Memphis Belle

Untitled Document
Mathew 1:17
Mathew 1: 18-25 Mathew 2: 1-23 Mathew 3: 1-17 Mathew 4: 1-11 Mathew 4: 12-25
Matthew 5:1-12 Part 1 Matthew 5:1-12 Part 2 Mathew 5:13-16 Mathew 5:17-26 Mathew 5:27-37 Mathew 5:38-48
Mathew 6:1-8, 16-18 Mathew 6: 7-15 Mathew 6:19-34 Mathew 6:25-34 Mathew 7:1-12 Mathew 7:15-23
Mathew 7: 24-29 Mathew 8: 1-17 Mathew 8: 18-34 Mathew 9: 1-13 Mathew 9:14-26 Mathew 9:27 - 10:31
Mathew 10:32-42 Mathew 11:1-31 Mathew 12:1-21 Mathew 12:22-50 Mathew 13:1-23 Mathew 13: 24-43
Mathew 13: 44-52 Mathew 13:54 -14:12 Mathew 14:13-21 Mathew 14:22-36 Mathew 15:1-20 Mathew 15:21-31
Mathew 15: 32-39 Mathew 16:13-23 Matthew 16:24-28 Matthew 17:1-13 Matthew 17:14-27 Matthew 18:1-14
Matthew 18:15-20 Matthew 18:21-35 Matthew 19:1-12 Matthew 19:13-30 Matthew 20:1-16 Matthew 20:17-34
Matthew 21: 1-11 Matthew 21:12-17 Matthew 21:18-22 Matthew 21:23-46 Matthew 22:1-14 Matthew 22:15-46
Matthew 23:1-39 Matthew 24:1-31 Matthew 24:32-44 Matthew 25:1-46 Matthew 26:1-13 Matthew 26:14-54
Matthew 26: 54-75 Matthew 27:1-26 Matthew 27:27-66 Matthew 28:1-20    
           

 

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Matthew 19:13-30

 

“Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray:  and the disciples rebuked them.  But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me:  for of such is the kingdom of heaven.  And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?  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.  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, Honour thy father and thy mother:  and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up:  what lack I yet?  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.  But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful:  for he had great possessions.  Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.  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.  When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?  But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.  Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?  And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, 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.  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.  But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.”

 

“Good to have you with us, if you’re visiting this morning.  You’ve heard in the last few weeks about radio, we are in a process of building some radio stations.  And I, there’s one out on the peninsula, we just got the final coverage map from the engineer, and I thought we’d show it to you.  And probably for 90 percent of you it won’t mean a thing.  But maybe some of you will, and stir your hearts a little bit to pray, as we go on the air at the end of the peninsula, and then pop on some translators.  So what we’re going to show you is a picture that will maybe help a few of you, anyway…There’s the map, and maybe some of you now have a little bit of a sense of where we’re starting in, anyway.  Turn in your Bibles to Matthew chapter 19.  If you could definitely keep it in prayer, the radio, we’re obviously paid for the construction permit, all that’s squared away.  Now we’re just trusting God for the finances to build it, which is about $75,000.  And we’re tightening up the ship around here locally, to squeeze out as much as we can, but it’s just a prayer-thing, and so just keep praying, and asking the Lord to bless and provide and lead us in this time.  But his hand is clearly in it. 

 

What does it take to get into the  kingdom of heaven?

 

Matthew chapter 19.  You know, we’ve been basically like one of the disciples.  You know, the disciples, the 12, and then there’s many more that are with Jesus, they’ve been traveling with him, and heard him teach on all sorts of different things, in different places, and watched him work and touch lives on all sorts of different things.  We’ve been going through the Gospel of Matthew now for over a year, and it’s sort of the same, we’re kind of with the disciples, and we’re stopping as he’s stopping, and giving studies and giving sermons, and we’ve heard a wide gamut of things he’s taught about.  I believe the Bible, Paul told Timothy that this is inspired by God, and is profitable for every good work.  And as we listen and study in the Word of God, we become complete, complete for every good work.  I kind of butchered that verse, those of you that know it off the top of your head.  But you know the point.  The point is, the Word of God, it deals with everything: we’ve talked about marriage, we’ve talked about sexuality, we’ve talked about relationships, we’ve talked about attitudes, and we just continue to walk with Jesus as he shares his wisdom in the Word.  And it changes lives, we watch lives get changed in this church as we continue to simply go through the Word of God.  Today we come, and you know Jesus is on his last journey, he’s left the Galilee area, he’s not returning, and he’s going to Jerusalem, and it’s the last time.  Because as he gets to Jerusalem, it’s a very short time until the religious leaders, as he has told the others that are with him, the religious leaders are going to take him, he’s going to be tortured by them basically, and then he’s going to be crucified.  And of course, you know, he’s crucified by the sin of man.  You know, we can’t point the finger at any one individual or any group of people, ultimately it’s mankind that is going to do it to him.  And so he’s going to be crucified, and he’s heading there.  But at the same time, as we’re watching him, you’d never know that’s where he’s going, in the sense that he’s just loving people and ministering to people.  And that’s what he does today.  We’ll note one of the Gospels, not in Matthew, but another Gospel gives us the details, as he has a conversation with a man, it says right in the conversation, that as he looked at him he loved him.  And he just shares the truth with him and the love of God with him, and what he needs.  And so, as we’re just traveling with Jesus here, we’re just listening and hearing his heart. But yet, you’d never know where he’s going by the way he’s acting, but he’s going to the cross at this time.  We only know about it, because he tells people about it.  But he’s out there just pouring out his life, he’s come to give his life for mankind.  Well, we get to the point now, you know this particular time where he’s sharing the truths he does, I think of this time, where he’s going, and the things that he says, I think of folks that are in the crowd at this time, and maybe even in this sanctuary who are listening in, or in another way, maybe through the Internet or on radio or whatever, and the question, the question that often is asked is, you know, the kingdom of heaven, what does it take for us to get into the kingdom of heaven?  What does it take for me to get there?  What do I need to do to make sure that when I die that I’ll end up with God in the kingdom of heaven? [log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/corinthians/cor15-16.htm to see how we get ushered into the kingdom of heaven in the literal sense]  That’s especially where Jesus is going this time.  And maybe you’re here today, and you have that question.  You’ve been on a journey, and you’re wondering: ‘What does it take?  You know, I’ve checked out different things, and what is the answer to that?  How do I know for sure that when I die I’m going to end up with God in the kingdom of heaven?  Well if you happen to have that question, I believe if you listen to what God says here, what Christ says here, I think you’ll find the answer, for sure.   So let’s say a word of prayer and we’ll get started.  ‘Lord, thank you for this time, that we can look at your Word, that we can just continue really as one of the disciples, to go verse by verse through Matthew, and just watch you, and listen to you, and to consider the things that you say.  And we would ask God that you’d just open our eyes and hearts even now, so that we would hear you, [that] you’d put aside the distractions.  Maybe some of our hearts, there’s such pride, that it’s like a rock.  But I thank you Lord, that your Word is like a hammer, that chisels away at that rock.  And I pray even hearts that are hard would be softened, as we go through your Word.  And I do pray, considering where we are now in Matthew, for those that are here especially, that never yet, well, if they were to die today, they wouldn’t be with you, because they haven’t done what it takes to get there.  And so I pray especially for them, that Lord as we go through your Word you’d speak to them, and they’d hear your voice, and today they’d make a decision to follow you…in Jesus name, amen.’

 

Jesus blesses the little children

         

Chapter 19, we left off with verse 13, so let’s pick up with verse 13, “Then little children were brought to him that he might put his hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them.  But Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.’  And he laid his hands on them and departed from there.”  So where we pick up now in Matthew, it’s kind of like a baby dedication, moms and dads, we presume, relatives of young children are bringing their kids to the Lord, to have him lay his hands on them, and to pray for them.  [Very interesting, this may have roots in Jewish worship.  I was part of a Messianic Jewish congregation for a couple years, and each service, a prayer-shawl would be held aloft by two members, and all the children (it was a small congregation) would come up and stand under the prayer-shawl, and then the pastor-rabbi would utter the Aaronic Blessing on the children.]  We learn in Luke chapter 18, specifically he uses the word “infant” there, as we get the parallel story there from Luke, it says “infants”, so little babies are being brought to Jesus so he can pray over them.  Now, we learn in the Mishna, which is the first section of the Talmud, and that’s a collection of early rabbinical interpretations of the Law back in 200 or so AD, we learn there from these rabbinic teachings that the Jewish custom at the time was to bring a child on the evening of the day of Atonement, they’d bring a child to an Elder and the Elder would lay his hands on the child and bless the child and pray for the child.  That was the custom.  And so it’s possible, that certainly gives us some background as to why maybe these parents are doing what they’re doing.  Because that was the custom at the times, to do that.  So here’s a Rabbi, and kids are being brought.  [Interesting, the people recognized Jesus as a rabbi, essentially as the Rabbi.]  Of course, knowing who Jesus is, his wisdom and his power, I mean, I’d be right there in line, even if I didn’t know the custom.  We do the baby dedications here, you know, so certainly.  Well as you see as that’s happening, the disciples though are hindering the people from doing that, they’re stopping them.  And I would think, considering what they’ve seen, I mean, here’s a man that has multitudes that are with him, that are after him, that want to talk to him, that want to be touched by him.  We’ve seen him before, even stay up all night, not go to bed, and the next morning just continuing to minister to crowds and multitudes. And being with the disciples, I can understand why they’d be like ‘Hey, man, listen, don’t bother him, he’s not interested’, and that’s what’s happening.  Now it says they rebuked the people.  Every Gospel, Matthew has an account of this, Mark and Luke, every one of them has that harshness, where they’re pretty harsh with the people, too.  I mean, they’re tough.  Now imagine being a parent, you’ve heard about Jesus, maybe you even saw Jesus once, and you’ve gone all the way back home, and now you’ve brought your child, you’ve come on a hike---a lot of the people do come from far distances---and you’re a mom or dad, and you’ve got your child, and you’ve worked your way through the crowd, and now you’ve got like the Secret Service, you know that are there, just not letting you near the guy.  ‘Listen, I just want to bring my child’, and they’re not letting you do that.  That’s kind of what’s going down, that’s kind of what’s going down.  You know, I think about that, here are people who are trying to bring somebody they love, a young one, to the Lord, and people are preventing that. 

 

Are there people obstructing you on your journey to the Lord?

 

And I think of that, and maybe you’re here, and you’ve had that experience.  In fact, maybe you’ve been on that journey, you’re on a journey, you’re trying to come, you’re trying to figure out God.  You know, you want to know.  “What is it?  What’s true?  What’s right?  What is heaven, the kingdom of heaven?  Who is God?  And how do I get there?”---you’ve been on a journey.  And as you’ve been on a journey, you’ve yet also experienced people who are in the way, in the sense that maybe you have friends, you’re suddenly talking about religion, and they’re thinking that’s not good for you. That’s gonna distract you, so they’re now trying to persuade you, ‘You know, what are you talking about that?  Forget that stuff, it’s a waste of time’---and here you are today, and you’ve been going through that.  Maybe it’s a friend, maybe it’s a family member.  Maybe you’ve had other types of, maybe you’ve gone to a church seeking answers, and have had a leader of a church really get in the way.  That happens a lot.  In the North County I’ve heard many stories.  I heard a story last week, somebody that was here, talking of years ago, their whole story of coming to God, and years ago, being alcoholic, struggling with alcohol, life was a mess, ruined business, ruined family, needed help.  This particular man goes to a priest to get some help, sits down, and this is the story this man tells.  He says to the priest, ‘You know, I’ve got all these problems, and I’m an alcoholic’, and the priest pulls out a bottle of whatever it was, puts out two glasses, and pours some alcohol for this man and for himself, the priest, and he says ‘Hey, listen man, you’re problems are you’re just drinking too much’, and just had a little conversation with him.  And the guy leaves, and he needs help!  And he doesn’t get help.  Lots of stories, lots of stories people have told me.  They start reading the Bible, they’re on this journey [to find God] years ago, and they go to a leader of a church, and they’ve got questions, and then it comes up that they’re reading the Bible, and the leader says “Don’t read the Bible, man, you don’t need to do that, that’s our job, that’s not your job.  You just come to church.”  And yet they were honestly seeking, and now somebody’s getting in the way.  Hey, there’s stories in our State, I’ve talked to people that years ago, a young person, trying to figure it all out, and they’ve got this interest, they want to know God, and then they have a church leader who takes advantage of them.  You know, that’s been a problem, obviously, we’ve heard a lot about it in the media.  There was even a gal who just two weeks ago was telling me.  And I’m not like doing a survey here, I’m just hearing stories.  I didn’t know I’d be here today talking about this.  But there was a gal two weeks ago, was telling me that years ago she was seeking God, went to confession, and she’s there confessing, you know, this is a dramatic thing for her, and the phone rings, and the priest leaves(!).  And she’s alone, just confessing, and then leaves the place, and just has this weird feeling about it.  ‘You know, what’s this all about?’  You know, the stories go on and on, I could go on and on and on.  [So we see, people in your church can also be holding you back, say, if you are in the wrong kind of church, a “liberal” church which doesn’t truly worship the Jesus Christ of the Bible, or even say a church which has a toxic environment which is not healthy for spiritual growth.  Also a friend or church leader in church could be proving ‘toxic’ to your growth, whereas the overall church is fine.  You may be on that journey as well.  If so, you need to think about some things, serious things.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/history/saga.htm and read that introduction to that history file, it’s just a couple of pages.]  You know, there are people too, I mean, maybe you’re from a different religious background, maybe you’re from another country.  There are times, in other countries, I just read in the Newspaper of stories, maybe you are here and you’ve had an experience, or are listening in, and it’s been like this, as you’ve been seeking God.  November 18th, maybe you saw it, but this is a Saudi Arabia high school chemistry teacher, evidently made the mistake of discussing religion, about the Bible and Judaism in the class, and not talking favorably of Islam, but was favorable about Christianity with some students.  The government stepped in, this particular teacher has been sentenced to seven hundred and fifty lashes and forty months in prison.  Now what about those kids in that class.  He’s having an honest discussion with the teacher about the Bible, about Christ, Judaism, whatever, and then the government steps in.  750 lashes?  I just couldn’t imagine 750 lashes.  So, I start with that.  Here are sincere people, they’re even with the Lord, yet the disciples are getting in the way, really is what they’re doing.  And that happens, and maybe that’s been your experience.  I use the opportunity to say that, because, to me it only proves that Christ is real, and the Word of God is true, because there’s a spiritual battle going on.  And even going through it, and wondering what it’s all about, I just want to use the opportunity to say, keep pressing on, and keep on seeking and you shall find.  And I hope God even speaks to you today, maybe you’ll get the answers today as we’re going through what we are covering today.  Jesus, he doesn’t like it.  In fact, we learn from one of the disciples, that it’s upsetting to him when he learns about this whole situation.  And he says to the disciples, he says, “Let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them.”  And that’s just his heart, “let them come, whoever, come.”  [We also saw that in the transcript of Matthew 18:1-14.]       Matthew 11:28, “Come, all who are weary, come to me.”  That’s his heart, God’s heart, anyone here, ‘Come to me.’  He calls to you, “Come to me, I want to know you, I want to have a relationship with you.”  And he’s provided the means for that.  That’s certainly his heart, ‘Let the little children come, don’t stop them, man, I mean, bring the people.’  I mean, that’s the heart, come to Jesus, ‘Come to me.’  And he continues, he says “for as such is the kingdom of heaven.”  Or as the NIV says, “for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  Now it’s interesting, we a little while ago, Matthew chapter 18, you remember, Jesus went on with a similar thing, as he was trying to teach the disciples about greatness, they asked about greatness.  And he was showing them through a child, ‘This is greatness, is this child, in the sense that you’re taking on that type of attitude and heart, not standing there in your pride and your pomp and whatever type of arrogant attitude, but instead taking on the disposition of a child, of just in faith, the childlike faith, and the disposition of taking on the low position, not worrying so much about what people think about you, but just focusing on God and seeking God.  And in a similar way, we learn in the other Gospels that he says “for as such is the kingdom of God”, and then he continues, it says in Mark chapter 10, “Assuredly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, will by no means enter it.” 

