Sunday, Jan 5, 2020AM Service
Eternal Life: A Cost Too High for Some (Part 1)
Speaker: Jerry Wragg
Passage: Luke 18:18-30
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Today, we will examine the narrative in Luke 18:18-30 where Jesus evangelizes the rich young ruler. Coursing through the book of Luke, we have been following a central thread. We have seen that every human faces an obstacle and massive barrier between themselves and salvation through Jesus Christ. That barrier is their unbridled passion to be preeminent, exalted, and honored in and of themselves alone. In a life without Christ, we can trace this desire and behaviors as such:

  • We aim to prove we are autonomous and worthy of admiration.
  • We love to indulge every desire of the heart without any consequences.
  • We hide everything that could expose our phoniness.
  • We suppress and deny our guilt.
  • We craft a public image so that we are not exposed as hypocrites.
  • As we live in the false persona, we redefine sin and blame-shift.

These habits are every human experience without Christ. We seek a worldly life of fulfillment that is impossible, but we live in denial, unless God softens the soil of our hearts. Unless one comes to God without pride in a humble disposition of exclusive trust in Christ, he can never know the Lord and experience eternal life.

In this passage, we will see how Jesus shrewdly exposes a new flavor of this obstacle; that is, a covetous heart that is unwilling to give up the comforts of this life for a life of deny self and following Christ.

  1. The Anxious Seeker (Luke 18:18)
    • He is described in Luke, Matthew, and Mark as some type of official; a man in a position of wealth and authority.
    • His question exposes his anxiety. We will read that he has been practicing the Law, but still he asks the question.
    • This question is not a test for Jesus, as we saw in Luke 10:25. With all of his claimed obedience, he lacks assurance.
    • The term “good teacher” is an anxious reverence. He is suggesting that Jesus has an intimate relationship with God and His answer by implication would have to be followed.
    • He was not prepared for a Luke 9:23 answer of the true cost – denying yourself.
  2. Jesus responds with an exposing question (Luke 18:19)
    • Jesus reveals the man’s assumption in order to till the soil of his heart. The man’s question loaded with a statement of good is association of Jesus with divine goodness.
    • A paraphrase of Jesus’ response… “You better think about what you are asking. My answer cannot be rejected; since you are associating me with the divine. By implication, you would have to accept the answer as if it came directly from God.”
  3. Jesus points out an obvious theology (Luke 18:20)
    • In other words, Jesus is pointing out the doctrine that the man already says he knows, believes, and follows.
    • Jesus recites the second half of the ten commandments with one omission; the commandment on coveting.
    • In all evangelism scenarios, we desire to reach agreement on a standard and expose the beliefs of the recipient. Their boast is a trap against the unbending defining line of God’s Word.
    • Exodus 20:17 is omitted, “You shall not covet….”
  4. A blind boast (Luke 18:21)
    • Jesus gets the response He expected, the man says that he has been 100% obedient from his youth.
    • Coveting is a heinous sin of the heart and mind where one rejects the opposite command in Deuteronomy 6:5, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”
    • Let’s remind ourselves of Galatians 3:24 the purpose of the Law; that is, it is a tutor teaching depravity and the need for the Savior.
    • And in Romans 7:7-8, Paul tells us that the Law exposes coveting and, in our knowledge and hate of the standard of the Law, we covet even more. In Romans 7:11, we see that Paul was shattered and learned his need.
    • The Law is to show you the standard and prove that you can never meet it no matter how much you try.
    • Paul later tells us in Philippians 3:4ff, we are to count any obedience as rubbish; righteousness comes from God on the basis of faith.
    • The blind boast is not an honest or a humble expression. Instead, it is full of the prideful desire as the captain of his own soul.
  5. The obstacle revealed (Luke 18:22)
    • This statement is not about philanthropy. God has no problem with wealth that He gives to His people. There are many examples of wealthy people in Scripture.
    • Notice the contrast, this isn’t clearly a work to obtain eternal life. Instead, Jesus says, “You will have treasure in heaven.”
    • This is about coveting worldly pleasures vs. where your affections ought to be on eternal things, matters of the soul, and what is in future glory.
    • Jesus also says that it is on His terms; then follow Me. You follow what I call you to do.
    • Jesus points out that he is a coveter – he loves earthly things and finds security in them and it is keeping him from eternal life. It is not the things themselves, but his trust in them.
    • James 1:9-11, it is the same obstacle for those who don’t have things, but covet them.
    • Was he an honest seeker? (Luke 18:23)
      • When he heard these things, he became very sad for he was extremely rich. He became sad when he heard the terms.
      • In conclusion, he learned that the terms are to follow Christ and lay every worldly possession on the altar. No thanks! What a grief to him. He had a love of money, things, and the security he thinks they provide.

Eternal life is a cost too high for some! Jesus will go on to teach us a new perspective when to live without trusting in things. That’s for next time.