Enlarging Our Borders Through Service

Bible Book: Luke  10 : 25-37
Subject: Service; Growth; Christian Living

Today I want us to look at a very familiar story, the story of the Good Samaritan. Even the person who has never opened a Bible may use the term "Good Samaritan" to describe a loving and benevolent person who gives of themselves in service. If any Christian desires for God to give them a broader scope of ministry, they must be willing to serve.

The April 21, 2000 USA Today had a story about those who help others. It said, "Going out of one's way and putting oneself at risk to help a stranger in need might be the road less traveled, but many have chosen it. Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan to answer a question: Who is my neighbor? These days anyone familiar with the parable, Christian or not, might well ask: Who is a Good Samaritan?

"Why should we study this as we consider enlarging our borders? Because we are living in a society that keeps to themselves and does not help their fellowman. If we want to be the church God wants us to be, then we must be willing to leave these four walls every single week after worshiping our Risen Savior, and go out and make a difference in people's lives by being a Good Samaritan. We must be willing to look at people who have deep needs in their lives and feel deeply for them.

The Samaritan in the Scripture was a foreigner from Samaria who was a member of a different, unpopular religious group traveling on a notoriously dangerous road. He saw a man half dead whowas beaten and stripped by robbers on that dangerous road. One translation says he had "deep pity" when he saw the man. The original Greek translation is much stronger. It says, "His guts rose up within him." In other words, he had to stop. So often we think being a Good Samaritan is helping a little old lady across the street or getting a cat out of a tree, but according to the Scripture being a Good Samaritan means going out of your way to serve a stranger in need with no expectation of thanks or recognition.

Today I want us to look at this text and see what God says to us about service and ministry in order for God to be able to enlarge our borders.

I. The Inquiring Mind

A. The Inquiring Attorney (v. 25)

In the crowd that day was the Allen Dirshowitz of their society. He stands up and asks, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?"Just reading that question says the lawyer was no match for Jesus. Think about the question for a moment. If you stop and think about it, the question itself is contradictory."What must I do to inherit eternal life? "If you inherit something, it's a gift-it's not what you do it's what your parents did. The truth of the matter is we inherit eternal life, not by what we do but based upon what our heavenly Father did.

The world religions say "Do" while Christianity says "Done."Christ paid it all for us! Illustration: Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe, Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow. That is biblical truth based upon I Cor. 6:19-20.We are told we are not our own, instead we are bought at a price; therefore, honor God!

Illustration: lvina Hall understood that when she wrote, For nothing good have I whereby by grace to claim. I'll wash my garments white in the blood of Calvary's Lamb Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe, Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow. This attorney was struggling with the question of how to live eternally, just like every one of us want to know the same answer today.

B. The Insightful Answer (v. 26-29)

Jesus, the wise Teacher, puts it back to the lawyer. What is written in the law? (v. 26)The man gives the answer from Scripture. (v. 27)Jesus said, You answered correctly, do this and you will live. (v. 28) But the man, wanting to justify himself, asked Who is my neighbor? (v. 29)Church listen, the lawyer asked a question that he thinks excuses himself but instead he condemns himself.

The Christian who has genuinely been saved by Jesus is called to have a genuine love for others. This is the most important duty of Christianity. Such love must not be halfhearted. It must be all-encompassing. Every part of your thoughts, emotions, feelings, and actions must be controlled by love for God and for others. The lawyer had a problem. He was concerned about how many people were to be included in the circle of "neighbor. "He is guilty of what many churches are. He made the circle very small and wanted to keep it so. He only wanted like kind. He really only wanted the Jews to be his neighbor. How did Jesus Christ respond to this?

C. The Illustrative Application (v. 30-35)

Notice Jesus never calls this a parable because it may have been a true occurrence that listeners were familiar with.

Illustration: The last time we were in Israel we went to this road going down from Jerusalem to Jericho. The mountain range is about 2600 feet above sea level. Jericho is in the rift through which the Jordan flows, nearly 1300 below sea level. The road was steep and dangerous. About half way down the mountain is the traditional spot where the man is supposed to have been left in the care of the innkeeper. The ruin of an ancient fort and pool show that this place had been through the centuries a haven for travelers unable to make the trip by day.

The Scripture says they stripped him of his clothes, beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. The possessions and the money of the man were seized and since clothing was so expensive, they took his clothes too. Naked and bleeding, the man was left to die in the broiling sun. In this story Jesus joins together in practice the love of God and the love of man. Jesus basically says in this story there are three attitudes you can have toward others.

Attitude #1 - What's yours is mine, I'll take it.


G. Gordon Liddy Says - A lot of folks have that attitude. They are like robbers. "What's in it for me?"I know church people who have that attitude.

Attitude #2 - What's mine is mine, I'll keep it. The religious leaders in this story were preoccupied.

