What is a Neighbor?
Good morning Church we are glad you are here to worship with us today.
Worship is a form speech or action of telling God that He is the one who we want to have in our lives as our Savior, or King, the One who we follow, the who we believe everything that these scriptures say, and we believe that He died on the cross, was buried in the tomb and rose again in three days, Jesus not only did this, but He did it as an act of obedience to God the father to save us.
This baptism is a form of this worship; it is a public declaration of who we are in Christ. As you go down into the water it signifies the death of our old sinful life and when we come back up out of the Water it signifies our resurrection in Christ Jesus. Just as Jesus was baptized through the full immersion wee too are to become like Him. And you are publicly claiming Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
Folks, worship is also giving of your first fruits of tithes and offerings so we have provided for you,
in the pews, offering envelopes. Please be prepared at the end of the service to receive the tithes and offerings.
So just before we get all that worship on, let’s all take a moment to great one another!
Open your Bibles with me to the book of Luke chapter 10, when you get there let us know by saying amen. Luke Chapter 10.
Over, 2000 years ago a man was attacked and left nearly dead on the side of the road, three men, from different back grounds came passed him, but only one helped him in his time of need. Every since the recording of this parable mankind has struggled with being ones neighbor.
Nearly 50 years ago “on the morning of March 13, 1964, a 28-year-old …young lady by the name of (Kitty) Genovese was returning to her home in a nice middle-class area of Queens, NY…. She parked her ….(car) in a nearby parking lot, turned-off the lights and started the walk to her second floor apartment some 35 yards away. She got as far as a streetlight when a man grabbed her. She screamed. Lights went on in the 10-floor apartment building nearby. She yelled, "Oh, my God, he stabbed me! Please help me!" Windows opened in the apartment building and a man’s voice shouted, "Let that girl alone." The attacker looked up, shrugged and walked-off down the street. Ms Genovese struggled to get to her feet. Lights went back off in the apartments. The attacker came back and stabbed her again. She again cried out, "I’m dying! I’m dying!" And again the lights came on and windows opened in many of the nearby apartments. The assailant again left and got into his car and drove away. The Young lady staggered to her feet as a city bus drove by. The attacker returned once again. He found her in a doorway at the foot of the stairs and he stabbed her a third time It was 3:50 when the police received the first call. They responded quickly and within two minutes were at the scene. The Girl was already dead…. " [THE NEW YORK TIMES, March 27, 1964, p. 38.]
This girls story would stand for Americans who were too indifferent or too frightened or too alienated or too self-absorbed to “get involved’’ in helping a fellow human being in dire trouble. …Detectives investigating … the murder discovered that at least 38 of her neighbors had witnessed at least one of her killer’s three attacks but had neither come to her aid nor called the police. The one call made to the police came after Genovese was already dead….[Long Island Our Story by Michael Dorman. www.lihistory.com/8/hs818a]
When it happened, many thought the incident shocking, bizarre – but not typical of the way people respond. The question was asked, “What was wrong with those people?”
We Fast forward to today, As you all of have known about the death of Trayvon Martin, it has been publicized in all over the world, and everyone whether you agree or not has heard of the verdict of George Zimmerman. You have heard and I have personally witnessed personally people protesting over the verdict. I want to tell you today that, This is not a place of conviction today, this is a place of healing and God’s forgiveness for all people in all accounts.
But in the course of this tragic satiation, I find myself asking the very question; that was asked 2000 years ago, that was asked some 49 years ago and now asked even today; where were the neighbors? Who are the Neighbors?
I find that the news doesn’t find it disturbing that people may have heard of the yelling and the fighting, the scuffling and even the gun shot, but yet choose not to help either one. Where are the Neighbors?
Maybe we find ourselves searching to find the answers to the age old questions, about the 2 commandments that Jesus tells which covers all the law- to love God completely and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
This morning to answer those questions we find that of all people Jesus is engaged in conversation with a lawyer. And he asked the questions that so important today.
- How can we have eternal life and who really is my neighbor?
That is what I want to take just a few moments of your time today to speak to you about becoming a neighbor. Answering these two questions:
If you are there in Luke Chapter 10 Read with me the parable of the Good Samaritan
And behold, a lawyer (This Lawyer is an expert in interpreting the Jewish Torah, which is what we have as the first five books of the Bible. In the Greek terminology he is defined as a Legal Expert, a very sophisticated scholar) stood up to put him to the test, saying, (His Motive was do discredit Jesus possibly to lead people away from the now popular Jesus back to the religion of the Law and the Pharisee)“Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (which is the most important question of all)26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall 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 your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
When you look at the answer given by the lawyer he gave the knowledge of the answer from the Torah, the first five books of the law, The answer to Love God comes from Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Levictus 19:18 But Jesus also said to him do this and you will live, which tells us that he was not doing what he knew from the law to do.
Now listen folks there will always be people in position, there will always be people who know what the Bible says to do, but they just won’t do it, there are those people who are what I call book smart, they can read and memorize whatever study material there is, but they don’t have any common sense to put it into action in their lives. there people that can quote the bible from front to back come to church on Sundays but don’t put it into action in their lives. And that is what Jesus is telling this Lawyer so you know what to do, knowing doesn’t get you eternal life you must do it and you will live.
