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Sunday, July 9, 2017

posted Jul 10, 2017, 7:10 AM by Site Administrator


 

DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE

 

Luke 10:25-42

Key Verse 10:28

 

"You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."

 

First, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" (25-28).Look at verse 25. "On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"He was an expert in the law, a specialist in the Bible. The word, 'test' shows us this man’s intention in asking Jesus the question. Nonetheless, his question is very important. "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" This is the very question all mankind have. Death is coming moment by moment; we die for sure; that’s the reality. But we don't want to die. So, people struggle to find the way to escape from death, and not die, but live forever. But the problem is: No one knows how. So many people, agonized, shout, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" This is not only the voice of unbelieving people, but the voice of many people who go to church. Like the expert in the Law in the passage, who had been attending worship service life long very faithfully, but still, did not have the confidence eternal life, cry out, saying, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" People say"If you believe in Jesus, you will be saved and have eternal life." People do so, go to church, but still do not have any confidence about salvation and eternal life. They try to assume or even try to hypnotize themselves, saying, "believe I am saved! I believe I am saved!" But still, they have no confidence. All these people, both believers and unbelievers, cry out together in unison, "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

 

Many people would simply say at this question, "Believe in Jesus, and you will be saved." But Jesus’ answer was different. He did not say, "I am the Christ. Believe in me, and you will be saved." What was Jesus’ answer? Look at verse 26. Jesus said to him, "What is written in the Law? How do you read it?" Jesus' answer, "What is written in the Law?" indicates that in the Law is the way to have eternal life. Here, the Law refers to the five books of Moses, from Genesis to Deuteronomy. In the Law, there is the way to have eternal life! This is really amazing.  

 

Jesus added, "How do you read it?" Jesus was asking him about his attitude in reading the Bible, in coming to the word of God. Do you read the Bible just to accumulate your Bible knowledge or to find the truth and live by it? "How do you read it?" This is the key for us to find the way to have eternal life in the Law. Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." It sounds so plain. But I have seen many people who met God personally through this simple sentence. They testified with tears, saying, "God created me. I came from God. Now I know who I am." Genesis 1:31 says, "And God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." To many people, this simple statement was the life-giving words of God that transformed lowly sinners into beautiful princes and princesses of the kingdom of God. They shouted, "No matter what people say of me, I am wonderful, because God says that I am very good." "How do you read it?" If this man had read the Law with the right attitude, surely, he would have found the way to have eternal life. With what kind of attitude do you come to the Law

 

What is written in the Law? Look at verse 27. Let’s read this verse together:

 

He answered, "’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’"

 

At this, Jesus said to him in verse 28, "You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live." What an amazing person this man was. Surely, it is not easy to even read through these five books of Moses – too boring, many dos and dons that seem redundant, not lessons or stories. Many people also say, "I don’t like the God of the Old Testament, but I like the God of the New Testament." People say, "We are free from the Law in the New Testament." With this, they throw away the Old Testament, and never read it. What is written in the law? To them, only burdens, many dos and dons, and restrictions. But this man grasped what God was really talking about through these five books of Moses. He grasped that the Law was about love. To him, the penetrating theme in all 613 in the Old Testament was, "Love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor." His answer was correct, and Jesus told him that if he did so, then, he would have eternal life. 

 

What God says in the Bible is that we must love GodThis is really amazing. While driving on the Freeway, I was thinking about this: God wants us to love Him. That's what God desires. He is not like any other gods we have read about in the Greek and Roman mythology. Then, what kind of God is he? He is really romantic. He is love. We must love God. Then, how? "With all our heart, soul, mind and strength." Loving God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind means to "love Him exclusively" or "love Him only" or "love Him wholeheartedlywith complete devotion to Him!" He does not want us to look at other things at all, but Him alone! Loving God with all our strength means to love God really passionately, doing things for God wholeheartedly, pouring out time, energy and talent, instead of just doing minimum or basic duties. When you love God this way, how will your life be? So powerful, action-packed and dynamic! When you live this kind of a powerful, dynamic and action-packed life for God, you will be truly satisfied and happy. That's what eternal life is about - zoe, the very kind of life God wants you to have in Jesus Christ. For this purpose, God sacrificed his one and only Son on the cross. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (Jn 3:16)

 

The Law also says, "Love your neighbor as yourself." When we love God and thereby, want to obey his command, we know what we must do - love our neighbors as ourselves. As much as you love yourself, you love your neighbor. How much do you love yourself? When you catch cold, you are so worried and concerned about your health, even your life; you are very concerned about your diet (healthy food, high cholesterol,..). In the same way, you should be concerned about your neighbors' wellbeing and life. You are very concerned about your future - career and marriage,... in the same way, you should be concerned about your neighbors' future. You are willing to spend your money for yourself - food, clothes, shoes, cars,... - in the same way, you are willing to spend your time, money and effort for your neighbors. That's what God desires for us to do. That's how God wants us to live with others in the society - at home, at school, at work, and in the church. When we think about this, we can see that in God, there is no room for selfish, self-centered orself-seeking life for God's people. When you live this kind of life, you will indeed enjoy a truly fulfilling and meaningful life. When all the members of the society love their neighbors as themselves, what kind of community will it be? An idealistic society where everyone can live happily with each other in peace - no deceit, no debauchery, no violence, no injustice, but love and care in the whole community, supporting, strengthening and taking care of each other. It will be paradise! Utopia! That's what the Law talks about. That's what God designed from the beginning - by obeying God's command, we would have Utopia.

