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Rich or Poor

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
October 9, 2022 7:00 pm

Rich or Poor

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew

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October 9, 2022 7:00 pm

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I have your Bibles with you today. Turn with me if you would to Mark chapter 10, and we're going to start out in verses 13 through 16.

Bow with me as we go to our Lord in prayer. Heavenly Father, I have been humbled this week as I have studied Jesus' fellowship with children. He put them on his lap. He blessed them with a touch. He held them in his arms and gave them an assurance of his love. He took time out of an unbelievably busy schedule to express love for children. Father, this convicts my heart how often I've neglected my own children and grandchildren because stuff was more important. Father, Jesus used this lesson to teach us how to relate to him. We are to relate to him with helpless dependence. We're also looking today at a wealthy man whose intentions were good, but his motivation was worldly. May we learn from his example to love you more than money. Help me to exalt Christ today. Help me to feed this wonderful congregation so that we would leave this building realizing that nothing is more important than our relationship with you. For it is in Jesus' precious and holy name that we pray. Amen.

You may be seated. I have a dear friend who stood up in his former church on a Sanctity of Life Sunday and challenged his congregation, challenged the congregation there, if they would take a stand, a strong stand against abortion. And then he encouraged them to pray that the government would establish laws to protect the pre-born. After that service was over, the pastor of the church walked over to him and he said to him, don't ever do that again. He said, church is not the place to mention abortion. It broke my friend's heart. He found out that his denomination believes that abortion is just a woman's right to choose.

And he said, no this is not right. That baby in the womb is a human being and abortion is plainly and simply murder. He left that church and praise God he's one of our deacons today. We have other members of our church who go to abortion clinics and they stand there as people, women are coming in considering having an abortion, and they talk with them and they try everything they can to encourage them not to do it, offer ultrasounds, and they pray with them and oftentimes get the chance to share the gospel with them. We have many people in our church who have a great heart for the pre-born, who care about them and who give money and spend time and effort to do everything they can to protect babies in the womb.

I am honored to pastor a church like that. It blesses my heart because I know that Jesus had a heart for children. Some communist countries today, they limit the number of children that you can have in a particular family and that number is usually limited to two.

And if a mother is expecting the third child, oftentimes they will force that woman to have an abortion. We see the same kind of wickedness going on in Jesus' time. When Jesus was born, King Herod the Great sent out an order that all the baby boys in Bethlehem that were two years old and under should be murdered, and they did that. And days before Jesus was born, many people in Israel worshiped a false god who was called Moloch, and they went into Gehenna to worship this false god. It was a valley that Jesus used to refer to hell. But they went in, there was an altar there, they took their their babies, newborn babies, and lay them on the altar and they burned them as a sacrifice to this demon god.

We live in a country today, a country today that I know has a very sin-hardened culture, and I believe that even people in our sin-hardened culture today would have a great problem with people burning their children as child sacrifices. If that's so, then I've got a question, and that question is, why is abortion applauded and condoned in our culture? Cindy and I went to Gate Pregnancy Center Banquet a few weeks ago. It was a doctor there, Dr. Lyles from Florida, who was teaching us that night on when life begins. And he brought in these, had it on a big screen, and he brought in picture after picture after picture of ultrasound pictures that they had taken, and they showed each time as the sperm entered the egg, there was a flash of light that was produced.

Happened every time, over and over again. Folks, let me tell you something. Life begins at conception. We need to understand that. We need to stand by that.

I wish I could show you those slides. If you go to YouTube and look up Gate Pregnancy Center, Dr. Lyles, you'll find that, and it's an amazing, amazing thing. The Roman government that ruled over Israel in Jesus' day had little regard for children. Not long ago, a papyrus letter was excavated in Rome, and it was written by a politician whose name was Hilarion.

