The Rich Young Ruler
There is little purpose in preparing a sermon for grave sinners. Not because the Gospel cannot address their need, but because they are seldom within the walls of a church. Perhaps the greatest need for preaching is to those that feel their sin is minor or unimportant. After all, they don’t deal in drugs or prostitution – their greatest guilt may be for telling lies or inappropriate language. What we must never forget, is that it only takes one infraction to condemn a person and separate them forever from God!
Look with me at a man’s life that on the surface would make a minister rejoice, but whose final estate is one of utter loss. The Jews believed that prosperity indicated favor with God. For that reason, the disciples were astonished when Jesus declared earthly wealth a hindrance to salvation.
This rich young ruler was evidently concerned about the condition of his soul. He ran to Jesus and fell at His feet imploring the Lord to tell him how to please God. Jesus cited five commandments and told the young man that these would indicate the status of his heart. The fellow declared that he had been keeping the commandments all his life. The Lord, discerning the man’s fault then cut to the heart of his problem.
I. One Thing You Lack
- Like many , he did not lack certain things
A. A moral sense. He knew right from wrong
1. He knew the commandments and had done his best to keep them
2. The Lord did not correct him
3. The man was a ruler of the synagogue at an early age – in some ways he may have reminded Jesus of Himself
- Many today attend worship services, read the Bible, and make an effort at righteousness. They do not lack morality or knowledge of what is right
B. He was sincere
1. He was no hypocrite
2. Neither was he lacking in effort
3. Still he sensed that something was missing
II. The Missing Part Was Crucial
A. Full surrender to the will and purpose of God
1. He was better than 90% of the way there
2. He loved his possessions too much – they were his idols
B. Jesus confronted him with his shortcomings
1. He did not want to be as other men
2. He was filled with pride
3. We are all required to give up something when we come to Christ – a sin we love, and association we enjoy, or a business we need (John Vincent and the beer business)
4. What we cling to will be ultimately lost
C. Lacking one thing, you lack all
1. Works will not save
2. Good intentions are wasted w/out obedience
III. Sell All That You Have
A. Remove the idol, repent
B. Consecrate your all to Christ
Are we missing out on the real blessings while trying to hold on to things we don’t need? We must understand that nothing is worth missing heaven for! And nothing should keep us from the blessings God wants for us!