Matthew 19:16-26 (Rogers Park Campus- Feb. 24, 2013) Introduction Hey everybody- Good morning again. We are going to switch gears a little bit this morning, as we transition out of our foundations for us at Rogers Park and take look at an encounter Jesus had with an eager seeker. But first, let me fill you in on what’s coming in March.
Next week, we will have one of my mentors, Dr. John Fuder, professor of urban studies at Moody Theological Seminary and founder of the ministry A Heart for the City bring us a message from the Word. The following week I will be back on, and then we will have a dear brother, Erik Dunkin from the Forest Glen campus share a message with us… all before we join in with the other campuses in preaching through the Book of Hebrews together, which will carry us through the summer.
For those of you who may be wondering. We predominantly preach through books of the Bible at Park. We have occasional times of topical preaching when there are specific needs to be addressed, but for the most part we will preach from the beginning of a book to the end. We do this for one basic reason- We don’t want to leave anything out in our charge to teach the full counsel of God. When you preach through books, you can’t dodge the tough stuff.
believe that the entire Bible is God’s inspired, sufficient, and perfect Word to us- not just the parts we like.
So, if you have the Greatest Book ever written with you this morning, turn with me to the first book of the New Testament- the book of Matthew Chapter 19. If you are using a house Bible it’s on page_____. 1|Page
We will be working through
verses 16-26. I have three basic aims for us this morning: 1. Is to remind us of the cost of discipleship. 2. Is to help us share the gospel more effectively to those without Christ. 3. Rejoice in Christ’s work on our behalf.
Would you bow with me in prayer? (Pray for RP churches.) By way of introduction, I want to bring us up to speed and remind us of what Jesus has been doing throughout His ministry up until now. We do this because we easily forget or gloss over His magnificence and glory.
We are not just
interacting with a person in history- we are interacting with the creator of history- the center of all existence.
The Son of God is moving towards Jerusalem for the Passover (which is the annual spring festival commemorating the exodus, the ancient Israelites deliverance, led by Moses, from their slavery in Egypt).
Because He is the
Passover Lamb, He will die on the cross and bring deliverance to many from their slavery to sin. He has taught so powerfully about the Kingdom of God, that people said they never heard anyone speak like Him. He was the greatest preacher who ever lived.
They said He spoke as one who had authority-
meaning he didn’t quote commentaries or quote religious leaders. He had His own authority. Being God, He Himself spoke the very words of God.
He has performed numerous miracles, so that the people might believe. He has walked on water, calmed storms, and fed food to thousands.
He was the
greatest food pantry ever established. He has healed the sick and He has raised the dead- pointing to the His greater work in that He heals those who are sick in their sin… and raises those spiritually dead to experience spiritual life… To live the life they were created to live. 2|Page
And as we see throughout all the gospels, which is a detail often missed… massive crowds followed Him… at times there were thousands. And since a crowd draws a crowd, I want us to imagine ourselves with them… watching and listening to Jesus engage with someone who has bursted out from among the crowd in order to sit at His feet.
And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher,
what good deed must I do to have eternal life?”
And he said to him, “Why do
you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”
He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus
said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness,
shall love your neighbor as yourself.” have kept. What do I still lack?”
Honor your father and mother, and, You 20
The young man said to him, “All these I
Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect,
go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this he went away
sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Let’s go back to the top and hear a SURPRISING REQUEST in verse 16: And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?”
In Mark 10 and Luke 18, we are given the same story and they help give us some additional insight into our passage.
Combining those accounts with
Matthew’s, we learn the man coming up to Jesus is young- probably in his thirties and in the prime of life… and yet Luke says he was a ruler- more than likely in a synagogue. 3|Page
This suggests he is already very religious, he has the
best education you could possibly attain, he is politically savvy (he can talk the talk), he is very influential… and his pockets are fat- he is wealthy. This guy is a straight-up stud!
He has major swag!
He is the next candidate for The
Because of their Jewish culture, you would have heard people whispering in the crowd saying this man was blessed by God because of his religiosity and wealth, and the standard of how everyone should live. Even Matthew is stunned by the man even approaching Jesus. When he writes down “And behold” at the beginning of the verse- In our language it would be like “Can you believe this!” This guy is seeking eternal life? What is he missing? He’s got it all!
