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Perils of Wealth & The Coming Cross

Finding Purpose / Russ Andrews
The Truth Network Radio
February 8, 2023 12:30 am

Perils of Wealth & The Coming Cross

Finding Purpose / Russ Andrews

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February 8, 2023 12:30 am

Today, Pastor Russ Andrews continues his sermon through Luke Chapter 18.


This is Stu Epperson from the Truth Talk Podcast, connecting current events, pop culture, and theology, and we're so grateful for you that you've chosen the Truth Podcast Network. It's about to start in just a few seconds.

Enjoy it and please share it around with all your friends. Thanks for listening, and thanks for choosing the Truth Podcast Network. This is the Truth Network. Do you feel like you're on a religious treadmill? Do you feel like Christianity is just a system of rules and regulations?

I can do this, but I can't do that. Do you feel like your efforts to reach God, find God, and please God are futile? Do you feel like your faith is dead or alive? Today, Pastor Russ Andrews will walk us through Scripture to answer these questions. Join us on Finding Purpose, glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living.

For more information and to connect with Russ Andrews and Finding Purpose, you can visit us online at or connect with us on Facebook. Now, let's listen to Russ Andrews as he teaches us how to be a Christian without being religious. Okay, guys, take your Bible and open up to Luke chapter 18. We're going to be looking at verses 18 through 34, and I've entitled this message, The Perils of Wealth and the Coming Cross. Last week at the end of our text, people were bringing lots of children to Jesus. I hope you remember that, and the disciples tried to discourage them from doing this. Then Jesus made a jarring declaration. He said, I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.

This statement must have shocked the disciples. What aspect about the last thing they were thinking about was a baby. What aspect of a baby or trait is necessary to possess if you want to enter God's kingdom? Well, you've seen babies before. They're totally dependent and totally trusting, and that's the way we should be right.

Totally dependent and totally trusting. Kent Hughes writes, we must not think a child cannot come to God until he's like a man, but a man cannot come to God until he's like a child. Did you hear that? A man cannot, a child cannot come to God until he's like a man, but a man cannot come to God until he's like a child. He goes on to say, we must grow down until we become like little children. This week we meet someone who is the polar opposite of a little child, a rich ruler, and he comes to Jesus and asks a very important question.

In fact, I would say it's the most important question. So I want you to follow along with me, beginning with verse 18. 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. You know the commandments. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not murder. You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony.

Honor your father and mother. All these I've kept since I was a boy, he said. When Jesus heard this, he said to him, you still like one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven.

Then come and follow me. And when he heard this, he became very sad because he was a man of great wealth. 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 a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. Those who heard this asked, who then can be saved? And Jesus replied, what is impossible with men is possible with God. Then Peter said to him, we've left all we had to follow you. I tell you the truth, 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.

That's the word of the Lord. Now, I want us to first just think about this man for a minute. So what do we know about him?

Who was he? Well, this story, by the way, is told in Matthew, Mark and Luke. And from Mark's account, we learned this man actually came running to Jesus and then fell at his feet. And then from Matthew's account, we learned that he was young. Here in Luke's account, we learned that he was a wealthy ruler. He was probably the ruler of a local synagogue, although we can't be certain. Thus, he was a religious man.

So he was young, he was a ruler, he was wealthy, and he was religious. And no doubt he'd been watching Jesus. He had seen Jesus hold the little children. He'd been listening to Jesus tell all these parables to the disciples, and he was simply amazed. And he noticed that Jesus spoke with great authority and power.

And most certainly, he had heard about all the miracles he performed. And then he heard Jesus say something that just was strange to him. He said about receiving the kingdom like a child. And so one day, he comes running to Jesus and falls at his feet. And from this lowly position, he looked up at Jesus and he asked him this question. Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? But notice that this ruler says, what must I do? Now, what's the problem with this line of thinking?

That's right. There's nothing any of us can do to merit eternal life, just like Jeff said. No doubt he was a very moral man who strived to keep the letter of the law, but obviously something was missing in his life. And I believe that he was hoping that Jesus had the answer. In fact, I think he did think Jesus had the answer. But as we're going to see, he would not find the answer where?

Within himself. You know, Jesus' response is very interesting. He said, why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. Now listen, Jesus here is not denying his deity.

