Summary: Regarding the promise of Jesus to those who forsake all to following.
The Place of Possessions (Part 3)
The Rewards of Following Christ
April 6, 2008
NOTE: THE ME/WE/GOD/YOU/WE FORMAT USED IN MY MESSAGES IS BORROWED FROM ANDY STANLEY’S BOOK, "COMMUNICATING
FOR A CHANGE."
Top 10 Signs You’ve Hired The Wrong Guy To Mow Your Lawn:
10. He shows up with a pair of nail clippers and a Ziploc bag
9. On the side of his mower you notice the stenciled silhouettes of 13 cats
8. Stops frequently to nap inside the grass-catcher
7. Always trying to impress you by stopping the mower blades with his head
6. You notice him shoving the last of his clothes into the mulcher
5. He’s fascinated by the details of you home security system
4. Stops every couple of minutes to smoke some clippings
3. Somehow manages to mow the hood ornament off your Lexus
2. Turns a goat loose and says he’ll be back in three weeks
1. No toes
(Source: Pearly Gates Newsletter)
Me: I have to admit that I was blessed growing up, in that my ignorance of what it meant to be a Christian didn’t extend to the idea that a person had to give up a bunch of stuff.
Growing up on the reservations, evangelical churches like the Wesleyans and Baptists weren’t very common. We had lots of Catholic, Lutheran, and Episcopal churches as well as a few Methodist churches.
But not much in terms of evangelical churches. Which also meant that there was very little in terms of people who were born-again believers in Christ who lived for Him.
And that also meant that there weren’t any opportunities for stereotypes about boring Christians who couldn’t have any fun or couldn’t have money or anything.
So when I found Christ for myself, I had to learn all that stuff with my new friends.
The funny thing is, though. None of my new friends were boring, uptight, or anything like that.
If they were bothered about “giving up” anything, they never showed it.
We: The idea that following Jesus meant sacrificing having a real life is nothing new.
Unfortunately, people are somehow giving the impression that real Christians take a vow of poverty of money and poverty of fun.
They can’t enjoy TV or movies, can’t laugh like the rest of society, because they’re too busy with their self-righteousness to enjoy life.
Well, I hope that none of you suffer under that false misconception.
My hope is that if you do, that you’ll have a different perspective of that because of Jesus’ words in our passage today.
Jesus promises a full and abundant life for those who follow Him. And as you’ll see in this word today, He also promises reward when we leave this earth.
God: Today we finish our look at 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.
This brought us to the first lesson from this passage:
There is nothing we can do to gain eternal life. Eternal life is found only in Christ.
This rich young man thought that his religious observance would get him into heaven.
He was just like so many people today who think that because they’ve fulfilled a religious requirement of some kind that they’re guaranteed eternal life.
And so they put their faith in their baptism, their church membership, their Bible reading and prayer, or whatever.
Or they put their faith in their morality – trying to keep the commandments on their own power.
But the problem is that none of these things is a guarantee of anything – except a big surprise when they stand before God and find out what this young man found out: that it’s only in Christ that we can have eternal life.
Believing and following Christ is the only way to know for sure that you’ll go to heaven when your time is done on earth.
This also plays into the second main lesson from this passage:
When possessions get in the way of following Christ, it can affect our lives – for both now and eternity.