Intro: Ill. Luke 16:19-31 The story of the Rich Man and Lazarus.
If you had met these two men during their life times, who in this room would have chosen
to be Lazarus instead of the Rich Man? No one in their right mind! Yet, if you could have
seen them 5 seconds after death, the choice would have been in the favor of Lazarus. Even
though the Rich Man had all the worlds good, a fine home, many friends, a large,
close family and his health, he still lacked something worth more than all those other
things combined. He had it all, except that "one thing" that would have made all
the difference in eternity. Lazarus, on the other hand, had nothing that this old world
had to offer, but he had that "one thing" that gave him everything in eternity.
It is that "one thing" that I wish to discover this morning.
Before us today, in this passage, is another man who seemed to have it
all. Yet, when the Lord Jesus inventories this mans life, He finds him to be lacking
one very important "thing" that would have guaranteed him eternal life.
Most, if not all, of us have dreamed of one day striking it rich.
Whether it be winning a sweepstakes, inheriting a large sum of money, etc. (Ill. The
Kentucky lottery is over 85 million dollars and people are in a frenzy trying to buy those
winning numbers.) So, if we were given the opportunity, we might be willing to trade
places with this rich young man today. Thats exactly what I would like for us to do.
I want us to look at what all that he had going for him, and at that "one thing"
he was missing and then lets see whether or not we would really like to be in his
As we look into this passage today, please take some time to look at
your own life. See what you have, and see if you have this "one thing" that
makes all the difference here and hereafter.
I. HIS POSSESSIONS
A. Money v. 22b There is nothing wrong with having
money. It is when money has you that there is a problem, 1 Tim. 6:10. But, money, with all
its power and potential, does not impress God and can never provide salvation for
the soul Ill. Simon the Sorcerer Acts 8:20. (Ill. The Rich Fool in Luke
B. Position and Power Luke 18:18 This young
man was a community leader and held a place of honor among his people. But, again, Jesus
was unimpressed. In the eyes of God all men are sinners Rom. 3:23. Salvation cannot
be earned by influence or by ones position in the world. (Ill. King Herod
C. Morals v. 19-20 Jesus named several
commandments to this young man, yet the man responded that he had kept these from his
youth up. The fact that Jesus did not challenge this mans claims tells us that he
was a moral man. However, morality is not enough to get you into Heaven! There will be
millions of good, moral people in Hell. The Bible is very clear when it tells us that
works will never be enough to save mans soul Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5.
(Ill. It was a common belief among the Jews in Christs day that
good works were the secret to salvation John 6:28. It hasnt changed today!
Many still think God will weigh the good against the bad and which ever comes out ahead
will determine where they spend eternity. Others feel that they need to compare their
lives against their neighbor. They believe that if they are a little more moral than those
around them then they have a good chance of earning salvation. These, however, are the
opinions of men and not the truth according to the word of God. Even the most moral person
in the world will spend eternity in Hell if they are not saved Gods way!)
D. A Sense Of Urgency v. 17a He ran to
Jesus looking for the answers he needed. He realized that life isnt going to last
forever! (Ill. Lost people today need that same sense of urgency where their souls
salvation is concerned. You see, life is passing swiftly by and one day, time will run
out, James 4:14; Pro. 27:1; Job 7:6-7; Job 9:25-26; Psa. 39:5; Psa. 90:6-7. Where will you
be them?) The haste with which life passes by is the reason the Bible tells man to be
saved today 2 Cor. 6:2. Today is the only day you are promised! You may feel this
same sense of urgency, but that will not be enough to save you from eternal damnation!
E. Humility v. 17b This young man came
before Jesus humbly. He demanded nothing, but he bowed before the Lord and asked of Him.
It takes a humble person to come before God and confess their sins and receive Christ into
their heart. A humble life and spirit are good things, but just being meek and humble will
not keep you out of Hell. Having a sense of the fear of the Lord is wonderful, and many
lost people have a fear of God and His power, but these are not enough. This man was
humble, yet he wasnt saved!
F. He Had A Desire For Salvation v. 18 This
man cared about where he would spend eternity. This tells me he believed in Heaven and in
Hell. It appears that he wanted the best after life that he could achieve. Yet, a desire
for salvation is not enough to bring it about. There are people who have spent a lifetime
in the House of God and long to be in Heaven when they die, yet they have never been truly
saved. They have a desire for it, but have never followed through and been born again.
(Ill. Anyone in their right mind would care about where they were going
when they died. Only a fool really believes that men are nothing more than animals. Man
has an eternal soul! You will live forever in one of 2 places. However, just thinking
about it and worrying about it and wanting it will never get the job done. You have to
take it one step farther and do something about it.)
G. He Was Loved By God v. 21a Even though
he was a sinner, he was still loved by the Lord. (Ill. This is a true window into the
heart of Jesus and His compassion for sinners!) Every lost person enjoys this same love
today Jer. 31:3. In fact, the love of God for fallen man was so great that He gave
up His Son to die on the cross to save men from their sins John 3:16; Rom. 5:8.
(Even though man is loved everlastingly, and totally, that in itself is
not enough to bring about your salvation. Jesus loves you, but He will not force His
salvation on you, Ill. Rev. 3:20. If you get saved, you will have to go just a little
farther than being loved by God.)
II. HIS PROBLEM
A. When this man came before Jesus, Jesus simply held up the mirror of
Gods Word before him to reveal his sinfulness to him.
