Point 6, in our 8-point study of what it means to be a true subject of the King, is ‘True Subjects of the King Love One Another’. John 13:35 says By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. Quite appropriate really that it's Valentine's week. We promise, this was not planned. At least, not by us...we aren't that good! But God sure is.
If you’ve missed any of this series on Kingdom Life, you really need to go back and study this out. Part 1 can be found here: https://www.upstreamministries.com/post/kingdom-life and all the other parts are available to you in blog form with short video teaching snippets for each. It’d be well worth going back over this series if you haven’t already done so.
Love is the central theme of God’s story. He is love! It’s the thing which everything in life and the universe revolves around. God Himself is love. So, this week we are going to look at the Parable of the Good Samaritan and the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant. The Good Samaritan is familiar to most people but it’s important that we read it again, so here we go…
And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how reads thou? 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 neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering said, 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. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 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. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spends more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinks thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
Is Jesus saying here that you can be justified by the works of the law? No one is ever able to fulfil the entire law for their whole life. James 2:10 makes that clear and Romans 3:23 shows us the outcome of breaking the law even in the smallest way. The lawyer in this parable knows he can’t fulfil the law, so tries to find a loophole. The legalistic heart is not interested in love or even in truth but only in being right. And when I say ‘right, I mean winning the argument and proving themselves right. They will sacrifice truth and love in order to prove themselves right. That’s huge!
The law of Moses, which the first two men in the parable are trying to follow, has rules about coming into contact with the dead. Numbers 19:11 says they’d be unclean for 7 days if they touched the unfortunate man. So yeah, it’s a pain to help people sometimes. Jesus is pointing out the true nature of God’s character here. There’s a specific reason as to why the first two people in this story are religious people, as is the man asking the question of Jesus. Then, Jesus chooses a Samaritan as the hero! Again, this is deliberate from Jesus. He’s driving home His point here. When we are operating in God’s kind of love, we put other people's needs before our own. God’s love acts. It’s not enough to feel sympathy. God has called us to take action on behalf of others. From the parable of Jesus we see that the heart of God’s true servants show love and act out of love towards one another.
Have you ever found yourself discussing another person and their circumstances with someone and the response is ‘oh yeah that’s so sad’ but both of you end up leaving the conversation and never think about it again? Or, have you ever text someone and said ‘I’m praying for ya,’ but you never actually do? We've all been there right?!
James 2:14-16 says;
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
The heart of a King’s true servant is a heart of love and if it’s God's kind of love, it will lead to action. A loving heart is a merciful heart. Love forgives quickly. So, let’s look at another parable in Matthew.
Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
That’s a hard-hitting parable. Jesus is telling us that the true servants of the King are merciful, just like the King. Jesus responds to Peter’s question by saying seventy times seven. It’s not about a specific number. 70 x 7 = 490. To forgive someone 490 times in one day is pretty remarkable. That’s not what Jesus is saying. The point Jesus is making is that it’s unlimited. Forgive, period. There is no limit to how many times we should forgive, no matter how many times or how severe the wrong is.
How has God forgiven us? The Parable of the Prodigal Son. The son said, Father I have sinned against heaven and against you. How do people measure our own behaviour? By comparing ourselves to others. But when you compare yourself to God, it’s pretty obvious how sinful we really are. It’s our very nature before we get born again.
In this parable, the servant is forgiven about $30million but refuses to forgiven a fellow servants debt of $3000. We must not hold on to bitterness and unforgiveness.
1 John 2:16 says there are only 3 types of sins. 'For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.' And we have committed them many times over. So when we condemn others for those things that we have done, we condemn ourselves. That’s why God doesn’t want us to do it!
Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judges: for wherein thou judges another, thou condemns thyself; for thou that judges doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinks thou this, O man, that judges them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?
When we say that someone else isn’t worthy of mercy, we’re saying we aren’t worthy of mercy. Part of love is unlimited mercy and forgiveness.
So, to be a true servant of the King, you need to walk in love, mercy and forgiveness. This isn’t always easy, is it? So, next week we are going to study some more parables of Jesus to find the truths they show us about Kingdom Life.
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