Luke #27: Do Just One Thing

Luke  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  37:46
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Two very familiar stories that we might not see as connected… matter of fact I never saw them as connected as clearly as I did this week. In fact I had planned to preach just from this first story and the other story next week.
Don’t get me wrong, each story has a powerful lesson we need to learn, but together their message is But then I realized that they belonged together like peas and carrots as Forrest Gump would say.
They have a common message

Do good for those who can’t or won’t do good for you.

But together, their messages become something much richer that I hope to draw out today.

Familiar Stories:

Luke 10:25-37

Luke 10:25–37 (NLT)
25 One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”
Some translations describe this man as a Lawyer. A man who studied the Mosaic law, to help people live faithful to the 613 laws in it.
He wants to test Jesus… and prove himself.
26 Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”
27 The man answered, “ ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
28 “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”
Remember now this man studied the mosaic law… he knew the answer to his question… don’t you think? Me too.
I don’t think he was wanting to learn anything as much as he wanted to show how little he needed to learn.
You have probably had to deal with someone like this at work or maybe at church. They ask you a question that isn’t really a question, it’s just a way for them to show how smart they are.
So he went on… thinking he had set Jesus up perfectly.
29 The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
You may not know what (Leviticus 19:34) says, but you can bet this lawyer knew it. It was one of their laws. “You shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt”.
Nevertheless, he asks, seeming to put limits on the extent of his compassion… and Jesus’s as well.
As if he is saying, Jesus, you are going out toward Samaria.... why should we be worried about THOSE people?
Those people aren’t really our neighbors… right?
30 Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.
31 “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by.
When the lawyer heard a Priest was coming by, he probably relaxed… that’s the hero coming… Israel!
But no, he’s not the hero of the story.
32 A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.
If it’s not the Priest, then surely a Levite, one who had given his life to service.... but no.
33 “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him.
34 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him.
35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’
Probably a bit of shock that this would be the hero of the story.
36 “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.
37 The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”
This lawyer knew all the right answers… But it was the actions of faithful men, first the priest then the Levite, that proved to be wrong.

Right Words - Wrong Actions:

The Lawyer knew what was right, but what he didn’t know was how wrong his thinking was.
Showing the hero in the story to be the Samaritan.
Samaritans were basically half breed Jews. They were from the northern kingdom of Israel, they had been overtaken and intermarried with other nations overtaken by the Assyrians.
They were unclean and they worshipped a different God.
Yet Jesus chose the Samaritan to be the one to be the neighbor, the one unworthy of respect was the only one who loved his neighbor.
It was humbling to the Lawyer...
And it’s challenging to us as disciples today.
The Good Samaritan challenges us to do two things.

Show mercy to those in need

We know this is what we should do. It’s so important that we even named a law after this man… the good Samaritan law, to protect people who are willing to show mercy.
What is mercy? You might think of it as love… as Matthew recorded the words of Jesus:
“Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners”
What does it look like to be merciful to those in need?
It means, being patienct with people
But this story is clear that the common denominator here isn’t the person who you needing help… it’s regardless of the person, or the situation.
Often we read this parable and we put ourselves into it. How we are to be like the good Samaritan.
I’m not saying that ‘s wrong.

Do good when YOU have the opportunity

Paul wrote in Galatians 6
Galatians 6:10 NLT
10 Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.
Again in Eph 5:15-16
Ephesians 5:15–16 NIV
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
How many times has a crisis occured when you were expecting it? Rarely right… that’s because that is what makes it a crisis.
SO in order to show mercy to every one at Every opportunity it will require our lives to be:

Be Interrupt-able

I remember years ago I was taking a group of kids to play challenger baseball on a Sunday afternoon. We were cruising along and saw a lady on the side of the road broken down. I thought this would be a good chance to show the kids how we can extend our showing mercy from the kids at baseball to a daily experience of someone in need.
She actually needed gas. And had already phoned a relative who was near by as I remember. So instead of leaving, we stayed with her, just to make sure she got the help she needed.
It only cost us some time. And you know what I still remember that. You know why? Because I do it so rarely.
This parable reminds me to be more interrupt-able with my day… That’s it’s not an inconvenience to show compassion. I remember that day how the kids talked about how nice it was to stop… how the girls said I hope if i ever break down there’s a bunch of people who stop so I don’t have to worry which one to trust...
Be interrupt-able - that’s a good take away.
Then we see Jesus and his disciples do some interrupting

