My Sermon Recap: "Love's Greatest Hits" Week Two
“You can’t buy me love”
All people are religious, which means they think they can justify themselves in one of three ways:
1) Loosely religious people assume they are living a good enough life so that no spiritual devotion or extra effort is required on their behalf for God to be pleased with them when they stand before him at the end of this life.
2) Secular religious people work very hard at some social cause because they think that they are good people and need to overcome the evil of bad people who are ruining the world.
3) Devoutly religious people work very hard at keeping the rules of a particular religion in an effort to justify themselves as good and obedient people in the sight of God.”
Religion, in any of these forms, is utterly bankrupt and totally dependent upon our behavior.
Jesus explained this to the rich young ruler in His day.
“As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall 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, I have kept all these things from my youth up.”
Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.” (Mark 10:17-22)
Jesus told him to keep the commandments and the rich young ruler said he had kept the commandments since he was a child. Evidently he was good at the do’s and don’ts. He was religious.
But then he asks a question (Matthew) that reveals that something was still missing in his life: “What do I still lack?”
On paper, it seems like this guy has it all. He wasn’t just rich. Scripture says he had great wealth. And he was young. But I think this story is a great reminder that no matter how wealthy you are, no amount of money can offset relational or emotional or spiritual poverty. Money doesn’t solve relational vacuums. Money doesn’t buy you happiness or love. And money doesn’t earn you peace of mind.
The rich young ruler was a good man. He knew the law, and he strived to obey it, just as any devoutly religious person would. When Jesus looked at him, he felt love for him because he knew this man lacked what all people lack: one thing.
The rich young ruler was wealthy and he was willing to do whatever was required of him to secure eternal life, except one thing, and it was that one thing that separated him from God.
The Apostle Paul said in Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.
I believe one of the reasons the ruler went away saddened and grieving was because he knew by Jesus request that he only could never do enough. He had done so much already and still he fell short.
Just like the young ruler, we may be willing to do anything for God, but for all of us there is one thing we won’t do. There is always something that is too much, too far out of our comfort zone, too sacrificial for us.
We all lack one thing, and it is that one thing that condemns us. The thing we lack is the thing that separates us from God. It is the thing that will always separate us from God.
The one thing we lack is a whole and healed relationship with God. And surrendering that relationship to God is the only way to have it restored.
One of the most over-used evangelisum stater questions ever is , "Do you have a relationship with Jesus/God?". Let me go on record as saying I HATE that question. It couldn't be more unbiblcal if it tried. Everyone HAS a relationship with God. It's just that most people have a broken relationship with Him. But we are all born into a relationship with God because we have been made in His image.
Being religious never, ever restores our broken relationship with God. Only Jesus who was fully God and fully man is able to restore our relationship with God.
After the encounter with the ruler, Jesus’ disciples said to him “Then who can be saved?!” Jesus replied, “with people, it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God”. (Mark 10: 26-27)
Religion, in any form, doesn’t save.
Only Jesus does.
“Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).
“That if you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
Our relationship with God is not based on doing “enough” or being religious about it. It’s about total submission and surrender.
May God show you the one thing you lack, and help us to understand that nothing else we do will ever compensate for it.
Lord, help us to understand that we are powerless to save ourselves and without hope, that we stand condemned. You, in Your mercy have taken our punishment upon Yourself.