Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at Faith, Hope & Love P34 (07-06-20)
Jesus Christ truly is our only hope. No one can live the Christian life. We were never designed to lean on our own understanding. That is how denominations start, with all its various ideas made up by men. We were designed to acknowledge Him, to have the Holy Spirit of God living in us. Yet, we were born without the Spirit of God living in us. That is why God sent His Son to rescue us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. We were without hope, without God in our lives. We could not function as God intended. We were bound up in sin and death, to forever be separated from God if we remain in the state we are in, dead spiritually.
God sent Jesus to die on a cross to take the punishment of death for us. Only He was without sin. Only He had a life to lay down. Only He could be raised from the dead, for He had no sin of His own. Only He can offer life to mankind, for only He existed eternally, with no beginning and no end. Jesus is God in the flesh. He came to solve a very practical problem of mankind. Man is dead and in need of life.
Yet, we are born with this false concept of what life is, to get whatever you can out of this life, to pick yourself up by your bootstraps, to improve upon yourself and strive to make yourself perfect, and all that without relying on God, whom you do not know. Oh, the weight and burden of that impossible task. Many have grown up knowing about the ten commandments. The more we tried to obey, the more sin-indelling flesh would deceive itself. I cannot do all of it, so I only do those things I know I can do. Or, I rebel against those demands and do what my flesh wants anyhow. Or, I strive to mutilate my flesh and beat it into submission. All of those things leave a person empty and heavy laden. Under a trained conscience, or the drawing of the Holy Spirit, you realize something is wrong with you.
Recall the words of the apostle Paul. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the law came, sin sprang to life and I died. I would not have known what sin was until he law said, “do not covet”. But sin deceived me, and I found that I coveted all the more. I found that the good I wanted to do, I did not do and the bad I did not want to that I did anyway. I found that the law is holy, just and good but there was something utterly sinful about me. Oh, what a wretched man I am. Who can rescue me from this body of death? Praise be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
So man’s only hope is to be out from under this law of sin and death that is set against sinful man, born in a condition of death. That is exactly what Jesus came to do for man, to restore man back to God. So, in order for that to happen Jesus died on a cross, so that the sins of the entire world will be remembered no more. The sentence was death. We were declared guilty. Jesus took the punishment for us. Now that sin is out of the way, Jesus was raised from the dead to offer new spiritual life to man, the same life that raised him from the dead and the same life that was once in Adam, the first created being, can be put back in man, to all those who will but receive this life by faith, as a gift from God.
So to live is Christ and to die is gain. When we live, we live by the resurrected power of Christ in us, and when we die, this body of flesh is swallowed up in victory, where we will be forever in the presence of the Lord, and will receive a new immortal body, no longer having sin-indwelling flesh, but a body like His, for we shall see Him as He is. See, eternal life, is knowing God and His Son, Jesus Christ. It is in knowing him that you receive everything you need for life and godliness. As we learn to walk by the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit is produced in us and through us. His fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control. We cannot manufacture this in the energy of our flesh. That comes from God.
It is knowing His magnificent love for you and His amazing provision for you that you learn to depend on Him, to walk by the Spirit. In Him, you have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. In Him, you have eternal life. In Him, you have His imputed righteousness. We do not live by beating our flesh into submission. No, we learn to live by faith like Jesus modeled for us. He said he did nothing on his own initiative, but he only did what his Father told him to do and how to do it and to say what his Father told him to say and how to say it. He humbled himself and did not consider equality with something to be grasped but became obedient to death, even death on a cross.
Jesus came not to be served but to serve. Jesus is God in the flesh, and God is love, and love is the fulfillment of the law. That is how you live. You live by walking in the Spirit, in dependence on God to produce in you and through you, as you allow Him to. You have become a new creation, a child of God, and He no longer deals with you and me on the basis of sin and death, but on the basis of a child of God. He counsels you and trains you and builds you up in faith, and He has promised to complete the work He began in you. So, we have hope for today and hope for tomorrow on this journey of life in Christ Jesus, under grace.
