Walking With the Master - Rich Young Ruler

Faith Church March 24, 2007 Mark 10:17-22


1. We’re continuing our series this week: Walking with the Master

- we striving to connect this to our Worship Service study: Reaching New Heights in Our Love for Our Savior – John 18-21

2. We trying to focus on specific situations Jesus faced, and what we can learn from Him – since He is the Wonderful Counselor and the most EFFECTIVE EVANGELIST there are things we can learn from Him

- so far we’ve studied John 3 and Jesus’ contact with Nicodemus

- last week we looked at John 4 – Woman at the Well

  • TODAY Matt. 19:16-22 & Mark 10:17-22 & Lk. 18:16-27 – Rich Young Ruler
  • Apr. 1 John 9 – Blind Man
  • Apr. 8 Luke 19 – Zaccheus - [Easter]

3. If we are going to ‘Reach New Heights in Our Love for People’, what will we have to do 1st?

Answer: ‘Reach New Heights in Our Love for . . . the Lord’

> if we really love people the way God does, we won’t focus so much on WHERE A PERSON IS IN THEIR SPIRITUAL LIFE (though the reality of that position can be a great motivating factor in how we respond to others – as we see the desperate situation they are in, lost w/o Christ and headed for an eternity in hell, separated from God . .. forever!)

. . . instead, we will focus on WHERE THEY CAN BE BY THE GRACE OF GOD!

> if we really love people, we will lay aside the prejudices and pre-conceived notions about a person in an effort to share the truth with them . . . knowing the impact that the TRUTH can actually have on the life of ANY person

. . . no matter what their life style is [that’s really going to be obvious TODAY in our study – at the opposite end of the spectrum from last week – John 4 the Samaritan woman at the well!]

5. Let’s be honest – without the grace of God, and the truth of His Word that clearly states: “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) . . .

- . . . and without the help of the Holy Spirit working in our lives, we can get very condescending to others and look down on them . . . and ultimately, AVOID them for a lot of different reasons!

- God certainly has a different perspective on people, and we need to think like He thinks:

  • 1 Sam. 16:7 Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.”

6. I want to keep reminding us:

> The more you love Jesus (and have the right view of Him – like we are studying in our Worship Services), the more you will love people . . . and if you don’t love people, you really don’t love the One Who loved us and gave Himself for us!

7. We need to remember our priorities and what’s really important – Jesus made that very clear in Luke 19:10:

  • Luke 19:10 "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."

- while we are NOT the Redeemer, we are TOOLS in the hand of the Redeemer – and we are to take His message into all the world and preach it to every creature!

- the 1st and greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and with all your might . . . and the 2nd is like unto it . . ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself’

- Jesus modeled both of these to us in the way He responded to Nicodemus, the woman at the well, and to rich young ruler that we’ll study today! [review John MacArthur’s comment]

“The ministry of our Lord provides a stark contrast to the contemporary evangelical confusion. Christ was not interested in shallow responses or quick pseudo-conversions. He refused to compromise the truth or give anyone false hope. Instead of making it easy for people to believe, Jesus turned away more prospects than He received.” – MacArthur, John 1-11, p. 98

8. This would be consistent with:

  • Matthew 7:13 "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

9. Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica:

  • I Thes. 1:9 "...how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God"

Turn & Read Mk. 10:17-22? – note the other passages that record this account (Mt. 19; Lk. 18)

1) Our Lord gave a young man a test: He had to make a choice between Christ and his possessions and sin, and he failed the test

- no matter what he may have believed, because he was not willing to forsake all, he could not be a disciple of Christ

2) The account of the RYR teaches us that "you can't take half of Jesus" -- you can't take Him as Savior and reject Him as Lord (this is repeated in Matt 19, Luke 18 – it time, read the same account written by another Apostle)

* 3 principles we can learn that will help us to be more effective in our outreach efforts and be BETTER PREPARED when the Community Center opens and people start walking in the doors of that building . . . and then into the counseling center . . . and then in the doors of the church!

