THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 1-21-01
LESSON TITLE: THE LORD'S RESPONSE: WHAT GOOD THING SHALL I DO THAT I MAY HAVE ETERNAL LIFE?
Let me welcome each of you to our program this morning. We are excited that you have chosen to be with us today for this time of offering and encouragement, as we participate in the things of God.
This program remains committed to doing what God wants, in the way He wants. We accomplish this by collectively singing songs of praise to glorify His name, by studying His Word, and by approaching His throne in prayer. So, at this time, let's humbly bow our heads before our God.
One of the greatest gifts we have as Christians is the fact that God continues blessing us in so many ways. It doesn't matter whether you are talking about the physical things we need or the spiritual help He has promised - our God is there to help us with everything we have need of.
Many of our songs of praise deal with this idea of the wonderful blessing we have in Jesus Christ. And all of them infer the idea that as long as we are doing our part, God will keep doing His. I remember one old song that says, "If it keeps getting better and better oh Lord, I don't know what I'm going to do." What encouraging truths we find in these words.
This morning our first song deals with the many blessing we have from God. So, at this time won't you join in with the congregation as we together sing, "When Upon Life's Billows."
(SONG # 1)
When is the last time you felt like you just couldn't do any more or like you just couldn't go on? I think we have all been there before and wondered what we were going to do to get started up again. It doesn't matter whether you are referring to our spiritual or physical lives, we all have these ups and downs that make us feel like giving up.
If we look in the Bible this problem is nothing new, because we find that even those who lived long ago had the very same problem. For a while they would be strong and faithful to God, but then they would fall away and have to be reminded, before they would turn back to their God. In Lamentations 3:40 we read this statement, "Let us search out and examine our ways, And turn back to the LORD;" Here Jeremiah talks of a need for the people of God to examine themselves, and why? So that they would turn back to the Lord.
To me this is very encouraging to know that when we aren't doing our best or feel like we want to give up that we are not alone. Everyone has been there and experienced the same thing, even many great followers of God in the Bible. I love the way Paul put it when he exhorted the Galatians with the following words, "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." Again, he tells us not to grow weary or give up, and again why? Because if we endure and make it we will reap great things according to the promises of God. But we can not faint or quit on the Lord.
What else does God do to make sure we can make it to the end. Well, as faithful children of God, we know the answer to this one - He is there every step of the way. In fact, in Hebrews 13:5, we have recorded the words of our God, when He said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." You see God is always there to help us when we fall or when we feel like we are alone. So the next time you are down and feel like there is nothing you can do to get going again, remember that God is by your side. And that with His help, all things are truly possible. I can assure you, it will be well worth the effort. Are you standing strong on the Will of God?
Today, we will be considering for a topic the question, "What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?," This is our next lesson in the series we are studying which is called "The Lord's Response." So, please continue with us this morning, and after our next song together I will return with this study from God's Word. The name of our next hymn is, "Blest Be The Tie That Binds."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
This morning we want to again look into our series that we've studied over the past several months and try to look at some of the great responses that our Lord gave to questions, for the most part asked either by His apostles or different disciples. Many followers who would be along behind Him as He was traveling around the region. SO many times He responded in such a great and encouraging way, a way that we can learn so much from especially in our dealings with others as we try to also help them know more perfectly the will of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
If you will, go ahead and turn in your Bibles to the book of Matthew because in Matthew chapter 19 is where we will draw our story from this morning. The question was asked there of our Lord and considered by not only Him but those who were present was this: What good thing shall I do to inherit eternal life? What a good question. The question really helps us to contemplate and consider are we doing what we should? Are we doing enough? And really this goes very well with what we looked at last week in trying to understand that in relationship to eternal life, there are really few who are going to find it because broad is the way that leads to destruction and again now, as we are discussing this morning, "What must I do to have this eternal life?" We want to enter the narrow way, the way that is harder to travel, the way that many are not interested in because it's not popular. It's not the way, the trend of the time.
