Summary: A rich young man came to Jesus desiring eternal life. He felt good about himself, but left saddened because he was unwilling to meet the Lord's demands for eternal life. We must come to the Lord by faith alone for salvation.
The Poverty in Riches
Mark 10: 17-22
Our text today reveals a young man very eager to get to Jesus. It is apparent that he had heard of Jesus’ ministry and the promise of eternal life. We will discover that this young man was blessed with all one could desire. He had wealth; he had status and position within society, and he was blessed with youthfulness. Having all of that, he possessed a desire for more. He longed to have the eternal life Jesus offered.
While most do not enjoy the riches or social status of this young man, their desires are much the same. We live in a culture that has an insatiable appetite for more. Our standing in society is often measure by the wealth and status we possess. Along with the hunger for wealth and social status comes a desire for eternal life. Those who have amassed great wealth long to enjoy their treasures for eternity. They cannot imagine existing without their possessions. In essence, “these want to have their cake and eat it too.”
As we move through this passage we will discover the great hindrance wealth can present in the lives of many. Like the rich, young ruler, many want the promise of eternal life without the sacrifice necessary to receive it. On the other hand, some who possess little in this life, and have Jesus, are far richer than they can imagine. As we examine the characteristics of this young man, I want to consider: The Poverty in Riches.
I. He was Looking (17) – And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? First of all, we need to understand the position of the man. Our text, as well as the gospels of Matthew and Luke, tells us he was rich. Matt.19:22 reveals he was young, and Luke 18:18 tells us he was a ruler.
He had become very successful in life. He seemed to have it all: youth, wealth, and power. These are things most people desire. Even with all that, there was something missing. His life had a void in need of filling. We find him searching for that one thing to make his life complete.
There is a sense of urgency about him. He came running to Jesus hoping to find that which would give him peace in his soul. He had all that one would desire to enjoy life, yet he wasn't prepared to die. He had obtained wealth and power and yet he was not satisfied.
Many today are like this young man. They are very successful in life, enjoying good health, plenty of money, a good job, but don't possess real peace. If you are searching for peace in your soul, it can be found in Jesus. He alone can provide for that longing in the soul.
II. He was Loyal (19-20) – Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.  And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. He was living a good, moral life. It is possible that he was a ruler in the synagogue. He had followed the expectations religion demanded. He had kept the commandments from his youth.
He was counting on good deeds and clean, moral living to secure his salvation. Matt.19:20 – The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? The rich, young ruler was confused and distressed. In his mind he had accomplished all that was necessary to be acceptable to God.
It is evident our churches are full of loyal people. There are many, as he was, faithful to attend church. They live good lives and assume that is enough. This is harsh, but true: hell will be full of good intentions. Matt.7:21-23 – Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Salvation isn't obtained through church membership, reciting Scripture, good works, or a moral life; but through faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ. You may be loyal to church, but there must be a personal relationship with Christ. You must be born again!