Summary: Investing in eternity brings dividends today.
February 2, 2003
Text: Luke 18: 18-30
Subject: Following Christ
Title: Investing for the Future
How many financial wizards are there out there? I don’t know a lot about the stock market or bonds or long- term investment goals. I do know that there are some simple basic investment principles that are helpful to understand. One: set a goal for you to achieve for retirement. How much do you want to retire with? Two: start now and stick with the plan. Sporadic contributions result in meager gains. Three: Let the interest compound. Compounded interest can greatly increase your savings. Let me give you an example.
A twenty year-old begins saving $10 a week until he is 60. Base our findings on 2.5% interest and allowing for inflation. After the first five years we see that $2,600 dollars have been saved and $170 in interest. With the interest compounded at the end of the 50-year cycle on year 50 we see the same amount saved ($2600) but $3,970 in interest was earned. It definitely pays to plan for the future. But it is more important to stick with the plan.
In our passage today we will see the consequences of not having a complete plan for the future. The story of the rich ruler tells us everything we need to know about investing for maximum returns - eternal life.
Let’s look this morning to see what kind of investments we need to make to plan for eternity.
I. Investing in self-righteousness. (Vs 18-21)
What do we know about this man? 1)He was wealthy! We don’t know by the context of the verse as to whether this was a Jewish ruler or a Roman official. If he were Roman he would have been looking for some philosophy that would show him the way to immortality.
In Acts 17, when Paul was in Athens he confronted the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers and shared the gospel message with them. Verse 32, "When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, ’We want to hear you again later on this subject." It is likely that the Greeks and Romans would have rejected the idea of eternal life or a bodily resurrection. 2)He may have been a Pharisee. This seems more likely since he knew the commandments and the Sadducees did not believe in eternal life.
Look at the question he asks! "Good teacher" - Recognition of Jesus deity. There is no mention of any rabbi in Jewish history being called good. The Jews insisted in calling only God good. When Jesus asked, "Why do you call me good?" it is not a denial of his deity but a call to the man to reflect on what he just said. "Do you understand what you said when you called me good teacher? No one is good but God alone."
"What must I do to inherit eternal life?"
He held on to the law thinking that he could do something to attain heaven. He trusted in the Old Covenant to save him. Something was going to be handed down to him. Romans 3:19-24, "Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness comes from God through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe."
If you want to do something, live a holy life.
Do not commit adultery.
Do not murder.
Do not steal.
Do not give false testimony.
Honor your father and mother.
Don’t you know that made the young man happy? That was the answer he was looking for. "All these I have kept since I was a boy!" He was careful to maintain proper relationships with other people. That is commendable.
What a great world it would be if we all lived by those moral codes. That world system that we live in will tell you that is the most important thing.
Secular humanism wants you to believe that the spirit of man will rise to the occasion and when presented with enough information, will eventually solve all the problems of the world and mankind will be its own salvation. Peter told the rulers of the people, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." That name is Jesus Christ. Jesus demands more.
II. He wants us to invest for maximum rewards. (Verses 22-25) When Jesus heard this He said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me." I can picture the expression on the man’s face - going from extreme confidence (cockiness) to that deer in the headlights look. What did you say? You want me to do what? Could you repeat that one more time? The young man’s response tells us more about his heart than we originally thought. Those original commandments Jesus spoke of go deeper than an exterior response. The law goes directly to the heart and not just actions.