Notice he never denies being good. He just makes the point that only God is good. Kent Hughes says that Jesus was trying to get him to think for himself. Think man, if I'm good and only God is good, then who am I and what am I doing? He was trying to get this man to observe him and to think about who he really was. After listening to him and watching the miracles and seeing how he welcomed little children, Jesus was always trying to get people to see and believe in him. But the man can't see this reality right now.

Why? Because he's spiritually blind. So Jesus is going to take another tact.

He's going to take another angle by focusing on his heart issue. And this is what Jesus always does, does he not? He looks at a man's heart and then he zeroes in on a particular sin issue that you might have in your life. And so Jesus is going to try to get this rich ruler to look inside his own heart.

And he does this by reminding him of the second half of the Ten Commandments. Do not commit adultery. Do not murder. Do not steal. Do not bear false witness.

Honor your father and mother. And if you think about it, all these commandments are horizontal in nature. It's about how you deal with your fellow man. But this one missing direction, what is that?

Vertical. So he wants him to realize that he's missing that vertical relationship. So men, again, he mentions the law. Why did he bring up the law? What is the purpose of the law? Well, the purpose of the law is to take us by the hand and lead us to who? Jesus. And how does the law do that?

It does. It reminds us that we're all sinners. Galatians 4 27 says, So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ.

Now think about yourself. What led you to Christ? You probably heard the gospel. Then you also began to read the Bible and you began to see a picture of your own heart as you read the Bible. You got convicted of your sin. And hopefully just like this man, you came running to Jesus and fell at his feet. Is that your story?

I hope so. Jesus knew that if he would look inside himself, he would see that he was a sinner who fell short of God's righteous standard. And this is what the Bible says about all of us. We all fall short, do we not? Romans 3 23 says, For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. So let me ask you something. Do you see yourself as a sinner before God?

I hope so. Hopefully you see yourself as a forgiven sinner. Tragically the rich young ruler failed to see himself as a sinner and this is why he said to Jesus, All these I've kept since I was a boy. I'm reminded of how the apostle Paul felt about himself prior to his conversion. If you will flip your Bible over to Philippians 3 just briefly. Philippians chapter 3. I want you to see what Paul says about himself before he had an encounter with the Lord. Philippians chapter 3 verses 4 through 6. Paul writes, If anyone else thinks he has reason to put confidence in the flesh, I have more.

Circumcised on the eighth day of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews, in regard to the law a Pharisee, as for zeal persecuting the church, as for legalistic righteousness. Notice what he says. He says faultless. Paul thought he was faultless. But then what happened to Paul?

You know what happened. He's on the road to Damascus to go and arrest Christians. He's going to have them in prison and all of a sudden he encounters a blinding light.

It literally knocks him to the ground. And who speaks to him? Jesus. And what does he say? He says, Saul, this is his name before he became a believer, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? And then Saul cries out, Who are you, Lord?

And Jesus responds, I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. And we know that Paul was blind for about three, for three days until Ananias came to see him. And I believe that during those three days, he got to look inside his heart. What did Paul see? He saw a sinner. That's why he came to Jesus. So what was the problem with this rich ruler? Well, the problem was his wealth. He was attached to it. His wealth had become as God.

It was his security blanket, if you will. So Jesus honed in on this sin. He said, you lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give it to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven and then come and follow me. Can you imagine?

What an offer. The chance to become one of Jesus's disciples. Yet he couldn't let go of his wealth. See, he loved his possessions more than he loved God. Billy Graham once said, there's nothing wrong with men possessing riches. The wrong comes when riches possess men.

Is that not true? This ruler was possessed by his wealth, so he turned and walked away, thus missing the opportunity of a lifetime. I want you to notice that Luke says as he walked away that he was sad. I imagine that Jesus was sad too, don't you? And then 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 a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. So what's our main takeaway from this? From this, what we've learned so far. Here it is. I think it's in your outline. While it is easy to come to Jesus if you have childlike faith, it is just as difficult to come to him if you possess great wealth.

So why is this? What is it about wealth? Well, here's how I define wealth. Wealth refers to any possession that causes you to be rich in your own eyes and in the eyes of the world. For example, money, but also education, religion. You can be rich in all of these areas. All of these possessions carry with them great peril when it comes to entering the kingdom of God.

Why is this? Because wealth deceives us in so many ways, does it not? Matthew 13 22, here Jesus says, the one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the words of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. You see, wealth has many dangerous qualities. First, wealth blinds us to our own spiritual reality. It deprives us from seeing our spiritual poverty before holy God.

