Keeping all the rules might make you a good person, but it’s a matter of the heart if you will be the best person you can be.
What is the most important thing to you? If someone said get rid of “fill in the blank” and you will be saved, is there anything that you would have a hard time giving up? Where saved = eternal life, not saved from the situation you are going through or being threatened with. Consider the 21 martyrs who were given the option to renounce Jesus and live or they would be killed. God was first in their hearts! They would not renounce Jesus. They may have lost the temporary but they gained the eternal. It’s not a matter of how we live, it’s a matter of what’s in our hearts! It’s important that we have first things first! It’s a matter of our hearts being fully given over to God! It’s a matter of asking Jesus to move into our hearts and help us to get it cleaned up and cleaned out.
This morning’s reading starts with a rich young man looking to Jesus for answers. Nothing is impossible to God! It may sound hard, but God is able to do all things for His glory!
The Rich Man
(Matthew 19.16-30; Mark 10.17-31)
18A Jewish leader asked Jesus, “Good Teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life?” 19“Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “No one is good except God alone. 20You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery; do not commit murder; do not steal; do not accuse anyone falsely; respect your father and your mother.’” 21The man replied, “Ever since I was young, I have obeyed all these commandments.” 22When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “There is still one more thing you need to do. Sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me.” 23But when the man heard this, he became very sad, because he was very rich. 24Jesus saw that he was sad and said, “How hard it is for rich people to enter the Kingdom of God! 25It is much harder for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.” 26The people who heard him asked, “Who, then, can be saved?” 27Jesus answered, “What is humanly impossible is possible for God.” 28Then Peter said, “Look! We have left our homes to follow you.” 29“Yes,” Jesus said to them, “and I assure you that anyone who leaves home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the Kingdom of God 30will receive much more in this present age and eternal life in the age to come.”
–from Luke 18
It’s a matter of the heart! If we value stuff more than our relationship with God, we will have a problem. We came into the world with nothing and there is nothing we will be able to take with us. We have been created on purpose for a purpose! People are the one thing we can invest in that we will be able to get to see on the other side. The souls that we have the opportunity to impact and turn back to God are the one thing that we will be able to see on the other side of death. It’s all a matter of the heart! What’s in your heart? What’s most important to you? If you were to make a list of your top 5 items, what is #1? #1 on a list from 1-5? Are you living a life that is aligned with those priorities? If you are reading this now, you aren’t too late and have a chance to make a change and to make a difference!
The time is now! There will be a time when people won’t want to hear the truth? They will want to hear their version of the truth! They will look for people who will speak their version of the truth rather than what God’s Word has to say! Will you be salt to this world? Will you be light to this world? Will you live a life that will make a difference?
Today’s reading continues …
1In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and because he is coming to rule as King, I solemnly urge you 2to preach the message, to insist upon proclaiming it (whether the time is right or not), to convince, reproach, and encourage, as you teach with all patience. 3The time will come when people will not listen to sound doctrine, but will follow their own desires and will collect for themselves more and more teachers who will tell them what they are itching to hear. 4They will turn away from listening to the truth and give their attention to legends. 5But you must keep control of yourself in all circumstances; endure suffering, do the work of a preacher of the Good News, and perform your whole duty as a servant of God. 6As for me, the hour has come for me to be sacrificed; the time is here for me to leave this life. 7I have done my best in the race, I have run the full distance, and I have kept the faith. 8And now there is waiting for me the victory prize of being put right with God, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that Day—and not only to me, but to all those who wait with love for him to appear.
–from 2 Timothy 4
Let’s not give up and let’s finish strong! Let’s finish the race that we can with the victory of our faith, eternal life with Jesus! In whom will you put your trust? In whom will you speak? In whom will you live? Jesus gave it all, all to Him I owe, He left a crimson stain and washed me white as snow. This is an incredible week as we reflect on the “Passion Week”. Yesterday we remembered Jesus day we will remember Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice. And then we will celebrate Easter and His resurrection, defeating the grave and providing a way for us to be reconciled back to God! So what can we do? We need to turn to God and listen to what His Word has to say to us!
13If you refuse good advice, you are asking for trouble; follow it and you are safe. 14The teachings of the wise are a fountain of life; they will help you escape when your life is in danger. 15Intelligence wins respect, but those who can’t be trusted are on the road to ruin. 16Sensible people always think before they act, but stupid people advertise their ignorance. 17Unreliable messengers cause trouble, but those who can be trusted bring peace. 18Someone who will not learn will be poor and disgraced. Anyone who listens to correction is respected. 19How good it is to get what you want! Stupid people refuse to turn away from evil. 20Keep company with the wise and you will become wise. If you make friends with stupid people, you will be ruined. 21Trouble follows sinners everywhere, but righteous people will be rewarded with good things. 22Good people will have wealth to leave to their grandchildren, but the wealth of sinners will go to the righteous. 23Unused fields could yield plenty of food for the poor, but unjust people keep them from being farmed. 24If you don’t punish your children, you don’t love them. If you do love them, you will correct them. 25The righteous have enough to eat, but the wicked are always hungry. –
-from Proverbs 13