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Summary: Keeping that which you cannot lose

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"Who is the Fool?"

Matthew 19:16+

11/16/97

Intro: The story is told of a preacher who had gotten a letter one day that simply had one word written on it, "Fool!" He stood up in his congregation the next week and said, I’ve often heard of people writing letters and forgetting to sign their names, but this is the first time I’ve ever heard of someone signing their name and forgetting to write the letter!

Who is a real fool? It has been said "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." We are going to look at the picture of a fool this morning in Matthew 19.

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I. The picture of a fool

Why was this young man a fool?

A. He wanted a salvation based on his works

He wanted to do something good to merit salvation. Many religions are based on a system of good works. But Isaiah tells us our righteousness is as filthy rags in God’s sight. Romans 3 says there is none who doeth good, no not one. Good works will never bring about salvation.

Are you trusting in good works, going to church to place you in better standing with God? He’s not impressed.

B. He obeyed the commands, but not from the heart

He had external compliance to God’s law. He kept the relational commands of the 10 commandments. He probably could have made a good Pharisee. He was very careful about his outward actions. But he knew he lacked something.

God does not look on the outward appearance, but on the heart. This young man had failed to have a heart for God. He failed to reach out to his neighbor. When he was questioned about his riches, he went away sad. What is it that keeps you from following God with your whole heart? What is it that you do not want to give up control of to God? What do you hold back from God?

C. He walked away when the cost became too great

He wanted to hold on to his riches more than he wanted to be assured of heaven. He thought he could make it some other way. I’m sure if we asked him, he would have said he wanted to go to heaven, but he was probably looking for some other way of getting there. We can never "soft-peddle" the gospel. We need to tell it like it is.

Are we willing to pay the cost of following Christ. If we really are his sheep, very likely we will face an altar of sacrifice. God doesn’t call us to easy service. We are called to total commitment.

D. He lived up to his human potential - It is only through the power of God that we overcome earthly temptations. Our natural sin nature teaches us greed, lust, and hatred. Only through the power of God can we be victorious.

II. The picture of the followers

A. Reward for the disciples - Those who had left all were told they would reign with Christ in the end times.

We also are told we will rule and reign with Christ. (II Timothy 2:12)

B. Reward for all who follow -

100 times as much - Whenever we give freely to the Lord, we receive in return. Yet, it is not always we receive financially. Sometimes we receive peace, or blessing, or mercy. We don’t give just to receive, but we receive because we have given from the heart.


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