Trust In Jesus As Your Savior
Matthew 19:16 “And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?”
On the surface, it appears that this rich young ruler was “right on” in the way he approached Jesus and sought salvation. He ran, kneeled down to Jesus, and openly professed Him as a Good Master. What could be wrong with that?
First, he acknowledged Jesus as good but not as God. This is a pivotal point.
Every major religion of the world acknowledges that Jesus lived and will even admit that He definitely was a good man, but they won’t recognize Him as God. If Jesus was only a good man, He couldn’t save anybody. Jesus didn’t just come to show us the way to God. He was the way, the only way unto the Father.
No man could come unto the Father, but by Him, John 14:6. Jesus had made this point publicly many times before. This is the reason that Jesus responded to this young man’s question the way He did. Jesus was saying, “God is the only one who is good. You must accept me as God or not at all.” Jesus was either who He claimed to be or He was the biggest fraud that ever lived. He has to be one or the other. He cannot be both.
Second, he asked what he could do to produce salvation. He trusted in himself and believed he could accomplish whatever good work Jesus might request. This is completely opposed to the plan of salvation that Jesus came to bring.
Jesus obtained salvation for us through His substitution and He offers it to us as a free gift. All we must do is believe and receive. This rich young ruler wasn’t looking for a Savior. He was trying to be his own savior. This is the reason Jesus referred him back to the commandments. He either needed to keep all of the law perfectly or he needed a Savior. Jesus desired to turn this man from trusting in himself by showing him God’s perfect standard, which no one could keep, so that then he would trust in a Savior.
Luke 17:18 “There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.”
Relatively few people who receive the goodness of the Lord return to give Him thanks for what He has done. That does not keep the Lord from doing what is right for us. He healed all ten of these lepers according to their request – not just the one who was thankful. However, there was only one out of the ten that was made “whole.”
The Lord desires that we prosper in spirit, soul, and body. He wants us to be whole – not just healed. Part of the reason God meets our physical needs is to prove to us His willingness and ability to meet our emotional and spiritual needs. The Lord is concerned about our temporal needs, Matthew 6:30, but He is even more concerned about our eternal needs. All of these lepers needed physical healing and the Lord was moved with compassion and met their need.
He was also desiring to meet their spiritual needs, but only one out of the ten came back for that.
Being unthankful is always a sign that self is exalting itself above God. A selfless person can be content with very little. A self-centered person cannot be satisfied. Thankfulness is a sign of humility and cultivating a life of thankfulness will help keep “self” in its proper place.
Thankfulness to the Lord for what He is and what He has done is a very important part of the Christian life. One of the many benefits of thanksgiving and praise is that they keep us from being “self” oriented.
Giving thanks is a totally unselfish action and is a key to relationship with the Father that makes us “whole” and not just “healed.”
Walk In The Light
John 11:9 “Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.”
Jesus compares His decision to return to Judaea to a man traveling during the day. Daytime travel doesn’t guarantee a hazard-free trip but the light does allow us to see the hazards. At nighttime, it’s inevitable that we will stumble. Likewise, walking in the light of God’s direction doesn’t mean that there won’t be problems, but the alternative of “doing our own thing” (that is walking in darkness) is guaranteed to get us into trouble.
Jesus was obeying the leading of His Father to return to Judaea. He could see exactly what was going to take place and He was going to walk in the light that His Father had given Him. Our decisions should not be based on whether or not we will be hurt in some way as a result of our actions, but we must discern God’s will and do it regardless of the cost.
The misconception that, “if God is in it, there will be no problems” is not only wrong, but is dangerous. This kind of thinking has caused many people to “back off” from what God has told them to do when things don’t go the way they expected. Our problems do not come from God, therefore, we should not pray for problems and not embrace them as being “a blessing from God in disguise.” Furthermore, when trials come, we should not be shocked, 1 Peter 4:12, and not let problems or the lack thereof confirm or deny God’s will for us.
Jesus died for each one of us. Each one of us ought to live for Him. Offering ourselves to God is not just a one-time deal. We have to die daily to our own desires. This has to be a living, ongoing commitment to the Lord.
The Cost Of Discipleship
Luke 14:28 “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?”
The parable of the man building a tower is a continuation of the teaching regarding what it takes to be a disciple of Jesus. This parable stresses commitment. “Jailhouse religion,” where a person is only sorry he got caught and is trying to get out of a bad situation, will not produce true discipleship. It takes a forsaking of all to be Jesus’ disciple. Jesus is simply saying, “count the cost.”
Jesus’ teaching on discipleship emphasizes commitment. Just as a king wouldn’t engage in war without thoroughly considering all the possible outcomes, so no one should attempt to become a disciple of Jesus without counting the cost. It would be better not to start following Jesus than to start and then turn back.
When a person first comes to Jesus, it is impossible to know everything that following Jesus might entail. No one, however, should be fearful of making a total commitment because of some imagined problem that may never come to pass. There should be a willingness to forsake everything to follow Jesus.
Once we make that decision, then Christ begins to live through us, Galatians 2:20, and we find a strength that is not our own, equal to whatever test we may encounter.
God’s Great Love For Us
John 10:25 “Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.”
There were many ways in which Jesus already revealed who He was. His miraculous works certainly revealed who He was. Jesus had also clearly revealed that He was the Christ, both in the synagogue at His hometown of Nazareth, and when speaking to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well.
Jesus, in His pre-existent state, was in the form of God. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”, John 1:1.
Jesus was God, manifest in the flesh, 1 Timothy 3:16. However, Jesus did not demand or cling to His rights as God, but laid aside His Divine rights and privileges in order to take the form of a servant and be made in the likeness of men. He further humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the Father, even to the point of death.
This was the supreme sacrifice that identified Jesus totally with humanity and enabled God to redeem mankind. By dying a criminal’s death upon the cross, Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy in Deuteronomy 21:23 and bore our curse in His own body. This redeemed us from that curse and opened wide God’s blessing of justification through faith in Christ and the promise of His Holy Spirit, Galatians 3:13-14.
Jesus left His state of being recognized and worshipped by all the hosts of heaven as the Supreme God to become a man who was despised and rejected. The Creator became the creation; the Lord became the servant; the Highest became the lowest. All of this was done because of God’s great love for us.
Blessed To Be A Blessing
Luke 16:1 “And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.”
The unjust steward was covetous. He had not been faithful to his master or to his master’s debtors. He had wasted his master’s goods on himself. When found out, his self-serving nature considered the options, and decided there had to be a change. He decided to use his lord’s money to make friends so that when he was fired he would have someone to help him.
His master was apparently wealthy enough that he didn’t take offense at the steward’s discounting of the debts owed to him, but rather he commended the steward. He didn’t commend his dishonest ways, but he was commending the fact that he had finally used his lord’s money to plan for the future instead of wasting it on himself. Although the steward was motivated by what he would ultimately gain, there was prudence in his actions. This was lacking before.
In this sense, the children of this world (lost men) are wiser than the children of light (born again men) because they plan for the temporal future.
Jesus is telling us to use money (the unrighteous mammon) to make to ourselves friends that would receive us into “everlasting” habitations. The use of the word “everlasting” denotes that Jesus is now talking about our eternal future. The people who have been saved and blessed by our investments in the kingdom of God will literally receive us into our everlasting home when we pass on to be with the Lord.
Our material possessions have been given to us by God so that we are actually stewards of His resources. The Lord gave us this wealth to establish His covenant on this earth – not so that we could consume it upon our own lusts. You have been blessed to be a blessing!