The Cost of being a Part of the Kingdom
Book of Matthew Chapter 19
Today we see the story of a rich young ruler and this rich young ruler should also give us a picture of those in America today who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ.
This lesson is not about riches.
There were no rulers that were not appointed by Rome or through Rome.
This person in all likely hood was a young ruler of a synagogue.
This man would have at least been 30 years old.
Most the rulers of the synagogues were chosen because they were free from the need to work for a living.
They could devote themselves full time to the duties of the synagogue.
Most of them of course, were Pharisees and they followed all the traditions of the Pharisees, the “oral law”.
What are some questions that will be answered as we go through this lesson?
1) Christ denied that He was good. Was this true? He did not deny that He was the Master!
2) Christ taught this man nothing of believing but told him to keep the law. Jesus Christ is the only One who kept all the Law!
3) Christ told this man to sell all he had. Does God really require this of us to be saved?
This passage of Scripture is used by many to do away with “Grace” and keep to the “Law”, but those who do this miss the whole point of the message of Jesus.
This passage also teaches us, those who think that they have goodness within themselves, when as the Lord says, there are none good but God!
This is typical of religionist!
The main question they all have is: how do I obtain eternal life?
Mar 10:17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
Luk 18:18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
He is saying: what work can I do to gain eternal life?
Just as he had inherited his riches he asked: how do I inherit eternal life? To inherit the things of God is impossible though we will share in the inheritance of the Lord Jesus Christ!
We cannot inherit what God gives as gifts to those who love Him!
How did Matthew see it? Remember Matthew was an eyewitness to this event.
*Mat 19:16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
The first thing we notice is that this young man, probably a ruler of a local synagogue, was ignorant of eternal life.
We should understand that there are only two groups of people in the world and they both already have the promise of eternal life.
Life with the Lord will be wonderful, but life in the pits of Hell will be so horrible it will be as eternal damnation.
Many people do not believe in a Hell, but you cannot believe in Heaven and reject that there is a place called Hell.
This young man should have known this.
Dan 12:1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
Dan 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Dan 12:3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
We need some of the wisdom of our Heavenly Father to avoid that damnation!
This young man went to the right source in seeking the wisdom of the Lord Jesus.
This is the most important information that we must seek as humans, but the mistake that is made the most is that we may be able to do some work to obtain this eternal life which is impossible.
The “Gospel of Grace” is not a “Gospel of Works”!
This young man who had tried his best to be obedient to the Laws of Moses had realized he had no assurance of eternal life with Jehovah God.
What was his problem? There were some things he was not going to give up even for Jehovah God!
The one fact we had better understand is, that we can have all the religion in the world and put on top of that all the goodness in the world, and yet without the Lord Jesus Christ we cannot know how to obtain eternal life. We can only obtain eternal death!
Eternal life is not some reward we can earn!
Eternal life is a gift for acknowledging the truth of God’s Messiah!
2Jn_1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
1Jn_4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
1Jn 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
1Jn 2:23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
How did the Lord Jesus respond to this question?
*Mat 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
Mat 19:18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
Mat 19:19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
The one thing this young ruler got right is the fact that there is life in another world.
Every individual who lives needs to understand this truth!
Very few of those who are rich will ever admit that there is something this important that they cannot purchase with this world’s riches.
Many people, especially the young and add to those the rich, just do not realize the peace of mind and the sense of completeness that comes from knowing these things are forever settled while we live in this natural world.
Yes, there is the natural world and there is the spiritual world.
We are born sinners into this material world, and we have the ability to make choices, but we will live and die by our choices.
The Lord Jesus made this truly clear to this young man, “there is none good but God”.
This young man looked upon the Lord Jesus as a good man, not as the Messiah.
This young man was ignorant of who he was speaking to, in fact rejecting Him as the Messiah.
God had given the children of Israel the Laws of Moses and also the sacrifices that were to be made yearly in order for them to be received into Paradise.
