Songs and Praise
   

 
 
 

Less 182 THE RICH YOUNG RULER

 
Mark 10:17-31;

Lesson 182 Senior Lessons

MEMORY VERSE:  "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1 John 2:15).

I The Momentous Question

The rich young ruler came running to Jesus to inquire about eternal life, Mark 10:17, 18; Matthew 19:16; Luke 18:18; John 6:28, 2g; Acts 16:30, 3 Jesus answered the ruler by referring him to the Commandments, Mark 10:19; Deuteronomy 32:46, 47; Proverbs 19:23; Ezekiel 20:11 The young ruler felt that he had kept these Commandments from his youth, Mark 10:20; Isaiah 58:1, 2; Ezekiel 33:31, 32

II The Price of Eternal Life

Jesus loved this young man and showed him the way to Heaven, Mark 10:21; Proverbs 23:23; Acts 2:45; 4:34-37; James 2:10;  I John 4:10 The young man departed, grieved, when he learned the price of eternal life, Mark 10:22; Psalm 62:10; Proverbs 11:4, 28; 23:5; II Corinthians 7:10

III The Peril of Riches

Jesus stated that it is hard for a rich man to enter Heaven, Mark 10:23-25; Psalm 49:6-8; Proverbs 18:11; Jeremiah 9:23; Zephaniah 1:18; I Timothy 6:17 The disciples were astonished at Jesus' words, Mark 10:26; Isaiah 59:1, 2; Jeremiah 13:23 Those things that are impossible with men are possible with God, Mark 10:27; Numbers 11:23; II Kings 7:2, 18; Job 42:2; Hebrews 7:25 The disciples who leave all for Jesus have the promise of a bountiful reward, Mark 10:28-31; Deuteronomy 33:9-11; Psalm 84:11; Proverbs 3:9, 10; 16:16; Malachi 3:10; I Timothy 6:6; I John 3:1

NOTES

The Earnest Seeker

The young man in this lesson was a serious seeker for the way that leads to eternal life. He came running to our Lord, not in hypocrisy, but in deep earnestness of soul. He did not lack in regard for Jesus, for he kneeled before the Savior; nor did he lack in regard for the Word of God, for he said that he had kept from his youth all the Commandments that Jesus enumerated. It is possible that he kept these Commandments in a literal sense, but it is apparent that he did not keep them in the spiritual sense. Had he done so, Jesus would not have found it necessary to add the next saying: 'One thing thou lackest.'


Jesus, who knows the hearts of all men, could see a monstrous disease in the heart of this young man and knew that it would take a powerful remedy to cure. Sin is a monstrous disease; and even though there be only one sin in the heart, the Blood of Jesus Christ must be applied to the heart and that sin washed away. According to the Word of God, 'one thing' lacking will keep a soul out of the Kingdom of Heaven for all eter¬nity. How careful must be the walk of those who name the name of Christ and expect to enter Heaven at the end of life on this earth.

Wealth and Youth

The question that this young man asked: 'What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?' shows the unusual disposition that he had. The Scriptures declare that he had great possessions; and rich people too often feel that it is beneath their position in life to concern themselves about the next world. They are too much occupied in taking care of their perishing possessions to think of the future abode of their souls. It was different with this rich man. No doubt he had wondered many times about the future after the grave. He believed in eternal life; but that silent monitor, that conscience in his heart, kept telling him that something more than he was doing was needed to insure eternal life. He realized the truth, that it is necessary to prepare for eternal life here and now, and not to wait until after death to be concerned about the matter, for that would be too late. In whatever condition of righteousness or sin a man leaves this world, in such a state will he awaken on eternity's shores. 'In the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be' (Ecclesiastes 11:3).


Another commendable thing about this inquirer was that he came while he was still young. How many young people have gone into eternity unprepared to meet God because they believed there was plenty of time in the future in which to seek God. Satan wants nothing better than to have the young people delay seeking God. The years of sin will put scars upon the memory of people that will never be removed, even though the sins are repented of and the guilt is taken away, through the Blood of the slain Lamb. How much more glorious to come to Christ in the glowing springtime of life, and stay with Him throughout all of life, no matter what the cost may be! This man had both wealth and youth, but his testi¬mony was that it did not satisfy. If he had been satisfied, he would not have come running to the Lord to inquire about the way to eternal life.

Importance of the Word

In answer to the question that the young man asked, Jesus referred him to the Word of God: 'Thou knowest the commandments.' In other words, if a man obeys all that he absolutely knows of the Word of God, if he walks in all the light that falls across his pathway, he will have eternal life. Can any person do this in his own strength? It takes a new heart, a born-again experience, to enable a man to walk and live with God. 'If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin' (I John 1:7).

