Summary: No one is good enough to inherit eternal life.
Text: Mark 10:17-31
Title: What must I do to inherit eternal life?
There tends to be two times people look for Jesus
a. when you lose everything
b. when you have everything
Although rich, young and a ruler he asks Jesus “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus’ immediate answer appears strange.
“why do you call me good? Jesus answered. No one is good-except God alone.
Jesus addresses the greatest misconception about inheriting eternal life?
That one can someday, someway or somehow be good enough to inherit eternal life.
No one is good – except God.
If we were to have a show of hands of everyone here who thinks they are good people or who know someone who is good we would all raise or hands.
If we think we are good or know someone who is good then how could Jesus say that only God is good?
We judge goodness differently than Jesus.
If Jesus said that only God is good then goodness is behaving like God would.
We do not define goodness as behaving like God.
We lower the standard and some people lower the standard more than others do.
In our bible text the rich young ruler had a very high standard for goodness.
He did not murder. He did not commit adultery. He did not steal. He did not lie. He did not cheat. He did not dishonor his father and mother.
That’s a higher standard than all of us have!
Hopefully we would never murder or commit adultery but how many of us can say we have never stolen, lied, cheated or dishonored our father or mother?
Although you and I may fall short this rich young ruler thought he was good enough to inherit eternal life?
But if goodness is behaving like God then everyone lacks something.
“Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “how hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
We often think that it is only bad things that keep people from entering the kingdom of heaven but sometimes it is our good things that do the greater damage.
“The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desire for other things choke the word of God, making it unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:22)
There are a number of reasons why it is harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
1. The love of money is the root of all evil.
2. We can be deceived into thinking our material blessings are somehow a sign of God’s approval
“Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” (Matthew 4:8-9)
3. We cannot love both God and money.
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for anyone to love both God and money.
If no one is good except God then it is natural for us to react and say the same things as the disciples in verse 26.
“The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “who then can be saved?”
In other words if you cannot be good enough or rich enough to inherit the kingdom of God then who can be saved?
This is exactly what Jesus wants them to see?
Jesus saves murderers, liars, cheats and drunks but there is one kind of person he can never save. That is the person who does not see his need for a savior.
The whole point that Jesus is making and that the disciples are suddenly getting is that it is impossible for even very upstanding men and women to save themselves.
If it is impossible for men and women to save themselves then we must look elsewhere for the source of our salvation.
People look to philosophies or religions for the source of their salvation but according to the words of Jesus only God can save us.
“With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
The bad news is that you and I can never be good enough or rich enough to inherit eternal life but the good news is that God has made it possible for us to inherit eternal life.