Summary: Jesus calls the Rich Young Ruler to live out a radial life. We are called to live a life centered on Jesus
The Christ Centered Life
January 22, 2014
The Nicolas Copernicus challenged the world wide understanding of science. It was a revolution that turned the world upside down. Copernicus challenged the idea that the earth was at the center of the universe. The understanding was that absolutely everything revolved around the earth. We were the center of creation. The whole world of science was changed by understanding that everything did not revolve around us.
On a personal level, how many people do you know that seem to think that everything revolves around them. This self-centered way of thinking is part of our human nature and it is something we still struggle with as Christians. The same is true for Christianity, our whole world changes when we realize that everything does not revolve around us.
The church cannot revolve around a handful of people or a few families. We cannot cater everything we do to the needs of those who are already here. In fact, churches that do this often find themselves slowly dying. We have to understand that everything does not revolve around us. The church should revolve around Jesus.
This morning we are continuing our study of consecration and the deep need for the every believer to live under the Lordship of Jesus. Consecration is to be set apart, to be fully devoted or completely committed. Today we are going to look at the story of one who did not consecrate their life before the Lord.
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 18 "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.' " 20 "Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy." 21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." 22 At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!" Mark 10:17-23
What lessons do we learn from this man?
The Rich Young Man was self-reliant in his commitment.
A self-reliant faith tries to remain unchanged by the new life in Christ. The Rich Young man did seek Jesus but not for new insight but for confirmation on his existing lifestyle. He believed that he was right with God because of his past commitment and the blessings that God gave to his family. The heart of the problem revolves around self. The young man was focused on himself and even his faith was centered on himself.
The young man was seeking Jesus but for all the wrong reasons. He was seeking Jesus for an answer that would allow him to continue living in his current manner, to allow him to continue being the center of his universe. Notice his question: what must I do to inherit eternal life?
The attitude behind the question is two-fold. First, there is a focus on personal effort. What must I do is centered on personal action and finding ways that he might earn his way into eternity. The question really was asking what must I do to earn my way into heaven. The young man was entirely focused on the wrong things. Second, there was a focus on inheritance. The young man acts as if heaven is something that he deserved. The problem is that he was focused on his own goodness and his own merit.
The young man is searching for a way to get into heaven through his own personal goodness and his own personal efforts. Jesus immediately bursts this notion by telling the man that no one is good but God alone. God is the source of goodness. God is the standard of goodness and there is no way that our good works could ever earn us a place in heaven. If we could get into heaven on our own efforts, Jesus died for nothing.
The Rich Young Man was superficial in his commitment
The problem that the rich young man had was that he tried to remain unchanged. The issue was that he wanted a relationship with God that demanded nothing more of him. He wanted a relationship with God that never brought any kind of personal change.
We see this exact problem on our Americanized spirituality. We must move beyond superficial spirituality. There is a desire for the things of God but we want them without change. God loves us just the way we are but He loves us enough to call us to change. God is never satisfied to leave us the way we are. He desires to make us more and more like His Son. The call of the Christian life is not to follow Jesus when it is convenient but to follow Jesus at all times.