In the middle of Matthew 19, we find our Lord in dialogue with a young man who is rich and prominent. Matthew 19:20~The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” (ESV) If you feel pretty good about your spiritual walk you may have thought that also. So, Jesus reveals his problem by telling him what he must do to be perfect and have treasure in heaven. Matthew 19:21~Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect (τέλειος teleios), go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (ESV) 

In this context, the word perfect (τέλειος teleios) is a synonym for salvation. This man has said in front of everyone, I do everything asked of me, and no one objected. He seems to be a good man. Charles de Gaulle said The cemeteries of the world are full of indispensable men. Those are great men and women who did great things and yet this is not what Jesus is saying. Our Lord is not about this life, if this young, or any man, woman, or child really wants eternal life, they must prove it with their sincerity, by following Jesus. You and I, we cannot let stuff own us and that is what is taking place in the life of this young man. That is why Jesus says let go of what is holding you back. You have been doing good, giving, sharing, helping, but all of that was down in your own effort. So Jesus says, sell. Why, because selling his possessions would not buy him or us, salvation, rather it would prove he understands who Jesus is and desires the eternal life Jesus is offering him, even more. 

The real issue is whether this young man is willing to do what Jesus Christ asks, no matter the sacrifice. Will he allow Jesus to be Lord over all, or not at all? His disciples have given up their occupations, and all but one will die a violent death. Will this rich man give up his money? No, he will not, so he goes away sorrowful. Matthew 19:22~When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (ESV) Apparently, the young man loves his wealth and the prestige far above salvation. The point being made is found in Luke 16:13~No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. (NIV) Obstacles to the kingdom of heaven aren’t just material possessions. For some, it might be a career, a position, a sinful relationship, a habit, or a hundred other things. Many poor people are just as far from the kingdom as this rich young man. If we desire to find our place in eternity then, we must realize that salvation is obtained by grace alone, and not of works, so you and I, cannot boast or work our way to heaven. Eternal life requires us to abolish any and all obstacles that stand in the way of us making Jesus Lord over all.

Today, is there anything in your life that you have an ongoing struggle with? If so, the Lord may be telling you to let go, to offer up, or take it to the market place on the book of faces. Whatever it is, you will not be truly free until you let go of the hold it has on you. This is a terrific time, the perfect place, for you to take the ideal inventory of what God has for you, by letting go.

6…David —Confessions of a King — A Character Study of Refusal — 1 Samuel 31 & 2 Samuel 1…Handout

God’s word is filled with_______. Promises of salvation, hope, and a_____. Scripture reveals how God delivers, provides and establishes those who trust in and seek Him. Each of God’s promises come with a_______. Part of the premise to all of God’s promises includes obeying all of God’s Word. Joshua is told God_____ times to be strong and courageous, carefully following all Ole Mo’s law Joshua 1:7~Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey____the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. (NIV) As the first king of Israel, Saul starts out really well. However, the Evil ____ continually tries to devour us and destroy our good character. We are reminding in 1 Peter 5:8~Be _____ and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls…(NIV) A Character Study on Refusal: Resent, _________

1) Refuse to Resent (1 Samuel 31:1-13) It should be noted God’s name is not found in 1 Samuel 31. This is a __________ of Saul’s sin. As a result, he and ____sons will die at this battle. Severely wounded Saul asks to be finished or ________. It didn’t have to end like _____. Saul’s decline began with his jealousy and resentment. (1 Samuel 18:9) Saul’s humiliation is summed up in Job 5:2~For________ (כַּעַס ka`ac) kills a foolish man, And envy slays a simple one. (NKJ) Saul lets resentment grow and cover his life, like ________. Can people who commit suicide like Saul go to heaven? 1 Samuel 28:19~The LORD will deliver both Israel and you into the hands of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. (ESV) The next day Saul commits suicide, after being injured during a battle with the Philistines. God knows all things (2 Samuel 14:20, John 16:30, John 21:17) God still had Samuel to tell Saul he would be with him in heaven the next day. This is God’s business, because ____________ is totally by grace. Romans 11:6~And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

2)_______ to Demean (2 Samuel 1:1-27) An Amalekite arrives to report Saul’s death with his crown. He tells David Saul asked him to kill him, and he did, probably looking for a _______. 2 Samuel 1:14~David asked him, “Why weren’t you afraid to lift your hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed? (ESV) David cannot let the killer (liar) go unpunished. Remember David never kills Saul though he had the opportunity. Regardless of Saul’s sins, only God could ________ him from office. Like David, to win God’s applause & hear well done, requires obeying the command of Proverbs 24:17~Do not envy the wicked, do not desire their company; (NIV) So, how do we speak over those who have fallen? David says in 2 Samuel 1:22-23, 27~…the bow of Jonathan did not turn back, the sword of Saul did not return unsatisfied…in life, they were loved and admired, and in death, they were not parted…swifter than eagles…stronger than lions…How the mighty have fallen! (ESV) Few things can reveal our character and nature like how we treat the fallen. Take-A-Step: ______________________________________________

Love your neighbors

What does it mean to abolish obstacles? As we read in Matthew 19:16-22, we are confronted by our Lord who tells us that sometimes stuff can get in our way. It is at this time a rich young man comes to Jesus and asks what good deeds he must do to have eternal life. We’ve all wondered if we were doing enough, right? This young man calls Christ Jesus teacher, thinking Jesus is just a good human teacher. He is asking how he can become good enough to earn salvation. Jesus replies there is only One who is good Matthew 19:17b~And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? (ESV) This may have been Jesus’ way of making the rich young man verbalize who he thinks Jesus is. Does he recognize the source of salvation? Christ Jesus is not denying His own deity, but because this man views Jesus as just a good teacher. He explains no mere human is good. Psalm 14:3~All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. (NIV) 

You are not good, and neither am I. Matthew 19:17~And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” (ESV) The Pharisees had added much more than God intended to Ole Mo’s commands, making them too cumbersome. Therefore, the man asks in  Matthew 19:18-19a~He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother…(ESV) To sum it up, Jesus adds from Leviticus 19:18~Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD. (NIV) What does it mean for us to love our neighbor as yourself?

Loving our neighbor as ourselves is found eight times in scripture. Not just once or even twice, but eight times. Guess God wanted to make it a point in our living. Loving your neighbor as yourself is so important to God that He makes it a command. Jesus coupled the command to love your neighbor as yourself with loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. James calls it the royal law. (James 2:8) It sounds beautiful, and it is when we obey it. But loving your neighbor as yourself is not always easy. That’s why God made it a command. He knew that we would struggle with it. Thus, making it a command is actually to our benefit. 

You are probably asking right now, Pastor how can that be? Making us love our neighbors as a command means that we have to do it on purpose, thereby being intentional about how we love and care for others. Sometimes we even do it out of our own need. Who in your life is a neighbor in need of love today? Why not take the time to let them know that they are not alone by helping them. And also be certain to pray with them, which will be another great way fo showing the love of Jesus.