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June 9, 2022 7:00 pm
Dr. Brent Cook of the BJU Bible faculty continues a doctrinal series on soteriology entitled “Our Great Salvation.”
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. The school was founded in 1927 by the evangelist Dr. Bob Jones Senior's intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything, so he established daily chapel services today.
That tradition continues with fervent biblical preaching from the University Chapel platform today on The Daily Platform were continuing a study series entitled our great salvation which is a study of the doctrine of salvation or so to reality today speaker is Dr. Brent Cook, VP for academic affairs Dr. Gary Weir will introduce him separately this morning to continue our doctrinal theme for the semester, which is our great salvation which we been singing about this morning that through Christ always accomplish nothing half and is a great privilege to have Dr. Greg cut out of our Bible professors your DJ you is that many of the key forces in the Bible for part of our curriculum as the speaker. Today is also the pastor of University Baptist Church in Clemson, South Carolina. So look forward to what the Lord has for us today. Learning more about our great salvation is Dr. Cook comes let's turn to Matthew the 19th chapter of Matthew chapter 19 on October 5, 2014 baby boy was born in Dongguan city, Guangdong province of southern China was born with a cleft lip and palate in need of several surgeries. Five days later he was abandoned left on an industrial bridge very rough section of town. Left there with litter along the edge of the road, discovered by the police. He was placed in an orphanage 22 months later his adoptive mother. My wife arrived in China to bring home our son Asher Asher came to us with the close that he was wearing little lollipop is now and a little broken blue suitcase containing Legos about all that's how therapists, I can tell you this to make you feel sorry for Asher. I'm telling you to make the point that he came with considerably more than my other two children they can make it. Everyone of us evenly abandon orphan they get a process of accumulation very early in life that we into the world with nothing and everyone of us matter how much we accumulate must enter the New World. Cicely same way. Nothing Jesus Christ told the Jewish ruler, Nicodemus, except a man be born again he cannot see God you come in the God's kingdom like a naked little infant and just like my children wrapped in clothing. They did not earn so we are wrapped roads righteous that justification justification is God declaring the righteous on the basis of Christ's righteousness, not my will and I was asked to speak on this topic. The subtitle that I was given was a righteousness, not my exact subtitle that I would like to develop today. Matthew 919, we will discover another ruler like Dimas wants to discover the secret to eternal life, and unfortunately he is clinging to his own righteousness… Read the account, beginning with verse 16 and, behold, one came and said to him, good master, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life, and he said to him.
Why, because thou me good. There is none good but one, that is God but without will enter into life, keep the commandments.
He said to him, which Jesus said, thou shall do no murder – is not adultery. Thou shalt not steal, thou shall not bear false witness on my father, my mother nationally love thy neighbor as thyself. The young man saith him to him all these things have I kept from my youth up. What lack I yet Jesus said to him, if thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that Dell hast and give to the poor, and thou shall have treasure in heaven and come and follow me.
When the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Mark's account tells us this man was a great landowner looks account and the Naz B says that he was extremely rich.
Looks account also tells us that he was a ruler of the people he sounds like an ideal convert does not. But Jesus turns him away. The key to interpreting the story is found in verse 16 when the man says what good thing shall I do know that I may inherit eternal life that I have eternal life.
He assumes that his good actions will secure for him eternal life and he of course is in a great position to do a great many good works. Think about what you could do if you were a ruler or if you are very wealthy are fueling vast estates. If eternal life comes about by good deeds.
This man is better position than probably all of us to secure access to heaven, not for the sake of instructing the man Jesus will initially follow along with his train of thought. Jesus tells them go, keep the commandments and the man responsible.
I have but Jesus knows that his heart is addicted to wealth earlier in the same amount.
