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Chuck Smith :: Sermon Notes for Matthew 19:16

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THE QUEST FOR LIFE
I. HE HAD A DESIRE FOR THE IDEAL.
A. Coming to Jesus he asked, "Good Master, what good thing must I do that I may have eternal life."
1. Eternal life here is not just a quantity, but a quality of life that he was seeking.
a. Let us suppose that you are in Mexican prison serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole, the living conditions are horrible, the food is bad, and their are constant fights, you fear for your life, and are afraid to sleep at night. Now let us suppose that the scientists have discovered a new drug that could prolong your life indefinitely. Do you think that you would be interested in taking that drug? Just think, you can live in these miserable conditions forever.
b. I believe that with me, you would say, "No thanks, this is not my idea of living."
c. Under certain conditions eternal life could be a curse.
d. What he is seeking is a quality of life.
2. His problem is manifested in his question. "What good thing shall I do, to have this quality of life?"
a. He was seeking by good works to find this quality of life.
b. There are many that are making that same mistake. They are trying to find this quality of life by their good works.
c. This quality of life will produce good works, but it is not found by good works.
d. If just doing good works could bring this quality of life, he would have never come to Jesus.
3. When Jesus flashed before his consciousness the second table of the law that deals with the right relationship with our fellowman, he was able to say, I have done all of that. Still he was conscious that something was missing, he asked, "What lack I yet?"
C. His riches had not brought him what his heart was crying after.
1. Many think that riches are the key to a good life.
2. They feel that riches would solve all their problems.
3. This is not always so. With this man, his riches were his problem.
D. Note what he had.
1. He had his youth.
2. He had great riches.
3. He lived an honest and moral life.
4. With all of these there was a consciousness of a lack.
E. There seems to be in the consciousness of every man, a desire for the ideal. I want a better life, how can I attain it?
II. WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE HE CAME TO JESUS WITH HIS QUESTION?
A. No doubt there was something about Jesus that attracted him.
1. I believe that he saw in Jesus that ideal that his heart was longing for.
2. There was something about Jesus that was extraordinary.
B. Notice how he addressed Jesus, "Good Master."
1. What is the secret behind your life?
2. What good thing can I do to have this same eternal life?
C. Jesus asked him, "Why do you call Me good? There is only one good and that is God"
1. By this question Jesus was seeking to help him to enlarge his spiritual understanding.
2. Jesus is seeking to help him realize that the reason he called Jesus good, was that he had recognized a truth about Jesus that he was not fully aware of. That is that Jesus is God.
3. That quality of life that you are seeking is divine.
4. The only other possibility is that Jesus was saying that He was no good.
5. He can only be inferring one of two things.
a. I am no good.
b. I am God.
D. If you would enter into life, keep the commandments.
1. In reality no one can keep the commandments, so that Jesus is giving Him an impossible order.
2. Why should He command him to do something that was impossible for him to do?
3. Trying to keep the law will bring you to the end of yourself, it will condemn you, and be as a schoolmaster leading you to Christ.
4. By the law is the knowledge of sin.
5. He answered Jesus, "Which?"
E. Jesus gave to him the second table of the law.
1. Thou shalt not murder.
2. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
3. Thou shalt not steal.
4. Thou shalt not bear false witness.
5. Honor thy father and thy mother.
6. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
7. To this he responded, "All of these have I kept from my youth."
a. That was his boast.
b. Still he was aware that something was missing, "What lack I yet?"
III. "IF YOU WOULD BE PERFECT, GO SELL ALL THAT YOU HAVE AND GIVE TO THE POOR, AND YOU SHALL HAVE TREASURE IN HEAVEN, AND COME AND FOLLOW ME."
A. When Jesus had told him which commandments, as we pointed out He only gave to him the commandments from the second table of stone, those that dealt with his relationship with his fellowman. The first table of stone had to do with a man's relationship with God.
1. I am curious why Jesus did not mention these, in that these are the most important.
a. When questioned by a lawyer as to the greatest commandment Jesus answered, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all your strength, soul and mind."
b. Jehovah God must be the first and primary love of your life.
2. I must believe that He deliberately left these out to make a very important point.
a. You may live a good moral life, and still not be saved.
b. Man cannot be saved by his good works.
c. This young man had all the good works but was still conscious of his need of eternal life.
B. As we look at the response of Jesus to his question, "What lack I yet?" What was it that he lacked?
1. Some with a surface reading might say poverty. I believe that that is wrong.
a. There is nothing innately wrong with riches.
b. Abraham was very rich, and the riches of David were legendary.
2. He lacked God at the center of his life, the heart of the instructions of Jesus to him was, "Follow Me."
C. In the case of this rich young man, his riches had become his god.
1. They were keeping him from coming to God.
2. If you were conscious of the lack in your life and you were very poor, this passage would not speak to you, if riches were his only problem.
3. His problem was that God was not the center of his life, and if God is not at the center of your life, that is your problem too.
4. Jesus was putting His finger on the thing in his life that was keeping him from loving God foremost. Keeping him from following God.
D. There are many things that keep people from surrendering their lives completely to God.
1. To many it is pleasure. They are living to please themselves. They go away sad because they are unwilling to give up their adulterous life style.
2. One time I had a man tell me that he would like to be a Christian, to fellowship in church and to support the church, but that his job was so stressful that he had to have his beer at the end of the day to help him wind down.
E. What he was lacking was God at the center of his life, what was keeping God from being the center of his life was his riches.
F. What you are lacking is God at the center of your life, what is keeping God from being the center of your life, Jesus will reveal to you.
H. At that point you have a choice, do I make God the center of my life and receive this new quality of life that will never end, or do I go away sad, feeling the cost is too great. Look again at the question, "Why do you call Me good? There is only One that is good, and that is God." Look at the instruction, "You need God at the center of your life, "Follow Me." "I am God follow Me."
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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