- Sermon Notes
Won’t You Be Their Neighbor?
February 7, 2021
1. When Fred Rogers launched his famous children’s show, Mister Roger’s Neighborhood in 1966, our country was in the midst of a cultural conflict.
2. Tensions were high. Citizens were divided. Our nation was on edge.
3. In the midst of those fractured times, Mr. Rogers opened his program with a song that not only defined a children’s show, it served as a reminder to a divided nation of a deeper truth, one which transcends politics, race, or gender, that we are neighbors.
4. “Would you be mine? Could you be mine? Won’t you be my neighbor?”
5. Yet, well before Mr. Rogers ever sang those words, Jesus Christ had defined what it means to be a “good neighbor” almost two thousand years earlier.
6. Today, tensions are high. Citizens are divided. Our nation is on edge.
7. What role can the Church play in healing a country that is literally being torn apart?
8. Where do we begin? How can people like you and me make a difference?
9. Tonight, we will look to the words of our Savior for the answer in Luke 10.
10. For in Luke 10, we will learn where to begin and how we can make a difference by being a good neighbor.
1. As I mentioned last week, when we arrive at Luke 10, there is another major shift in Jesus’ ministry.
2. After Jesus had sent the twelve apostles to proclaim the Gospel (9:1-6), had fed the 5,000 with five loaves and two fish (9:12-17), had heard Peter’s confession that He is “The Christ of God” (9:18-22), and had been transfigured on the mountain (9:28-36), we are told in. . .
Luke 9:51, When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem. . .
3. To prepare the cities along the route for His arrival, Jesus selected seventy men to spread the news, “the kingdom of God has come near.” (9)
4. After Jesus’ advance team returned to share their report with Jesus, Luke shifts the focus of his Gospel account to a lawyer who “stood up” to put Jesus to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (25)
5. Now, it may seem that this question is unrelated to the questions were are trying to answer.
6. But in reality, the answer to this question lays the foundation for how to be a good neighbor.
Transition – The first principle is. . .
I. Being a Good Neighbor Begins with Love
• In Jesus’ day, Jewish lawyers were experts in interpreting the Mosaic Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.
• So this lawyer wanted to test Jesus to evaluate His knowledge of the Mosaic Law.
• He asked Jesus, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
• Or to frame the question in modern-day terms, “What must I do to be saved?”
• As we will see, the lawyer’s question was not born out of a humble, teachable, sincere heart.
• He was looking for a reason to dismiss Jesus, to label Jesus, or even to accuse Jesus.
• Jesus masterfully answered the lawyer’s question with a question of His own which, in effect, put the lawyer on trial.
• With this pivot, not only was the lawyer’s knowledge of the Mosaic Law on trial, so was his heart.
• Jesus asked, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” (26)
Transition – The lawyer correctly answered the question, dividing his answer into two parts.
A. Love God wholeheartedly
1. The law expert began his answer with a quote from the Law.
Deuteronomy 6:5, You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
2. How do we inherit eternal life if we seek to do so by keeping the Mosaic Law?
3. First, by perfectly loving God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength all our lives.
4. God has perfectly loved us.
Isaiah 54:10, “For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, and My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” says the LORD who has compassion on you.
Jeremiah 31:3, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.
5. So we must perfectly love God in return.
6. Our love for God must be perfect in our thoughts, words, and deeds, anything less is a failure to keep the Mosaic Law.
APPL – Question. After Adam and Eve rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden, has anyone ever loved God like that?
• Hold that thought.
• We will come back to it in a moment.
Transition – Remember, the lawyer’s question to Jesus was, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
• Jesus pointed the expert in the Mosaic Law back to the Mosaic Law with His question.
• So, just to be clear, we are looking at how a person inherits eternal life by keeping the Law.
• The first part is to love God perfectly your entire life.
• The second part is. . .
B. Love your neighbor like you love yourself
1. The second part of the lawyer’s answer is a quote from Leviticus 19:18. . .
Leviticus 19:18, You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.
2. Notice that love is first framed in the negative:
a. Never seek revenge.
b. Never bear a grudge.
3. Also notice that love is narrow in scope, “against the sons of your people.”
4. Then, love is defined in the positive, “but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.”
5. So, the first and second parts of the lawyer’s answer summarize the entirety of the Ten Commandments given to Moses by God on Mount Sinai in Exodus 20:1-17.
6. Jesus said to the lawyer, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” (28)
APPL – What was Jesus saying?
• I can summarize what Jesus said in two words: BE PERFECT!
o Love God perfectly.
o Love others perfectly.
• Going back to my earlier question, after Adam and Eve rebelled against God in the Garden, has anyone ever loved God or their neighbor perfectly?
• I can answer that question with one word. NO!
Romans 3:23, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
• Since the Law requires perfection, all you need to do is fail once and you have fallen short and broken the whole Law.
James 2:10, For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.
• Then why did Jesus point the lawyer to the Mosaic Law if no one can perfectly keep the Law to inherit eternal life?
• Because Jesus was using the Law like a mirror to show the lawyer that he had not loved God nor his neighbor perfectly. He needed a Savior!
• Jesus was drawing the lawyer to Himself.
