Faithlife Sermons

One Thing

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings


Of all the people who ever came to the feet of Jesus, this man is the only one who went away worse than he came. And yet he had so much in his favor!
He was a young man with great potential.
He was respected by others, for he held some ruling office, perhaps in a local court (the same account in Luke refers to him as a ruler)
Certainly he had manners and morals, and there was enough desire in his heart for spiritual things that he ran up to Jesus and bowed at His feet. In every way, he was an ideal young man; and when Jesus beheld him, He loved him.
All was lost because of just “one thing”! It grieved Jesus to see this young ruler go away sorrowful and defeated, but Jesus had no alternative but to let him go.
This young man rejected the love of God for the gaudy objects of this world...
The same thing happens all around us.
People come in and out of our churches. They hear the Gospel message; they are challenged to repent of their sins and to turn to Jesus for salvation; but many leave the church just like they came in.
They leave lost and still on their way to Hell. If they do not repent of their sins, they will eventually die and go to Hell.
When they do, they will go to Hell with Heaven on their mind.


1. He went to the right source—Christ,
He knows that he is missing the most important thing of all: a saving relationship with Almighty God.
Many people never realize that nothing in this world is more important that their soul’s salvation,
Mark 8:36–37 KJV 1900
36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
2. Notice his question, “What must I do?”
The focus of the man’s question is what shall I do. He thought eternal life was a matter of earning and deserving, not of relationship. As he bowed down on his knees in front of Jesus, the mere closeness of that relationship made him closer to salvation than anything he could do. He didn’t want Jesus to be his savior; he wanted Jesus to show him the way to be his own savior.
The man really didn’t know who he was also. He thought that he was righteous and didn’t really know the kind of person he was.
When you don’t know who Jesus really is, you probably don’t know who you are either. And knowing Jesus comes first.
Knowing Jesus and knowing yourself never gives you a bigger view of yourself…it actually makes you realize how small you are, how unworthy you are, how weak you are.
John 3:30 KJV 1900
30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
Bro. Bobby Roberson, speaking of Dr. Curtis Hutson said that Hutson was one of the greatest soul-winners alive. About a week before Bro. Hutson passed away, Bro. Roberson was speaking to him and Bro. Hutson told him he had but one regret and that was, he wished he had won more people to Christ.
Bro. Roberson said of that, he believed that the closer we get to the Lord, the more we see our failures. Why? Because Christ increases, and we decrease...
3. He sensed a great urgency—he came “running,” v. 17.
4. He showed a humble spirit—he understood there was something special about Jesus, he “kneeled,” v. 17.
5. He had Biblical knowledge “from youth,” v. 20.
Jesus gives this young man list of commands; it isn’t to imply that salvation comes by keeping the Law,
Titus 3:5 KJV 1900
5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Apparently, this young man believed that salvation was just something else he could add to his resume. Jesus wants him to see that he is a sinner and as a sinner he has no ground upon which to stand before the face of God. Jesus wants him to see that regardless of what he may possess materially, he is morally and spiritually bankrupt.
This young man had Biblical knowledge, although he was confused...
This is where most people are isn’t it? They take an external, superficial, inventory of their lives and think they are alright. They say, “I don’t beat my wife. I don’t abuse my children. I don’t run around. I don’t drink. I provide for my family. I am a pretty good person. And, after all, compared to some people, why, I am almost a saint!
Do you know what’s wrong with that? The problem with people and their relationship with God is not what they are outwardly; it’s what they are inwardly! The heart of the problem is a problem with the heart! Man is a sinner, he can clean up the outside all he wants to, but he is still a sinner!
The conversation is going pretty good, things are looking promising,
6. But he had a tender spot, and Jesus touched it, v. 21.
7. This man was “Not far from the kingdom.” “One thing,” keeps him away...


1. One temptation cost Eve her paradise,
Genesis 3:6 KJV 1900
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
2. One morsel cost Esau his birthright,
Hebrews 12:16 KJV 1900
16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.
3. One wrong decision caused Lot’s ruin,
Genesis 13:10–11 KJV 1900
10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. 11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.
4. One last look was fatal to Lot’s wife,
Genesis 19:26 KJV 1900
26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.
5. One lie robbed Ananias of his life,
Acts 5:4 KJV 1900
4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
6. One hated brother sours one’s life,
1 John 4:20 KJV 1900
20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
7. Deferring salvation one day may rob one of Christ!
Hebrews 3:15 (KJV 1900)
15 ...To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts,...
8. “One thing” separated the ruler from salvation!
Mark 10:21 KJV 1900
21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.


Jesus was filled with loving compassion for this man because his life was so empty. He had climbed to the top of the ladder of success, only to find his ladder leaned against the wrong building.
Think about this folks!
The Savior of the world loved this young man so much that He told him the truth!
I wonder if we love the ones around us, closest to us, to tell them the truth!
1. He was no religious hypocrite like Judas,
John 12:6 KJV 1900
6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.
2. His “Good Master” was doubtless sincere,
Mark 10:17 KJV 1900
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?
This title was never applied to other Rabbis in Jesus’ day because it implied sinlessness, a complete goodness. Jesus and everyone else recognized that He was being called by a unique title.
“There is no instance in the whole Talmud of a rabbi being addressed as ‘Good Master.’”
I make this point tonight because this man knew Jesus was different!
3. Young—he had a useful life to give,
Ecclesiastes 12:1 KJV 1900
1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;
4. He “went away”—failed his finest moment!
Mark 10:22 KJV 1900
22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
This man was looking for an easy fix. He wanted salvation, but he wanted it on his terms. He wanted to keep all the things he had. He wanted to add Jesus to his resume.
When he heard the Lord’s demands he was “sad”. The word means “to be under a cloud.” We are also told that he was “grieved”. This word means “to be thrown into sorrow.” This man is broken hearted. He came to Jesus with Heaven on his mind, but he walked away with Hell as his destination! It did not have to be! But that’s how it turned out.
5. For an instant it seemed that he held the “pearl of great price” in his heart. One slip … gone!
He counted his “possessions,” but he failed to count the cost of rejecting Christ!


As far as we know, this young man died and went to Hell. But, he went there with Heaven on his mind. Don’t let that happen to you! Look at your life.
Consider where your faith is today. What do you trust to give you eternal life? Good works? Clean living? A good name? All those things will fail! You might have a lot going for you, but if you do not have Jesus Christ, you are lost, doomed and headed to Hell.
Related Media
Related Sermons