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February 10, 2008 PM

MK 10:17-22

INTRO: Our thoughts for this evening come from an event in the life of Jesus which has always been "touching" for me. We are introduced to a person whom we discover is a rich young ruler (we learn this from putting together information from the three synoptic gospels). This event has certainly been well studied by teachers and students alike. It has provided excellent material for sermons by preachers. It illustrates so well the challenge of material possessions to true discipleship. And it most assuredly raised questions among the Lord's disciples who were "astonished at his words" (10:24). In my opinion this is an event speaking directly to our time, our place, our situation.

    1. "...there came one running..." (10:17)
      1. clearly, this young man was anxious to get answers to his questions
      2. I wish that all "seekers" evidenced the same degree of desire!
    2. "...and kneeled to him..." (10:17)
      1. here are reverence and humility from one who is himself a ruler
      2. I would think, "Here is a wonderful candidate for discipleship"
    1. "What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" (10:17)
      1. from Mt 19:16 - "what good thing shall I do...?"
      2. was he thinking in terms of some great work? some charitable thing?
    2. This is, of course, a question I'd wish many more people would ask
      1. it indicates that this young man has a genuine concern for his future
      2. at his point in time observing the law of Moses was the answer - the answer differed from Acts 2:37,38 (after the resurrection, exaltation of Jesus)
    1. First, the Lord asked him a question (10:18)
      1. "why callest thou me good?" - did He intend to unduly challenge him?
      2. could this have been Jesus' way of telling the young man that he had unwittingly confessed a great truth ... the Deity of Jesus?
      3. probably, the young man had only considered Jesus a great rabbi
    2. Second, Jesus referred him to the "commandments" (10:19)
      1. notice that Jesus refers to the last six of the ten commandments
      2. one writer observed that these were the commandments least kept by the people of that day ... generally speaking, the first four were observed
      3. but Jesus does not give any new commandment ... it is the law of Moses to which the young man must then look for answers (Jno 5:39-47)
    1. "Master, all these have I observed from my youth" (10:20)
      1. I do not doubt for a moment his honesty and sincerity
      2. he was clearly a person genuine in his religious conviction
      3. while many may have neglected these commandments, he had not
    2. But there is a question to ask here...
      1. he had not stolen, committed adultery, coveted, etc.
      2. he had never harmed anyone - but what good had he done for others?
      3. I am reminded, thus, of Jas 1:27
  5. "WHAT LACK I YET?" (MT 19:20)
    1. Mark tells us that "Jesus beholding him loved him" (10:21a)
      1. what was it about this young man which so touched the Lord?
      2. was it his humility, his earnestness, his struggle with deep questions?
      3. the great truth is that Jesus loves the sinner, the imperfect
      4. but His love for this man did not create for him some special exception - the love of God, of Jesus does not excuse or except (1 Pet 1:17-19)
    2. "...sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor..." (10:21b)
      1. standing between him and discipleship was material wealth!
      2. notice 10:28 - others had left everything in order to follow Jesus
      3. truth? material possessions probably stand between many and their following Jesus ... and, ultimately, eternal life
      4. now this man is urged to take the positive action of helping others - he would then have "treasure in heaven" (Mt 6:20,21)
    3. He was encouraged to "take up the cross"
      1. recall that when one took up his cross he was going to be crucified
      2. the young man is told, then, he had to die in order to live

CLOSE: (10:22) The price was just too high for him. What is between you and your really following Jesus? I know that we, like this young man, are good, respectable people. But are we letting something or someone stand between us and the sort of discipleship which leads to eternal life? It's a question which needs to be asked ... and answered.

Cecil A. Hutson

10 February 2008

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)