The New Covenant had not yet begun so this young man was still under the Old Covenant which would soon be done away with, but not on this day he was with our Lord.
Heb 8:13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
These are things that only God can do, and His name is Jehovah.
Only Jehovah is good! The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!
The Lord Jesus Christ is certainly much more than a “good teacher” yet He is the only One who can teach us the “Good Things” of God!
Note: the Lord Jesus tells each of us the same thing today.
He would tell each of us to keep the Commandments.
Mat 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Mat 22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
Mat 22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Mat 22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
We might ask ourselves what is our greatest hindrance in getting to to Heaven? Self-righteousness.
*Mat 19:20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
As far as this young man was concerned, he was perfect.
If he had kept all of the Laws of Moses as He had said, then he already knew he had eternal life according to the Old Covenant with God.
In reality we already know that only the Lord Jesus Christ was able to keep all the Laws of Moses.
The real truth is that the Lord Jesus looks into the heart as we have said many times.
There is one law that we all break routinely.
It was first in the Old Covenant and first in the New Covenant.
Exo 20:2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Exo 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Deu 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
Deu 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
Mar 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
Over and over again the Lord Jesus had proved He was the Anointed One sent from God, but to this young man the Lord Jesus was just a good teacher.
The first need for any of us is, to realize that we are just lost sinners in need of a Savior.
This young man felt that he was perfect and without sin.
So what did this young man lack as he felt he must have some work to do?
*Mat 19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
Instead of trying to accumulate more riches, the Lord Jesus said you must “repent”, change direction, change the way you think, give your riches to the poor those riches will just weigh you down if you give your heart to the Lord.
If we love our neighbors, we will help them in their hour of need!
We should understand that this was a test for this rich young ruler, and we cannot apply this to everyone who is rich.
We are all rich compared to what our parents had as far as material things.
I have said that the greatest sin is the ignorance of the Lord Jesus Christ, and this is still true.
In reality, until we realize that we are just sinners in a lost and dying world, we will never realize that we are ignorant of our own selves.
He had boasted that his obedience to those old laws was exact.
In truth he needed a new heart.
In truth he needed a new sense of guilt.
In truth he needed to know the reality of sin.
We get hung up on what the Lord Jesus said about those riches, and we forget what Jesus actually said.
The Lord Jesus said “if you want to be perfect then follow Me”!
When the Lord says to “Come”, then it is time to Come!
This young man with such riches had to expose his true god, riches.
*Mat 19:22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
Mat 19:23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 19:24 And again I say unto 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.
When the Lord says to come then it is time to drop everything and go to Him!
The very first thing we all must do is to go to the Lord when He calls!
Today the Lord calls through the Holy Spirit and we must not be fooled; the Holy Spirit may one day quit calling us.
Gen 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man,
We must walk by the Holy Spirit who will never lead us astray but will always lead us to the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Rom 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
Rom 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
Rom 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Rom 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
Rom 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Rom 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Rom 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
Rom 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
Rom 8:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
Self-Righteousness has no place in the New Covenant, just as it had no place in the Old Covenant.
This young man probably at least 30 years old could not depart from his worldly things, therefore he could not accept Spiritual things.
Riches are a great obstacle for those who are rich to overcome!
Wealth, materialism and pride have taken many a person to Hell and they will many more.
There are many interpretations for that phrase “eye of a needle”.
This is a lesson for another time.
If we take what Jesus said literally and we should, then we can say without a doubt that a rich man unwilling to part with his worldly goods will never make it into Heaven.
A camel cannot pass through any needle.
A camel in the time of Jesus was the largest of the animals Israel.
If there was a small door called the “needle’s eye”, then it was certainly impossible for a fully loaded camel to go through that door or that gate that was made for humans.
Camels cannot get into Heaven and humans unwilling to part with their worldly goods will certainly not get into Heaven.
Only those who have repented and followed the Lord Jesus Christ and who come when He calls, can get into God’s New Heaven!
