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Inheriting Eternal Life

By David Robinson/ February 5, 2017

Series  Mark: The King and His Kingdom

Context  Westminster Chapel Toronto

Topic  Salvation

Scripture  Mark 10:13-31

Wealth makes a claim on your life; if your whole identity is tied to your wealth, you cannot give it up to become a disciple of Jesus.

Scripture: Mark 10:13-31

Sermon Notes:

  1. To understand Jesus’ conversation with the rich young ruler, we must be aware of its interpretive history and our own contemporary context.
  2. In the fourth century Athanasius tells the story of Anthony who sold everything, gave to the poor, and went on to live a life of asceticism.
  3. Over the centuries many have held that a real disciple must sell everything and give it to the poor.
  4. The Bible has a more balanced view of how to handle wealth. Poverty is not equal to piety. The rich young ruler is told to follow Christ foremost.
  5. In our context we face two dangers: 1) Marxism says that to be wealthy is to be unjust; 2) Materialism (consumerism) says that we get our self-worth and identity from the stuff we own (cf. Mark 4:19).
  6. Jesus is talking about salvation in this text, not economics or wealth.
  7. The question is whether this young man would respond in faith like a little child. Jesus took the children in His arms and blessed them and stated that the kingdom of God belongs to children.
  8. Romanticism spread the view that children are innocent, trusting, humble. But in the first century children were considered as non-persons without rights; Jesus’ point is that, like children, we have no right or claim to eternal life or the kingdom of God.  We simply receive God’s kingdom as a gift.
  9. Jesus was indignant that the disciples sent the children away. God’s view and concern for children is expressed when Jesus said it’s better to die than to cause little children to stumble (Mark 9:42).
  10. Our society strikes at the soul of children through much of popular entertainment, public school curriculum, and, most starkly, abortion.
  11. We need to be indignant about the things that God is indignant about.
  12. Notice the tender love of Christ expressed toward children, taking them in His arms and blessing them. God loves our children.
  13. Jesus loves the rich young man too; God loves the wealthy. The question is whether he would receive God’s love as the little children had.
  14. The rich young ruler knew something was missing. He didn’t have the assurance of salvation. He came to the right person, Jesus.
  15. Jesus’ response teaches the man that we are all sinners, and reveals His own identity as God, the One who is good.
  16. God alone is good; what this man lacks is God Himself to become good.
  17. The young man credibly claims he has followed all the commandments. (cf. Paul’s record in Phil. 3:6). He was a sincere seeker of the kingdom.
  18. Many today have a similar superficial view of eternal life, claiming to be basically good.
  19. Jesus looked intently at the young man and identified that wealth was in his way: “you lack one thing; sell all you have and give to the poor.”
  20. The young ruler left grieved and disheartened because his wealth was a noose around his neck. Jesus lets the young man leave in this condition because there are no half measures in salvation.
  21. Jesus is referencing the eye of a real needle (Mark 10:25), so the disciples were correct to be astonished at how a rich man can be saved.
  22. An ungodly desire for things and love of wealth provokes envy, greed, and covetousness (cf. 1 Tim. 6:10).
  23. Wealth makes a claim on our lives; if your whole identity is tied to your wealth, you cannot give it up to become a disciple of Jesus.
  24. There is danger and a responsibility in being a wise steward over wealth, but it is not sinful in itself. This is part of the life of the kingdom.
  25. Everything we have is God’s provision to us to be used for our own needs and the blessing of others.
  26. Riches are useful for our passage in life, but we must beware that we are not drowned by love of money.
  27. If anything stands between us and Christ’s love, we must cut it off. If your wealth keeps you from the kingdom, give it away.
  28. Unless we deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus we can’t be saved.  There are no half measures.  It’s Christ or Hell.
  29. Jesus assures the disciples that those who give up temporal things for the kingdom will ultimately receive God’s blessing.
  30. When we enter the family of God, we enter a unity of love and mutual service to one another.
  31. In the early church the people of God were sharing, caring for one another, worshiping, and breaking bread in one another’s homes, as the family of God (Acts 2:44-47).
  32. Show hospitality; recognize that every gift God has given us is to be used to serve and love others.
  33. We are not defined by our socio-economic status. We are defined by being joined by the Spirit in Christ.
  34. We will face persecutions, but in the unity of the body we may stand strong and resist the persecutions.
  35. In Christ we’re joined to a covenant people who are called to love and serve each other.

Application Questions:

  1. What are some historic interpretive errors associated with this text?
  2. Does wealth claim your love and loyalty?
  3. How can we be stewards of the kingdom resources entrusted to us?
  4. What is our role within the body of Christ?