Monday, November 9, 2009

Tid bits from Fall Retreat

Spent this last weekend away in Kentucky fellowshipping with old friends, new friends, and The Greatest Friend. Four Sermons: Four Different Passages of scripture.
  1. "The Original Nic @ Night" John 3, with special emphasis on John 3:16
  2. "A Camel, a Needle, and a CEO" Matthew 19:16-30
  3. "A Fat Dent" Isaiah 6
  4. "Survival Kit Info" 1 Kings 19
I'm going to go through each of them during this week and share what God revealed to me. I'm not going in order, so bear with me. Here is #2:

The Rich Young Ruler asked Christ 3 questions. Notice where his emphasis lies.

"What good thing must I do to get eternal life?"
"Which [commandments] must I follow ?"
"What still do I lack?"

Nothing we could ever do could give us salvation. This guy comes running to the one who could do all this for him, and he asks what he has to do to earn his salvation. This is a guy who is used to earning things. He is rich. He has a high place in the temple. He has stuff.
But Christ asks him to follow the six commandments that have to do with your relationships with people.
"Do not murder, Do not steal, do not commit adultery, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself."
This guy had money. He didn't have to steal, he could buy it. He could bribe people to do what he wanted, ect. He had "followed" these commands. So the guy asks what more must I do?
Christ replies,
"If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
Jesus knows that this guy just wants the easy way out. He wants to do what he can to get by, he doesn't want to sacrifice something for the one who made the Greatest Sacrifice.
This guy is justifying himself on external actions. If he sells everything he has, he will lose his position, power, authority, place in society, ect. He will be destitute and will have to rely on Christ, and accept the amazing gift that surviving off of God is.
But he doesn't. He just walks away. And Christ turns to his disciples and makes a very interesting remark.
"I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, 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."
In Jewish society, the camel is one of the most unclean animal in their culture. Christ is essentially saying "The path to heaven is narrow and it's gate small, nothing unclean gets past it."
Hearing this, the disciples are greatly concerned, for the Jews thought that wealth was a sign of God's blessing on your life. And while that maybe so, the Jews took it a step further in saying that if you were rich, you would have eternal life.
The Disciples panicked. They had grown up with this ideology. But they were dirt poor. They had left everything behind in following Christ. If this rich man can't get to heaven, how could they?
But Jesus responds with this,
"And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first."
The Ruler had everything but lacked Jesus. The disciples had everything in Jesus, but were envious of what the Ruler had. Following Jesus isn't about "getting blessings". The reward for following Jesus, is Jesus. He is the only thing you can take with you to heaven.
After all, when was the last time you saw a herse with a U-haul attached to it? You can't take jack-nothin' with you when you die.

So who of the two was the richest in the end? The ruler, or the disciples?

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