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January 17, 2021 12:01 am
Only Christ can redeem us from the immeasurable debt we incur by our sin. Today, R.C. Sproul continues his series in the gospel of Mark to investigate Jesus' interaction with a rich young man who could not recognize his own spiritual bankruptcy.
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Jesus taught that the demands of God's law go far deeper than mere outward obedience. The rich young ruler didn't understand he had a superficial understanding of the law. He still harbored the hope within himself that he could earn his way into heaven and beloved.
He's no different from the vast majority of people who are in churches this Sunday morning think that the last time you received a gift. Did you pull another woman try to repay the person who gave it to. In that case it's no longer a gift but as we read in Scripture. Salvation is a gift, the gift of God. We couldn't pay it back. Even if we tried. Today Dr. RC Sproul turns to the gospel of Mark chapter 10, to help us see that if we're like the rich young ruler, we are turning our back on the greatest gift of all I want us to attention to the narrative about the rich young ruler. We read in verse 17. These words felt as he was going out on the road, one came running note before him and asked him good teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life. Obviously this man who comes with this inquiry is not at this interested bystander at one of Jesus public orations.
Here's a man who ran for all it's worth. It was his fingers could be asked Jesus. The question that was burning in his soul. How can I inherit eternal life. What all I have to do becomes eagerly becomes willingly and he comes with respect and honor. He falls on his knees before Jesus and he uses a form of address that was somewhat unusual and rare among the Jews when he says to good teacher or good rabbi. When will I have to do to inherit eternal life, not the Psalms in the Old Testament talked about inheriting life and so often in the Old Testament, the notion of inheriting life was related to obedience to the law and this man comes with that assumption that the only way he will ever in the current eternal life is by doing something that would make him just before God.
I'm going to come back to that in a few moments, but for now let's go on with the question good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life. Notice how Jesus answers the question answers a question with the question is why are you calling me good, don't you know that there's only one who is good, even God. Some of the critics of the Christian faith. Go to this fax the nights a year is manifest evidence that Jesus did not consider himself sinless that Jesus saw that there were weaknesses in his own righteousness because he disc files. Any description of himself as being good but beloved. I'm quite convinced that that's not why the man heard these words from the lips of Jesus. Jesus was not saying to the man. Why do you call me good. I'm not good. Only God is good. Jesus knew that this man did not know to whom he was asking the question, Jesus knew that this man did not know that he was talking to God incarnate, and what Jesus is calling attention to is that this man had a superficial understanding of what goodness it's just like we do. Just like the world where so easy to call each other good while he's a good man. She's a good woman.
He's a good child, and so on, without giving much thought or consideration to what goodness entails goods a relative term, and we use it by comparing one person to another. We compare ourselves to each other, just as we talk about animals recite about my dog my dogs a good job well I mean by that I don't mean that my dog has a highly refined ethical sense of propriety that my dog knows how to make those art decisions that righteousness required no legislative dogs go. My dogs are pretty good.my dog comes when I called her she doesn't like the mailman futile stroke from a good dog. So what we mean we say that man is good may remain. He doesn't like the mailman becomes when we call amenities housebroken. Hardly so what we mean is that compared to other people. He's pretty good.
By 11 we were warned in Scripture not to judge ourselves by ourselves or to judge ourselves among ourselves, but to understand that ultimately goodness is defying by the character of God, whose character is made manifest in the law and when we judge ourselves against the ultimate standard of the righteousness of God. We will understand what first, the psalmist and then the apostle Paul in Romans says there is none righteous, there is none who does good, no, not one was a sure the Bible's exaggerated speaking, hyperbolic play when you sit there know what it does any good, noted that we see among pagans, all kinds of self sacrificial acts of what he called civic virtue where people abstain from stealing.
Were they they give from the depths of their hearts to needy causes without being believers is a good thing for the course.
What we mean by that is that people do externally those things from time to time that correspond to the law of God but God requires of everything that we do be motivated by a heart that loves him and seeks to honor him before God will consider your deeds good deeds he looks not only on their outward conformity to his law but he looks at your heart said that this deed proceed from a heart that 100% wants to glorify him and he knows the answer to that.
So do you.