(Ill. Like a mirror, the Word of God has the power to show us what we
really are, James 1:23-25. Ill. The Laver at the Tabernacle, Exodus 30:18-21. It was made
from the looking glasses of the women, Exodus 38:8. Every time the priests entered the
Tabernacle, they were required to wash their hands and their feet. In doing so, they would
look into the Laver and see their reflection. The Laver therefore served as a mirror to
remind them that they were sinners and that they were unclean before God and in need.)
(Ill. Christs desire was that this man come to see himself as a
sinner, and that he was in need of salvation.)
(Ill. Many in our day share a common problem with this rich young man.
They see themselves a moral people and feel that they need nothing from God or man.
However, the Word of God has declared all to be sinners in need of a Savior!)
B. Jesus not only held him up to the mirror, He also touched his sore
spot. In verse 21, Jesus told this man exactly what he had to do to be saved forever. His
challenge to this rich young man was threefold.
1. Renounce your wealth This mans money was
in truth his god. He trusted money, he worshiped money and he received his fulfillment
from money. Therefore, even though he was moral and upright, his god was his money.
2. Take Up Your Cross This young man was called to
leave his place of position and power and identify himself with the shame of the cross. He
was called upon to give up his life for Jesus.
3. Follow Jesus He was called upon to place his
trust in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ for his salvation. He was to turn away from
everything he had been trusting in a place his trust totally in Jesus and nothing else for
C. These requirements still stand today!
1. Renounce Your Wealth Jesus doesnt ask you
to give up all that you own. He just wants you to know that you cannot receive the gift of
eternal life while you are grasping the world. What Jesus wants the lost person to know is
that they are loved and they can be saved, but they are going to have to be willing to
turn from those things that have a hold on their lives. In other words, you cannot have
Jesus and your sins! Repentance is an absolutely essential component in salvation, Luke
2. Take Up Your Cross This means that you must be
willing to be identified with Jesus. It isnt always popular to be known as a
Christian. The world may hate you and despise His Name. However, the one who truly loves
the Lord will be willing to bear the shame of the old rugged cross. (Ill. Anyone who
isnt willing to publicly claim His Name and follow Him is a coward and is probably
not even saved, in my opinion!)
3. Follow Him This simply is the way to be saved.
That is to place you faith in Jesus and in Jesus alone. You are following Him if you have
received the Gospel account of His birth, life, death and resurrection, and if you are
trusting His blood, alone to save you from your sins. Is your faith in Jesus? Acts 16:31;
(Ill. Who Jesus really is, notice verses 17-18. Jesus reveals His
identity to this young man. He declares Himself to be God! Jesus is saying that if He is
good, then He is God! His challenge to the young man is to believe in Christ alone, and in
what He can do for the sinner. Who is Jesus to you today? A great teacher? A good man? A
poor guy who got Himself killed on a cross? A good excuse for presents at Christmas and a
diner at Easter? Who is He? If He is anything less than God, then He can never be your
D. This young man had the same problem that millions of others have
this morning, they are trusting everything but the right thing to get them to Heaven! They
possess a lot of this worlds goods, they are morally pure, they are good respected
people, but they are lost and they are hellbound because they have never trusted Jesus as
their personal Savior.
III. HIS PREFERENCE
A. This man was offered eternal life, yet he thought the price was just
too high for him to pay. He chose his riches over his own soul Mark 8:36-37.
B. What is that is keeping you from coming to Jesus today? Whatever it
is, it isnt worth going to hell over! Nothing is!
C. When it comes to salvation, you are going to make a decision. In
fact, you are going to make it today. You will either choose to get up and come down to
the altar and receive Jesus as you Savior, or you will choose to get up and walk out of
here as lost as you were when you entered. I pray that you will choose Heaven over Hell
(Ill. I believe it was Sir Isaac Newton who said, "For every
action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." While that is true in the world of
nature and science, it is also true in the realm of spirituality. Your decision in regard
to Jesus Christ will determine exactly what you can look forward to in eternity.)
III. HIS PROSPECTS
A. Verse 22 says that he went away "grieved." This word was
used to mean the gathering of storm clouds." This young man literally walked
away from the sunshine and directly into the storm.
B. When a person rejects Christ as Savior, they have no other place to
turn to, Acts 4:12, Heb. 2:3.
C. Therefore, this young mans prospects for eternity, while they
could have been wonderful and guaranteed him an eternity of bliss in glory, became very
bleak and promised only Hell because he refused to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for
D. I want you to understand today that if you receive Jesus as your
Savior, you have the promise of Heaven and all its glories. However, if you choose
to walk away from Jesus, you will never find salvation anywhere else and you will
eventually wind up in Hell, forever apart from the God who loves you and died for you, 2
Conc: Now, I dont want you to go to Hell, and I dont
believe you want to go there either. You dont have to! All you need to do to be
guaranteed a future in glory is to come to Jesus now and receive Him as you Savior. He
isnt asking for much, just you. Ill. The thief on the cross, Luke 23:39-43. This man
had no money, no future, no hope. He could produce no works and could do absolutely
nothing for the Lord. He couldnt be baptized, he couldnt preach, he
couldnt go to church or Sunday School. All he could do was place his faith in Jesus
and trust Him to save his soul. That is exactly what he did and Jesus saved him that day
and for all eternity. He can and will do the same for you if you will just come to him
right now. Is that "one thing" missing from your life today? If so, then come
and let Jesus give it to you. Will you give Jesus the privilege of being you Savior? If
so, you will not be turned away, but you will be saved right here, right now and forever.
The choice is yours. Dont be like this young man and walk away from the sunshine and
into the gathering storm of Gods fierce wrath.
Sermon By Alan Carr
Our Ad Sponsors Keep Higher Praise
On The Web