Summary: Here’s the story of the only person who ever came to Jesus, and left in a worse condition. What a strong connection there is between our money and our heart! Link included to formatted text, audio, and PowerPoint Presentation.
The Rich Young Ruler
This is the only man who ever came to Jesus and left in worse condition!
1. The hardest thing that you will ever give God complete control over will be your finances and possessions.
--Perhaps because they are the necessities of life and survival…harder to trust Him there for some reason [tho’ we blindly trust Him w/ salvation!]
2. Examples: *Lot—had a choice of what land to choose, he chose the well-watered plains of Sodom [didn’t ask if it was a good place to raise kids…just cattle]
*Achan—stole of the firstfruits of Jericho…whole family lost their lives
*Ananias and Sapphira—greed and materialism killed them.
Our attitude toward God affects our attitude toward money and possessions.
Mt 6:21 -
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
3. The story of the rich young ruler begins with the children. [no coincidence that story of trust leads into story of mis-trust/dependence vs. independence]
The 1 thing God will not tolerate is a sense of independence!
Heb. 11:6…w/out faith it is impossible to please God!
It is a picture of dependence versus independence.
I. General Assessment
Nothing wrong w/ wealth…money is not the root of all evil, but the love of it!…but beware, w/ wealth often comes a sense of independence…no wonder Jesus said what He did in v. 25…
…it’s not impossible at all…but less likely! Some very spiritual men in the Bible were wealthy, and used wealth for God’s glory…it can be a wonderful servant…but it’s a terrible master!
Luke passage calls him a ruler…He was part of the upper crust.
When he says he keeps the 10 commandments, you can tell he is trying…he has bought the lie that good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell. Probably a nice guy, having character and many fine qualities.
D. Potential [had it]
Young, whole life in front of him, poised for greater success.
From man’s perspective…it’s looking pretty good so far…he’s got all his ducks in a row, we would say. We’d probably be proud to have him as a member in the church, if we didn’t know better…so let’s dig a little deeper:
II. Personality Assessment
He was living in a time when the religious community wasn’t fond of Jesus/rather they were trying to sabotage and destroy Him…and it wasn’t cool to be His disciple/to talk to Him/associate with Him.
Nicodemus sought the Lord at night…but this rich young ruler went in broad daylight…shows courage! He didn’t care what people thought about it.
v. 17 he ran to Jesus
C. Humility [had it]
Usually people knelt before the ruler, but now the ruler kneels before Jesus.
He has a sincere question…he’s not here to trip Jesus up, no ulterior motives…he realizes something is missing…he’s looking for answers.
So far, he’s still looking pretty good…like all of us this morning in our duds! But what’s hidden behind the clothing?
Only the Lord can do a spiritual assessment…only He can see his heart!
III. Spiritual Assessment
A. He was spiritually frustrated.
There’s a big difference between someone who is seeking and someone who is convicted! True conviction is missing in so many so-called conversions today/soul awakened is different than spirit being born again.
Childhood conversions—what child wouldn’t say they want to go to heaven instead of hell? We have to be careful to make sure genuine conviction and understanding have occurred, and not allow them to make a pre-mature decision [picking green fruit!]
B. He was spiritually immature.
v. 19-20 Not true…but this isn’t arrogance,…rather, he’s naïve…has a shallow concept of what sin truly is! Which of us could truly say we haven’t broken any of the 10 commandments…obviously he’s broken the first and the last [no other gods/not covet]
He’s not nearly as righteous as he thinks he is!
C. He was spiritually independent.
We know that because he asks the wrong question: what shall I DO to inherit eternal life…remember, it’s not what we do, it’s what we ARE!
Jesus goes right to the heart of the matter, and deals w/ this man’s idol…his god—money and possessions.
God wants our dependence…He hates independence!
IV. Radical Therapy—v. 21
Two-part treatment: go and sell; come and follow.
Understand, selling all you have won’t save you. Jesus is making a point here:
Accept me not only as Savior, but as Lord! The one and only true and living God, no idols, no other gods/idols.
Ill.—American missionaries went to Japan after WWII/multitudes were coming forward to be saved…seemed to lack genuine conviction. Decisions seemed to be superficial.
They came to realize that in the Japanese culture they are taught that when you are conquered, you have a moral obligation to accept the God of the ones who conquered you/so they were just adding Jesus to Buddha and Confucius and other gods.