Who Can Do the Impossible? (Mark 10:28-31) Part 2

Sunday, March 16th, 2014
Sermon Series: Mark

The Gospel of MarkDownload Sermon Outline

Sermon Manuscript . . .

Who Can Do the Impossible?

The Poverty of Riches in 23 to 27, part 1

and the Riches of Poverty in 28 to 31 of Mark 10–part 2

 

A young man was writing his girlfriend whom he hadn’t seen for some time, and he wanted to let her know how deeply he missed her. He wrote, “Dear Constance, I assure you, my dearest darling, there is nothing, I mean absolutely nothing that will keep me from you. Mount Everest becomes but a tiny hill that I am willing to climb if it was to bring me to you. The Pacific Ocean becomes but a pond, and the swim but a lap in the pool if you were on the other side. The Sahara Desert is but a sandbox, and the Alaskan tundra like a suburban lawn, if it is you I am journeying to. Nothing will keep me from you, my love. Your adoring Sam P.S. I’ll see you Saturday night, if it doesn’t rain.”

That really raises the question of his commitment, doesn’t it? It makes you wonder if he really is sincere in his love for his gal. We Christians have to be careful in our expressions of love for Christ in a similar manner. Do we really mean what we say, when we say, “Jesus is first? I’ve given Him my life. He is my all in all”?

Sometimes we start out hot, but end up living cold. Others of us start off sprinting, but fade in the stretch, not in RMG’s. And some of us, to be honest this AM, need to be encouraged. We may not say it, but we may wonder—“Is it all worth it?” Well today, in Mark 10, Jesus is going to answer this question for His men, and for each one of us here, student or senior.

Do you remember what Jim Elliot said over 50 years ago now? Before his death, he wrote, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep, in order to gain what he cannot lose.” Our Lord has been describing the hardships of following Christ. But today, in verses 28 to 31, the Lord is going to highlight the blessings of following Christ. Today, the Lord is going to remind you of the present, future and eternal blessings of being His follower. And in the process, the Lord will show you a picture of exactly what a Christian is to look like while living on Earth.

Today, you get a glimpse of what the Christian life is like. Some of you have already tasted this blessing like a yummy meal, while others of you find yourselves with no menu at all. But Jesus wants you to know, the joy of following Christ far outweighs the hardship of following Christ. The blessings of following Christ far outweigh the sacrifice of our commitment to Him.

Turn to MARK 10: 28 to 31, and follow along with your outline as we look at the God who can do the impossible. He is the one who can exchange your earthly sacrifices for Him, and turn them into blessing in this life and reward eternally, in order to massively encourage our hearts. How does following Christ become more attractive than living in this world? Well look at the beginning of Mark 10.

Jesus just reminded us that this world is filled with pride selfishness, anger, greed and lust, which results in divorce. Yet a marriage dependent on Christ is the grace of life. Then Christ clarified that no one can gain salvation through their own efforts, but just like children are a part of His kingdom (did nothing), we too can find salvation by God’s undeserved grace.

Through the rich young ruler, the Lord showed us that our rank or wealth cannot save us, but salvation itself is impossible for us–God must save us. So like the publican, we must pray the sinner’s prayer and cry out, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner.” Children are saved through no effort at all on their own, and all the effort in the world couldn’t save the rich young ruler. It is by God’s grace.

Last week we discovered that our wealth makes it harder for us to turn to Him dependently. There is a poverty of riches, showing us a huge paycheck or lots of possessions cannot buy spiritual riches. When you cling to earthly riches, they’ll make you spiritually bankrupt. That was Part 1, The Poverty of Riches. But today, we’ll see Part 2: The Riches of Poverty. Any sacrifice made for following Christ will be rewarded one hundredfold. And Christian, that reward is not merely in Heaven, but also great blessing comes from following Christ now, here on Earth. God does give . . .

#1  Current EARTHLY blessing

As we open to Mark 10:28, Peter is very concerned about . . .

