Sermon: The Lost Man With All the Answers (Luke 10:25-37)

Luke 10.25-37 Click For Audio

The Lost Man With All the Answers

Today, we are going to look together at one of the most famous parables Jesus told.  Many today who know little of the Bible or of Christianity know this story.  However, as well known as this story is, its true meaning is rarely understood.

Since the early 20th century and the teaching of fundamentalism, Christianity has been wrongly reduced to intellectual assent to a list of doctrines.  In the face the liberal assault on the Bible the fundamentalists purpose was to combat what the liberals were teaching.  The problem arose as the fundamentals went too far the other way.

Liberals taught the Bible is not God’s Word and it has no authority.  Fundamentalists said it is God’s Word and does have authority.  Liberals taught that Christianity is simply a social movement and that the teaching of the Good Samaritan parable is one proof of that and that we are to be kind to people because Jesus said go do likewise.  The fundamentalists said that Christianity is not a social movement but truths to be believed.  That was where they departed from what Jesus taught.  We today are a product, in many cases, of the fundamentalist’s partial gospel.  Liberals say Christians are to be about correcting all the social ills and fundamentalists say Christians are to believe correct truths.  Both systems have partial truths and both systems fall short of Christianity.

True biblical Christianity is about believing correct doctrine and out of that belief in manifest mercy and care of others.

I say all that because before us today is a Lawyer who knew all the right answers to Jesus’ questions but was lacking the behavior that knowing these truths should produce.  I’m afraid that there are many folks in our churches today who can pass a Bible test but are not converted.  Knowing the right answers and being a Christian are not the same thing.  This man in our text today, knew the answers but was not a follower of Christ.

This is God’s Word…

Lk 10:25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

Lk 10:26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”

Lk 10:27 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.”

Lk 10:28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

Lk 10:29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Lk 10:30 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.

Lk 10:31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.

Lk 10:32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

Lk 10:33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.

Lk 10:34 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.

Lk 10:35 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.’

Lk 10:36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”

Lk 10:37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

1. Question Number One… Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

Lk 10:25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

Lk 10:26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”

Lk 10:27 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.”

Lk 10:28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

Luke indicates that Jesus is right in the middle of His celebration with His disciples after their mission trip when a Lawyer interrupts Jesus with a question.  Luke tells us that this is a loaded question for Jesus.  The Lawyer really didn’t genuinely care to hear an answer for himself but was trying to trip up Jesus in His words… to put him to the test.  He wanted to see if Jesus’ response was in line with what the Scribes and Pharisees taught on the subject.

First let’s look at this lawyer…

This man wasn’t like the lawyers we have today.  His role was the interpretation of the Mosaic Law.  Many believe he was also a priest because the priests, when they were not scheduled in the Temple would serve as Lawyers interpreting the OT Law to the people.  This will come back around later as we listen to Jesus’ story.

After he asks Jesus the question about eternal life, Jesus answers, basically, What does the Bible say?  I love His answer.  It’s so important when people ask questions that we don’t give our opinions but simply take them to God’s Word.  We also many time have questions, we too should go straight to the Scriptures to find the answer… What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”

This Lawyer knew the Bible very well.  His answer is the summary of the Law of God as given to us in Deuteronomy.

Dt 6:5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  He adds also to love your neighbor, which is the spirit and practical aspect of loving God.

After hearing his answer, Jesus affirms his reply… You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.

When Jesus said do this, what He means is that eternal life is given by God to His people.  A way one knows he has eternal life is that the Spirit of God equips us to love God and love others.  So when Jesus tells this Lawyer to do this, what He is saying is that eternal life comes to us by God and we manifest this life as we love God and love others.  In loving others, we prove the condition of our soul.

Jesus is not saying that if you start loving others then God will give you eternal life.

Many have asked this same question:  

Lk 18:18 And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

Acts 16:30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

This is a question all humans should be asking.  Many think everything is ok with their soul.  Many think that they will be ushered into heaven based on their own merits.  However, Scripture clearly teaches that all are sinners in need of God’s grace.  In other words, before God can accept anyone something has to change.  Under normal conditions God accepts no one.  God has to do something.  Here’s one example of what God does…

Acts 13:46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.

