21th Sun. aft. Pentecost
Our Savior Lutheran Church
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
October 12, 1997
Ben Johnson: 100 meter dash Olympic Gold Medal was his most prized possession and he did everything to obtain it!
Others have given up everything to obtain their most prized possession: wealth, power, fame.
In America many are the people who worship at the altar of the "Good Life" the love of material things.)
I. WE OFTEN DEPEND ON OUR MATERIAL WEALTH MORE THAN WE DEPEND ON GOD.
A. The rich young ruler put his faith in his possessions and lost eternity with God.
1.His most prized possession was his self-righteousness. (vv. 19-20)
a. He mistook outward lack of transgressions against his neighbor as spiritual purity.
b. He displayed a true Pharisaic conceit, but could not fulfill the Law.
2. In loving gentleness, Jesus attempted to show him his imperfection.
a. Jesus truly desired to save this young man's soul, and act of love.
b. If he could not be made to see his own terrible sin, he could not be saved.
c. Jesus attacked the man at the heart of his weakness, his own prized possession.
B. What if Jesus were to speak to a typical American middle class person today?
1. What is our most prized possession?
a. Is it: Our lifestyle? home? car? clothes? Occupation? Status? Money Market Account? Our business? Our friends? Our family?
b. When we attempt to define what constitutes our sense of "success" or "well- being", what's the criteria?
c. With all that we have, are we content?
2. In or society, self-righteousness is still dominant. (vv. 24-26)
a. Things are so good for us, we don't think we really need God very much.
(Eye of the needle was literal!)
b. Throughout history there have been times of hardship and persecution which
have also served as times of great spiritual renewal:
1.) Israel in slavery to Egypt
2.) Israel in exile in Babylon
3.) Christian persecution under Nero
4.) The Black Plague of Europe
5.) The Great Depression of the 30's
6.) WWI and WWII
3. It is during the hard times that the "fluff" of material concern is blown away and the reality of our true treasure is most clearly seen.
II. JESUS CHRIST IS OUR MOST PRIZED POSSESSION.
A. He is our most prized possession in this life!
1. He is our hope in our hopeless state of depravity and ignorance.
a. Where else but the cross can we flee for forgiveness?
b. Jesus offers full and free pardon, He covers our sins with the beauty of His own holiness.
c. Every single conversion is a miracle of God's grace beyond human reckoning
2. In times of trial, our eternal well-being is beyond harm.
a. These are times of God's love during which He draws us to Himself.
b. No matter how dark our sin.
c. No matter how grave our illness.
d. No matter how desperate the financial crisis.
e. No matter how our hopes and dreams have been smashed against the hard rocks of life!
3. In times of trial, God tempers us on the anvil of hardship to trust Him more deeply than ever!
a. ILLUS: Song - "Day, by Day" - see thee more clearly, love thee more dearly,
follow thee more nearly.
b. ILLUS: Here is God the pharmacist prescribing life in loving doses so that we may see the depth of His love all the more.
B. He is our most prized possession also in the next life!
1. On those faithful to the end, the richness of His mercy will be showered.
2. Whatever suffering we experience will be swallowed up with God's 100 fold
compensation. (vv. 29-30)
Someone has said, "We can survive our hardships, but we may not be able to survive our prosperity." The rich young ruler could not survive his self-righteousness and was hindered by his possessions. What is it that hinders us from serving and following Christ? Whatever it is let it be put in its proper perspective. What is our possessions in the light of eternity? And if life has become a time of suffering and hardship, know that the Lord is calling you to be more dependent on Him. When all else fails us and when life itself is over, there is Christ the Lord. He is our most prized possession! In Jesus' name. Amen.
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