It was dated by our dating system as January the 17th, 1 BC. He was writing to his expectant wife, and he said these words to her in his letter. He said, if it's a male child, let it live. If it's a female child, let it die. In our culture today, pedophilia is absolutely rampant. Little children being kidnapped, sexually molested, and then often murdered to hide the evidence. I think most of you have heard of Epstein Island, where it's just absolutely proven that this pedophilia is going on, and it's going on where children are being absolutely ravaged just day after day after day.

Folks, politicians, movie stars, billionaires go to Epstein Island, and they've gone there for the purpose of getting together with little children and ravaging them. I'm not talking here about politics. I'm talking about sin. When a culture turns on children, and the culture is having operations, transgender operations, and mutilating a child's body, and the church is not crying out against it, then God help us. This passage should be warning to our nation. Jesus loves the little children, and He has called us as the church to love the little children, too.

I got six points I want to share with you this morning. Point one is our Lord's elevation of children. Look at verse 13 through 14. They were bringing children to Him that He might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, He was indignant and said to them, let the little children come to Me. Do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. These parents were bringing their little children just so that Jesus could touch them.

As we've been going through the Gospel of Mark, we've seen that when people had sicknesses or disease or infirmities, they would often come to Jesus, and Jesus would heal them just by a simple touch. I think of the woman who had the issue of blood. She had the issue of blood for 12 years. She'd gone to one doctor after another after another. Nobody had been able to help her. She'd completely run out of money. She hears that Jesus is in town.

Huge crowd there. She goes into the crowd to see Jesus, and she weasels her way through the crowd. She reaches between two people, and she touches the hem of His garment. And as soon as she touches it, bam!

Just like that, she's made well. I think of the blind man that Jesus came up to. He asked to be able to see, and Jesus reached over, put His hands on His eyes, and He was healed just like that. So oftentimes, we see the healing ministry of Jesus taking place through His touch.

In this situation, that's not what's going on here. Jesus is touching, but it's not about physical healing. These parents are bringing their babies to Jesus, and Jesus takes the little children in His arms, and He holds them. And He reaches over, and He puts His hand on their head, I think a lot like Jacob did with his grandkids Ephraim and Manasseh. And Jesus does that.

He prays to them, and He blesses them in the name of His Father. I have been blessed over the last couple of months watching Sam Grubbs as he becomes a new daddy. And I have watched Sam and how he holds his baby. And he'll hold little Levi up in his arms, and he'll look at him. And Levi looks back at him, and he caresses him, and he prays for him, and he talks with him, and they laugh together. You can see the connection that's going on there. Because I think the touch of Jesus to these little children is very much like what Sam and Levi are experiencing.

Well then, what happened? The disciples come up to these parents that are bringing these kids to Jesus, and all of a sudden, they start rebuking the parents. They say, hey, hey, Jesus doesn't have time for this. What in the world are y'all doing?

This is not called for. Y'all gonna have to get away. Jesus doesn't have time for little children.

Get away from Him. He's got important business to take care of. Jesus sees these parents starting to walk away with their head dropped down, and the Scripture says that Jesus was indignant.

The Greek word for indignant means a state of anger that is aroused by injustice. And Jesus turns around. He looks to the to the disciples, and he says this to them, let the children come to me.

Do not hinder them, for such is the kingdom of God. The great theologian B.B. Warfield said that childhood owed as much to the Gospel as womanhood. Now what did he mean by that? He meant before Jesus came around, women were treated like second-class citizens.

People just denigrated them, didn't pay much attention to them, kind of just used them and whatever. Jesus wouldn't do that, and he wouldn't allow that. Jesus uplifted women, and He let them know that they have an important role in the home. It's not a lesser role, it's just a different role that they have in the home. The apostle Paul tells us that we as husbands are to love our wives even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her. That we are to love our wives so much that we'd be willing to die for our wives if necessary. That we are to cherish our wives. That we are to adore our wives. Jesus is saying the same thing here about how a father ought to relate to his children.

