Sermon Follow Up - Week 22, 2021
Reward motivates us to act and there's something very right about letting the reward of eternal life motivate us toward a more sincere obedience to and greater love for Jesus Christ. We are drawn away to love the pleasures and treasures of this life if we do not let the wealth and abundance that Jesus offers those who follow him to truly excite and astound us.
The Sermon Text
18And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” 21 And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For 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.” 26 Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27 But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” 28 And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.” 29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.” And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. 33 And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” 34 But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.
The Main Point of the Sermon
If you follow Jesus, he will reward you with eternal life.
Sermon Points, Quotes, and Application
- What must I do? (the requirement of following, v. 18-23)
The answer has been repeated throughout Luke and specifically here at the end of verse 22. Come, Follow Me.
You want eternal life? Well, one thing you still lack Mr. Ruler. You lack a love for God that exceeds your love for your money.
What must we do to inherit eternal life? Partly, we must trust that the eternal life Jesus offers as a precious reward for following him is WORLDS better than any amount of money or any level of ability to buy and have and keep money or possessions. That incessant desire to have more or to keep as much as you do have at all costs… it might consume your life to the point where you never see the glory of the reward of an eternity with Jesus.
- Who can be saved? (the grace and power of God in salvation, v. 23-27)
Anyone being brought into God’s kingdom by faith is a pure miracle of God’s power and grace and no one else’s! The people listening are driven to despair by what Jesus is saying, they’re thinking “well where’s the hope for me?” To which Jesus responds… your hope is in God’s ability to save. That’s our hope isn’t it? All my hope is in the power and mercy of God who is able to save me from sin and death.
- What’s the payoff? (the reward for following, v. 28-30)
Every amount of money you give for the advance of the gospel that you could have used otherwise will be worth it. The loss of someone breaking ties with you for trying to bring the gospel to them or who rejects you for trusting in Christ will be worth it. Every time you fumble through sharing the gospel with someone and they DO look at you sideways… reward is waiting for you for that step of faithfulness and a measure of suffering. Every investment of time into your children to help them grasp the love of Christ when you could have been doing something else will be worth it. God sees and is poised to bless you. Every time you have to make a tough decision to maintain your integrity will be worth it. How will it be worth it? Because out of his abundance of grace God (not as payment but as a gift), he will grant you eternal life for having persevered to the end. It will be worth it because you will gain eternal life!
- How can this be? (the good news of the cross, v. 31-34)
Were it not for Jesus going to the cross in Jerusalem we would have no hope. Were it not for him being spit upon… shamefully treated… mocked.. flogged.. and killed we’d stand here in this room counting down the moments until God destroys us for our sin and rebellion against him. But now, we take two symbols of this dark and tragic moment in our hands for the Lord's Supper. Jesus’ body was torn open and his heart bled dry. We don’t take the cup and bread to be saved …. But we take it because it is a visual message to us… here’s what it says…"Take Jesus' body which was fashioned in his mother’s womb with the specific purpose that he would walk among us and then be killed for you.. and also, …take his blood which was poured out to forgive you of your sins. He wants us to live with him forever to the praise of his glory and he went to THIS length to make sure it happens… and we rejoice in that. We say Jesus thank you, my life is yours if It means eternal life with you."
We’ve been conditioned a little bit to not want something too much in case it rules us…. This is an area to let your desire run wild because Jesus is laying eternal life with him out there as something we should want very very very much. "You want to know whether or not following me is worth it, I’ve got something for you"...He doesn’t say financial prosperity here… that’s cheap… Jesus has something better than that short-sighted counterfeit… how does eternal life sound to you? Ask yourself that… How does eternal life sound to you? How about a place without death? No aches and pains? Seeing Jesus face to face in a perfect world that is just radiantly beautiful. Evil as a thing of the past. A place where people don’t hurt each other. A place where peace reigns. As you’re in a relationship with the Triune God and you are loved beyond what you ever could have imagined.. fully accepted and rejoiced in. Where everything you enjoy becomes a part of your worship of the very one who came up with the idea of you. Pure pleasure. Not a tear in the eye of anyone there. Singing and joy without interruption. And all of that without end. We are crazy for not wanting that more! Let the reward motivate you. What’s in it for you? A whole lot more than any temporary pain in this life will cost you, says Jesus.
RESOURCES FOR THIS WEEK
"Pursue the Reward" devotional by John Piper
"Is Love Fake If Motivated by Reward?" article from DesiringGod.org
"Strangely Bright" book by Joe Rigney (please contact Cale if you're interested in a copy)
SONGS TO CONSIDER