Christ and The Rich Young Ruler

July 7, 2024 Preacher: Wade Thomas Series: Mixtape

Scripture: Mark 10:17–31

 If you're new here, my name is Wade. I typically lead worship on the. Ann, associate pastor here.

Pastor Michael is normally our preacher. He is our lead pastor. He's the primary father that Christ the King has by God's providence, and he'll lead us in Malachi next week. But we're going to be in the gospel of Mark today in a standalone sermon. Mark 10, verses 17 through 31. 1. Mark I'm going to refer to this man, I'm just telling you this before I read it as the rich young ruler, even though Mark does not call him that we have three stories in the gospels, the synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke that I think are referring to the same guy.

It's fine if you don't, that's okay. But Calvin also thought that they referred to the same guy. So, Trump card played so, but he is at the very least rich and a man. And from Matthew and Luke, we learned that he was some kind of ruler and young. So, let's read this and then I'm going to try to exposit it faithfully for your good and God's glory.

Mark 10 beginning in verse 17. And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said to him, why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments. Do not murder. Do not commit adultery.

Do not steal. Do not bear false witness. Do not defraud. Honor your father and mother. He said to him, Teacher, all these I've kept from my youth. And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, you lack one thing. Go, sell all that you have, give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven and come Follow me.

Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, how difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God. And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them, again, Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God.

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. And they were exceedingly astonished, and they said to him, then who can be saved? Jesus looked at them and said, with man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.

Peter began to say to him, see, we've left everything and followed you. Jesus said, truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sister or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the gospel who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands with persecutions and in the age to come, eternal life.

But many who are first will be last, and the last, first. We don't do this often but allow me a brief prayer. Father, glorify yourself and edify your saints through the preaching of your word. And for any and all in here who are not yet born again to actual faith in Christ, grant them repentance and faith.

Be glorified through both sanctification and salvation. In this room today, in Jesus’ name, amen. Alright, first I want you to notice something in verse 21. It's the only gospel. Of the three where this little clause and looking at him, he loved him is placed. And the Holy Spirit is telling us something there.

The Holy Spirit through the author, Mark is telling us something when he has Mark John Mark from the book of acts include. And looking at him, he loved him. I'll throw out one interesting possibility that's really neither here nor there from my point, but it's just one of those interesting Bible trivia things that you can chew on later today if you want.

It could be that John Mark is the rich young ruler. The reason I say that, does anybody remember the literary device that the Apostle John uses to refer to himself in the Gospel of John? The disciple whom Jesus Loved. This is the only gospel where the rich young rulers called that but it's neither here nor there to my point, I just wanted to throw out an interesting possibility that I heard from Doug Wilson ten years ago.

So, there you go You've got it. The more important point is what it says about Christ looked at this man. The Holy Spirit wants you to know that Christ looked at this man and loved him and then told him the hardest thing he'd ever been told in his life. Love from Christ, from the God who actually exists, the God who is Jesus Christ, can sound like the hardest thing you've ever heard in your life, and God wants you to know that.

Love from Jesus Christ can sound like, give up your treasure. Give all of it away. That thing you've been living for and desiring for your entire life. Leave it and then come and chase me. It can sound go Abram from your country and your kindred and the land of your father's house to a land. I'll show you, trust me and leave everything you know behind.

The love of God can sound like that when the triune God, the God who actually exists, not the God of our syrupy 21st century American imaginations that have been really shaped by Disney movies and self-help books When the God who actually exists and who actually speaks tells us about his love, it can sound like, no, you may not bury your dead father.

Follow me and leave the dead to bury their own dead. Matthew 8, 21 through 22. Christ looks at this man, Christ loves this man, and then he tells him the hardest thing he's ever heard, and the guy goes away sad. That is like the anti K love. That is the anti-veggietale, but it's actual love. When Jesus Christ loves a man or a woman, it can sound like, no, Paul, I will not remove this thorn from your flesh.

I will not stop this messenger of Satan. Not right now. But I will remind you that my grace is sufficient for you. And that my power is displayed in your weakness. And it shouldn't surprise us that God's love can sound like this because there's a lot of the Bible that sounds like this. The love of God is not shallow, thin, sappy love.

It's not substitute kindergarten teacher love. It's not frivolous Steve from Blue's Clues love. It's not morning talk show, I really love your new movie kind of love. It's surgical love. One thing you lack, young man, one thing. And I know what must be cut out of you and of your life in order for you to receive that one thing that you lack.