 

Jesus says, "You have answered correctly. Do this, and you will live." This is the way of eternal life - do this, and you will live. The man grasped what the Bible was talking about, what God wanted him to do in the Bible. He was a great Bible scholar. Now what he needed as God's people, as God's servant, so that he could have eternal life was to do it really - love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind and love your neighbors as yourself. Knowing what he must do to inherit eternal life, grasping what the Bible talked about did not mean anything, when he did not do it. Knowing what he must do to inherit eternal life did not do anything for him unless he really did it. Jesus gave him a clear direction, "Do this, and you will live." 

 

Now we know what we must do as humans, as Jesus' disciples, as God's children - we know what God wants us to do. He wants us to love Him with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and love our neighbors as ourselves. When we do it, we will live - we will have eternal life. This is God's will for us. At this, many Christians say, "But we are saved by grace, by faith alone, not by works." With this, they conveniently reject Jesus' teaching. In their terms, by faith, they reject Jesus' teaching; by faith, they don't struggle to love God. Christians are really bad. Do you believe in Jesus? Yes? Then, this is the direction Jesus gives you: Do this and you will live. Thus, those who believe in Jesus come to have a clear direction, and thereby, Christians' struggle follows, and Christian lifestyle is set - their struggle to love God with all their heart, soul, strength and mind, and love their neighbors as themselves. Those who struggle to do this come to enjoy eternal life - a truly wonderful, meaningful and fulfilling life. Let us shout together: Do this and you will live.


Second, "Go and do likewise" (29-37). What was the man’s response? Look at verse 29. He had to repent of his lack of love for God and his neighbors. But instead of admitting his mistakes and faults and repenting, he wanted to justify himselfSo he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" His excuse was that, because he had not known who his neighbor was, he could not love his neighbor. At this, Jesus gave him the parable of the good Samaritan in verses 30 through 35 

 

In this parable, a man, actually, a Jewish man, was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho. But on the way, robbers met him, stripped him of his clothes, took all his possessions, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. This man lost all his money, and was dying moment by moment bleeding on the road. Then, a priest happened to be going down the same road, andwhen he saw him, he passed by on the other side; then, a Levite also happened to come to the place, and saw him, but he too passed by on the other side. Jesus, specifically mentioned these two people, a priest and a Levite – both of them were known as people that served God. They missed the point of what God really wanted them to do. What God wanted was not that they would live a religious life, but that they would live the life of loving God and their neighbors practically. But they assumed that they were serving God because of their title as a priest and a Levite, and their religious life and even their Bible knowledge. Probably, that’s how the expert in the Law had been trying to serve God. 

 

Then, in his parable, a Samaritan man who was despised and ignored by the Jews, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, 'Look after him, and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.' For the sake of the man, this Samarian sacrificed his own schedule, spent time and money. Now, among the three - the priest, the Levite, and the Samaritan man, who was the neighbor for the man half dead? The expert in the Law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Then, Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."

 

Jesus showed him very clearly who his neighbor was - all those who were in need around him - and he must be their neighbor by loving them, by taking care of them, spending his time, money and effort for them. That's how he could be the neighbor for the people around him. That's how he could obey God's command. That's what he must do, and when he did it, he would have eternal life. Otherwise, he would not be the neighbor for the people around him; he would not be able to keep God's command, and thereby, he would not have eternal life, even if he studied the Bible a lot and grasped what the Bible was talking about; he would not be a neighbor for the people around him even if he had a great title such as Priest, Levite, or Pastor. 

This parable illustrates the mankind's condition very well. The mankind were just naively going on the road, maybe, after worshiping God in the Garden of Eden. Then, the robber, the enemy, Satan came, robbed of all our wealth, health, positions and titles, fame, and even life, and left us half dead. People have become miserable, lying on the ground, half dead. In this situation, who is the neighbor for these half dead people? Not everyone who lives around them; not everyone who attends the worship service; not everyone who has a position or title as priest, or Levite, or expert in the law; not everyone who has the title as pastor, or deacon or theologian; not everyone who knows what the Bible talks about. But those who really take care of them, pouring out and sacrificing their time, energy and money for them. Such people are the real neighbors of those perishing half dead people. We must love our neighbors. We must be their neighbors by taking care of them, pouring out our time, money and effort. This is how we can have eternal life today, here on earth, in Jesus Christ. This is what Jesus wants us to do - Feed my lambs; take care of my sheep; feed my sheep. The life of shepherding is the very way we can be the neighbors for those who are sufferingJesus says, "Go and do likewise." Then, you will live. This is what God wants us to do. 

