What Shall I Do To Inherit Eternal Life?

Photo by Fernando @cferdo on Unsplash

God had put a parable on my heart to preach this week, a parable found in Luke chapter 10. This parable has often been called “The Parable Of The Good Samaritan”. That’s a bad title because of the word “Good”. Our Lord Jesus said in:

Matthew 19:17 … there is none good but One, that is, God … (see also Mark 10:18)

Good” is a word we like to over use. When someone dies, the pastor says “He was a GOOD man” or “She was a GOOD woman”. There are none that are good when compared to God. An oft quoted text is:

Romans 3:10-12 as it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Jesus never called this Samaritan “good”, though Jesus uses this Samaritan to describe what loving your neighbor is all about. Let’s look at our text.

What Can I Do To Inherit Eternal Life?

Luke 10:25-28 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted {Jesus}, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 27 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 neighbor as thyself. 28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

A LAWYER came to Jesus with a question, a question that many people have asked. His question was:

Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

What can I DO to inherit eternal life? What he is asking is “How can I live forever?” or “How can I get to Heaven?” It might surprise you to know that WE ALL LIVE FOREVER. The Bible tells us that when God created mankind, that He made humanity like He is:

Genesis 1:26 … God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion

Every human shares the same trait, regardless as to our color. We are made in the image of God.

Genesis 1:27 So God created man{kind} in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Everyone lives forever. All lives matter, because all lives are made in God’s image and likeness. Our souls are eternal. Lives are so precious that God has said:

Genesis 9:6 Whoso sheddeth {human} blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man{kind}.

Every life has eternal value, for it is in God’s image. The life that rejects God will find itself in a terrible place one day, a place where those who revolt against their Creator goes. It is a place that Jesus spoke of in Luke 16, about a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus. Lazarus loved the Lord, but the rich man loved himself. When both the rich man and Lazarus died, that is, they left their earthly bodies, Lazarus was comforted. But what of the rich man?

Luke 16:22-23 … the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments

Oh, we all have eternal life, insofar as consciousness goes. Our souls cannot be destroyed. What this Lawyer is referring to when he says “eternal life” is that he wants to leave this life, and enter the Presence of God in eternity. What he is asking Jesus is “how can I, once I leave this life by death, go into the Presence of God, and not into eternal damnation?” It’s a good question. Notice who asks the question. It is A LAWYER.

Now LAWYERS in Jesus’ day were not Lawyers like Jerry Bridenbaugh is a Lawyer. The Lawyers in Jesus’ day were experts in the Law of God, the Torah. They knew what God’s Bible said. They studied it diligently, just as Jerry studies case histories and past judicial renderings. The Lawyer asks this question, not because he is sincerely seeking the truth. No, the Bible says:

Luke 10:25 a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted {Jesus}

Word Study The word TEMPTED in the Greek ἐκπειράζω ekpeirázō, {pronounced ek-pi-rad’-zo}, which means “to put to the test”. This man had studied the Law of God his whole life. Now here is this fellow Jesus, a hillbilly from a no named place called Nazareth. As he asks the question, I can see the smile tugging at his lips. He is an expert on the Law – this Rube won’t have a clue! He’s going to show up Jesus.

Beloved, you can’t show up Jesus. Though Jesus appears to be a hick from Nazareth, Jesus is much, much more. It is a mystery as to how God became man, perfect man, but this is what the Scripture teaches. We are told in:

1 Timothy 3:16 without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

Jesus Christ is fully Man and fully God. The Apostle said,

Colossians 2:9 in {Jesus} dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

Oh Beloved, the Word of God was made flesh and dwelt amongst us (John 1:14). The Jesus Who stands before this Lawyer wrote the Word of God through His Prophets. This Jesus Christ knows the Law, for He directed the pens that wrote it. You cannot confuse an Author over the Book that He Himself wrote. Jesus wrote the Bible. Jesus is:

Revelation 1:8 … Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

The Lawyer wants to test God, the Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord. But notice how Jesus responds. Jesus doesn’t blast this man out of the room with His knowledge. The man knows the Law (or so he thinks he does), so Jesus replies:

Luke 10:26…What is written in the law? how readest thou?

You have studied the Law – well, you answer the question. What does the Law of God declare? Beloved, God gave us the Law as a mirror to teach us that we are NOT GOOD and DESPERATELY NEED GOD. That’s what the Law does. The Apostle tells us:

Galatians 3:10-14 … as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in ALL things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

God gave us His Law because of our sins against Him (Galatians 3:19). The Law mandated blood sacrifices to cover sins temporarily. The Law was not given to justify or make us right with God. No, Beloved, we all need the Savior. The Apostle went on the say:

Galatians 3:21-23 if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ …

This Lawyer thought he was right with God because he knew the Law. So Jesus asks the man, “What have YOU (you expert) READ IN THE LAW?” The man replies:

Luke 10:27 … 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 neighbor as thyself.

