I need to point out Jesus didn’t issue a universal statement for everyone to sell everything and give it to the poor to have eternal life. Aren’t you glad, but what if he did? Could we do it? There’s the issue of One more thing. What is my and your one more thing? What is my and your barrier we need to deal with before we can follow him and have eternal life?

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE CHAPTER 18

Eternal Life One More Thing (Luke 18:18-30)

By Pastor Delbert Young

Audio

Eternal Life One More Thing Luke 18:18-30

Scriptures: Luke 18:18-19, Luke 18:20-21, Luke 18:22, Luke 18:23, Luke 18:24-25, Luke 18:26-27, Luke 18:28-30

What barrier in our life is stopping us from experiencing the relationship with Jesus we know He wants to have with us? What is it that could possibly stand in the way of our eternal life? Jesus makes it clear how there could be something(s) that could cause us to walk away from eternal life in this hard saying.

Luke 18:18-19 A CERTAIN RULER asked him, “Good teacher, WHAT MUST I DO TO INHERIT ETERNAL LIFE?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good — except God alone.

We know much about this certain ruler. Matthew chapter 19 and Mark chapter 10 also tell us about him. He seemed to be sincere as he came to Jesus. Mark said he humbled himself in public by running and falling at the feet of Jesus. He was young (Mat 19:20).  He was the ruler of the synagogue (we’d say a senior pastor). He was a leader. He was very religious. He was moral. He already had great wealth (Luk 18:23). He was respected. He was influential. He had prestige. He was somewhat of a celebrity in town. He was successful. He had it all. He had the good life.

When people say of others, “They are living the good life,” what are they saying? It could be the person makes good money, has a good family, and has a good loving relationship, good house, and all the good things we think make the “good life.” It’s usually compared to what the person making the statement doesn’t have. For the most part we think others live “the good life,” but the “good life” is an unattainable mirage for us. It’s something someone else has, but not me.

This ruler asked a most pungent question: What must I do to inherit eternal life? He was a Jew and was taught as an ancestor of Abraham in the Jewish lineage he would inherit eternal life, but was obviously struggling as something was missing in his life though he seemed to have it all and living the good life. This is much like people today are told and taught they have eternal life because they prayed a prayer once, but know something is missing.

He was a very good religious person living the good life and doing good things. One would think he’d be good to go into eternal life. Yet, he knew he wasn’t. What was the next good thing he could do to insure his eternal life? This is much how people think today. If we’re religious, go to church, if we live a good life, and if we do good things, we should be good enough for eternal life, right? I mean good people go to heaven because they do good things and bad people go to hell if they do bad things, well if they do very bad things. Eternal life is a reward for being good while on earth, right? No, and Jesus never insinuated this. In fact Jesus told him it’s impossible for him to be good enough.

He knew he needed eternal life. He’d come to a place in life where the question of eternal life burned in his heart. Most of you know this “place” and asked this same question: What must I do to inherit eternal life? The word for eternal life is – zoe absolute fullness of life which belongs to God. It’s a life of being eternal like God. He’d acquired the good life, but wasn’t fulfilled because he didn’t have eternal life. He had religion, but not salvation. He was good, but not good enough. He was successful, but not eternal like God – zoe.

What do people mean when they say eternal life? Don’t they usually mean “go to heaven”? Somehow people know there is more to life than “this” and what we now experience. Something inside of us refuses to believe “this” life is it and after “this” life we just become dirt. God placed a quest within us. It’s universal. He knows nothing in “this” life will satisfy and fulfill us. We scrounge around in “this” life searching everywhere trying every way to make “this” life fulfilling and satisfying only to find there are weeds in every garden. Nothing satisfies the quest inside. Nothing can. God sees to it nothing will ever satisfy us. He will not allow this planet to be our home. If we could make “this” life work to fulfill we’d homestead here, but no one ever does. Eventually we come to the place of questing for zoe life.

He addressed and saw Jesus as “Good teacher.” Many people today see Jesus as good and will end up exactly as this ruler. Jesus said don’t call me good unless you believe I’m God for only God is good. Jesus didn’t say he wasn’t good or wasn’t God. He means if he is good then he is God. Jesus isn’t the best among us. Jesus is God among us. Why did Jesus make a big deal out of something seemingly so small? We have no idea of what “good” is. We all must learn if we want the good life we must have God. If you’re looking for eternal life look to God alone. What did Jesus tell the ruler?

Luke 18:20-21 You KNOW the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'” “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.

Jesus laid out #7, #6, #8, and #9 of the Ten Commandments. I thought I was saved by grace and not by works (Eph 2:8). I thought Jesus fulfilled the Law of Moses. I thought Jesus said you heard in times past to keep the commandments, but I say… (Mat 5:22, 28, 32, 39, 44). Why did Jesus tell him to keep the commandments? That’s not what he said. He said, “You know the commandments”? Those were the terms the ruler understood. It was a loaded response proving Jesus’ point. A person can attempt to keep the commandments all their life and think they’ve done well doing it, but know they do not have eternal life. “Doing” will never satisfy the quest for zoe within our hearts. If doing the law would satisfy then when Jesus said here’s a list for you, the ruler would have said, “Great! I’m good. See ya later.” Instead he pushed back and said no, no. I’ve done the list but zoe is not in my heart. There must to be more. What is it? I can hear Jesus asking, “You really want to know? Ok.” Do we want to know?

Luke 18:22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “YOU STILL LACK ONE THING. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and YOU WILL HAVE TREASURE IN HEAVEN. THEN come, follow me.”

