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Like a Good Neighbor - A good neighbor looks for opportunities

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Like a Good Neighbor! - What does a “good neighbor” do?

A good neighbor looks for opportunities!  

(State Farm Commercial parody –Like a Good Dad video) This video serves a dual purpose.  First, Happy Father’s Day Gentlemen!  Did you get your pastry in the café?  Don’t go now, but I would encourage you to do so before the morning is over.  Second, today we start a new series called Like a Good Neighbor.  You know the jingle, say it with me.  “Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is there!”  Right from the lips of Jesus and straight from the Bible itself - State Farm isn’t the only one who should be neighborly!  Let’s say it again and this time you add your name.  “Like a Good Neighbor, GREG is there!” Just what does it mean to be a good neighbor?  Jesus shows us.  Turn in your Bibles today to Luke 10:25.  For all of 2012 we will focus on what it means to “Be the church!”  To be the church means we read and apply the Bible!  Did anyone take up my challenge to read the Bible in 90 days?  Plus, we serve our neighbor!  We serve because Jesus served and we follow his BEST example! 

We will be studying from Luke 10 for the next three weeks.  Do you need a Bible?  Please raise your hand so we can either loan you or give you a Bible!  Before we read I must ask a favor!  The star of our previous video - Duane Gray has 47 HS students and adults going to the campus of Kentucky Christian University for “Summer in the Son.”  This group will be in KY from today to Friday.  I have prayer cards on the edge of the stage for each person.  Would you come right now and get a card and commit to praying for that individual for a week?    “Greg, what should I pray?  The same prayer I’ll pray now!  “God, may this person hear your word.  If there is a command to be obeyed, may they obey it!  If there’s a sin to confess, may they confess it!  If there’s a promise to accept, may they accept it!  May their lives change because of the time spent with you. May that also be true of us today!   In Jesus name.  Amen! 

Jesus tells a parable in Luke 10.  I know a parable is an earthy story with a heavenly meaning, but wow, this parable is amped up – big time powerful!  We get to the actual parable in a moment, but before that a situation unfolds where Jesus gets questioned.  Look at Luke 10:25.  Jesus was apparently teaching.  In a classroom you might raise your hand to ask a question.  For a Jew, respect is found in standing to ask a question.  The question is good.  Keep reading verse 25.  Honestly, that’s a stellar question and I pray you personally answer that question before you leave today and certainly before you die!  But Jesus doesn’t answer.  AGAIN, he asks a question in response to a question!  Find verse 26. 

Surely this expert would know the answer right?  He’s a law expert, but not like Kevin Kurgis – “From the law offices of Kevin Kurgis, I don’t get paid unless you get paid!”  Think more of an expert in theology!  This guy knew the Law of Moses.  So his answer comes straight from Deuteronomy 6 and Leviticus 19.  Find verse 27.  Jesus gives him an alpha, an “A”!  Luke 10:28:  "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."

How many of you send text messages?  I knew I needed help so I bought this little book called the Texting Dictionary of Acronyms.  Let me give you a few text message acronyms.  See if you know what these mean?  Let’s start simple:  BFF – Best Friends Forever.  Now if you are a senior adult that means Best Friend Fell!  You’ve seen LOL right?  What about ALOL?  Actually Laughing Out Loud.  What about BS?  Don’t say it!  It means Big Smile!  What about CICO?  Coffee In, Coffee Out!  Which goes with GTGP which means Got To Go Pee!  If anyone knows this one – you should receive a prize or maybe therapy.  RUMCYMHMD – Are You on Medication Cause You Must Have Missed a Dose.  One more, since its Father’s Day, Dads be careful if your daughter texts DLOS.  Dad Looking Over Shoulder.  That’s what Dads are supposed to do.  Why?  Because children often stray away!  Let’s go back to Jesus little code phrase in verse 28!  "Do this and you will live."

Did you know that little phrase – “Do and live is the promise of the law?”[i]  Just love God with everything you possess and love your neighbor perfectly and you will LIVE!  But nobody can.  It’s impossible to keep up the demands of the law.  What Jesus said to him should have driven him to ask for mercy.  Instead, he tries to justify himself.  Find verse 29. 