Luke 10:38-42

38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home.
This was the start of a great friendship between Jesus and Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. We can see how Martha was interrupt-able and later on this friendship would allow her brother Lazarus to be raised from the dead.
39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught.
This is what you would expect a disciple of Jesus do. Perhaps it was a bit unique fro a woman to be doing it, but Jesus is in her home, and regardless, Jesus seems to welcome it.
40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
Martha isn’t ok with it. She wants things to be a certain way when someone important comes over. You know how this worked… she had been fussing at Mary, calling her for help, banging the pans, probably dropped a few things because she was getting frustrated… first with her sister for not helping.
Then her frustration began to turn to Jesus for letting Mary just ignore the need for help…
Then with herself for not being able to do everything that obviously needed to be done.
41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details!
42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Martha had a clear case of:

Right Heart - Wrong Choice

She had invited Jesus and his followers into her home in order to bless them, that was her heart. But because she choose to be busy with her to-do list rather than enjoying her guest Jesus once he came in.
Let me ask those of you who tend to be more Martha like here today… not judging you, but wanting you to see what Jesus wanted Martha to see… have you ever found rest in doing enough?
For me, I’ll admit I can be a bit like Martha from time to time… there’s always more to do. That’s why I stink at taking time off, and taking vacations… because there is so much to do.
What I love is Jesus’s response to her.... Martha, Martha… My dear Martha… He’s not angry or frustrated… he loves her. He responds out of compassion.

Find rest in the presence of the Lord

Right now she is living as one of those seed’s in rocky ground that we studied a few weeks ago, who Jesus knows if she doesn’t untie herself from the worries of the world her relationship with him will suffer.
Mary has found the ability to rest not in getting everything done… but in Jesus.
And in order to rest in Jesus, it requires that we:

Mind your Busy-ness

Not our business… but our busy-ness.
Being busy for the Lord isn’t the point. Loving him is the point.
Mind your busy-ness… so you are available for the Lord
That’s another good take away.
How do you do it? You just do.
Stop making excuses and be responsible for what we choose to do with our time.
So, what’s the connection? Perhaps you see it already.

A very familiar connection

The connection is Self Justification.
We see in both the Lawyer and Martha a desire to be found right in the eyes of Jesus.
Self justification… that is right on their own.

Self-justification is a problem for everyone

For the Lawyer, to be Justified in his “legal expertise”… asking a question worthy of discussion. A question that would provide a to-do list for eternal life. However, Jesus wasn’t interested in the Lawyer’s religious knowledge or activity. Instead, he wanted the lawyer’s heart.
Likewise, our hearts are inclined to be like this lawyer. We, like the lawyer, might know the right answers to the questions. We often think in terms of right answers and commandments. Jesus thinks in terms of one’s heart of worship.
Same with Martha. She sought justification in her service… her sacrifice… and anyone who wasn’t serving like her deserved rebuke.
But Jesus’ words cause us to question… who was Martha serving? Jesus or herself?
Jesus’ point is that a heart of worship, not righteous activity, But LOVING GOD is what will lead us to loving our neighbor as ourselves.
For those who are self justifying, answers and actions are what’s primary. For Jesus, the motives that are driving the actions are key!
You see, Just like with Martha, the parable reveals the first two men didn’t just have an action issue. More importantly, they had a heart issue. That's why Jesus didn’t give the Lawyer a to-do list of right actions. Instead, he pointed him to the heart of the matter… that which lies behind our actions.

Jesus is the “Why” that determines our “What”

Compassionate God, How easily you love those who look unlovable to us! How readily you welcome undesirables into your home! How slow we are to follow your example. Turn our hearts toward all who are considered outcast, shunned, and unclean so that we may love our neighbor without pity or apathy, for the sake of the one who became flesh to cleanse the world of sin and death forever, Jesus Christ our redeemer. Amen.
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