Now if you'll look with me at chapter 19 of Matthew, we want to read from our text beginning in verse 16 and we'll read through verse 21. Now behold one came and said to Him, "Good teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may enter eternal life?" So He said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but one. That is God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments." He said to Him, "Which ones?" Jesus said, "You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness. Honor your father and your mother and you shall love your neighbor as yourself." You young man said to Him, "All these I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?" Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go sell what you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven and come and follow me."
Now we see a very interesting story here once again. So many of these are not only encouraging but interesting. We can learn so much from these things that Jesus said here. But here He gives a story about a young man, a young man who it seems here as we will know in a moment had a lot of money, very wealthy. Some often refer to him as a rich, young ruler, an individual who was well off in this life, in the life that he lived. And there was a question asked of him in relationship to eternal life, and as we consider this young man, he was asking him really probably from the standpoint as best I can tell because he thought he was okay. He felt he was right. He felt in relationship to who Jesus was, the Father was, in that day and time that he was doing his best, that he was following God as he should. I really like what it said here because he even questions Jesus after Jesus says, "Do my commandments."
I know last week we mentioned a lot about following the commands of God, the one who does the will of the Father. That's the one that God looks to as being proper. Even in the Old Testament it was so. In the book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 12 and verse 13, we find there that the conclusion that Solomon gave of all things was to fear God and keep His commandments. So we must follow the will of God. Where do we find it again? We find it in His word, the Bible. So this rich young ruler here, this young man was told that you must do the commands of God. Then, he questioned, "What commands?" Well obviously he was familiar with what he was supposed to do at least from the standpoint of the Jewish faith, and he evidently was doing that as we read also in another verse. But here Jesus mentions several of the commandments, the Ten Commandments. But you and I know that really they were just a small portion of the vast amount of commandments that were still in force at that time because we know Jesus was also born a Jew, and also liable to follow those commands that were given there at Mount Sinai to Moses, the law of Moses as we often refer to it as. And until He died on the cross, that was the commandment. That was the law that was in place. So we see here that Jesus was giving him the proper answer, the good answer, the answer that was really from the Father according to the dispensation, the age, the time period that they were in.
And then as I mentioned there, we noticed in verse 20, that the young man said to Him, All these things I have kept. I can just see myself, this young man, as he talks to Jesus and probably a proud smile, a happiness on his face because here he said, "I'm doing that so I must be right. I must be proper in the eyes of God." But you know God knows much more than we know. He sees more than just the surface. He knows the heart of man. He knows what our hearts are. We might be able to fool everybody who is around us but we can't fool God. He knows if we're involved in sin or if we're doing things that are wrong or contrary to His will or His commands because He sees inside of us. He doesn't see like man sees. He sees the heart. So again here we see that He saw the heart of this man, and He knew that there was a problem there. A problem many times that you and I have and to me, I might say, "Ouch," on what this topic's all about because this man was caught up in the world. He was caught up in worldly possessions. How many of us allow the things of this world which are not evil in themselves many of them, how many allow those to come before God though? That's the problem. When we start putting them before God or the desire to acquire or have them comes before serving God or doing what God has asked us to. And then Jesus told him, "If you want to be perfect" this young man here again a smile on his face, he thought he was right. He thought maybe here he was going to get an answer if there's just one little thing he needs to do. Then He said, "You need to go, sell and give all that you have to those who are less fortunate and then you need to come and follow Me." You see, a very difficult point. A very difficult point because now He's asking this man to give up everything he knows in life, all of his so called security in this world, to sell it in order that he might help others. Well, he knew that was his weakness. He knew that was his downfall, and that he would most likely not be able to do it. Why? Because He told him to go and sell and give away all that he had so that he might be able to follow Jesus properly.
Notice there if you will with me, verse 22, because that gives the response of this young man to what Jesus had told him. Read with me there. But when the young man heard that saying he went away sorrowful for he had great possessions.
