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"The Good Samaritan"

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
November 7, 2021 5:00 am

"The Good Samaritan"

So What? / Lon Solomon

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Hi there, this is Lon Solomon and I'd like to welcome you to our program today. You know it's a tremendous honor that God has given us to be on stations all around the nation bringing the truth of God's word as it is uncompromising and straightforward. And I'm so glad you've tuned in to listen and be part of that.

Thanks again for your support and your generosity that keeps us on the radio. And now let's get to the Word of God. Now when you think of the term Good Samaritan, what comes to mind? Good Samaritan is actually a word that comes out of the Bible.

It comes out of a story that Jesus told in the Bible and its language has kind of become part of our culture. We talk about people being Good Samaritans, we have Good Samaritan hospitals, Good Samaritan Mercy Institutions. But folks, you know Jesus did not tell this parable or this story so that we would have a nice name to use for our hospitals. He told the story because there's a truth in it that he wants to change our life with.

And that's what we want to talk about this morning. We're at verse 25. On one occasion, an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. Teacher, he asked him, what must I do to inherit eternal life? Now the parable of the Good Samaritan actually flows out of a confrontation that Jesus had. And the confrontation was with a theological expert in Israel who came to ask Jesus a theological question. And his question was, what do I have to do to inherit eternal life?

There's an assumption that lies under this question. And the assumption is that eternal life is something that I earn. And so the real question he's asking is, what works do I have to do, Jesus, so that I can earn or merit eternal life? Now Jesus says to him, well, what's written in the Old Testament law?

You're an expert. How do you read it? He answered and said, well, the way I read it is you need to love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength and all your mind. And you need to love your neighbor as yourself. And Jesus said, you've answered correctly. And of course, Jesus had said that himself. Matthew Chapter 22, Jesus said, if you remember on these two commandments, loving the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and loving your neighbor as yourself on these two commandments, hang the rest of the whole Bible. So Jesus says to him, you're absolutely right.

Do these two things and you will have eternal life. Now wait a minute. Hold on just a second.

Time out. You're telling me that Jesus Christ is endorsing salvation by human works? Is that what you're saying?

Well, now listen a second. What I'm saying is that a person wanted to know how to work their way into heaven. And what Jesus says to them is, if you want to know how to work your way into heaven, this is the way. But just don't forget, it's an all or nothing affair.

What I mean by that is the Bible says, James Chapter two, whoever keeps the whole law and yet violates it in one point, he's violated the whole law. It's one hundred percent. You keep these commands one hundred percent.

And yes, you can earn your way in. But if you don't keep them one hundred percent, it's just like you did zero. Now, let's pause for a moment and ask ourselves a question. Can anybody love God with all their heart and all their soul and all their mind and all their strength? Every moment of every day of their life, can they?

Can anybody love their neighbor the way they love themselves every moment of every day of every month of every year of their entire life? Can it be done? Can you do that? Well, I believe the answer is absolutely not. It can't be done. You can't be done.

It's impossible. You've blown it. I've blown it. This theologian had blown it. And what Jesus was looking for was humility and honesty about the fact that we can't do this. What he wanted the theologian to say to him was, you know, Jesus, I've really tried to love God with all my heart and I've really tried to love my fellow man like myself. I've given him my best shot, but I can't do it.

I failed miserably. And so what I need to ask you, Jesus, is, is there some other way to get into heaven? That was the point that Jesus was trying to get this man to see that, yes, there is a way to earn your way into heaven, but nobody can meet the demands of getting in that way. So we all need an alternate way in a way that doesn't depend on our good works. And that's why Jesus Christ came to this earth, friends. That's why he died on the cross to provide an alternate way for people who can't work their way in, which means all of us. You with me now? If you're here and you're still trying to work your way into heaven, let me just take a moment and say to you, I hope you'll listen to what God's saying to you this morning in the Bible.

He's telling you that no matter how hard you try or how sincere you are, you can't do it. You need plan B, just like the theologian needed plan B, just like we all need plan B. And plan B is that we confess that we're unable to do it. Plan B is that we throw ourselves on the mercy of God.

