Matthew 19:13-26 Moral, But Empty

by | Nov 27, 2023 | Matthew, New Testament

I. Asking About Eternal Life Vs. 16, 17

A. It’s Deeper Than You Think

1. It was commendable that this young man asked this question
2. He came running and knelt down. Earnestness & humility (Mark 10:17)
3. He came thinking that the solution wasn’t far from his grasp
4. When we speak of eternal life, we are reaching for the infinite
5. It isn’t just out of our reach; it’s infinitely higher & greater than any of us
6. It’s like jumping the Grand Canyon: some get further than others; none make it

B. He Had A Low View Of What Was Required

1. The young man asked, “What must I do”?
2. He thought that he had the ability to gain eternal life through his own efforts
3. He had a high opinion of his abilities, and a low opinion of heaven
4. Some people think that Heaven is just final step we take on our upward journey of self improvement and accomplishment
5. Without this correction from Jesus, he would have gone on thinking that Heaven was in reach through his own efforts

C. Incomplete Idea Of Who Jesus Was

1. Jesus doesn’t rebuke him, but He challenges him to think it through
2. Jesus said that no one was “good” but God
3. Jesus doesn’t correct him for calling Him “good”, saying not to say that
4. Jesus asks this young man to connect the dots: Jesus is God
5. This young man was more interested in what he needed to do…
Jesus points him back to the most important thing: Who Jesus is
6. Why is this important?

a. If you have a low view of Jesus, you will have a low view of His answers
b. If you believe that He was God in the flesh, you will embrace His answers
c. If Jesus was less than God, then His answers are arguable
d. If Jesus was God, then his answers are non-negotiable

7. Question-Who do you say Jesus is? Your answer will determine your response

II. The Young Man’s Search For Eternal Life Vs. 17-22

A. Jesus “Offers” Him The “Works” Option- Keep the Commandments

1. The young man is excited- “Where do I start”? Lots of people like this idea
2. Jesus referred to Commandments 5-9, which deal with human interaction
3. The 10 Commandments are found in Exodus 20:1-17

a. V. 18- Commandment #6- Don’t murder- compare with Matthew 5:21, 22
b. V. 18– Commandment #7- No adultery- comp. with Matthew 5:27, 28
c. V.19b- Love your neighbor as yourself- a summary of the above
d. The Laws of God are not just externally judged, but internally judged
e. God judges not only our actions & words, but our attitudes and intentions

4. The young man wrongly believed that he had kept all the commands of God
5. If that was so, why didn’t he feel complete regarding his entrance into Heaven?
6. None can enter heaven by good deeds b/c we have all failed. Romans 3:10-20

B. The Great Realization

1. Though he thought himself spiritually successful, he knew that he was lacking
2. What does this tell us?

a. The accomplishment of religious and moral works doesn’t satisfy the soul
b. This young man knew that “works” wasn’t enough. His heart knew this
c. What do I still lack? Amazing co-mingling of self-assurance and awareness of emptiness! Defending self while confessing emptiness.

C. The Deep Heart Challenge

1. Jesus knew what kept this man from the Kingdom of Heaven- love of money
2. Mark 10:21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack…” Because Jesus loved him, He challenged & corrected him
3. Jesus told him- give up what you love most on earth, love me, & gain Heaven
4. This word of Jesus would have taken the young man to Deuteronomy 6:5
Deuteronomy 6:5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
5. For all his good works, the young man wasn’t willing to give up his possessions
6. In spite of morals and religion, he loved his possessions more than he loved God
7. He loved himself more than he loved God
8. We’re not all called to give everything away , but called to love God supremely
9. We can’t love two masters. Turn to Matthew 6:24
10. NOTE- Jesus knew what this man’s struggle was: treasures on earth
Notice that Jesus offered him treasures in heaven. Which treasures do you want?

III. A Healthy Hopelessness

A. The Disciples’ Dilemma Vs. 23-25

1. Jesus explained the difficulty that rich people had in entering heaven

a. Camel & eye of a needle: either it is impossible, for Jesus spoke of an actual camel and actual needle
b. Or, it’s difficult, but not impossible: one of the gates around the wall of Jerusalem was called “Eye Of The Needle”, & camels had to kneel to enter

2. That culture believed that rich people were favored by God
3. If the rich couldn’t be saved, then who could be saved?

B. The Problem

1. Whatever we love most becomes our god
2. Turn to Matthew 6:19-21; Matthew 16:24-26
3. We need to decide if it is worth loving our gods, or loving Christ

C. The Answer To Hopelessness-Jesus Christ V. 26

1. Their question: who can be saved?
2. Jesus’ answer: By God’s work in a human heart, anyone can be saved
3. The empty moral man can be filled
4. The man who loves “stuff”, can change, grow, and love God supremely
5. The answer is found in verse 14: we must become as a little child

Attaining eternal life through man’s efforts is impossible.

  • God’s standard is perfection, both outwardly and inwardly.
  • This young man looked good on the outside, but was guilty on the inside.

The answer to their question is found in the opening portion of this passage.

  • Verse 14 tells us that we must come to Jesus as children.
  • Dependent, helpless, trusting, hopeful, believing.

Another question might be this: how can I change and become like a little child?

  • How can I make the shift from self-sufficiency to dependence upon God
  • From self promotion to brokenness?
  • From loving things to loving God?
  • I can change my behavior, but how can I change myself inwardly?

Once again, Jesus gives us the answer:

  • It is impossible with man, but all things are possible with God.