The Life and Times of a Christian - Even Stranger Things
Open in Prayer
“Dear friends, I urge you as strangers and exiles to abstain from sinful desires that wage war against the soul.” –
abstain from sinful desires that wage war against the soul, we are talking about internal purity today.
So let’s take a look at a man who was too rich to buy his way into heaven.
Even Stranger Things
Even Stranger Things
Jesus was walking toward town with his crew one day. As they were going along the Mayor of the town noticed a huge group of folks walking along the highway.
Thinking to himself, “I don’t recall any group gathering coming into town today.” So the mayor stops behind the group and gets out of his truck. He shouts out to the group to stop for a moment.
So Jesus and his crew stops.
The mayor catches up with the group and noticed that the man walking in the center is that famous preacher/healer that everyone is talking about. So, he greets Jesus and says
Hey Jesus, I got a question for you.
Jesus turns to the man and says sure. what’s on your mind.
The Mayor says, you’re a good man and a good teacher. What good deeds do I have to do in order for me to get into heaven?
Jesus says to the mayor “first off, why do you call me good? The only One who is good is God. But if you want to get into heaven you must keep all the commandments”
The mayor says. Okay, what commandments do you have in mind?
Jesus says “well, don’t kill anyone, don’t steal from anyone, don’t lie, don’t cheat on your spouse, and love your neighbours as much as you love yourself.”
They Mayor says “Ha, easy. I’ve done all that since I was a kid.” “But what am I missing? I can’t help but feel like I am missing something”
Jesus said “Well, if you want to be perfect… Call up Frasier Auction and sell your yacht, your multi-million-dollar home, your cell phones, your business, the stuff you got and the fancy clothing you have. From the sale, take all that money and give it up to the food bank, and various charities around town. Find anyone who is poor and give them some of the money you gained from the sale. Once you have given it all away meet us at Jacquie’s house and join us. Follow me where ever I go.
The Mayor – give Jesus a strange look, without saying a word he turns around sad and jumps back into his truck and drives away.
Jesus turns to his followers and said. Listen closely, its so much easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle then for a man like this mayor who is very rich to enter heaven.
His crew looks at him and say “whahh… how can anyone ever get into heaven then? That’s impossible!”
Jesus – According to men it’s impossible. But with God all things are possible.
Transition - What a story. But why would Jesus say that…
Why is it so hard for us to get into Heaven like the disciples said its impossible? In order to answer this question, we need to take a look at the mayor of this story to better understand what happened.
The Mayor of this story has a deep desire to save his life. The story didn’t give off that impression too much but the original story gives clues that the man in the story didn’t just see Jesus walking by. This man had a deep desires to save his life. He heard Jesus was coming through the town and had gone out of his way to see Jesus to find out how to gain eternal life. He did do the right thing by seeking out God but that’s not the reason why he walked away from God.
Another point of interest in the story is that this man had kept the “Law of Moses” he kept all the commandments found in the bible that had been given to the people of Israel. He even had a desire to do Gods work. He ask Jesus what he must DO in order to gain eternal life.
Here is a guy who loves doing what he is told to do as much as he could. This is found in the fact that this man was young but rich, young but a ruler. Anyone who is young these days may not have this kind of drive. I know that my dad would have loved for me to be child protégé having a desire to do good works, be faithful in my tasks, have a smart business sense, be full of wisdom, and a powerful leader.
The man in this story was very much like that, he had it all. Young, rich, and a ruler. He knew that Jesus could save, he knew that if he kept the law of God he would be doing God’s work. He knew that he was also missing something. So he asked. Why. What is the problem?
Jesus gave him a simple command. Sell all that you have and give it to the poor.
That was his problem. So why didn’t he want to sell off all of his stuff and follow Jesus. Really when you think about it 2 things come to mine.
Either Jesus is some crazy cult leader, (and many were around during this time) but why would He say to give everything up that you own and give it to the poor just to follow Him?
Cult leaders either want the money for themselves or the community to keep it running. So that cant be it. Jesus didn’t want this guys money. That is not the desire of Gods heart.
Or Jesus is some kind of Robbin hood who takes from the rich and gives to the poor. Only instead of using little Jon and a band of merry men with bows and arrows, he used some kind of con-artist trickery / Silver tonged method to trick the rich guys out of their money and give it all to the poor.
No, that’s not what God does, but something still does not add up, the whole money thing of this story. Why does Jesus care so much about this guy giving up his money so badly? If Jesus, being God does not care about money why give such a hyperbole situation?