Mercy is something that God gives to people who don't deserve it. And that's what we're looking for, because we can't deserve heaven and that we trust Jesus Christ to do something for us, to forgive our sins and get us into heaven, something for us that we can't do for ourselves. And if you're here and you're still trying to work your way into heaven, I hope this morning you'll really seriously consider the fact that God's telling you you can't get there that way.

You need the other plan. Now, to come to God the way Jesus wants us to means that you have to humble yourself. It means that you have to admit you can't do it. And that's exactly what this theologian would not do.

Look with me. Verse twenty nine. Let's get back to the story. But the theologian wanted to justify himself.

So he said to Jesus, And by the way, Jesus, who is my neighbor anyway? Now, look what's happening here. There's two alternatives you've got when you're faced with a standard you can't keep. Listen, the first alternative is to humble yourself, lower yourself and admit I can't do it.

The other alternative is to lower the standard to someplace where you can keep it. You understand? And what Jesus was looking for is for this man to lower himself and say, I can't. That's not what the man wanted to do. He said, I'm not lowering myself in my self-righteousness. I'm determined I'm still going to try to work my way into heaven.

What I want to know is, can I lower the standard? So, by the way, who is my neighbor anyway that I'm supposed to love the way I love myself? Where does neighbor stop that I have to love them like this to earn my way into heaven?

You understand what's going on, what the question is all about? It's an attempt by this self-righteous man to bring the standard down to a level where he could keep it. So where's the line, Jesus? And that's why Jesus tells the parable. Remember, the parable is meant to answer the question, how far does this word neighbor really go?

Okay, let's look at it. Jesus said, a man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he fell into the hands of robbers, and they stripped him of his clothes and beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. They're on the road. And a priest, the highest religious office in Israel, a priest, happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he crossed to the other side of the street and went on by him. And a Levite, who was the second highest office in Israel, came by, and when he saw the guy, he went on the other side of the street, and he walked right by him too and left him there on the road. And though while he was laying there beaten up and bleeding, a priest came along, crossed to the other side of the road, goes right on by. Levite came along, crossed to the other side of the road, goes right on by.

A lot of religion and no compassion. Well, then comes the next character, verse 33. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was next. Now, if you've been here for a while, you know I've told you about how Jews and Samaritans felt about each other. We could sum it up by saying if the priest and the Levite were regarded as the filet mignon of ancient Israel society, Samaritans were regarded as dog food.

That gives you a basic comparison. Jews just despised Samaritans, and Jesus could not have picked a more despicable character in the mind of Jewish people to bring into this parable. But as big as the difference was between priests and Levites and Samaritans in social standing, the difference between the heart response of this man and the response of the priest and the Levite was even bigger. Look, and when he saw the man, he had compassion upon him. He took pity upon him, and he went to him, and he bandaged his wounds, and he poured oil and wine on him. And he put the man on his own donkey, and he walked, and he took him to an inn. And there he took care of him that night. And the next day when he had to go about his business, he took two silver coins out and gave them to the innkeeper, and said, look after this guy, do whatever he needs to get him well, and when I return on my way back home, when I finish my business, I'll reimburse you for any extra expense you've incurred taking care of this guy.

Hey, now that's a slightly different response than the priest and the Levite, wouldn't you say? Here was a guy who had compassion. Here was a guy who took some risk. I mean, how did he know this wasn't a trap and that robbers weren't hiding behind the rocks waiting to jump on him when he stopped? Here was a guy willing to be inconvenienced, willing to even financially have to pay something to help another human being.

And you know what's really interesting? Is that even though he knew how the Jews felt about him, and even though he knew he was in Israel, and even though he knew the chances were this was a Jewish guy, and even though he knew that if it was him lying in the road, no Jewish person would stop to help him, isn't it interesting that he never inquired to see whether this man lying on the ground was Jewish before he helped him? He said, here's a man who has a need. I don't care whether he's Jewish or he's not Jewish. I don't care whether he would have helped me or whether he wouldn't have helped me.

Here's a man who has a need, and I'm going to help him. Now Jesus makes this theologian give the final conclusion to this whole thing. Jesus says, verse 36, now Dr. So-and-so, which of these three men do you think was a quote-unquote neighbor to the man who fell in the hands of the robbers?