The love of God is surgical love. From the kindest and fairest and wisest and most capable of all physicians. I know what I intend for you, Abram, and I know it's not in ER. You remember this from the book of Genesis? I know what I intend for your wife's ancient womb. I know what I intend for the son that I'm going to give you after your hundredth birthday.

I know the shape, the specific shape and color of the blessing that I intend to give to the world through you. So, leave your home, leave everything you've known forever. And follow me and trust me, and I will reckon that trust to you is righteousness. In some ways, the whole Christian life is this kind of surgery.

God constantly, ceaselessly, graciously conforming us to the image of his son. If you are a Christian, you have never had a sleepless night that was not a part of this kind of surgery. He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. But, since we often don't know what's on the other side of our pain and of our sacrifices, they are often unpleasant.

You can miss, err. You can be tempted to look back at Sodom. You can wonder, if I give all this stuff away to the poor, am I gonna actually have a life worth living? Sacrifice as a Christian is not always pleasant. The love of Christ says and commands hard things that he works together for our glory and his good.

In Acts chapter 10, the Lord tells a Damascus Christian named Ananias to go and lay hands and pray for a man named Saul. And Ananias has heard what Saul has done to the believers. How he's imprisoned them and tortured them and killed them. And now he has authority from the Jewish leaders to lay hands on any Christians that he finds.

And you are telling me to go lay hands on that man to pray for him. And God does not tell Ananias, it's cool. I'm not going to let him arrest you. He's a Christian now. He says, go for Saul is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and the Kings and the children of Israel. And then about Saul, about that man.

God says, I will show him how much he must suffer for my name. I grew up on a lot of things like VeggieTales 2, like many of you did. And I had for a season this plush sort of Christian assumption in my mind that God was never going to do anything to me or ask me to do anything for him that would hurt.

And that's not the Bible. The love of Christ says and commands hard things. It does not do that. It does not always look like giving you more of what you already wanted. It often looks like changing what you want. You were not born with baptized, thoroughly sanctified desires. You know that? The love of Christ often involves changing who you are.

You were not born conformed to the image of Christ. Neither was I. God crucifies and resurrects us. He kills much of what's in us. He mortifies it, and then he resurrects it and bears fruit that only he can produce. One day you're sitting at the tax collector booth, extorting the people of God, and the next day you've left that wicked career behind and you're following this rabbi who happens to be the Messiah.

That's Matthew, Levi, Matthew nine, nine through 13. One morning, you're a short, greedy sellout climbing a sycamore tree to see this Jesus dude. You are the most hated man in Jericho. You remember this story? By that afternoon, you're selling half of what you own and giving it to the poor. Because what you love has been changed supernaturally by the God who loves to save people.

If you are a Christian, He loves you and the proof of the fact that He loves you is that you are a Christian. You have been changed. And you are being changed. You are not who you were born as. You're not following the course of this world you did once when you were dead in your sins and trespasses in which you once walked How did dead men walk?

The way Ephesians 2 describes Following the prince of the power of the air the spirit now at work in the sons of disobedience as you once did as I once Did, you’re not hearing the call of, you're hearing the call of Christ now and following him, not walking away sad because of your many possessions.

You were born a child of wrath. Ephesians two, three. I was born that way. Rich young ruler was born that way. Peter was born that way. Paul was born that way. John Mark was born that way. Even Keith green was born that way. But God did something. He made you alive together with Christ. He raised you up and seated you with Him in the heavenly places.

If you're a Christian, right now, past tense, you have been raised up and seated with Christ in the heavenly places. He changed you from rebel to son, from stone to flesh, from living out the passions of your flesh to bearing the fruit only the Spirit can bear. Every actual Christian in this room has sold his old life and is now following Christ, even if you don't remember it.

And I hope you don't remember it. I want Christians like Timothy who do not remember being unregenerate. I want Christ to save every little kid in Christ the King before they even remember that they were rich young rulers. I want him to save them when they're rich, younger rulers, rich toddler rulers, barely able to walk.

And I have seen him do it. He's changed you. If you're a Christian, you did not walk away sad because following Christ was too costly. You left her or the New York city public school system tomato. You do not live merely for that, which is seen. And for each true Christian in this room, I know that your life is imperfect.

I know that you stumble and sin. You. I talk with you; you talk with me. Some of you know my sins and I know many of your sins. And yet you are a living sacrifice on his altar. He did that. And he is not ashamed of you. Imperfection, sins and all. If you are a Christian beginning to taste even just a little of all the sweat and blood and struggle and joy and grace that is the Christian life.