So from the viewpoint of God, there's none righteous, no, not a single one with that same superficial view of the good that the man here as we, assuming that we can do something to inherit eternal life. Notice the contrast in language between this man and the little ones that were brought to Jesus with the disciples that don't bother the master with these little kids. He said I said Jesus would very displeased. These and let them come up with them not for such long to the kingdom of God. And I say to you assuredly that unless you receive the kingdom of God like one of these little ones. You shall have difficulty inheriting the kingdom. No, unless you receive the kingdom like one of these little ones you in no way in no way will enter into the king so the rich man is looking for. That way not to receive the kingdom but to inherit the kingdom to do something that will make him worthy to inherit the kingdom he still looking to the law. He doesn't understand it last Sunday at the tie would have the text was on marriage and divorce if you were here to try to set forth the text to one of the ministers who came to the pastor's conference came early and was in the congregation, and afterwards he said to me, so I love your style of worship.
I love the preaching.
I love the church. I love everything about it but you know I didn't hear the gospel this morning, I heard the law. Where was the gospel. You know, my first thought was a people come this church hear the gospel at time and I said yeah but not today. Today that Erica law and her people walked out here thinking well I guess I'm going to hell because I didn't give them the gospel what the law is supposed to do is to drive us to the gospel to expose our need to expose our sin and cause us to abandon all of turning our way into the kingdom of God and I should've said last Sunday that if you're involved in an illegitimate divorce or if you're involved with pornography. These are not the unforgivable sin that these sins are what sent Christ to the cross and if you put your trust in him and are justified by faith, your sins will be forgiven and even divorced people can get in the kingdom of God. That's the good news. But Jesus before he sets forth the gospel to this young man takes him straight to the law.
Well I have to go to inherit the kingdom of God.
He asked Jesus answers you know and then he sets before him what's often called the second table of the law that part of the law that refers to our interactionist human beings.
The first commandments talk about our relationship to God is of no other God before me, and thou shall not make of thee any graven images and shall not take the name the Lord in vain and remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Those are all about how we relate to God.
But then from there it goes on with the prohibitions against murder and theft and adultery, covetousness, and false witness, and the rest. Jesus starts with the second part we put it this way, French he search the easy part.
Should you know the law shall not murder, thou shall not steal, thou shall not commit adultery. And all of a sudden this figure young man who came rushing up to Jesus to find out how to get in God's kingdom. Reason sigh of relief.
Thank goodness is that all I have to do all these people and he said Jesus is not commit adultery under stolen anything on there murdered anybody. I'm not a covetous person. All these things have I done since I was a little boy Jesus. I was born and reared in the Jewish community. We recited the law all the time.
I know the Decalogue it's written on my heart. I keep those commandments every day and they would expect Jesus.
They will wait a minute know you don't Jesus could look at him and said to the young man, sir you have The single one. The 10 Commandments and you got out of bed this morning. Obviously this man had not heard Jesus sermon on the Mount where Jesus explained people there that if you've refrained from full or adultery, but you have lost in your heart you broken the law. And even if you've never taken a human life stabbing somebody to death. If you've been angry without just cause. If you hated your brother if you've insulted him. You broken the law against murder and Jesus revealed that the commands of God's law are far deeper than the mere simple outward obedience that is spelled out. The rich young ruler didn't understand. He had the superficial understanding of the good. He had a superficial understanding of the law. He still harbored the hope within himself that he could earn his way into heaven and beloved.
He's no different from the vast majority of people were walking around this country today and from the 04 majority of people who are in churches this Sunday morning phone. Jesus doesn't give a lecture to the young man. He doesn't say no you haven't The law since you were a little boy you know you don't understand the gospel. You don't understand justification by faith alone. Rather, he was trying to help this man understand what was going on and listen.
This after the man said all these things have kept from my youth. Mark tells us this that then Jesus looking at the left not interest the young guy says I've Law since I was a little boy says that the Jesus to the judge of heaven and earth are standing right in front of it. Then Jesus looked at him and loves him why does he love them because he was so happy finally to find an Israelite and really noon there was no doubt finally to find someone in the Jewish community that did in fact keep the law from the times little boy and Jesus love this fella because he was so lovely know you know what, I don't think that this rich young ruler was an arrogant man to be sure his answers were implicitly arrogant, but I think that was his demeanor. I don't think that was his attitude. He really wanted to know and he really believed that he kept the law. I think of Jesus approaching Jerusalem and we thing crying out in prophetic lament out Jerusalem. Jerusalem, you kill the prophets were sent before how often I would've gathered you to myself like a hen gathers her chicks but you would not when our Lord met people who were as lost as this young man.
