The Rich Young Ruler and the Grace of God.

In Mark 10:17-21, we see Jesus, the Master Evangelist dealing with a young man who asked a question.  The way that He dealt with him gives us an example of how we should share the Gospel with people.

1.  Jesus showed a seeker the Holiness of God.

17 As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall 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.”

“What must I do”

He was looking at salvation all wrong.  He thought it was a matter of doing.  False religions, cults all have something to do.

“Be baptized in our church and your sins will be forgiven”. No this is not the Gospel.

You see people want to do something.  Easy.  Give me something to do.  Give me a baptistry to be baptized in, give me a wafer to eat, give me an aisle to walk, give me a prayer to pray.”  I can do that.  “What must I do to inherent eternal life?” 

When we first read this we think, “Why did Jesus say this?” Was he denying His own holiness?   The answer to that is no, so what was he saying.  He was saying first thing first:  God is Holy!   

You have got to see that.

Salvation is for those who see their sin and hate it.  Those who want to turn around and live for God.  This young man thought he was good but Jesus wanted him to see that he wasn’t.   Unless we understand our need we will not be ready for salvation.    Preaching and sharing that results in salvations are messages that emphasize our need of a Savior.

“There must be a sense of need before your message is of any use.”  Oswald Chambers.

Jesus wanted this young man to see that God is Holy. 

We might think this guy asked the right question, he is concerned about how to inheret eternal life.  He is on the right path.

There has been a lot of talk about reaching seekers.  Those who are seeking a relationship with God. 

Romans 3 says “no one seeks God” 3:10.

So no one is seeking God.  But God is seeking Man.  God is the seeker.  Man is running from God, he doesn’t want anything to do with God because of his sin nature.  But praise the Lord, God is seeking Man. 

God didn’t leave us in our sinful state but He sent His Son

John 3:16, “For God so loved the World that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but have eternal life. “

Iʼm convinced that we have preached a “God is love, Iʼm Ok and youʼre Ok message” that is not resulting in conversions, but is telling people what they want to hear. Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” but in todayʼs evangelism we donʼt start there. We start with “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” In Walter Chantryʼs book, Todays Gospel: Authentic or Synthetic?, he walks the reader through the Rich Young Ruler passage in Mark 10 and compares it to modern evangelismʼs message:

“Today, we are told that witnessing is to begin with ʻGod loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.ʼ Love is set before sinners as the foremost characteristic of God. But Jesus didnʼt begin that way. And the Bible as a whole speaks more often of Godʼs holiness than of His love. This is probably because men readily remember all attributes that might favour themselves and totally forget those which threaten or alarm them.

Thousands of sinners think of God as having only one attribute- ʻlove.ʼ Though that is part of the truth, when it is taken for the whole truth it becomes a lie. When you tell a stranger, ʻGod loves you,ʼ his mind registers something like this: ʻYes, He loves me and would never harm me. He loves me with forgiving and merciful kindness; so, all is well with my soul.ʼ In the concept of the average American, there is no idea that God is Holy; only a perverted concept that He has a gushy, all embracing kindness. Modern evangelism is helping to foster this misconception of God by its silence and vagueness.

To say to a rebel, ʻGod loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life,ʼ is terribly misinforming. The truth is that God is Holy. Thus, He is angry with the sinner at this moment. His sword of wrath already hangs over the head of the guilty and will forever torment him unless he repents and trusts Christ. This plan is not so wonderful. Godʼs redeeming love for sinners is found only in Christ, and the sinner is out of Christ. The modern approach is diametrically opposed to Jesusʼ method with the young ruler. He did not soothe him in his ignorance, but stirred up fear by preaching that God is essentially good.” (pg. 28-29)

So for the typical churchgoer, the message has been God is love and this is all that they have accepted. Surely this is not the case for the majority of churches, is it?

“What must I do?”  Jesus didn’t make it easy.  He started with the Holiness of God.

2.  Jesus went through the 10 Commandments to define sin. 

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.’”

When it comes to sharing the Good news, we have to start with sin.  Bad news and then good news.  The bad news is that we are sinners, of course the Good news.  That God sent His Son to pay for our sin.If we repent and trust Him all our sins are forgiven.

Gal 3:24 says “The law is the school master that leads us to Christ.”   Tutor.  Think about a tutor or a mentor.  Someone who shows you something.  Tutor, I think of math.  If you are struggling with math, you need a math tutor to show you how to do, to make sure that you get it.  The Law is the tutor that shows us our need of Christ.

Like looking in the mirror. The 10 Commandments show us our sin.

“Have you ever told a lie?”  What does that make you?  Liar

“Have you ever looked a woman with lust?”  What does that make you?  Jesus said “If you look at a woman with lust you have committed adultery in your heart. 

“Have you ever taken anything that didn’t belong to you, even if it was something small”.  You are a thief.

We are all sinners.  WE are all liars, thieves, adulterers in our hearts.