So you say, “I want life”. Is this your attitude? “If that is true, and if you are alive, and you can come make me alive, I am asking you with the most sincere heart that I know how, to come into my heart to be my Lord and Savior”. If he is not there, you are just praying to air. That would just be one more dumb thing I have done in my life, I just prayed to air. On the other hand, if what he is saying is true, then your whole life, your eternal destiny is in the hands of that decision. Am I going to remain in my death, out of Christ, or am I going to choose life through the only life available to us, and this is Christ Jesus. It is a very simple decision.
In our lesson now, chapter seven on the hope for today, we just talked about Colossians.
27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
28 He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.
The only hope you and I have is in Christ Jesus. What does that mean? Let’s say somebody in New York called me and said, “Bob, I have got this interview in New York that is just going to be a terrific opportunity to proclaim Christ Jesus”. I say, “Gee, that is fantastic”. There is only one problem. You have to be here in 5 hours. My only hope in being there in 5 hours is if I can get on an airplane. My only hope of arriving in New York in time would be to find an airplane leaving immediately and I can get on it. That will get me in New York in that time. Outside of that you would have to say, “no hope”. When we were stranded in the airport in Northern, California, with a conference at 7:00 o’clock in the evening, and we were sitting in the airport in San Jose at 6:30, there was no hope of making the meeting. The only hope would have been if we were able to be translated some way like Philip from one location to another (Acts 8:26-40). Outside of that, no hope.
When he is saying Christ is our only hope of glory, he is saying there is no hope for you. There is no way for you and me to have a relationship with the living God apart from coming alive to a living God. Folks, this is not the case of a dogma that we just like Jesus better. We like Buddha. Or we like Jesus better than Mohammad. It is the fact you are dead. It is not the fact that you like one person over the other, or you learned about one person more than you have another. That is not the issue.
The issue is what the bible states. If you are lost, you know full well you are dead. You know you are dead spiritually. That is something we all know. There is something missing. If that is the case, and you are dead spiritually, there is only one source of life available to us. God did not create the problem. He solved our problem. He did not give a bunch of sources. He did not need to. He said that there is one way for you to receive resurrected life. If you are going to be living, you are going to have to be resurrected. There is one way to do that, and that is through a resurrected life, a substitutionary death for you, taking away your sins, the cause of death, and through the resurrection, which is able to give you life.
It is not a dogmatic thing. Like we have so much on television, talking about the Christian life and ethics. That is not what this is about. What this is about is, are you dead? If you are dead, do you want life? This is not talking about joining our ethics. Those preaching that do not have any more than anyone else. The issue is there is a deep problem out there called death. Many do not approach it that way. Many approach it as, “Come get your sins forgiven. You are okay. You just need your sins forgiven. You just occasionally mess up, so you need a little forgiveness. So, you are basically okay”. That is nonsense. When you are dead, you are not okay. So people go through religious activities. What we reduced Christianity down to, which is nothing more than getting your sins forgiven and doing right and just do. But that is not the issue. The issue is, are you alive or are you dead? If you are alive, then you are going to be rejoicing in how you go to be alive. That is when you come to realize that Christ in me is my only hope of glory.
I have been in Christ for over 20 years. There is not one thing in Bob George that could stand before a pure righteous God and say, “You accept me because of how good I am”. Not a thing. I do not think I am that unique. When we realize that God sees our hearts, how can we be talking about this action when God looks on our hearts. There is nothing in us that we could present in and of ourselves to God that would make Him say, “come spend eternity with Me”. A pure, holy, living God talking to an unholy person, no way. He made me holy. He made me righteous. He made me alive. It is none of me. It is all of Him. Religion does nothing but camp on what you are doing. In so doing, never allowing people to see how dead they are. We are a bunch of corpses out there trying to act good. Just like an old corpse dressed up in a casket, with people walking by saying, “looking good”.
1 Corinthians 15:16-18
16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.
The apostle Paul, remember when he stated that without the resurrection, we are to be pitied of all people and are still dead in our sins. What a statement. Romans 5 also tells us this.