If you, like Peter, would say, we’ve left everything, but where else can I go? You have the words of life. If that's you. Then that is your proof that God loves you. I love to picture Zacchaeus later in life because you know there are some people that he stole money from as a tax collector who would have been really skeptical about his conversion. Victims of sin can be very bitter. I've done this and you can think God's not going to save this guy. That guy, the guy who took my life savings, my retirement. And I love the idea of Zacchaeus just smiling, grinning ear to ear and telling them about how Jesus can save really bad men. Even them. I love if Zacchaeus were able to say, you know how I know he loves me, and I'm forgiven?

Because I'm poor now. And somebody sitting across from him being like, what? Yeah, see, I used to think money was everything. I had a Tesla truck, and a McMansion in Mount Adams and life was great. And then one day, this guy, this son of God, this lamb of God come to take away the sins of the world, reached into my chest and pulled out that heart that was obsessed with cash and replaced it with a heart of flesh.

And now I love him, and I don't care how much money I have. I've never gone hungry, but I don't care how much money I have. So, you want to know how I can be sure I'm going to heaven, how I can be sure I'm forgiven. I love different things. I'm a different man. Has Christ said hard things to you? Like he said to the rich young ruler.

Like he said to Peter. Like he said to Zacchaeus. That is a token of his love for you. That is how God treats those he loves. Because he is a good father. Let me show you what I mean in Hebrews 12. If you're able to, turn there with me. If you're not, it's okay. There are Bibles in the back seats, the back of the seat in front of you.

By the way, if you don't have a Bible, take that. It's yours. But Hebrews 12, seven through eight, the author of Hebrews by the Holy Spirit says,

and he's talking to you, Christian. If you are a born-again Christian, this is true for you. It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.

There is a universe of difference between a drunken father punching his kid in the face and discipline. Good fathers discipline. We get the word disciple from that. You are constantly shaping and teaching and conforming and altering that which is in your children. Everybody in here with little kids knows you did not have to teach them how to steal, or get angry, or yell, or scream, or throw themselves down, or throw a tantrum.

And so, you discipline them, and you teach them about the God who actually made the world, and how his character actually reflects what's in the scriptures. And God is doing that in you, in your pain, right now. He is disciplining you because you are a son of God. The love of God can often seem painful rather than pleasant.

I'm using the language of a couple of verses later there in Hebrews. The love of God can often seem painful rather than pleasant. But later, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Trained by it. Trained by the leave your fishing boats, Peter, James, John, Andrew.

Leave them. Trained by the sell your many possessions, give them to the poor. Trained by the, bury your, let the dead bury their own dead, you follow me. Christ looked at Chris Cunningham and told him to do something hard. And Chris did it. And though at the moment it seemed painful rather than pleasant, it proved Chris Cunningham is a son, no illegitimate child.

That is the story of every Christian. Some of your discomfort and your struggling right now is proof positive of God's love for you. Satan will lie to you. Hell will lie to you. Demons will lie to you. Your flesh will lie to you and will tell you that your pain is a part of some absurd, chaotic universe that has no meaning or that your pain really means God forgot you or that your pain means really, you're not a Christian and God doesn't actually love you.

And for every true Christian in this room, your pain is telling you the exact opposite. It is disciplined from the God who works all things together for your good. He is teaching you and me through my pain. And I say this to you and I'm telling you on. Wednesday or Thursday, when I'm worried about something.

It's not gonna feel this way. And then I'm gonna need you to tell me what I just told you. Some of your scars are God's signature. Some of your pain is proof that you were born Simon Bar Jonah, but now you are Cephas, Peter, Rock. Or if you prefer an Old Testament story, that limp that you walk with, like Jacob, might be meant to remind you of your new name.

There's no possession you'll be called to sell that he will not repay a hundredfold. There's no land you'll lose he will not replace. You carry your cross now, and you follow him, and you will be raised as imperishable as he is. Not because I said so. I'm nobody. I'm some 38-year-old in Cincinnati, Ohio. I have no authority apart from the Word of God.

But the Word of God tells you that everywhere. Never stop delighting also, Saint, in verses 26 through 27. Your salvation was impossible. Impossible with man. You would still be a rich young ruler if it were left to man. Nicodemus stays in John chapter three, if it's left to Nicodemus, but instead, 16 chapters later, John 19 39, he's carrying 75 pounds of aloes and myrrh to the grave of Christ because God can change Pharisees, ignorant, hardhearted Pharisees into sons.