Jesus said 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.’”

Isn’t this interesting?  He was asked about eternal life and he starts with the Holiness of God and then starts talking about the 10 Commandments.   When it is going to get to the eternal life stuff?   

This is what He had to start with.  Can’t get to the ethereal life stuff until you start with this first.

“The Way of the Master”. Ray Comfort.  The name of this comes from this passage in which Jesus starts with the 10 commandments. 

We have to see our sin before we understand what the Savior did.  Why we need the Savior.

If we think we are good.  We can never be saved. 

Seeker focused, seeker driven, seeker sensitive:  All man centered approaches to church instead of God centered approaches to Church.

People have to feel the weight of their sin before the cross of Christ makes sense.  This man was interested in himself, what can I do to inherent… Jesus said the bigger issue is that God is Holy and you have offended Him.

People don’t know who God is:  Even in our churches.  All they think is “GOd is Love” and He is.  God is love.  He loves all people, He sent His son because of His love.  But He is Holy.

To the unrepentant sinner, they hear “Well if God is love why do I have to change.”  I’ll keep living the way that I am living. 

God has it set up where He gets all the credit for salvating.  “Not by works so that no one may boast”. He gets all the credit. 

The young man really wasn’t seeking God.  He wanted to do something and pat himself on the back.  Add eternal life to, in his mind, his keeping of the commandments. 

We live in a day in which the church doesn’t even want to talk about sin.  Doesn’t bring it up.  Might make someone feel bad, might offend someone.  Jesus didn’t worry about that.

3.  Jesus didn’t give him a prayer to pray, He told him to repent and follow Him.

20 And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.”21 Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

Is repentance preached today like it was by Christ and the apostles?

Chantry continues:
“Our ears have grown accustomed to hearing men told to ʻaccept Jesus as your personal Saviourʼ, a form of words which is not found in the Scripture. It has become an empty phrase. There may be precious words to the Christian- ʻpersonal Savior.ʼ But they are wholly inadequate to instruct a sinner in the way to eternal life. They wholly ignore an essential element of the Gospel, namely repentance. And that necessary ingredient of Gospel preaching is swiftly fading from evangelical pulpits, though the New testament is filled with it.
When Jesus began His public ministry, His message was ʻThe time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the Gospelʼ (Mark 1:15). As He met the woman at the well, His Gospel insisted that she turn from adultery. Encountering Zacchaeus, Jesus turned him from thievery to philanthrophy. Now the demand to the ruler is ʻTurn from your lust for riches. Repent!ʼ
The apostles preached the same message. Those who were closet to Christ and understood His evangelism ʻwent out and preached that men should repentʼ (Mark 6:12). On the day of Pentecost Peter urged pricked hearts to ʻRepent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sinsʼ (Acts 2:38). As he preached in the temple after the lame man was healed, his Gospel was again, ʻRepent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out (Acts 3:19). Peter was clearly obeying our Lordʼs great commission. The only account of that commission which records the doctrinal content of the message to be preached is Luke 24:46-47. Here Jesus insisted ʻthat repentance and remission of sins should be preached in this name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.ʼ
…Today men are properly told to confess their sins and to ask for forgiveness. But evangelists and pastors are forgetting to tell sinners to repent. Consequently this misinformed age imagines that it can continue in its old ways of life while adding Jesus as a personal Hell insurance for the world to come. Treasures on earth AND treasures in heaven. Who would turn down that bargain! Pleasures of sin AND joys of eternity. That is a good deal! Sinners are not being saddened, as was the young ruler, to learn that they must turn from sin to have eternal life. Yet it is the sine qua non of the Gospel promises. Scripture always joins repentance and remission of sins. Repentance is necessary to forgiveness.”(pp 48-50)

Definitely this is not a repentance that is devoid of faith. Like we have said, “repentance and faith” are joined together. In the words of the confession, they are “inseparable graces.”Romans 2:4 speaks of Godʼs kindness and grace: “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” God is being gracious to them, giving them time to turn from their wicked deeds and trust Jesus Christ as Lord. I pray that God will lead them to repentance and faith in Christ someday.

Here is what God did for you: 

John 3:16. “He sent His son”

Jesus satisfied Gods wrath on the Cross.

The Holiness of God was dealt with. 

God’s demands were dealt with.  You see Jesus was righteous.  He never told a lie, never had a lustful thought, never stole anything.  He was perfect.  This is what God demands perfection.  Have you ever been perfect?  No, not on your best day. 

I have Good News.

If you trust in Christ because of the cross, all your sins are forgiven.  They will not be held against you.  This is Good News. 

Repent and Trust Him today:   

Romans 10:9-10 “[e]that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, [f]resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, [g]resulting in salvation. 

Romans 10:13 “Everyone who calls”.  These are the ones who call in repentance and faith.  If you call on him as a sinner who sees that you don’t deserve Him but you desperately need Him.  He will save you.

We are saved from God by God in Christ.  


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s