Summary: People are not basically good
As we Conclude our series Why do good people do bad things we see Jesus correcting a common misunderstanding: people are basically good.
Jesus tells us: No One is Good but God. He turns our expectation on its head. If no one is good What’s the point?
This morning we will see that, usually, we all miss the point. We think goodness gets God’s attention. So we try to be good and we fail, and fail again, and fail again and we know we will keep on failing.
So far we have seen: We try to build a good world around us….It doesn’t matter what kind of a world we build around us.
Scripture teaches: Our corruption still comes from within. We use the path of least resistance. We usually embark on the path of least resistance, in small steps. I did not deliberately try to become involved in deceit. If we want something bad enough – we can pray ourselves into a peace about it. Sometimes it is more of a Sense Of Inevitability, than a peace. We saw how Shame is part of the puzzle - innocence at all costs. I am going to do what I need to, to eliminate the possibility of shame. We saw Christian who has seen the light – found Jesus Christ can Walk in the darkness? Being blinded by sin.
Let’s start by looking at our Scripture from Mark. There are three things that we need to focus on and one that we need to understand – so we don’t get turned aside by it. The three things that pop out at us are: How hard it is to enter the kingdom of God. No one is good. All things are possible with God.
First let’s us deal with a common misunderstanding. Verse 25.
25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
Over the years many explanations have come about to explain this Scripture. The most popular is that there was a narrow gate called the eye of the needle in the wall of the city of Jerusalem. A human could walk right through – but a camel had to be unloaded and could only enter on its knees. This is not true. They have never found this gate – it is simply speculation. Others have said that Jesus is using an analogy. But it is not. No matter how you cut it, this is literally what he says - it is impossible for a rich man to get into heaven.
I know what your are thinking “those poor rich guys”. Our definition of rich is usually – Someone with more money than us. What happens here is we focus on the impossible. We cannot get into heaven. That’s human nature. But Jesus focuses on the possible. So we must understand that this verse is to be taken as literal. It says what it means. And we see that it is hard to enter the kingdom of God
Jesus is serious.
His disciples are stunned (verse 26) Who then can be saved? Like us they think, I thought the point was being Good.
Notice: Jesus tells us that it is difficult, But not impossible
Let’s hold that thought. Let’s turn to our Galatians Scripture and focus on these three verses.
Galatians 2:17a “If, while we seek to be justified in Christ,
it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners,
21 I do not set aside the grace of God,
for if righteousness could be gained through the law,
Christ died for nothing!”
3:3 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit,
are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?
It is self evident, as Christians, that we are sinners. Verse 17
Righteousness cannot be gained through the law.- In other words doing good things.
Paul tells us:
Romans 7:14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
I ask you – Is that a man who knows he will do what is good?
Yet we can live by the goal of goodness can’t we? We want to be known as good. At our funeral – we want to be said, that we were good.
Story - Bad Brothers
Two brothers grew up terrorizing people of small town. No one person liked either one. Tragedy – Younger Brother died.Older brother was having trouble getting a preacher to do the funeral. He went from church to church – every pastor – turned him down.
Finally he came to the Presbyterian Pastor, Who hesitated. “I’ll donate $10,000 to the church”Ok I’ll do it “You must say my brother was a good man”