"ONE THING THOU LACKEST"
I. THE MAN WHO CAME TO JESUS.
A. We are told in Matthew's gospel that he was young. Mark tells us that he had great possessions. Young and rich.
B. He was very moral.
1. Jesus flashed before him the second table of the law that that lays out the rules how man is to relate to his fellowman, he was able to say that he had kept those commandments from the time he was a youth.
2. I do not believe that that was an empty boast for there is one thing that Jesus would not tolerate and that was hypocrisy and surely He would have called him on his false claim.
3. We are told that Jesus looked at him and loved him.
C. These are the things that we think make for the full rich life.
1. Riches, youth and morality.
2. Yet he was conscious of a great need within, and he was drawn by that need to Jesus.
D. He addressed Jesus with respect and reverence. "Good Master, what must I do that I might inherit eternal life?"
1. Eternal life is not a quantity of life only, but a quality of life.
2. Perhaps he recognized this quality of life in Jesus.
3. We find him coming to Jesus just after Jesus had been taking the children up in His arms and blessing them.
a. He saw His love for them and their beautiful response to Him.
b. He perhaps saw the love that Jesus exuded from the life of Jesus.
E. He saw in Jesus something that his riches, youth and morality had not brought him. A quality of life that was beyond the normal.
II. THE RESPONSE OF JESUS TO THE MAN.
A. We have already noted that Jesus looked at him and loved him.
1. He saw the sincere desire for a better life than the things of the world could bring.
2. He saw a man who was trying hard to live the better life, to find the better way, who sought to follow the law.
B. Jesus asked him, "Why do you call Me good? There is none good but One and that is God."
1. This seems like a strange response from Jesus for He claimed equality with the Father. "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father."
2. Is Jesus saying, "I am no good?"
3. He is either saying "I am no good" or He is saying, "I am God."
4. He could not have been saying, "I am no good." for He had declared "I do always those things that please the Father." He one time asked the Pharisee's "Which of you convicteth Me of sin?"
5. I have no hesitation in declaring that I am convinced that Jesus was seeking to awaken the spiritual consciousness of the man into the recognition of the fact that Jesus was God.
a. Search your spirit, why did you call Me good?
b. You called Me good because the Spirit was revealing to you that I am God.
c. What you have seen and recognized, that quality of life you have observed in Me is divine, because I am God.
d. Jesus was in essence saying you have recognized a truth but you are not aware of what you have recognized. You need to realize what you have said.
C. It was at this point that Jesus declared, "You know the commandments. Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, do not steal do not bear false witness, do not defraud, honor your father and your mother."
1. It is interesting that Jesus only reminded him of the second table of the law, that had to do with a man's relationship with his fellowman.
2. Jesus did not mention any of the first table of the law that deals with man's relationship with God.
a. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
b. Thou shalt not make any graven image or likeness of things in heaven to bow down to them and worship them.
c. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
d. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
D. He acknowledged that he had kept all of these from his youth up, his relationship with his fellowman was O.K. It was his relationship with God that was not right.
1. There are many people like that today whose relationship with their fellowman is marvelous. They are good moral people.
2. Sometimes so good and moral, they think that they have no need of God.
3. This man was good and moral but he was aware that something was missing, the other gospel tells us that he asked, "What lack I yet?"
III. WHAT DID HE LACK? ONLY ONE THING, JESUS TOLD HIM TO GO AND SELL ALL THAT HE HAD AND GIVE THE MONEY TO THE POOR AND COME AND TAKE UP THE CROSS AND FOLLOW ME.
A. He lacked God at the center of his life.
1. His riches were the center of his life, and they can never bring the contentment that the spirit of man is yearning for.
B. We notice that the words of Jesus are very similar to what He had said to His disciples at Caesarea Philipi. "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me."
1. In Caesarea He did not name what they were to deny, He just said, "Deny himself."
a. We must deny ourselves whatever it is that is standing in the way of our full fellowship with God.
b. With some it may be possessions.
c. With others it may be a relationship.
d. With others a career.
2. The first commandment in the first table of the law is, "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me."
3. It is a very sad thing that his riches were his primary God. They kept him from the eternal life that his spirit was longing for.
a. We are reminded of the words of Jesus again at Caesarea where He said, "What shall if profit a man if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul, or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
b. This man was willing to exchange his soul for his riches. He went away sad and he was grieved for he had great possessions.
IV. THE EXPOSITION OF JESUS TO THE DISCIPLES CONCERNING THIS INCIDENT.
A. How hardly or with what difficulty shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God. How hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God. Easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
1. The issue here is entering into the kingdom of God.
2. We explained to you last week that the kingdom of God is where God rules. If God rules in your heart, then the kingdom of God is within you.
3. What is it that governs your life?
a. Your life is being governed by someone or something.
b. What is it that keeps your from following Jesus Christ?
c. That is the very thing that you must deny, put aside.
4. Jesus is pointing out to the disciples that this young man refused to enter the kingdom of God, when he refused to follow Me. John tells us that on another occasion Jesus said, "I am the door of the sheep. If you try to enter the sheepfold by any other way, you are as a thief or robber."
B. The disciples asked in amazement, "Who then can be saved?"
1. With man it is impossible, but not with God for with God all things are possible.
a. The kingdom of God cannot be attained by man. He cannot save himself, that is impossible.
b. Note, Jesus did not say all things are possible to God.
c. All things are possible with God.
d. With the help of God we can do anything.
2. Peter began to see the light and said, "Lord, we have left all and have followed You."
a. Jesus responded that you never leave anything but in this life you will receive one hundred fold and in the world to come eternal life.
b. God will not be a debtor to you, you cannot give up anything for Him, but that He will not return it back to you one hundredfold.
c. Whatever you denied yourself to follow Christ, He gave to you so much more in return of value, pleasure, and joy.
C. Men quest for this eternal life. Eccl. He has set the world in their heart. The word translated world could also be translated eternity. He has set eternity in their hearts. That desire for things that are lasting.
1. With this young man, eternity was in his heart, and he had come to Jesus seeking how to find it.
2. "As the deer panteth after the waterbrooks so panteth my soul after thee O God."
3. Jesus said to him, "Follow Me." The rest is incidental. Get rid of whatever it is that is keeping you from following Him.