Summary: Discussion of the Rich Young Man.
The Place of Possessions (Part 1)
February 17, 2007
NOTE: THE ME/WE/GOD/YOU/WE FORMAT USED IN MY MESSAGES IS BORROWED FROM ANDY STANLEY’S BOOK, "COMMUNICATING
FOR A CHANGE."
Me: When I was 7 or 8 years old, living in Pine
Ridge, my life was forever changed by a show on TV called, “The Littlest Angel,” starring Johnny Whitaker from “Family Affair.”
It’s the story about a young boy who dies after falling off a cliff, then goes to heaven to become an angel.
While he’s in heaven, he gets into all sorts of trouble as he gets fitted for wings and generally learns what living in heaven is all about.
I can’t get into all the details of the story, but basically the littlest angel’s offering of a beat-up box of earthly possessions becomes the star of Bethlehem to announce the birth of the Messiah.
But here’s what really hit me: the kid hadn’t planned on dying, and all of a sudden there he is before God.
I remember bawling my eyes out and crying, “I want to go to heaven when I die!” And the hardest part was, I wasn’t sure I would.
Again, I was only 7 or 8, but I knew in my heart that there was a chance I wouldn’t get in and from that time, I became attentive to things in church. I didn’t want to blow it when the time came!
We: Obviously, I’m not the only person who has ever struggled or feared what would happen when we die.
Probably everyone in here has wondered about that, even if you grew up hearing about Jesus and what He did on the cross for you.
And I can guarantee you that there are people who will die this week and not have the most essential question of life answered.
I would guess that everyone wants to know that their eternity is settled, and even if we have a religious background, we’d like to have some assurance of heaven.
God: Our passage today tells the story of a young man who had the same issue on his heart.
He wanted to know for sure that he would spend eternity in heaven when he died.
Matthew 19:16-30 (p. 696) –
16 Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"
17 "Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments."
18 "Which ones?" the man inquired. Jesus replied, "’Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’ and ’love your neighbor as yourself.’"
20 "All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?"
21 Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, 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."
25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be saved?"
26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
27 Peter answered him, "We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?"
28 Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.”
There is just waaaay too much to cover in this passage today, so we’re going to take at least three weeks on this.
In fact, I think there are three main lessons we can learn from this passage, and here they are:
1. There is nothing we can do to gain eternal life. Eternal life is found only in Christ.
2. When possessions get in the way of following Christ, it can affect our lives – for both now and for eternity.