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Sermon Discussion + Prayer: "Extending the Borders of Our Neighborhood"

The story of the Good Samaritan gives us “explicitly Scriptural categories” for how to love our neighbors. Jesus’ parable reminds us of our own need for mercy as no one is justified before God. Jesus calls us to be godly neighbors especially to those we may normally overlook. Also, we are commissioned to extend “our neighborhood” through national and ethnic barriers just as Heaven will be filled with people of all nations, tribes, and tongues. So, in the midst of troubled times, we must remember to love and serve our “sample of humanity.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. How has this parable helped you to understand God’s great love and mercy toward you?
  2. Looking at verse 29, when do you find yourself asking, “Who is my neighbor?”
  3. Despite our unworthiness, Jesus made himself our neighbor in order to love us and to rescue us. How does this parable challenge you and encourage you to become more like Christ?
  4. Who do you normally overlook, and how can you be a good neighbor to them today?
  5. How can you serve and show gospel love to those in your immediate circle?

Praying the Passage:

Brad Green – There is a political or social dimension to Christianity which is simply inescapable. But Christians should think through all things – including the nature of social or political reality – in explicitly scriptural categories.

CJ – As your pastors, this phrase, “explicitly scriptural categories” captures our intent in all our teaching.
Father, help me to recall the terms I use to describe current events, the decisions and behavior of others, and my feelings about each. And help me to ascribe scriptural categories, terms, and descriptions (including chapters and verses) to each.

CJ – In his question in verse 25, “Teacher, what I shall “I do” to inherit eternal life”, there is the assumption of human responsibility in earning or attaining eternal life. He assumes that eternal life or salvation is something he achieves by his obedience to the commands of God, by his good works.
Father, please show me where I am tempted to justify myself by my performance or behavior or success – perhaps, not necessarily to earn salvation; but perhaps to earn your favor. (And remind me – adjust me – when I am tempted to believe, conversely, that your love is diminished when I fall short.)
And please remind me, every day, that because Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, fulfilled every requirement of the law; and on the cross, as my substitute, bore the wrath of God for my sins, I am fully and forever forgiven and justified!

CJ – The love we are to show others is a reflection of God’s love as shown to us.
The question is not “Who is my neighbor?” The question he should be asking is:“Am I a godly neighbor?” 
Lord, give me eyes to see, not who my neighbors are, but rather to whom you have called me to be a neighbor. Show me those whose paths I cross on a regular basis, to whom I can be a neighbor with a word, a kindness, a gesture, an encouragement.

CJ - Being a neighbor does not require meeting every need of which I become aware. But this parable is also meant to inform us that our love for neighbor must transcend national and racial barriers.

CJ – The story of the Good Samaritan redraws the boundaries and extends the borders of the lawyer’s neighborhood. Where might the boundaries of your neighborhood need to be redrawn and the borders extended, so that by the grace of God and for the sake of the gospel you might love your neighbor?
Father, help me to be aware of anyone to whom I am reluctant to be a neighbor; and help me to identify and examine the cause of that reluctance...from a Scriptural perspective.
Help me to love, befriend, accept, and pursue the way that you, Lord loved and pursued me.