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Serve Each Other

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The question is not, "Who do you serve?" The question is, "How do you serve?"

Notes & Transcripts | Handout

Introduction

Have people turn to Luke 10:25-37
Granger Missionary Church exists to glorify God by making disciples through gospel-centered worship, community, service, and multipliation.
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This the the process by which people come to know Jesus, find healing for the broken places in their lives, and are equipped to walk alongside others to take that next step in a Jesus-first life.
ILLUST - Did you ever have a song pop into your head and you have know idea how it got there? Me too - Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood? I had forgotten it was a part of Sesame Street - the educationally - brainwashing show that tricked you into learning with puppets and cookies. ME LIKE COOKIES! Elmo likes cookies!
Today, we’re going to look at a passage that, at first glance, looks like the beginning of a bad lawyer joke. But it actually turns out to be one of the most memorable and powerful parables Jesus ever taught.
It’s a story you’re probably familiar with even if you don’t have much of a background in church. For those of us who did grow up in church, we’ve seen every flannelgraph image of the wounded man on the side of the road and the Good Samaritan you can imagine.
Even if you’ve not had church as a part of your background, you know the concept of “being a Good Samaritan.” The term has come to be used for hospitals, laws protecting those who try to help others, and even the name of an insurance company (although that would probably fit better with the robber).
The idea is, we probably all have a concept of what it means to be a “Good Samaritan.” If you can, lay aside your conceptions, your flannelgraph images for a momment and let’s take a look at the passage again with some fresh eyes.
What we’ll see is:
The question is not, "Who do you serve?" The question is, "How do you serve?"
Luke 10:25–28 ESV
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 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.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
Luke 10.25-
Background to the story:
Here we have a lawyer - someone well versed and knowledgeable in the Old Testament, specifically, the first five books of the OT - what we call the Pentateuch.
These lawyers were well-respected and seen as religious authorities.
Jesus has a love-hate relationship with the religious leaders of his day - He loves everyone as the Son of God, but they hate him - Jesus isn’t part of the ‘establishment’ - he’s breaking their status quo.
The passage tells us the lawyer “stood up” which would imply that had been previously sitting - This, and the fact that he calls Jesus, “Teacher” implies that Jesus had just been teaching.
Because of this background we can relatiely safely assume the lawyer’s question was not a genuine heart cry - it’s a potential intellectual trap.
ILLUST - That kid when your teaching that always tries to outsmart the teacher.
The lawyer asks Jesus how to inheret eternal life. Jesus volleys back with another question - deferring to the lawyer a question about the law.
The lawyer give Jesus an answer and it’s a pretty good one - “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.”
Jesus agrees with him and tells him to “do this and you’ll live.”
The plot will thicken here in a minute, but I want to pause here an point out something I think is important even before the parable. And I want to let you in on what I think is really happening here.
The lawyer’s answer is a really good answer because the lawyer’s answer was Jesus’ answer.
Matthew 22:34–40 ESV
But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Matt 22:
The lawyer’s had already tried to trap Jesus before - trying to get him to pit God’s laws against each other. Jesus essentially summed up all of the OT laws by saying, “Love God with every ounce of your being and then let it flow out into loving others.”
I think what the lawyer might be doing in our passage is using Jesus’ own words to try to trip him up one level down.
ILLUST - Ever have your kids quote you back to you?
This is important because the lawyer’s insincerity here just explodes Jesus’ point in the parable.
Before we look at the parable, we need to see some very important truth in what the lawyer (and Jesus said).
If I can boil it down it would be this:

Saved people serve people. (25-28)

