It is time for Christians to stop siding with obvious evil...
'And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How do you read it?" And he answered, "You shall 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 your neighbor as yourself." And he said to him, "You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live."
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"' -- Luke 10: 25-29 (ESV)
We have witnessed the erosion of America for the past few decades in direct proportion to the church sacrificing its moral authority on the altar of NAR political expediency. People shout canned talking points at each other through the protective barrier of social media. No one listens anymore. By compromising the Gospel of Jesus Christ the church has lost its moral compass. It no longer can tell right from wrong it would seem. Sin has infiltrated the church in most denominations and we see low hanging moral fruit such as the border crisis reveal a church not willing to cross carnal political lines even in the face of state sanctioned sin.
In reading this morning, the Holy Spirit led me to the Parable of the Good Samaritan, which the beginning of the story are found in the key verses above. We find a lawyer trying to test Jesus; much like the apostate church does every day. What is the bare minimum we must do to keep believing we have eternal life? Can we strip out sin and repentance from the Gospel? Can we compromise worship to the point of ridiculousness? Can we roll around on the ground laughing uncontrollably and call it revival? Can we trade in the surety of Scripture for the wickedness of human experience? Can we watch infants stripped from their mother's arms in the name of the state and pretend it is not evil? What Lord can we get away with?
Jesus has no intention of getting sucked into carnal matters beloved so He simply asks what is it we know? What is the grand answer from this knowledgeable lawyer? No matter how we try to pretend eternal life, our very soul, hinges upon works, or tithing, or insisting that the laws of the land we live in are paramount; we always come back to the two simple points made by God throughout the entire canon of Scripture. Love your God and love your neighbor. Do this and you shall live! Then in verse 29 we come to the truth upon which this parable rests. Desiring to justify himself. Wow. Desiring to justify himself he asks, and who is my neighbor? Surely it is not the one who does not look like me. Or the one who breaks my laws. Surely it cannot be the one who does not worship like me, pray like me or dress like me. If someone disobeyed the laws of my land surely Jesus would want me to call down fire from heaven to consume them! So who is my neighbor? What can I get away with? I treat the guy who lives next door to me great! The other parents on the PTA? I love them with the love of Christ! Wait a minute -- Muslims? Surely that is a bridge too far? Atheists who want to take away all of my rights as a Christian in this country? Please don't say them. Immigrants? But they're breaking the law! C'mon, who is really my neighbor? A question of such great import, that Jesus answered with a parable. Let's break it into three parts:
Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. -- Luke 10: 30-32 (ESV)
The parable never tells us who this man was. What his nationality was. What his affiliation was. What his favorite news channel was. The reason why is none of that should matter to us in the face of the need. This man could have been anyone beloved. He is the definition of our neighbor. He fell among robbers who mugged him to within an inch of his life. So many have such similar need in this world. These circumstances left him lying in the gutter in a pool of his own blood, wondering if there was any compassion left in the world. The priest and the Levite represent the church beloved. They represent religion without the Gospel. Christianity without Christ. They see the need and cross to the other side. Most scholars agree that these were chosen because the audience was an expert at law. The priest and the Levite were two people he would have looked up to. The road between Jerusalem and Jericho was routinely traveled by temple workers such as priests and Levites thus lending credibility to the premise. The lawyer who asked the question would have already been making excuses for these two compatriots. If the priest was to come into contact with a corpse he would be considered unclean and the cleansing process was an arduous seven days. Surely the work of the Lord in the temple was more important for the Levite than this one injured man. Likewise the church is listening to political talking points to assuage that nagging conviction from the Holy Spirit about what is simply right and wrong. Surely the Lord would not endorse illegal activity! Aren't these people better served in their own country? Heaven has a wall and extreme vetting (yes I have seen this meme). All to excuse the inexcusable. To defend the indefensible. Enter the antihero:
But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' -- Luke 10: 33-35 (ESV)
