Mission to My Neighbor

Error message

  • Deprecated function: unserialize(): Passing null to parameter #1 ($data) of type string is deprecated in css_injector_init() (line 53 of /home/krwester/gobibletranslations.org/sites/all/modules/css_injector/css_injector.module).
  • Deprecated function: unserialize(): Passing null to parameter #1 ($data) of type string is deprecated in css_injector_init() (line 53 of /home/krwester/gobibletranslations.org/sites/all/modules/css_injector/css_injector.module).
(Luke 10, James 2, Matthew 7)
Lesson Number: 

Lesson 7

Mission to My Neighbor

(Luke 10, James 2, Matthew 7)

Copr. 2023, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail, but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this link: http://www.GoBible.org. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

Introduction: Jesus famously taught in Luke 10:27 to love your “neighbor as yourself.” This view, often referred to as the “Golden Rule,” is shared by many religions. Following this basic rule is not simple. It takes thought. Assume a homeless person asks you for money. On a superficial level you could decide that if your roles were reversed you would want to receive money. If you look deeper, if you were homeless because you were on drugs or were lazy, would you want to stay in that situation? I would not. In that situation withholding money and thereby helping to force a change might be the best thing possible for that person - which is what you would want for yourself. Let’s plunge into our Bible to see what Jesus teaches us about the answer to this question!

  1. Testing Jesus
    1. Read Luke 10:25. Does this lawyer really want to know the answer to this question? (No. The lawyer thought he already knew the answer to the question, he wanted to see whether Jesus had the correct answer.)
    2. Read Luke 10:26-28. Who ends up being tested? (The lawyer! Jesus reverses the situation.)
      1. Some of this seems wrong. The lawyer asks “what shall I do” to be saved? Is this the correct question only because Jesus has not yet died on the cross?
      2. Examine Jesus’ answer in verse 26 and tell me whether Jesus is giving a canny answer? (Jesus asks what the law says about eternal life. The law is about works. Jesus is about grace.)
      3. Note Luke 10:28. Although Jesus has shifted the question, He tells the lawyer that if he does something (love God and your neighbor) “you will live.” How is this consistent with Galatians 2:16 and relying on what God has done for us instead of relying on our own works for salvation?
    3. Read Luke 10:29. Do you think this is still a test? Or has Jesus drawn the lawyer into a serious discussion about the lawyer’s eternal life? (I think the lawyer is drawn into a consideration of his own life.)
  2. Testing the Lawyer
    1. Read Luke 10:30-32. Did these two religious officials see the wounded man? (Jesus makes the point that they saw him and made a decision to move away from him.)
      1. What reason would they have for not helping? (If they were heading to the temple in Jerusalem they might have thought that touching this man might make them unclean (see generally Leviticus 15 regarding blood), and that would create a problem for doing their work for God.)
    2. Read Deuteronomy 22:4. What did the law require of these religious leaders? (If they were required to help the valuable animal of a brother, surely they were required to help their brother.)
    3. Go back to Luke 10:30. What is the philosophy of these robbers? (I am entitled to take what is yours.)
    4. Read Luke 10:33-35. What do you think, would the lawyer have done what the Samaritan did?
    5. Read Psalms 139:21-22. The fellow who helped was a Samaritan. If the injured fellow were a Samaritan, would the lawyer have helped a Samaritan in this situation? (The answer is, “obviously not,” because Samaritans were the enemy.)
    6. Read Luke 10:36-37. Given our discussion so far, do you think the lawyer would in the future obey what Jesus said?
      1. In the introduction I suggested looking deeply into the situation. This was a dangerous road. Should the injured fellow be blamed for traveling alone on it?
        1. Would it teach him a valuable lesson if you just left him there? (Whatever lessons were to be learned about personal safety would have already been made.)
  3. Testing Us
    1. At this point we need to discuss what Jesus is teaching the lawyer and us.
      1. Is he teaching that obedience to the law is impossible for fallen humans, and therefore the real answer to secure eternal life is to rely on the works of Jesus instead of our own?
      2. Or is Jesus teaching that we should help our enemies and those who foolishly get in trouble?
      3. Or is it something else? (I think Jesus is teaching us the Christian philosophy of life is to show love to others, even if they are our enemies. (I don’t think He is teaching compromise with evil.) At the same time, because the lawyer would have found this practically impossible, I think Jesus is teaching grace.)
      4. What is Jesus not teaching? What are the rejected philosophies of life? (The robber philosophy: If you have more than I have, I am entitled to take your property. This is modern socialism or communism. Jesus is also rejecting the approach of the religious leaders who want to keep what they own (time and money). This is true even if they put a religious spin on it. That is the view that I made my money by my own effort and I will not share it with others because they need to be more like me.)
    2. Look again at Luke 10:37. Do you think Jesus’ command to “go and do likewise” disappeared at the cross? (Read Matthew 5:17. Jesus showed us mercy! Jesus did not abolish the law, He did what we cannot, which is to completely obey the law. That does not eliminate our obligation to attempt to keep the law. It does not eliminate our obligation to bring glory to God by our works. See Matthew 5:16.)
    3. Read James 2:14-16. If you agree with what James wrote, what if the person said instead, “I’ll pray for you?” (Prayer is not, or should not be, an empty statement. It is the most effective thing that we can do. The question is whether God calls on us to be His helper?)
    4. Read James 2:17-18. This is one of the most well-known texts in the Bible. What do you understand James to mean by stating that he shows his faith by his works?
    5. Read Matthew 7:21. Do Jesus and James seem to be saying the same thing?
    6. Read Matthew 7:22-23. Now we have a problem, right? James told us that he would show his faith by his works and that is precisely the defense raised by these lost individuals. Does this show that James is wrong? That if he tells Jesus at the end what he told us, his “proof” is inadequate?
      1. Is there a way to reconcile what Jesus said in Matthew 7:22-23 and what James said about proving his faith by his works? (Yes. Works by themself, do not prove faith. Romans 3:28. However, a faith in God that reflects an understanding of His love produces works. A knowledge of Jesus changes your life.)
    7. Let’s be practical. As you compare the people in Luke 10:30 and Luke 10:34-35, have you satisfied your obligation to help others by voting for government officials who use tax money to support the poor? (The Samaritan used his own money to help the injured man. Those who force others to provide support for those in need should read this story closely. The reports are that those who are most supportive of using the money of others, give the least out of their own pocket to help the poor.)
    8. Friend, will you take the story of the Good Samaritan to heart? Will you ask the Holy Spirit, right now, to guide you to help those who will be benefitted by your help?
  4. Next week: Mission to the Needy.