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What Must I Do to Inherit Eternal Life?

The Gospel of Mark  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  54:18
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Introduction:
If you have your Bibles let me invite you to open with me to the book of Mark chapter 10.
We are going to begin reading what Kody Craft led us through last week in Mark 10:13-16, then we will continue reading all the way to verse 31.
So lets read and then pray for God to give us understanding.
Mark 10:13–16 ESV
13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
Mark 10:17–31 ESV
17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’ ” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. 23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” 28 Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Lets Pray
The story of the world is a tale of two kingdoms: The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Man.
The Kingdom of God is the real kingdom.
God’s Kingdom has always been and it will always be.
It is the eternal Kingdom.
It is the Kingdom where God sits in his rightful place as King and ruler of all that is.
He rules, and his rule is a blessing to all those who trust in him as King.
The Kingdom of Man, however, began when man sinned against God.
Man’s Kingdom is the one we create for ourselves.
It is the one where we rule our own lives by our own wisdom.
It is the Kingdom in which we seek glory for ourselves.
Man’s Kingdom is one that will one day come to an end…
In the end, Man’s kingdom will end in death.
Man’s kingdom will be swallowed up by and destroyed by God’s Kingdom.
But Jesus came into our broken world full of people rebelling against God… and Jesus began to announce good news that you could transfer your citizenship.
Mark 1:15 ESV
15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
You don’t have to live for Man’s kingdom anymore.
You don’t have to sink with the ship of Man’s doomed kingdom.
You can repent. You can believe in the good news of God’s kingdom that will not be destroyed.
You can come under the rule, the protection, and the love of a new king who loved you so much, he was willing to pay the penalty himself for your rebellion.
To become a Christian is to transfer our citizenship.
It is to pledge allegiance to a new king over our life
It is to live in this broken world as a representative of the new kingdom we are a part of.
God’s kingdom has different priorities.
It has different guiding principles for us to live by.
We saw this clearly in Kody’s teaching last week.
Look back with me at Mark 10:14-15
Mark 10:14–15 (ESV)
14 ...... “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.
15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
So who are the people who become members of God’s Kingdom?
They are the one’s who come to God like needy children.
We do not bring anything to the relationship with God. We don’t purchase this citizenship in his kingdom.
We come to him totally trusting and totally needing him to save us, to care for us, to wrap us up in his eternal arms.
Its the needy and the trusting in Jesus who are welcomed into the Kingdom of God…
Very different dispositions then those that are praised in the kingdom of Man.
With that teaching fresh in your mind, Mark throws us into another very different interaction where someone else is inquiring about how they can transfer their citizenship to the eternal kingdom of God.
Mark 10:17 ESV
17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
The first thing I want you to notice about this man is his eagerness to meet Jesus.
He runs to Jesus.
He kneels before Jesus.
He compliments Jesus.
And he honors Jesus by asking him what is perhaps the most important question in the world.
“What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
We may not use the language of kingdom very much, but we definitely recognize the language of “eternal life”
That is the question isn’t it.
One of the astounding things about humanity and the kingdom of man is how uncomfortable we are with the concept of death.
Death is a part of our world… but for some reason our natural self recoils at the thought of it.
We don’t want to think about death,
We don’t want to prepare ourselves for death.
Even though 10 out of 10 people die, death surprises and bewilders us when it happens.
In fact, all over the world, humans feel within themselves this longing and this expecting of something after death.
There something inside of us which tells us that death cannot and in fact should not be the end of our conscious existence.
Why do we naturally feel this way?
Is it just survival instincts developed through evolutionary process which makes us not like the concept of death?
Or is there something more which creates in us the craving for life eternal?
The Christian worldview explains this phenomenon.
Death feels foreign to us, because it is a foreign force that came into the world as a consequence for sin against a Holy God.
We hope for life after death, because there is in fact a life after death..
There is in fact an eternity for which we are made.
There is an eternal life to be had… and there is an eternal death as an alternative.
Religions all over the world instinctively come to this conclusion.
But what is the truth about how to inherit eternal life?
This eager young man is asking the question that every person in this room should be asking.
This eager young man is asking the question that every person on the planet should be asking.
“What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
And who better to ask then Jesus?
Jesus in the gospel of Mark thus far has defied death.
He has controlled storms, delivered from demons, healed diseases and even raised people from the dead.
Surely this good teacher, is the one to ask about eternal things.
so this eager young man, approaches Jesus with great anticipation, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
but Jesus’ initial response is a little perplexing..
Mark 10:18 ESV
And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.
Jesus is God in the flesh and Jesus is good...
but this man does not know this.
This man is declaring Jesus good based off of his own idea of goodness.
But here is Jesus’ correction:
No one is good expect God alone.
From the beginning of the interaction the man assumes that he knows what is truly good.
This is our first truth that becomes increasingly clear throughout the interaction.

