Damariscotta Baptist Church
Monday, May 21, 2018
Growing personal relationships with God and community

04/19/15 Sermon - I Want It All

“I Want It All”

Mark 10:17-31

 

The question for the day is, “What must we do to inherit eternal life?”

Good Question.

After reading the story, I got the sense that this man already had an answer to the question, but he had come to Jesus to check it out, just in case he might be missing something?

Jesus knew what this man’s problem was before he even began to explain. You see, up to this point, the people who have come to Jesus or who have been brought to Jesus, have been those who have been in need of healing. They have been those who are sick or crippled or in pain. This guy was rich. Therefore, he had to have been dressed nicely, for his day and the only thing about him that would have given anyone a clue that he was in need would have been that he had gotten down on his knees. This would have been a sign of respect for the “Good teacher” and a sincere demonstration that something was missing in his life.

Jesus’ first response was to affirm what the man already knew. Then Jesus stated the commandments that have to do with behaviors, those commandments that require people to “DO” something, and the man declared he had kept each one since he was a boy.

At this Mark writes that “Jesus looked at him and loved him” He will have the same look at his disciples later in this Scripture. The Greek word for “look” here means “looking into” someone’s thoughts and feeling.

It was used when the servant girl who “stared” at Peter by the fire,  while Jesus was being interrogated, and she knew the truth about him, that he had been with Jesus, yet Peter denied it.

So, Jesus “looked” at the man and knew the truth about him.

This man lacked one thing.

And to reveal what the man lacked Jesus requested that he

“Go, sell everything he owned, Give to the poor, Which would give him treasure in heaven.  Then follow Jesus.”

Upon hearing this Mark writes that the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Jesus had requested the man to do three things:

-       Sell all of his possessions

-       Give to the poor

-       Follow Jesus 

What was the one thing the man lacked?

The rich man lacked the freedom to sell his possessions.

I’m guessing he had already given to the poor and he was on his knees, thinking he was ready to at least follow what Jesus would say.

But his great wealth had a hold on him, he was trapped.

This man’s attachment to his earthly possessions was stronger than his desire to enter the kingdom of God.

He wanted it all.

He wanted to keep in control of his life and still get the reward of eternal life.

The irony was, that if he could have given up his possessions, he would have gained it all.

Jesus turned to his disciples and made the claim that it was more difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom of God, than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.

After hearing that, I suspect the faces of the disciples fell.

Confusion was setting in, because just before this story, in the Scripture we read last week, chapter 10, verse 15, Jesus told the disciples that in order to enter the kingdom of Heaven they had to become like a little child. And now Jesus was telling them that if you they were rich, it would be easier to put a camel through the eye of a needle than to get into heaven.

Which, in essence, told them it was impossible.

How can this be?

Up to this point, every Jewish male had been taught by the rabbis that the best way to know that God was shining on you, was to be healthy and wealthy and wise.

Why look in the Old Testament, in Job 1:10; Psalm 128:1-2 and Isaiah 3:10. That was why the disciples were so astonished that the wealthy would find it difficult to enter the Kingdom.

Jesus saw that neither the rich man nor his disciples “got it”. They still had the religious mindset that inheriting eternal life or being saved was something they had to “do”.  

There Jesus goes again, turning everything upside-down.

Notice the disciples’ question, “Who then CAN be saved?”        (emphasis mine).

Jesus answered them by stating reality.

“With humans this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

Peter started putting two and two together and I suspect there was a little bit of doubt or fear. You see, the disciples had done what the rich man could not. They had left all they had to follow Jesus. And yet, Jesus has just said that whatever humans do, it was impossible. Is Peter thinking, here he has risked everything, for nothing.

But Jesus assured him that when anyone sacrifices their homes, their families and their money for the sake of Jesus or the Gospel they will be repaid a hundred times more, in the present age and in the age to come.

Jesus reminded them again, that the first will be last, and the last will be first.

This was definitely a mixed up Kingdom for the disciples. Yet they keep following Jesus, and keep having to re-train their theological thinking and believing.

And what about today?

As we read through the book of Mark, are you having to re-train your theological thinking and believing?

In comparison to the rich man in this story, how would you react today if Jesus told you that you needed to sell everything you have, give to the poor and follow him. Notice, if you do so, like the rich man, you will have treasures in heaven. One could see it as sort of an investment.

I’d like us to notice that Jesus doesn’t tell everyone he meets to sell everything they have.

I think he tells those who are holding on to what they have tightly, so tightly, they are missing out on the relationship God wants to have with them. And even more so, the blessings God wants to give to them.

This rich man made sure he was “doing” everything correctly so he could secure his entrance into heaven. And yet, even though he knew he was doing an exemplary job, there was some doubt, or he wouldn’t have come to ask Jesus what he had to do to inherit the kingdom. There was something about his way of life that makes me think he was not prepared for Jesus’ answer. My guess is that he had probably been pretty good at getting anything he ever wanted. In his mind, all Jesus had to do was tell him what he had to do, and at this point in his life, he had the ability and where for out to accomplish it.

How many Christians today think about their faith the same way?

How many of us think:

There is this cosmic check list, and if I can check off all the things I need to do to be saved, I’ll be in. You know some of the items on the list,

Ø  ask Jesus to come into my heart,

Ø  accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior,

Ø  repent of my sins,

Ø  be baptized,

Ø  join the church,

Ø  oh yes, read my Bible,

Ø  pray,

Ø  tithe 10% to the church,

Ø  find some place to serve him, etc., etc., etc.

But Jesus turns this around, and says humanly it doesn’t matter what you do, only with God is it possible. And God wants a relationship, first.

A relationship where He loves you unconditionally and where you are not “expected” to get things right and then enter the kingdom of God, and then after you enter the Kingdom of God you start doing things “right” out of your love for God, your Lord, your friend.

Relationship with God has to come first.

And then that relationship has to remain,

FIRST in EVERY part of our lives.

Not one part of our lives is supposed to take precedence over another.

God is supposed to be LORD over everything.

Like the rich man, we could put our money first. We could easily put anything in our lives first, such as your husand, your wife, mother, father, daughter, son.

Your belongings, such as your house, automobile, boat, toys.

Maybe it’s your job, or reputation.

But when we allow God to be LORD over everything in our lives, we still have money, husbands, wives, children, belongings and jobs, but instead of them ruling us, we allow God to guide us in ruling them.

They no longer have a grip on us.

We have freedom to live with them or without them, because we are putting our trust in God, not in ourselves and the material things around us.

The rich man grieved because he could not part with his possessions.

Is there something in your life that if God asked you to part with it, you would grieve because you could not let it go.

Is there something you are holding on to so tightly you are unable to let it go and enter the kingdom of God?

It is like holding a butterfly in your hand.

Let’s say there is a butterfly sitting on your open hand.

It is beautiful with its wings fluttering and the beautiful colors. You are enjoying the butterfly so much you decide you don’t want it to leave, so you grab it tightly.

Okay. You have the butterfly, and it can’t get away. It is still beautiful but you are now no longer able to enjoy it. It is no longer a blessing, but now not only are you unable to enjoy its beauty, you are no longer able to do anything else with that hand.

This is much like our relationship with God.

Our relationship with God should be one of blessings.

Everything in our lives should be viewed as such. If we choose to hold on too tightly we lose the blessing, but if we allow GOD to keep it in our hands we can enjoy it and be blessed by it.

 

Let’s pray.