Pastor Weise’s Sermon – A Good Neighbor

Pastor Weise's Sermon - Remember the Sabbath, to Keep it Holy

Pastor Weise’s Sermon – A Good Neighbor

II Chronicles 28.8-15/St. Luke 10.23-37

Trinity XIII/September 15, 2019

Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd/Good Shepherd Community Chapel, Sauk Rapids, MN

Rev. Keith R. Weise, pastor/chaplain




Almighty and everlasting God, give us an increase of faith, hope, and charity; and that we may obtain what You have promised, make us love what You have commanded; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.


OLD TESTMANT READING                                                                                                      II Chronicles 28.8-15

And the children of Israel carried away captive of their brethren two hundred thousand women, sons, and daughters; and they also took away much spoil from them, and brought the spoil to Samaria.

But a prophet of the Lord was there, whose name was Oded; and he went out before the army that came to Samaria, and said to them: “Look, because the Lord God of your fathers was angry with Judah, He has delivered them into your hand; but you have killed them in a rage that reaches up to heaven. 10 And now you propose to force the children of Judah and Jerusalem to be your male and female slaves; but are you not also guilty before the Lord your God? 11 Now hear me, therefore, and return the captives, whom you have taken captive from your brethren, for the fierce wrath of the Lord is upon you.”

12 Then some of the heads of the children of Ephraim, Azariah the son of Johanan, Berechiah the son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah the son of Shallum, and Amasa the son of Hadlai, stood up against those who came from the war, 13 and said to them, “You shall not bring the captives here, for we already have offended the Lord. You intend to add to our sins and to our guilt; for our guilt is great, and there is fierce wrath against Israel.” 14 So the armed men left the captives and the spoil before the leaders and all the assembly. 15 Then the men who were designated by name rose up and took the captives, and from the spoil they clothed all who were naked among them, dressed them and gave them sandals, gave them food and drink, and anointed them; and they let all the feeble ones ride on donkeys. So they brought them to their brethren at Jericho, the city of palm trees. Then they returned to Samaria.


HOLY GOSPEL                                                                                                                                      St. Luke 10.23-37

23 Then He turned to His disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see; 24 for I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it.”

25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?”

27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”

29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”

37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”


Invocation    In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

I          In the gospel today

A lawyer asks Jesus—

Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

                        [Jesus] said to him, “What is written in the law?  What is your reading of it?”


So he answered and said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.


Jesus says to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”


But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

(St. Luke 10.25-29)


II         In response to that question—

Who is my neighbor?

Jesus tells the story of the good Samaritan.

A man is robbed and left to die on the side of the road.

A priest—who serves in the temple in Jerusalem—

comes along and sees the man.

He scoots over to the other side of the road

and passes on by.

After that

a Levite—who also serves in the temple comes by.

He takes one look at the man

and then, he too, passes by on the other side of the road.

Like the priest before him

he leaves that hurting man in the ditch.

But then—

a Samaritan comes along—

a man who is NOBODY to the Jews.


a foreigner.

a half-breed.

an idolater—

maybe not even a legitimate person—

to the Jews anyway.

But this Samaritan—

he stops.

He helps the man on the side of the road.

He bandages his wounds.

He sets him up at a motel.

He makes arrangements for his care—

AND (!)

he promises to pay for any more expenses

when he comes that way again.

Which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?

                        Jesus asks the lawyer.

He who showed mercy on him, he says.

And then Jesus says—

Go and do likewise.                                                                                      (St. Luke 10.30-37)


III       So who is YOUR neighbor?


Jesus makes it very clear in his story today.

Your neighbor


                                                in your presence

who needs your help.

Maybe they live close to you—

maybe they live far away.

Maybe you know them very well—

maybe you don’t know them at all.

Maybe they look and sound and live and worship just like you—

maybe they couldn’t be more different than you.

None of that matters.

If they’re close enough

                                    for you

to see

to hear

to touch

Then they’re close enough for you

to help!


IV        YOU are called to

to be a GOOD neighbor

by LOVING YOUR neighbors.

You don’t necessarily have to love them in an emotional way—

like you love your family and friends.

You may have no feelings at all for some of your neighbors.

But you ARE called to love your neighbor

in an ACTIVE way.

Love for your neighbor

is love that DOES stuff.

Neighborly love

stops and helps—

when you see someone in the hall who needs your help.

takes the time to listen—

when someone you meet wants to talk.

goes to visit—

when someone calls and says they’re lonely.

Does for others

what the Samaritan in Jesus’ story

did for that man who fell among the thieves.

Neighborly love

does what it can to help

with whatever resources you have at hand.


V         So how do you treat YOUR neighbors?

Do you help when you can?

Do you pray for those in need?

Do you

visit the lonely?

comfort the grieving?

feed the hungry?

accompany the lonely?

Do you even RECOGNIZE your neighbors when you see them?

Are you more like that priest and the Levite in Jesus’ story? –


Are you more like the good Samaritan?

What kind of neighbor are you?


