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September 18, 2022 12:01 am
The law of God requires that we love our neighbor as ourselves. But who is our neighbor, and how are we to love them? Today, R.C. Sproul continues his exposition of the gospel of Luke by teaching on Jesus' parable of the good Samaritan.
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In ancient Israel traveling from one city to another could be dangerous predators robbers would hide the hills along the way and if they would see somebody coming unprotected was not uncommon for them to attack them as happened in this case of Jesus of this single man is making the journey from Jerusalem to Jericho, and on the way he fell amongst the six pieces use familiar scenarios like this to make his point, everyone understood the hazards of traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho, and everyone can imagine the terror and hopelessness that men felt welcome to Renewing Your Mind. Each Lord's day. We are pleased to feature a sermon from a series. The controversies Paul preached the gospel of Luke come to this well known story found in Luke chapter 10 verse 25 says in my Bible above the text, not just read bold letters, the parable of the good Samaritan. Now these subheadings are not part of the actual biblical texts, but they are helps for us rendered for us by the editors of the Scriptures, and this is certainly a legitimate topic heading the parable of the good Samaritan because that's what it is.
I think I would like to change a little bit to call it the contest between the lawyer and the teacher that we have two people engaged in conversation here, not only in conversation but in a family failed debate. A debate instituted by the noble cause for the lawyer, the one who is an expert in the law and the other is called the hospital also are the teacher, namely Jesus.
Jesus going about the countryside acting as an itinerant rabbi had to receive from the masses. The title of teacher. There is no record in the New Testament of Jesus ever going and studying under the great rabbis or theologians of his era, and having earned a degree a doctor's degree in theology that would give him this kind of academic credibility. But we are told again and again that he spoke as one having authority, because his mentor was not Jim Alejo in Jerusalem. But God the father in heaven who revealed all things to the son incarnate.
In any case, Jesus was acclaimed by the masses as being the teacher par Exelon's but now comes the professional one who did earned his degree. The one who made it through law school and was the head of the law review. The lawyer only think of lawyers today which we tried not to do with we think of those who are for the most part experts in civil or criminal law and are nation, a lawyer in Israel was a professional packet Gamache expert on the law of Moses which law included not only the laws that governed the religious community but also the laws that governed the state Israel Old Testament Israel was a theocracy meeting.
There was no distinction or division between church and state. The civil laws were governed by the same rules that govern the cultists or the religious life of the people and so this man is the expert professional and he comes and we are told that he stood up and tested Jesus. We can read it another way, he came to challenge Jesus. He came to expose Jesus naïveté to reveal to the adoring public that Jesus was simply an amateur, and that this man of course was the professional and so he cast Jesus by asking him a fundamental question about those things related to the law of God saying teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life now. Luke tells us that this was a test access question.
This was not a genuine inquiry at a man seeking salvation would come to Jesus and humbly save more tell me how I can get into heaven. That's not it at all. He's probing Jesus understanding of theology. And so Jesus as he typically does is all Jews in all of history get done. Answers a question with a question. Do you know why Jews answer questions with questions.
Why not answer a question with a question. It's a tremendously insightful method of debate, but in any case, the man asked Jesus what should I do to inherit eternal life in Jesus said to him what's written in the law. This is kind of insulting like your lawyer's you're asking me this simple question what's written in the law.
You know what's written in the law and that he says what's your understanding and your reading of it, so the attorney here answered and said, by going right back to the most basic of the laws of Israel that found principally in the stream hero, Israel, the Lord your God is one God, and so on, and you shall love the Lord your God with all of your mind and so he says you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind.
That's a great commandment. By the way, your friends, and as a matter of parenthesis.
If I would ask you what is the great transgression. I would have to answer the great transgression is to fail to obey the great commandment in the greatest commandment tells us to love the Lord our God with all parts of large trees with my Bible verse and sees a center. Good job. Regulations you've answered rightly. You do this and you will live.
