<%@ Page Language="VB" ContentType="text/html" ResponseEncoding="iso-8859-1" %> Untitled Document

TEXT: Matt. 19.20

INTRO.: Most people remember the incident recorded in scripture about the individual, commonly known as the rich young ruler, who came running to Jesus and asked the Lord what to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him to keep the commandments. The young man then asked which ones, and Jesus identified several for him. He then asked Jesus another question. Read TEXT.

This is a question which demands an impartial look at our lives. If it's our desire, like this ruler, to have eternal life, then we need to be examining ourselves to determine any deficiencies and weaknesses.

Perhaps we're like the ruler in that we've become Christians, attend services, and live an upright life. Yet, all these things can be present and one can still be lacking something.

So the theme for our lesson this time is TITLE.

I. 1st, could it be the needed level of interest and commitment to the Lord's work

A. When Jeremiah surveyed the ruins of Jerusalem and remembered her past glories, he lifted up his voice in deep sorrow. But there was something worse than the ruins and rubble of the great city: Lam. 1.12. The greater sorrow was the lack of interest on the part of the people

B. Our lives as Christians require both interest, which is an active care and concern, and commitment, which is an active dedication and involvement. It's possible to assemble at every service, observe the Lord's supper weekly, give of our means, and still be lacking in real interest and commitment, because real interest and commitment mean that we'll be more than just casual spectators of the Lord's work: 1 Cor.15.58

C. So we need to ask ourselves, "Do we lack a level of interest and commitment in the Lord's church and its work that would make us zealous?:

Tit. 2.14. May we have the wisdom and determination to apply what might be lacking in this area.

II. 2nd, could it be a sense of personal responsibility?

A. There are many members of the Lord's church who are glad to see the work of the Lord done--if someone else does it! What's lacking is a sense of personal responsibility. The teachings of Christ have an abundance of lessons that are designed to help us learn that we're held individually accountable: Jn. 15.1-6. Christ is the vine and individual disciples are the branches. The passage indicates that responsibility for fruit bearing is treated on an individual, branch-by-branch basis

B. The early Christians obviously felt this sense of personal
responsibility. Jesus had told the apostles to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. However, members of the church in the first century didn't depend solely upon the work of the apostles but recognized a personal responsibility to tell the message of salvation to others: Acts 8.1-4, 11.19-21. Do we feel the same sense of personal responsibility? Whose job do we think it is to invite people to our services, visit the sick, teach a class, and do other tasks in the work of the church? When we talk about the church and what ought to be done, do we speak of "they" and "them" or "we" and "us"?

C. Having a proper relationship with the Lord won't permit us to be lacking in the understanding that the responsibility for His work falls upon each of us because each of us will be judged for what we ourselves have done, not what others have or haven't done: Rom. 14.10-12, 2 Cor. 5.7. I won't be judged on the basis of whether I was a part of a church where someone else did the Lord's work or not; I'll be judged on the basis of whether I myself did the Lord's work or not. I need a sense of personal responsibility

III. 3rd, could it be strength and courage for daily choices?

A. Each day brings opportunities to serve Christ, and with these also come challenges to make the right choices. We must choose to resist temptation, to study and pray, to teach or encourage someone else, and to sacrifice our own time to be of help to others. It requries strength and courage on our part to be right in there each day, making the choices that are consistent with being a Christian. This is no less than what the Lord expects us of: Lk. 9.23. Choosing to bear our cross daily is an important characteristic of the true Christian

B. Again, the early Christians are an excellent example of this kind of daily service to the Lord: Acts 2.42, 46-47. Notice that their daily service produced daily results

C. There are several things that each of us should strive to do each day:

1. Study God's word: Acts 17.11--this will help us to grow in grace and knowledge and prepare us for every good work

2. Renew the inward man: 2 Cor. 4.16--this is accomplished not only by Bible study but also by prayer

3. Exhort others: Heb. 3.13--once we've taken care of our own spiritual needs, then we should strive to help others. These are choices that we must make on a daily basis and we mustn't be lacking in the strength and will to make them

IV. 4th, could it be complete surrender to Christ?

A. In the end, this is what the rich young ruler lacked: Matt. 19.21-22. His heart was divided between his possessions and his desire for eternal life, and as a result he was lacking in the ability to surrender himself to the extent that Christ was commanding; and Jesus used this incident to teach His disciples an important lesson: vs. 27-29

B. Jesus expounded this same principle to us in other passages: Lk. 9.62, 14.33. Following Jesus requires an undivided heart with complete separation from the world. Once we become His disciples, all ties to the world should be severed with no looking back

C. Again, this kind of attitude characterized the early disciples: Heb. 10.32-34. Christ doesn't always demand that we sell all that we have to follow Him. But we should have such an attitude of complete surrender that we'd be willing to give up anything that was necessary to follow Christ. Could it be that too many of us lack complete surrender to Christ? We need to ask ourselves this question. We can be attending services, observing the Lord's supper, giving, and other such things, yet still not have given ourselves completely to Christ.

CONCL.: If, as those who claim to be disciples of Christ, in an
honest self-evaluation we find ourselves lacking in one or more of these qualities, let's not do as the young ruler did and go away sorrowful.
Rather, let's supply the deficiency and go on to greater spiritual
Now, if you haven't yet surrendered your life to Christ to become
His disciple, then you're still lost in your sins and need to obey Him.
Consider the apostle Paul and what he had to give up to serve Christ: Phil. 3.4-11. Paul willingly gave all this up to gain the benefits of Christ. But how did he begin? Acts 22.16...

Submitted By Wayne Walker via other sources.

Return to the Sermon Page

Return to the General Articles page

Home / Bible studies / Bible Survey / Special Studies / General Articles / Non-Bible Articles / Sermons / Sermon Outlines / Links / Questions and Answers / What Saith The Scriptures /Daily Devotional / Correspondence Courses / What is the Church of Christ / Book: Christian Growth / Website Policy / E-mail / About Me /