 

What do I need to do to get into the kingdom of heaven?

 

And so the question, what does it take to get into the kingdom of heaven?  How do I get there, what do I need to do?  Well it starts with this point right here, as a little child.  That’s what it takes.  It starts with that.  Back in Matthew 18 when we were studying this, Matthew 18, verse 3, Jesus said, “Unless you are converted, and become as little children, you’ll be no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”  Converted, meaning in heart and attitude, and taking on that type of disposition, and that faith, childlike faith, where you are willing to look to God in sincerity and humility and honesty.  And when you do, you’re going to find God reveal himself to you.  Jeremiah 29, verse 13, “And you will seek me, and find me, when you search for me with all your heart.”  ‘You’ll find me when you seek, with that type of heart.’  Jesus says, ‘As a little child’, unless you’re converted like that, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.  So, how do I get there?  How do I enter into the kingdom of heaven?  Well it starts with that, as a little child. Now this passage, I’ll just note, because there’s an important thing here, when we talk about the doctrine of salvation.  There are some that will take these verses and use this as a proof text, as a basis for teaching infant baptism, in the sense that we baptize a child when they’re young so that they can be saved.  And they’ll use this as a proof text for that.  Obviously, there’s no mention of baptism in these verses, no oil or water ever indicated.  And it’s not a proof text for that.  Because when we put all the rest of Scriptures in the Bible together, we find, you know, it’s just fine if you’re using it like a dedication like we do here, where we say, ‘We dedicate this child to you, Oh Lord, and as a mom and dad we’re determined to be the best example, and to raise them in the ways of the Lord.’  [But this actually isn’t a baptism, and no water is used, this is strictly and simply a dedication which they do in this church.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/baptism/What%20is%20Baptism.htm]  You know, I’ve even been to funerals locally where now there’s an adult, and this adult has died, and it’s mentioned in the funeral that ‘They were baptized when they were a baby, so they’re all set.  They’re in heaven now.’  And that’s just not true in the Scripture, it just doesn’t fit the Bible.  In fact, when we put all the Scriptures together, what we find is this.  The Bible’s clear, that when I was born, the moment I was born, every child is a sinner.  [I don’t necessary believe that,  but I believe every child, over a very short period of time takes on the sin nature by way of the very powerful broadcast of Satan that goes around this globe, broadcast in the wavelength of the “spirit in man” which “spirit in man” every human is given so that they can “understand the things of a man” as 1st Corinthians 2:11shows.  This has the same overall effect in the end.  i.e. that child, no matter what, under the pull of Satan’s wavelength will eventually sin, and then pull down the death penalty of the Law onto himself or herself, and then they’ll need the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to cover their sins.  This gets pretty heavy into the theology of Salvation, which is not being completely spelled out here.]  David, King David himself said in Psalm 51 verse 5, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.”  ‘Right from the moment I was born I had a problem’ he said, ‘I was a sinner.’  And so we’re all sinners, and we need a Savior.  Although it is true, in the Scripture, when we put all the Scriptures together, Scriptures like Isaiah chapter 7, verse 16, and 1st Corinthians chapter 7, and 2nd Samuel chapter 12, Scriptures like that, where what happens when you have a child that is young and dies, what happens to that child?  Well, clearly the Bible says, Paul says in 1st Corinthians 7 that when you have a believing parent, that child is being sanctified, and so therefore, a child that doesn’t know better, when that child dies, and they have a believing parent, very clearly they go to be with the Lord.  And what happens now with a child that doesn’t have any believing parents?---who isn’t old enough to know how, and not at the age of accountability yet?---what happens to them?  Personally I believe they enter into the kingdom of heaven too, just studying the nature and heart of God, here’s a child that can’t make a choice, doesn’t know God, has never had the opportunity to reject God, just not at that age of accountability yet, doesn’t, can’t discern those things.  Well I believe they’d enter into the kingdom of heaven either way, just knowing the heart of God, and the nature of God, in putting all the different Scripture together.  [the whole Body of Christ has all kinds of differing beliefs about heaven and hell.  To see what some of these are, log onto: http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm. The actual truth may lie somewhere in that hodgepodge of beliefs, so check it out.  Don’t forget, these sermon transcripts are coming from a specific denomination within the Body of Christ, with specific beliefs of their own about heaven and hell, and you guys and gals are hailing from all parts of the Body of Christ.  It never hurts to investigate, and prove out what you believe.]  Yet, when a person reaches the age of accountability, and that is an age where I can now discern good and evil, and I can discern God and I’m at that point where I can honestly make a decision about this stuff in one way or another, whatever that age may be, it varies for kids and people, however we get there.  But when I get there, I am accountable for my sin.  And if I was baptized when I was a baby, it doesn’t mean diddily at that point.  Because as we go on, we’ll see, what I need is the grace of God, and I need a Savior, and the Savior is Jesus Christ.  If you’re here today, and you are trusting in a religious ceremony, and something that somebody else did for you a long time ago, and you’re thinking, ‘That just took care of it.’  But if you’re here today and you’re thinking that, I bet you, at the same time you’re not completely confident of it in your heart.  There’s yet a question about it.  Because I believe we’re confident when we have the Holy Spirit in us, and the Holy Spirit giving us the assurance that comes with honestly knowing him.  And so, salvation, how do I get to the kingdom of God?...If you’re thinking infant baptism saves you, you’re all set, then understand what Jesus is going to say as we go along, and what he says in other places in the Scripture. 