They had more important duties than to tend to this bloody, naked man alongside the road. They were not bad guys, just busy. Knowing that stretch of road was both dangerous and well-traveled, they reasoned "Someone else will come along."Doesn't that reflect our society today? God has blessed each of us with different gifts and talents. When it comes to serving the Lord, I hope you won't have the attitude like the priests or Levites saying, "I have other things going that are more important."The truth is if we selfishly hold on to our time, talents and treasures, then we are more like the robbers than the religious leaders who chose to "not get involved.

"Sometimes we rob the church.

Illustration: Rick Warren says, "God gave me a gift not for me but for you, and God gave you a gift not for you but for me, and if I don't use my gift then I am robbing you. And if you don't use your gift, then you're robbing me.

"Attitude #3 - What's mine is yours, I'll share it. That is the attitude of the Christian.

Illustration: William Barclay said, "In a world that is bent on getting, the Christian must be bent on giving because he knows that what he keeps he will lose, but what he gives he has."

Our church needs to be the kind of church that is generous in our giving regardless of who the persons are that receive it. Let me ask: How generous are you and how willing are you to share and reach out to others?

Illustration: On the last day of school the children brought gifts for the teacher. The florist's son brought the teacher a bouquet. The candy store owner's daughter handed the teacher a pretty box of candy. Then the liquor store owner's son brought up a big heavy box. The teacher lifted it and noticed that it was leaking a little bit. She touched a drop of the liquid with her finger and tasted it. "It is wine" she guessed. "No" the boy replied. She tasted another drop and asked, "Champagne?" "No" said the little boy, "It's a puppy!" (Reader's Digest, May 2000, page 137) Well, it's the thought that counts.

We need to remember as we walk passed these people who have needs and will not stop long enough to meet those needs and reach out, Jesus has a stern warning to us in Matthew 25:36-40. Jesus says, I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one, and the least of these my brothers of mine, you did for Me. Jesus reminds us to watch our motives. If our motives for serving are anything other than the glory of God, what we do will only be religious activity and not true Christian ministry. Let us be a ministering church that gives of our time, talent and resources so God can enlarge our borders of ministry!

II. The Instructing Master

A. The Challenge Of The Master

After Jesus tells the story, He asks a pretty simple question. Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers' hands? (v. 36)The expert in the law replied, The one who had mercy on him. (V. 37) Jesus said, Go and do likewise. (V. 37) The point of Jesus is don't be so concerned about who your neighbor is, instead be proactive. In other words, go out and be a neighbor.

Go minister in the Name of Christ to those in need.

B. The Characteristics Of The Ministry

There are three characteristics you and I must have in order for God to enlarge our borders and give us greater ministry as we serve others.

1. Compassion

That's what love is, compassion. The man who ministered was the man who felt pity, not the hardhearted man. Our problem is we have become so desensitized to evil in the world and human suffering that it hardly fazes us. We see ads on TV showing abortions, murders, malnourished children in third-world countries, and we flip to another station and think "Hope somebody helps them.

"Church listen, if we can't extend compassion face to face and hand to hand, we are falling short of Jesus' plea to love your neighbor. For us to be a ministering church we must have compassion.

2. Action

Love is not just feeling compassion, it's more than just "feeling their pain," it is action. I know a lot of so-called Christians who may have felt pity but did nothing about it. The Good Samaritan did more than just show compassion.

Illustration: Todd Clark says, "There is no traffic jam on the extra mile. "It's not real crowded when it comes to service opportunities.

We are to see people in need, take our spiritual gifts, minister to them, and bring them to saving faith in Jesus Christ.

Illustration: Years ago at a Promise Keepers Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana the question was asked: How many came to Christ through revival or a large conference like a Billy Graham Crusade or Promise Keepers Convention? About 2,000 men stood up. Then they were asked: How many of you came to Christ through a relationship you had with someone who modeled Christ, a teacher or a coach, or a parent or friend who ministered to you in a time of need? 58,000 people stood up!

Listen, if we're going to minister and allow God to enlarge our borders, we must invest our time and our energies. We must take action!

3. Sacrifice

Love is not just action, it is self-sacrifice. The man risked his own life for another. Your neighbor doesn't have to be a stranger or the guy who lives next door. It could be a family member. A special need sometimes calls for a special expression of love.

Illustration: Cal Thomas says, "Love talked about is easily ignored but love demonstrated is irresistible. "Love is not just self-sacrifice, it is sacrifice with no expected return. A lot of us will love those who love us. This man loved his enemy. The challenge to you and me is to go and do likewise with the characteristics of Christ.

Conclusion: Let's pray together right now.

Our Father in Heaven, there are people we see every day that we neglect and overlook; the disabled, the co-worker, servers in the restaurant...Lord, help us to encourage. There are friends and relatives with whom we have allowed past mistakes to alter our relationship or from whom we've grown apart...Help us to reunite.

There are people who see us day in and day out and yet we never bother to speak a good word on behalf of Jesus...Help us to be bold. There are those whom we have given up on, maybe a son or daughter, maybe a boss, and we've said they could never change...Lord, help us to communicate hope. Lord, transform us into Your image in Jesus Name. Amen