29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
(Here I could just hear him ask this with a little attitude, because remember He is the expert in the law and Jesus called him out on not putting into action what he knows, So Jesus decided to explain it in a story one that he could identify with, There are three men a Priest- who is the highest of religious officials, he too is an expert in the Old Testament- A Levite, the Levite tribe was selected by God to carry out the tasks of temple worship and operation, then we have the Samaritan, Samaritans and Jews had no love lost for each other in fact they, they were a mixed race and the Jewish people disliked them so much, well you may remember the story of the Woman at the well and Jesus tells her that He is the Living Water, she was a Samaritan, Jewish people would steer clear of going into their territory, because they disliked them so much, they hated them. But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
So this lawyer wanting to first to put Jesus to the test asked What must I do to receive eternal life, another way of saying it is “what must I do to have salvation? after Jesus sets him straight he tries justify himself, he asked the 2nd question who is my neighbor? He knows the book answer of how to get to heaven, but now wants to be justified himself because he knows that he doesn’t come close to fulfilling the second commandment that God has given us “to love our neighbors as ourselves”.
When the day comes and we are face to face with God, there will be no self justification. Either we lived out what God has called us to be and to do, or we haven’t. We wont have the opportunity to say but I did this and that. In fact the bible tells us that Jesus said that the day will come and you will say: haven’t we done all this in your name? and Jesus will say depart from me I never knew you. It is critical that we get the first question right, that we are to love God with everything that we are.
People know what the Bible says about God and about loving others, about tithing, about going to the assembly, the laws, but most people want to do what they want to do, they want to adjust the law, they want to adjust loving others in the way that best suits their life and that is not how Jesus is describing to love others. So Jesus uses people like the lawyer in the parable to show him the error of his own ability in following God, He tells us this in a story.
30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road (this priest was going down from Jerusalem, this presents that the priest was in the same side of the road as the man who was robbed), and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. (So when He came up to him he had contact with him and moved over to the other side of the road)32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. The Levite came to the same place meaning the same side of the road, so he too moved to the other side of the road.
You would think that the two men that was suppose to help in the ministry that they we in would have stepped up to help.33 But a Samaritan, (Remember that Jews and Samaritans disliked, despised and detested one another) as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.(I want you to know folks This is the key to being a neighbor to have compassion) 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’
If you are saved you were like this man left for dead by the robbers, the robber is satin, he has robbed us and the many people we will come across in our life time, it doesn’t matter to him the color of our skin, how many books we have read, what our job titles are or our status in the world- he wounds us, steals from us and does his best to leave us for dead, but Jesus listen to me But God has compassion on us, and he came to bandage us all up, he cleans us up, he goes to the innkeeper and tells the innkeeper I don’t care the cost, I will pay it, and He did he paid it all, all on the cross, when we realize that and we find ourselves completlely depentdent on the love God, we can love the father with our total self, our heart, soul, strength and mind because of what he did for us, not knowing this information but doing it, it then goes further because Jesus wants us to do the same for our neighbor.
So there are two questions before you today? Do you actively love the Lord your God with everything, your whole self, or are you like the lawyer, you know what to do but you won’t do it?
The second question is: what is your Cost of being the neighbor?
From this parable of Jesus we see that a neighbor has a willingness to cross social barriers.
Jesus illustrated the Samaritan in the parable as the neighbor. Because, the Samaritan crossed religious, racial, and the social economic barriers.
Whether you like it or not America is a melting pot of different people from different religions, people are different racially, and come from many other nations, they are our neighbors.
Second a Neighbor has a willingness to take a risk. V34 Jews and Samaritans hated one another
A. The Samaritan took a risk- He went to him, used his stuff to bandage up his wounds, set him on his animal.
B. Christians are called to take a risk, to be neighbors to all people- Luke 6:30
The scripture says to give to those who ask, and the one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.
Sometimes we have to decide to take a risk and step out in faith, and have compassion for those who God has placed in our care.
Third a neighbor has a willingness to set aside a busy schedule.
Jesus teaches us to take time to show compassion to one another (Matt 5:1) anyone who forces you to go one mile, go with him 2.
Compassion is shown not often shown by what your made to do but the extra mile you go with the person.
Fourth a Neighbor has to be willing to make sacrifices.
The Priest did not want to get dirty
The Levite did not want to get involved
V34-35 The least of them all, the Samaritan stopped and was willing to help- gave of himself – his time, his effort, his money, his everything to ensure this man would live.
And that is what Jesus did for you and me.
The Bible tells us in Ephesians 5:12 says: be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. 2 And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.
We are to imitate to our neighbor what God has done for us.
This parable closes with Jesus asking the Lawyer this question 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
Folks, To make a difference in this country in this world today it is not about going out and protesting, it is not about retaliation, it is not about seeking revenge, it’s not about cursing out someone on a corner, it is about being the Neighbor we are called to be by our God. It is about being an imitator of God and His love.