The disciples were astonished at these words of the Lord!
*Mat 19:25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
Mat 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
Just who can be saved?
Act 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Did Jesus just teach these things as fact?
What had these disciples been taught?
What has been taught throughout all generations?
What has much of the Church been taught?
1) That prosperity is God’s blessing.
2) That prosperity is the reward for righteousness and obedience.
3) That earthly treasures come to those who are obedient to the Lord.
Jesus Christ just burst that bubble right here in this passage!
We must clearly understand that salvation is of Jehovah God!
With men salvation is impossible!
Salvation is by “Grace” and only by the “Grace” of God.
Prosperity is no more a sign of obedience than being poor is a sign of disobedience!
God promises to meet our needs.
God is concerned for our Spiritual blessings.
Righteousness and prosperity have nothing to do with each other!
Wealth is seldom a good thing for anyone!
Wealth in many cases bring worldly difficulties.
The goal of most every poor man is to be rich.
Why is having wealth such a problem?
Mat 6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
God does choose to bless some more than others, but this is just what God does and we can be sure He has His own reasons.
In fact we must consider just what are true blessings and not many of us would say money.
For instance it would be a great blessing to me if I knew all my family here on earth would also be in Heaven.
What do we know for sure?
Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
We must not forget our purpose; our purpose must match God’s purpose!
If God allows us to have more, it may be because there are those who have a need.
God also expects us to enjoy life, but He does not necessarily allow for us to live extravagantly.
Man was not made for worldly things; worldly things were made for man.
The problem is, we allow ourselves to become slaves to these things and with this slavery we lust for more and more in a never-ending cycle.
If we use any wealth that God gives us for promoting the “Gospel” of Jesus Christ, then we see what God expected us to do with it.
Anything that takes our heart away from the Lord is then an abomination!
Jer 17:5 Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.
It seems that no one upon this earth has the know-how to break the power of lust for riches.
From the time we are born until the time we die we seem to want more and more!
Just as the Lord Jesus Christ is our only hope, He is the only hope for the rich.
It is only the Lord Jesus who can break all chains of bondage!
Our desire for Heaven must outweigh any desires we may have for the things of this earth!
We must also remember there is nothing too hard for God!
He is in the business of saving lost souls!
To be saved is to be a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Again Peter steps in with a response.
*Mat 19:27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?
Mat 19:28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
What had Jesus said to that rich young ruler to do? “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me”.
It is those treasures in Heaven, no matter what they are, that are far more important than anything of this world!
As hard as it sounds, to be saved it is really quite simple, it is all about Jesus Christ!
The Lord Jesus Christ is the stumbling block for all unbelievers!
It is not about being poor any more than it is about being rich!
Peter was just wondering if he had done enough.
Had these disciples done enough? We know that one never did.
In fact none ever did enough because it is not about works.
We will find that the Lord Jesus Christ has done all the works and the key to salvation is simply, do we have faith in the work that the Lord Jesus has done?
We must forsake this world for the privilege of living in the Glory World!
Forsaking all does not mean we are to not support our families and it takes worldly riches to get those things.
Peter still had a home.
Mat 8:14 And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever.
Serving the Lord means we put the Lord first even above our families, but it does relieve us the duty to provide for our families.
We are to follow the Lord Jesus Christ and if our family chooses not to then we are to continue with Christ.
The truth is when we put the Lord Jesus first in our lives, we find that life becomes more balanced!
Luk 18:29 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake,
Luk 18:30 Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.
The Lord Jesus also said these words.
When we follow the Lord Jesus Christ we will never regret having done so!
We will find that we have changed the way we think.
2Co 5:16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
How do we lose our rewards?
1) Not forsaking all for Christ Jesus.
2) Thinking we have given up more than some others give.
We are never to attempt to bargain with God!
1Jn 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1Jn 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
1Jn 2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
If it is in this world, it is worthless in Heaven!