This is an on-going series that provide an “overflow” of information or application from my weekly preaching. A preacher cannot, nor should not, get everything into a sermon. These will be posts that give some direction and resources related to the sermon that will help people better understand and apply the passage.
Yesterday I continued my series through the Gospel of Luke by looking the rich young ruler from Luke 18:18-30. The account begins with an all-important question: “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus diagnosed this man’s main problem: he was an idolater and didn’t know it. The ruler thought he was Law-keeper when he was really a Law-breaker. He failed to keep the first command–“Have no other gods before me” (Exod 20:3)–by making his money his god. It was his wealth that kept him from following Christ (Luke 18:23). But Jesus can liberate us from our enslavement to anything in this life that would keep us from himself. He has power to dismantle and destroy the idols of our life that would keep us from experiencing the grace of God’s salvation. Though with man, it is impossible to be saved, it is possible even for a rich man to be saved (Luke 18:27). Moreover, Jesus promises that if we have him, no idol or loss of any good gift can compare to the treasure that will be ours (Luke 18:22,28-30). If we have Christ, we have the greatest Treasure of all.
Testimonies played a big part in my sermon this week. In particular, I opened with a testimony from missionary Amy Carmichael about her conversation with a Hindu woman who asked the same question as the ruler in Luke 18. I also looked Rosaria Butterfield’s testimony of having to leave behind precious things to follow Christ, believing he is worth the sacrifice. You can get both books here:
- Amy Carmichael’s book, Things As They Are: Mission Work in Southern India. Get it free on Google books or buy a copy at Amazon.
- Rosaria Butterfield, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert. Print, digital, and audio editions are available at Amazon.
Idolatry was a big theme in the message. Here are some resources for thinking through the idols we have in our own life:
- These “x-ray questions” from David Powlison’s book Seeing With New Eyes are helpful in exposing idols of the heart [pdf]
- Andrew Lisi warns against Christians saying, “I thought I was past that sin.”
- Juan Sanchez has some wise words on enduring temptation and overcoming sin.
Another big theme of the passage was wealth as an idol. A great resource for thinking through how God’s people should view and use wealth is Russell Moore’s sermon from Deuteronomy 8 entitled, “Your Christ-Haunted Credit Card Statement: Why Your Finances Test Your Readiness for the Kingdom.” You can watch it below: