Scripture: Mark 10:17-31
A Man’s Life-changing Question
What must I do to inherit eternal life?
Jesus’ Answer & Warning about Dangerous Treasure
“Go sell all you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow me.”
The task of selling all his possessions would not, of itself, give the man eternal life. Jesus is not commanding poverty for him or any others. But such radical obedience would be the first step for this man to become a disciple. Jesus’ words were a test of his faith and his willingness to obey, and sadly this excited young man could not give up his worldly treasure and fully trust God instead of trusting himself.
verse 27 is probably the key to understanding this whole passage. If you haven’t underlined or highlighted this verse – do it now. Jesus looked at them – dramatic pause – made sure they were listening. “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”
Jesus presents a divine paradox. It is not simply hard to be saved it is quite impossible. But our God is the God of the impossible. Only through His Holy Spirit can we comprehend our sinfulness and need for repentance and redemption. Only by God’s mercy can we be forgiven and saved. Have you come to that place in your life where you realized you were so low that you had to look up and accepted the outstretched hand of God offering you salvation? If you have say Amen! If you have not yet, please come talk to me after the service. God is calling you just as Jesus asked this young man to follow him. Will you walk away full of sadness and hopeless or will you follow Him?
A Disciple’s Sacrifice & Reward
Jesus was saying, “With great sacrifice comes great reward!”
Finally in verse 31, Jesus ends restating this kingdom principle that is backwards from the world’s thinking. Many who are first will be last, and the last first. The key to being great in God’s kingdom is making yourself least. Serve others rather than demanding to be served. Give your stuff away to help others instead of accumulating more and more. Use the money and assets you have to advance God’s kingdom instead of building up your own kingdom where you are the center. Put Jesus Christ in his rightful place on the throne as Lord of your life instead of yourself.
Warren Weirsbe said “Money is a marvelous servant but a terrible master. If you possess money, be grateful and use it for God’s glory; but if money possesses you, beware! It is good to have the things that money can buy, provided you don’t lose the things that money cannot buy. The deceitfulness of riches had so choked the soil of this young man’s heart that he was unable to receive the good seed of the Word and be saved.
Tim Keller’s awesome book “Jesus the King” about Mark’s Gospel is something I hope you will take time to read. He included a money test in the chapter about this message. This is how you know money is a problem for you.
- You can’t give large amounts of it away
- You get scared if you might have less than you’re used to
- When you see people with more than you have it gets under your skin
- It’s a scorecard – your identity
The young man who was so excited to meet Jesus – he wanted it all. He said, I‘ve been successful socially, economically, religiously, morally. Am I missing anything?
Yes – you can’t DO enough for eternal life. You have to empty your hands and your heart to receive the gift of eternal life with God as the center. Jesus must be your treasure not the world.
Paul’s Warning to the Rich
Paul warned of the dangers of wealth. Money can quickly bring out these sinful character traits. 1 Tim 6:17 – Don’t become haughty or look down on others. Beware of pride arrogance, insensitivity, indifference, self-satisfaction, worldliness.
Instead, like children, we have to admit our own helpless dependence on God and be thoughtful and generous to those around us in greater need.
- Divest (get rid of) our dependence on wealth
- Invest our wealth in God’s Kingdom
Finally, Jesus warned “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” Where you treasure is your heart will follow. Choose the treasure of eternal life and don’t let money or anything else take its place.