Truth #1 Eternal Life is not For People Who Think They Are Good Enough

The young man assumes that eternal life is an inheritance that can be purchased by goodness.
This assumption is found even in how he asks Jesus the question.
he asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
He is looking to someone whom he sees to be a good teacher to give him a good step in the direction of eternal life.
He is looking for some kind of act or process or measure of obedience that he could achieve to insure that he receives eternal life rather than eternal death.
He is wanting to know where he can buy his kingdom of God citizenship with some degree of morality and goodness.
Jesus brings this to the surface all the more with his follow up statement.
Mark 10:18–20 ESV
18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’ ” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.”
so Jesus says, “no one is good except God alone.”
Then Jesus says, “You know the commandments”
The commandments are God’s standard for God’s people,
but I can’t help but think the man interrupts Jesus here.
All Jesus says is, “you know the commandments” and then Jesus defines a few.. and the man responds.
Mark 10:20 ESV
And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.”
Now, there is no reason to believe from the text that this man was a total liar or a hypocrite.
It seems like he may have been a very good person.
Jesus did not rebuke him as a hypocrite like that of the Pharisees.
He likely did esteem the commandments of God and in many ways perhaps he was a faithful Jew to the law.
Certainly, he was not perfect, but he understood himself to be a moral law keeper.
If this was the answer to his question, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”… then he assumes that he has done enough.
He assumes, therefore, that he has met God’s standard for eternal life.
But already you should be seeing the difference between this man and the child-like faith of the previous passage.
Unlike the child who brought nothing to the relationship with Jesus.... this man claims to bring a lot to the table.
but as we will see in the following verses…, this man ultimately walks away from eternal life.
in verse 21, the conversation takes a shocking turn for the man.
Mark 10:21 ESV
21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
Jesus looks at the man.
Jesus loves the man.
And then Jesus invites the man to the true path of eternal life.
Jesus invites the man to the true way to transfer is citizenship to the Kingdom of God.
He invites the man to sell everything he has, to give it away to the poor, and to then follow Jesus wherever he leads.
He invites the man to make Jesus his King.