 

This Young man wants to know what he can do to gain eternal life

 

Verses 16-22, “Now behold, one came and said to him, ‘Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have 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.’  The young man said to him, ‘All these things 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, follow me.’  But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”  So, verses 16-22 we read there’s a young man, it says he’s a young man, that comes to Jesus, back there in verse 16.  He’s a young man, but also, as you note there, it’s clear, he’s a wealthy man.  He’s young and he’s wealthy.  Luke chapter 18, verse 18, we learn that he’s also a ruler.  So here is a man who is successful, he’s a man whose got influence, wealth.  And as you can see in the context, he appears to be a moral man too.  Man, from the eyes of the world, this guy’s got a lot going for him, that’s for sure.  And in the eyes of the customs and understandings of the Jewish culture of the time, this guy has a lot going for him, that’s for sure, on his report card.  Wealthy, moral, ruler, dude, he’s got a lot going for him.  Well we learn a few things about his attitude, you don’t get it here, but in the other Gospels, Gospel of Mark, we get some detail that’s important.  It says in Mark that he actually comes running to Jesus, he’s described as running to Jesus.  And when he gets there, he actually kneels before Jesus.  So that gives you a little bit about his heart.  He’s a ruler, he’s wealthy, but he’s knelt down before this Rabbi.  It tells me there’s some sincerity to him.  He poses a question, honestly he wants to know the answer.  It just shows to me that there’s a child-likeness to him as he’s doing that.  Another thing to note, in the Gospel of John, chapter 9, in putting together the timing of sequences and events, it would seem that this is after the time when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, they make the decree that if anybody’s hanging out with this carpenter, this religious rabbi Jesus guy, if anybody’s hanging out with him, they’re going to be excommunicated from the synagogue.  You remember that point, in John, and it seems that’s before this time when this young man comes to Jesus.  So here is a rich young ruler, moral man, on his knees before Jesus.  So he’s taking risks in what he’s doing, too.  So, he potentially could be excommunicated from the synagogue just to be doing what he’s doing, in that position before this rabbi.  So, it would say that there is a sincerity, indeed, to what’s going on as he poses the questions that he does.  He says “Good Teacher”.  If you have the NIV, it just says ‘Teacher’, but if you have the NIV and you go to Mark and Luke, it says ‘Good Teacher’ in those accounts.  So clearly what he says is “Good Teacher.”  And it’s important he uses that word “Good Teacher”, that’s why Jesus responds in the way that he does, he says “Good Teacher, what good things shall I do that I might inherit eternal life?”  In other words, ‘What is it going to take for me to get in, what else do I have to do?  What’s left so I’m guaranteed of getting in, Jesus?’  Maybe you’re wondering the same thing, again, you have that same question.  Here you are sitting here in services, you’re like, ‘What’s left, man?  There’s something else, what is it?  Let’s make sure it’s all set and taken care of so I can move on.’  Maybe you’re here for this one week, thinking, ‘OK, I’ll go to this church, I’ve been to these few other places, I’ll make sure I’ve got them all, cover all the bases, maybe I’ll be here a little while, I’ll square it away for sure, then I’ll move on with my life.’ 

 

This man’s question is the basis for man’s religions”

 

Now this man’s question is interesting, because his question is the question really, the basis for man’s religions.  ‘What do I need to do, to make sure that I’ve done the good things that I need to do, so that it all balances out in the end, so I can be with God?’  That’s the basis for man’s religions.  It’s interesting the word religion comes from the Latin word, relegari, which means literally to re-link, or to tie-fast.  And that’s what religion is, man’s religions.  It is, ‘We’re going to do what we need to do to re-link with God, to re-connect with him.’  ‘What good deeds?  What ceremonies?  What performances do I need to do, to re-link, re-connect with God?’  And maybe you’re thinking that.  ‘What do I need to do to re-link?  What do I need to square away, what good deeds, in order to re-link with God?  Verse 17, Jesus responds, he says, ‘Now, for starters, why are you calling me good?’  In the culture of the time, the rabbis were never addressed as ‘Good Teacher’, they would not say that.  In fact, the Talmud, again those rabbinical interpretations of the Law, the Talmud taught that no one was good, there was only One good, and he was called The Good, that is Yahweh, he was addressed as The Good, Yahweh, that is God.  So you never called anybody Good.  This man, he seems sincere, he’s on his knees, sees things about Jesus, and says Good Teacher.  [Think he could have understood that this was indeed Yahweh in the flesh?]  So Jesus goes with that, because he wants to draw things out of his heart.  He loves him, and he wants to reveal certain things to him.  So he says, “Why do you call me Good, no one is good but One, that is God.”  Now when he says that, he’s not saying that he’s not God.  Somebody tried to use that as a proof text to say ‘clearly he’s saying he’s not God.’  That’s not what he’s saying at all.  In fact, he is saying that he is God.  What he’s trying to say is ‘You’re calling me good, do you understand what you are saying?  There’s no one that’s good except for God.  You’re calling me good, you see things in me.  No man’s good, you know no man’s good, so why are you calling me good?  And if I am good, then it’s an indication that I’m Divine, I’m God.’ 

 

Does Commandment-keeping save you?

 

