Last Sunday we looked at the parable of the Good Samaritan, and we considered the question, “Am I a neighbor?” Am I ready, willing, and able to be a neighbor to needy, messy people like the Samaritan is in Jesus’ story.
One of the things that really stood out to me in studying that parable is just how thorough, detailed, and specific is the mercy shown by the Samaritan (see verses 33-35 of Luke 10). Here is a slightly edited version of what I said in the sermon about this:
This is true love of neighbor. It begins when the Samaritan sees the helpless man, just like the priest and Levite saw him. But whereas their action was to “pass by on the other side” his action is “he had compassion.”
And his compassion is detailed and thorough. He performs immediate first aid. Puts him on his own animal, which gives you a sense of just how bad off the guy is! He can’t walk! The Samaritan takes him to an inn, and pays for any debts he might incur. Like giving his credit card to a hospital staff and saying, “Pay for any debts he might incur.” And he even plans to come back! What love! What compassion! How very much like God.
If you love God then you will love like God.
And what a reminder of the gospel this story is! Though each one of us is made to love and obey God our sins render us helpless and needy! We willingly reject our Maker. But God has acted on our behalf! He is the God who sent his only Son to live a sinless life, and to take the curse on himself on the cross. And everyone who will repent and believe in Jesus is redeemed out of rebellion because of that cross. That is the way God has loved sinners. Messy, needy people. And you if love this God, then you will love like this God [that last statement is the main thing I emphasized from the passage].
If you’re interested in improving your “skills” as a neighbor, I’d encourage you to check out this book, The Art of Neighboring. The authors of the book do not emphasize the gospel as much as I’d like them to. But it’s still full of great ideas. Here's a review of the book: click here
Also, in terms of personal evangelism, check out Mack Stiles’ new book by clicking here.