Well, the expert in the law said, I guess it's the one who had mercy on him. Jesus said, you're right. So you go and do likewise. You see, when it comes to loving your neighbor as yourself, the theologian's question was, who is my neighbor? How far does this go?

What are the limits? And Jesus' answer was, who isn't your neighbor? Now that's the end of our passage, but you know it leads us to ask the really important question, and that is, so what?

Right. As I look at this parable, I see a great message here for us as Christians. I'm going to talk to those of us now who are Christians. We know Jesus Christ. He lives in our life. We know that we know him. There's a great message here for us, and it's all found in the last four words.

What are they? Go and do likewise. Why? So that we can earn our salvation? No, we've already got it. So we can keep our salvation? No, we can't lose it.

Well, then why should we? Because we want to imitate Jesus Christ who loved us the same way. You know, there's a song that says that Jesus Christ looked beyond my fault and he saw my need. I love that song because when I came to know Christ as a college student, that's exactly what Jesus did for me. I had so much fault you wouldn't have believed it.

I had it pinned and hanging all over me. And Jesus Christ looked beyond all of those faults in my life and saw my need on the inside. Starting with dying on the cross to pay for my sin and then coming into my life and revolutionizing my life. Jesus just didn't see my need.

He did something about it. And this is the kind of lifestyle that Jesus Christ calls every one of us who claim to be followers of his to live as imitators of him. Now, whereas the priest and the Levite had a lot of religion and they didn't have any compassion. I find that the spirit of God living inside of us as Christians provokes us. If you're a true Christian, he provokes you to want to care about other people. But the problem is that it's not that we don't want to care for other people as Christians. It's just that we don't often follow through very well sometimes as the church. We as the church have often been accused of having a lot of religion and not a whole lot of compassion.

Why? Is it because the spirit of God doesn't make us the kind of people who want to care for others? I want to care for others.

I bet you do, too, if you're a Christian. But we don't always do such a great job. Why not? Well, I've got three reasons to suggest as I close this morning how we can do better in being good Samaritans for other people. Because if you're really a Christian, I guarantee you that you want to in your heart.

Three reasons. Number one, because too often we don't take our theology to work with us. And what I mean by that is that Jesus didn't tell this parable to be a story that we just told on Sunday morning in church.

He told it so that we would have a philosophy to live our whole life by. And there's so many of us as Christians, when we walk out the house on Monday morning, we walk out and say, well, you know, that was great for yesterday, but I put my Bible back on the shelf this morning. I'm going to put everything else I learned at church back on the shelf this morning. I mean, when you walk in the world out here, friend, you lock and load. All that Sunday talk is nice for Sunday talk, but this is lock and load country out here, pal.

And I say, that's ridiculous. Jesus Christ gave the Bible to teach us how to live Monday to Saturday, not just on Sunday morning. Yes, this is for Monday to Saturday, and we need to walk out of our house every morning saying to ourselves, God didn't send me in the world today just to take care of me. God sent me out here to take care of people and help people and care about people that he brings across my path who have needs. Because he put me in this world to be a good Samaritan.

Go and do likewise. That's what he said. You know, Dwight O. Moody was one of the greatest evangelists America ever produced, maybe the greatest. In 1899, he was in Oakland, California, preaching a series of messages, and he finished up one night.

And then he and his song leader, a fellow named D.B. Towner, Mr. Towner, got on a train to go from Oakland to Santa Cruz. And as they were on the train, it was early in the morning, like one, two o'clock in the morning, and they had a sleeper compartment. But in those days, you didn't have private sleeper compartments. They were kind of like semi-private.

And so there was room for three or four people in these compartments. Well, as they were traveling, they made a stop, and into their compartment, the train was very crowded, comes this young drunk guy. He got blood all over him. He was filthy. He had an eye swollen shut because he'd been in a fistfight and a brawl. He stunk of whiskey.

He was a mess. And he got in and came into Moody's compartment. Somehow he recognized Moody, and he said to Moody, he said, Mr. Moody, I want to sing to you some of the hymns I learned as a little boy.

And he starts singing every song he knew. And Moody was just getting more irritated and more irritated. Finally, Moody picked up his little suitcase and said to Towner, Towner, come on, we're getting out of here. I'm not going to sit here with this guy. Towner said, well, Moody, the train's packed. There's no place else to go.

