Summary: If we are to have eternal life we must learn that we are going to live in "eye of the needle", constantly allowing Jesus to cleanse us and remove the burdens, while surrendering completely to his will.
LIFE IN THE NEEDLE’S EYE
Luke 18:18-30, "And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. 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. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting."
This familiar passage of scripture is the focus of our message to the church and to any who would seek to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ to become one of his disciples. Jesus taught some powerful lessons in this short discourse with the Rich Young Ruler. Let us examine it this morning to discover what kind of life is needed to follow Jesus.
I think we should realize first of all that the greatest stumbling block to becoming a disciple of Christ, especially in the United States, as well as every other industrialized and modernized nation on earth, is the prosperity and wealth of those nations.
Please understand that wealth and prosperity are not sin. It is not sin to desire better things in life. It is not sin to be prosperous and to be financially stable. In fact, one of the greatest testimonies that we can give to reach out to the lost is how that God has blessed us abundantly. He saves us by lifting us out of the miry clay of sin. He baptizes us and fills us with the Holy Ghost. Then He continually pours out his blessings of provision and protection in this life as we prepare to meet Him in the next.
Psalms 35:27, "… Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant."
3 John 1:2, "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth."
We can see that God is gracious and desires only the best in life for his children. Prosperity is a blessing until we begin to place prosperity above our love for God and all that he desires us to do. It is at that moment when prosperity ceases to be a blessing and becomes a curse.
How many have we seen come through the doors of the church, or even pass by us in our everyday life, who have the same question that the Rich Young Ruler had? I doubt that you will ever find more than a very few people who would not desire to obtain eternal life. The saddest thing that I have ever seen is when I have met those few whose conscience had already been seared to the point that they had no desire to hear of sin, death, eternal punishment or how to have eternal life. They were already dead, waiting to lie down in their grave and wake up in hell’s flames.
The vast majority, though, will always express a desire to have that eternal life that Jesus promises to those who give their heart and life to him and accept him as their Savior. They will quickly admit that they know of the goodness of Jesus Christ and the fact that he was a great man among men.
Just as the Rich Young Ruler did, they will seek his wisdom and desire the eternal life that Jesus offers but they will be unwilling to surrender everything to Him. Everyone desires eternal life but not many are willing to pay the price of discipleship that Jesus requires for those who would have it.
How many have walking into this church, and every other church, and express their desire to know Jesus and have eternal life, and then turn and walk out those doors, never to return again?