August 9, 2022

Go and Do the Same 10-07-2022

10th July 2022 (Pentecost 5)
Sermon Title: Go and Do the Same
(Colossians 1:1–14 & Luke 10:25–37)

                                                                                  By Heeyoung Lim 

God’s grace and peace in a person’s life come from knowing the power of the gospel. Paul calls Colossian believers holy, refers to them as faithful, and commends them for their steadfast commitment to the gospel. He says the Colossians are brothers. They are one spiritual family despite differences in background, race, or any other human considerations.

Just like a rich cluster of grapes is evidence of life in the seeds from which they sprang, so the seed of the gospel bears fruit that proves there is spiritual life. Paul lists these virtues in verses 4-5. He points out three traits of Christian character that need to be evident in the life of those in whom the gospel seed has taken root: faith, love, and hope. It can be described as a cluster of virtues, and the virtues should be increasingly evident in our lives if the seed is growing.

Faith in Jesus Christ produces inclusive love for others. In those times, the false teachers were telling the Colossians that the fruit or evidence of spirituality was keeping rules or having mysterious experiences. However, Paul says that the real fruit of faith is love. The love in Christ is inclusive and nonselective. The love of Christ invites us to love the undeserving the same way God has loved us. Love is not a feeling; it is an attitude and an action. The term love is not just a noun, but also a verb. Love is sincerely wishing for another person’s best outcome and taking whatever action is necessary to see that it is accomplished.

The next fruit Paul mentions is hope. Hope is looking forward with eager anticipation and strong confidence to God’s promises. Paul also says that our hope is secure because it is stored up in heaven. Our hope is safe and secure in Christ. This confident expectation is what motivates us to be able to love inclusively. Paul tells us that faith and love spring from hope.

Paul then reminds us of the source of fruit in the lives of believers. The source is the word of truth, the gospel. The message of the gospel is truth. The gospel bears fruit not only in the lives of individual believers but all over the world. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a dynamic force that shatters the hard soil of sin and takes root as new life. By complimenting the Colossians on how the gospel had taken root and grown in them, as it has in all the world (v. 6), Paul encouraged them to remain faithful to the message of truth they heard and not be seduced by the lies of the false teachers. The gospel message bears fruit in believers and grows all over the world. 

Paul’s letter to the Colossians began with a prayer of thanksgiving. Prayers are needed to all believers who are doing well. God is pleased when believers grow in knowledge and character and when they express gratitude for their salvation. He is pleased when believers are growing in the knowledge of God. Believers can please God with endurance and patience as they are strengthened with all power according to his glorious might. Christians please God when they are joyfully giving thanks to the Father for the blessings of salvation. Pleasing God is possible only when His will is the controlling influence in our lives. We also share the Gospel of Luke, hoping to become disciples of the Lord who please God and to be good neighbours to each other.

The gospel of Luke 10 emphasizes and includes people on the edges of the society in which the gospel was written. The outcasts, the lonely, the sick, women, children, and the least are included in God’s reign as God’s people. The kingdom of God and all the opportunities to please God are open to all who know the love of God and respond to it. In God’s reign, love and compassion are the essence of faithful living and action. 

In this story, Jesus criticizes religious leaders. People might infer that these leaders were putting purity laws and temple practices above the call of the law to love God and neighbour, but the text doesn’t tell us why these individuals did not stop and help. The prophets from the bible were continually calling leaders and those who maintain and abuse power to turn from religious distortions back to the heart of faithfulness such as justice, love, mercy, and compassion.

In today’s text, Jesus gives us the prophetic call through a good Samaritan story. He challenges national stereotypes held by both the Jewish and Samaritan peoples. The Jews centred their faith lives in the temple at Jerusalem and the Samaritans focused theirs at Mount Gerizim. There were deep, historical rifts between these two groups. The Jewish audience of this gospel would have considered the Samaritans to be unclean. Yet in this story, the Samaritan is the one who responds most faithfully. 

Thus, the Samaritan saw the man, felt sorry for him, went over to him, and took the dying man.  He treated his wounds with olive and wine and bandaged them. He put him on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. Furthermore, he gave the inner keeper money and asked him to care for the suffering man. The Samaritan was a true neighbour who was showing love.

In Luke 10, Jesus answers a question “Who is my neighbour?”, with a story about a man wounded and lying by the side of the road. We do not usually think of our neighbour as someone who is in one chance meeting. Each one of us is called to be faithful to the call of God to treat every human being with love and justice.  

Today’s text can offer moments of reflection for us to ponder how we represent Christ to others. The Good Samaritan is a story of passing by or choosing to stop and help. It’s an example of how God presents each of us with opportunities to strive for relationships that will enable everyone in the community to flourish. How are we being called to action through this story today? We find faithful action from the Samaritan on the side of the road. Jesus promised God’s mercy to those who show mercy and told the lawyer to go and show mercy like the Samaritan had done. Jesus tells us, “Go and do the same” through today’s text.

The goal of people who dedicate themselves to Jesus is the gaining of eternal life that is reached as we fulfill God’s commands to love God and to love our neighbour. Eternal life is related to our faith, but our faith can be testified through loving God and neighbour. However, it is not the end. Increasing spiritual maturity ought to be the aim of every believer. May we fulfill the commands to love God and to love our neighbour.

Jesus calls us to shape our lives according to God’s justice and mercy, striving for relationships that enable caring community. As compassionate disciples, we love God with all our hearts and our neighbours as ourselves. We are called to live into the reign of God, where every human being is treated with love and justice. 

What acts of justice and kindness have accompanied our faith journey? In what ways do we strive for relationships that enable everyone in the community to flourish and shine? Our goal is to live a life worthy of the Lord. May we please God in every way and bear fruit in every good work.

Thanks be to God! Amen.
(Ref. Bible, commentaries, theological books, UCA materials)