I want you to listen to this carefully. Charles Spurgeon, soul winner par excellence, said, I will say broadly that I have more confidence in the spiritual life of the children that I have received in this church than I have in the spiritual condition of the adults that received. I will go even further than that and say that I have usually found a clearer knowledge of the gospel and a warmer love to Christ in child converts than in the man converts. I will even astonish you still more by saying that I have sometimes met with a deeper spiritual experience in children of 10 and 12 years than I have in certain persons of 50 and 60 years. What a call for parents, young people, Bible school teachers, and club workers to keep at it while we parents must never resort to extracting bogus conversions from our children. We must cultivate their spiritual awareness and sensitivity and above all pray fervently and in detail for them. Takes us to point to our Lord's elevation of children's faith verses 15 through 16. Truly I say to you whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.

And he took them in his arms and blessed them laying his hands on them. And what does it mean to receive the word of God like a little child? Was Jesus talking about innocence? That a little child is innocent? Well, if that's what you think, you hadn't been around a little two-year-old lately, have you? Now, I know they can be huggable and they can be lovable and and they can be sweet sometimes. Innocent?

Absolutely not. They were born with a sin nature. All of us were born with a sin nature. We need to understand that. I like the way that Jonathan Edwards so eloquently put it. He said our children are just vipers and diapers and that's very true.

So, if Jesus did not mean innocent here, what did he mean? He meant that every child who's ever lived, despite race, culture, background, ethnicity, has one thing in common and that is that is helpless dependence. Helpless dependence. Every single child who has ever lived is absolutely, completely, totally, objectively, subjectively, existentially helpless. Folks, helpless. Helpless dependence.

Go home and remember those two words if you don't remember anything else. That's what children are and that should be what we are as God's children. This is what Jesus did. Jesus paid it all. Jesus paid it all. He did the work, not us.

We're just helplessly dependent on what he did. Nothing in my hand I bring simply to the cross I cling. Naked came I to thee for dress, helpless, helpless look to thee for grace. Have you come to Christ like that? Most of the people in our world have not come to Christ like that and they say the reason is we've got self-respect.

You know what that's called? That's called pride and independence in the Scripture. Look at what Jesus did in verse 16. Jesus took the little children in his arms. He held them and I feel certain that he put his hand on their head like Jacob did to his grandchildren and they took their head and they laid it up against Jesus's chest and they could feel, as Jesus was praying for them, they could feel the love. They could feel the joy that Jesus had for them.

Let me ask you something. How would you like to know that Jesus is interceding for you, that he's praying for you, and you could feel his joy and his love for you as he prayed? Let me tell you folks, we should feel that because that's exactly what's happening. Paul tells us in Galatians 6-4 that we have this kind of relationship with God. When the Lord saves you, he doesn't just forgive you of your sins and sends you on out into the world. He adopts you into his family.

J.I. Packer said this about God's adoption of us into his family. He said adoption is the highest privilege that the gospel offers, higher even than justification. To be right with God, the judge, is a great thing, but to be loved and cared for by God the Father is even greater. Galatians chapter 4 verse 6 says, And because you are sons, God has sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

You know what Abba means? Daddy. This means Daddy. That's how we're to look at this God. This God who is the Creator of heaven and earth. This God who is the sovereign, omnipotent, omnipresent God. This God who is King of kings and Lord of lords. We are to look at him and we are to call him Daddy.

Daddy. In this passage, Jesus took the little child and he put him up on his lap. He put his hand on his head and he blessed him. He blessed him with love. He blessed him with joy.

He blessed him with a verbal blessing. Brothers and sisters, Jesus is doing that for us, for you and for me as his children, even as we speak. Hebrews chapter 7 and verse 25 says, Consequently he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

In Romans 8 34, Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died. More than that who was raised, one at the right hand of God who indeed is interceding for us. Once again, what is it about little children that Jesus looks for in us, in his children? It is this helpless dependence, helpless dependence. The realization that Jesus did it all and we bring nothing to him.

All we bring is our surrender. All right, moving on, the rich man's question. Look at verse 17. And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up to him and knelt before him and asked him, Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? This man came running up to Jesus. In Luke's gospel, we are told that he's rich, that he's young, and that he's a ruler. In other words, he's got money and he's got clout.

