Sermon #42 Series: Mark
Title: “Jesus Beholding Him Loved Him”
Text: Mark 10:17-27
Reading: Romans 9:1-33 and 10:3-4
Subject: Christ and the Rich Young Ruler
Date: Sunday Morning - March 1, 1998
Tape # U-54
We have before us the story of the rich young ruler. It is recorded three times in the New Testament, by Matthew, Mark, and Luke. All three were inspired by God the Holy Spirit to write it out in detail for our learning. The threefold repetition of the simple facts recorded in this story are intended to make us aware that the lessons taught here are of immense importance. May God the Holy Spirit inscribe upon our hearts those things, which he would have us to learn from this story.
Proposition: Were it not for the grace of God, we would all make the same choice this rich young ruler made and perish with the world.
Divisions: I want to simply read the story of this man and his decision to you, making brief comments on it as we move along. I will call your attention to four things in the passage.
1. A Common Delusion (vv. 17-20)
2. A Compassion Demonstrated (v. 21)
3. A Corruption Discovered (vv. 21-22)
4. A Calming Doctrine (vv. 23-27)
I. The first thing with which we are confronted in this story is A COMMON DELUSION (vv. 17-20)
A. There are many things about this young man which, at first sight, appear to be commendable.
1. He was earnest and zealous. He came running to Christ.
2. He was reverent and respectful. He kneeled to the Savior, in a respectful, reverent, if not worshipful manner.
3. He was thoughtful of his soul and eternity.
4. He was a very moral man, at least in his outward behavior.
If any of you mothers or fathers were looking for a young man for your daughter to date and perhaps marry, if this rich young ruler were around, you would urge your daughter to set her hat for him.
B. But this rich, moral, zealous, religious man was deluded by his own self-righteousness and pride.
His delusion was the common delusion of all men since the fall of Adam. It was a threefold delusion.
1. He thought salvation could be obtained by something he could do.
This is the delusion of all lost men, in all ages, the delusion of all human religion, and the delusion of antichrist. All men think that salvation comes as the result of something they do. Oh, they do not deny grace altogether, or deny that God has something to do with salvation. This young man acknowledged that eternal life is the inheritance and gift of grace. But he still thought it was to be obtained by something he could do.
· By His Decision.
· By His Deeds.
Being ignorant of God’s righteousness, he went about to establish his own righteousness, and would and could not submit to the righteousness of God in Christ. Would to God I could get the ear of this generation. I would say to them, It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy!” “Salvation is of the Lord!” “By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified!” To every self-righteous person who asks, “What must I do?”, I answer…
“Nothing, either great or small, Nothing, sinner, no;
Jesus did it, did it all, Long, long ago!
When He, from His lofty throne, Stooped to do and die,
Everything was fully done. Hearken to His cry: --
“It is finished!” Yes, indeed, Finished every jot:
Sinner, this is all you need. Tell me, Is it not?
Weary, working, plodding one, Why toil you so?
Cease your doing, all was done, Long, long ago!
Till to Jesus’ work you cling, By a simple faith,
Doing is a deadly thing. Doing ends in death.
Cast your deadly doing down, Down at Jesus’ feet!
Stand in Him, in Him lone, Gloriously complete!
2. This man’s second delusion was that he thought the law of God only had to do with outward behavior.
When you read verses 19 and 20, do not be so foolish and ignorant as numerous learned theologians, and imagine that the Lord Jesus is here teaching that there really are two ways of salvation, that a man can either be saved by grace or by works. That is not the case at all. This man asked what he could do, and the Master told him what he must do. If you want to be saved by your works, all you have to do is keep the law, PERFECTLY!
· Galatians 4:25
Our Lord’s purpose was not to teach salvation by legal obedience, but the impossibility of it, and to expose this man’s sin to himself.
Note: Painful as it is, you will never be saved until you are made to see yourself as you really are, a vile, hell bent, corrupt, ungodly wretch.
This self-righteous Pharisee was, like all lost religious people, totally ignorant of the spiritual nature of God’s law. He thought the law reached no further than outward deeds. He never took into consideration the fact that the Lord looketh on the heart. He thought that…
· Adultery was intercourse, not lust.
· Killing was murder, not anger.
· Stealing was theft, not covetousness.
· Bearing false witness was opening lying about someone, not insinuating or thinking evil.
· Fraud was taking another person’s property, not wanting it.
· Parental honor was saying “Maam” and “Sir”, not reverencing his parents’ name, honoring their wishes, and taking care of them in their old age.
3. His third delusion was that he thought he had actually obeyed God’s law and thus was worthy of God’s acceptance in and of himself.
