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Monday, October 16, 2006

Mark 10:17-27 (Sermon for the week of October 15th)

Mark 10:17-27

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother."
He replied and said to him,"Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth." Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,"You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! "The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply,"Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said,"For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God."

A man ran up to Jesus...this man had material wealth because Mark mentions it in verse 22 that he had many possessions. The most common sermon you will hear is the one that concentrates on "The Rich Young Ruler" who came to Jesus and asked Jesus how to enter heaven. We have a different insight into these verses, one that cannot be overlooked. There is more to this week's reading than I will say here, but next time we read this story in the Gospel's, I will mention more insights.

First, the man approaches Jesus and says these words:
Teacher? Right from the start, this man has no clue who Jesus is...but a teacher? Teacher or Messiah...pick one! For either Jesus is the Son of God or He is a man, but I say to you that Jesus has proven Himself FROM BIRTH not to be just a human man...He is something much more...the MESSIAH living in a tent of flesh like us...every Christian must learn the Word of God and draw a final conclusion. Is Jesus a Good and Wise Teacher or is He the Son of God? Before arriving at a final conclusion...have you really given this a fair amount of reflection and study, and have you given yourself enough time to learn like you have in other areas of your life? Do you read the Word of God to learn if Jesus is the Son of God and devote just HALF of the time you give to other activities like SURFING THE WEB or watching TV? IF you can't read the Word of God enough to draw a conclusion then you are thinking like this rich young ruler...many of us have in our life...and it is time to recognize it and act on it by arriving to an intelligent answer inspired by the Breath of God. Give it a try.

Is Jesus a Good Teacher or The Son of God? Answering that Jesus is the Son of God and the teacher of teachers is a great answer! How many in their hearts think that Jesus is just a teacher and NOT the Son of God?Are there a few out there who just can't believe that Jesus is the Son of God and create a comfort zone to make Jesus just a teacher and at that a teacher of men who was just a man? OH YES!

Questions to answer:
Did Jesus rise from the grave on the third day? YES OR NO?
Was Jesus born of the Virgin Mary and conceived by the Holy Spirit and not conceived by a human father? YES OR NO?
Did Jesus fulfill over 300 prophecies of the Old Testament which would make the odds of any man fulfilling these prophecies impossible? I'll answer that one now...
A wonderfully inspired man named Mr. Stoner calculated the probability of one man fulfilling only a handful of the over 300 Messianic prophecies in a study. In 1944, he published his research results in Science Speaks: Scientific Proof of the Accuracy of Prophecy and the Bible. Stoner concluded that the probability of one person fulfilling just eight of the specific prophecies was one chance in 100,000,000,000,000,000 (one followed by 17 zeros). How about one person fulfilling just 48 of the over 300 prophecies? Stoner calculated these odds at one chance in 10 to the power of 157 -- way beyond statistical impossibility! So the answer is that NO man could fulfill the prophecies of the coming of the Messiah!

Second, why call Jesus GOOD? So, let's look at this...You can't recognize that Jesus is the Son of God...the Messiah...but you know that Jesus is good? Give me a break! NO MAN IS GOOD...ONLY GOD IS GOOD!

What does "good" mean? Heavenly? Spiritual? Godly? Perfect? Trying your best? Is it defined by what YOU think is good or what GOD thinks is good? What you think is good is nothing close to what God sees as good.

This type of human thinking is the very reason why Jesus had to offer Himself as a final sacrafice for mankind...so that God the Father will see us as Good! The idea of what "good" is was never, is never, and will never be for us to decide and judge...THE ONLY "GOOD" IS GOD! TO KNOEW GOOD IS TO KNOW GOD AND WE KNOW GOD THROUGH HIS SON JESUS! Notice that Jesus makes this statement first and looks past this man's blindness as to who he is talking to. Jesus tells the man right away "Why do YOU call me GOOD?" Yes, this statement by the rich man would bother the Creator who is the Son of God, Jesus...would it not? I think so...

Third, Jesus engages and answers the man's question...however...Jesus answers this question with authority, as a command, and with a promise! Let me point out another small detail...the man seeks to INHERIT eternal life. He does not ask how to get eternal life, what must he do for eternal life but instead asks how to INHERIT...as if it was passed down like a material possession!
To inherit means to: To receive (property or a title, for example) from an ancestor by legal succession or will. Or, to receive by bequest or as a legacy. Or, to receive or take over from a predecessor: To gain (something) as one's right or portion. Sounds like the thinking of a man with riches! His question is flawed from the beginning...

How would you ask Jesus this question?

Jesus begins his answer with a stfew of the commandments and mentions five commandments of the second table. Jesus then throws in one commandment that was never part of the original commandments..."You shall not defraud".
A rich man...a business man...would defraud...and could engage in that quite frequently! But, it was not one of the original commandments...do you see why this is an answer from someone claiming authority? Wouldn't those hearing this be quick to say..."Wait, Jesus, we now have 11 commandments"? Jesus is subsituting the 10th commandment of wishing (coveting) of anothers property for one that a rich man would more likely engage in...defrauding others!

The man answers Jesus that he has kept all these since his youth (v.20)REALLY? Jesus knows the truth...I personally find it hard to believe...but I will take this man on his word. Jesus gives him one thing to do and that one thing comes with a promise of eternal life.
Jesus commands the man: "Sell your possessions, give the money to the poor and follow me!"
The rich man becomes shocked and begins grieving...AND RUNS AWAY!

Why did he run away? So that the years of his life on this planet with his material possessions will last till his death? This man thinks that there must be another way that doesn't involve giving away his material possessions? For goodness sakes, someone...this someone being the actual Messiah...gives this one man the luckiest chance of his soul..."give away your material wealth, have ETERNAL LIFE and undefined TREASURE IN HEAVEN!

Another question:
If the rich man did as instructed, would he be granted eternal life?...YES...FOR JESUS DID NOT, CAN NOT, and WILL NEVER LIE!His Word is THE WORD! This rich man was given a chance that none of us will have, sell our belongings, give the money to the poor, follow Jesus and this man ran from it!

Can the rich be saved? Do they even think about being saved? Do you? Which is more important to the rich: their wealth or God? This life is deceiving...to be successful in the eyes of men you must have material wealth which is very likely to take you away from God, and if you are poor...it is a lot easier to find faith and live by faith as the world looks down on you (for a short time)...

Are riches a blessing or curse? You may have all the wealth in this world, but when faced with the only Begotten Son of God...what will happen? Will you run away crying? With God all things are possible and that goes for the poor and for the rich...I want eternal life...do you?

God Bless you and your families this week!



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