- Sermon Notes
Enter into Life
Proverbs 16:25, There is a way which seems right to a man,
but its end is the way of death.
1.The opposite is also true; that there is a way which may seem “wrong” to a person, but its end is the way of life.
2.Tonight, we will look at both ways as we study the exchange between Jesus and a rich, young ruler.
3.Through their time of “question and answer”, we will also discover God’s heart for us, that we choose the right way so that we may Enter into Life.
1.In Matthew 19 were told that after Jesus shared about God’s original design for marriage between a man and a woman, some parents brought their children to Jesus “so that He might lay His hands on them and pray” over them. (13)
2.Unfortunately, the disciples had forgotten Jesus’ earlier teachings about children, that He loves and values them. (Matthew 18:2-6)
3.They thought the parents were wasting Jesus’ time, so they rebuked the parents and told them to go away.
4.Jesus responded with a rebuke of His own. He rebuked His disciples and reaffirmed His love for children when He said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (14)
5.Jesus stayed there, as long as needed, until the last child was prayed over and blessed, and then He departed.
6.Then, right after Jesus reaffirmed His love for the children and taught that having a child-like heart was required for entrance into the kingdom of heaven, Matthew introduces us to a rich, young ruler. Why?
7.Because God wants us to understand how to leave the way that leads to death and enter the way that leads to life.
I.The World’s Treasure Maps are All Wrong
Calvin Miller once said in his book, The Finale, “The world is poor because her fortune is buried in heaven, but all her treasure maps are of the earth…”
A. To have “it all” is not enough
1.From the world’s standpoint, this guy “had it all”!
a.He was rich, and we know that, according to the world, money equals fulfillment and happiness.
b.He was young, and we know how our world, especially today, worships at the “fountain of youth”.
c.He was powerful, and we know our world craves power, for when you have power, you have control and can get “your way”.
d.For all we know this fellow was handsome as well, or at least there were no doubt plenty of young women who would want to convince him that it was so.
3.From outward appearances, this rich, young ruler had it all, yet, he felt compelled to come to Jesus because he sensed something wasn’t right.
4.Something was missing; something he feared he desperately needed.
5.There was a void in his life and that void caused him to wonder about what would become of him after he died; what was his eternal destiny.
APPL – I am convinced we’re told about this rich, young ruler because many people can relate to his dilemma.
- But you might be thinking, “I am not young anymore” or “I am definitely not rich” or “I’m not much of a ruler of anything”!
- That’s not what I am talking about…
- He had all these things, yet he was empty, restless, and lacked peace.
APPL – By the way, it’s not that God has anything against wealth itself. There were many famous people in the Bible that God loved and honored who were wealthy.
- Abraham was wealthy and so was his son, Isaac.
- Solomon was one of the wealthiest men in the world.
- Joseph of Arimathea, who buried Jesus in his own tomb, was certainly wealthy.
- So, wealth, itself, is not the issue.
ILLUS – Yet, we hear story after story of wealthy, powerful, famous people who have “it all” and are unhappy.
Luke 12:15, Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.
B.Doing “good things” is not enough
1.According to Luke 18:18, he called Jesus, “Good Teacher” and asked, “… what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?”
2.Jesus immediately confronted his use of the word “good”. (17)
a.The man recognized Jesus was good, but he did not realize He was sent from God or that He is God’s Son.
b.In essence, Jesus’ reply meant, “Either I am good, or I am not God”.
c.Therefore, Jesus reply was intended to give the rich, young ruler insight into the identity of the One he called “Good Teacher”.
3.Jesus then said to the rich, young ruler, “… if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
4.Why would Jesus refer to the commandments? Was Jesus saying that we can have eternal life if we keep the commandments? No.
a.There is lawful use of the Law according to 1 Timothy 1:8.
1 Timothy 1:8, But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully
b.What is the lawful use of the Law? To use the Law as a tutor to reveal we need a Savior, Jesus. That’s what Jesus was doing here.
Galatians 3:24, Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.