Transition - Well that’s the thing about this story, it’s not about the money…
Its about the love of money
Its about the love of money
Jesus did not care that the young ruler was very rich. Sure, the young man would have been great with his money and clearly having a young man who is very wealthy and has a pulse on the economics of the time would be a great assest to any organization but the point is not about money. Jesus was not concerned with this young man’s wallet it was his heart. That he was concerned for. The young man in the story loved money.
What that did was create this very unhealthy view of God and salvation. The man in this story had no problem doing all the works he could to obtain a seat in heaven. He came to Jesus directly and said okay… According to the law I am almost perfect. What am I lacking?
Jesus being God knew the young man’s heart. So, Jesus gave him an option that he could refuse.
The young man clearly tried so hard to work his own way into heaven. By stating that he has kept the commands since his youth.
So Jesus gave him a price so high that the young man could not and would not pay.
Jesus turns to this guy and basically said give up everything you own, give it away.
Taking a moment to think about the severity of the question. Everything that this young man had ever done was at stake.
All those long hours working in the temple learning how to read, how to write.
Spending countless hours working in the marketplace learning how economics works.
The years spent building up wealth, knowledge, power, influence… everything.
HE worked hard for his money he worked hard to be acknowledged in the coffee shop, at the church, in his home.
No way would he give up all those years of service and dedication to just give it all away to some poor beggar who is most likely going to drink most of it way and maybe die of liver failure.
What would my parent’s things if I just gave it up?
How is that honouring my mother and father?
I would be stealing all that money I earned from all the services I provided, just to give it up to some bum.
No way! That’s my money, that’s my sweat, my blood, my stuff. No! you cant have it. I won’t give it up.
No way would he give up everything he did and owned in his life. All the security all that wealth tossed aside to some poor beggars? No way.
So the young rich ruler walks away rich in wealth and poor in spirit.
Transition - So what does all this have to do with us today and more importantly the point of this message being “Internal Purity”?
The story of the mayor and Jesus is not just about giving up all your money to the poor just to follow Jesus.
The point of this story is to reach the root of the problem. Let me ask you this question
What is the root of all kinds of evil?
(someone turn there and tell me what it says)
If you like it or not each of us here is holding on to some area of our lives that wage a constant war with our souls. We have areas of our lives that we hold on to for dear life.
That can be anything from a TV program, cell phone, sporting events, drugs, pornography, food, personal achievements, bettering our lives, money, success at our jobs, that list is sooo long.
The most things in our lives are not that bad really. Having a cell phone is not going to mean you are going to hell. No, but when that cell phone becomes more than just a tool. When it takes the place of God in our lives that’s when we “Love” the phone. It becomes an idol. That becomes a battle ground for your soul.
Let me give you an example of this kind of desire. We all know a famous Chicken Fried place that started in Kentucky. Well it ran out of chicken in the UK so for some places the store had to close and what was most shocking is the backlash received for not having the product available. As funny as it sounds when folks lose their minds over a shortage of poultry we have a problem.
We must refrain from the desires of the flesh that wage war against our souls and when we resist worldly desires, not by our own power but by God’s power, can we stand a chance in this war.
We can say no to the endless riches and give them to the poor.
we can give up the desire to become the best online game player.
We can give up that desire for the highest paying job.
We can give up that desire to look at porn
We can give up that desire to put the bottle down.
We can give up the desire to put other things before God.
Last week we explored the path of the stranger. We learned that We no longer desire the things that would destroy our lives, we seek to mend broken relationships. we look different, we smell different, we sound different, we act different.
people who know you, have known you for many many years will look at you again and notice that you are no longer the same old person. You are very much a stranger now.
Transition - “Dear friends, I urge you as strangers and exiles to abstain from sinful desires that wage war against the soul.”
(Yeah!) - “Dear friends, I urge you as strangers and exiles to abstain from sinful desires that wage war against the soul.”
Starting today, examine your lives. Look for areas that you are still “Lord” over and know that you no longer have the right to rule over that area. Each day pick up that cross and say to Christ. You are my Lord, and today… your will be done. As you lay down areas of your life that you see yourself as the young rich ruler give over to God. Each day give it to God until you are free from the desires of this world that wage war on your souls.
I would be a fool to say its easy to do. Its not. There is a reason Paul said “pick up your cross daily” Im not talking about the little guy hanging around your neck but the early morning struggle, the resistance of the flesh, the struggle our flesh gives us when we try to get off the cross.
This is why we need to seek the Lord in prayer each day for strength to do the impossible. What is impossible for us is possible for God.