Summary: A sermon that details the danger of procrastination.
“Horse Shoes and Hand Grenades”
Luke 18:22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.
I. His Assumptions
a. Wrong about salvation
D. L. Moody said: "It is well that man cannot save himself; for if a man could only work his own way to Heaven, you would never hear the last of it. Why, if a man happens to get a little ahead of his fellows and scrapes a few thousands of dollars together, you'll hear him boast of being a self-made man. I've heard so much of this sort of talk that I am sick and tired of the whole business; and I am glad that through all eternity in Heaven we will never hear anyone bragging of how he worked his way to get there."
b. Wrong about the Savior
One of the points that Jesus makes is very revealing. In verse 19 in answer to the address from this young man that Jesus was a “Good Master…” the Lord said that “…none is good, save one, that is, God.” Basically, Jesus is saying you have come to me and acknowledged that my life and ministry is characterized by good works but you fail to recognize that only God is good and if I am good then I must be God!
Pastor D. James Kennedy said in a sermon, “I remember years ago talking to a man in his home about Christ and asking him who he thought Jesus was. He said, ‘Oh, He’s a wonderful man. He was the greatest man who ever lived, the most loving and gracious person who ever walked upon this earth.’
“I said, ‘Let me tell you something I believe will startle you. According to the Scriptures, and the historic Christian faith, Jesus of Nazareth, the carpenter of Galilee was and is the eternal Creator of the universe, the omnipotent, omniscient, and Almighty God.’
“Instantly his eyes filled with tears and this man of about fifty-five or sixty said, ‘I have been in church all my life and I never heard that before. But I have always thought that is the way it ought to be – that God ought to be like Jesus.”
(Nelson’s Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations and Quotes, p. 486-487)
c. Wrong about his sinfulness
It is evident that at least initially that this young man believed himself to be a “good” and that his observance of the Commandments was the basis for his right standing with God. It did not occur to him that he might not be saved. It did not occur to him that all his righteousness’s were “…as filthy rags…” in God’s sight. It did not occur to him that his heart was so stained with sin that it was as one song writer said, “...as black as can be.”
II. His Attitudes
One very important question is, “Why did this …rich, young, ruler…” come to Jesus because at least on the surface he looks like the kind of guy who “had it all”. He was affluent and in terms of this worlds goods he was not a person in need of material possessions. He was young and oh what we wouldn’t give to have his energy, vigor, vitality and “get up and go!” I don’t know about you but my get up and go has “done got up and went!” And he was a “ruler,” that is he was a person in authority, probably a member of the Sanhedrim, and a Pharisee or Sadducee.
a. The chance in focus
Jesus had been in this district preaching, teaching and healing for some time and it is possible that this man had been present in the crowd and had witnessed and heard the things that the Lord said and did. Don’t forget that in verse 9 of this chapter that Jesus had addressed the issue of those who “…trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others…” Now it seems that Jesus is getting ready to leave for Jerusalem (verse 31) with his disciples and it’s “now or never” for this young man and he “ran” to the Lord.
b. The conviction he felt
There are a couple of reasons why I think this man was under conviction. First and foremost he is responds to the preaching of the word from Jesus. He is a man in authority and he recognizes that here is someone who speaks in a way that is different from anyone he has ever heard. I believe was impressed by the content of what Jesus said and the charm with which He said it. By charm I mean that there was an attraction and an appeal in what Jesus said. It was a broad appeal for sinners, saints and even little children flocked to hear His words.