Here’s this month’s Gone Fishin’ Newsletter.
Every month a team from our fellowship at Calvary Wellington heads out to our regular fishing hole, the Naenae Market and Hillary Court shops. There we share the Gospel to those in our immediate community.
Once a month I publish a simple newsletter that is distributed to the fellowship (or for anyone else who stumbles across this website), as a way of encouragement, and as a tool to equip us to be better evangelists.
*UPDATE* With COVID Level 4 restrictions extended, we postponed the outreach to Saturday 28 August.
This may also be put on hold. Please keep an eye out for this weeks’ church notices for more information.
Gone Fishin’ Monthly Newsletter – August 2021
” “ So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”. And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”. Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” “ (Luke 10:36-37).
Well, we have finished the Basic Training Course now. Congratulations to all that attended, and I pray that those of you who came to all or some of the sessions now have an invigorated sprit to get out and engage with the lost.
We learnt so much from the course. But the best way to retain this information is to continue putting it into practice. The more we do, the more confident we will become. And the more confident we become, the more God can use us to fulfil His Great Commission!
Most of us remember the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) from when we were kids. And most of us remember the take away from it – in that we are to be Good little Samaritans and love our neighbour. But is that the real meaning of the story? Let’s dive in and have a look shall we?
Up front, a lawyer confronts Jesus about what must he do to inherit eternal life (v25). For a lawyer to ask a dumb question like that…well, let’s just say I wouldn’t want him representing me in a court case. Why do I say that? Well, think about it – when you inherited something, maybe from a deceased close relative, what did you have to do? Nothing! You just had to be related to the benefactor. Keep that thought stowed at the back of your mind.
Jesus asks him what the law says (v26). As a lawyer, you would expect him to be skilled up on these sorts of things. He recited the law verbatim – love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbour as yourself (v27). Jesus said he was correct, and that if he did this, he would live (v28). If he did this – all of this – he would live. If he loved God and loved his neighbour perfectly, he would inherit eternal life. So that means that if he didn’t fulfil the law perfectly, he would die. That’s what the law does, it shows you up for what you are, a lawbreaker. It kills you, leaves you dead.
Then the lawyer tries to justify himself (v29). Why did he do that? Because he knew he was falling short of the law. He tries to pin Jesus down on who his neighbour was. Maybe that will narrow down his target to make it easier to fulfil.
So Jesus gives us the parable of the Good Samaritan (v30-35). Remember, this is all in the context of the first question “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” We don’t really need to dissect the parable, because the answer to his question is outside of it. In verse 36 Jesus asks “Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to him who fell among the thieves?”
How you answer that question depends on which character of the parable you identify with.
If you identify with the Samaritan, your slant will be to get to work to find people to be a loving neighbour to. But we already know that won’t be enough to inherit eternal life. The lawyer could see that it couldn’t save him, and it can’t save us either.
However, if you identify with the beaten man, your slant will be to find a neighbour who will rescue you from the law. And who is that neighbour? Yep, Jesus Himself. He rescues us from the law’s grip, heals our wounds, bathes us clean, and promises to come back for us. And, in context, this is the correct interpretation of the whole story.
Remember our earlier question with regards to the inheritor: What do you need to do to inherit something? Nothing, but be related to the benefactor. In the same way, all we need to do to become a child of God is to place our faith in the one who fulfilled the law for us. He has done all the work for us! We become heirs to His Kingdom. He has gone ahead to prepare a place for us, a heavenly mansion – an eternal inheritance with our redeemer!
Should we be loving to our neighbour? Absolutely! But I can find that in other parts of scripture. This story isn’t about that. This is a story of salvation and redemption from the law. Yet, the way I learnt it, it’s a story of work, work, work to be a nicer Christian. Some apostate denominations, as well as false religions, see it as a way to heaven. The lawyer tried that, and was convicted of the guilt of falling short. It’s really sad and frustrating that it has been twisted those ways.
The story also highlights the importance of the law in evangelism. So many people think they are going to heaven because of all the good things they have done. But the law exposes them for what they are – a sinner that has fallen short of God’s perfect standard. It’s only then when we can give them the good news of the inheritance of eternal life!
For an in-depth study of this, have a look at an article I wrote: Good Samaritans and Nested Subroutines.
We are not too sure what will be happening this weekend with the COVID lockdown, so Gone Fishin’ may yet be postponed this Saturday. Stay tuned to Pastor Jarryd’s updates to find out!
Witnessing Tip: Your Labour Is Not In Vain!
Remember that it is God who brings the increase, not us.
We only to plant, or water, but are not in control of the miracle of life.
So be obedient to the call, but don’t be too hard on yourself!