Acts 13:47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'”

Acts 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.

The question of eternal life is the ultimate question for all people to ask.

2. Question Number Two… And who is my neighbor?

Lk 10:29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

He asks another question.  Jesus knows this man’s heart and purpose for asking.  He wasn’t seeking information so he could better please God; he was trying to find a loophole.  He was seeking to get out of his responsibility to love others by trying to catch Jesus on a technicality.  Luke catches the thrust of the encounter as he adds, desiring to justify himself.  In other words, his goal was to show Jesus that he was loving God, which is something not necessarily seen, and that was good enough.  Jesus, you point out the one person you consider to be my neighbor and I’ll show them love.  While he was trying to minimalize the command, Jesus would show him that everyone is, in fact your neighbor, even your enemy is your neighbor.

Lk 10:30 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.

Jesus tells us that the road on which this story takes place is the road that goes from Jerusalem to Jericho.  What is the purpose in which most travelers were on this road?  They were coming and going to and from worship in the temple.  So we see a man going home from worship.  On his way home, he was attacked and beaten and robbed.  He was laying beside the road almost dead.

Lk 10:31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.

Lk 10:32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

Jesus introduces us to two people who were also going home after worship…a priest and a Levite.  How do you think this Lawyer who is hearing the story first reacts to the news that a priest came by?  He probably thought of one of his friends…or perhaps himself.  Remember many interpreters of the Law were priests.  Jesus tells His friend that both these religious men who claim to be worshippers of God according to the answer the man gave, love God and love others, passed by on the other side.

Many people who totally miss the point say that they could help the man because they cannot touch a dead body or they will be defiled and unclean to worship in the Temple.  The problem with this response is that the man lying on the road was not dead.  They didn’t even walk over and nudge him with a stick.

Here were two more people who knew all the answers by were not loving God and loving others.

Lk 10:33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.

What do you think the reaction was when the Lawyer heard that the next person in Jesus’ story was a Samaritan?  Remember Jews hated Samaritans.  This person sees the man almost dead.  He’s stripped of his clothes so there is no indication as to who he is at all.  He could be a priest, a Scribe, a Pharisee, villager, or a Samaritan.  To this man, it doesn’t matter.  He is a human being made in the image of God desperately in need.  Notice the Samaritan doesn’t pray and ask God who my neighbor is.  He doesn’t turn his head and walk around.  Rather he exhibits love for God as he cares for this man.

Lk 10:34 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.

Lk 10:35 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.’

Many believe this man was a businessman passing through, mainly because he expected to have money on his return trip.  The Samaritan rescues this man.  He goes the extra mile.  He cares for him, cleans him, pours oil on his wounds, places him on his donkey, takes him to the closest inn, pays for a room, finishes bandaging and caring for the man, his pays the innkeeper, also, promises to pay any additional expense the innkeeper might have in caring for this injured man.

Do you see the stark difference between the Lawyer who only wanted to do the minimum to be accepted by God and the Samaritan who just cared for this man because for him, loving others was a manifestation of his love for God.

3. Jesus’ Question… Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor?

Of the three mentioned, the Priest, Levite, and Samartan, Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor?

The response of the Lawyer really shows the condition of his heart…

Lk 10:37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

Notice with me that the Lawyer does not say the Samaritan.  His hatred was still so strong that he would not even say the name.  Rather his response was… The one who showed him mercy.

If this Lawyer had passed by the Samaritan on the road he would have crossed the street and walked around.  If the Samaritan saw the Lawyer lying on the road half dead he would have stopped to help.

It is possible for a lost man to have all the right answers…

Points of application…

-It’s not possible to loved God and not love others.  Our love for others is a manifestation of our love for God.

-A Christian is one who believes truth (has right answers) and lives out the truth they claim to believe.  You may be here today and you might be able to come up with the right answer to many Bible questions.  You might be able to share the Gospel with someone.  A Christian is someone who not only knows the Word but also is a doer of the Word.

Jas 1:21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

Jas 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

-Search the Scriptures for the answers to your questions.

I pray today we are all not only believing the Word of God but proving we do by living out what it says…

Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor?

 

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