First  The QUESTION of God’s blessing in this life  Verse 28

The rich young ruler missed salvation, and obviously missed God’s reward. And Jesus just emphasized to His men, whether they are rich or poor, they can’t be saved unless God saves you. Babies and children are automatically saved by grace, and it is impossible for the wealthy to be saved. Shocked, His men then ask Jesus, “Then who can be saved?”

Peter now takes it a step further and asks, “Are we in? We are on your team, right Jesus? We left everything for you!” You gotta love Peter. He blurts out verse 28, “Peter began to say to Him, ‘Behold, we have left everything and followed You.’” Peter says, “Okay, we’ve done what the rich young ruler wouldn’t do.”

Look back to the end of verse 21 when Jesus said, “Give away all your wealth and come, follow Me. Come, follow Me.” The rich young ruler heard these words and was saddened–he went away grieving, because he owned much property. So Peter says, “Look, he left, but we didn’t–we stayed! There were other times [like in John 6], when almost everybody following you left, Lord, and went away–but we stayed with you. Jesus, you even asked, ‘Will you also go away?’ And what did we say? ‘To whom shall we go? You and you alone have the words of eternal life.’”

So Peter is saying, “Look–what the rich young ruler didn’t do, we’ve done. You said, ‘Deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow me.’ Well, we did that Jesus–we’ve done it. In fact [verse 28] we have left everything and followed You.” Everything is an amazing declaration–left everything!

How willing would you be to leave your home to travel from place to place, completely dependent on unplanned hospitality. Would that be difficult for you? It was difficult for the Lord’s men too. Luke 18:28 tells us Peter said, “Behold, we have left our own homes and followed You.” We have left everything–we have abandoned it all.

Look at how Peter begins his statement/question. Notice Peter’s first word—“behold”, or lo. Mark is informing us first that Peter blurted this out. Today we’d say, “Hey, Lord—catch this, we left everything for you.” Behold also describes his desire to make a strong contrast between the apostles themselves and the rich young ruler. Behold–the rich young ruler kept everything and walked away, but we apostles gave up everything, and still walk with you.

The Greek wording shows us Peter, along with the twelve, are aware of the importance of what they’ve done by not leaving–we have left everything. “Left all” looks back to a time when they broke from all they had, in order to follow Christ. We’ve left our business, career, security, familiarity–all of it, for you.

Do you remember Mark 1 and 2–1:18, “Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.” Then 1:20, “Immediately He called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with hired servants, and went away to follow Him.” And 2:14, “He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting in the tax booth, and He said to him, ‘Follow Me!’ And he got up and followed Him.” When you follow Christ, you are all in–Jesus is your life.

It is not about what you want, but what He wants. You don’t follow your will, you follow His Word. You don’t listen to your thinking, but His instructions. You’re not moved by your feelings, but His truth. “‘Behold, we have left everything and followed You’“–and followed You. The verb “followed” is perfect tense, telling us they started following Christ in the past, and they’re currently following Christ. They have been, and continue to be, faithfully following. The apostles made an irreversible commitment to leave all they had, and to faithfully follow Christ no matter where He leads.

I love Peter–the emotional, mouthy speaker. I can say that. Peter is exaggerating when he says, “’We left all,’” since they did go back to fishing after the resurrection. They must have still had a boat, which undermines the sincerity of the comment, “We have left everything.” But Peter is sincere, in that they’ve left everything behind and are now following Christ wherever He goes–no matter what.

Remember in Luke 9, Jesus was talking to some would-be disciples and they said, “I need to go home until my father dies. I need to get some money from my relatives.” And Jesus said, “No–if you don’t follow Me now, you’re not worthy to enter My Kingdom.” If you’ve got other agendas, you can’t enter My Kingdom. Your will or My will—your life or My life.”