The Rich Man in Need

Jesus loved this young ruler — He loved him so well that He told him the truth, just as He has given the Truth to all men. 'Ye shall knew the truth, and the truth shall make you free' (John 8:32). When Jesus told the young man: 'Go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast,' He was not necessarily placing a ban upon rich people's going to Heaven. Jesus was pointing out the thing that this man lacked — faith in Jesus as the Messiah, and a complete surrender of his will to God.


The young ruler readily admitted that Jesus was a Good Master, but did his faith go any farther? Jesus answered: 'Why tallest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God' (Mark 10:18). Jesus wanted to impress upon the young man and the others about him that 'every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights' (James 1:17). Jesus is good and perfect, which is proof positive that He came from the Father in Heaven. This being the case, it was the duty of this young man — and all others who come in contact with the Son of God — to take up the cross and follow Him. If there is anything in a life that would hinder this pursuit of eternal life, Jesus showed that it must be disposed of and put out of the way.

The Necessity of Faith

The thing that Jesus was reaching for in the life of the rich young ruler was not restricted to his physical life alone. It is God's desire that all men have faith in Him and trust Him for everything needed ih life and eternity. But how hard it is for people really to yield their lives to God and give up their so-called independence toward Him. All that a man has in life comes directly from God, whether the man gives God the glory or not. The Psalmist wrote: 'Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening. . . . That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good. Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust' (Psalm 104:23, 28, 29).


'Without faith it is impossible to please him' (Hebrews 11:6). 'Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you' (Matthew 6:31-33). The young ruler had no faith of the kind for which Jesus was looking. He was not willing to do the thing that would bring that 'pearl of great price' into his life.

No Blessing

'Sell whatsoever thou hast.' These words show the absolute insufficiency of any worldly goods, howsoever many they may be or how great their value, toward obtaining eternal life. The riches of this tem-poral world are not solvent in Heaven and have no purchasing power there. Jesus said: 'What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?' (Matthew 16:26). Had the rich young ruler been willing to sell all and follow the Lord, it would have revealed a love for God more clearly than anything else ever could have.


The very fact that this young man went away grieved convinces all that he loved his possessions more than he loved God. The first commandment is: 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me' (Exodus 20:3). This man had made his money his idol and would not part with it. A man need not have great possessions to fall into the same error. 'The love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows'


(I Timothy 6:10). 'He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase' (Ecclesiastes 5:10). Solomon sought most of his life for the supreme good which would enable men to enjoy life in this present world, and he came to one conclusion: 'Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man' (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

Reward of Reasonable Service

The Lord desires only our reasonable service; but, as has been aptly said, that reasonable service includes the whole man — his life, ambitions, hopes, plans, and heartfelt service to the King. The price may seem great in the eyes of mortals; but, remember, this is not a question of temporal values. This young man was figuring in eternal values, and so must every other man figure in eternal values who expects to enter Heaven as his eternal Home. The ruler had the price with which to pay, but he went away grieved. He was not willing to pay the price that Jesus asked.
For every condition that a man is asked or required to meet in order to obtain salvation and eternal life, the Lord has given a promise that surpasses by far the cost of that requirement. 'Sell whatsoever thou hast .. . and thou shalt have treasure in heaven.' There are no riches of earth that can for one moment be compared with the riches of Heaven. There are no honors in this life that can for a single instant be compared with that glory which is to be revealed in the saints in eternity. Can anyone name any pleasure of time that can be balanced with the joys that are to be found at God's right hand? There are none. With such bright and glorious prospects before him, what manner of person ought the Christian to be in all holy living and conversation?

The Cross

One more condition to this young man's salvation, besides selling all, had to be considered. The Lord said to him: 'Come, take up the cross, and follow me.' Herein lay the young ruler's salvation. He could have sold all and still not gained eternal life, if he had not been willing to follow Jesus. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians in that remarkable chapter on the pre-eminence of Love: 'Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing' ( I Corinthians 13:3).


There are some people who would be willing to give large sums of money if that would insure eternal life, but they are not willing to be known as the follower of the meek and lowly Nazarene. They prefer to retain their pride and the so-called respect of men. Jesus said: 'Woe unto you, when ail men shall speak well of you!' (Luke 6:26). There is a cross to be borne in this world by every Christian, but there is a crown to be worn in eternity by those who will bear their cross. Jesus said, in regard to that cross: 'My yoke is easy, and my burden is light' (Matthew 11:30). That testimony is much more pleasant than any given by those who serve the world and sin.

QUESTIONS

1 What question did the rich young ruler ask of Jesus?
2 Does that question interest us today?
3 Was the rich young ruler sincere, or did he ask the question to tempt Jesus?
4 How did Jesus answer the rich young ruler?
5 When the rich young ruler told Jesus he had kept the Commandments from his youth, what did Jesus tell him to do further?
6 Did Jesus' second reply make the ruler happy or sad? Why?
7 Why were Jesus' disciples astonished?
8 How did Jesus reassure His disciples that there is nothing too hard for God?

 
   
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