His heart was filled with compassion. Jesus wanted a look at this man and put his arms around him say don't you get it.
The only way you get into the kingdom is has to bring nothing in your hand you have to receive it like the children they can't find it. You can't earn it. You can't possibly deserve it. We have to receive is by grace and grace alone, but instead Jesus is trying to show him step-by-step. The error that he sin and the fella is just that I've All law since Oslo bloggers like to use it okay if The law was put into the text. One thing you lack one little thing you've done so well. All those years but you miss this inheritance except one tiny requirement.
All you have to do is go out and sell all that you have given to the poor go pick up your cross and follow me. Then you can get in the King Herod the king is one little I hear something want to understand Jesus is not setting down your universal rule for anybody to enter the kingdom of God have to go to vest themselves of all private property go on and enter into a monastery become an ascetic out of the wilderness, sitting on a flight, or taking an oath of poverty or seeking redemption through poverty, mysticism, sober Jesus thought he's addressing these comments that this fella. Here's what Jesus is doing. You've kept all the law.
Okay, let's start with number one, thou shall have no other gods before me. And Jesus knew that money was this man's God money was this man's idol all maybe want the synagogue maybe want the temple worship, but his mind all week long, was consumed with questions of what what what his final state. The money ranked ahead of God solve the lack get rid of it. Pluck out the cut off the hand cut off the foot.
Whatever keeps you from the kingdom of God. Get rid of it. That's all you have to do now that sigh of relief is transformed beloved into a groan of despair. The Bible says he was sad at this word that works not strong enough. He was downcast he was all and shocked by the devastating in this one who ran to Jesus walked away from James insert he walked away from Jesus, the pearl of great price was standing right in front of him. All the treasures of heaven and earth were in the one he walked away from his like a man who wouldn't trade a nickel for $1 billion.
Only the thing that's a poor analogy.
He thought his own possessions were worth more than Jesus they'd rather have his own bank account than the kingdom of God. Beloved. Here's what the young man didn't understand the Bible says he was wealthy and a great estate and must riches but the reality was. He was bankrupt, utterly and completely bankrupt as he stood there talking to Jesus. The shadow of his credit report was hanging over the Bible says that all of us are debtors who cannot pay their debts have ever been in that position. If he ever owed more than you had the resources to pay.
God requires from us that we be holy even as he is holding in the minute we sin, where no indent to the righteousness of God, as Paul said, we are keeping up treasures against the day of wrath keeping up wrath that that grows bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger every time we sent somebody left us a zillion dollars. It couldn't pay our accounts. The tragedy in this event is that the only person in the universe who could get him out of bankruptcy. The only person in the universe who could pay the debt that the man couldn't possibly pay himself was standing right in front she that's what the gospel is about Christ pace for us. He purchases us. He pays our debt and he gives to us his righteousness, which is the only thing that will satisfy the demands of God's law shall apply faith. When you put your trust in Christ and Christ alone and despair of your own well you let Goodson Kendrick go this mortal life.
Also, and cling to Jesus. Then you receive the narratives that you need to get in the kingdom of God. That's what Luther understood for years and the modest the pilgrimage is the wrong after self-denial, after paying the monk among monks.
I keep falling further into debt until he fled to Jesus and came gladly and he stayed there because he understood the just shall live by faith.
That is the good news of the gospel. We we find such freedom.
There we've heard a message of hope today from Dr. RC Sproul your listing to Renewing Your Mind and were glad you joined us today were making our way through the gospel of Mark each week here on the Sunday edition of our program.
About midway through chapter 10 down so we have a great deal of study left to do and to help you follow along. Let me encourage you to request our resource offer today. It's Dr. Sproles commentary on this gospel you can go online and requested with your gift of any amount to litigator ministries for our web address is Renewing Your Mind.org. If you're listening to us on Wegener's free mobile app you can request the commentary by clicking view today's resource offer but again, if you'd like to make a request online you can do email@example.com next week as we continue the study, Jesus will teach the disciples about what it takes for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God and a camel to go through the eye of a needle to what is says we returned to Mark chapter 10 next Sunday on Renewing Your Mind