There are no more sleeper cars. Finally, the conductor came by. He got grabbed the conductor and pointed this young drunk out to him and said, you know, I got to think things through tomorrow. I'm Dwight L. Moody. I got to preach tomorrow. I need this guy out of here. I need my sleep.

Get him out of here. So the conductor came in and put his arm around the young man and spoke a few quiet words to him and took him back to the baggage car where he cleaned off his wounds and where the conductor took his own handkerchief out and made a bandage to put across the guy's swollen eye and found him a comfortable place where he could lay down and put him to sleep. And then he came back and told Moody what he had done and everything was taken care of.

And Towner telling the story says it got real quiet in their birth. And about 15 minutes later, after no one had said anything, Moody spoke up and said, and I quote, he said, Towner, he said, what that conductor did is an awful rebuke to me personally. I preached against Pharisaism last night to a crowd and I exhorted them to imitate the Good Samaritan. And now this morning, God gave me an opportunity to practice what I preached. And what I found is that I have one foot in the shoes of the priest and the other foot in the shoes of the Levite. And the rest of his ministry, Dwight L. Moody, would tell that story against himself as an example of how easy it is to separate and disconnect preaching from living.

Now, folks, we're no different than Moody is. And God sends us out that door every morning not just to go take care of number one, but to care for the needs of people. Number two, why we have a hard time doing this is because we're too busy to slow down for people. You know, to be a Good Samaritan means you've got to be inconvenienced. It means that you're going to have to put out extra effort. It means you're going to have to flex your priorities that you had for the day so that there's room to fit in the need of a person that maybe you didn't plan on. And I find that one of the greatest enemies of my being a Good Samaritan is not that I don't want to be nice to people. It's just that I'm running such a crazy rat race pace that I always seem to be in such a hurry to get something done. I don't have time to slow down to talk to anybody or care about anybody that's not in my schedule. And folks, God has to come along and remind me often that people are more important than schedules. That the most important thing I will ever accomplish in any day is to care for somebody who has a need.

Boy, did I get a lesson in this one time. A few years ago, my son and I, my son Justin, who was about six then, was a Thursday night. We were coming home and I was in a hurry to get home. We stopped at a 7-Eleven, not far from my house in Fairfax. And right where I pulled up, there's this drunk sitting right in front of us, leaning on the wall of 7-Eleven, drinking peach wine. So I got out of the car and I got Justin out. We started walking 7-Eleven. Justin says to me, he says, hey, sir, could you get me a pack of cigarettes?

And I said, no. And I walked on in, got my coffee, and Justin got his Coke, and we come back out. When I walked by, and this time he says to me, hey, he says, hey, could you help me get home?

And I said, I'd really like to help you, son, but I can't help you. I'm in a hurry. I got some things I got to get home and do.

I'm sorry. I hopped in my car, started my car, put it in reverse. Now, you know what I was in such a hurry to get home and do? I had to speak the very next night to the Central Union Mission Banquet, and I was in a hurry to get home and prepare a message about how important it is to care for down and outers.

This is true, absolutely true. That's what I was going home to work on. And I put my car in reverse, and I started to pull out, and I thought, I can't do this. So I slammed my car back up in the park, got out of the car, walked up to him. I said, what's your name? He said, my name is Jimmy. I said, now, where do you live? Can you find where you live?

I think so. I said, all right, come on, let's go. I said, Jimmy, we started to walk to his car. I said, Jimmy, you don't feel sick, do you? Do you feel sick, Jimmy? He said, no, I feel fine. I said, because if you feel sick, Jimmy, we'll walk. No, he says, I feel fine.

I feel good. I said, okay, Jimmy. So I put him in the car. We took him home. His wife had left him.

She'd taken the kids. You'd never seen such a pig pen in your life. I called up a good friend of mine named Rick Wood, who's got a lot of experience working with detox people, and we got him into a detox program in Washington. This guy gave his life to Christ. He went down to Asheville, North Carolina, to a detoxification, a Christian alcohol abuse program, began working for them, driving vehicles for them. And I still get letters every once in a while today from Jimmy telling me what God's doing in his life.

