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Right Motivation

Mark 10.17-31
And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must 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 murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
This man was rich (Luke 18.23), young (Matthew 19.20-22), a ruler (Luke 18.8), and had everything but salvation. The Jews would not use the word "good" in addressing a rabbi, so Jesus had every right to ask the man why he used it. Did he really believe that Jesus was God? If so, would he obey what Jesus said?

Nobody is saved by keeping the Law (Galatians 3.21). Jesus held before the young man the mirror of the Law so he could see how sinful he was (James 1.22-25; Romans 3.20). The young man had paid attention to the Law since his youth, and the Law had brought him to Christ (Galatians 3.24); but he had not yet humbled himself as a lost sinner. He wanted to have the best of both worlds!

Nobody is saved by selling everything and giving the money to the poor. We are saved by trusting the Son of God who gave everything to make us rich (2 Corinthians 8.9). Jesus touched this "sore spot" in the young man's life because love of money was the great sin that was keeping him out of the kingdom (vv. 23-27). There is a principle here that must be remembered as we seek to lead lost people to Jesus: sinners cannot hang on to their sins and at the same time reach out to Jesus. There must be sincere repentance before sinners can turn to God and be saved by His grace.

Like many Jews, the disciples thought that wealth was proof of God's blessing, but Jesus corrected their wrong idea. Peter was sure that he and his friends would receive a special reward for doing what the rich young ruler did not do. God does reward faithfulness, but our motive should be love for Christ and not desire for gain. What motivates you today?

Pastor Jeff
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