Q: Are you ready for that? Are you excited about it?

[the answer can be yes . . . if you’re thinking like Jesus!]

Principle #1: Remember that the CONDITION of man's heart is the same!

  • we must not be deceived by what's on the "outside" of a person's life or focus on the "externals" no matter how "good" they appear
  • we don't match up to God's standards – every man’s heart is sinful
  • we can't win a person to Christ unless the person recognizes his/her sinful condition – Jesus made a statement like that regarding the spiritual condition of those He came to save:
  • Mt. 9:13 "for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
    1. Some people have many "strengths."

"There came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked...

Matt 19 "young man"/Luke 18 "ruler"

1. Concerned

"ran" -- reveals his earnestness and eagerness to meet Jesus

  • he recognized a deep spiritual need that, for all his religious efforts, was unfulfilled!
  • he knew he did not possess the life of God that satisfies here/now and gives hope for the life to come

Note: The fact that he came to Jesus publicly and asked such a personal and revealing question shows the man's sincerity

(“peer pressure” was not an issue -- he needed Jesus' help just as much as the little children did)

** But sincerity does not equal salvation!

- no matter how he came, the condition of his inner man was just like everyone else's

  1. Commendable in many respects

a. Ruler -- possibly a ruler in a local synagogue

- his wealth and exemplary conduct would make his a prominent individual in his community [i.e. he was popular, a BIG DUDE, probably well respected in ways]

b. Kneeled to him -- an act of great respect!

c. Complimentary

- "Good Teacher" expressed a great admiration for Jesus as one who would be able to give him the spiritual guidance he wanted

- he was sincere – But revealed a very superficial concept of moral goodness

- he saw Jesus as a good teacher who had mastered the secret of spiritual perfection, and he wanted to learn that secret from Him

  • He wanted all the benefits of Christianity without having to recognize & worship God
  • just like the man who asked Peter if he could purchase the power of the Spirit – He wanted the effects of what Christ had, NOT CHRIST HIMSELF

Point: * Many people want what God offers -- life, blessing, good family, etc., but won't come on God's terms

- see, position, wealth, outward actions do not provide a way of salvation

- and what this man was on the surface vs. inside -- two different issues

4) "INHERIT" = He assumed that he had the necessary ability and willingness to do whatever was yet required – he thought he only needed guidance in identifying what it was!

Q: What did he fail to recognize?


  • and Jesus quickly sets the record straight
    1. Ultimately, everyone is in the same spiritual condition.

1. Because the source of "goodness" comes only from God.

- the curse of sin has left us all "condemned"

** Even our “righteousness are as filthy rags!”

  • in essence, what he should have done (most do not) is to recognize Jesus as God..
  • instead, RYR (Rich Young Ruler) thought of goodness as a personal moral achievement -- and regarded Jesus simply as one who had ACCOMPLISHED it rather than being the SOURCE of it



- one takes you to heaven, one does not

- one is centered in works, other grace - one is man centered, other God centered

  1. Because the Law of God condemns us.

- What Jesus quoted to him was the 2nd half of Law (those dealing with man's relationship to man)

- What Jesus was trying to show Him was that no one is able to keep all the commandments perfectly

(except Himself -- he "fulfilled the law")

Note: He never mentions the 1st four (even more impossible)

  • James 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.

> Problem with the Law is: Not just OUTWARD obedience, but INWARD obedience

- Jesus said: "murder" = hate // "adultery" = look on a woman for the purpose of lusting, has already committed the act!

Point: This man was self-righteous and did not recognize the condition of His heart -- at first.

- no matter what that person may appear to be on the outside... >>> the condition of the heart is the same!

Point: No matter the position (great, none)

No matter the wealth (rich, poor)

No matter the education (knowledge, ignorant)


Q: How does that principle give you hope in your outreach/evangelistic efforts?

- if the problem is the same -- the answer is the same!

- from the top of the corporate ladder to the bottom of the ghetto

>> Jesus is the answer!

