Matthew 19:16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?
28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.
Yesterday we looked at Jesus’ warning regarding the judgment of the lost. Jesus wanted to make sure that everyone would understand that hell is not a worthy option for man. No sane human being would discount or dismiss the reality of hell. Jesus wants all to see the necessity of true Biblical salvation. Don’t assume you can invent your own salvation and that God will accept it because you believe it. God provides salvation for all. If a person wants to be stubborn and self-willed, they can do that. They must also understand the severity of making that foolish choice.
Today we are looking at the rich young man who assumed he was such an upstanding person, and yet he did not have the assurance that he had eternal life. This man had great riches. Jesus does not condemn him as a thief. He could well have been an industrious person who worked hard and had a sharp pencil and knew how to use a dollar to make ten dollars.
The problem with this man was that he assumed he had done all the right things. He assumed that he honoured his parents. He assumed that he did not murder or commit immorality or steal, etc. This man was so blinded by his own pride that he stated that he had done all these things from his youth. This man thought he had an amazing set of credentials. He assumed he was a self-made man who had done exceptionally well for himself. He wanted Jesus to know just how exceptional he was. Surely with such a track record, he must have access to eternal life. He might well have assumed that he would be such an asset to God that it should be an automatic fact that he would have eternal life.
In verse 24 Jesus commented on the flawed thinking of this man and many others. He assumed he was too good to miss out on eternal life. It is similar to the mentality of some who think they are too big to fall. Goliath thought that way. He found out differently.
Jesus pointed out that self-effort is of no value when it comes to eternal life. In fact, self-effort negates the gift of eternal life. Eternal life is not based on what you know or who you know. We know that often times people get ahead by who they know more than by what they know. Our PM is a prime example of this. He has the name of a man who was quite popular back in his day. He also believes he is quite good looking. I remember how the young women would fawn over Pierre Elliot Trudeau. I never thought he was anything special to look at, but what do I know.
Our PM is an empty suit when it comes to meaningful discussion. He would fit well with king Herod, whom Jesus called a fox.
Jesus warned of the impossibility of earning eternal life in any way. There is much discussion on what the eye of the needle is in verse 24. There are a couple of possible explanations which probably most have heard. The point that Jesus is making is that human effort cannot save. There are pastors who teach their people that if they give just a little more, he will mention them from the pulpit or he will have their name put on a plaque, or some other useless promise. Many people fall for those types of gimmicks. None of that impresses the Lord.
The disciples were quite amazed at Jesus’ words. They wondered who then can be saved? That is a good question. Jesus answered the question. He stated again, that salvation is a gift of God. It is a work of God, not of man. It is Jesus Christ Who “worked” to provide salvation for you and I. He went to the cross and He laid down His life on that cross. He shed His blood on that cross and He died on that cross. His dead body was taken down off that cross and placed into a borrowed tomb. His dead body lay in that tomb for three days and three nights. He then rose from the dead, demonstrating His power over sin and death. He talked much of being THE ONE Who would provide eternal life for man. He proved that HE IS THE ONE to offer eternal life to man.
This rich young man needed to get off his high horse and turn to God in repentance and trust in Him alone for salvation. There was no hope for him other than that. The same is true today. Those who want to pat themselves on the back and want to look in the mirror and assume they are just so good, need to be broken. They need to humble themselves and repent toward God and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved. If a person gets saved, they will be different. That camel could not get through the eye of the needle with any baggage on it. It had to be stripped down to where it had nothing.
The rich young man needed to come to the place where he realized he had nothing of any value to offer to God. He needed God, God did not need him. He needed eternal life. Jesus IS eternal life.
The lost sinner must come to the place where he understands he has no bargaining power with God. We do not try to make a deal with God. People talk of giving their heart to the Lord. God does not need our heart. In fact, the Bible tells us that those who are saved are given a new heart. God does not want that old, wicked heart.
Salvation is there for all to have. It must be received on God’s terms, not man’s assumptions. The rich young man did not like the terms and he walked away. The disciples were confounded by the terms and needed to be taught the facts.
Today we need to understand the riches of God which are found in knowing the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. When a person receives those riches, the things of this world take on a completely different value. We still need certain things, but they are not in the same camp that they were in before we got saved. Those who are saved need to be reminded of that. Those who are lost need to understand that and get saved. They need to see their complete unworthiness. They need to see the glory of God and the absolute necessity of trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation. No one can barter and bargain with God. He is God. He is holy. His Word is clear and pure. Don’t be deceived. Don’t try to justify your sin. Repent toward God and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ today. He alone is the hope of man.