How does it do this? Wealth deceives a man into believing that he has all he needs. Thus, it gives him a false sense of security. See, here's the problem with wealth, and I'm talking about wealth when you don't have Christ in your life. Possessing great wealth can make a man feel powerful and autonomous, which leads to self-sufficiency and independence. And I would say the other two most dangerous traits a man can have in this life is to be self-sufficient and independent of God. Being well educated can make a man feel like he knows everything. Thus, he becomes unteachable.

I'm sure you've met people like that. Religious striving tends to make a man feel like he's good. Thus, he fails to see the depravity of his sin nature and his real need for a Savior. Now, here in the research triangle part, don't we have all three of those? Wealth, education, religion?

That's a very deadly combination. Second, in your outline, not only is wealth blind, but wealth is like a magnet constantly pulling us away from God. And even wealthy believers have to guard against the pull of riches. Finally, wealth can prove to be a trap. What Satan does, he uses the riches of the world as bait to lure us onto this treadmill that goes nowhere. His victims expand great, covetous effort, but never realize the contentment that was promised.

Don't you know people like that? They have everything, but they have nothing. They're not content.

They don't have peace. Now, at this point, the disciples asked, who then can be saved? And Jesus replied, what is impossible for men is possible with God. Now, I want to be clear about this. The Bible does not say that money is evil, but that the love of money is what?

The root of all evil. There's nothing wrong with having money as long as the money does not have you. I know plenty of wealthy believers who are very generous with their wealth. In fact, I know of one couple here in town who gives an extremely high percentage of their income every year. In fact, this man humbly told me one time because we were talking about giving, he shared with me that one year he and his wife sat down and they decided they were going to give 100% of the profits from their thriving business to the Lord that year. That was a number of years ago. He shared with this with me last year.

He told me that that year proved to be the most profitable year in the history of his company, but he didn't regret it. So how can we avoid the perils of wealth? Don't you want to know how to do that? Let me give you seven biblical principles to live by in your outline. Here's number one. When it comes to money and other possessions, you need to have an eternal perspective. Take your Bible and flip over to Matthew 6 real quick. Matthew 6, I want you to look at verses 19 and 20 with me. Here Jesus is speaking about wealth.

First Matthew chapter 6 verse 19. He says, Do not store for yourselves treasure on earth where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. And here's the key. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Is that not true? Remember this, you can't take it with you, but you can't send it on ahead.

I'm sure you've heard that before. Number two, do not determine your lifestyle by comparing yourself to others. Comparison is a dangerous game. In fact, I would say that you need to make sure that you have plenty of friends that you spend time with who have much less than you do.

Does that not have a way of putting everything in perspective? Number three, answer this question for yourself. How much is enough, and what should I do once I've reached that point? Number four, make an effort to live more simply. The quiet, simple life is the best environment for us to be able to invest enough time to nurture our relationship with the Lord and family members. Number five, recognize that we are in a spiritual struggle. Satan is out to tempt us.

You can just watch this through all the ads to get us to do what? Buy things with money we don't have to impress people we don't like. He wants us to spend what we have. Number six, and this comes from Romans 12 verse 2. Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Men, if you do that, and then you do that by reading God's word, and then you will be able to know and approve, not approve, but you'll be able to know what God's perfect will is for your life, even when it comes to money. Did you know the Bible has 2,500 verses that have to do with wealth? Only 500 on love and about 500 on faith.

Do you think God knew we were going to have trouble with money? So he's put a lot in scripture that you can study that will help you guide your life as you take care of the resources God has given you. And finally, number seven, recognize that a financial empire can be built during a lifetime on earth, but it is totally meaningless apart from knowing Jesus Christ. Now I don't know about you, when I go through that list, I've got several that I need to work on.

How about you? Now I want to change gears and move to our next text. Look at verses 31 through 34, and we're going to consider this coming cross. In these verses, Jesus is becoming more intentional and direct with his disciples in warning them about the coming cross he must encounter.

So look at verse 31 with me. Jesus took the 12 aside and told them, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, and spit on him. They will flock him and kill him. And on the third day, he will what?

Rise again. And verse 34 is interesting. It says the disciples did not understand any of this.

Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about. I want you to remember that Jesus is on a divine time schedule. He's trying to prepare his disciples for exactly what is getting ready to happen to him. So what he does is he pulls them away from the crowd, and he begins to give them in detail what's getting ready to take place. And he does this by pointing them back to what? Scripture.