Can you believe that? But I'll tell you what, God taught me a big time lesson about being in so much of a hurry. I don't have time for people.

We need to slow down. Third and finally, you know why sometimes we're not the kind of Good Samaritans we would like to be? It's because many times our relationships with people are too shallow. You don't just be Good Samaritans to down and outers. I mean, I've told you a couple stories about down and outers, but one of the greatest places to be a Good Samaritan is with fellow Christians. But the problem is, so often our relationships with our fellow Christians are so shallow that they don't know what our needs are and we don't know what their needs are. I have people all the time who'll say things like, well, this church or that church or even our church wasn't friendly to me, didn't care about me when I had needs, they didn't meet my needs. Well, now wait a minute, hold on.

The question we have to ask is, did you put yourself in a position with relationships inside that church where people could have even found out what your needs were? Slow down a second. And so I want to end by talking about not just so what, but now what. What do I want from you? I tell you what I want from you. I want from you if you come to this church on Sunday morning and you're not already involved in some small group, a place where you can be real with people, a place where you can get to know people, a place where you can share your hearts and your hurts with people.

If you're not already involved in a relational small group, what I want from you is I want you to get involved in one. We have a fellow here, I saw him, he was in our second service. Jicks from Connecticut, he moved here and within two months of moving here, his wife died. She actually died from a peanut allergy, she had a peanut allergy and she ate some food that had peanuts in it and she didn't know it and she seized up and she died before the rescue squad could even get her to the hospital. You know where that death happened? It happened in one of our home groups because when Dick Schott moved here, within several weeks of coming, he began going to a home group because he said, I need people and we need relationships and we need to build friendships and they were at a group meeting with six or eight other couples from our church when that death happened. You know, Dick Schott will stand up and tell you, he stood up in a membership class, he'll tell anybody who asks him that this church gave him the most marvelous support and the most marvelous care that any church imaginable could have ever given. He said it at the funeral.

But you know why? It's because there were six couples who were there when that woman died who knew what that man needed and took it upon themselves to make this man's needs their own and they still do it to this day. Now, if he would only been coming to Sunday morning service and you'd have read about his wife dying in the bulletin, do you think he'd have gotten that level of care? No way.

But this man was proactive and he was smart enough to realize he needed relationships with people. Well, I'm out of time. Gosh, I hope your life will be changed as a result of what you heard here this morning. I hope you'll do something about it. Let's pray. Dear Heavenly Father, I'm so grateful that we can talk this morning about the Word of God and talk about what it means for our lives. Forgive us, Lord, for being so busy that we don't have time for people because you weren't and you were running the whole universe. Forgive us, Lord, for so often putting our theology on the shelf with our Bible Monday morning and letting the world tell us how to live and letting the world define our values and letting the world system define our lifestyle. Teach us, Lord Jesus, that the reason you gave us the Word of God, among other reasons, was to define our lifestyle and our priorities Help us to walk out of the house on Monday morning with our theology in our back pocket and to live it. And finally, Lord, I pray that you would work in the hearts of each of us here. You know, Lord, this Washington society is a very arm's length society.

People retreat home to their little fortress. But, Lord, I pray you would teach us as Christians that that's not the way you want us to live. You want us to have relationships with people such that we can understand and feel their needs and help them and they can do the same for us. And I pray that you would motivate many, many people who've been coming here and enjoying Sunday morning but haven't gone any farther to take the next step and get involved in a level with people where they can do ministry to our lives and we can do ministry to their lives. It'll be a little scary, but I pray you'd give people what they need to be proactive and press through that, God. Change our life and change our whole outlook by what we've heard here this morning. May we go out to be good Samaritans, Lord, because that's what you were to us. And we pray this in Jesus' name.

Amen. You've been listening to So What with Dr. Lon Solomon. So What is an outreach of Lon Solomon Ministries. To listen to today's message or for more information, visit our website, lonsolomonministries.org. Thank you for your support. If you would like to contact us, please visit our website or call us at 866-788-7770. We hope you will join us next time when Lon seeks to answer one of life's most important questions, So What.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-24 16:21:26 / 2023-07-24 16:32:58 / 12

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