Loving our NeighborBro. David Chancellor
1/9/2011 6:00 PM
And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.
Do you have any neighbors? Jesus was going up to Jerusalem to die. The Samaritans refused to let them stay in the city. James and John wanted the city destroyed. Jesus was facing an affront bigger than the one of the Samaritans.
James’ and John’s attitude is like many people’s attitude toward their neighbors today. The Samaritans were neighbors of the Jews, but none of them liked each other.
There are similar disputes going on today. Jesus came to give us something better than that. James and John were still focused on the power games, at least until the Spirit came to teach them differently.
We need the Spirit of God so we can deal with the power of God. When the Spirit comes it puts the love of God in us and makes us different.
And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
This man was trying to see what Christ would say. He wasn’t as serious about eternal life as he should have been. He knew what the law was all about, as apparently did others: "But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?" If you’re just trying to justify yourself, you won’t have eternal life.
Jesus told a story to make the man stop and think about the answer himself. The characters were chosen to make a point. Jews and Samaritans didn’t like each other. Jesus used a Samaritan on purpose. "And he said, He that shewed mercy on him…" This was the lawyer’s response. Jesus told him to do likewise.
Being a neighbor is more than living next door to someone. Do you have any neighbors? Are there people you see in need that you have compassion on? Take time to notice more.
Charity is needed toward others. Look around for people in need and choose to have compassion. You’ll get more of a blessing from it that way. Forced charity doesn’t give the same blessing. Desire to have compassion on others. Compassion isn’t always giving money. Help, time and service can be given, too. Needs of others should stir our hearts to compassion.
A community that works this way will be very neighborly. What kind of neighbors are we? There are people that need us to love them. They are going through a more difficult place than you are.
Jesus went to Jerusalem to die for the Samaritans. Philip later went to Samaria. He told them about Jesus. As Philip was neighbor to them, they decided they wanted Jesus after all.
God put us here to live as Jesus lived. All of mankind is our neighbor. Jesus can point out needs where a loving touch makes a difference. Every child of God can pray. Put your faith in God that he can make a difference. The world needs the kind of neighbors Jesus portrayed here.
Watch your attitude toward those around you that are in need. When your focus is only on self, it’s a depressing way to live. Consider what you do. Be prayerful and careful, but be willing to do things for God. There are ways you can help others and still be safe. Keep your eyes open for the needs of others. Look to see ways you can help. See things that need to be done and just do it. Care about others that are in a tough place. Reach out and touch others and help them.
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
If you see someone struggling, be a help to them in meekness. "Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." The law of Christ is still in effect. "For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself." Realize that you will need help someday. All of us will at times need help and encouragement. Feel personal responsibility, but be able to receive help. It isn’t a shame to ask for help when you need it. Don’t be particular when help is offered. Take it gratefully.
"Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things." If someone benefits you, see if there is some way you can benefit them.
"…for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." Don’t you want to reap good? If you’re always out helping and doing good, somewhere along the way blessing will return. If we sow good things, we’ll reap good things. "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."
Look for ways to be a blessing in people’s lives. "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith." Be particularly sensitive to the needs of the saints. Be ready to reach out and help. Look for opportunity to be a blessing and be blessed. It’s more of a blessing when you can spot the need first and take the incentive to help.