Here is a man that is in the upper crust of Israel. And so he's looked at Jesus and when he looked at Jesus, he saw something that just drew him to Christ and it was his holiness. It was his wisdom. It was his wisdom. So he runs to Jesus and he kneels before Jesus, showing him respect.

And then to show him even more respect, he calls him not just teacher, but good teacher. So here he is. I want you to picture him down on his knees. He looks up to Jesus with a burning question. Lord, what must I do to inherit eternal life? He had riches. He had authority. He had good standing in the community, but he did not have assurance of his salvation. And he was of the opinion that there must be something that he can do to earn his salvation. That takes us to point four and that is the Lord's answer. Look at verse 18 through 19. And Jesus said to him, Why do you call me good?

No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments. Do not murder. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not bear false witness. Do not defraud. Honor your father and mother. R.C.

's sprawl, as usual, has some great insight here. Listen carefully to what he said. Jesus gave an interesting answer. He said, Why do you call me good?

No one is good but one, and that is God. Some of the critics of the Christian faith point to this text as a manifest evidence that Jesus did not consider himself sinless. That he recognized there were weaknesses in his character because he disavowed that he was good. However, I'm quite convinced Jesus spoke these words in a very different intent. He knew that this man did not know to whom he was asking his question.

He knew this man did not know that he was talking to God incarnate. So Jesus was calling attention to the rich young ruler's superficial understanding of true goodness, a superficial understanding we all share. We are quick to call one another good without giving thought to what goodness entails.

Usually we employ the term good in a comparative way. If I say that my dog is a good dog, I do not mean that my dog has a highly refined ethical sense of propriety. I simply mean that as dogs go, she is fairly well behaved. She comes when I call her. She does not bite the mailman.

She's housebroken. So compared with many dogs, she's a good dog. The same applies when we say that a person is good. We simply mean that compared with many other people, he or she is a good person. However, we dare not judge ourselves or others in relation to other human beings. Ultimately, genuine goodness is defined by the character of God and his character is made manifest in the law. Therefore, we need to judge ourselves against that standard. The standard of the ultimate righteousness of God.

When we do, we very quickly see what the psalmist and then the apostle Paul declared. There is none righteous, no not one. There's none who understands. There's none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside.

They've all together become unprofitable. There is none who does good, no not one. So Jesus forced this young fellow to see that he, Jesus, was perfectly good and that he, the rich young ruler, came way, way short. Then Jesus questions him about his life to make him see, does your life really line up with the holy law of God?

Jesus starts spouting off the commandments. Do not kill. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not bear false witness.

Do not covet. Honor your father and mother. You notice that those particular commandments that Jesus mentioned were all commandments that had to do with Jesus's or with man's relationship to man. Now those are the easy ones to keep compared to the ones about man's relationship to God. Where God said, Thou shall have no other gods before you. Thou shall not make unto yourself any graven image. Thou shall not use the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

Thou shall honor the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Those are the tough ones. He gave him the easy ones to let him see that you can't even keep the easier ones. That takes us to point five and that's the rich man's delusion. Look at verse 20. And he said to him, Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth. You can almost hear this young rich young ruler breathe a sigh of relief.

He thinks over what Jesus has said and and then he says to himself, I got this. I got this. I've done that. I've never murdered. I've never had sex with anyone other than my wife. I have never stolen. I don't lie. I don't covet. I've done all those things.

So I'm good. That's what he's thinking. Let me tell you what Jesus could have said. Buddy, you don't have a clue. You don't have a clue. You haven't kept those commandments since you got up this morning, much less all the way through all the way back to your childhood.

You have not kept them. Jesus could have said, did you not hear the Sermon on the Mount where I explained what the commandment to not murder, to not kill is all about? It's not just a physical act of killing but it's also hatred and bitterness in the heart. And were you not there when I explained what the seventh commandment was all about? Thou shalt not commit adultery? It's not just the act of this sin that he's talking about. It's the thought life, lust in the thought life. The demands of God's law are deeper than simple outward appearance. Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart. This young man harbored the hope within himself that he could earn his way into heaven.

