Summary: This sermon calls on people to place saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
What is the one thing in life that you can’t live without? What is that "one thing" that is most important? Many would name some material thing such as car, or a piece of property. Others would name their job or favorite hobby. Still others would mention some immaterial thing such as particular relationships, their health, or the status they had obtained. Many people have many different ideas of what the most important thing in life is. In the movie "City Slickers", the main character who is played by Billy Crystal finds himself in a "mid-life crisis" and retreats to a remote area to go on a cattle drive to seek relief from his problems. On the drive he is confronted by "Curley", the leader of the cattle drive who responds to Billy Crystal’s restlessness with life by lifting his index finger and saying that the key to life is "One Thing". The story continues on with the challenge for Billy Crystal to find out what that "one thing" is.
In a similar way Jesus is confronted by a man who is experiencing restlessness and perhaps even a mid-life crisis of his own. He is empty on the inside and searching for something to fill the void. He desires security for the future and the life to come. He wants to be sure he inherits eternal life. Jesus directs him by saying there is "one thing" you lack (v.21). I want to show you that the "one thing" he lacked was saving faith. You may be here in a similar position of restlessness. Sensing that deep down something is missing. Your life is full of a lot of things. You have accomplished things in life, you may have degrees you can look back on, you have been relatively successful in life, yet you seek peace in life. The peace to know if you died you would go to heaven. Maybe that one thing you’re missing is saving faith. Saving faith is the proper response to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It involves placing your trust in Jesus Christ and his death on the cross as the only way to a living relationship with God. In a few moments I will give you an opportunity to come forward to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. Saving faith is the "one thing" you need to exercise to become a Christian. In the passage we can discover the qualities of saving faith.
I. First, saving faith acknowledges Jesus for who He is. (vv.17-18) He is the divine Son of God. Jesus is Lord. The rich young ruler had a distorted view of who Jesus was. Notice he was very respectful in approaching Jesus. He ran to meet Him, knelt before Him, and addressed Him with a prestigious title. The title was "Good Teacher". This title is no slap in the face. Only rabbis were given the title "teacher". The rich young ruler expressed enough confidence in Jesus’ ability as a rabbi to ask him one of the most important questions anyone could ask. "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" Yet this title is not sufficient in understanding who Jesus is.
A. Jesus is more than "teacher". (vv.17-18) Many religions in the world acknowledge Jesus Christ as a "prophet" who had a excellent doctrine of morality. This view of Jesus is insufficient for saving faith. Jesus said, "I and the Father are One" (Jn 10:30) He also said "I am the Way the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me." (Jn. 14:6) This contradicts the Jehovah’s Witnesses teaching that Jesus is just one of the sons of God being a brother to Michal the archangel and even the brother of Satan. Or Islam’s teaching that Jesus was just one of the prophets who preceded Muhammad the ultimate prophet. Or New Age religion’s teaching that Jesus is one way to God along with the many other ways. No Jesus is more than just another teacher. Jesus is Lord. Not only is Jesus more than just a "teacher"
B. Jesus is more than a good man. (v.18) This is seen in the term "good" used by the rich young ruler. To call Jesus "Good" inferred much more than the English connotations of the word would suggest. In the Old Testament and in the tradition of Judaism, only God is characteristically called Good. Either Jesus is Good and divine or He is repudiating His own goodness and therefore denying His own Deity. The Gospel of Mark was written to proclaim Jesus as the "Son of God" (1:1) and therefore Jesus statement, "Why do you call Me good?, No one is good except God alone." would not be written with the intention of undermining the doctrine of Jesus as the sinless Son of God.