Jesus knew very well that bad that not A great commandment since he got out of his bed that morning. He never checked the great commandment fully for a single minute or a single second from the day was born in that regard. This lawyer was no different from us. None of us have ever kept the great commandment fully from the day we were born, but the man says and were given the editorial comment wanting to justify himself. Jesus is just put basic law right in front of this man's face when we look at the question of the meaning of the law and the significance of the law of God theologically in reformed theology. We follow John Calvin's idea of the so-called threefold use of the law. There are three basic functions that the law performs for us and one of the most important functions of the law is that it is a mirror by which we look into that mirror and we see ourselves against the measuring rod of the law, it's a terrible thing to look at because our tendency is to not judge ourselves by the law of God, but the judge ourselves in comparison the behavior of our friends and neighbors and we come out thinking of ourselves very highly. Ms. Calvin also said that we have a tendency to keep our days leveled on the horizontal plane here is gazing around each other and begin to address ourselves is that my God. But once we lift our gaze to heaven and consider what kind of being God is and look into the mirror of his law not only do we discover who God is, but we discover who we are as the apostle Paul tells us that then the function of the law is as a schoolmaster to drive us to Christ because the law reveals our sin. That's why we do the law every week. Almost every week and signatures have one of the 10 Commandments, because you can't understand grace.
If you don't understand the law will never understand the mercy of God until you really understand the law of God and how the law of God reveals to us are soon and are hopeless inability to justify ourselves.
The law tribes us to Christ, who alone can justify sinners who are unjust, but that's me made the worst mistake he could possibly make.
He thought he could justify himself, I'd be willing to say that at least 90% and I think that's a weak estimate of every person walking around in America today really believes that in the day of judgment they can justify themselves by saying I let a good life compared to what compared to the law of God, not a chance again, God doesn't have to pull out all the 10 Commandments he didn't have to pull out all the rest of the Holiness code of action was taken to simply save the day of judgment. Did you love me with all of your heart that you love me with all of your soul did you apply your mind every day seeking the deepest possible understanding of my word and you want to justify yourself if anybody should've known better. It should have been this many was a lawyer. I think it's ironic that in the history of the church that the two figures that were most prominent in leading the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century were Martin Luther and John Calvin, both of whom studied the law before they studied theology. Luther you recall was the students in law school what he was almost killed by lightning bolt in 1505 scared about the said help me saying and will become a monk and so we entered into the monastery underfoot and he used to go to confession every day for 10 minutes or 15 minutes or 20 minutes but two hours three hours four hours until the father superior in the monastery began to think that he was shirking his duties during the psychotic as other.
What's wrong with you Luther come here were serious and how much trouble can you get in in a monastery by coveted brother Jonathan's extra piece of bread at dinner last night where I stayed up reading my Bible pass lights out for four hours. The guys confessing the symptoms that he had committed in the last 24 hours and he would get his absolution and he would walk out of the out of the confessional was way back to the cell would go into despair because he remembered assume he forgot to confess sick or astute. Luther said you asked me do I love God, love God.
Sometimes I hate why did he feel that way because he was under the birdie of the law, and he knew he could not justify himself, the lawyer thought he could do it is a trip Jesus up finally with his question supposed to love God and all that develops both the love my neighbor as myself.
Okay, Jesus, Kelly, who is my neighbor got a live next door to me.
The guy in my community, how broad, how why all expansive is that neighborhood and how many people in its MI commanded to love like I love my software is the Jewish tradition that said that was only the Jewish community that was in view here and those who were unclean the Gentiles. The Samaritans who are outside of the community were not to be included in the mandate to love as neighbors, so again trying to trip Jesus… Okay all of my neighbor but you have to tell me first, who is my neighbor, not Jesus commands very plainly got ascetic everybody in the world, your neighbor is every human being ever come across.
Yet the love is much as you love yourself not have been the end of the discussion.
Instead, to simply type store anytime a teacher says, tell your story. The attention level is immediately increased.
No more will gathering the whole world loves a story and so Jesus is in the story and he said this man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho is just a few miles from Jerusalem to Jericho. If you've ever been to the holy land. The been the Jerusalem. Maybe you've had the opportunity to visit New Testament Jericho. This is different city from Old Testament Jericho whose walls came tumbling down under the onslaught of Joshua and his troops New Testament Jericho is fascinating town if you take the trip from Jerusalem to Jericho. As I said, just a few miles you are in the desert you are traveling through the barren wilderness under the heat of the sun and the wall saying the movies or read the stories of people parachuting in the desert when in the distance. They have a barrage they see water and they rush to the water, assuming that it's an oasis when they get there. There's only sand can imagine more discouraging experience in the be fooled by a barrage, but Jericho was not a barrage. Jericho was a bona fide oasis still is today.