10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
Are we teaching salvation through the life of Christ or are we teaching salvation through the death of Christ? Unfortunately, I have to say most teaching is the latter rather than the former. Jesus is the door and Jesus is the gate. What is the gate to? Himself. He is the gate to life. Many times people understand the gate to mean I stand there at the cross but never go in there to the empty tomb. Being forgiven does not give you life. Life gives you life. If you have come to Christ strictly for forgiveness, you missed the entirety of the dynamic of what salvation really is. Forgiveness is one thing. Life is another thing. Paul stated it. We just talked about it. Without the resurrection, we are still in our sins. That simply means that if all you ever understood about salvation is the forgiveness at the cross, then you have missed the meaning of the resurrection and are therefore still in our sins. Why are you still in your sins? It is only in Him, we are told.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
Where is the forgiveness that was provided 2000 years ago on the cross received? In Him. It is not received there. It is received in Him. In His resurrected life is where we come to Him for life. In life or out of life. In Christ or out of Christ. We come to Him for life. It is there that we then receive redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Where is it? In Him. That is why he is saying Christ in you is your only hope of glory.
1 Peter 1:3
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
New birth is coming alive. Birth is alive. Where is the hope that we have, this living hope? Through coming alive through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Now folks, then how does all this spell itself out in human experience? Now that I am in Christ, what now?. Like the apostle says, “I do not understand what I do. The good I want to do, that I do not do and the things I hate to do, I do anyway ”. Paul says there is a reason for this and there is a solution to this.
24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
I am in Christ. Christ is in me. But I am also still in this body of mine. What he is saying to us is this. “Who will rescue me from this body of death?” His answer to that is very simple. “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ my Lord.”
25 So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
In my mind, in my body, I can be a slave to God’s law but it does not do me any good because of the sinful nature. In my flesh, I am a slave to the law of sin. I can think I am under the law, but my body does not respond to it. He is talking to the solution. The solution to this is being dead to the law. Romans 6 answers that.
10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin
Reckon yourselves dead to sin. Does it say dead to sinning? No. What does that mean to me? It does not have to master me anymore. Why? It tells us that in verse 14.
but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
What does that mean? When you are under the law, sin is your master. You have no relationship at all with grace. Until you died, my friends, to the law that kills, you will never come alive to the grace that gives life. There is the difference. You cannot be alive under the law. You do not come to life under the law. The law came to kill. Jesus came to give life. We have to reckon yourselves dead to the law that brings about death. Reckon yourself dead to sin, dead to sin and the law of sin and death.
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
You have been freed from the law of sin and death by the law of life in Christ Jesus. Now, I have to walk by faith in that. I am alive. I am in Christ. Now, the next verse tells us.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.
Here, I have got a choice. I have a mortal body with indwelling sin in it and it has evil desires in it. If you do not think that is true, you do not know yourself. I am in Christ, totally saved, and I am totally free from the law, whether I know it or not. Now, do not let sin be your master. The way you are going to not let sin be your master is to be dead to the law. That is what scripture says.
13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.
14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
You are not under the law. So do not let sin reign in your body. Do not offer parts of your body to sin. Why? You will be mastered by it if you do. You do not want sin to be your master. You are not under the law and have no need of it to be your master. So why do you allow yourself to be mastered by sin. So offer your bodies to him as instruments of righteousness.
18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.
Was there any hope of drawing near to God under the law? None. People today are still trying that. They are still trying to draw near to God through the law. We are told that the law was set aside because it could make nothing complete, and a better hope is introduced by which we draw near to God. You cannot draw near to God under the old hope of getting there under the law, under your own works. Paul said, if anyone could of done it, it would have been him.
1 Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. 2 Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. 3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh – 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence.
If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.
In regard to outward regulations to the law, he was without equal. The law cannot make you perfect. It keeps showing you your imperfections.
20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
So that former regulation of sin and death, has been set aside. It was weak and useless, we are told. Here are people gearing their whole life around something that God said was weak and useless. Why was it useless? Is it because God had a useless law? No, we have got useless humanity. As a person once said, “It was not the apple tree that was the problem but it was the pair on the ground”. We have to understand that. There is nothing wrong with the law. It so good and holy but when it flows through me, it kills me.