I never ceased to be amazed by the fact that even the most base, profligate, sensual men and women of this world are really very proud and think so very highly of themselves that they brazenly presume they are good enough for God! That is really the heart of your unbelief. You are simply, in your own humble opinion, too good to need the grace of God and blood and righteousness of his dear Son. I pray that God will graciously show you who and what you are and who and what he is, lest you perish in your proud delusion.
Illustration: Whitefield and the Maid
II. Now, secondly, I want to call your attention to our dear Savior and the fact that he to beheld this man that Mark tells us he saw in the Master A Compassion Demonstrated (v. 21).
I cannot tell you how sickening it is to read the commentaries on this text. The Arminians rush to tell us, “There, you see, God loves even those who are not saved, even those who go to hell. The love of God is universal.” The Calvinists, imagining that God’s love must be protected and that Arminian fools are worthy of being answered, run to the Greek language and some far out, outlandish usage of the word “loved” (agape) to prove that this word does not really mean love. I am weary and vexed with men trying to make God fit into their little boxes.
Let’s take this blessed text just as it stands, learn what it teaches us, and rejoice in the great love of Christ for sinners! There are two things to be observed here.
A. The Lord Jesus beheld this man.
· He beheld everything about him.
· He beheld his present condition.
· He beheld his heart.
B. The Son of God loved this man.
I have no doubt at all that though this man, at first chose the world over Christ (just as I did), he was later converted by God’s free grace, because…
· Christ loved him.
· Those who are loved of Christ are loved by him from eternity.
· Those who are loved by the Son of God are loved by him immutably.
· Those who are loved by the Lord Jesus are loved by him unto the end.
· Those who are loved of God are saved by his free and sovereign grace.
III. The Lord Jesus so loved this man that he graciously uncovered his sin, pulled the covering off his heart and in verses 21-22 we see A Corruption Discovered.
The Lord Jesus met this man at his point of rebellion. He always does. Sooner or later, he will meet you at your point of rebellion and demand surrender. This young man's reigning sin an overwhelming affection for the things of this world. His riches were his idol. His heart was set upon and trusted in his wealth.
John Gill wrote, “He was so far from keeping all the commandments, that he had not kept the first; ‘thou shalt have no other gods before me’: there was more than one thing wanting in him, but Christ takes notice of this as the first; and there was no need to mention any other; this touched him sensibly, and fully tried, and sufficiently exposed the vanity of his boasted perfection...Finding that he must part with two things his heart was set upon, his idol of self-righteousness, and his mammon of unrighteousness; the bladder of his pride was pricked, and his vanity and self-conceit were exposed…which were sadly mortifying, and exceedingly disagreeable to him.”
What is your point of rebellion? That is where you must do business with God.
Did you ever notice how often those two words, “one thing”, are used in Scripture. They are very instructive.
A. David desired “one thing”, that he might dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Ps. 27:4).
B. Mary chose the “one thing” needful, to sit at Jesus’ feet and hear his words (Lk. 10:42).
C. The man born blind, who was healed by the Master, said, “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see (John 9:25).
D. Paul said, “One thing I do: forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14).
E. But this proud, self-righteous young rich man was lost, as are many of you, because “one thing” was lacking. Though he felt much, did much, thought much, and believed much, the one thing lacking was faith in Christ.
IV. As this rich man walked away, clinging to his riches, the Lord Jesus made a statement to his disciples, which disturbed them greatly and opened the way for him to instruct them and us in A Calming Doctrine (vv. 23-27).
There are three things in these verses I want you to see and understand. They are very important truths, which very few understand, and fewer still lay to heart.
A. The most deceitful, dangerous thing in this world is riches, the love of money, the love of the world.
B. With men, salvation is an utter impossibility.
C. With God, all things are possible.
So great, so magnanimous, so good is the grace of God that he can strip and empty the most self-sufficient Pharisee and bring him through the needle’s eye of faith in Christ into his kingdom. God almighty can save even the richest man in the world.
· The man who thinks himself spiritually rich and loves himself is no more beyond the reach of omnipotent mercy than the most promiscuous harlot.
· The man who loves the world, trusts in his riches, and therefore despises the things of God is not beyond the power of free grace.
· If, indeed, salvation is by grace alone (And it is!), there is no case or circumstance, which should cause us to despair.
Application: Old John Newton once said, when I get to heaven, I am sure that three things will simply astonish me.
1. I am sure very many will be there whom I never expected to be there.
2. I am sure that many will not be there whom I fully expected would be there.
3. But the most astonishing thing of all will be the fact that old John Newton will be there.
Later, just before his death, Newton said what I have been trying to preach to you. He said, “I am an old man. I cannot remember much. But I do remember two things: I am a great sinner; and Jesus Christ is a great Savior.” May this great God and Savior save you by his grace for the glory of his own great name.