And when you go you're crossing that wilderness you see in the distance, green green tree's water running in streams, and canals and you see the whole town built around this place of refreshment where there was water in abundance, so you can imagine the traffic that took place between Jerusalem and Jericho. Only problem was that road between Jerusalem and Jericho was isolated and it was a perfect place for ambush so predators and robbers fortified in the hills along the way and if they would see somebody coming unprotected was not uncommon for them to attack them as happened in this case of Jesus of this single man is making the journey from Jerusalem to Jericho, and on the way he fell amongst the, they attacked the man stripped him of his clothing took all of his possession. Everything he owned and be mugged and left him on the side of the road, half that's a scenario that Jesus tells the lawyer then by chance a certain priest came down that road. We also know that one of the favorite residences for priests that went to serve different communities around about was in Jericho for the reasons I mentioned above.
So here we find the priest to came down the road and he saw the man lying on the side of the road, half dead. The past by on the other side not Jesus doesn't tell his wife passed by the other side. In the course. New Testament scholars love to speculate on this point. They think the man thought he was dead.
If he were dead and he walked over and touched him than one school of theologians in Israel said that he would contaminate himself by touching a corpse the other school of thought was that it still would not contaminate him if he was ministering to the dead, helping him for burial. But the scar say maybe that's why he walked on the other side. He didn't want to get made impure by contract with a corpse. Others just no. He walked on the other side because they thought the robbers might still be nearby and they didn't want to meet the same fate that this poor fellow Jew had met notice in the story, the man who falls among thieves is not a Samaritan and it's not that the priestess boarding and because he Samaritan is Joe is a fellowship. Others say this was too busy get an appointment.
Jericho, they want to be late. It will be inconvenienced didn't want to be bothered so I passed along the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked and he passed on the other side know some people say what's going on here versus a priest that's a Levite, aren't they all the same no the Levites. The tribe and all priests are Levites, but not all Levites are priests. There were other duties in the cultures that were assigned to Levites beside the priesthood.
They would take care of the buildings and take care of the liturgies and that sort of thing without rising to the level of the prayers of the both of them are professional church workers, the priest and the Levite both left the dying man on the side. Now Jesus gets to the crux of the matter is about a certain Samaritan again. The parable is called, not in the parable, but by those who describe it as the good Samaritan the understand of the Jew and to this lawyer. The term good Samaritan was an oxymoron because the Samaritan was still alive. For the Jew the only good Samaritan was a dead Samaritan and in their view there was no such thing as a good Samaritan as we know, the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans but Jesus said it's a Samaritan who comes down the road and when he saw the man was some of this, he had compassion. What does it mean if we break down the word: Fazio what you have.
You have with feeling how we cheapen this concept in our culture today we say I feel your pain and walked on the other side of the street.
No true compassion goes far beyond feelings real compassion never stops at the feeling level. If a person really has compassion, he doesn't just feel it.
He shows we sang to him this morning.
Children of the heavenly father and is based on the text of Psalm hundred and three first 13 you may have noticed that text were you saying the him that reads this way, as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him. What father would leave his son, half dead in the ditch because he had an appointment somewhere – God's compassion for his children took Jesus to the cross got a just feel bad for us.
Jesus didn't just care for us, but he demonstrated that compassion by doing everything he could to heal us to redeem us.
So this Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where the man was only saw him, he had compassion so listeners were so so what they had compassion, so that what so he went to him to the different directions the man's in the ditch.
The priest goes this way the man's in the ditch. The Levite goes this way the man's in the ditch Samaritan goes this way the Samaritan goes to the man and the bandaged is one he poured oil and wine on his wounds than he helped him up and put him on his beast of burden. He walked alongside the man who was now on the beast belonging to the Samaritan and he guided the animal bearing the wounded man to an in any didn't leave him at the front door the end and then went on about his business to take them inside the listener what it says. He took care of him and the next day he was still there, but he had to go so he departed, he took out to dinner area and gave them to the innkeeper and said to him, here's enough money to take care of him for several days.
