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The Rich Young Ruler

The Rich Young Ruler

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Published by: kingswaycommunity on Jul 11, 2011
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The Rich Young Ruler
Andrew Isaacs, May 22, 2011Kingsway Community Church Matthew 19:16-26 (NIV)16
Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternallife?” 
17
“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If youwant to enter life, keep the commandments. 
18
“Which ones?” he inquired.Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall notgive false testimony,
19
honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’” 
20
“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” 
21
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and youwill have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 
22
When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. 
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Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter thekingdom of heaven.
24
Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than forsomeone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 
25
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” 
26
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 
Again with some of my comments:
 
16
Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternallife?” The young rich man came to Jesus eagerly seeking to know how to get eternal life. Other gospels say he ran toJesus and knelt down. He seemed to come with the right heart and attitude, genuinely wanting to know whathe had to do. He is asking the BIG question. How do I get to heaven? Jesus’ response is very interesting... 
17
“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If youwant to enter life, keep the commandments. 
18
“Which ones?” he inquired. Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery,you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony,
19
honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love yourneighbor as yourself.’” When asked a direct question about eternal life, Jesus doesn’t say “trust in me.” He tells the guy that to enter
 
life he has to keep all the commandments. When the ruler asks Jesus to be specific, he gets an actual list of which commandments to keep. 
20
“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” 
21
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and youwill have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 
22
When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. When the man claims to have kept all the commandments, Jesus challenges him further by hitting on an issueat the heart of this man’s life. “Sell all your possessions and give to the poor.” The man walks away defeatedand sad, realizing he can’t bring himself to do what Jesus asked. 
23
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter thekingdom of heaven.
24
Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle thanfor someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” I’ve been reading a lot of commentaries and sermons about “the eye of a needle.” There is quite a bit of debate about what Jesus comment actually referred to.- the small gate theory (story of me in India): had to stoop low, take off possessions- the rope/camel theory:- or simply, hyperbole 
25
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” The disciples would have looked at this rich, young ruler and seen a man blessed by God. He was most likelya ruler in the synagogue, meaning he was a spiritual leader. He was also very wealthy, which was seen at thattime as a sign of spiritual blessing and favor. If Jesus was saying it’s nearly impossible for rich people like thisguy to enter the kingdom of God, then who in the world could?! 
26
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 
What is the message of this story?
I’ve heard people’s confusion when reading this story in the gospels. Why was Jesus telling the man to followthe commandments to get eternal life? Was he preaching salvation through works?In the past, when I’ve read this story, I usually think the bottom line is something like, “It’s hard for rich peopleto get into heaven because they are tied to their earthly possessions.” 
 
I want to look at the story in a different way. The man’s question was: “What GOOD thing must I DO to get eternal life?” Right away Jesus could see that theman was seeking for answers on how to
earn
his way into heaven. Instead of immediately rebuking the man,Jesus answers in an amazing way, allowing the man to discover the answer on his own. “Why do ask me about what is good? There is only ONE who is good. If you want to enter life, keep thecommandments.” Jesus begins with a foundational statement: only God is good. Then he puts the impossible challenge on thetable: keep the commandments. This is God’s simple requirement: be perfect. After hearing the list of commandments from Jesus, the man nods confidently, “Yep, I’ve kept all of thesecommandments. So what else is required.” Jesus ups the ante again, “If you want to be perfect, sell all your possessions and give to the poor. And come,follow me.” The rich young ruler knows that he won’t be able to bring himself to give all his possessions away. So he walksaway. But the truth is, even giving away his possessions wouldn’t have earned him eternal life. Jesus wascalling the man to lay aside everything and FOLLOW Christ. Jesus turns to the disciples and tells them, “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for arich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.”I believe he is explaining to the disciples that even a seemingly “blessed,” wealthy, religious ruler cannotearn his own way into the kingdom. Just like a camel could not squeeze itself through the eye of a needle. It’simpossible.“Then who the heck can get into heaven?!” the disciples ask. They too are still looking for an answer to the bigquestion. And finally Jesus gives them the profound punchline:
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
 The answer is, no man can gain eternal life by his own works or merit. We enter the kingdom of God through obedience,total surrender, and following Jesus.
3 Keys:
 
1. God is good; we are not
- conversations with people “I’m basically a good person” “I TRY not to ….”

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