Jesus taught that is not enough to merely keep the commandments is not enough to say what I've never murdered, and I never could adultery but I've never stolen. Actually your entire heart would have to be absolutely perfect to get into heaven. So how would you know that your heart was absolutely perfect when it comes to the use of your wealth will Jesus again set in the sum amount you need to lay up treasure in heaven, not on earth to how would you know if you're very wealthy that your heart was entirely set on the kingdom of heaven. And the answer is verse 21. Here's how you know if thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give the poor, and thou shall have treasure in heaven, Colleen just get rid of it all and then you know if your heart is perfect with regard your wealth now is Jesus saying that Christians can never have wealth, no Jesus interact with other rich people he does not put this kind of burden on them that the apostle Paul tells the rich, they are not required to just impoverish themselves, but they are required to be rich in good works. So why does Jesus tell this man to go sell everything and again, the answer is verse 16. The man's starting assumption is that he can do some good thing. Turn access to heaven and Jesus is merely exposing his heart condition by showing him that there is something that he really cannot do because of his addiction to wealth and so verse 22 he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions now examine very carefully what Jesus says next verse 23 then Jesus said unto his disciples, verily I say unto you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven listen to the ESV only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven with difficulty. Verse 24 and again I say into you.
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. In verse 23 Jesus says it's very difficult for a rich man to get into the kingdom he holds on very little hope for the wealthy man. But then in verse 24 Jesus says it's impossible for the wealthy man to get into the kingdom.
There is no way that a camel can ever pass through the eye of a needle. That's an impossibility. So how on earth is a rich man get into the kingdom and further is Jesus contradicting himself. Sounds like he's saying it's really difficult. And then he is saying. Actually, it's impossible voyages. It lets attempt to answer both questions the popular interpretation of verse 24 claims that the eye of the needle was a small little portal in the wall of Jerusalem was a little gate that was kept open after the main gate was shot at night. It was defensible because it's very small size and only with great difficulty to great great big large lumbering camel to some school ease his way through. It was difficult for the camel to get in but still possible in this interpretation was widely popularized in the 19th century, and it shows up earlier. Shakespeare knows of it and some of Canterbury and 11th-century knows of this interpretation, but it doesn't go back any earlier. So far as we know, the interpretation sees verse 24 as parallel with verse 23 verse 23 says it's difficult for rich person to get in verse 24 uses an illustration to confirm that difficulty, but there are three problems. First of all, there is no archaeological record of such gate. Secondly, the interpretation dates the Middle Ages when people had no archaeological knowledge of Jerusalem at all.
And thirdly, the interpretation abuses the context look at verse 25 when his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, who then can be saved. Disciples nothing at all.
He's referring to a little portal on the wall.
It's really difficult but still possible.
That's not what they were concluding they concluded no one then can be saved and that's precisely the conclusion Jesus intended. They draw and that's why Jesus responds in verse 26 with man this is impossible. That's the point.
It is impossible. Jesus also was not thinking of little camel gates. He is thinking about a literal impossibility. Well, then R versus 23 and 24 contradictory verse 23 again says it's difficult. Verse 24 says it's impossible what we make of this. And the answer is actually quite simple. It's difficult. Verse 23.
Because the rich man has to realize it's impossible by his own good works. That's the point. Both statements are true. It's very difficult for rich man to recognize that he needs a righteousness that's not his. And it's always been that way with the world. Wealthy, they have to humble themselves, they have to come into the kingdom the same way a poor man dies and it's very difficult for rich men recognize body for rich man recognizes that all his wealth in all his power and all his prestige and office positions are going to do him any good whatsoever.
Well then, verse 26 with God all things are possible. So the whole point of passage is that we need a righteousness that's not our own.
That's with the messages communicating to us now. I am a mess. I have a question for you.
Do you suppose that we went through all the trouble and expense of adoption because we really wanted that broken little blue suitcase. My wife just had to have.
We wanted Asher's financial assets right well believe it or not, all that stuff you left in China somewhere in a dump. I assume somewhere with her.
We wanted Asher.
That's a pitiful example compared to God's redeeming grace know when God set his affection upon us long before we were born. Do you suppose that he was interested in all the wealth that we accumulate in life.