11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.
13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.
It is not my friend. It is my enemy. We are still holding onto that. We have whole denominations still trying to live up to the law. We have those who call themselves Christians trying to keep all the Jewish laws and the ceremonies. Have you not understood you are not underneath that anymore? It is weak and useless. It is not doing anything for you. It did not do anything for the Jews. How do you think it will do anything for you, a gentile, when He did not even give it to you?
A better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. Do you want to draw near to God? He drew near to you. Do you want to draw near to Him. You cannot do it under the law. You have to die to it. You cannot have a little law and a little grace. Paul talked about that in Galatians 3. He called them foolish.
1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? 4 Have you experienced so much in vain – if it really was in vain? 5 So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? 6 So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”[Genesis 15:6]
7 Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. 8 Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”[Genesis 12:3; 18:18; 22:18] 9 So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
You have to die to what killed you. It is through the law, that I died, Paul said, in regard to the law.
19 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
The law killed me and I died to what killed me. Have you died to the law? Have you reckoned yourself dead to sin. Have you reckoned yourself to the point that God is not dealing with you on the basis of sin today? Are you in Christ, alive, or are you out of Christ, dead? If you are in Christ, alive, He is not dealing with you on the basis of sin. He is dealing with you on the basis of a new life. He is dealing with you on the basis of the Holy Spirit indwelling you, leading you into all truth, making things of mine and making them known unto you, showing you truth, leading you to truth. He is called your counselor and your director. Are you relying on that or are you relying on your ability to live up to the law? If so, you are only a hypocrite trying to live up to the law. Our hypocrisy is so evident. Paul said to the Pharisees, “You hypocrites! You tell people to obey the law but do you obey the law?” We tell people, “I do not like that person”, and you used bad language. Do you use bad language. If you do, we need to shut our mouths in regard to someone else. That is hypocrisy. That is the kind of thing that keeps people under law, that keeps people from drawing near to God. If we do not teach that to our people and to our children, how are they going to grow up? In a judgmental hypocritical way. They will always be looking at sin over there instead of looking at sin in themselves.
I used to drive over the Santa Monica freeway, looking at the mountains over there. You could not even see them. Fog and smog so thick you could not see them. Look at all the smog over here. One day I was on the freeway over there. I could not see it either. When I was driving on the Santa Monica freeway, I could not see mountains over there. When I was driving by the mountains, I could not see the Santa Monica freeway. I was looking at smog over there, but not realizing I was enmeshed in it. We do the same thing. We look at everyone else’s sin but we never see our own. Jesus was nailed to the cross. The law was also nailed to the cross.
Colossians 2:13-15 (TLB)
13 You were dead in sins, and your sinful desires were not yet cut away. Then he gave you a share in the very life of Christ, for he forgave all your sins, 14 and blotted out the charges proved against you, the list of his commandments which you had not obeyed. He took this list of sins and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross. 15 In this way God took away Satan’s power to accuse you of sin, and God openly displayed to the whole world Christ’s triumph at the cross where your sins were all taken away.
Romans 6:6 (TLB)
Your old evil desires were nailed to the cross with him; that part of you that loves to sin was crushed and fatally wounded, so that your sin-loving body is no longer under sin’s control, no longer needs to be a slave to sin;
24 Those who belong to Christ have nailed their natural evil desires to his cross and crucified them there.
17 Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more.”[Jeremiah 31:34]
18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.
22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
Folks, there is no more shedding of blood. It is over. It is finished. He cried it out from the cross, “it is finished”. It is done. I will remember your sins and lawless acts no more. He is not dealing with you on that basis. I will deal with you as my child, those who are born again, in regard to a new life.
It is amazing how God says “I will remember your sins no more”. And also in 1 Corinthians, to read that one of the attributes of love is, “I will keep no record of wrongs”. “I will remember your sins no more”.
