Summary: The Lord is still dealing with the subject of how one gets into the kingdom of heaven,
A Study of the Book of Luke
Sermon # 50
“So How Does One Get To Heaven?”
Previously in Luke chapter eighteen, Jesus has just told the Parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, which is the two prayers of the two men which present two contrasting views of how to approach God; one on the basis of supposed good works and the other on the basis of God’s grace.
Now in verse seventeen, the Lord is still dealing with the subject of how one gets into the kingdom of heaven, Jesus now makes a jarring declaration,
“Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it." In this verse he sets forth the truth that for one to be saved there must be a recognition of one’s total helplessness, coupled with a corresponding dependence on God.
The young man that we are about to be introduced to may have the distinction of being the only man recorded in the gospels who came to the feet of Jesus and went away in worse condition than when he came. He came to the right person, asked the right question and received the right answer, but made the wrong decision.
In verse eighteen we read, “Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Here we are introduced to the story of what has come to be known as “the rich young ruler.” All the gospel accounts must be considered to get the complete picture. Mark says he is rich. Matthew says that he is young (Gr. Neaniskos – less than 40 yrs. of age), and Luke says he is a ruler.
Jesus immediately probes the motive of this man’s statement in verse nineteen. “So Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. Jesus wanted this man to think about what he had just said. Is this mere flattery, or does he really believe that Jesus is God?
Jesus wanted this young man to face the hard facts that there are only two possibilities, “If you want to call me good, you must be willing to call me God. If you won’t call me God, then you can’t call me good!”
Jesus now turns to him and in verse twenty says, “You know the commandments: ’Do not commit adultery,’ ’Do not murder,’ ’Do not steal,’ ’Do not bear false witness,’ ’Honor your father and your mother.’" (21) And he said, "All these I have kept from my youth."
When Jesus reminded this young man of
God’s commandments, He in effect responded by
saying, “Been there. Done that!” It seems incredible to us that anyone would claim, as this young man did, to have kept all the command-ments perfectly. He, like so many others, did not understand that keeping the commandments was a matter of the heart, not mere outward actions. He saw himself as a basically good person. There are a lot of people in this world who are counting on their goodness to get them a place in heaven.
I want you to notice with four things that we learn from the rich young ruler.
First, His View Of His Goodness Was Superficial And Empty.
There are still individuals today who think that they are keeping the Ten Commandments. Perhaps you are on of those persons.