Our services will be online for the time being. We are live streaming our sermons through YouTube (Christ Baptist Mokopane) and we’ll also continue to upload a pre-recorded audio version of the same message for those who can’t stream.
The following sermon was prepared by Ps Lucas Stoltz this week for your edification and uplifting.
Mark 10:23-31, A Reality of Spiritual Poverty:
- Last week we looked at the being confronted with the truth of salvation, which pointed us to 3 of these realities: firstly, we must accept that God alone is righteous; secondly, our best works are condemned by God’s Law; and thirdly, Jesus is the only one who can save us!
- That’s only the first half of our story. Jesus’ conversation continues, but this time the dialogue is with the disciples. And the lesson here is that if you want anything more than salvation, you lose everything.
- And here we see Jesus once again explain what He said in chapter 8:35, “Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it. Whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospels will save it. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? What will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
- That’s exactly what that rich young ruler had done. He had forfeited his soul for earthly riches. Therefore, we’ll look at two truths that reveal man’s spiritual poverty: so firstly…
- The Love for Worldly Possession:
- Text – 10:23-27
- Explanation – Last we saw that the young rich ruler made his choice. Confronted with the truth about God, man, and Christ, he responded by walking away. He clung to worldly possessions he didn’t need, and rejected the Saviour he eternally needed.
- Now, the shift from the rich man to the disciples indicates that the wealth and possessions that prevented one man from following Jesus are also matters of concern for those who do follow Jesus.
- Jesus knew they were shocked. And so, instead of watering down what had just occurred, Jesus informed the disciples that this is the way it is. Entrance into the kingdom is difficult for the wealthy. And this amazed them. Why?
- Illustration – Well, in the Jewish nation, wealth and prosperity was viewed as God’s blessing on an individual. As if it reflected the condition of your soul. So, if a wealthy person could not enter the kingdom, what chance did anyone else have?
- So Jesus didn’t relieve the tension. He turned it up even more with the impossible picture of a camel squeezing through the eye of a needle. It seemed more than just difficult for a rich person to be saved. From Jesus’ illustration, it would seem impossible. And that is precisely what they needed to understand.
- Let’s build on this. Why is it apparently so hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of God? We could say that the rich live with a sense of false security, that they lack desperation. Maybe they are confident on their self-dependency.
- In Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 6:17, they tend to be self-important and fix their hope on uncertain riches. There is a sense of confidence in their own ability.
- Application – Secondly, it’s possible that the rich get sucked up into the world. They become like the rich fool in Luke 12, who had much and he just said, “I’ll build bigger barns, and eat, drink and be merry.”
- And perhaps that’s how it may be with the wealthy. Yet, this is a sin problem everyone else has who lives with a sense of entitlement. Folks who do what they do for self-gratification. They do what they do to elevate their status in life. And so it is impossible for such people to inherit the kingdom of God. And if it is impossible for the rich, it would seem that there was no hope for anyone else at all.
- Conclusion – Yet, this is the wrong conclusion. Look at verse 27, “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.’”
- Yes, entrance into the kingdom is humanly impossible. But not with God. No one, no matter the social or economic status, has the ability to enter the kingdom of God.
- Jesus’ point was that salvation is of the Lord. Salvation does not come by what we do. It comes only by the work of God. Only God can bring a person to see themselves as helplessly dependant. Only God can convert a rich, young ruler into a humble, helpless, and trusting child.
- Bridge – So we can gather that Jesus points us to God. He points us to ourselves. He points us to our need. And he points us to the problem. But he also points us to the solution to the problem: that the power of God can make us His children.
- So in summary, the first truth that reveals man’s spiritual poverty is the love for worldly possession. Which brings us to the second truth…
The Lack of Self-Denial:
- Text – 10:28-31
- Explanation – Peter says “We have left everything and followed you.” Luke 18:28 puts it, “we’ve left everything, we’ve abandoned it all.” In Luke 9, Jesus was talking to some would-be disciples, and they kept saying, “I need to go home until my father dies,” “I need to go home and get some money from my relatives,” and Jesus said, “No, no, no. If you don’t follow me now, you’re not worthy to enter my kingdom.”
- In other words, if you’ve got other agendas, you can’t enter the kingdom. Look at Jesus words in verses 29 and 30. What does that mean? Well, our most essential natural network of relationships must be forsaken, as the call of Christ takes priority over them!
- Illustration – Friends, the idea is that we cannot follow Jesus with our old baggage. Ironically, one will receive a hundred times more than what we could ever forsake! However, having said that it might seem as if this new life is a complete utopia! But here in verse 30 we find a negative!
- The mention of “persecutions” should remind the disciples that the Christian faith is not an insurance policy against adversity and hardship. And the readers of Mark’s Gospel knew this reality as they had experienced persecution under Nero. Perhaps they had to make the same calculation the rich young ruler did, and they choose to give it all up!
- Application – Why? Is it because they knew of the hundred-fold return rate? No, they didn’t necessarily grasp this reality. But they did however realise that they need Christ for salvation.
- So what is the return? What can I expect when I repent and turn to the Lord for salvation? A new family, a new home! I believe this refers to the church. You see, when you become a part of the people of God, you’ll have many fathers and mothers and sisters and brothers in Christ. And most importantly, eternal life! A new life where you will be with this family forever.
- But there is a final word on this! “Many who are first will be last and the last first.” It doesn’t refer to the supposed rich becoming last, and the poor & humble becoming esteemed. It means everybody ends up equal. This is further defined for us in Matthew 19 & 20, when Jesus tells the story about people who worked one hour, three hours, five hours, eight hours, all different amounts of work and they all received the same pay.
- Conclusion – And Jesus said, “That’s because the last are first and the first are last,” everybody ends up the same. Therefore, whoever truly desires to inherit the kingdom must be free from the dominance of pride, confidence in his goodness, must be willing to dissolve his self-confidence, his family, his pleasures, his wealth, must be willing to confess his sinfulness, and must be willing to esteem Christ more precious than anything else.
- Bridge – So again in summary, the first truth that reveals man’s spiritual poverty is the love for worldly possession. The second truth is the lack of self-denial!
- So the question in application is, how do I inherit the kingdom? Well, in addition to what we’ve addressed this morning, I’ll add that one must be willing to forsake yourself, and able to deny yourself – for the sake of depending on Christ alone for salvation!
- The rich young ruler had no desire to forsake, nor was he willing to deny himself. But if you are, then you need to cry out to God as His power alone will grant you salvation! Friends, it’s impossible to be saved, it’s a divine work. It can’t be done by a man, no matter how religious or how wealthy or how eager or how humble. It can only come as a gift!