Well, the apostles here had no other agenda. “We’ve left everything. We’ve left our families. We left our fishing. We left our nets. We left our boats. We left it all in order to be following You. And while others along the way have forsaken You, deserted you and left–we’re still here. We’ve stuck with you, Lord.” And Matthew’s gospel adds in 19:27, Peter says, “What shall we have therefore?”–what’s in it for us?”

At the end of the day, these guys are pretty crass. They are always arguing about who’s going to be greatest in the Kingdom, who is going to get the biggest reward–the best seat. They’re already calling shotgun, and no one has enough humility to sit on the hump in the back seat. Peter says, “Jesus, don’t forget, we’re the poor–we have nothing. We eat mac and cheese, and only have flip phones. We’re the poor–so what kind of spiritual riches do we get? We’ve left it all. We did what the rich young ruler wouldn’t do. What do we get out of it?”

I’m sure you’ve asked that question. You’ve wondered why–when you took that job and they asked you to put those images on their web-site that bothered your conscience, you quit your job because it was foul, perverted material, but wondered, did it matter? Was God pleased?

You’re a young woman who has kept yourself pure in your relationships with guys, while others exchanged their purity for a cheap substitute. Did you wonder–will God reward that?

Or you’re one of those families that lives in a tiny apartment, or a small home, because you and your wife want mom to stay home with the kids, instead of working to get more toys. Have you wondered–will it be worth it?

Maybe you’re a family that’s been financially blessed, and you give a lot to FBC–more than 10%. And you help a lot of people. Have you wondered, is it all worth it? Will I be blessed? Is there a return? Peter is asking the same question in verse 28. “Peter began to say to Him,’Behold, we have left everything and followed You.’” Will we be rewarded for following Christ, and sacrificing for Him?

Second  The SACRIFICES of following Christ in this life  Verse 29

In verse 29 Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake.” You get this, right? This is pretty straightforward, isn’t it? Our Lord says, “Look, you think you’ve left everything, sacrificed, suffered for my sake–let me tell you, there is not one person–not one, uno, who has left his house, brothers, sister, mother, father, children, farms for My sake and the Gospel’s, who will not receive a hundred times as much . . . a hundred times as much.” When?

In this life, in the coming Kingdom, and forever in Heaven–the best is yet to come. And what is also amazing is this–you also get to taste that coming blessing, now in this life. Look at verse 29 phrase by phrase. “Truly I say to you,” means, “fix your attention on and accept what I now declare to you. Amen and amen–pay attention, guys. This is good stuff.”

There is no one who has left–there’re no exceptions to this promise. The Lord knew the call to follow Him involved the severing of strong ties. Strong ties to what? To everything–house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms. The gospel of Luke even adds, “or wife,” for the sake of Christ. All these things they are leaving fall under the general categories of home, relatives, or property. “No one who has left” implies you’re not required to leave all these things, but it’s assumed you’re willing–you will be willing.

Why would you do it? This is so awesome—two great motives for any Spirit-filled sacrifice. Verse 29, “for My sake and for the gospel’s sake.” Their forsaking was prompted by their sweet relationship to Christ, as well as their loyalty to the life-changing good news, the Gospel.

Recently I was at the Shepherds’ Conference, a pastors’ conference of 3,000 men at my sending church, Grace Community Church. I had the privilege to minister to men in a seminar, and one-on-one from all over the world. It is quite an honor. But even more than teaching, there are men there who are very special to me–my mentor, an amazing leader I discipled long ago, a doctor friend who is a Jonathan to me, and my favorite 7th grader when I was the Junior High Pastor. This Jr. Higher is now married and in his 40’s with kids in college–and we talked for two hours and both wanted more. I would do anything for him–I love his heart for training men. Any time spent with him is a joy, not a sacrifice.