Again, I can see a picture here where the smile becomes more serious. How even maybe he began to put his head down afraid to look at Jesus because he knew he was unwilling to do it. How he maybe turned and began to mope away and had his head down again and just really, really confused, upset about the whole situation, because from one moment he thought he was just great, but the next moment he really was reminded that he had a problem in his life, something that he had not conquered, and something that he was not willing to give up for God. Now if he had been willing to give it up, don't you know God would have blessed him? Don't you know God would have cared for him?
What about Abraham? I'm reminded when Abraham was willing to give up his very own son, the son of promise, even to the point of slaying him, to kill him. Abraham was willing to do whatever God said, and what did God do? He blessed him. He gave him more.
What about Lot? Lot was willing to give up everything and again he was well blessed. Blessed even more than anyone can imagine because again of his faith in God.
So God would have cared for this young man. He would have given him what he had need of and he was not alone in this. Remember how many others that Jesus had said the very same thing to but yet they were willing to do what God had asked them to do. What about the disciples? How many of them were involved in different works? What about Matthew the tax collector? There he found him in his job and took him and said, "Follow me. Leave it and follow me." What about those who are fishers who are out on the sea and He was telling them to be fishers of men, to leave your things, leave your boats and nets and follow me. There again, there were many who were willing to put away the things of the world and to again focus on Jesus and follow Him. But again, this rich, young man who had so many things went away sorrowful. He was not willing. He was unable to do this.
There's a verse also that we find in Mark chapter 10 and verse 24 that says this, Children how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God? Another question that we might be able to even have a whole lesson on because here we again see a question that reminds us of really an answer that needs to be considered, an answer that tells us that we've got to be willing to do whatever it takes. We've got to be willing to give up whatever it is in this life, whoever it is, even if it's individuals, even if it's wealth, even if it's the things of the world, we have to be able to put these things aside. Again, in order that we might be able to follow the one true God in the way that He wants in order that again, we might be those who realize not only what God wants for us to have eternal life, but so that we might be obedient to it.
I know that all of us really come from different backgrounds. There are many of us who were raised in different ways, have different education, many of us who are different colors, but it doesn't matter to God because God wants all men to follow His will. But as we continue to look deeper at what is said though, it is not all men that need the same test. It doesn't seem that everybody had to have the same test that this young man had at least at this point in his life, because God could see his heart and that was his problem. And again, if you consider your life, and I consider my life, we are very different. We are made unique. We are different even from the fleshly standpoint and there are things that might be more appealing or attractive to me that Satan might tempt me with that again he might choose something totally different with you. So God is going to have to look at each of us individually and He's going to have to determine at times what types of tests so to speak that we need, or what it might be that is that thing that is really keeping us from being everything that we can be for Him, but yet at the same time, we know that Christ has given us the plan. He has given us the plan by where we might inherit that eternal life and basically it is that we become obedient to the will of God. There's a way that we first enter the kingdom of God and then we find that there is a way also that we stay faithful into that kingdom.
Throughout the New Testament we find the very clear plan of those that want to be a part of God's kingdom, the kingdom that He died for, He shed His blood for, that they would need to be baptized just as Paul in Acts chapter 22 and verse 16 was instructed by Ananias to arise and to be baptized to wash away his sins. You see, it was a part of it, that he needed to confess the name of Christ, Jesus being the Son, that he needed to repent, turn from sin to be like Christ and then he needed to be buried with his Lord in the watery grave of baptism. In all of these things again, we are reminded that this is how we get into the family of God so that we might inherit eternal life. But then there's so much to do, so much to do because the Bible also tells us that there's a need for faithfulness. Revelation 2 and 10 tells us to be faithful unto death if we want that crown of life. That's how we gain it. That's how we see that God not only is pleased with us but that He gives us all the rewards of this earth now and all those rewards also that are to come.