Let me ask you something. Is the concept in today's world here in America and our culture, is it any different than it was back in in Jesus's day? Most of you probably know the two diagnostic questions that are asked in the evangelism explosion witnessing program where you ask these two questions to kind of get the conversation going and to help people to see whether they're genuinely saved or not. The two questions are these. Number one, do you know for sure that when you die you're going to be with God in heaven? Number one.

And then number two is this. If God were to ask you, why should I let you into my heaven, what would you say? When these questions were asked to church members of multiple denominations across our nation, the answers that were given were by far lining up with a works-based salvation. What do people say when you ask them this question? Well, I've tried to live a good life and I've never murdered. I'm not a criminal. I go to church almost every Sunday. I go to Sunday school. I'm a deacon.

I'm an elder. That's the way we answer those questions. Those people are relying on their performance, their good works, their obedience to save them.

So let me ask you something. If you were standing before God today and God asked you personally, nobody else around, just you and God, he says, why should I let you into my heaven? What would you say? Would you say this? I have done nothing to merit my salvation.

Absolutely nothing. I am trusting in what Jesus Christ did for me on the cross of Calvary. I am trusting that when Jesus died on the cross, his shed blood washed away my sins. He died as a substitutionary atonement for me. He died in order that he might give me his righteousness and take my sin away forever and forever.

Then he rose from the dead on the third day to break the power of sin and he broke the power of death over me as he rose from the dead. I do not trust myself. I am putting my trust in what Jesus did, not what I did to gain my salvation. Can you say that from the depths of your heart?

Do you mean that? If God were to stand before you and say, why should I allow you into my heaven? What would you say?

What would you say? Point six is the Lord's command, verse 21 through 22. And Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, you lack one thing. Go sell all that you have, give to the poor, and you'll have treasure in heaven.

And come follow me. Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. The Lord Jesus' heart went out to this man. The Scripture says that Jesus, looking at him, loved him. He was sincere.

The man was not arrogant. He genuinely believed that he had kept the law of God. He really wanted to know how to be saved, how to have eternal life. So Jesus says, okay, one thing now you must do. Go sell everything that you have. Take all that money and go and distribute it among the poor, and then come take up your cross and follow me. Wow. In other words, let's see if you really keep the commandments, for if you put your wealth above God, then that wealth becomes your God.

Have you done that? That's what Jesus is asking him. The Scripture says that this man walked away disheartened.

The Greek word for disheartened means devastated or downcast. This man went to the synagogue every Sabbath. This man worshiped in the temple many, many, many times. Humanly speaking, he was a good man, but Jesus forced him to see that money was his God, and it was a God he would not give up. So the one who ran to Jesus with great expectation walked away from him with his head down, his heart broken, and just deep depression and distress, he walked away from Jesus. Folks, the pearl of great price was standing right in front of this man, and he turned his back and he walked away. This would be like a person handing you a billion dollars and saying, here, take it, and you turn around to somebody else and you take a wooden nickel from their hand.

That's what this young man had done. He thought his possessions were more important than God. He preferred his bank account to the riches of the kingdom of heaven. In this story, we see the gospel, don't we? We see the gospel. Christ pays our sin debt and gives us his righteousness.

Only Christ's righteousness fulfilled the holy law of God. It's a gift. It's not a payment. It's a gift. We don't earn it.

We receive it as a as a gift by grace through faith. So let me ask you that question one more time. What would you say if God said to you, if God said to you, why should I let you into my heaven?

What would be your answer? Let's pray. Dear Lord Jesus, you are the pearl of great price. You are the king of kings and Lord of lords. You are the second person of the trinity. You are the creator of heaven and earth. May we be wowed by your glory, and may we realize that if we have Jesus, then we have everything. It's in Jesus' precious name we pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-23 18:50:38 / 2022-12-23 19:02:18 / 12

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