That is the way it’s supposed to be with you and Christ. So when Jesus says, “for My sake and for the Gospel’s sake,” He’s saying, “any sacrifice you make for Me personally, it’s worth it!” This is personal–Christ is your Savior and your friend. He is your first love, He is the person you worship, adore and treasure. You love Him because He first loved you. You sacrifice, you serve for the God you intimately know. You serve, not for a cause, a mission, an event or an investment, but for a person you personally love more than life! Why? Because of the Gospel! Because He gave His life to save you–He took your punishment. He was tortured, then died, so you could have eternal life—“for My sake, and for the Gospel’s sake.”

Are you getting the point? There are a lot of joys in ministry – but there are sorrows and hardships that are overwhelming. And honestly, there’re times I don’t spend 24 hours studying to preach each week for you–or for you alone. There’re times I make that sacrifice merely for Christ alone. There’re times you children’s teachers want to stay home, RMG or student leaders are tempted to skip church–it’s then, those times, when you need to sacrifice not for the church, your leaders, not for your group, but for Christ. You say, “Lord, I’m tired–I don’t feel like it, but I do this for you, Jesus, and because of what you did for me–the Gospel’s sake.”

But Mark even goes a step further, in that Jesus is talking about sacrifices you make for Christ and for the Gospel. It means you’re serving in order to make Christ known, and sacrificing in order to proclaim the Gospel. Mark is showing us that Christ and the Gospel are distinct, but they are also very much linked. Without Christ, the Gospel would be nothing. Without the Gospel, men would know nothing of Christ.

Listen, Christianity is first and foremost about Jesus Christ. Don’t get so lost in the Gospel that you neglect Christ. Never forget John 17:3, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” Eternal life is found in knowing Christ intimately. And when you do, you’ll find yourself willing to sacrifice the very important of this life, because you love Christ more than everything. Have you left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms “for My [Jesus] sake and for the Gospel’s sake”? If you have, then you’ll also experience . . .

Third  The EARTHLY blessings for following Christ in this life  Verse 30

In verse 30 it says, “But that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions.” Peter asks, “What’s in it for me, Jesus. What do we get?” The rich young ruler ended up spiritually poor. We’re the poor who are supposed to end up spiritually rich. What do we get?

Are you ready? Answer–you get a worldwide fellowship of believers through Christ, a coming promised literal earthly kingdom where we reign with Christ, and eternal life in Christ in Heaven. Any and all cost or sacrifice is paid back exponentially by what is gained by being in Christ. And how generous is Christ? He rewards us one hundred times—“that he will receive a hundred times.”

There is a hundredfold recompense for the disciple of Christ! Everything you forsake for following Christ, you will receive back one hundredfold in terms of blessing. I love the Lord’s math. He doesn’t say one hundred percent more, but a hundredfold more! One house gone, but a hundred doors are open! One brother in the flesh lost, but a thousand brothers in the spirit gained.

There will be no one who has made the sacrifice who will not as a definite act receive extreme compensation, a hundredfold, meaning the highest degree of return. We get amazing spiritual blessing. You will receive one hundredfold homes, brothers, sisters, children, etc. Of course, Jesus is speaking of these earthly blessings in a spiritual sense, by being in the family of God. Houses probably refers to Christian fellowship. Our brothers and sisters are the body of Christ. Mothers has to do with godly women. And children are disciples we train. The Lord is describing the new community that’ll be established in the body of Christ–the family of God. Farms might be referring to jobs or needed provisions.

Did you notice that verse 30 omits the word “father”–why? Because God Himself is the Father of the new spiritual family. Matthew 23:9, “Do not call anyone on earth your Father; for God is your Father, He who is in heaven.” This is a reality for many of you, this morning–your family is the body of Christ.  Your physical family is lost, messed up, and filled with strife and pain. And the only true family you have is your church family.

Your fellow Christians–they become your mother, brothers, sisters, even your children whom you parent in this family. This family is so special, there are saints I rarely see in foreign lands who are so amazing, they’d give me the shirt off their back, and feed me all the food they had in order to care for me, and free me to teach God’s Word. Wow!

