October 17-19, 2015
Pastor Timothy J. Spaude
Text: Mark 10:17-27
“WHO THEN CAN BE SAVED?”
1. With man this is impossible (though we sometimes act like it is!)
2. With God all things are possible (though we sometimes act like it’s not)
Mark 10:17-27(NIV 1984) “As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 18"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone. 19You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.' " 20"Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy." 21Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." 22At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!" 24The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 26The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, "Who then can be saved?" 27Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."
So at our Mission Festival we were reminded of Christ’s compassion for souls. The Spirit has worked in our hearts and we too have a compassion for souls. Like Jesus we want them all saved. All of the sudden the Lord drops this opportunity in your lap. Bill Gates, the richest man in America, whose net worth is reported to be over 79 billion dollars, comes to you with a question. “What must I do to be saved?” He is sincere. He’s had one of those scares, like Martin Luther did, that made him think about meeting his maker. What would you do to help him? Remember this is a man who has been very successful, he’s used to making decisions, doing things his way and being right. He’s tried to accomplish good for people with his foundation. What do you say?
Now while my little scenario is made up God’s word points us to one that really did happen. Jesus is walking on His way. A young man runs up to him and falls at his knees. From what we know of him he is the type of son every mother would love to have. He is humble and respectful. He tries really hard to do everything right. He has been successful in earthly terms. He has amassed great wealth. His question, "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" He calls Jesus good. Right away Jesus sets the stage to help the man. "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone.” He needs to see Jesus as God and Savior, not man and teacher. Back to his question. “What must I do to be saved?” Well if you want to be able to do it…”You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.” Now you and I know the real meanings of all those commandments. Right there our faces would fall. But this young man did not have the blessing we have. He hadn’t been taught correctly. He responds. "Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy." I don’t think we have to call this man’s sincerity into question. He had been taught an outward keeping of the law was good enough. But he was wrong. “Jesus looked at him and loved him.” There’s that compassion of Christ. He wants this man saved. For that to happen he would need to know he needed to be saved. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." There you have it. If you want to do something to earn heaven, if you want to earn and be deserving of God’s love and blessings being good isn’t good enough. You have to be perfect. And this young man was not. “At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.”
But he’s not the only one with that problem. “Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!" 24The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." Kind of sounds like Jesus is picking on the wealthy. Money is a thing. It can be a blessing from God. Whatever God gives as a blessing the Devil tries to turn into a curse. The more you have the harder it is to truly rely on God and see yourself as totally God dependent. The more you have the harder it is to give it all up. The less you have the more obvious it is that you are God dependent. It’s easier to give up a little. The Bible does tell us of someone who gave all she had, a widow who offered her one little mite. Could Bill Gates give up everything? Could you? The disciples of Jesus who had left their previous professions to follow Jesus understood his point that no one can perfectly love God and neighbor. You can tell from their response. “The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, "Who then can be saved?" And Jesus responded. "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."
Who can be saved? With man this is impossible even though sometimes we act like it is. We do that that with all the different ways we give into the Devil’s urgings that we are somehow in control of this process. For example are we regular church goers better than those who don’t go? Well it’s true that we are better off, but that doesn’t make us better. You ask a Christian why they believe they will go to heaven and they answer, “Because I believe that Jesus is my Savior.” Now it’s true that the gift of salvation is received through faith but I didn’t do that and neither did you. Or how about those times when you really want something? Maybe it’s to get that job or for your team to win or kids some toy or game you want and you find yourself trying really hard to do what’s right so that God is more likely to help you get that job or through that surgery. Then there’s the other side. When something bad happens, an accident or disease, or you don’t get that job you wanted and you think well that’s because I did this sin or that. We’re acting like it’s possible to be deserving of God’s love to earn His favor. And it’s not. With man this is impossible.
But not with God. With God all things are possible, even though sometimes we act like they’re not! Let’s start with what’s most important. Who then can be saved? By myself I cannot and neither can you. With God I am and so are you. Because what is impossible for man God already did. This young man came to the right person, Jesus, with the wrong question, “What can I do?” The right answer is to look at what Jesus did. Live perfectly, never sin, God’s law demands. Good isn’t good enough. Only perfect will do. Jesus was. For 33 years as our substitute He successfully resisted every temptation that came His way. He perfectly obeyed. And He has given His perfect obedience to you. While the widow of widow’s mite fame gave all the money she had, Jesus gave more than money. He gave Himself. Not with gold or silver but with His holy precious blood and His innocent sufferings and death. He did the impossible and paid for every single sin.
With God all things are possible even though we sometimes act as though they are not. You are saved. Remember that when shame of sin rolls over you and the Devil is tempting you to believe that Jesus came for everyone but you. Remember that when you face death and your firm belief that heaven is yours through Jesus that you have when you are young and healthy is leaning to “I hope so.” With God all things are possible. Whatever your problem, whatever your worry for every chicken little sky is falling situation you face hold on to God’s truth that nothing is impossible with God. He’s doing miracles all the time and perhaps the greatest of these is this. Chief of sinners though I be Jesus shed his blood for me. And you too! Who then can be saved? We are! Amen.