I borrowed this phrase from NewSpring Church in SC. This is actually one of their core values.
Jesus is saying to the lawyer through the Great Commandment that eternal life could be found if one could keep God’s Law perfectly, but we know that has not been the case for anybody. One of the purposes of the Law was to show us that we fall short of what it means to love God with all of our being.
Matthew 22:34–40 ESV
But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Ephesians 2:8–10 ESV
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
We are saved by God’s grace.
Interestingly, the lawyer is asking the question of eternal life from the very One who holds it.
Unfortunately, there are many people like this today. The questions they ask are not legitimate questions, they’re justifying questions.
It says the lawyer “put him to the test,” and “desiring to justify himself.” The lawyer wasn’t asking Jesus a legitimate question, he only wanted Jesus to legitimize his actions.
Hear me, please. Stop looking Jesus in the face and asking him questions you don’t really want him to answer. Jesus always has a way of smoking out your heart’s intentions.
The lawyer had the right answer for salvation in his head but his heart missed it by a mile. We are not saved by right answers, and we know we can’t be saved by our own actions; instead we are saved by putting our faith in Jesus alone.
Ephesians 2:8–10 ESV
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Notice, though, how Paul links our faith and our service. We are not saved by our serving, or by our works, but we are saved FOR serving, because saved people serve people.
We are saved for good works.
Our own actions cannot fulfill the righteousness that completes the first half of that Great Commandment - to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind. With the righteousness that Jesus gives us and with the Holy Spirit we can begin to achieve it. This means that we can also achieve loving our neighbor as ourselves.
{If you were not saved by good works (If God’s love was not started by your good works), then God’s love for you is not maintained by your good works.}
{If you were not saved by good works (If God’s love was not started by your good works), then God’s love for you is not maintained by your good works.}
We don’t serve just to feel better about ourselves. The
We can’t be ok with the first part of the statement and not the second. We can’t be ok with God and not our neighbor.
ILLUST - we can’t wear the Jesus-face shirt and jack someone up because the crossed our path wrong, we can’t stick the Jesus-fish on our car and cuss out the driver next to us - or pass by the homeless man on the road.
We don’t serve just to feel better about ourselves. We “Love the Lord our God with all that we are and love our neighbor as ourself” to reflect back to God.
We serve because we’ve been served so that we can be saved, and we serve so that those who are served might one day be saved. “Saved people serve people so that served people might become saved people.”
Matthew 20:28 ESV
even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
It is inconsistent to say you love God with all that you are and not tangibly love the people he loves.
The lawyer knows this, so instead of trying to get out of serving his neighbor, he just tries to lower the standard by asking for a definition of “neighbor.”
ILLUST - It would be like me asking Christine - what is the bare minimum I need to do so that you’ll believe that I love you.
Luke 10:29–35 ESV
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 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. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 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. 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.’
Luke 10:29-
The lawyer is trying to squirm out from under the Law. He tries to make it easy by asking, “Who is my neighbor?” Who is your neighbor? For the Jew it was another Jew, not Samaritans or Gentiles. A neighbor is someone with whom you have something in common - usually physical space.
ILLUST - I’ve always seemed to have good neighbors, but I’m not so sure I’ve always been a good neighbor.
Here Jesus gives the parable:
A man was traveling North but down from the (physically) high Jerusalem along a long and deserted road.
He was attacked by robbers who took everything - almost his life.
Two men walked right by the man leaving him to die, but the third stopped and served the man - the Good Samaritan.
He shows us:
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People who serve have compassion and care at a cost. (29-35)