5.To our surprise, the young man responded, “Which ones?” (18)
a.There’s a part of me that wishes Jesus would have said, “What do you mean, ‘which ones’? Keep all of them!”
b.Why? Because you cannot separate one part of the Law from the whole Law.
James 2:10, For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.
6.So, Jesus graciously led him down the path to discover the truth about his own heart by listing five commandments, those which have to do with one’s relationship with others and He added, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” from Leviticus 19:18.
7. The young man claimed, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?” (20)
APPL – Often, when people hear his answer, they question his honesty.
ILLUS – They want Jesus to miraculously display some holographic video of the man stealing, cursing, or cheating.
- But I believe the rich, young ruler was being honest.
- When Jesus heard his answer, He felt love for him.
Mark 10:21, Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said…
- The man was sincere, and the truth is, God knows when we are sincere and when we are not.
Galatians 6:7, Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.
II. Love God First
- Next, Jesus put His finger right on the issue; where the man had something in his life that was more important than God.
- The first time Jesus mentioned the commandments, He referred to those commands which are, in many ways, kept externally; outwardly obeyed.
- Jesus had used the Law as a tutor. Now, Jesus addressed the man’s heart and used the Law as a mirror.
James 1:22-25, But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
A.Get rid of the idols of this world
1.For this rich, young ruler, his “stuff” had become an idol in his life. The Law forbids idolatry.
Exodus 20:3, You shall have no other gods before Me.
2.Jesus told him to sell his possessions and give to the poor so that he could follow Him. (21)
3.It’s as though the Lord was saying, “Are you willing to put your present treasures on the scale and weigh them on the balance against the eternal treasures that God promises?”
APPL – What are the things in your life that the Lord is saying, “You need to get rid of this because it’s keeping you from following Me?”
- For the rich, young ruler, it was his possessions.
- For others it might be their frig full of beer.
- For some it might be their bank account.
- For others, it’s their appearance.
- For another, it’s their secret, favorite Internet sites.
- There’s no life in those things.
APPL – Remember Jesus loved him. He loves us as well.
- If you believe that Jesus is the Good Teacher, then you must believe that what He teaches is also good.
- Why is it good? Because His teaching is based on God’s truth and God’s love for us.
ILLUS – Let’s take a stroll through the neighborhood of honesty!
B. Take up your cross and follow Jesus
1.There’s an old song we used to sing in the church that captures this thought well, “I have decided to follow Jesus…”
2.This wasn’t the first time Jesus asked a person to leave the idols in their hearts and follow Him.
3.Like Matthew, a very rich chief tax collector named Zacchaeus followed Jesus.
Luke 19:8-10, Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
4.There was a Samaritan woman who spoke with Jesus at a well. He confronted her immorality for she had been married five times and was living with a man. When Jesus put the mirror up to her face, she rejoiced because it not only revealed the condition of her heart but the remedy to her empty, idolatrous way of living. She went and told everyone about Jesus.
John 4:39-41-42, From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.” Many more believed because of His word; and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.”
APPL – Jesus taught we cannot serve two masters…
Matthew 6:24, No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.
C. Blessed are the poor in spirit
1.Unfortunately, when the young man heard Jesus’ answer, he went away grieved because he owned much property. He was so close, yet so far.
2.I believe our Savior, Jesus, was grieved as well.
3.Jesus said something remarkable as the man walked away, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (23-24)
4.Again, the issue was not wealth for Jesus doesn’t have anything against wealth itself. Rather, He was asking, “Does it possess you? Does it have your heart more than God?”
APPL – It’s only when we recognize our spiritual poverty, our great need for forgiveness from a Savior who can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves, that we can be saved!
Mark 4:19, … but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
APPL – This problem with idolatry is not only reserved for those who have not received Jesus as their Savior. Born-again Christians can fall back into an empty way of life focused on and possessed by the things we treasure most.
Revelation 3:17-19, Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.
APPL – We say we want revival, but what does that mean? I believe revival happens when the church falls in love with God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength!
Does God care which way you take?
- Yes, that’s why He sent Jesus.
John 14:6, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
- Let’s Enter into Life!
Matthew 19:13-30 NASB