Peter says, who can be saved? God. This guy's kept all the commandments from his youth. He's got wealth and stature and influence as blessings from God. If you're telling me he has no hope for entering the kingdom, that it's gonna be hard for him to get into the kingdom, then who can be saved? How is salvation possible for me?

It's not with man. Mary Magdalene keeps them seven demons if it's left to man. That woman in Luke 7, both women actually, the one with the issue of blood, and the sinful woman that he forgives, the woman of the night, the woman of the streets, both of them are in hell, and the one still bleeding on her way to hell, if it's left to man.

But it's not left to man. Never stop delighting in the fact that your salvation was impossible with man. But this God took on flesh, was born of a virgin, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, was raised on the third day, ascended to the Father, and now intercedes for you by name with that Father. None of that is because of you.

None of it. And that's good news. Because if my salvation were left to me, I'd be utterly dead in my sins and trespasses. And if keeping myself saved were left to me, I would have wandered and made shipwreck of my faith years ago. But the will of God is to save men like Peter from sin. I want you to notice something else.

The guy asks, what must I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus does not say nothing. I have done it all. There is a twisted, exaggerated, disjointed version of the gospel centered thing. The gospel centered sort of ministry and thinking that would expect Jesus to always answer the question, what must I do to inherit eternal life?

To expect him to always answer, Nothing. There's a time in my own life in ministry and thinking where that's the only answer I could envision giving to that question. It's true. It is truer than gravity that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone. Ephesians 2. 8 says that faith itself is a gift from God.

And it's true that by works of the law, no man will be justified, Romans 3, 20 through 28. And that nothing you have ever done is the grounds of your justification. You're being made right with God. You're having peace with God, despite being born a sinner. So, if that's true, if we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, why does the second person of the Trinity, who inspired Galatians and Ephesians and Romans, And John 6 and John 3 and everywhere else in scripture where the free grace of God is taught.

Why does he answer this question this way? Let's take note of one thing first in my trying to answer that. He does not tell the guy the selling of all his goods and giving them to the poor, proceeds to the poor, is what he lacks. He tells him he lacks one thing and then to sell everything. And follow him, follow Christ.

Picture something with me as a way to try to illustrate this. Let's say we got a 30 something father or two. He lives in a really nice neighborhood. Mariemont or Edgewood or Loveland or something like that makes 125 K a year. Kids are healthy. They're good looking. His wife drives a 2024 Lexus TX because she didn't want a minivan like most yuppie moms.

And everyone at the Whole Foods they shop at on Saturdays looks at that family and thinks they have got it together. They go to church, maybe not every week, but anytime he's able to get everybody up and out the door he notices things that worry him about his son. And he's thinking maybe I'll get him into Boy Scouts and maybe that'll get him to be less moody and off of screens.

But he's worried. He's got a low-grade anxiety all the time about his family. He wants them to be safe and good and go to heaven, even though he's not really sure what to think about heaven. He wants to feel better about what he's living for and what they're living for. Now he gets offered a promotion at work.

It would double his salary. And even though he'd have to travel and do longer hours, he could also use that bigger salary to get them out of that public school and into an expensive private one. And that would fix all the problems, right? That would be the answer for his son and maybe all of them. And how do you turn down 250 K a year?

You can do a lot of good with 250 K. I would imagine. I don't know from experience. So, he calls his father. They meet for lunch. Dad does not miss church. Dad is like Christian, and dad loves him. He says, I don't know what to do, dad. In some ways, I feel like I'm at the end of the rope. I'm spinning my wheels and nothing's changing.

It seems like we're not really a family. Like we're not really bonded together. I'm anxious all the time, but I do think this promotion to VP could really be life changing for all of us in a lot of ways. And dad looks at him and loves him and says, you should not take this job, son. There is one thing you and Kristen and your children are lacking.

And this job will put you further than ever from it.

The rich young ruler lacked one thing. possessions were keeping him from that one thing. Promotions are not inherently sinful. Wealth is not inherently sinful. Achievement, fame, influence, physical beauty, dream houses, dream vacation houses, are not inherently sinful. Wealth is not inherently sinful. But he went away sorrowful, and his great possessions were for he had great possessions.

How difficult it'll be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many wounds.