Truth #2 Eternal Life is for People Who Follow King Jesus

Jesus wants to redirect the man’s attention all together.......away from eternal life by being good enough....
and to an understanding of eternal life by way of genuine life-changing faith in the person of Jesus.
The way to eternal life was not a good enough morality.
The way to eternal life was allegiance to Jesus Christ Alone.
It was genuine faith in Jesus that the man needed, not a report card of morality.
So Jesus asks the man to trust him....
Jesus asks the man to trust him by selling his possessions and by joining the disciples who were literally following Jesus from town to town.
Jesus essentially asks the man to pledge sole allegiance to him over his possessions, over his way of life, over his own plan for his life.
If the man wants to enter the Kingdom of God… He must make Jesus his King.
There is no confusion here.
Jesus is no open negotiation here.
Jesus is asking this man to do what he asks all people to do “follow me”....
This is the way you transfer citizenship from the self-destructing kingdom of man to eternal life in the kingdom of God..... you take yourself off the throne of your life and you trust a new king..... that’s what faith is.
Saving faith is not belief in the existence of Jesus.
Saving faith is belief in the Lordship of Jesus over all things including your life.
Romans 10:9 ESV
9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Jesus was inviting this man to believe that he was Lord… and Jesus knew right where to go to expose the man’s unbelief.
Jesus knew exactly what would prove for this man that no matter how good he may seem… he would not step off of the throne of his own life.
The following verse, I think, is one of the saddest verses in the Bible.
Mark 10:22 ESV
22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Jesus knew what sat on the throne of this man’s heart… and Jesus cannot share the throne with anyone or anything.
So the man was confronted with a choice.....
Will he trust Jesus and follow Jesus?
OR will his love for his lifestyle and his possessions prove to be his greater love?
According to verse 22, the man makes the wrong decision.
He is disheartened… and he turns his back on Jesus because he believed his possessions to be more valuable then what Jesus was offering.
And Jesus lets him walk away.
I want you to notice this morning that Jesus does not compromise here....
When the man walks away… Jesus doesn’t say oh oh oh hold on… if you don’t want to give that stuff up… there is a way where you can kinda halfway follow me if you want. Just say this prayer and still have eternal life… you just wont make that big of a difference in the world.
Jesus doesn’t do that.
Faith… Saving Faith… is a faith that puts Jesus in the rightful place as Lord over your life....
Kingdom people are not perfect people.
They make mistakes.
But Kingdom People believe that Jesus’ way is the best way and they want to obey their King.
Jesus lets this man walk away in sorrow… and then he turns to his disciples who are watching in bewilderment and he offers further explanation of what has just happened.
Mark 10:23–26 ESV
23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?”
Notice how shocked the disciples are by all of this.
Mark repeats his description of them twice.
In verse 24, he says, “the disciples were amazed at his words”
In verse 26, he says, “They were exceedingly astonished”
Wealth in a first century society was seen as a blessing, even a blessing of God.
Wealthy people were the powerful people in the kingdom.
They were the highly favored ones…,
Wealth in every way was advantageous in the Kingdom of Man.... but here Jesus flips the script.
Jesus actually teaches that wealth puts people at a disadvantage for entering the kingdom of God.
Why?
Well, this rich young ruler serves as the case study…
Because he was wealthy… his way of life deceived him into thinking his kingdom was better than God’s kingdom
Even though his riches are temporary and they will ultimately leave him empty, alone, and under the judgment of God.... their present value to him deceive him and allure him away from Jesus, not toward Jesus.
Jesus said similarly in his parable of the seed and the sower in Mark 4.
Mark 4:18–19 ESV
18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
This is why Jesus says it is difficult for a rich person to achieve eternal life…
Their riches and their desire for things of the world keep them from believing that Jesus is really worth believing and following.
They are living their version of the good life… so why should they give that up for eternal life?
They don’t perceive that they need a new King over their life… so why would they go looking for one?
As far as Jesus is concerned… you are in a very spiritually dangerous position if you are healthy, wealthy, morally pretty good, and generally happy, because the kingdom of man is successfully deceiving you into believing that it will stand forever.... It is successfully deceiving you into believing that you do not need the salvation King Jesus offers you.
This man, is face to face with the invitation of Jesus.
He is face to face with Jesus invitation.... follow me and you will have eternal life.
and he hears the invitation, and walks away sorrowful.
Let me pause here and ask you....
What causes you to reject that invitation and to walk away sorrowful?
Some of you have heard me preach for months and even years… maybe you even feel conviction over sin… maybe you even believe that there really is a God and that Jesus really did historically live, and do miracles, and die, and rise again.... but week in and week out you leave sorrowful and unwilling to trust Jesus as Lord of your life....
What is deceiving you into believing that your kingdom is more valuable then the Kingdom of God Jesus is inviting you into?
In this story it was wealth and Jesus seems to indicate that it will be wealth that keeps many from following him.
All of this is deeply concerning to the disciples of course.
I mean if this stand up, morally good, wealthy guy, can’t enter the kingdom of God who in the world can?
And that is the question they ask
Mark 10:26 ESV
26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?”
Now that is a good question..
In fact, its a better question then the one the rich young ruler asked.
The rich young ruler asked, “What do I do to inherit eternal life?”
The disciples ask, “Who can be saved?”
The rich young ruler assumed he could simply do something to deserve it.
The disciples, here, assume that nobody has what it takes to follow Jesus in this way.
How can a rich person have their eyes opened to the fruitlessness of their riches and the eternal value of following Jesus?
Here is Jesus’ answer:
Mark 10:27 ESV
27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”

Truth #3 The Faith Required to Follow Jesus is a Miracle of God

The values of the kingdom of man are always surrounding us and even suffocating us.
This is the message of Man’s Kingdom in our day.
You are a good enough person.
Follow your heart no matter where it leads.
Live for your desires no matter what they are.
Make as much money as you can. Spend it on yourself as much as you can.
Live for today and find happiness wherever you can.
Your truth is your truth and its good as long as no body gets hurt.
Be king over your kingdom. Write your own rules and live by them if you want.
The message of the Kingdom of God is quite different.
There is a holy God who created the world and everything in it.
Disobeying this God has real consequences both temporal and eternal.
The things that you think make you happy are lying to you… and they are destroying you.
But God loves you, wants what is best for you, made a way of salvation for you…
and he invites you to follow him no matter the cost.
Mark 8:34–36 ESV
34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?
That is not an easy message to swallow.
But that is the message Jesus calls you to believe in and that is the message that Jesus calls you to live your life in light of.
Who is going to do that?
What person in their right mind is going to believe that there is a personal holy God who hates sin but loves sinners enough to come to earth and die their death?
What person in their right mind is going to believe that following the words spoken by a resurrected man preserved in a 2,000 year old book is the way to true eternal unending joy?
Who is going to leave their own Kingdom to transfer their citizenship to that Kingdom in faith?
With man… it is impossible…, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.
The message of Christianity as not only survived, but it has thrived and it has spread for 2,000 years…, not because it is an easy message… but because it is a true message that God supernaturally uses to open people’s spiritual eyes.
Jesus is totally agreeing and affirming that in man’s natural self… they will reject him and his message...
But God is a miracle working God.
He opens the eyes of the blind.
He opens the ears of the deaf.
He softens the heart of the stubborn.
God is the one who makes saving faith in Jesus possible.
God is the one who helps us to see that following him is more valuable then any alternative.
Perhaps your here this morning and you can’t find it within yourself to repent from a particular sin.
Perhaps you are here and you can’t find it in yourself to really believe Jesus is worth following in all areas of your life.
Plead with God to do the impossible in your heart.
Truth #3 The Faith Required to Follow Jesus is a Miracle of God
At this point, Peter speaks up.
Peter essentially speaks up to say, “look, we are examples of this teaching”
We are people who gave up everything because we believe that Jesus, you are worth following
Look with me at verses 28-31
Mark 10:28–31 ESV
28 Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Peter speaks out to say that God has done the impossible in them.
They have left everything to follow Jesus.
But Jesus corrects Peter’s statement.
Peter didn’t just leave everything to follow Jesus.
He gained everything in following Jesus.