The Lawyer recited the Great Commandment, drawn from the Shema that God gave Israel in:

Deuteronomy 6:5 … thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

God expects your heart, your soul, your physical strength and everything you do to be devoted to Him. God wants ALL of you. That is the first Great Commandment. God told His Old Covenant people:

Deuteronomy 10:12 … what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul

The Lawyer also quotes from …

Leviticus 19:18 … thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the Lord…

Jesus told the Lawyer (vs 28) “Thou hast answered right”. If you expect to spend eternity with God, and not in hell, then this is what God requires by His Law. You see, Heaven is a place of love. Not love as the world defines it, but love as God defines it. Heaven is a place where God is not an add on to your day. I hear so many people say, “When I get to Heaven, the first person I’m going to see is my wife (or) my grandma (or) my son (or) ___”. Many people think that Heaven will be like earth, where humans are the center of all things, and God but a periodic distraction. That’s not true. When John the Revelator looked into Heaven, what did he see? Well, he heard God, and then he saw God:

Revelation 21:3-4 Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears

Heaven is all about God. In Heaven we will not have me-ology, but Theology. The center of Heaven is God. The light of Heaven is God. The street of Heaven leads to God’s Throne. Heaven is about being in God’s Presence.

Who Is My Neighbor?

The Lawyer feels like he has Heaven guaranteed. He feels like He’s loving God with all he has. But he hasn’t. You see, if you love God, you will love your neighbor. If you love the God that you cannot see, you will love the person created in the image of God that you can see. We read:

Luke 10:29 But {the Lawyer}, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbor?

The late R.C. Sproul wrote in his book “What Do The Parables Mean?”:

“… when you’re in discussions of theology or debating certain issues with others, you often hear them say “What do you mean by this?” They want you to define your terms. … The Jews at that time … had a narrow definition of who one’s neighbor was. For them, it would be a fellow Jew … people who were outside of the nation of Israel were considered outside of the neighborhood of God. And of all those outside the Jewish neighborhood, the MOST DESPISED WERE THE SAMARITANS” (emphasis mine).

The Jews hated the Romans for conquering Israel (though they were conquered as a discipline from God for not loving Him). But the Jews really hated the Samaritans. When Israel wandered away from God, the Lord sent the armies of Assyria into Israel to punish His people (722 B.C.). The Assyrians, after conquering Israel, moved many of the Jews to Assyria, and put many Assyrians in the houses that were vacated by the Jews. Over time the Jews who remained in Israel intermarried with the Assyrians, and produced a race of half Jews and half Gentiles. These were the Samaritans.

The hated Samaritans built their own Temple on Mount Gerizim, and had their own Bible. This in itself infuriated the Jews. How dare they do this? Just the day before this moment Jesus Himself had trouble with the Samaritans. We read:

Luke 9:51-56 And it came to pass, when the time was come that {Jesus} should be received up, {Jesus} steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, 52 and sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. 53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. 54 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 {Elijah} did? 55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. 56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

Jesus was going to pass through Samaria, spend the night there, then go on to Jerusalem for the Passover. The Samaritans had their own Passover and their own Temple, and wanted Jesus to stay with them. But Jesus had to go to Jerusalem. Jesus Christ is the Passover Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29). He would celebrate Passover one last time with His disciples, and then He Himself would on die on Calvary for our sins.

Jesus shall save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).

Jesus died on Calvary for you and I. He died for the Samaritans, and died for the Jews. Jesus died for the white, black, red, and yellow person. Jesus died for the most crude and godless of people, but He also died for the self righteous and the morally superior. Jesus had to go to Jerusalem.

The Samaritans didn’t like it. The Jews were their enemies. They refused to receive Jesus, and told Him to keep on moving.

This incensed Jesus’ disciples.

Luke 9:54-56 … {James and John}said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as {Elijah} did? 55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. 56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

Jesus did not come to destroy the Samaritans. He came to save whosoever will receive Him.

John 1:12 … as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Oh no! God did not become human to kill off other humans. Jesus came to reach whosoever will. There will come a time when God will bring fire on the earth, and judge sinners who reject Him. But at this time God is reaching out to whosoever will via His Son. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. (1 John 4:9). Oh, Beloved. Praise God for His infinite patience.