VI        Today Jesus teaches us

the same thing he taught the lawyer who put him to the test—

Your neighbor

is anyone in your presence

who stands in need of your help.

So repent of not helping when you could.

Repent of closing your eyes—

and your heart—

to the needs of the neighbors in your midst.


Confess that sin to Jesus.

He will forgive you.

And when Christ forgives you—

his grace empowers you

to do everything you need to do

to be a good neighbor.

Do it—and YOU will live, he says.                                                                            (St. Luke 10.28)



VII      Jesus’ story about the Good Samaritan

is really the perfect story for us here at Good Shepherd.

We’ve got tons of neighbors—

not one of us has to go further than the next door down to find a neighbor.

When we do go further—

we find more neighbors

at every door

and down every hall.

And there are countless folks here who stand in need.

Look around!

Every person here today

could use your help in some way.

And here’s the best thing of all.

We have all been blessed with great  resources

to help our neighbors here.


yes YOU—

have all the resources to help

one or two or ten or twenty people—right here at Good Shepherd.

But pastor—

I don’t have any money!

I can’t get around.

I can’t see.

I can’t hear.

I can’t help———CAN I?




Here’s what you can do

to be a good neighbor.

IX       God has blessed you with his Holy Spirit—

and the heavenly  gifts that he gives.

By virtue of your holy baptism—


Because God pours out his gracious gifts through his Word and Sacraments right


Because of ALL THAT!—

YOU have the love of God

in your heart and in your life.

Be a good neighbor

and share that love with your neighbor.

Seek to do good TO them—

and always work for what’s good FOR them.

YOU have the joy of the Lord!

Be a good neighbor

and share God’s joy.

Tell your neighbor the good things God has done for you—

and pray for his joy to fill their hearts like God has done for you.

YOU have the peace of God that passes all understanding.

Be a good neighbor

and be the peaceful presence to your neighbor

when their life isn’t peaceful at all.

YOU have patience from God to guide you through life.

Be a good neighbor

and be the patient friend

who listens

who cares

who’s not so interesting in fixing problems

as you are in letting your neighbor know

you understand the problems they have.

God has blessed YOU with his kindness.

Be a good neighbor

and be that person who always has a kind word—

even for the neighbor who may not be so kind to you.

God is good—and he gives his goodness to YOU.

Be a good neighbor

and invite your neighbor here—to worship—

to receive God’s good gifts

of forgiveness, life, and salvation

so they, too will know the goodness of God.

The Holy Spirit has blessed YOU with gentleness.

Be a good neighbor

and be gentle.

Be slow to judge

and quick to listen.

Be loyal to your neighbor in the midst of their struggles.

YOU have faith.

Be a good neighbor

and confess your faith in Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Live your life faithfully

day in and day out

and be a living witness to the faithfulness of God in Christ Jesus.

And finally—by the power of the Holy Spirit YOU have self-control!

Be a good neighbor

and USE IT!

Be a light to those who struggle in the darkness of sin.

Be a light by struggling with your own sin—

and call on the Holy Spirit

to grant you a self-control

that leads you

out of the way of sin


into the way of holiness.

X         When you do THOSE THINGS for your neighbor—

it doesn’t matter if you’re

rich or poor


healthy or sick


young or old


American or foreign


anything else.

God has given you the gifts you need to be a good neighbor.


God has blessed you with divine resources—

the gifts of the Holy Spirit (!)—

that you can use to bless your neighbors.

XI       So be a good neighbor.

These people here—

are your neighbors.

Everybody who lives and works at Good Shepherd—

is your neighbor.

Anyone who is close enough for you

to see

to hear

to touch—

they are your neighbor.

Use the gifts God gives you to love them.

You will be a good neighbor—

And you will live.

Thus says the Lord!


XII      Ultimately—

the gospel today points us to one who is a good neighbor to us all—

THE Good Neighbor—

Jesus Christ himself.

He is the one who will never pass you by.

Jesus is the one who will never fail to help.

Jesus is the one who shares every resource that he has

to bless us with his precious gifts.

Jesus helps you.

Jesus heals you.

Jesus comforts you.

Jesus saves you from sin/death/the devil/and hell.

Jesus is YOUR Good Neighbor—

and just like being a good neighbor

will sometimes lead to suffering for us—

being a good neighbor led to suffering for Jesus—

suffering on the cross.

But by his suffering—

Jesus shows us not only the cost of being a good neighbor—

but also the great blessing that it brings.

After the cross—

After his death-

After his burial—

Jesus rose up from the dead

to open the way to heaven and eternity for us all.

And at the End of the Age—

because he is YOUR GOOD NEIGHBOR

Jesus will welcome you into heaven with him

to experience his blessings and his love forever.

XIII    So YOU be a good neighbor.

Be a good neighbor

because Christ is a good neighbor to you.

And when you’re a good neighbor—

you give your neighbor

a preview

of heaven—

and the goodness of Christ we will all experience for eternity.

Love your neighbor as yourself—

because Jesus—

your Good Neighbor—

loves you!


Invocation    In the name of the Father and of the + Son an d of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Hymn of Response:  Create in Me.


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