“But if you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”  The Law.  Now Jesus is answering him on his grounds, because he’s come with a certain question, he’s coming from a certain angle, Jesus is coming right back, meeting him where he’s at.  But he’s using the opportunity to draw things out of him, and reveal certain things to him.  ‘If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.  If you want to find life, keep  the Law,’ and the point there, as you see in the context, is you need to keep it perfectly, that’s the context, you need to keep it absolutely perfectly.  So when it comes to good works and entering into eternal life, when it comes to good works…[tape switchover, some text lost]…then chapter 3 of Galatians, verse 10, “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.’   But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for ‘the just shall live by faith.’”  So it creates the problem, and that’s what Jesus is going to do, he’s actually going into the Law, and seeks to show, because the Law is actually a mirror for me to look into, look at the Law, and go ‘Oh, wait a minute, I’ve got a few problems here.’  And that’s what he’s going to do with this man.  [Don’t think the Law is done away with either.  The subject of Law & Grace can be a tricky one for believers.  For some good material covering this seemingly complex theological subject, log onto:  http://www.unityinchrist.com/whatisgrace/whatisgraceintro.htm.]  Well, this man’s still thinking that, he’s a moral man, he’s done a pretty good job at this point.  He says, ‘Which ones? Let me know what I need to do, I just need to know, tell me.  Jesus says ‘You shall not murder…’  He goes right through the Law.  And he goes specifically to the second tablet of the Law.  The first tablet dealing with my relationship with God, the second with my relationship with my fellow man, and that’s the one that he goes to, ‘You shall not murder, don’t commit adultery, do not steal, or bear false witness, honor your parents, and love your neighbor as yourself.’  Now if this man had been there in the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus was giving the Sermon on the Mount, you remember, the religious leaders looked at the Law in a legalistic way, and they’re like thinking, ‘Ah, I’ve never committed adultery.  I’ve never murdered…we’ve achieved the Law.’  Jesus then shows them, it’s the spirit of the Law before a holy God.  He says, ‘If you’ve thought it in your mind, if you’ve hated in your heart, if you’ve lusted in your heart, you’ve committed adultery, you’ve committed murder.’  Well this man, clearly this young man is still thinking like the rabbis were too who were at Sermon on the Mount, on the letter of the Law, not the spirit of it.  Now, when Jesus quotes the 2nd tablet of the 10 Commandments, obviously he’s not showing this man that law-keeping will get him into the kingdom of heaven, that this is a means, this is the means, this is the pathway, if you do these things you’ll get there.  That’s not his point.  [i.e. obedience to the Law of God does not earn anyone salvation.  Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be keeping the Law of God, it just doesn’t earn us salvation.  Our salvation is a free gift, bought and paid for by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/galatians/Galatians1-1-24.htm for a real good study on law & grace.]  That’s not the way you get into the kingdom of heaven.  The law is a spiritual mirror.  He’s going to draw out, and he’s especially going to focus in on the last one, I  believe, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  Because he’s going to say something else to him in a moment that clearly is going to show him that he doesn’t really love his neighbor as himself.  But Paul explains to the church in Rome, in Romans chapter 3, verse 19 to 20, the Law, he says, “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in his sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”  So, Paul writes, the law is there to stop every single mouth, anybody that wants to stand before God and say ‘God, man, I’m a good man, I’m a good woman, look at my life.’  And then the law comes up and just silences you, because it shows you that you’re not good before a perfect and holy God, that you’re a sinner, and you’ve fallen short.  Nobody will be justified by following that path, seeking to obey the Ten Commandments, and that’s where he’s going.  [now, when you study those links on law & grace, you will see that we are expected to do, by and through the power, and with the enabling power of the Holy Spirit within  us, we’re expected to obey God’s law to the best of our ability.  It’s simply that obedience doesn’t earn us anything.  That quote at the bottom of that first page on this link http://www.unityinchrist.com/whatisgrace/whatisgraceintro.htm is written by the senior pastor of the whole denomination this pastor’s church came from.  That senior pastor teaches that the Law is not done away, and that we are to try to keep it.  You will come to see as you study more about Law & Grace, that obedience, as we perfect it, is truly a fruit of God’s Holy Spirit within us, more than it is from our own efforts, important as they may be too.]  Paul just goes a little bit further in Romans chapter 3 and explains, he says, “For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.”  And then a couple chapters later, Romans chapter 6, verse 23, “For the wages of sin is death”, the law shows us that we’re all sinners, and we all need God’s intervention, that’s just the simple truth.  [second half of that verse is just as important, “but the gift of God is eternal life.”]  

 

“I’ve kept all these laws---what do I lack?”

 

Verse 20, “The young man said to him, ‘All these things I have kept from my youth.  What do I still lack?’”  Not understanding the spirit of the Law Jesus gave in the sermon on the Mount, of course.  But then he says, “But what do I still lack?”.  Interesting confession, interesting point.  I mean, as you consider, ‘Man, I’ve sought to be very religious, I mean, I’ve been zealous since I was young.  And these things, man, I have sought to uphold them, but to be honest with you, I’m still missing something.  I’m still not too sure about this.  What else do I lack?’ And I tell you, if you seek to go that route, when you get to the end, you’ll go ‘What do I lack?  It ain’t working.’  Truly, if you go any other way other than the way that God has provided, you’re going to find the same thing in the end.  ‘What do I lack?’  Maybe you’re here today, and that’s where you’re at, ‘I lack something.’  You know, it’s taught in Sunday school, but I believe we, in our soul, in our heart, we all have a hole, you know, you can watch Donut Man, he can tell you about the hole in the middle of your heart.  And we have that hole.  We have a God-space, a God-vacuum that only God can fill.  And you can try to fill it with anything else, and if you don’t get God in there in the end, you come up saying ‘What else do I lack?’.  And maybe that’s you, you’re saying, ‘I lack something, man, I’m missing something.’  And what you’re missing is a relationship with God, having the Holy Spirit within you, knowing him personally.  “What one thing do I lack?” he asks.  Well, Jesus says, at this point it’s interesting.  We learn in one of the Gospels that he actually says to him, “There’s one thing you lack…”  And so the man is pretty moral, I mean.  Jesus says there’s one thing that you’re missing.  