“Do what? You’re kidding me, right? I’ve got a good life here.” Actually this is the same thing Jesus had always said, but now placed into reality. “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me… (Luk 9:23) What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? (Mat 16:26). He wasn’t singling out the ruler to do something extraordinary.

I need to point out Jesus didn’t issue a universal statement for everyone to sell everything and give it to the poor to have eternal life. Aren’t you glad, but what if he did? Could we do it? There’s the issue of “One more thing…” What is my and your “one more thing”? What is my and your barrier we need to deal with before we can follow him and have eternal life?

He needed to deal with one more thing – his idol. For him it was his great wealth. Until his idol was addressed he would never follow Jesus nor inherit eternal life. Jesus would be his greatest treasure or his great wealth, good life, and success would be his greatest treasure. His treasure would be laid up in heaven and allow him to have zoe life by dealing with his barrier, or his treasure would be stored up on earth and be the barrier stopping him having eternal zoe life. What the ruler lacked was dealing with his idol/barrier. It’s not about keeping the commandments. It’s dealing with the barrier.

Jesus looks directly at you and me today and says, “One more thing.” What is your barrier? For most of us it’s probably not our great wealth, but it’s something? What one thing is your greatest barrier hindering you from selling out, following Jesus, and possibly having the good eternal life – zoe God life the way you know you should? What one thing do you lack? What one thing is your greatest barrier stopping Jesus from being your greatest treasure? What is your idol barrier?

Luke 18:23 When he heard this, he became VERY SAD, because he was a man of GREAT WEALTH.

The words of Jesus didn’t only cause him to become very sad. Words of Jesus intentionally cause us to be very sad. This certain ruler, this good person, would refuse to exchange his great wealth for eternal life. These are upsetting words. Jesus’ words exposed and touched a raw nerve in the ruler and in us. We learn we have limitations to what we are willing to exchange to gain eternal life. We gain the world, but forfeit our soul. What is your limitation? It’s your barrier and idol. It’s far easier to attempt to keep all the rules and be good than remove the idol barrier. Obviously the ruler had not actually kept all the rules. He skipped the first commandment – Thou shall have no other gods before me. He’d also skipped the second commandment – You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything. When Jesus pointed it out he became very sad.

Luke 18:24-25 JESUS LOOKED AT HIM and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

We’re reading a story which took place two thousand years ago, but it’s as fresh as this moment. What is more difficult for me to give up than for a camel to get through the eye of a needle? Can you visualize this moment? Can you feel this? Can you feel Jesus looking into your eyes and saying to you your idol barrier has the potential to stop you from entering the kingdom of God?

You may say, “I don’t have an idol.” Don’t you think this is exactly what the ruler said? We never know we have an idol until Jesus looks us in the eyes, points it out, and tells us to get rid of it. That’s when we become very sad.

Jesus used a hyperbole – purposeful exaggeration – of a camel attempting to go through the eye of a needle. What an amazing image. Perhaps you’ve heard it taught there was a gate in the wall around Jerusalem called “The Eye of the Needle Gate.” There was no such gate. I’ve heard it said Jesus was making a funny. I would agree except Jesus looked at him and said… eido {i’-do} – to turn the eyes, the mind, the attention to. Jesus wasn’t joking. Jesus doesn’t make funnies concerning eternal life. No one was laughing as the following verses show.

Luke 18:26-27 Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus replied, “What is IMPOSSIBLE WITH MEN is possible with God.”

What does this mean? I know some rich people who are saved. Everyone here when compared to the world’s standard is rich. You’re rich. Are you saved? Jesus’ camel statement freaked out those who heard this. They weren’t laughing. In their minds a person was wealthy because they were blessed by God and had eternal life. So it’s impossible for a person of great wealth to be saved, right? That’s not what Jesus said. He said it’s impossible with men. The rich cannot give enough money (philanthropist). No one can do enough good things to be saved. It’s impossible with men – all men, but possible with God.

It’s not the money. It’s the love of it (1Ti 6:10; Heb 13:5). It’s not money. It’s when it, or anything, becomes a barrier/idol. Jesus told Nicodemus he must be born again to see the kingdom (John 3:3). Nicodemus said he couldn’t go back into his mother’s womb a second time (3:4). Jesus said exactly! It’s impossible. “No one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.” It’s a spiritual thing. Anyone can experience eternal life, but they must deal with the barrier.

Peter said we did this. We left everything to follow you.

Luke 18:28-30 Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “NO ONE who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive MANY TIMES as much in THIS AGE and, in the AGE TO COME, eternal life.”

The barrier is the key. Jesus said I know you did Peter and this is exactly what I’m talking about. You will be rewarded not only now in this age (Judaist), but in the next age (church). You’ll be there because you’re eternal – zoe life. When we follow Jesus we will have the good life now in this present age and, in the age to come, eternal life. When we deal with the barrier we receive all the good things of life now. We experience the good life in the tangible realm and eternal life in the spiritual realm. How many of us know this is very true? I testify to it. Never, not one time have I ever dealt with a barrier to follow Jesus when good things didn’t return to me many times more.

The rich certain ruler left very sad. He had limits to what he would exchange for eternal life. He refused to deal with his one more thing. He was so close. He was a good person seemingly with the good life doing good things, but forfeited his own soul. How about you? How about me? What is our barrier? What in our lives seems as impossible to deal with as a camel getting through the eye of a needle? It’s impossible for you, but possible with God. Allow God to help you because God is good alone. What is our ONE MORE THING?

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