My son Sam was born on May 5, 2001.  Our neighbor Jacob Standifer was born on May 7, 2001.  They were born 2 days apart at St. Ann’s hospital.  I could have run into Jacob’s Dad, Tom, but I didn’t know him at the time.  Jacob celebrated his birthday with an outdoor water party.  But Sam had a baseball game that very same night.  So Sam asked Jacob, “What time do you want me to come over?  And Jacob answered, “Sam, you’re my neighbor, come over any time you want!”

            I thought that was so cool.  But is a neighbor only based on close proximity?  This expert wants to reduce the playing field by reducing the demands of the law which is why he asked Jesus, “And who IS my neighbor?”  To answer his question Jesus tells him this story!  Find verse 30! 

            I’ve seen that.  At least by bus.  (MAP) Joshua gave the road from Jerusalem to Jericho a nickname.  The Pass of Adummim[ii].  Notice my underline emphasis.  It was really dumb to travel this road.   Curves and caves made it easy to hide and even easier to assault.  Adummim means, “The Pass of Blood!”[iii]  No one is surprised to hear what happens next.  Read 30-33a.  But a Samaritan…

            (Sat) Why is he wearing black?  (Sun)  Mom is not here, she’s out making a baby.[iv]  Kids say the craziest things.  3 year old Steven hugged and kissed his Mom goodnight and then he affectionately said, “Mom, I love you so much that when you die I’m going to bury you outside my bedroom window!”  Oh that’s affectionately creepy!  That’s actually creepy weird.  Jesus’ story is awesome until he says Samaritan.  Then it gets weird!  “Are you kidding me Jesus?  You a Jew, are going to make a Samaritan the hero of your story?”  That’s like your worst enemy coming to your rescue.  Look at what this Samaritan does?  Read 33-36 - Which of these three…

            There were three, right?  Sounds like Jesus is telling a really cheesy joke.  “A priest, a Levite and a Samaritan were on their way to Jericho.”  We know what the Samaritan did.  What did the other two do?  The priest and Levite passed by.   

According to Jesus a neighbor looks for opportunities to help someone in needGo back to verse 36.  Read verses 36-37. 

Jesus answered both questions.  Question #1:  What must I do to inherit eternal life?  Be a neighbor!  Do what you know is right!  “Greg, that’s way too simplistic.  Eternal life involves professing, confessing, being baptized, reading the Bible etc, etc.”  I won’t disagree with that, but “go and do likewise” tells everyone you get what Jesus did.  Jesus also answered Question #2:  Who IS my neighbor?  Anyone you come across who happens to be in need!  No matter their skin color, religious beliefs or political allegiances.

            Three people saw the same man!  Two passed up the opportunity to be a neighbor.  One didn’t.  Let’s be like the ONE who didn’t.  Being a neighbor means looking for opportunities to help someone in need.  AND DAD’S MAY I SAY!  You don’t have to look far for those opportunities.  (SHOES Video)  Remember, a neighbor is anyone in need.  Be a neighbor to your kids.  Be a neighbor to your wife.  Paul said this in Ephesians 5:28:  In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. The best way you show your kids you love them and that you love God is by loving their Mom! 

I was particularly sad to hear that Eugene J. Polley died on May 20 at the age of 96.  Polley was the inventor of the first wireless TV remote control which also featured the first mute function to silence the more obnoxious sounds of television.[v]  His obituary in The Washington Post claims that he "revolutionized American leisure." He originally called his invention the Flash-Matic, a ray-gun remote control sold in 1955. The early ads read: "Absolutely harmless to humans!  Towards the end of his life, Polley expressed some reservations about his invention. "Everything has to be done remotely now or forget it. Nobody wants to get off their[vi] “you know whats…”

Can we go back to the text messages again?  Two more acronyms!  NE14KFC – Anyone for KFC?  TWIWI – That Was Interesting, Wasn’t It!  Please, the last thing Jesus wants is for you to conclude that his parable is interesting.  Do you want your life to change?  Then be a neighbor! 


[i] MacArthur Bible Commentary, Luke 10:28, 1298

[ii] Joshua 15:7 & 18:17

[iii] Mark E. Moore, The Chronological Life of Christ, 375

[iv] 1001 Illustrations that Connect, 375/213


[vi] News that Illustrates/The Inventor of the Remote Control, June 11, 2012

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