 

Third, "Martha, Martha" (38-42). Now Jesus and his companion came to Martha's house in Bethany. Bethany was about 2 miles away from Jerusalem. So, when Jesus came to Judea for God's work, usually he stayed at Martha's house. During the final week of his life on earth, after serving God's work in Jerusalem, he went back to Bethany and stayed at Martha's house. This family of Martha, Mary and Lazarus offered Jesus a place to rest and their love and service must have brought to Jesus great comfort. Now as usual, Jesus was holding Bible study with people there, and Mary sat at Jesus' feet, giving him her undivided attention. Then, Martha came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" Martha was busy to prepare a banquet for Jesus in honor of him. But it seemed that there were so many things for her to prepare - arranging the tables, spreading the table cloths, preparing food,... She was running here and there, and simply, it seemed too much for her to do all these. Then, when she found that her sister was just sitting at Jesus' feet enjoying Bible study with him, she was irritated and upset. It seemed that Mary was selfish; moreover, it seemed that Jesus was indifferent to her struggle. So, she complained to Jesus about this matter.

 

Before Jesus came, Martha was full of joy and thanks and happiness because of Jesus; she honored Jesus greatly; she wanted to treat him with great hospitality. But then, when Jesus came, she was full of bitterness and complaints; she lost all her joy and thank while she struggled to prepare food for Jesus. She was not happy at all even when Jesus was at her home and even when she was working for him. This is a strange phenomena. But this is what we all experience in our life of serving God's kingdom work. We struggle hard to do God's work, fishing experiencing rejection after rejection under the hot scorching sun, serving 12 and even 20 Bible studies a week. We do it because we are happy with Jesus; we serve Jesus. But when we see others who do not serve as hard as we do, but take a little easy, relaxing by serving just 1 or 2 students, we feel like we are the only ones that suffer. Then, we lose joy and thanks, and complain about others, and demand them to work hard as we do. Or, as we struggle hard to do God's work, it seems that missionary John only loves some people, but not me; it seems that he does not care for me, but for those people - terrible injustice. And we become bitter and complain. 

 

Martha was struggling to serve Jesus. She should have been happy and thankful. Yet, how come she was full of bitterness, complaints, and the sense of injustice in her service to Jesus? Her problem was, as she struggled to prepare food for Jesus, her focus shifted from Jesus to many things and to Mary who was not working as hard as she was. We must not underestimate the importance of Martha's role - through her hard work, the food was prepared for Jesus and his disciples. Without her hard work, nothing would have been prepared. But at the same time, our focus must be Jesus all the time. We are serving Jesus. So, we are happy to do all these things for him. We must fix our eyes on Jesus in doing all these important works of God. Hebrews 12:2 reads: "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith." 

 

How did Jesus respond? Look at verses 41 and 42. Let's read these verses together:

 

"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things,  42   but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

 

"Martha, Martha!" Jesus wanted to draw her attention to himself, so he called her name twice. While Martha was venting out, full of bitterness and the sense of injustice, Jesus tried to draw her attention to himself, saying, "Just calm down, my child." Sometimes, in serving God's kingdom work, we too develop some bitterness and resentment, and complain a lot out of the sense of injustice. We have so many things to talk about. At that time, Jesus says, "Martha, Martha!" Just calm down! Let's put our own names here, and say, "John, John!" Turn your eyes from all terrible looking things, all things you think unjust, to Jesus and see what he has to say to you. 

 

Jesus said to her, "You are worried and upset about many things. But only one thing is needed." "You are worried and upset about many things." Maybe, her complaints were valid or groundless; maybe, her sense of injustice was valid or groundless. Regardless, Jesus described what's going on with her in this way, "You are worried and upset with many things." You want Jesus to talk to you, but you never want Jesus say to you this way. What an embarrassing moment it will be if Jesus speaks to us this way. "You are worried and upset about many things." Don't give your attention to too many things or too many peopleYou don't have to worry about too many things; you don't have to judge others at all. Instead of worrying about and being upset about many things, you only need one thing. What is important is not that we prepare all kinds of dishes for Jesus, but only one thing is needed - coming to him and studying the Bible with him. Then, what about food? Only one thing is needed - one dish is enough. 

 

Jesus says, "Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken from her." Mary's choice was better. Having fellowship with Jesus and listening to him in prayer and in the word of God is better than worrying and being upset about many things. Jesus honored Mary’s desire for the fellowship with Him and for His word.

 

One Word:Go And Do Likewise!  

 

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