Notice with me 3 things the man did right:
First, He came with the right attitude. In Mark it says that he ran up to Jesus and knelt down, which demonstrated incredible humility.
To start off, for a
religious leader in their culture to run showed a lack of dignity because of the possibility of showing some skin. It would be shockingly similar to someone exposing their self in public.
This principle went all the way back to the
construction of the Tabernacle in the Old Testament, where instead of building steps to the altar, they built a ramp so the priest’s legs wouldn’t be exposed.
Kneeling down and calling Jesus “Teacher” showed great respect suggesting that Jesus was superior to him. This guy was not interested in saving face. He didn’t care what the crowd thought about him.
He sensed he was missing
something in his life and sought out Jesus for the answer. Is anyone here this morning looking for answers?
Second, He came to the right person. If you were looking for eternal life (which is not just a place to go for a really, really, really long time, but is a quality of living right now), Jesus was the One to come to. (John 14:6, Acts 4:12, 1 John 5:11- God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.) Are you sure if you have life in the Son this morning?
Third, He came with the right question. But, it is here where he had a serious misunderstanding.
His strict and so-called outward obedience to the
Commandments left him with a hole in his heart. This guy went to church every time the doors were open, he attended every prayer meeting, he gave money to the poor, he helped little old ladies cross the street, he didn’t litter on the sidewalk, he didn’t swear, he didn’t smoke cigarettes, he didn’t watch Rated R movies, and paid all his bills on time. He was an outstanding citizen.
His real question to Jesus is, “What else do I have to do?” What must I do to attain the peace and happiness I’m longing for, but am not getting, even though I have everything the world has to offer?” But, if you were a follower of Christ in the crowd that day, you would have been yelling at this guy, “It’s not about what you do… it’s about putting your faith in what Christ has done.” We’ve heard the SURPRISING REQUEST, now look at Jesus’ STAGGERING RESPONSE in verses 17-20: And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”
He said to
him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness,
father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?”
Jesus is stiff-arming the man here- in order to show him he has an inadequate understanding of goodness by listing some of the 10 Commandments followed by the Second Greatest Commandment… and the man becomes spiritually frustrated.
Now, let’s pull over for a minute and get a basic understanding of the Ten Commandments. The first half is man’s relationship to God and the second half is man’s relationship to man. They were given as a picture of God’s perfect righteousness and the perfect standard for living in relation to God and man. Living according to them would reflect His holy character and point to His honor and glory- showing who and how good God is.
But also, and this is very important, the Commandments were given to show us the impossibility of obeying them perfectly apart from faith in Christ and His power.
They were not given to us so we could put a picture of them on our walls and try to earn our way to heaven by obeying them… If that were the case, then Jesus didn’t have to die on the cross. They were given to us as a mirror to show us the real truth about ourselves. In other words it’s not so much that we read the commandments, but rather they are reading us.
Romans 3:20 says, No one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. Galatians 3:24 says the law was put in charge as a tutor to lead us to Christ. In other words, what people should really have next to the picture of the Ten Commandments in our homes is an arrow pointing over to a cross hanging next to it.
At the end of the day there are there are only two ways to secure eternal lifePerfectly obey the commandments… or place your trust in Jesus Christ alone.
But, if you decide that you are going to try and obey the Commandments perfectly, I want to remind you of James 2:10 which says, “Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking it all.” It is not obeying part of it that will give you eternal life, or even most of it… or by comparing your obeying with somebody else worse than you. You have to obey all of it! Who in the world has done that?
So Jesus is lifting up the mirror of the Commandments, so the man can see himself- to see that he has fallen short.
As one pastor said, “You have to
wound people with the law, so you can pour in the gospel oil.” (Baxter) With your participation I want to demonstrate how this works.
Please don’t tell me that we don’t need a Savior.
But notice the man’s response. “All these I have kept.” Really? At this point Mark’s account says that Jesus looked at him and loved him.
