Summary: A lesson designed to show the power of God in our lives.
THE GOD OF THE IMPOSSIBLE
INTRODUCTION: What would you say is the greatest danger facing the Church today? Liberalism, Humanism, Phariseeism, Feminism? Some say it is Christian Colleges, Post Modern Thinking, The NIV. I have my own personal convictions about those things, but I do not think any of them are the Church’s greatest danger. Rather I am convinced that our greatest foe is something more personal, more intimate with each of us. The story of the Rich Young Ruler contains so many wonderful lessons for the life of a follower of God: lessons about stewardship, humility, worldly riches, and obedience to name a few. Yet it also warns us of our greatest danger. READ TEXT Notice with me too lessons.
I. IMPOSSIBILITIES AND THE HUMAN PERSPECTIVE
A. I have very few doubts that this young man was sincere when he came to Jesus with his question. Mark tells us that he ran to Jesus and knelt before him. At least this tells us something about his respect for the Savior and the condition of his heart. He was not like other men who with their power and influence had attempted to trap Jesus with their questions and schemes.
1. I believe that he truly wanted to know what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. But when Jesus answered his question, which by the way was not the answer he was looking for, he was looking for approval more than anything else, he could not bear the answer. What was his reaction, do you remember?
2. Combining all three parallel passages from Matthew, Mark and Luke, we see that he became very sad, was overwhelmed with grief and went away with great sadness because he had great possessions and was very rich. In essence, his reply to the one thing he lacked for eternal life was, "I can’t."
B. "I can’t" are the two most destructive words in Christianity and the greatest danger facing the church. It is the expression of a heart and mind that does not possess a faith that trusts completely in the power of God. How many times do we say, "I can’t" when faced with a decision where the spiritual challenges the physical?
1. "I can’t surrender my life to Jesus because……. I can’t give up my friends for Christ even though they are bad influences. I can’t put the Lord first in every thing I do because Jesus interferes with my business practices. I can’t go into all the world because I am afraid someone will not like me if I ask them about their relationship with Jesus."
2. Individually those are the things we say. Collectively, as a congregation of the Lord’s Church we often fall into the same trap. The church has just as many "We can’ts" as the individual has "I can’ts." We can’t enact a certain program because we do not have the resources. We can’t evangelize our community because…. We can’t….
C. The Rich Young Ruler said "I can’t." He was right, he couldn’t because he was leaving God out of the equation. Moses did the same thing when God approached him for service. He gave every excuse in the world, "I don’t know what to say, I am not good with words, they won’t believe me." "I can’t, I can’t, I can’t." He too was right. Which brings us to our second point.
II. OUR GOD IS THE GOD OF THE IMPOSSIBLE
A. After seeing the response of the Rich Young Ruler, Jesus made the comment that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. This shocked his disciples. Why I am not sure unless they for once saw the underlying message concerning faith. That would explain their response, "Who then can be saved?"
B. Here is where we find the meat of this passage. Jesus said in verse 27, "The things which are impossible with men are possible with God." What did He just say? God can do the impossible? Yes, that’s exactly what He said. Where we can’t, God can. With our own abilities we are unable, but with God we are able to do anything. And that should not come as a surprise to us.
1. We are talking about the same God who created life from a desolate planet, who at the wave of Moses’ hands parted the Red Sea and produced dry land, who raised an army from a valley of dry bones, and who destroy Satan’s greatest weapon, death, with His resurrected Son. If He can do those things, and He did, imagine what He can do with a life that trusts Him completely.
2. Jesus said, "With faith the size of a mustard seed you can move mountains!" Matthew 17:20