• This is why the Apostle Paul declared. . .
Galatians 3:24, Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.
• Our good works will never justify us before God because all it takes to disqualify us from inheriting eternal life is to fail to love God or our fellow man just one time.
• Can you see why we need a Savior?
• The truth is the lawyer stood condemned by the very Law he had thoroughly studied and had taught to others to follow.
• He knew the Law but could not keep it.
• He may have answered Jesus’ question correctly but he had not answered it honestly.
• He, of all people, should have fallen on his knees and cried out to Jesus, saying, “I have failed! I am guilty! What do I do? Please help me for I am a sinful man!”
• But what did the lawyer do instead?
• He tried to justify himself by asking Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (29)
Transition – Jesus was not going to let the lawyer off the hook that easily.
• Jesus answered his question with a parable, one of the most famous parables in Luke’s Gospel, the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
• How would you summarize Jesus’ parable when it comes to being a good neighbor?
• I can summarize the parable in three words. . .
II. Love Like Jesus
• In many ways, the lawyer was asking Jesus, “When it comes to who my neighbor is, what is the bare minimum, the narrowest definition?”
• It was similar to when Peter asked Jesus. . .
Matthew 18:21, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?
• Jesus exploded Peter’s question with His answer. . .
Matthew 18:22, I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
• In the same way, Jesus detonated the lawyer’s question with the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
• There are four characters in the parable:
o First, a Jew traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho who is attacked by robbers and is beaten and left for dead. (30)
o Second, a Jewish priest, likely traveling after ministering in the Temple. (31)
o Third, a Levite. Levites were not priests but assisted the priests in the Temple. (32)
o Fourth, a Samaritan. (33)
• Now, the Jews hated the Samaritans and the feeling was mutual for the Samaritans.
• The Jews and Samaritans were enemies through and through.
• For example, in Luke 9, James and John wanted to command fire from heaven on a Samaritan village because the people refused to welcome Jesus.
• But Jesus rebuked His two apostles, saying. . .
Luke 9:55-56, You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.
• With the sting of that rebuke still fresh in their memories, the Parable of the Good Samaritan was just as much for the disciples as it was for the lawyer. Why?
• Because the hero of the parable is not the priest, a fellow Israelite who ministered to God and His people in the Temple.
• Nor is it the Levite, also a Jew, who served alongside the priests in the Temple.
• The hero of Jesus’ parable is a Samaritan.
o An enemy of Israel.
o An outcast.
• But in many ways, the heart and actions of the Good Samaritan mirror the heart and work of Jesus Christ.
Transition – For example, if you are going to love like Jesus, then you must. . .
A. Love those who hate you
1. The Samaritan saw his enemy, naked, and half dead on the road.
2. He could have easily justified crossing to the other side of the road, like the priest and Levite, and pretend he did not see a thing.
3. Instead, the Samaritan had compassion for the wounded man.
a. The Samaritan did not see an enemy.
b. The Samaritan saw a man made in God’s image in need of help.
4. The Samaritan’s compassion motivated him to render life-saving aid.
APPL – Do you see Jesus in that picture?
• Jesus loved us while we were His enemies.
Romans 5:8, 10, But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. . . For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
• May we put on heart of compassion and love.
Colossians 3:12-14, So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and
patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
• May we love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.
Matthew 5:44-45, But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
B. Love those who can do nothing for you
1. The beaten, naked, and left-for-dead Jewish traveler had nothing to give his Samaritan rescuer for all that he had with him had been stolen.
2. It was obvious that there was no way he could pay the Good Samaritan back.
3. But did that stop the Samaritan from helping his fellow man? No.
4. The Samaritan cleaned and dressed the unconscious traveler’s wounds.
5. The Samaritan placed the man on his own beast, likely a donkey, and walked the long road beside him.
6. The Samaritan took the man to an inn and cared for him until the next day.
7. And then the Samaritan gave the innkeeper money to cover the cost for the man’s stay and promised to come back and pay for any additional expenses while the man recovered, all for an enemy who could never pay him back.
APPL – Do you see Jesus in that picture?
• Jesus helped us when we were helpless.
Romans 5:6, For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
• May we have the attitude of Jesus.
Philippians 2:3-5, Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus
APPL – But where do we begin?
• The need is so great.
• How can we make a difference?
ILLUS – The Story of the Starfish
• Loving others like Jesus.
• One person at a time.
• That’s how we make a difference.
• That’s what it means to be a good neighbor, following the example of Jesus Christ, our Savior, and the Ultimate Neighbor!
APPL – When we love like Jesus, we are telling the world we are disciples of Jesus.
John 13:34-35, A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
• May we love like Jesus.
• May we go and be a good neighbor.
Luke 10:25-37 NASB
25 And behold, a [a]lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? [b]How does it read to you?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God [c]with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” 29 But wanting to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he encountered robbers, and they stripped him and [d]beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. 31 And by coincidence a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan who was on a journey came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, 34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own animal, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 On the next day he took out two [e]denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return, I will repay you.’ 36 Which of these three do you think [f]proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” 37 And he said, “The one who showed compassion to him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do [g]the same.”