July 9, 2017

Eternal Life

Luke 18:18-27 (NASB)

A ruler questioned Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. And Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” They who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” But He said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.”

Many people, when they hear or read the two words “eternal life” think that it’s a reference to heaven. It does mean that, but it also means so much more. Eternal life can begin now. It begins in the believer as soon as he is born-again. It’s the same life which we carry throughout eternity! Eternal life is not a thing of changes. The triumphant life of the Christian now is the triumphant life to be enjoyed hereafter. “The thief steals, kills, and destroys; I come that you might have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn. 10:10). “This is life eternal; to know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3).

  1. Eternal life comes as the reward for full and perfect obedience to God’s commands.
    This man asks “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus responds by saying two separate things:
    1. A. “Why do you call Me good? Nobody is good except God alone.”
      Why did Jesus respond this way? “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God” (v. 27). You’ll never know what is possible with God till you know Jesus as God Himself.
    2. “You know the commands – ‘Do not commit adultery; do not murder; do not steal; etc…’”
      Again, why did Jesus respond this way, by reminding the rich young ruler of God’s commands? Immortality is the reward for obedience to God, but “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). This is consistent with Paul’s teaching: “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality, God will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be Gods’ wrath and anger” (Romans 2:7-8).
       
  2. A self-righteous person will only look at external behaviors and ignore the heart.
    The construction of the book of Luke is not an accident. In the previous verses, Jesus gives a parable about the self-righteous (vs. 9-14) and then He discusses the importance of having a heart like a child. In this segment of Luke, a “rich, young ruler” says he’s “kept the commandments.” Jesus responds:

    “One thing you still lack” (v. 22).
    “Sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven” (v. 22).

    1. When you sell all you have and give to others, you are selfless in your goodness.
    2. When you sell ALL you have and give it away, you are sacrificial in your goodness.
    3. When you sell all you have and follow Jesus, you are sustained in your goodness.
      Who is good and keeps God’s law in all points, at all times, both outwardly and inwardly? Nobody. Except for Jesus: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake, He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich” (II Corinthians 8:9).
       
  3. The Gospel or the Good News is that Jesus has done for you what you can’t do yourself.
    When we speak of “asking Jesus into our hearts,” do we know what it is we are actually saying? It’s impossible for someone to appreciate the Lord Jesus Christ until we know what He has done. “We know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified” (Galatians 2:16).
    1. Coming to faith in Christ means God gives you eternal life as a gift (John 3:16; Romans 6:23).
    2. Coming to faith in Christ means God changes you from the inside out (Philippians 1:6).
    3. Coming to faith in Christ means God fully accepts you because of Christ (Philippians 3:7-11).
    4. Coming to faith in Christ means God empowers you to love as He loves you (John 13:34-35).

You can view the video for this sermon HERE.