But if you miss in one area, you’re missing the mark.  You miss in one place, you miss in one place in the Law, you’ve violated all the Law, the Bible says, one area.  You might be thinking, man, ‘You don’t know, man, I make a million dollars, I give 975,000 of it every year to the poor, I live in a little hut, but I’m a millionaire, and I just pray all day long, I just pray for the world, and all I do is think about good things, and I just love people, and come on, man, I’m a good guy.”  You miss on one, one area, come up a little short, a thought, an emotion that was wrong, that you ran with, one lie, whatever it is, you lack, you fall short.  And the truth is, we all do, because we have that very nature, the moment I came out of the womb [and was exposed to Satan’s evil broadcast of his nature], God looked and says, “You lack, you’re a sinner”, it was right there in my very being, and began to prove itself over time.  Jesus says “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, follow me.”  ‘You’re thinking perfection, you want to be perfect and get there that way.  If you want to be perfect, here’s the deal, you lack, go and sell what you have, and give it to the poor, and you’ll have treasure in heaven, and come, follow me.’  It says in Mark that he actually says, “Take up the cross, and come follow me.”  So, as you see that in verse 22, when the young man hears that, he actually is sorrowful, man, that’s not what he wanted to hear.  He wanted to hear Jesus tell him just something that he knew that he could do.  He’s doing pretty well, ‘Just give me something that I, just one of those kind of ritualistic, religious kind of spiritual deals, and I’m ready, man, just tell me what it is, I’ll do it.’  And this is not what he wanted to hear, but God, Jesus knows his heart.  [So Jesus obviously chose something for him to do that he knew he couldn’t bring himself to do, all on his own power.]  It’s interesting, in the other Gospels, Mark chapter 10, verse 21, wonderfully says this, that “Jesus looked at him, and he loved him, and he said to him…He sees the man’s heart and he loves him, and he wants to just draw it out, that he would turn, and he would humble himself in that childlike faith, and come.  And so he goes right to the heart of the matter, which is this man has another master, another god, he has all these belongings that he loves.  He loves the lifestyle so much, that…You know, Jesus said that you shall love your neighbor as yourself, and when he says ‘Go sell all your stuff and give to the poor’, if you honestly loved your neighbor as yourself, you as a Holy Spirit indwelt believer might initially go ‘Oh, boy that would be beautiful, wouldn’t it, man I could be a blessing to those people, and I love them so much’, and you could get there.  This man doesn’t even know what it means to love your neighbor as yourself, you know, he loves himself, that’s about where it stops, in reality.  And so when Jesus says ‘Sell all you have and give it to the poor’, the young ruler is bumming, he is bumming big time, because he had a lot.  That’s not what he wanted to hear.  You know, how do you get there, how do you get into the kingdom of God?  Well, a childlike faith, and it’s not by the Law [i.e. our own personal efforts to keep the Law, although this does not do away with our responsibility to abide by the Law, as a proper understanding of Law & Grace brings out], you’ve got to be perfect [if you’re trying to make it that way, which is impossible for anyone] if it’s by the Law.  Thirdly, the third thing, there can be no other gods [which is part of the first four of the 10 Commandments].  I can’t get there on my own, Jesus wants the throne of my heart, he wants to sit right on that throne.  And clearly, when there is something else.  The Bible says God is a jealous God, he’s a consuming fire.  And in your heart, if there is another god, where you cannot follow the Lord, because these other things master you, these things are what you love, these things are what are so important to you.  And Jesus says if that’s true, you can’t get there.  [cf. Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and mammon.”  Then Jesus goes on to show how we can switch over from the senseless accumulation of mammon, and the service of it, to a better way, in verses 25-34 of Matthew 6.  Read them.]  It’s pick up the cross, follow me.  That’s the way you get there, is you love God.  That’s the point, is you love him with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul.  Now, we’re not perfect, we’re in process [what is called the sanctification process, which begins once a person accepts Jesus Christ into their lives, repents, is baptized and receives the Holy Spirit], and we all have issues.  But the reality of that, of loving God, and not being mastered by anything else, not having anything else that you love more.  This man unfortunately walks away sorrowful.  And maybe there’s some light there at the end of the tunnel, in the sense that he doesn’t scoff, he doesn’t say, ‘Yeah right!,  Come on!  That’s foolish’, and go back to the Old Testament Law or whatever and try to prove the Rabbi wrong. He doesn’t do that.  He goes away sorrowful.  So he believes, evidently, what Jesus said was true.  [Comment:  Since Jesus hadn’t died on the cross yet, and been resurrected back to life, not even the 12 disciples had the indwelling Holy Spirit within them.  Nor could that be offered to this young man yet, at this point in time.  Salvation through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ was not yet being offered to the populace in general yet.  Only a few, very special and chosen people in the Old Testament had eternal salvation, eternal life, offered to them, and had the indwelling Holy Spirit within them, confirming this.  Righteous Abel, was one of them, Rahab, Moses, Joshua, Caleb, the 70 elders who assisted Moses, Aaron, Samuel, King David, the holy Prophets (including the ‘sons of the prophets) and John the Baptist, and a couple people mentioned at or just after the birth of Jesus Christ, and that’s it for the entire Old Testament time period, over 4,000 years of time. Hebrews 11 mentions some of these people, and that is how we know they had the Holy Spirit.  So there’s a good chance that this guy ended up in the early Church which started on that fateful Pentecost, 31AD, 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Many who were part of the numerous audiences of Jesus would be drawn into the early Church of God at Jerusalem.]  And so that would indicate to me that maybe later, maybe later he entered the early Church.  And you’re here today, and you’ve heard the Gospel, and you’ve wrestled with it, and for you, you know there’s a cost, in the sense that you want to live another way, and there are things in your life that you know would have to go if you were to turn your heart to Christ, and it’s been a wrestling match, and it’s been hard, but here you are today.  [What is the Gospel, anyway?  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/misc/WhatIsTheGospel%20.htm]  Maybe it’s been that sorrowful experience, struggling with it, but here you are.  Maybe today is the day.  You know, today is the day of salvation  according to the Bible[this verse is always being misquoted!  The actual wording to this verse in the Greek is “Today is a day of salvation.”  Get it right, guys.].  You may not have tomorrow.  We always think we’ve got a lot more time than we do.  No other gods.

