The Words of Jesus – Luke 18:18-30

Good morning to you all. I am uploading a message I shared in church. We have been continuing with the Words of Jesus; which is a series I have been loving and learning a lot from. The message I share, is not one I share lightly. As I was working on it, I saw a lot of myself in the Rich man. Everyday I am learning and I am reminded that what is impossible with man is possible with God. In all the struggles I have with my faith and my relationship with the Lord; I am learning there is no shame in laying them down at the feet of Jesus. The Lord will walk with me through it all and that is the same truth for your life too. I hope you will enjoy this message and learn some new things too. God bless you. xx

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

We all like to achieve dreams and aspirations within our lives. We like to have stories of how we conquered our weaknesses or limitations to meet a target. We like to believe most, if not all things are possible.

The Words of Jesus within this encounter with the rich man, reminds us all that there is limitation to what man can do. When it comes to our relationship with God, we cannot pay our way into His kingdom. We cannot live a life of good works and expect that to earn us our salvation. When it comes to our relationship with the Lord, we realise how limited we are and how much we do need God because it is only through God that we can have a relationship with Him.

A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good-except God alone.” (18v18)

The Rich Man wanted to know how he could inherit eternal life. What did he need to do, that in his own glory he could gain. Right from the start, Jesus reminds the rich man that no one is good except God alone. We are all imperfect people, who are sinners and who truly need God.

This is something Jesus wanted the rich man to understand. It was all well and good, he followed the law. What was the purpose behind Him doing that, was it in devotion to God or was it for his own glory so he could look good to the people around him? The commandments he followed were those which led him to respect people well. Like many of us, he fell short in loving the Lord with all his heart, mind, and soul.

His heart is made known when Jesus asks him to give up his riches.

“All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (18v21-22)

The Rich man’s identity and his purpose was in his wealth. To surrender it all was to lose everything. He was chained to his wealth; it was not something he could easily part with.

When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was wealthy. (v23)

I do not think Jesus was asking him to give up his riches just for the sake of it. Instead, it was due to the riches getting in the way of the Rich man’s relationship with God. There was no real relationship, the Rich man was doing things out of obligation for his own personal gain.   Jesus illustrates this:

Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (18v24-25)

Riches have and always will be a hinderance to the Kingdom of God because riches lead us to dependency upon ourselves. We do not see the need for God and how much we need to depend on and be sustained by God. Jesus was offering the Rich man a much better life, where he was not chained to his riches but rather, he had the freedom to follow Jesus.

Instead the Rich man chose not to surrender. The rich man wanted to gain eternal life but only within the constraints of his own comfort. When he was asked to give it all up, it was not something he was willing to do. He could not surrender and chose to have his short-lived pleasure here on earth.

Like the disciples, we need to be asking the question ‘Who then can be saved?’.  We need to stop thinking life is doable on our own. It is a huge struggle when everything we need is so readily at our fingertips. We can achieve fantastic feats easily; everyone wants to have their name on something.

Regarding our faith, how are we doing? Do we have a certain routine we fall into each day we’ve had our time with the Lord so I can just go about my day now? I know I fall into that trap. We need to remember none of us can earn our own salvation, we can do incredible things for the kingdom here on earth. It should never ever be done for our own glory because it is only by the grace and faithfulness of God, we are able to do the things we do.

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

To walk with the Lord, we need to be fully devoted to the Lord. We see that with the disciples and Jesus’ response to them.

Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!” “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”

To follow Jesus means there will be sacrifice, there is no pretence it is going to be an easy walk. There will be people, jobs, countries, money, etc we will have to leave behind. Jesus promises that what is left behind does not go unrecognised. There are blessings and there are blessings in abundance. They may not even look like what the world would call riches but when it comes from the Lord, those are incredible everlasting riches.

We need to stop living for instant gratification and reward. It makes us too comfortable and leads us to constantly live for temporary pleasure. We will always be looking for the next high.

What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Mark 8:36

We will never know the full extent of what God wants to do with our lives. Until we surrender all we are to the Lord. We will never know how all things are possible with God if we just keep trusting in man. We have such an amazing life when we walk with the Lord, where we are not chained to anything. This is only possible because it is by God’s good grace and mercy.

Key Points

  • We are limited in what we can do.
  • A life of following Jesus takes full devotion, which is not something we can do in our own strength.
  • There is much more to gain than what is left behind.
  • Sacrifice and relationship are key.
  • What is our heart set on? Where is our perspective at?

Application

  • What is hindering you from a fully devoted relationship with the Lord?
  • Do you truly believe that what is impossible with man is possible with God? Do you believe everything is possible in your own strength?
  • What can you do today to allow the Lord more room in your life?

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