Summary: The message focuses on the costly mistake of saying "No Deal" to Jesus.
Avoiding Costly Mistakes - No Deal
Pastor Don Jones
West Glendale Baptist Church
One of my favorite TV programs just came back on for its second season. It is called "Deal or No Deal". I honestly think people are mesmerized when they watch it. I am not sure if it is Howie’s bald head, the pretty girls who hold the cases, or the desire to see someone walk away with a cool million or, as in the case of premier week, cool six million. What ever it is that causes us to watch, it is a game of pure chance with a little decision making along the way. I am constantly amazed at the people who walk away from the sure thing to take a chance on winning more money, even if it is only a few thousands more. I actually saw a woman turn down 880,000 from "the mysterious banker above". She either had a million or 750,000. She wound up with $750,000. I thought, "Serves her right." She "only" walked away with $750,000, boo-hoo.
Believe it or not there was a deal or no deal in the scriptures. The prizes were, good works, a fortune in money and possessions, and a chance at something far more valuable than mere possessions and money; the ultimate prize of eternal life. The characters involved were the disciples, an audience watching the exchange, a rich young ruler, and Jesus. You will find the account of the rich young ruler and Jesus in Luke 18:18-25.
Cue slide - The Urgency
I like the way the contestants are picked. Several "possibles" are in the audience waiting for their name to be called. I cannot imagine the intense pressure of waiting for your name. It must be close to unbearable. Finally after that moment of pause, the name is called and the person leaps from their chair, runs to the stage, and stands, jumps, and smiles ear to ear until "Howie" calms them down.
Mark 10:17 says,
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him.
The rich young ruler must have had a sense of urgency about his question. It could have been a deeply felt need in his life that drove him to seek the answer to his question.
I truly wish that we had that sense of urgency in our lives. If you are like me, you go through a week or a month and wonder where the time went. We do not live our lives intentionally. Too often we live just to "get through" the day or week.
Cue slide - The Question
Luke 18:18 asks the question,
A certain ruler asked him, ¡§Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?¡¨
In verse 23 we find that the young ruler had acquired great wealth and power. He came to Jesus and recognized Him as a teacher, a "good" teacher. Other versions say he addressed Jesus as "Rabbi", which translated means teacher. His question was one that was on people’s minds and is still on people’s minds. It was simply "What must I do to inherit eternal life?"
Most commentators agree that the question of eternal life had very little to do with the length of time associated with eternal. They do agree that it has everything to do with quality of life. Quality not quantity is the key to understanding the question. Perhaps he had discovered as Solomon had that for all of his wealth and power he was still empty. Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14,
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.
Perhaps someone he knew had just died or was dying. He might have been confronted with his own mortality. He might have been a young ruler of the synagogue or he may have heard a stirring reading that morning or interpretation of this passage. Whatever had happened, it caused him to have a great sense of urgency about his life. We do know that his question was in earnest, there was no trickery involved at all as some or maybe even I had suggested. He truly wanted to know what he needed to do. McArthur’s commentary even goes so far to portray the man as desperate to find the answer.
The young man posed the question to Jesus. A professor of OT once told me, "There is no right answer to a wrong question." The question he was asking was the wrong question. He was on the wrong track. He asked what he must do. The young ruler believed that the quality and hence, the satisfaction of his life depended on him. He believed it was through works that eternal life was attained.