Truth #4 Following Jesus is Worth It

Jesus recognizes he very real costs of following him as Lord.
Mark 10:29 ESV
29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel,
For most of us, faithfulness to Jesus has not yet cost us our house.
For some of us, faithfulness to Jesus has effected our relationships with brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, or even children.
I hope you see that here.... Jesus anticipates that faithfulness to him will take priority even over your relationship with your own children.
Again, for most of us, this doesn’t sting like it does for believers around the world.
Our Christian brothers and sisters in Indonesia feel this verse.
Our Christian brothers and sisters in North Korea, China, Sudan, Pakistan, India, Russia, Ukraine...., they feel this.
Following Jesus is costly to them on multiple fronts.
But Jesus wants to make a point here…
It is costly.... but it is also supremely worth it.
Mark 10:29–30 ESV
29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.
Jesus comments on the incredible benefit of following him for both this life and the next
Even through the persecutions that come with following Jesus.... there is also a sense in which you gain houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, children, and lands in this life when you come to Jesus Christ.
The local church becomes your family in a way that no other society of people can.
If Saint Rose were to come under persecution tomorrow and my house were to be burned down because I am a pastor… I would not be a homeless man.....
I have brothers and sisters in Saint Rose who would immediately take me into their home.
In fact, I would have a warm bed and a hot meal in the homes of believers I know personally in California, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Peru, Egypt, Scotland, Indonesia, Timor Leste...
I personally moved to Saint Rose only because I was trying to be faithful to how I thought Jesus was leading my family… we left mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters in our home town… and we have found mothers, and fathers, and brothers and sisters here in this church. We have found the sweetness of many relationships and friendships because of Christ.
Following Jesus in this life is not just one giant sacrifice.
Following Jesus in this life is worth it in this life.
In following Jesus there is
freedom from sin
hope in suffering
joy unending
purpose in life
meaning in everything
peace in God’s plan
security in God’s love
and family in God’s church
following Jesus and living for the Kingdom of God is gloriously worth it in this life.
AND especially in the next.
The promise we have from Christ is eternal life with God our savior in a new world without pain, without persecution, without sorrow, and without death.
We will join Jesus in perfect harmony and joy with God the Father just as was enjoyed before the world began.
The perks are eternally worth the persecutions. Trust Jesus at his word. The grass is not greener in the kingdom of man.
Questions:
1. According to this story, are you actually a Christian?
Have you come to Jesus like a child, needing him to save you from your sins?
Have you come to him trusting him to both save you and lead you as Lord over your life?
Cry out to God and ask him to work a miracle in you today.
Become a Christian today. Believe on Jesus.
2. According to this story, are the people closest to you actually Christians?
It does not help our children, our parents, our friends, if we go on living in denial regarding their spiritual state.
The rich young ruler here is proof that just being a good person does not mean you will have eternal life.
Following Jesus in faith is the requirement for eternal life.
And I am afraid that we will make excuses for the people we love because we want them to have eternal life…
but when we make excuses that Jesus doesn’t make…
and when we make compromises in our mind for them that Jesus doesn’t make.... we comfort ourselves with their intellectual ascent to a made up Jesus.
And because we fool ourselves to make ourselves feel better, we actually rob ourselves of the opportunity of leading our loved ones to the real Jesus as he has revealed himself in his word.
3. What would cause you to walk away from Jesus sorrowfully?
What do you cling to too tightly?
What do you want to control so badly?
What keeps you on the throne of your own life?
What could Jesus ask of you that you would consider too much to give?
Give it to the Lord this morning. And trust him. The man who conquered death says its worth it. Believe him.
There will be a great reversal one day.
All that the Kingdom of Man thought was most valuable will be turned on its head when the Kingdom of God comes fully and finally
Mark 10:31 ESV
31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Lets Pray.
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