Compassion (Do you see?)
Two saddest sentences in the story: 31-32 - a priest (the religious elite - if anyone should be close to God’s heart it should be the priest) sees him and passes on the other side of the road. Maybe the priest saw the condition of the man and wasn’t sure if he was dead.
priests were not allowd
Priests were not allowed to touch a dead body or it would make them ceremonially unclean. So maybe the priest was worried that if he went over to see if the man was alive, he might need to touch the body to find out and if he were dead, the priest would then be unclean. His adherence to tradition and religiosity dulled his compassion.
Next comes a Levite. The Levites helped the priests in the Temple even though they could not perform the sacrifices. He had less restrictions on him in teh sense of becoming unclean and still he doesn’t help. It’s as if he can’t be bothered.
You could probably hear an audible gasp next as Jesus describes the next person to come along the road - A Samaritan.
“Jesus deliberately chose an outsider, and a hated one at that, for his hero in order to indicate that being a neighbor is not a matter of nationality or race.” - Robert H. Stein
Finally,
Jesus deliberately chose an outsider, and a hated one at that, for his hero in order to indicate that being a neighbor is not a matter of nationality or race
Robert H. Stein, Luke, vol. 24, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 317–318.
Samaritan’s and Jews were not friends. Think Purdue and Notre Dame - related, but more like second cousins at the family reunion.
Robert H. Stein, Luke, vol. 24, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 317–318.Samaritan’s and Jews were not friends. Think Purdue and Notre Dame - related, but more like second cousins at the family reunion.
After Solomon, the kingdom of Israel was spit into two with Israel to the north and Judah to the south. Israel later became known as Samaria. 700 years before Jesus Samaria was conquered by the Assyrians who carried off many of the captives, but left some Assyrians to and Jews to take care of the land. To the Jews in the South, the Samaritans were “rebels” and now “half-breeds.”
Jesus was slandered by being called a “Samaritan and demon-possessed.”
That’s one thing that made this person of the story different than the others, but the most important difference between the Samaritan and the Levite and the priest was his compassion.
The Samaritan looked at the man and saw not his own inconviences and excuses to not help, but actually saw the man and his need. Sometimes we see people through the lens of our own desires.
ILLUST - Gold digger videos
Who are the Samaritans today? If you saw them in need you might be tempted to think they deserved it?
Different race
Different socio-economic status
Different religion
The Jews believed the Samaritans were theologically wrong.
None of these things keep us from compassion!
Do you have enough compassion to stop? we hear about need all the time, but sometimes God places people in our path and we walk on by. We miss the connection to God and that person.
ILLUST - not helping the hurting girl on our date.
Care (Will you do?)
The irony of the story is that the enemy of the Jew actually does what the moral, religious Jew did not. They passed on by.
Sometimes the church can be guilty of this as well. Did you ever think about how many homeless people you drove by to get to church?
ILLUST - Driving by all the homeless camps and not even knowing it.
ILLUST - Our son was abused two years ago and is now playing on our trampoline - how many others are still being abused?
The Samaritan sees him and acts. You can’t serve from the sidelines. You may really care about the game, but having compassion from the sidelines does no good.
He inconveniences himelf to help the wounded man. He doesn’t just throw money at him, or radio for help. He stops, stoops, and works to heal the man. He doesn’t support a cause, he helps the man.
He allowed himself to be interrupted to help.
ILLUST - Check, Call, Care
Sa
The Samaritan used what he had. He didn’t yell at those who didn’t help, he didn’ wait for someone more qualified.
Serve others through uncommon:
Blessing
Giving
Honor
{The invisible God is made visible when you serve.}
Reasons we do NOT serve:
Sin
Selfishness
Feeling unqualified
Distraction
We serve because
Cost (No matter what?)
Serving people will cost you something.
This care cost the Samaritan:
Time - he had been on his way somewhere - but where he was going was not more important than where God obviously wanted him to be.
Resources - he gave generously so the man would be taken care of for as long as he needed - two denarii was equivalent to two day’s wages
He promised to follow through.
We have the King’s resources! Why would the King’s servants hoard the King’s resources when they see someone in need.
Luke 10:36–37 ESV
Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
luke 10.

A life of service is not a choice. (36-37)

Gospel-centered service is not an event, it is a lifestyle.
Jesus flips the question the lawyer asked at the beginning as he points out that
The question is not, "Who do you serve?" The question is, "How do you serve?"
Go (Not wait)
Jesus verb here is imperative (both go and do). Jesus is expecting the lawyer will have an opportunity to pur this into practice, in fact, it would almost seem as though Jesus was expecting him to go out and look for an opportunity.
There is no retreat from serving, there is an expectation of it. It is at the core of who we are as a gospel-centered people.
Do (Don’t hesitate)
Just like the lawyer who asked the question, the priest and the Levite in the parable, justification is the sinful blinder we use to ignore other’s needs and avoid serving them.
I know there are different seasons of our lives. There are some who are in a season where they need healing, they need to be served. You know who you are because God is saying, “Be still, rest, prepare for the next season of service.” And if you feel any pressure it is from other people and not from God. That is never a good reason to serve.
Some, have been walking with Jesus way too long, have been a part of the church way too long and are still trying to justify their lack of service by asking, “Who is my neighbor?”

Conclusion

What’s your next step?
What is your next step toward living a life of gospel-centered service?
Only dead people don’t move. 
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