Jesus felt the same way about His spiritual family. Comparing them to the Lord’s own physical family, Jesus said in Mark 3:34 to 35, “Looking about at those who were sitting around Him, ‘Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.’” Whatever is gained by being in the family of God far outweighs whatever is sacrificed in coming to Christ. There’s no comparison!

One commentator said, “A man’s Christianity might involve the loss of home and friends and loved ones, but his entry into the Christian Church brought him into a far greater and wider family than ever he had left, a family who were all spiritually kin to him. A new heart, a new position, a new purpose, a new intimacy with God, a new power, a new mission and a new family.”

Plus a new kind of refinement and growth–the blessings of this present age are accompanied by verse 30, persecution! Mark alone adds, “along with persecutions.” The experience of persecutions here on earth will accompany the experiences of the rewards here on earth. What Jesus is actually saying is this—the persecutions are in reality part of the blessings. Persecuted churches know their persecutions actually sweeten the fellowship of the saints.

The Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:12, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” The Christian life is not a utopia, nor does God promise no suffering or hardship in this life. Jesus said in Matthew 5:10 to 12, “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of me. Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great.”

Persecution solidifies your faith, strengthens your character and sweetens your rewards. It is a blessing. However, if you only view following Christ as a sacrifice, you’d be foolish. That would be like getting married to the girl of your dreams, but only thinking about the cost of giving up your singleness. What the guy gives up is irrelevant compared to what he gains–especially, if she is Jean Sharpe. Whoa, baby!

As you look back, the cost of following Christ is nothing compared to the blessing you’ll receive now, and in the age to come. Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” There is great . . .

#2  Future HEAVENLY Blessing

Look closer at verse 30 and notice the three different time frames. “He will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.” Three different ages are being described. Not merely now in the present age, but in the age to come, referring to that future messianic age when Christ reigns on a throne in glory over the whole earth. Then finally, eternal life–Jesus speaks of blessing first in . . .

First  The CHURCH Age

Now in the present age,” means the time of the Church. You’ve just become a part of the people of God, and now you have many fathers and mothers and sisters and brothers in Christ–that’s the Church. And there will be homes provided for you, and food provided by your fellow believers (and by FBC). And we all saw that played out on the Day of Pentecost when the Church was born, and was full of pilgrims who had come from Jewish settlements around the civilized world. They’d been converted on the Day of Pentecost and didn’t want to go back, because there were no believers back where they came from. There was only one church in Jerusalem.

So they stayed–some of them stayed permanently. They lived in the homes of the believers that were already there. They were fed there, they were housed there. They were loved there. They were cared for there. They now had a totally new family. Years later, the Apostle Paul was traveling all over the Mediterranean, collecting an offering to give to the Jerusalem saints so they could continue to care for these people who were a joy, yet also a heavy responsibility to care for in the church.

You’re going to find that you may have given up an earthly family, but you have gained a Christian family. You’ve gained the family of God. Larger than any family you may have come from, 3,000 on the Day of Pentecost, and within months many thousands and thousands more. When you come to Christ, you don’t give up family, you gain a true family.

Jesus said of an unbelieving family in Matthew 10:35 and 36, “For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.” That’s what the Gospel will do. But when you separate from that family, there’s a much larger family ready to welcome you. Look around, here they are–a small portion of that family in this present age. And one of the sweetest I have ever known. Go ahead–go to another church. You’ll see.

Second  The MILLENNIAL age

Jesus says not only in this present age, but “and in the age to come.” And in Matthew’s gospel account of this same incident, there’s a wonderful statement Matthew makes that helps us understand what Mark means when he says “and in the age to come.” Our Lord promised this in Matthew 19:28. “And Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’”

Wow–that’s millennial. That’s when Jesus returns as the glorified King. That’s talking about the time when Christ sits on His throne–when He takes His throne. Matthew calls this time the regeneration, which is a word used only here, and also in Titus 3:5, to speak of spiritual regeneration. There’s going to be a regeneration of the earth–a rebirth of the earth in the millennial Kingdom when the Lord bodily returns and sets up His Kingdom.

