Summary: This message illustrates how we could be good people and follow the law, but not have a relationship with Jesus Christ.


The encounter of this young man is recorded in three of the gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It reminds me of a game show I used to watch when I was a kid.

ILLUST: It was called, “Let’s Make a Deal”.

The Young Man and His Desire for Eternal Life

There are some insights to this story that I would like for us to consider this morning.

The first thing that we see is that this man had an understanding that he currently did not have eternal life because he asks…“Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”

Jesus said unto him, … Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.

At this point the man was probably feeling pretty good about himself.

20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.

When talking with people are their relationship with Jesus Christ and their salvation I often hear, “I am not a bad person. I don’t steal. I try to be good to people.”

This is where a lot of people are. They are like this young man. And because they have done these things they think they are OK and that God is going to eagerly welcome them into heaven.

Jesus knew that the young man was…

• A good man

• Kind

• Thoughtful

When we look carefully at Jesus’ reply we see that He skips the first four commandments and begins with those relating to those dealing with his relationship with people.

The depth of this young man’s religion was very shallow. It was limited to works and human interaction. Jesus truly wanted this man to understand how he could have eternal life.

Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

The first four commandment deal exclusively with man’s relationship with God.

• Primarily that we are to love Him with ALL of our heart

While this young man was doing a pretty good job of keeping the commandments relating to his relationship with people, he was unwilling to pay the price to have a meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ.

Christ put before him the same alternative which, in many different forms, He puts before people today.

• The one thing needful is always entire self-surrender to God.

Jesus was not implying that wealth is a bad thing.

Intrinsically riches have no moral character; all depends upon the use.

Jesus also was not implying that it is absolutely easy for a person that has no riches to enter the kingdom of God.

Jesus was saying a couple things…

1. That the whole battle of a person’s salvation is determined by that which is dearest to the heart.

2. It’s interesting to note that his choice left him not only discarding Christ’s offer to follow Him, but it also left him unhappy with what he chose over Christ. “He went away grieved.”

He had discovered that he was a slave to his wealth.

The contentment with his riches that he had previously experienced plunged in a large measure out of his heart.

In that one encounter with Christ he was able to understand, as never before, the world’s power over him; and even while he yielded to it, he hated it.

His wealth had a attraction for him, and yet it seemed, even as he held on to it, the very price for which he had traded eternal life; that he could neither give it up, nor respect it with as he had prior to speaking with Jesus.

Deep in his heart he knew that what Christ was offering to him was the best and wisest choice, yet his riches had a hold on him that he was unwilling to part with.

Just as the drunkard despises his slavery, even while he is getting the last few drops out of the bottle, because that which was at the beginning a pleasure has now become a bondage.

The realization comes in clear view that he no longer owned his wealth, his wealth owned him.

The same is true with anything we allow to take the place of our relationship with Jesus Christ!

Mar 10:22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

It’s the delusion of life when a person believes they are free, and yet they are totally unaware that the object that they are convinced brings them freedom is the very thing that has them bound.

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