Though the Samaritans rebuked and rejected Jesus the day before, Jesus now answers the Lawyer’s question “Who is my neighbor?” with this parable. Let’s read and break out the parable:

Luke 10:30 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

Jesus does not define “the CERTAIN MAN”. He doesn’t tell us if this man is Jew or Gentile. He doesn’t tell us what color this man is. We also don’t know why he is traveling. Perhaps the man is a traveling salesman, or perhaps a homeless person. We don’t know. We do know this, the man passes through Jericho. This is the New Testament Jericho, a place about seventeen miles from Jerusalem. You learned last week that Jericho is a tax center where tax collectors gather. People go to Jericho to pay their taxes – and the people have money! This is a prime place for thieves. This man is traveling alone, something that was patently unwise. The man is being foolhardy – and he suffers for it.

This man loses everything BUT his life. But wait – here comes help!

Luke 10:31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

The priest sees the man laying there on the side of the road … and passes by on the other side. When I first read this, I thought “how horrible to be a priest – a man who represents God to man – and to ignore a person laying in a ditch!” But as I studied this I realized that it was not a lack of compassion that caused to priest to do what he did. In the Law we are taught:

Numbers 19:11 He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days.

The man looked to be dead. He wasn’t moving, and was probably unconscious from the beating he was given. The priest – perhaps on the way to the Passover – did not want to be defiled and be unable to do his office. He passed by the man.

Luke 10:32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

A Levite was consecrated to do God’s work, and Levites were often teachers. He did not want to be defiled by a dead body either! So he passes on by.

Luke 10:33-24 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34 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.

The Samaritan – a race of hated people – had compassion on the man. He not only stopped and checked to see if the man was dead, but he treated the man’s wounds. The Samaritan rode up on a donkey, but now puts the hurt man on donkey while he walks. The Samaritan leads his donkey and the wounded man to the nearest inn so he could let the man rest. I want this to sink in:

The Samaritan didn’t just say “I’ll pray for you”. He went out of his way to minister, in love, to this fallen man. This man may have been a Jew, and perhaps as a Jew hated the Samaritan. The Samaritan looked beyond the hatred, and saw the man as one “in God’s image”.

The man couldn’t walk – he couldn’t talk. It is possible that the man stayed in an unconscious state while the Samaritan ministered to him. There is no evidence that the man ever thanked – or even spoke – to the Samaritan. The Samaritan spent the night with the wounded man. We read:

Luke 10:35 And on the morrow when {the Samaritan} 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.

The Samaritan not only took care of the wounded man, but gave enough for the innkeeper to minister to him in his absence. He showed love to this man who probably was someone who hated him. Jesus ends the parable simply with a question:

Luke 10:36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves?

Who is the “neighbor”? Was it the Priest or the Levite who knew the Law of God, or the Samaritan who knew the value of life? The Lawyer answered, “The Samaritan that shewed mercy to the wounded man”. Jesus replies simply,

Luke 10:37 … Go, and do thou likewise.

Do you wish to inherit eternal life? Do you wish to be with Jesus for all eternity? Then you must see others as God sees them. Every life is precious. Every life is a gift from God. Every life deserves the mercy of God.

Are You A Child Of God By Faith In Christ?

The parable of the traveling Samaritan is not just a picture of two men, but a picture of every person who is saved by faith in Christ. We, like the “certain man” in this parable, have all done foolish things. We have traveled into bad places, and put ourselves at risk by bad practices. Thieves have attacked us, and beaten and robbed us. The devil and his gang have sidelined us with temptations, foolish temptations, that have drawn us into bad places. These thieves have set upon us, and beaten us, robbed us, and left us half dead.

We laid in the ditch of life.

Religion came in the form of the priest and the Levite. It offered “good works” to help us. Good works cannot help a person half dead – and we are all half dead without Jesus. Oh Beloved,

Titus 3:3-7 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. 4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; 7 that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

We laid in a ditch, half dead. Then Jesus came along. The Jesus we once cursed, He stopped and offered us a hand. He picked us up, and put us in His place, while He took our place. And He told the Father, “Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.” Jesus bore our sin debt, saving us, so that we could live for Him in this fallen and hurting world.

If you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, if you have been loved and restored to life by His love, then you will have a heart that wants to follow God with your ALL.We love Him, because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Jesus got us out of the ditch. We are to help others get out of the ditch. As we have been loved, let us love.

Do you know my Jesus? If you do not, oh Beloved, today would be a great day to “call upon the name of the Lord, and be saved”.

Romans 10:9-13 if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Amen and Amen. May God’s Word, and His Holy Spirit, draw you to His embrace and salvation this very day.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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