There’s going to be a rebirth, Acts 3 calls it–the time of refreshing, or the times of restitution. The book of Revelation calls it the Millennial Kingdom, the thousand-year physical reign of Christ–this glorious time to come in the age to come, mentioned in Mark 10 verse 30. The Messiah will rule the earth, Israel will be converted and restored to her land and her glory. Truth will dominate the world. Joy will dominate the earth. Righteousness will flourish. Peace will reign. Joy will abound. Life will be long.

The Holy Spirit’s power and presence will be dominant. The curse will be lifted. Jesus will reign in an exalted fashion. The earth will produce like it’s never produced since pre-Fall. Health and healing will dominate. Satan and all demons will be bound. That’s the glory of the millennial Kingdom. And in that period when Christ will sit on His throne of glory, Jesus says to His men in Matthew, “You will reign, you will.” And He’s talking to the apostles at this point–Peter and the others . . . “You will sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

You think you’ve left everything, and question what will you get? In this life, you receive the entire family of God and more. And in the millennial Kingdom to come, you will reign on a throne over the twelve tribes of Israel–a staggering promise. If that is not enough, this amazing blessing will last forever in . . .

Third  The ETERNAL State

And beyond that, eternal life. Verse 30, “in the age to come,” eternal life. Beyond that, everlasting Heaven with all its glories. One day we will stand before Christ, this life will be over, and then we will know the sweetness and preciousness of eternal life without end–forever and ever in the presence of God and in Christ. “What do we get?” Peter asks. We saw the rich man ended up spiritually poor. We’re the poor men who are supposed to end up spiritually rich. So what do we get?

A worldwide fellowship of believers in Christ, a promised Kingdom where we reign with Christ, and eternal life in heaven immersed in Christ forever. But remember–eternal life in the Scripture speaks of a quality of life, not just duration of life. The rich young ruler wanted eternal life, but went home empty. But the disciples opened their hands, let go of their nets, followed Jesus, and are now, with us, future possessors of the blessing of eternal life. We will be in the place where there will be no more death,no more sin, no more flesh, no more Devil, no more crying–for all those things have passed away. Is that not a great blessing?

You may be in the midst of a great battle now, but you are surrounded by the family of God, and the future blessing of earthly perfection and the certain promise of eternal perfection in Heaven, eternal life. How will it all work out? Look at the final verse for today. Verse 31, “But many who are first will be last, and the last, first.”

What does that mean? Who are the “first” and who are the “last”? There are a number of possibilities as to its meaning. The first could be disciples and the last could be children? Children are first and the pre-eminent self-seeking disciples are last within the context. Or the rich ruler is first in life and the disciples are last in life? The disciples are in reality first, and the rich young ruler is last.

Or it may be a reminder to us as His disciples not to seek preeminence in ministry, but to serve each other. You remember they were talking about greatness in 9:34 and 35, “On the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest. Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.’”

Possibly it could mean, the main men of the church will be last, and the little people, the poor widow with two mites, or Mary of Bethany who poured out the costly perfume, only to be criticized by the hard-hearted disciples shall be first on the day of judgment. Like Mark will remind us in chapter 10:43 to 45, “Whoever wishes to become great among you, shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Maybe Jesus means the least powerful, least wealthy, least influential are those that enter the Kingdom of God, rather than the most powerful, most wealthy, and most influential. Who’s going to be first could refer to their constant practice of arguing about who is going to be the greatest, right? Who’s going to be first? And our Lord says this to make a statement to encourage you to serve others, not fight for first place.

Finally, it could mean everybody ends up equal. If you’re first you’re last, and if you’re last you’re first–then everybody’s the same. This is pictured for us in Matthew 19 when Jesus tells the story about people who worked one hour, three hours, five hours, eight hours–all different amounts of work. But they all received the same pay. And Jesus said, “That’s because the last are first and the first are last, so everybody ends up the same.”

