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March 2, 2008 PM

MK 10:23-27

INTRO: The wealth young man had come to Jesus with a very appropriate question. "What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" I have no doubt of the young man's sincerity. He was not like the scribes and Pharisees whose questions were asked for the purpose of ensnaring Jesus in order to accuse Him. But the answer Jesus gave him was probably not what he expected. "Sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor," Jesus told him. But the young man "went away grieved" because he was very wealthy. This, then, is the setting for the text at which we will be looking tonight. What Jesus says to His disciples after  the young man refuses His "follow me" was astonishing to them!

    1. We have a tendency to think that poor folks have more spiritual interest
      1. we have equated great wealth with worldliness, profaneness
      2. and perhaps in our western world that is not an inaccurate assessment
      3. poorer folks seem to be more approachable with the gospel
    2. But in Jesus' world great wealth was considered favor from God
      1. wealthy folks must have been more spiritual since God had favored them
      2. the disciples would have seen the young man as one of God's best!
      3. this was the belief of Jewish morality - not ours
    1. The astonishment of the disciples must have been evident to Him
      1. He had turned their traditional, cultural thought upside down
      2. they certainly needed more teaching, instruction on this subject
      3. and so do we
    2. The explanation involved trusting in riches
      1. having wealth is one thing; putting your trust in wealth is another
      2. 1 Tim 6:9,10 - wealth has its temptations - loving money is foolish
      3. so, 1 Tim 6:17-19 - here is a summary of this entire incident!
    3. So, what's the problem with wealth?
      1. it tends to root us in this world - "things" cause us to be short sighted
      2. it tends to cause us to know the price - but not true value
      3. it tends to cause us to believe it can solve all our problems - and cannot
    4. Jesus quoted a proverb to illustrate His point
      1. a camel going through the eye of a needle - an impossibility?
      2. but notice that He is comparing to say that is easier than a rich man's entering the kingdom of God
      3. once again, the disciples are astonished!
    5. The unspoken lesson here?
      1. it isn't the having of wealth that is the real issue
      2. it is what one does with his wealth that is the measure of the man - it's the issue of responsibility - it's the issue of stewardship
      3. Lk 12:15-21 - he would have it and keep it ... wrong, wrong, wrong!
    1. Keep in mind how Jewish thought influenced their view of things
      1. if this rich young man, obviously blessed by God, cannot be saved...
      2. from their viewpoint this would mean that it would be just about impossible for anyone to be saved
      3. their question was without a doubt sincere and of deep concern
    2. "With men it is impossible"
      1. remember what the young man asked - "what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?" (Mt 19:16)
      2. young man must have thought his own efforts could assure eternal life
      3. but Jesus made clear that salvation does not rest in man's efforts, work
    3. "With God all things are possible"
      1. our salvation depends God and the redemption He offers through Jesus
      2. Eph 2:4-9 - here is the lesson Jesus was teaching
      3. salvation is never on our terms - it is on God's terms ... and the rich young man sought to put it on his own terms and understanding
      4. salvation is not one thing to one person and something else to another - it is the same for all and requires the same of all - Act 10:34,35
      5. later in Mark Jesus makes clear the requirement - Mk 16:15,16 ... and in Rom 6:3-5 the explanation for baptism is given ... union with His death, burial and resurrection

CLOSE: It might be easy to simply gloss over these words of Jesus. But I suggest to you that they speak profoundly to our own time. Are we using our wealth responsibly? Are we trusting in God's plan for our salvation? Are we detached enough from our possessions that we'd not be crushed to leave them?

Cecil A. Hutson

02 March 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)