Summary: Had you ever put too much stock in what you can do and discovered how powerless you really are? This sermon and series is to help us to understand that if we put our faith in God, nothing will be impossible.
WHAT MAN FINDS IMPOSSIBLE, GOD MAKES POSSIBLE
In his book called “The Case for Faith.” Lee Strobel wrote; “If faith never encounters doubt, if truth never struggles with error, if good never battles with evil, how can faith know it own power. He said, in his own pilgrimage, if I have to choose between a faith that has stared doubt in the eye and made it blink, or a naive faith that has never been battle tested on the firing line of doubt, I will choose the former everytime.”
As I think about this statement by Mr. Strobel, I have concluded that I too like to have the assurance that my personal faith in Jesus Christ has been battle tested and sure, which allows me to remove myself from every situation and trust God for a miracle. But everyone doesn’t have that type of faith. Now I believe that every person has faith, but everyone’s faith is not great nor is it the size of a mustard seed. In fact some people have more faith in the problem, than the promises of God.
In the text we find a rich young ruler who has come to Jesus and asked “What shall he do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus called to his attention what he was taught in the synagogue. Jesus said, “Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, and Honor thy father and mother.” And the young ruler informed Jesus that he had kept those thing since his youth. That is when Jesus let him know that he still lacked one thing, He said to sell all that he had and distribute it unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and follow me. But the young ruler much like many who says they have faith, was sadden because he cared for his riches more than he cared to have eternal life.
So, let’s unpack this text and see how our impossibilities, are God’s possibilities.
First of all...
1. HIS QUESTION WAS RHETORICAL IN NATURE (V.18)
“And a certain ruler asked Him, saying Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal Life?”
As we listen to this young man. We can truly hear the voice of one that really wanted to know what it took to have eternal life. The sincerity was there, but he did not weigh the cost of the possible answer. He knew that from a child in synagogue that there were certain things taught him, and many of them he kept, but never in his worse dream did he think that he was not doing enough. His faith in God was unquestionable. In fact he had some kind of faith in Jesus because he called Him, Good Master, a name only given to God. But he did not realize that following Jesus came with a cost, and that cost he was not willing to pay. So his question at best was rhetorical, because what he was about to hear was not the reply he was hoping to get. After all before Jesus came on the scene, what he was taught in synagogue was the requirement to reach the heart of God, but now that Jesus was there and in active ministry, there was a price to be paid for eternal life and as we will see that price this young ruler was not willing to pay.
Secondly . . .
2. HE CARED FOR THE THINGS THAT WERE TEMPORAL, MORE THAN HIS QUEST FOR ETERNAL LIFE(v.22 & 23)
“Now when Jesus heard these things, He said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing. Sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come follow me. 23. And when he heard this he was very sorrowful, for he was a rich man.”
After speaking with Jesus concerning what should be done to inherit eternal life. He found out that he needed to do more than just keeping the commandments. Now concerning what Jesus had instructed him to do. He felt that he did give to the poor because it was a temple requirement to give an alms gift unto the needy. And he probably thought that he gave more than what was required because he gave to those that he saw on the sides of the road and in front of the temple. In other words he felt that he gave his fair share to the needy. But that is not what Jesus asked of him to do in order to inherit eternal life. Lets back up.
The rich young ruler asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus after dealing with a question of his own, asked him about the commandments. And the rich ruler said that he had kept those things since his youth. This is when Jesus dropped the bombshell on him by letting him know that he lacked one thing. Sell all you have and distribute it to the poor then come to follow Him. Now the rich young ruler thought that he had done what was required as a good Jew. He gave to the poor as often as he could and kept the commandment. He forgot that he asked Jesus what could he do to inherit eternal life. You see when it comes to being a good Jew he did what was expected, but when it comes to obtaining eternal life, the price called for more. After all his propitiation for his sins was right in front of him and He would pay the ultimate price. That is why we need to give Him our all, because He gave His all and died for us. But this rich young ruler cared more for his possessions than he care to have eternal life, and he felt in his own selfish way that the price was too costly for him to pay.