1 Corinthians 13:5
It [love] does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
I wonder how many times we walk in our own self righteousness, remembering everyone’s sins, whoever sinned against us or we ever observed someone else sinning, and thinking we are so right with God, when God says the only thing He is looking for is love, and love says “I will remember your sins no more”. There are just some things to think about aren’t they?
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
It did not say desires of the flesh will go away. It did not say clean up the flesh and you will be spiritual. It says to live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. What does it mean to walk by the Spirit? It means to walk by the Spirit, to walk in a dependent relationship upon the Spirit of God, who lives in you. It is dependence upon Him. It is surrender to Him. It is recognizing all I have comes from Him and apart from Him I can do nothing. It is not an attitude of commitment, folks.
You get people out committing and making promises and that kind of thing. That is all flesh. A person says, “My flesh is going to behave”, and God says “No, it is not”. We are no different than those people back in the day when Moses gave the commandments.
6 Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he splashed against the altar. 7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.”
How did they respond to it? “Oh”, the people said, “We will obey”. They all promised to do that. That is confidence in the flesh. One of the characteristics in Corinthians that talks about a true born again believer is saying, “I have no confidence in the flesh”.
3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
My promise to do something is confidence in the flesh. The bible says to have no confidence in the flesh. Which one is it? “Lord Jesus, apart from you I can do nothing. I live in a dependent, humble attitude of heart for you”. That is why the only hope we have of ever experiencing the fruit of the Spirit is Jesus, who produces only these qualities of love and joy. There is no joy except in Christ. You can find happiness when you experience things you want to happen. That is why there is a word “unhappy”, but there is no word “unjoy”. You can have peace by a mountain stream but when you leave the mountain stream, peace goes away. God gives you peace that surpasses understanding. I do not have peace because of something. I have peace because of my attachment to the prince of peace. Jesus gives us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self control, keeping yourself under the control of the Spirit of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
You cannot write a law for these things. No one would say, “I command you to have joy. I command you to have peace”. There is no command connected with it. It has to come from Him. He is the source and we are the recipients.
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
All of us who belong to Christ Jesus, have crucified the flesh with its passion and desire. It is there. It is crucified. We are a new creation. It still raises its ugly head. But we are crucified to it. We do not have to give into the flesh.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
Folks, the only strengthening we are ever going to have in our Christian life is in Him. We die and we become alive. We surrender and we receive His power. In our weakness we become strong. In our poverty, we become rich. All these things are the total opposite of everything we are taught in the world. In the world, it is go get it. In Christ it is, you have already got it. Now go receive it.
We have to understand, folks, that the only hope that we have of ever experiencing peace, joy, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control is in Him. Yet, we go work for these things. We go try to improve them. We even have seminars on how to have love, on how to have joy, and how to have peace. What are you trying to do? Get the flesh tamed. You cannot tame this flesh of ours. Try taming your tongue and you will understand that immediately. Forget about the flesh. Flesh your tongue and see how well we do in regard to taming it. The only way we are ever going to live out this Christian life and see it lived out in our lives is when we obey, by faith, to accept the magnitude of what Jesus Christ has done for us in His Son, that He has delivered us from darkness into the kingdom of His Son whom He loves, in whom we have redemption and forgiveness of sins. That is the good news of the gospel.
13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
It is impossible for us to live the Christian life through our self efforts.
16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
18 “Which ones?” he inquired.
Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’[Exodus 20:12-16; Deuteronomy 5:16-20] and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’[Leviticus 19:18]”
20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
I have asked people sometimes, “How many of you have found it is difficult to live the Christian life?” Every hand goes up. That is a lie. It is not hard to live the Christian life. It is impossible to live the Christian life. Only God can give it and only God can live it. That is a concept that is so difficult for us to grab a hold of. We are told to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. We are told to do things for Jesus. We hear that all the time. “Lord, these are our plans. Now, bless them”. We hear that kind of verbiage. You know Jesus never intended us to live that way. Jesus himself was our example. “While I was here on this earth I do not do anything unless the Father tells me to do it”.
30 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, 31 but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.
28 So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.
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