It can be disturbing to see the holiness of God. In today’s lesson we learn of a man who was wealthy, young, religious, and moral yet he knew something was missing in his life. His habits may have resulted in his success but he knew that his soul was vulnerable and had not reached its potential. In our study today we will examine the condition of our own soul, our mindset and, and devotion.
Audio: Coming soon
Section 124a | Riches and the Kingdom
[one_third last=”no”]Matthew 19:16-30
16 Behold, one came to him1 and said, “Good teacher,2 what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” 17 He said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but one, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”3 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” Jesus said,4 “ ‘You shall not murder.’ ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ ‘You shall not steal.’ ‘You shall not offer false testimony.’19 ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ And, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” 20 The young man said to him, “All these things I have observed from my youth.5 What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”6 22 But when the young man heard the saying, he went away sad, for he was one who had great possessions.7 23 Jesus said to his disciples, “Most certainly I say to you, a rich man will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven with difficulty.8
24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye,9 than for a rich man to enter into God’s Kingdom.” 25 When the disciples heard it, they were exceedingly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 Looking at them, Jesus said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”10 27 Then Peter answered, “Behold, we have left everything, and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Most certainly I tell you that you who have followed me, in the regeneration11 when the Son of Man will sit on the throne of his glory, you also will sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.12 29 Everyone who has left houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive13 one hundred times, and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many will be last who are first; and first who are last.14[/one_third]
[one_third last=”no”]Mark 10:17-31
17 As he was going out into the way, one ran to him, knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” 18 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except one—God. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not give false testimony,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and mother.’”
20 He said to him, “Teacher, I have observed all these things from my youth.”15 21 Jesus looking at him loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack. Go, sell whatever you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me, taking up the cross.”16 22 But his face fell at that saying, and he went away sorrowful, for he was one who had great possessions. 23 Jesus looked around, and said to his disciples, “How difficult it is for those who have riches to enter into God’s Kingdom!” 24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus answered again, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches17 to enter into God’s Kingdom! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter into God’s Kingdom.” 26 They were exceedingly astonished, saying to him, “Then who can be saved?”18 27 Jesus, looking at them, said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God, for all things are possible with God.”19 28 Peter began to tell him, “Behold, we have left all,20 and have followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Most certainly I tell you, there is no one who has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or land, for my sake, and for the sake of the Good News, 30 but he will receive one hundred times more now in this time: houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land, with persecutions; and in the age to come eternal life.
31 But many who are first will be last; and the last first.”[/one_third]
[one_third last=”yes”]Luke 18:18-30
18 A certain ruler asked him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do21 to inherit22 eternal life?”
19 Jesus asked him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good, except one: God. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Don’t commit adultery,’ ‘Don’t murder,’ ‘Don’t steal,’ ‘Don’t give false testimony,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ”
21 He said, “I have observed all these things from my youth up.” 22 When Jesus heard these things, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have, and distribute it to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. Come, follow me.” 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was very rich. 24 Jesus, seeing that he became very sad, said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter into God’s Kingdom!
25 For it is easier for a camel to enter in through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter into God’s Kingdom.” 26 Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27 But he said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”
28 Peter said, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.”
29 He said to them, “Most certainly I tell you, there is no one who has left house, or wife, or brothers, or parents, or children, for God’s Kingdom’s sake,
30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the world to come, eternal life.”[/one_third]
- What are your talents, the attributes that an employer or others value?
- What has offered you the most satisfaction and joy in your life?
- Read Ps 139:23 and ask yourself if you feel anything lacking in life, your eternal purpose and value? What is it that keeps you from God? What is it that has taken the place of our first love (first commandment)?
- What action of others, with whatever amount of wealth and money they have, for the purposes and glory of God?
- What do you think God wants you to do with the amount of money and assets you have acquired thus far?
- On an AB scale (merit/godliness and grace) where would you put the fulcrum that determines one’s salvation? If you rely on the blood of Christ (grace), what do you really lack to have eternal life?
- What’s our attitude toward the power of grace and who can be saved?
- By the content of this story it appears that the young ruler (probably of a local synagogue) came to Jesus because he was drawn in by Jesus’ personal presence, the lessons he heard Jesus teach with spiritual authority, and Jesus’ command of the crowds – three traits which he greatly admired and desired.
- The rich young ruler used this colloquial introduction as a manner of respect, but we’ll see that Jesus uses his own words to point out that “He Is God” YHWH who alone is good (vs 17).
- Jesus tells him the traditional Jewish answer. Perhaps Jesus could have listed the sins of pride, materialism, and self-glorification.
- These are the Lords commands related to each humans relationship to other members of humanity, rather than listing the first four commandments that have to do with humanities relationship with God.
- This man is clearly then not only rich but he’s a moral man, he has a position of power, young and yet still feeling as though he’s lacking something, there was still a void, a difference between what Jesus had and what he desired.
- to be “perfect come and follow me” the part in between was an instruction to this young man – it is not a universal truth or mandate.
- This is what took the place of this mans relationship with God, the first Commandment.
- Not because they need to give it away but because those who value possessions (or any other idol)
- While some propose that Jesus speaking of a certain door in the Church of the Nativity in Jerusalem, but Jesus says its impossible for man (rich or poor, moral or spiritual), so its a metaphor a literal lesson – a real camel, a real needle used for sewing (Strongs g4476 ῥαφίς rhaphis). Its obvious then that its not possible for a camel to pass through the eye of any sewing needle by any effort of its own – it’s only possible by the power of God who is the Alpha and Omega, creator and redeemer, Lord and judge. Man has can do nothing nor offer anything to secure their own salvation.
- Not even the most sincere effort of any moralist can secure one salvation. We have nothing to offer God, no merit or manner to secure our salvation, but only by the grace of God are we ensured eternal life. It’s a miracle of God.
- Those of you (not Judas) who have been born again.
- The Apostle John saw that in heaven there were 24 elders and 24 thrones (Rev. Chpt 4).
- There will be a reward, but the greatest gift -Salvation- is not given by any merit of our own. In this life regardless of your station in life, give yourself to God and his purposes and you will find an abundance of joy and purpose even here on earth.
- Jesus is referring here to the Jewish nation, who was supposed to lead the way, but as a whole the twelve tribes rejected the Messiah. So now Gentiles will enter first and the Apostles will sit on the thrones that will judge the tribes of Israel. Its also true that many of us will be surprised as to who will be in heaven, especially for those who still base judgement on the merit system rather than on the grace of God. Yet Jesus is also challenging Peter’s motivation (what’s in it for me?) and to fully understand this statement we will have to study Jesus’ following lesson in Section 124b (Matthew 20:1-16).
- There is a 21st century saying found in the book ‘The Greatest Salesman in the World’ written by Og Mandino that this mans seems to have discovered and devoted himself, “In truth, the only difference between those who have failed and those who have succeeded lies in the difference of their habits. Good habits are the key to all success. Bad habits are the unlocked door to failure. Thus, the first law I will obey, which precedeth all others is – I will form good habits and become their slave.” – The thing then that troubles him is that knows that he is a slave and he wants to be free.
- Remember that Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem to the cross where he’ll give his life as the propitiation for the sins of the world. He could do this because Jesus is the Messiah, but this man – nor any other could offer such a sacrifice to secure the salvation of the world.
- The lesson here is not that one has to give away their riches. Though there was a time and a christian community (Ananias and Sapphira, Acts 5:1-11) in which many gave their possessions for the sake of the larger community the command to this young man is not a universal commandment.
- The traditional Jewish teaching was that the rich were blessed by God and the poor were judged, similarly the healthy were shown as being blessed by God but the sick were judged, yet way back on the Sermon on the Mount Jesus taught differently. Its hard to change our world view, our values as we see in this instance when two years later the disciples were still rewiring their thinking.
- God can save anyone, the rich and the poor, the sinner and the moralist – anyone who comes to him and receives the grace of God that alone can secure our redemption, salvation, transformative power. Just say ‘yes’ to Jesus.
- Peter, Andrew, James, and John gave up their business as fishermen (Mt 4:18-22; Mk 1:16-20; Lk 5:1-11); Matthew gave up the money he made as a tax collector (Mt 9:9-13; Mk 2:14-17; Lk 5:27-32). Thomas and Nathanael (Bartholomew) and two of the other (probably Andrew and either Philip, Simon, James “the less,” or Thaddaeus) were also fishermen (Jn 21:1-5). We know nothing of the occupations of the remaining four disciples and what they gave up but they all left their hometown, work and families of origin to follow Jesus over the last three and a quarter years.
- Strongs g4160 ποιέω poieō – to act rightly and do well.
- Strongs g2192 ἔχω echō – to have in hand, to consider one’s self, to be closely joined, to cling to