I want you to go further now in our text in Matthew chapter 19. There are some more ideas that we can draw here also because beginning in verse 23, we see this is continually discussed because really what the Lord was trying to do here was to help the disciples and those around to understand how difficult it was for someone to follow God if they were caught up in the world or if they were wealthy. Why? Because they felt they didn't need God. They were drawn more to the world. If you'll notice there in verse 23, Jesus said to His disciples, "Surely, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven and again, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." Here, we see again a very interesting illustration because Jesus is saying it is hard for one who is rich. Well, most of us are going to say, "Then we're in good shape. We don't have anything to worry about." Because how many of us are rich in this world? None of us probably at least from the standpoint of the American dream. But still as we look here, it says it's hard for a rich man. How hard? How hard, Lord? It's so hard that it would be easier to take a camel, and we've seen camels before maybe at the zoo or wherever but, to take that camel and put it through the eye of a needle. Well, think about that. It's an impossibility and that's the point here. It's almost impossible because again of what happened to the rich man here. This young rich man was not willing to give up that wealth or the worldly things that he could acquire in order that he give himself completely to God. And that's why in verse 25 it says, They were astonished by this. They were just amazed. They were astonished because so many were wealthy, so many were, but that doesn't again mean that there were none who were wealthy who were able to do what God had asked.
As you continue there in verse 26, it says that Jesus looked at them and He didn't really say that it was impossible. But again it's the difficulty level. It is difficult. It is hard for someone who is caught up in these things to not only know what there is that they should do for eternal life, but then to actually carry it out in order that they give up many of these things in their lives.
There's another verse that I want you to look at with me there in verse 25 as we again see the astonishment because it said, Who then can be saved? And we mentioned that a moment ago. But it adds there also, Who then can be saved? He's really wondering here, the disciples as they asked Him, "Well there are many who are wealthy?" So again, we've got to realize that it wasn't saying it was an impossibility but very, very difficult because again of what people are putting first in their lives.
If you'll look also further down with me and you'll see in verse 27, notice what Peter said. Then Peter answered and said to Him, "See, we have left all and followed you. Therefore, we shall live. In other words, "We'll have all things, " Peter said, "We've been able to do this. We've been able to give up whatever it takes. We've been able to live the life that you've asked us to, to follow these commands, to be the type of individuals that you've wanted us to be." And then as we go on there, Jesus really clarifies and helps him to say, "Well, you know, here's the extent. Here's how far you've got to go." And I want you to notice there in verse 29, And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or fathers or mothers or wives or children or lands for my sake shall receive a hundredfold and inherit eternal life. Here again, what should we be willing to give up for God? Jesus says, "Whatever it takes." He's not suggesting that I go home today and I leave my wife or I leave my children or I call up my parents and say, "I don't want to talk to you anymore." He's saying that I must have the attitude that there's nothing as important as God. Why? Because when we put God first then God knows how much we love Him. He sees it in our actions. He doesn't just hear it with our mouths. It's not just lip service, but again, we serve Him through what He really requires of us.
Now if you think again about having eternal life, what God requires, we know that there are rules. We know that there are rules because the Bible is full of commands. We know that there are things that we specifically have to do. We know that there are many that we have to be willing to give up as we have discussed. But in all of these things, in all of these things we have to realize that it is completely worth it because of the great promises that God has given us. What is that great promise? You and I know it's heaven. It's the great promise of heaven, the reward. As it says here, the reward of eternal life. An eternity. Ages upon ages. No ending. Immortal forever with God. You see, that's why it's worth it. But not only that, God also said here in that verse, You shall receive a hundredfold. Not only in heaven, but also on this earth, we will have all that God has to promise us, just as this rich, young man would have if he had been willing to give it up. God would have blessed him and given him all that he had need of if he had understood his problem, realized it and done what he should.
Now we must do the same. Look into your heart. Look into your life. Realize where your sins are. Realize where you need to correct yourself. Do what God asks so that you truly might inherit eternal life.
(SONG # 3 - "Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary!")
Again, let me thank you for choosing to be with us this morning. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.
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May we all strive to learn more perfectly God's Will, so that we will know the true answer to the question, "What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?" Then, let's obey it!