 

It’s hard for the well-off, the wealthy and the strong of this world to accept salvation through Christ

 

Verses 23-30, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.  And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’  When his disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, ‘Who then can be saved?’  But Jesus looked at them and said to them, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’  Then Peter answered and said to him, ‘See, we have left all and followed you.  Therefore what shall we have?’  So Jesus said to them, ‘Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of man sits on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.  But many who are first will be last, and the last first.’”  Jesus says something that’s surprising.  The disciples, in fact, as you see there in verse 25 it says ‘They’re greatly astonished.’  To the extent where they’re like, ‘Can anybody be saved and know God?  What are you saying?’.  He says, ‘Assuredly, it is hard for a rich man to get into the kingdom of heaven.’  In the other Gospels it says he repeats that phrase, he says it again, ‘It is hard for a rich man to get into the kingdom of heaven’, because he knows the people don’t understand what he’s saying.  They’re going to wrestle with it.  Then he goes on with an illustration to make the point.  ‘You’ve got a better chance of taking a camel, and putting it through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’  Now a camel would be the biggest animal that they were used to, and the idea here is the eye of a needle would be the littlest hole that you could imagine.  And you generally don’t have a lot of success getting a big old camel through a little dinky hole.  [Now if you were to go into astrophysics, and you had a black hole the size of the eye of a needle, you could suck the camel through it, one molecule at a time, at near light speed.  Just the poor camel wouldn’t come out the other end the same as he went in.]  Now, there are those that would say that the eye of the needle is, you know there was the main gate to Jerusalem, and there was a little sub-gate, and it was called “The Eye of the Needle”, and at night the main gates were to be closed, and on the Sabbath, but you could one-by-one go through this little gate, and a camel could actually get through it, if it got down on its knees, and you took all of the stuff off of it, and you gave it a big shove, you could get it through that little ‘eye of the needle’.  And they would say that that’s what he’s referring to, but that is not what he is referring to, because in Luke he actually uses the term of a surgical needle.  He uses the Greek that’s a medical word.  [Another point backed up by Scripture:  God is not calling the rich, well-off, or strong of this world right now, except occasionally, depending on their hearts.  Read 1st Corinthians 1:26-29.]  He’s referring to a surgical needle.  And notice in verse 26 he’s talking about something that’s impossible.  So, no you can’t get into the kingdom of heaven by getting down on your knees, baring everything, and just giving a good shove, kind of squeezing yourself in there.  It ain’t gonna work.   [Comment about the term kingdom of heaven: By the context here, Jesus is talking about the obtaining of eternal life, so this is referring to the eternal kingdom of God which will exist long after the physical Millennial Kingdom of God has passed away. This is a spiritual entity, inhabited by resurrected, immortal spirit-beings, the immortal sons and daughters of God.  Jesus, when he used that term kingdom of heaven, was focusing far beyond the Millennial Kingdom of God the Jews and disciples were so focused on.  He was focused on the Kingdom of God that would be from Revelation 21:1 onward.  That is why so many of Jesus’ teachings are dealing with spiritual growth and spiritual issues, and not the mere obedience of the Ten Commandment Law of God, but the spiritual principles that go far deeper than the Letter of the Law.]  Now, it’s stunning to them, because in that culture, basically, because of their theology, they’re thinking, if a rich man can’t get saved, then there’s no hope for anybody.  Because they believed, based on the Law, Moses at the end of Deuteronomy talks about the Old Covenant that the people of God, Israel, made with God, and Moses said ‘If you follow this covenant, God will bless you. He will bless your fields, he will bless your animals, he’ll bless your herds, he will bless your harvest, you’ll be blessed.  If you do not follow God and his commands, he will curse you, and your fields will be cursed, and your harvest will be cursed.  And so there was an understanding to the Jew that if you were materially blessed, that you must be pleasing to God, and there was that sense of the Covenant with the nation.  If they followed God’s Laws they would experience blessing, even physical, material blessing.  And if they didn’t obey God, they would be cursed.  [Comment: In the Old Covenant there were no eternal rewards, like the offering of eternal life for obedience.  Obedience to God’s laws brought physical blessings, and disobedience brought physical curses.  Read Leviticus chapter 26 and Deuteronomy 28.  That was all that was promised for obedience in the Old Covenant.  Eternal life was not part of the equation for this covenant with the people of Israel and Judah.]  However, that’s not necessarily true for the individual, you know.  There were guys that were pretty wealthy that were Jews, Nabal, whose name meant “fool” because he was a fool.  There were clearly poor people in the Old Testament that were beautiful, godly people [Ruth and her mother-in-law, for example], so nationally, and individually God would work, but yet there was a misunderstanding.  But they thought if you were rich you were blessed.  In fact, a rabbi, he’d better be moderately wealthy, or he wasn’t spiritual, obviously, that was the understanding.  So when he says “It’s hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven”, and man, “you can get a camel through the eye of a needle before you can get a rich man into the kingdom of heaven” they’re like ‘What?!?  If that’s the case, what about us?---the common people, how are we ever going to get there?’  But they don’t understand the kingdom of heaven and what it means really to be spiritual, and that’s what he’s showing them.  And he’s showing them that it’s very different from what they think.  And he says, in fact, wealth can be a hindrance.  It can be a hindrance.  It doesn’t always become a hindrance.  There are lot’s of wealthy people that have hearts that are passionate for God.  But yet, wealth can be a hindrance, in that, when I have it, the riches, man, sometimes are, I love the riches, and I want those riches.  And so therefore it can be a hindrance, because there’s very little room in my life for God.  And certainly when it comes down to following Jesus, and following my money market account, my stocks, at times, it’s like ‘Stocks’.  So Jesus says ‘No other gods’, and certainly wealth, money, can be a god.  But there are people that God has blessed, that man, they just want to be a blessing, and they love God, and if he wants to shovel it in, they’ll shovel it out, and live for God with all their lives.  [The purpose of money for a believer is to use it to help other people, and support the proclamation of the Gospel.  The closer to God you are, the more that is your motive in life, self doesn’t matter, you’re happiest when helping others.]  So it isn’t wealth so much, it’s what wealth can become in a heart, and that’s what he’s saying, the rich man, man, for some the wealth is so powerfully got the heart that you’d have better luck getting the camel through an eye of a needle than getting that heart detached from that, and turning to God.  So, they’re astonished.  And then we notice in verse 25, it would seem to them, suddenly, it’s impossible to gain entry into the kingdom of God and eternal life.  But he says, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  And how do you gain entry into the kingdom of heaven?  Childlike faith, you can’t get there by the Law, you’re not perfect, we’re all sinners.  You can’t have two other gods, you can only have one Master, you have to place  Jesus on the throne of your heart.  But another point, man can never ever, ever do anything about it, it is impossible, it says, with men it is impossible, no matter what religious systems we develop.  Doesn’t matter, you’ve come up with one that really just seems so wonderful, man’s religion, it’s impossible with man, you’ll never get there with religion.  It is only possible, I can only get through that door if God opens that door for me, it is only possible for him, if he extends his hand to me, it’s the only way I can get there, man (cf. John 6:44), because my arm is too short.  It’s him coming to me.  And the Bible teaches that that is exactly what he did.  I mean, who could make the bridge from God, Divine, to human man?  It took God-man, it took Jesus Christ, to take the hand of God [the Father] and to take my hand as a man, and to build that bridge.  He came down, and he died on the cross, and he shed his blood for my sin, he paid the penalty for my sin so that I could be forgiven.  He raised to life so that I could have life [through the indwelling Holy Spirit, cf. John 14 & 16], he is now the bridge of that cross.  It is impossible for men, but it is possible for God, it is possible with God, that is when I have Jesus Christ in me.  And it’s not politically correct to say this, but this the clear, the absolute teaching of the Bible, this is what Jesus Christ said.  So men can either go, ‘Wheh!, Jesus he was a fool’, or they can accept what  he said.  Jesus said this, ‘You cannot gain entry into the kingdom of God through Hinduism, you cannot get into the kingdom of God through Buddhism, you cannot gain entry into the kingdom of heaven through New Age, you cannot gain entry into the kingdom of heaven through Satanism, through witchcraft, it’s only through Jesus Christ.’  With man it is completely impossible, it is only possible with God.  And you look through history, the Bible gives us the history, man is a sinner, and there is a bloodline going through the Bible, and it’s a line that leads us to the cross.  God became man, he came and went to the cross, and paid the penalty for our sin, he died for my sin, and then he raised to life so that I could be forgiven and have eternal life.  That is the word of Jesus, that is the teaching of the Bible, absolutely, positively.  You can believe otherwise, if you choose to.  But when you believe otherwise, you have to understand that you’re not believing what the Bible says.  And this is what Jesus says, and it’s what I believe.  There’s never been any man like him.  That’s what the Gospel writer Matthew is saying as he’s putting this together as we started in Matthew, he is showing, there has never ever been anybody like Jesus, there’s never been a man like him.  Look who he is, he’s God-man.  Look at the life he lived.  Look at the message he had.  And look at the fruit and result that happens in the lives of people.  With man it is impossible, but not with God.  ‘For by grace you have been saved, through faith, grace, God’s favor, and that not of yourselves, nothing you can do, Paul wrote, Ephesians chapter 2, verses 8 and 9, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.’  [I would say, ‘For grace you are being saved.’  It’s a present-active tense, we are in the process of being saved, sanctified.  As Pastor Joe Focht once said, “You can be saved in a moment, our sanctification takes a lifetime.  Pastor Joe Focht is also Calvary Chapel.] 

