v25: the teacher of the law thought he knew more than Jesus!
His first question again was basically “how can I be with God forever and ever?” or simply “how can I go to heaven?”
We read in v28 that the expert of the law actually gave the right answer with Scriptures. We’ll come back to that verse later. This expert of the law answered correctly with Scripture; but what did he do wrong with that Scripture? Look again at v29.,…
And so God’s Word is clear in what one must do to inherit the Kingdom of God: “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.”
But what did that teacher of the law do with God’s Word??
Not only did he question Scriptures, the expert of the law interpreted God’s Word his way not God’s way. We note that he wanted to justify himself; in other words, that expert of the law made the mistake of trying to change God’s Word to fit his life rather than allowing God’s Word to change his life.
Now, many messages and lessons can be gleaned from the story of the Good Samaritan and God willing, we will study that parable in more detail next week.
But really, if we look at v30-35 in context, the parable was for that expert of the law who was asking “who is my neighbor I am to love?” And after telling the story, Jesus gave an opportunity for that expert of the law to answer his own question. Look again at v36-37….
And so what is the answer to “who is my neighbor I am to love?”
Verse 36 can be confusing because it sounds like the neighbor is the Samaritan. But how we are to read this is that the Samaritan acted “neighborly” to the man robbed. In other words, the Samaritan treated the robbed man as if he knew him as a good neighbor. Neighbor is a person one can give mercy to! Another way of looking at this is a neighbor is anyone in the sphere of influence of a person.
What Biblical principles can we apply to our lives today from this passage?
Did you notice that Jesus actually commended the expert of the law? What was the expert of the law commended for??
Jesus said in v28, “you have answered correctly!”
Jesus commended the expert of the law for citing God’s Word correctly!
The expert of the law was commended for being religious with God’s Word! You see, just because religion cannot save us from our sins, it does not mean Christians are not to be religious!
1. When it comes to worshiping God (praise, prayer, and God’s Word), Christians are to be religious!
But again let us be careful about religion. Although all of us have a desire to be religious, to be closer to our God, we must not depend on our religiosity to get us to heaven.