Summary: God is asking all to answer His rall. Your Response "Yes I Can"
August 12, 2007
Text: Matthew 19:16-26
Subject: Answering the Call
Title: Yes, I Can
When I worked in the maintenance department in a factory way back when, I was always one to come up with great ideas for improvement. I wasn’t always sure how I could get those things done but I had good ideas nonetheless. I remember that there was one guy that I worked with who, whenever I would come up with one of my ideas, would say, “That will never work!” Now I know part of his problem was that what I was suggesting was far different than anything he had ever tried before. For many people change is difficult because change involves – well, change involves “change” and that’s work. There is a tongue in cheek law that is written, “Nothing is ever done until everyone is convinced that it ought to be done, and has been convinced for so long that it is now time to do something else.” So where change is involved the natural response is, “I can’t do that.” When I was a child my mother told me this, “I can’t” really means I don’t want to!” Now I have come to the conclusion over the years that “I can’t” either means just what my Mom told me or else people sincerely believe that they are limited in what they can do so therefore they are physically or emotionally or spiritually unable to perform a task.
I remember when I first trusted Christ how I looked at spiritually mature people and thought, “”I can never be like them.”
Can I share something with you? The one thing that God never wants to hear from you is, “I can’t”! Instead He wants to hear, “Yes, I can!”
I want you to listen closely today to what the Lord is asking you and then be ready to say, “Yes I can.”
I. DOING WHAT IS COMFORTABLE (16-19) 16Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
Do you see where this rich man places his emphasis? He is works oriented. He wants to be able to perform some special task to earn God’s favor. There is something in the human psyche that wants us to be able to be good enough. That something is called the “sin nature”. That is where pride stems from and that’s what led to satan’s downfall. Galatians 2:21, “21I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” I have a hard time with something. Do you want to hear what it is? I have a difficult time with people who say that they feel like they can never be good enough to be a Christian, and yet they’ll spend the rest of their life trying to be a good person and do good things like it was going to make a difference in the eternal scheme of things. What that is saying is, “God can’t save me so I’ll try to save myself.” 17“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.” OK, it looks like Jesus is getting down to the heart of the matter. OBEY THE COMMANDMENTS! This rich young man has always been an enigma to me. On one hand it seems that he really wants to know about eternal life. On the other he wants to know what he can do to receive it. Looking a little closer at the situation I find that he seems to be playing games. Maybe you think I’m being a little hard on him. But look - 18“Which ones?” the man inquired. Do you see that? If he were really serious about his salvation he wouldn’t have asked that question – he would have realized that he couldn’t keep all the commandments – and then repented. But Jesus leads him on a little longer because Jesus knew exactly where this was headed. Jesus replied, “‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, 19honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’” Notice that Jesus responds to him with commandments that deal with interpersonal relationships. Almost everybody tries to get along with others. Everybody likes to be liked. So following these commandments is pretty easy except for the most hardcore criminals. So like most people the rich young ruler is doing what is comfortable. I can do that but don’t ask anything more from me cause I just can’t do it.
II. SEEKING WHAT IS PROFITABLE (20) 20“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” Here again is where I kind of get confused about this man. Is he sincere, wanting to know what is lacking or is he asking, “I’ve done all those other things, what else could there be?” was he seeking righteousness through his question, or justification by his actions? I have no doubt that there is something lacking in each one of us here today. Maybe your lack is the same as this unnamed man in this story. Maybe you lack in your ability to trust God for all things. Maybe your lack is in God’s promised power for all believers. Or maybe you lack in obedience to what God is calling you to do for Him. Many Christians suffer from inferiority complexes. We’re not good enough to serve God the way He wants. A man went to a psychiatrist and complained about an inferiority complex. The doctor listened to him for a while, then gave him a good news/bad news diagnosis: "The good news," said the doctor, "Is that you don’t have a complex. The bad news is--you are inferior!" Whether the rich man was sincere or not at least he asked the right question – most likely because he knew there was something missing in his life.