This promise of blessing now, blessing in the Kingdom, and blessing in eternity is equally the same for everybody. Yes, the rich man went away spiritually poor forever. And, you poor men stayed and followed Me, which means you will receive great blessing now and eternal riches forever. Jim Elliot said, “It’s true that he is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to keep what he cannot lose.”

Jesus told us last week, “Salvation is impossible.” Only God can sovereignly open the heart. Only His divine initiative and power can save someone. Yet His Kingdom is not without costs. You have given up everything to follow our Lord–family, business, relationships, property and the like. You have sacrificed what the rich young ruler refused to sacrifice. But you will be rewarded one-hundredfold, both in this life and in the life to come, eternal life. It may not appear to be that way, but one day the first will be last, and the last first.

You give up things that you think you cherish. But in return you’re given things you cannot imagine. If you love riches, in the last analysis, what do you really get? On the other hand, if you give up everything to follow Jesus Christ, you will be immeasurably blessed a hundred times over in this life and the life to come. All of this is possible because of our Lord’s immense love for us on the cross. He died for us, rose from the dead, and gives His children these wonderful blessings now, in the future, and forever.

A  Do you ACT blessed?

When you are blessed, you express joy, and thanks, and rejoicing, and you give, and serve, and love, and have faith, even overlook weaknesses and sins. When you are blessed you refuse to argue or give into fear, or stay mad, or compare, or envy others. When you are overwhelmed with God’s blessing, it changes the way you act, and speak, and treat others. Do you act blessed?

B  Do you KNOW Christ intimately?

Eternal life–true salvation is defined in John 17:3, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” Do you know God? Not about God, but personally, intimately? And are you walking with Him intimately through His Word, and dependently upon His Spirit? Your life is nothing without Jesus Christ. Don’t delay in crying out for salvation–Christ died on the cross for sins, and only He can give you His righteousness, which is the only pass to abundant life now, and Heaven later.

C  Are you CONTENT in this life?

Are you constantly striving for more, or are you content with what God has given you? Proverbs 15:16, “Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and turmoil with it.” Proverbs 16:8, “Better is a little with righteousness than great income with injustice.” (This is a better kind of life.)

D  Are you WILLING to follow Christ?

Jesus is so great a Savior, so great a Lord, that a true believer will give up anything and anyone, everything and everyone for Christ. To be willing is God’s requirement for the sinner. Are you willing? If you are, then you need to cry out to God as a willing heart and by the power of God already at work in you to make you willing. God will hear and answer, and grant you the salvation the rich young ruler asked for, but didn’t really want. But hopefully when you ask, you genuinely desire to receive Christ and follow Christ.

Lord, please do a work in hearts of people who are here, that none would walk away like the rich young man and cling to their own idols, and continue in the blasphemy that will condemn them to Hell. May this be the day when, like Peter, they say, “We’ve left everything–we’ve followed You.” Show us what is prepared for us. We don’t deserve these promises, we don’t deserve the forgiveness of sin, salvation, but we rejoice in it. And we thank You for it, and want to live lives of immense gratitude for all that is ours now, and all that awaits us in the glories of the Kingdom where we will reign with You.

And then beyond that, we thank You for the spiritual riches that come to those who recognize their poverty. And we pray that You would cause that to be our honest recognition of our own condition that we might ever be eager to rush to Christ and find in Him the true riches we need. We know it’s impossible to be saved–it’s a divine work. It can’t be done by a man, no matter how religious or how wealthy or how eager or how humble. It can only come as Your gift to a willing sinner. Make sinners willing, and may they cry out for this grace, we pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

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ABOUT THIS PREACHER

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church - Murrieta.
Tough Stuff
Membership @ FBC
1 Peter
FBC iTunes podcast