 

The disciples’ reward, our rewards, in the Kingdom Age

 

Verses 27-29, “Then Peter answered and said to him, ‘See, we have left all and followed you  Therefore what shall we have?’  So Jesus said to them, ‘Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of man sits on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.”  Well verse 27 Peter answers and he’s like, ‘OK, well, if the rich can’t get there, dude, man, I ain’t got nothing, I’ve given it all up to follow you’, that’s basically what he says.  ‘I’m pretty poor, Jesus.  So we’ve left everything to follow you.  Dude, we sleep on roads with you, man.  And we go without meals, we go without sleep, come on, man, that’s not a problem here, Jesus.’  That’s kind of what he’s saying.  ‘What shall we have for what we’ve done?’  Jesus says, “Assuredly I say to you, in the regeneration,”  that’s really, he’s using a word that was common in the culture, the stoics used it a lot, the philosophers back then.  He’s referring to the “new order”, “the renewal”, and in the context of what he’s talking about, he’s talking about the Millennial Kingdom of God which will come at Jesus Christ’s 2nd coming, and going from there on out into eternity, that’s about to come, where Jesus will come back and rule and reign, and then at the end of that 1,000 years there will be a new heaven and a new earth.  So in that, “when the Son of man sits on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging over the twelve tribes of Israel.”  Very interesting.  [to learn more about that, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/mkg1.htm]  So, then, anybody who has sacrificed, if it’s cost you, when you picked up that cross, and it’s cost you anything to follow me, you’ve left have houses, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, wife, children…interesting Paul, the apostle Paul, he was on the Sanhedrin and there was a tradition that says Paul was originally married and he had two kids.  There is tradition that was true.  We know he was a Pharisee, and in order to be a Pharisee you had to be married.  We hear him say that he’s not married, doesn’t have a wife.  There is a tradition that when he became a Christian, decided to follow the Lord, it cost him his family.  Of course it cost him a lot, didn’t it.  He writes about it, it cost him everything.  Interesting though, in Philippians chapter 3, he says ‘This is what I used to be, I used to be a Pharisee, Gamaliel, he was my teacher, I had it, man, I had a lot going for me.  He had the life, where he was born, just his whole life.  He says, but all of it, it’s gone, because of the call of God that he had upon his life.  But he says this, he says it cost me all that, but then in Christ now, I see what I have in Christ, and I look at what I lost, and he says, ‘It’s a pile of dung in comparison.’  That’s exactly what he says in Philippians 3.  All of that, so important to the world, is like a pile of dung in comparison to what I have in Christ.  So the last point, when it comes to entering into the kingdom of heaven and eternal life, and following Christ, if there is anything that would, at this moment I’m thinking, this is what it would cost---if I came to Christ, my spouse would hit the roof, they would definitely leave me, they just hate the Christian thing’, or ‘If I become a Christian, with my religious background, my family will disown me.’ ‘You don’t understand, it’d be so costly at my business, you don’t know what I do for a business, I’m sure I can’t do that kind of business and be a Christian.’ [That’s interesting, because within the past 40 years, 1970 to 2010, the Lord has restored the Jewish branch of the Body of Christ.  When a Jew accepts Jesus Christ into his or her life, their families disown them.  Many Jews are have strong business ties to each other, within the Jewish community, those ties are severed.  They are essentially blackballed by the entire Jewish community and their families, everyone who knows them, when they come to Christ.  There are now an estimated 500,000 Jewish believers in Jesus.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/messianicmovement/messianicmovement.htm]  Some of us are there.  And what he’s saying here is the sacrifice you’ll find is more than worth it.  Anybody whose left anything will be rewarded, one of the Gospels says, even in this present life.  Now I don’t know, necessarily, you know, you leave your wife [no, she leaves you, you’re not allowed leave her] and you get a hundred wives [I just want one to replace the one who left!  One would be fine, 100 would be overload], I don’t think it’s quite like that, you know what I mean, and you’re thinking, good, I lost some kids, but I don’t want 100 kids.  But it’s not quite like that.  The point is, you’ll be like Paul, seeing there is no comparison for what he has done in my life, and then eternity, when you enter the kingdom of God, and you see the life that you have waiting for you.  And so you might be thinking, ‘Boy, the cost.’  But it’s nothing, it’s temporary what you’d lose, and sometimes you do lose.  Sometimes you get 750 lashes in Saudi Arabia, you know, for turning to the Lord, even sharing about him.  And who knows.  Pray for this pastor, Aka Greene in Sweden, I, I wonder about him, it’s not in the secular press at all, but you can go find out about it, there’s certainly a lot about it in the Christian press.  This man was just teaching through the Bible [just like this pastor does and all the pastors in his denomination do, verse by verse, chapter by chapter, through the Bible], and the Bible’s message is a message of love.  The message of the Bible is that God loves us as sinners, and we’re all sinners, nobody’s worse or better than anybody else, we’re all sinners, and we need a Savior, and Jesus is the Savior.  It is a love-letter.  But sin is sin, and I have to acknowledge sin for that it is.  And the Bible does teach that homosexuality is a sin.  Well Aka Greene was in his own church in Sweden, teaching through the Bible.  He just taught a sermon, got to some text on homosexuality, just taught if for what it is, and what is says, and he right now is on trial, two years later.  In fact, it is on the Swedish TV, it’s Swedish televised news, this court case.  And if he is convicted, he’ll go to prison for six months, for simply teaching the Bible, which I believe is a love message.  And even to the homosexual it’s a love message.  God wants to radically transform your life.  And he’s a God who changes lives.  And we can line up a whole long line of people who were homosexual who aren’t anymore, to simply prove it, who’ve come to Christ.  A long line of them, and it’s getting longer.  It’s a love letter.  Well, pray for this pastor, Aka Greene.  You know, when Mark, chapter 10, verse 30, when Jesus says “you shall receive 100-fold, he actually adds a few words more, Mark gives us a little bit more, it says ‘If you’ve left any of this, you’re going to receive now in this time, if you’ve left anything, now in this time, you’ll also receive houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, lands,---meaning you can’t outgive God---and then he says ‘with persecutions’, he throws that in there.  So, you’ll get blessed, but you’ll also get persecuted.  And that’s part of following the Lord.  So pray for this guy, Aka Greene, man, I do, I’ve been praying for him a lot.  I pray that he stands boldly, that he’s unashamed, that he does not back down, that he just stands in love, because it’s a loving message, that’s what it is.  The TV’s messed it all up, it’s a loving message.  Pray for him, that he doesn’t back down, not ashamed, and I pray he doesn’t go to prison,  pray they change the laws.  But if he goes to prison, I pray he goes and that he’s not afraid and just stands for the truth.  Let’s close in prayer…[transcript of a sermon on Matthew 19:13-30, given somewhere in New England.]

 

Related links

 

How we’ll literally gain entrance into the kingdom of heaven:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/corinthians/cor15-16.htm

 

What to consider if your church or a church leader is hindering your walk in Christ:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/history/saga.htm

http://www.unityinchrist.com/history/IntroChurchHistory.htm

 

What really is the Bible’s teaching on Law & Grace, some helpful articles:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/whatisgrace/whatisgraceintro.htm

http://www.unityinchrist.com/galatians/Galatians1-1-24.htm

 

What is the Gospel?

http://www.unityinchrist.com/misc/WhatIsTheGospel%20.htm

 

What is Baptism?

http://www.unityinchrist.com/baptism/What%20is%20Baptism.htm

 

What exactly is the kingdom of heaven we’ll enter into?

http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Revelation%2018-20.htm

http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Revelation%20%2021-22.htm

 

What is the Millennial Kingdom of God?

http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/mkg1.htm

 

You think you’ve got it bad coming to Christ, it’s nothing compared to what Jews being called by God go through.  Yet look at how well they’ve done:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/messianicmovement/messianicmovement.htm

 

Various beliefs about heaven and hell within the Body of Christ:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm

 

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