>> People need the Lord

  • Romans 5:8 "But God commends His love to us ..."

Samuel Bolton: “When you see that men have been wounded by the law, then it is time to pour in the gospel.”

Principle #2: Recognize that the CONTENT of the message is same.

  • Jesus' message (our message) is simple: "One thing you lack" -- what was it?
  • Answer: Not additional personal virtue, but a single-hearted devotion to God, obedience to the first of the Ten Commandments!
  • - the answer was given in a double command
    1. Salvation is by faith.

"Go, sell, give" -- the removal of the hindering cause

Problem: His wealth was more important than God!

- money/land was his god -- he trusted it, worshipped it, got fulfillment from it

- live by faith -- put your trust in God, not in your earthly possessions or self-righteous achievements

Quote: “While Jesus does not always make this demand on people, He always demands that the seeker must give up that which has usurped the plan of god in his life.”

  1. Salvation is by repentance.

"repent" = to turn away from, to something else (this was the ‘put off’ part)

"Come, take up the cross, follow me" (this was the ‘put on’ part of repentance)

  • see, the RYR's willingness to carry out the command would be external evidence that he had removed the idol from his heart and put his focus on God
  • Luke 12:15 And He said to them, "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses
    • by saying, "Follow me" (continued fellowship) -- He was the answer to the man's need

Point: To follow Him, to accept Him as Savior and Lord, is the way to eternal life!

>> "rich" -- sell all you have

>> "ruler" -- submit to me and do my will

- There are other idols in men's hearts beside wealth that keep a person from becoming a Christian

Input: What are some other idols a person can have in his/her heart beside wealth?

  • position
  • pleasure
  • approval
  • pride -- "I've always been raised this way"

* To know Christ as Savior -- is to know Him as Lord!

Principle #3: Remember the CHARACTER of the one reaching out is the same.

  • we must have lives that enhance the gospel of Christ
  • Christ has: already been serving

already been giving God the glory

already doing God's will already coming down on God's side of issues

A. We have to take time for one person.

  • he was not too busy to listen
  • his schedule did not crowd out people who were hurting

Q: Are you too busy to witness?. . . to get involved in one of the community ministries?

B. We have to grow in our love for others.

"Then Jesus, beholding him, loved him"

Q: What was it about this person that would make it hard for us to love him?

- Intimidating -- wealth, education, influence....

  • wealth -- yet poor
  • educated -- yet ignorant of eternal truth
  • influence -- yet condemned by God
  • ruler -- yet, in bondage to lust

Point: If we have the ‘mind of Christ’ as Paul states in Phil. 2 – we’re not going to think like that – we’re going to look at what the person needs, not what he has!

  1. We must be honest in our communication.

- Jesus told him not what he wanted to hear, but what he needed to hear

- I'm not responsible for the response, only telling the truth in a loving way that brings glory to God!

D. We must remember, we won't lead everyone to Christ.

- honestly, one of the saddest verses in all the Bible:

  • "he went away grieved, for he had great possessions

Quote: Jesus is a King, not a beggar.”


Q: What Nicodemus, Samaritan Woman, or Rich Young Ruler has God brought into your life that does not know Jesus as Savior?

Q: Do you have the right attitudes toward reaching that person for Christ? Are you thinking like Christ and focusing on their inner man and what they NEED instead of the outer man and what they are or what they have?

Bottom Line: If you’re “Reaching New Heights in your love for the Lord” . . .you’ll be “Reaching New Heights in your love for people” . . . no matter what kind if person they are!

[next week, even if they have physical needs that sometimes you can meet, and sometimes you can’t – we can’t heal the blind, or feed the 5,000, but many times we can do SOMETHING instead of doing NOTHING!


1) Review the “Seeking Individual Relationship” cards [GIVE OUT NEW ONES TO FOLKS WHO WERE NOT THERE LAST WEEK] – discuss how to use them; pray for those listed but DO SOMETHING to reach out to that person!

2) Use Preparation for Easter Prayer sheet – spend some time praying for this week’s request!

Faith Church