I don't know how long it's going to take until he is fully recovered, but if this doesn't cover it. I'll be back and you run the tab and I'll pay every cent that it takes to get him well.
We have a him.
Jesus paid it all. You know the Samaritan here reminds me of Jesus Luther had an expression when he was asked what it means to love your neighbor. He said what it means is that you have to be Christ for your neighbor. Luther was never so crass as crass as he may have been another things never so crass. Imagine that you could ever save your neighbor that you could ever offer an atonement for your neighbor.
And so when Luther said that you must be Christ to your neighbor. He didn't suppose that you could be the substitute for Jesus and bringing salvation, but this was the original WW JD.
What would Jesus do when Luther said you do your neighbor you do for your neighbor. What Jesus would do in his compassion so that your neighbor will see Jesus working through you. Take care of him. Whatever more you stand, when I come back I will repay, so no the moral of the story. Jesus says to the lawyer so which of these three do you think was neighbor to them who fell among the thieves. No human being was ever asked a major question by Jesus and the attorney got it right.
He said he showed mercy on him. It was the Samaritan was the neighbor than Jesus ago and do likewise. That you are on the 19th century it seemed like everybody was in Germany all theologians were riding on the vague certain of things that being or the essence of thing and a famous church historian of the 19th century from Germany paid off on Warnock wrote a little book on the essence of Christianity, translated into English by what is Christianity and he tried to reduce the hold of the Christian faith to two primary cc the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. He said that's what Christianity is all about God is the universal father of all men and we are all brothers were on of another.
Here's a case where home or not it is brilliant as a dove on Warnock was a blowout on both counts. The Bible doesn't teach the universal fatherhood of God. God is the creator of all people, but not the father of all people. The filial image of fatherhood is restricted. Ultimately he's the father of one is Monaghan nice his only begotten son, and ultimately of all those who were in his son are than a.into the family of God. No one's ever born a Christian, you're not a child of God by nature your child of the devil, by nature, the only way you can be a child of God is to be adopted and the only way you can be adopted by God is through the son.
That's all we enter into the family of God. What about the universal brotherhood. All men all women they're not my brothers and my sisters again. Them image in the Scripture is only those who are in Christ are in the brotherhood and in the sister you are my brother.
If you have the same father that I do if your father is God in my father's God were brothers the Bible to teach universal brotherhood. It does teach the universal neighborhood of God. All men are not my brothers, all men are my neighbors on all with my neighbor, which means in the great commandment. I have to love everybody.
And that means in biblical terms of verb more than a now I don't like everybody I don't like everybody but the love everybody needs to be loving to everybody to do what love demands for everyone you come across whether you like him or what you don't like him whether he is a Jew. Whether is the Samaritan. Jesus is teaching this lawyer.
The ABCs of the law of God, the expert failed his final exam because he didn't understand who his neighbor was telling her this the parable of the good Samaritan requires all of us to stop and ponder. Are we loving our neighbor and do we share our Savior's understanding of who our neighbor is a sermon is from a series the Dr. RC Sproul preach from the Gospel of Luke, and that we are nearing the end of chapter 10, but we still have a long way to go before were finished with this expositional study. That means that a resource opportunity will be a helpful study companion for you throughout the rest of the series.
We hope you'll contact us today with a donation of any amount so that we can provide you with a digital download of Dr. Sproles commentary on Luke RC traces the record of Jesus life is his miracles, his ministry to the sick hand as we heard today. His parables so requested digital download of RC's commentary today with your donation of any amount or offices are closed today but you can give your gift and make your request online at Renewing Your Mind can't work. Another way to support regular ministries is by designating linear when you shop with Amazon smile when you shop using your Amazon small account and select Ligonier ministries as your beneficiary. A portion of your eligible purchases directly supports our teaching and discipleship ministry. So thank you. Your generosity makes ministry happen would let you judge us today and I hope you come back next week as we continue Dr. Sproles sermon series from the Gospel of Luke here on Renewing Your Mind