Jesus, full of
grace, knew that the man was stuck in the mud of religion- trying to earn his way to be right with God. And He knows our hearts too, but we cannot come to Jesus on our own terms. You see, you cannot truly desire a Savior without first having the sense of needing to be saved.
Up until now, there has been no
acknowledgment of brokenness on the man’s part… If anything, he has just been telling Jesus how good he is. But Jesus is about ready to hit him where it hurts as He would often test the willingness of prospective followers- those who had not yet counted the cost.
Verse 21: Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
Jesus is not saying to us that selling all of our possessions and giving to the poor will earn you eternal life. He didn’t demand that of everyone. Yet, there must be a willingness to obey. He was saying in effect to this man, “Who is going to be the Ruler of your life? Me or you?” He also exposed the man’s deeper heart issue. You see, if he really loved his neighbor as himself, as he said he did, then surely he would want them to have at the least the same basic essentials that he had. This man’s issue was his stuff. His true desire was for his wealth. He didn’t want to invest. He wanted to hoard. He just wanted Jesus as an add-on to his resume. Jesus had said you cannot serve both God and money.
Like all of sin, he had taken a good thing and made it an ultimate thing. He got it all twisted. He was looking to something else to give him what only God could give- and whenever we do that- it is idolatry. money.
It doesn’t have to be
It can be your job, a relationship, drugs, sex, your looks, your
What are you holding on to that has become an ultimate thing- replacing Jesus… who is the true giver of not only good things, but best things?
We have heard the SURPRISING REQUEST, we listened to the STAGGERING RESPONSE, now look at a SAD RESULT in v. 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. 8|Page
This may be one of the most tragic verses in all of Scripture. The man came seeking eternal life, but he left without it. He wanted a teacher, but he did not want a Lord- especially a Lord who demands sacrifice. As it turns out, he really didn’t want eternal life all that bad. The cost of discipleship was too high. And the disciples are stunned… They cannot get over how this guy with all his religion, prestige, and wealth could be turned away by Jesus. After Jesus tells them how difficult it is for a rich person to enter the kingdom, they ask in verse 25, “Who then can be saved?” I mean, “If it’s hard for a religious, wealthy, and so called ‘good person’ to have a right relationship with God, what hope does anyone have?” The disciples may have been feeling a sense of their own desperation here. They were shook up over this. But hope was on the way. Verse 26- But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” What’s so sad about the young man walking away from Jesus is, he thought he had more to lose, but in reality he had more to gain.
If he would have just stuck around a little longer, he would have heard Jesus say to his disciples a little later in the chapter in verse 29, “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.”
Those who come to Jesus desperate to get rid of the idols in their lives receive an abundant reward. It might not be a big bank account…. You may not be able to go on three exotic vacations a year… It might not be a big house… You might not have swag like this guy… but you will have some Jesus swag. Your life will be full… and meaningful. Jesus promises you that! 9|Page
In closing, let me ask you: Is there something else ruling you besides Jesus? What do you keep going back to, hoping that it will deliver, but only ends up in frustration and deeper hurt? Maybe it’s a private idol in your life that you keep bowing your knees to, that no one else knows about, and has only brought you guilt and shame on the inside.
Do you just feel you are more messed up than anyone else? You don’t have tojoin the crowd. It’s all level ground at the foot of the cross. Even the great Apostle Paul says in 1 Timothy, “Here is trustworthy statement that deserves full acceptance. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst.” If the best of us is the worst of us… Here is the deal- It’s not just that we do sinful acts… we are sinful by nature. James 4:17 says, Anyone then who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it sins. We are all messed up and a lot worse than what we even think ourselves to be.
And God knows it all… but in
His grace and mercy… He has not left us to ourselves. He has made the first move towards us in Christ.
You don’t have to do good deeds and try and earn your way to heaven. Christ has done it all for you. Unlike the young ruler and unlike any of us, He obeyed the law perfectly.
He died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin and
turned aside the wrath of God for those who believe. He rose again from the dead to give us new life and give us the power to walk in the joy of obedience.
Don’t be like the ruler this morning and walk away from Jesus… run up to Him with a surrendered heart.
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