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Attaining Eternal Life

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“Attaining Eternal Life”

Luke 10:25-37

25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? (Luke 10:25 NKJ)

The Parable of the Good Samaritan is among the most famous of Jesus’ parables. Yet, it is often considered out of context. What is the context of this great parable?

In context it comes shortly after Jesus’ prayer –

21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. (Luke 10:21 NKJ)

This “lawyer” might be considered “wise and prudent” one to whom it seems the Gospel is “hidden.”

More immediately the parable is part of Jesus’ answer to a lawyer who had “tested Him” Luke 10:25.

I. Testing is very different than trusting –

25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? (Luke 10:25 NKJ)

1. Testing of Jesus implies a position of evaluator over Jesus.

Similarly, people often take a “testing” position over and about God’s Word.

2. Such, a ‘test’ carries a pride, arrogance or haughtiness with it that hides a true understanding of Gospel from us –

The humble He guides in justice, And the humble He teaches His way. (Psalm 25:9 NKJ)

6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (James 4:6 NKJ)

II. Jesus as God (the Son of God) resists such proud testing. Here, by requiring the lawyer to answer his own question –

He said to him, "What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?" 27 So he answered and said, "`You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,' and `your neighbor as yourself.'" (Luke 10:26-27 NKJ)

And He said to him, "You have answered rightly; do this and you will live." (Luke 10:28 NKJ)

1. Note by doing such Jesus puts Himself back in the position of Judge, Evaluator …

2. Note, He judges the lawyer’s answer as “right”

3. He adds a true statement, all in answer of the lawyer’s question -

"Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

If the lawyer would love God, with all his heart, soul, strength and mind and his neighbor as himself; he would attain eternal life.

III. What is wrong here? The lawyer wants to “justify himself” –

But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, "and who is my neighbor?" (Luke 10:29 NKJ)

1. It seems the lawyers knows of his own inadequacy here

2. He asks this question "and who is my neighbor?" because it would limit the requirement of “love” to specific, possibly very small group.

3. If there is only a small group the lawyer is required to love, keeping of this commandment is easier.

IV. Jesus does not answer according to the lawyer’s limiting question "and who is my neighbor?" but rather He answers in regard to what kind of person is a true “neighbor” –

Not who the lawyer is required to love, but rather what kind of person the lawyer was required to be.

In the parable of the “Good Samaritan” Jesus presents three kinds of people –

I once preached a Christmas sermon on three kinds of people:

(1) Those who HISSED at Christ –

16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. (Matthew 2:16 NKJ)

(2) Those who MISSED Christ –

7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7 NKJ)

(3) Those who KISSED Christ –

10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.

11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:10-11 NKJ)

We see something similar in the parable of the Good Samaritan –

1. Thieves, ready to destroy people to have their own way –

Then Jesus answered and said: "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. (Luke 10:30 NKJ)

"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10 NKJ)

2. Priest and the Levite, who avoid the hurting man –

31 "Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

32 "Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. (Luke 10:31-32 NKJ)

A. Their obvious problem is not what they did, they were not the thieves, they had not harmed this poor man!

B. Their problem was what they did not do –

People of these first two kinds are common enough in our world!

3. What is RARE is the Good Samaritan –

"But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 "So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 "On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, `Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.' 36 "So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?" 37 And he said, "He who showed mercy on him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise." (Luke 10:33-37 NKJ)

A. He had “compassion.” - :33

B. He was moved to action - :34

C. He was ready to sacrifice - :35

D. It was obvious he was a true “neighbor” - :36-37

V. How should we respond to such a passage?

1. By realizing we do not live up to it –

10 As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one;

11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. (Rom 3:10-11 NKJ)

A. We are not, nor can we be SAVED by our own good deeds –

6 But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away. (Isa 64:6 NKJ)

B. By nature we are selfish –

21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. (Phi 2:21 NKJ)

2. By grace we can be saved, and saved to good works –

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10 NKJ)

Arnold A. Brevick

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