Scripture: (Matthew 19:24 KJV) And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

The account of the rich young ruler coming to Jesus and asking what good thing he could do to inherit eternal life is told three different times by three different writers. Here in Matthew, again in the book of Mark and then once more by Luke in his Gospel. The depths of this encounter goes far beyond the immediate impression. There is more meat for our spiritual growth here that deserves a deep searching. There are three things that I hope to supply with this ministry. First I hope to be used of God to draw you closer to Him. Second I hope to whet your appetite for the Word of God, revealing at least the tip of the iceberg of the riches that are found within the pages of the Bible. Thirdly I hope to give you some practical and relevant instruction that will lead you to a more abundant life. For that is why Christ came, to give us live and more abundantly. Now, this is where the paradox comes in with the above scripture. For, we see an abundant life as a prosperous life yet we read how it is impossible for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 

I am so glad that God in his wisdom stretches our imaginations at times. Some people would just forget it and call it a mystery. Others would ignore it and simply go on to other things. But some of us stop just long enough to glean the diamonds in the rough. You have come to this place and this time to discover the mystery of how God is able to make that which seems impossible not only possible but miraculously so. First let me ask you this one personal question. Have you been struggling with sin? Be truthful. And it is kind of a trick question because In fact I hope you have been. I know that that sounds strange but hear me out. If you have gotten to the point in your life where you are not struggling with any sin your life then you are in denial of your sin. At least when we know we are sinners in need of a savior we can find our way to the one who is able to save us. In fact I will even go one step further and tell you that the most dangerous thing you have in your life is not your sin but rather the knowledge your obedience to God. OK, now I know I've got your attention.

Before you start thinking that I am preaching some doctrine of satan, I guess I better try to explain myself. Let me start by proclaiming to you how much I long to be a righteous man. I think one of my highest aspirations is to be a true holy man of God. But I fall so short. I can't do it. It is impossible. The closer I get to the LORD the more I realize how much I need Him. Does that help you see the beginning of where I am coming from? I honestly do not know one real Christian who does not want to be better then they are right now. There is something that we all need to know. Romans 3:23: All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. No matter how long you have been a Christian, no matter how deep in sin you are, the offence is the same, sin is sin, and the penalty of sin is separation from God, eternal death. So our only hope, the only real hope, and OH, what a hope it is, is in Jesus. Stop taking what Christ did on the cross for granted. Do you realize the depths of that awesome work He performed? In one great selfless act the creator of all things gave up all things to receive all things back to Him. 

OK, I will get into our scripture in just a minute. This is all in introduction. But this is important. What really motivates us? Madison Avenue would have us believe that it is sex and money. The gurus of the sales seminars would have you believe that it is achievement and recognition. What I have discovered recently is that the two prime motivators for man comes down to fear and love. Look, for just one instant at the above paragraph. Where we were talking about how we have all fallen short of the glory of God. I think any rational thinking human being would agree that that statement is true. So then the motivation is either our fear of the punishment for our wrongdoing or the longing for the love of God. Now we all should know from the Psalms and Proverbs the benefits of the fear of the LORD.  

(Psalm 111:10 KJV) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth forever. (Proverbs 1:7 KJV) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

So lets use that as our starting point. To tell you the truth it is where I am at. And that is a good place to be. Let's get into our scriptures for today and I will explain. This rich young ruler comes up to Jesus and asks Him what he has to do to get into heaven. Jesus simply tells him to follow the laws of Moses. Jesus tells the young man to keep the commandments. But that for some reason did not seem to be good enough for this young man. The rich young man tells the LORD that he had done that since he was a kid. Right! And denial is a river in Egypt. Ok, lets go ahead and read the text, shall we?

 (Matthew 19:16-20 KJV) And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

Whenever you get caught doing something wrong and you fear the punishment for it you will do one of three things. You will either deny that you ever did anything wrong, or you will try to make up for what you did wrong, or you will try to justify or rationalize why you did it. The truth is God knows the truth. We might be able to fool some of the people in the Church with our Sunday go to meeting clothes and our practiced smiles of everything's good with me. We might be able to get over with some of the people on our jobs with the Oh, if there is anything wrong in my life it is someone else's fault, philosophy. Like they really buy that. We might be able to even fool our family members for a short time but after a few years of that it won't amount to a hill of beans because they won't grow in the winter time either. What are we afraid of? What do we love? Are we afraid that someone will not accept us for who we are? Are we afraid that someone might discover that we are not the spiritual giants that we really, really want to be? Are we afraid that our family would not love us if we let them inside and they discovered our weaknesses? OK, I am guilty of them all. Yes, but do you know what I am discovering and I just have to shout it from the roof top because it is such great news. God, yes God, knows the real me and while I was still a sinner Christ died for me. No it is not that simple. God really, really loves you. He really does. And guess what! God is love. And even better, check this out, perfect love casts out fear. Do you see it yet? Come on. OH, Heavenly Father; open our eyes that we might discover the richness of your grace.

OK, let me try to bring it together and make it relevant for you today. Fear and love. The rich young ruler loved his money and power more then he feared the LORD. But wait, didn't he go away grieving? Yes and we do too. Lets read it: (Matthew 19:21&22 KJV) Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

What is the real pathos of this young man's exit? Is it that he was rich? Was it his power that caused him to sorrow? Society in bible times was really not much different then today. You see back then people thought that if you were wealthy, that showed that you had pleased God and so in return for your good works God blessed you with wealth and power. So when Jesus told His disciples that it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle then for a rich man to get into the kingdom of heaven that was like saying even the best of the best can not earn their way into heaven. It is impossible. Look the truth is, no matter how obedient you are to God you still fall so far short. But when you come to your senses and return to your first love, which is love, you will fall at the foot of the cross and find fulfillment for all your needs. You see the real heartbreaker for this rich young ruler was not that he was rich but is was that he went away. The problem is not our sin; the problem is that we keep going away from God. Maybe we have become so afraid of the punishment that we know we deserve, that we run to a more accepting crowd. Remember this, perfect love casts out fear and God is love. No matter what you have done, or not done. No matter how good you want to be but your not. Come to Jesus and experience His love and His forgiveness and His acceptance. It is true we might not be able to, but He is. (Matthew 19:25 & 26 KJV) When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

  Is there something that you are struggling with? Do you desire to have a closer walk with the LORD? Are you ready for God to come into an area of your life that you have been holding back? Have you walked away in the past and gone after the things of this world rather then the things of God? Do you need The LORD. He is right there at your side right now. Ask Him to enter into your heart of hearts and do in you what you can not do yourself. Only God can forgive sin. Only God can bring healing. Only God can create with you a new heart, a new spirit, a new beginning. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Today is the day of your salvation. Today is the day that LORD has made. 

You Know if this was the last message I ever wrote I would want you to know one thing. If this is all you ever remember I hope you take it to heart. God loves you. He is not mad at you. God wants you to be eternally secure in Him. He gave his life so that you could live. Accept Him today and find eternal life in His love.   

If you have any questions about today's message please feel free to write them below and I will do my best to answer them for you.