All of our positions of power and prestige.
Do you suppose the creator of heaven and earth and all the bright stars in the universe really needs are broken little suitcases. Justification is nothing to do with what we can offer to God everything to do with what God offers to us the righteousness of Christ and just as an aside, let me ask a second question, would you have turned away the rich young ruler, the man of great wealth or power or influence came to join your church. Would you be tempted to let them in. Are we tempted to Christianize politicians because we think the gospel can only succeed in the wings of political power are we tempted to speculate about how much success the gospel would have a great politician or celebrity or sports superstar would just convert I'm in a foreign body center Tom Brady and Bill Gates converted and join my church with, and that the awesome well the disciples certainly thought that way and Matthew writing years after this event seems to have understood their folly and he points out in verse 25.
They were exceedingly amazed at how Jesus dealt with the rich man Jesus just turned away a superstar and that's not all. Matthew actually arranges this narrative right on the heels of another embarrassing episode for the disciples. Look at verses 13 to 14 then were brought in to help little children, that he should put his hands on them and pray in the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, suffer little children, and forbid them not to come on the main floor, such as the kingdom of heaven. Now imagine that the disciples turn away the little children and they want to accept the rich man Jesus on the other hand, accepts little children and turns away the wealthy man that's children that don't come in the kingdom and armloads of wealth and armloads of good works think they're going to please God and all of my interaction with my own children has yet to even occur to them to offer their good works to God. They come with a very simple faith in Jesus says let the man now in the aftermath of the incident with the rich young ruler in chapter 20.
Jesus is going to tell is a highly unusual and counterintuitive parable and I want to turn your attention to it now. This is a parable that illustrates further the deficiency in the rich man's thinking let's read straight through it and understand.
Initially, it is puzzling. Chapter 20 and verse one for the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard.
And when you agree with the laborers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard, and he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace and set under them go. You also in the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you and they went their way. Again he went out about the sixth hour in the ninth hour, and did likewise. About the 11th hour he went out and found others standing idle and send them why stand ye here all the day idle. They sanded him, because no man that hired us.
He saith, under them, go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right, that shall you receive. So when even was, the Lord of the vineyard set into a steward called the laborers and give them their higher beginning in the last under the first and when they came that were hired about the 11th hour, they received every man a penny.
When I first came they suppose it they should've received more and they likewise received every man a penny when they received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house saying, these last have wrought but one hour has made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day but he answered one of them and said friend I do the no wrong. That's now not agree with me for a penny, take that is dying and go thy way, I will give under this last, even as under the is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own is I-9 able because I am good so the last shall be first in the first to last for many be called, but few chosen. Understand that when Jesus told parables, he often did so in order to make a very particular point.
If you try to find a particular meaning in every tiny detail than you will miss the point.
Or if you read more into the parable than Jesus intended. You will badly misapply it.
So, for example, is this parable designed to teach a Christian businessman how to compensate his employees know that's not the point. What's the point will essentially Jesus tells a story of a man who hires laborers to work in his vineyard but he hired them at different hours of the day. Some work. A long hard day.
Others work shorter portions of the day, but they all got paid the same amount. Doesn't that strike you as on fair it's supposed to strike you that way in our conventional understanding of how the world is supposed around the person who works harder should get paid more. That's only fair. Jesus is deliberately taking a standard convention that you and I recognizes just and fair. He's turning it on its head, but is not doing so in order to attack our standard convention.
So again, why is he doing this. What's the point.
Well the point is that God is not a debtor to any man. The point is the eternal reward that you receive from God is not commensurate with your work in this life and our conventional understanding. When an employee performs a service for the employer that employer actually comes a debtor to the employee.
The employer owes him a paycheck and if you try to shirk the responsibility and not pay your employee the way we all pay our debts, the law will come after you. It's supposed to work that way in my college days. My brother and I work for a businessman and he didn't pay us a wage. He kept promising but not delivering well. Thankfully my brother was dating a young lady who is now his wife and her dad owned the building that the businessman rented and her dad was Italian and he had three grown sons and they reminded you of the Italian Mafia and when he found out, let's just say we got paid very quickly. That's because the employer is indebted to the employee. He's got to pay.