For the teacher of the law who asked the question the appearance of the Samaritan as the hero of the story would be like a slap across his face. Samaritans were considered half-breeds by Jewish people in this day. They were reviled and despised. Today's equivalent in many parts of America would be the Muslim or the immigrant. Yet this reviled image is the one who had compassion where religiosity failed to show any. Why is it that the world has more compassion on hurting people than the church? He provided the victim with medical attention for his pre-existing conditions. What he had he freely gave. He then spent his own money to make sure the man would heal and survive. The only thing that mattered was the well-being of the least. Not citizenship, sovereignty, or customs and laws. The only thing that mattered was what was right and what was wrong. That is how the church is a shining city on a hill. An unfettered understanding of right and wrong that does not allow personal preferences or politics to corrupt it. Jesus ties up the parable with the lesson:
Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" He said, "The one who showed him mercy." And Jesus said to him, "You go, and do likewise." -- Luke 10: 36-37 (ESV)
Who is my neighbor was the original question designed to justify the asker. Jesus turned the tables on him though as He does for us every day with His Gospel. You want to talk about murder? Let's deal with your anger. You want to talk about adultery? Let's deal with your lust. The bar was constantly being raised. You want to claim the mantle of Christianity? What are you doing with the lost, the hurt, the broken, the victim, the refugee, and the marginalized in society? Jesus said it easy to love those who love you! He also said as you do for the least of these you do unto Him. Read the Sermon on the Mount and ask yourself how well your carnal arguments hold up to the teachings of Jesus Christ. Realize this is not merely a New Testament phenomenon:
"You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, - Exodus 22: 21-23 (ESV)
This is and always has been the heart of God. How did the church become an agent devoid of the mercy it has been shown by Christ? Years and years of compromise and the infiltration of the seven mountains heresy through the NAR are the obvious culprits. The church now is in bed with the state. The Bible says we are supposed to be pilgrims in this land with citizenship in heaven. Whatever you think these children and parents have done it will pale in comparison to what God has already forgiven you of. We are supposed to pay that mercy forward so that when we see the man lying on the side of the road, we will not cross to the other side for all the pseudo-pious reasons our wickedly deceitful hearts can manufacture. We are supposed to represent the mercy of Jesus Christ so that when we see babies being torn from their mother's arms we refuse to believe this is the best option and more importantly, we do not scour social media and news to find what talking points can be used to actually side against the children. We do not blindly accept lies and present them as facts to try and accept the unacceptable. We do no damage to the witness of Christ by standing up in self-justification asking, well, who is my neighbor?
Reverend Anthony Wade -- June 19, 2018
Postscript -- I pray that anyone who reads this understands that I am making a Christian argument, not a carnal one. You must realize that worldly forces in both political parties have agendas that do not align with the cause of Christ. Their main focus is to throw enough mud against the wall that people are confused as to what the truth is and then demonize the media for daring to tell the truth. If you honestly believe that the media is fake because you do not agree with what they report then you are not enlightened. You are deceived. For the record this issue is about one thing only. Children being separated from parents at the border who are seeking asylum in this country. This is not about child trafficking, smuggling, MS13, illegal border crossing or any of the other distractions people use to avoid the truth about the only actual issue at hand. This is a new policy, not an old law. If it were not new, it would not have exploded as such and we would not have video of government representatives saying it would be a new policy. Were there some instances in past administrations where children had been separated? Sure. But those were outliers, not policy that has resulted in multiple thousands of kids crying in cages. And yes, those are cages. As for a solution, I do not need one to be able to call nonsense on the current plan. That said, how about not separating kids from their parents as a plan? So HHS can continue to assist and provide food and education while the parent's asylum claim is adjudicated or while the misdemeanor violation is processed. This is not rocket science beloved. The government is on record as saying they would separate families to act as a deterrent from future people seeking the border. That is obscene beyond measure and it is disturbing to see so many Christians silent or in complete support of such an evil scheme. That is how insidious the poison of the NAR has been in the church today. But those are part of the Christian arguments made above. This section is to assuage anyone seeking answers to the carnal questions. I will not tolerate any such debate on this issue from a carnal perspective. If you have a scripture you think I have overlooked, please let us reason together. If you want to talk about law, talking points, or any other carnal argument, please find a political forum where I am sure you will find plenty of takers to argue with. This is about the cause of Jesus Christ and our role as the Good Samaritan when we come across the neediest in society. Let us not cross the street beloved.
Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.