Sunday School Material 2-8-15: Serving Neighbors, Serving God

(Luke 10:25-37; 2/8/15)

Introduction:A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that Jesus teaches about being a good neighbor, in spite of being challenged by an expert in the law. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to strive to live a loving life, instead of waste too much time arguing with people who have ungodly agendas.

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Read Luke 10:25-29

I. Great Questions. In our Sunday School material there is an exchange between Jesus and an expert in the law. There is agreement on loving God with all that one has and loving one’s neighbor. The question is raised by the law expert, “Who is my neighbor”?

Applications –

- Loaded questions. Notice in vss. 25, 29 that the expert in the law raised loaded questions. That is, he raised questions for less than obvious reasons.

On one hand, we should be careful about how we answer questions, especially those raised for us to respond to in public. The devil has a way of twisting what we say.

On the other hand, we should keep the devil from using us, by having us to use loaded questions. We should be transparent, instead of manipulative. Let’s work on being aware of loaded questions and avoiding being used by the devil.

- Loving as Christians. Notice in vs. 27 the idea of loving God and neighbors as a means of inheriting eternal life. First, God is still calling us to love Him with all that we have (i.e., heart, mind, soul, and strength – emotions, intellect, spirit/values, and body) and to love those around us.  If our Christian faith doesn’t do this, it is lacking much.

Second, we don’t live under the law. We live under grace. Thus, we are called to love God and neighbors as those who have eternal life (i.e., by way of accepting Jesus as our savior by faith), not as a means of inheriting eternal life. None of us love well enough to earn eternal life. Let’s work on loving God and neighbors, as saved people should.

Read Luke 10:30-37

II. Compelling Story. Jesus shares the story of the “Good Samaritan” in our Sunday School material. Unlike the priest and Levite, the Samaritan takes time and money to help a man who has been mistreated. Jesus urges His listeners to go and be neighbors like the Samaritan.

Applications –

- Bad things happen. Notice in vs. 30 that bad things happen. As long as sinners are in this world and have free will, we should not be surprised when people are mistreated. Whether it is police brutality, terrorism, or predatory practices by businesses, bad things are subject to happen.

They can happen to us, in which case we should seek God’s will and mindset to get through our bad times. Or bad things can happen around us, in which case we should seek God’s will and wherewithal to help as God would have us to.

We should not be so heavenly minded that we are caught off guard by the bad things that can happen to us and those around us on Earth. Let’s work on being prepared to deal with bad things happening.

- Being a good Samaritan. Notice in vss. 31-32, 37 of our Sunday School material that the priest and Levite were known for offering no assistance. We can only speculate as to “why”? Were they too busy going to an appointment? Were they afraid of being attacked? Were they simply apathetic towards the man’s situation?

Perhaps a more relevant question is how would we respond to a similar situation? We should make sure that we at least see those who are in need around and have some explanation for “why” we do what we do.

Notice that the urging of the parable is to be like the good Samaritan, not like the priest and Levite. Some people read this to mean that they should give money to people on the street, especially if they ask for money.

The Pastor thinks that this is normally a bad idea, because it often enables the people to stay in a begging situation, instead of empowering them to improve their situation. Perhaps a more helpful thing to do is to give money and volunteer at organizations that focus on helping homeless people or some other humanitarian situation.

On the other hand, if you see someone who is laying “half dead” on the street, the Pastor thinks you should at least call 911. And there may be times when you may need to assist with CPR. Let’s make sure we are striving to be the “good Samaritan” that God is calling us to be today.

- Jesus the good Samaritan. Notice in vss. 33-35 of our Sunday School material that the Samaritan goes out of his way to help what appears to be a Jewish stranger. In a real sense, what the Samaritan did for the abused man is what Jesus has done for us.

As the Samaritan rescued the dying man, left substitute payment in place, and promised to return, in the text, so Jesus did for believers. Jesus rescued us, paid the price for us, and promises to return. Let’s live like we appreciate Jesus’ sacrifices for us. Such living should be known for obedience – loving God and others, as we love ourselves.

- Jesus use of Samaritans. Notice in vss. 33-35 of our Sunday School material that God is aware of and transcends the people problems in the text. The Jews and Samaritans did not get along with one another (to put it mildly). Yet Jesus uses a parable with Jews that casts the Samaritan in a positive light.

In other words, just as the Jews could learn compassion and being a neighbor from the example of the Samaritan, we should be open to receiving God’s word to us from wherever He chooses to send it. God is the giver of every good and perfect gift. If it is good and perfect then it is from God ultimately, no matter where it is coming from in the immediate context.

Let’s work on being open to however God wants to guide our lives. This a great point for middle class people who dismiss what poor people say, educated people who dismiss what the uneducated say, the powerful who dismiss what the weak have to say, and so on.

Conclusion: Let’s work on striving to live a loving life, instead of wasting too much time arguing with people who have ungodly agendas. God has much for those who obey His will.

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