Well, that's precisely how the rich man look to God.
I perform so many good works in God, you stand my timecard with eternal life right wrong that's not how it works in the kingdom of heaven at all.
That's the point of the parable God does not owe anybody anything verse 15.
It's all his do with as he pleases God always interacts with us on the basis of race not – that's the point when God looks at you the center and pronounces you perfectly justified in his sight is not because of any reward that you earned or any broken little suitcase of treasures at your point along behind you it's because of the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. That's justification. That's the point.
I look at the conclusion of the parable in verse 16 so the last shall be first in the first last, that I wonder have you ever core that verse out of context. I bet you have we so often to read it as it got a sense of a cosmic Robin Hood's urgency to redistribute the rewards of the wealthy. We often misinterpreted as a statement of radical reversal last in line goes in the front of the front line goes the end right wrong is not a statement of radical reversal. It's a statement of equality. Those who labored in the vineyard all day long and those who labored for an hour. They are all rewarded equally on the basis of grace, not dad. That's the point.
So let's put this all together.
He was a rich young ruler who thinks that he can earn God's favor in a conventional contractual arrangement.
Ivory is good works for God and God, you pay me my reward.
Well, if you want to try to get the kingdom. That way, then go get busy go so aptly last thing that you have and give it all to the poor. In fact, if you want to work your way into the kingdom your debt is going to be so enormous that you will never enter what and how do I get in the kingdom. Here's a glorious alternative. God is no man's debtor you come to God with nothing at all.
No power no.
Well, no positions, no influence, no title the fame. If you are the poorest person in this room and if you are the richest.
If you are the most talented of the least talented and here's what you bring nothing, bringing nothing to God and God has a plan of salvation that does not discriminate. He gives the righteousness of Christ equally to the poor and to the wealthy. The kingdom of heaven is rather like dodos glorious line in Alice in Wonderland, everybody has one must have prizes that I don't know how to preach on justification you like this without mentioning Martin Luther this coming October 31, 2017 will mark the 500th anniversary of Luther's nailing of the 95 theses to the church door at Wittenberg. Luther was challenging the indulgence system.
The Roman Catholic Church, but what what lay behind Luther's hammer blows was not a bold fiery German preacher what lay behind those blows was a tortured soul who couldn't pay his debts. He came to God as if God owed him something but he couldn't find an answer to a very old question. How can a man be just with God. Luther like the rich young ruler made every attempt to earn favor with God through endeavors of personal righteousness in his stride, aiming for righteousness through meritorious deeds became legendary hero. I hope I honor the pope with such reverence that I would defy all papers who ever lived are still due to unduly, but he confesses he found also, as for so long. Here, although I live as a monk without reproach. I felt that I was a sinner before God with an extremely disturbed conscience. I did not love. Yes, I hated the righteous God who punishes sinners and secretly I was angry with God. That sounds like the rich young ruler just turning his back on Jesus. Then Luther confesses he at long last, discovered not his own righteousness, but the righteousness of Christ what he calls the righteousness of God and a road at last, by the mercy of God, meditating day and night.
I gave hated the context of the words, namely, namely, and it the righteousness of God is revealed either faith is righteous shall live. And he wrote here I felt that I was altogether born again and that's how Luther came in the kingdom. Nothing but clothe in the righteousness of Christ. Let's pray our father we are so thankful that you have made available to each of us the rich, the poor but talented. Those who come with so little human ability. Those of positions of power. Weakest the lowest among us made available to us all the righteousness of Jesus Christ and his righteousness alone that we claim for salvation and it's in Christ, and we pray, amen. You've been listening to a sermon preached by Bible Prof. Dr. Brian Cook. Thanks for listening to our program and join us again tomorrow is we continue the doctrinal study series called our great salvation here on The Daily Platform