Look at what he says. We're going to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. And we don't have time tonight to look at all the verses in the Old Testament, because there's scores of them that point to the crucifixion.

I just want to point out a few. Genesis 3.15 is a very interesting verse, if you're not familiar with it. It's really the first mention of the Gospel in the Bible. And you can clearly see the crucifixion if you look carefully. I believe the writer of Genesis was Moses.

I believe he wrote the Pentateuch. So Moses writes, And I will put enmity between you, and God is speaking to the serpent and the woman, and between your offspring and hers. He, that is the offspring of the woman, will crush your head and you, the serpent, will strike his heel.

Do you follow that? Can you see the cross there? I mean, Jesus literally had a nail driven through his feet. And as the offspring of the woman, he goes, you can trace his lineage all the way back to Adam and Eve. He crushed the head of the serpent when he was crucified, and then when he rose from the grave. So Satan is a defeated entity. Now, look at Psalm 22.

This one is absolutely fascinating. I want you to keep in mind that David wrote this a thousand years before the birth of Christ. And I just find it, this is one of those, when I read it, I think, how can you not read this and not believe the Bible?

Look at what it says in Psalm 22. David writes, I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. That's exactly what happens to a man on a cross.

He becomes disfigured. My heart has turned to wax. It has melted away within me. That's what happened to Jesus when the blood drained from his heart. It turned to wax. My strength has dried up, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.

You lay me in the dust of death. Dogs have surrounded me. A band of evil men has encircled me. They have pierced my hands and my feet.

Does it get any more clear than that? Isaiah 53, 5. Again, the whole chapter is pointing to the Messiah and how he's going to be a suffering Savior. Verse 5 says, but he was pierced for our transgressions.

He was crushed for our iniquities. So here you have three prophets, Moses, David, and Isaiah, all prophesying literally more than a thousand years in advance of the coming Messiah's death on a cross. Now, I also want you to notice that Jesus refers to himself as the Son of Man, and clearly what he's doing, he's pointing back to Daniel 7, verse 13, which says, in my vision at night, I looked, and there before me was one like a Son of Man coming with the clouds. You see, Daniel was prophesying about the coming Messiah, the Savior of the world, and he refers to him as who?

The Son of Man. This is the first reference in the Bible of the Messiah as the Son of Man, and this is a title that Jesus applies to himself here in Luke 18. He could not have been more clear that he's referring to himself as this Messiah, and so once he's made this point clear that he's the Messiah, then he explains exactly what's going to happen to him. He tells the disciples he will be delivered, this Messiah will be delivered over to the Gentiles, and then he says, he will be delivered to the Messiah, and then he says, this Messiah will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, and spit on him.

They will flock him and kill him, and on the third day he will rise again. Jesus, in essence, looked at his disciples and said, all of this, men, is going to happen to me, but the disciples did not understand what he was saying. Verse 34 says, its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.

So why couldn't they see this? Well, the veil had not been totally lifted from their spiritual eyes. Kent Hughes writes, the big reason is that their minds simply did not have room for a suffering, dying Messiah.

The idea was theologically beyond their grasp. Only history and Christ himself would open their eyes as the Lord would record, as Luke would record in his final chapter. Luke 24 31 says, and their eyes were opened and they recognized him. And the way he does this, he goes back and teaches them all that the prophets and Moses had written about him, and then the Holy Spirit comes upon them and they can see.

Can you see? Tonight, we have the completed canon of scripture. We have more than the disciples did.

We have the New Testament as well as the old. However, without the work of the Holy Spirit, we remain what? Blind. Has God lifted that veil from your eyes? Do you sit here tonight? And all of this is just beginning to take shape, but you just still don't quite understand?

Here's all you have to do. You ask the Holy Spirit to lift the veil from your eyes and he will give you complete spiritual understanding. Me and Jesus not only faced that cross, but he willingly volunteered his life by dying on that cross for you and me. Amen.

All he wants from us is to surrender our lives to him. Have you done that? Have you?

Are you like a little child or are you like that rich young ruler? Finding Purpose on Facebook. Pastor Russ would also like to extend a special invitation for you to join him and over 300 other local men to study God's Word together every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in downtown Raleigh. Find out more at This is the Truth Network.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-08 04:05:37 / 2023-02-08 04:15:57 / 10

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