For a man who has not yet really felt eternity at his feet. For a woman who has not in her mind or heart yet heard the screams of those in hell, or the joyful hymns of those in heaven. For someone who is desperate, but not desperate enough. Hungry, but not hungry enough. Thirsty, but not parched. The numbing, temporarily pleasurable joys of new car smell.

Of 40 instances of, OMG, you look so beautiful on social media. of three vacations a year, of checking your 401k balance and watching that baby go up and up. Those can be just enough anesthesia to make you walk away from Christ sorrowful, not willing to give up them quick dope hits. He walked away from Christ sorrowful because it seemed to him his reserved parking space and his profit sharing would be enough someday.

She walked away from Christ sorrowful because it seemed to her that the love she got at work and on Instagram would make her happy. And they hadn't yet, but they will at some point down the road. If you're not a Christian, if you have not yet repented of your sins and trusted in Christ alone, hear me.

There is nothing worth your soul. There is nothing worth your soul.

You will not care if you had more plays than Taylor Swift or more SportsCenter segments dedicated to you than LeBron. You will If you find yourself being consumed by the wrath of God for your unforgiven sins against him, nothing is worth your soul. Hear the Lord, the risen Lord, to whom your knee will bow one day.

Mark 8:34 -37. Calling the crowd to him with his disciples. He calls the crowd with his disciples. He's talking to believers and unbelievers here. And our Lord who loves people says, if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Cross is a cute thing to us now, we put it on necklaces.

In his day, that would have had the same connotation in their minds as electric chair or lethal injection does in our day. This is not how you build a following. According to the entrepreneurial minds of our day, he ain't winning friends and influencing people or whatever the name of that book is right now with this language, take up your electric chair and follow me for whoever would save his life will lose it.

But whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospels will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? What can a man give in return for his soul? The author of souls tells you inside your chest is the most valuable thing in creation. Don't sell it for a Tesla.

Or premarital sex, or a little bit of porn.

And we, as born-again Christians who comprise this church, we have to love unbelievers enough to talk to them this way. The way Jesus just did to the crowd. Do you love your unbelieving aunt enough to tell her you lack one thing? And staying away from him for one more day isn't worth it. Are you willing to look at a rich young ruler and love him and tell him nothing is worth losing his soul?

The love of God in Christ does come with trials and tribulations and struggle and suffering and sacrifice and persecutions in this time And yet there is not one saint right now in the presence of God who wouldn't gladly take a century more of all that earthly Pain in light of what he is enjoying right now and what he will be enjoying tomorrow.

I don't care how the 2024 election goes Wednesday after whatever it is, November, whatever, they're still going to be enjoying and singing his praises. And a thousand centuries from now, they'll still be doing it. This light momentary affliction is nothing in comparison to that. Meanwhile, staying a rich young ruler does come with a few nice moments here in this life, because vanity fair can feel like a pretty fun place to live for a few decades, but there is not one sinner in hell right now who is being comforted by his cash.

There is not one sinner in hell right now who is being comforted by her Instagram followers. Christ is what every rich young ruler lacks, and He is the one thing that they all lack. And nothing is worth continuing in that deficit. I want to wrap up here, start to land the plane with encouragement for Christians.

This will be an exhortation if you're not a Christian. Receive the good news, the great things that I'm about to remind Christians they have from this passage. But you don't have them yet if you're not a Christian, but boy does every Christian in this room have them. The God who actually made and governs the world, the Lord of Lords, is not a sadistic God.

He's not like your terrible high school gym coach who just wanted to make you run another lap. Suck it up, kid! Life's hard, get a helmet. That's not, that's an old boy meets world line if anybody, that's two people in the room. He's not that kind of God. He does not merely tell us to give things up and to sacrifice because He likes watching us be uncomfortable.

Look at the latter half of what the King of Kings and Lord of Lords says to this man. You will have treasure in heaven and come follow me. Christ tells men to lay down. What they think is treasure, and then in exchange he gives them what he knows is treasure. He calls you to give up a possession, an ambition, a dream, and then he gives you living water springing up to eternal life.

He tells you to deny yourself, and then he grants to you your soul for eternity. You give up old gold that rusts and can be stolen by thieves. You get an eternal inheritance, imperishable, unfading, kept in heaven for you. You lay down a lust for being noticed and admired in this life. And you get from the judge of all the earth a white stone with a name on it for you that only you and he know.

Revelation 2. 17 I don't care if the world notices me. The judge of all the earth is going to give me a new name. We're going to have a secret code between me and him. Why do I care if I have 10, 000 Twitter followers? This is not a God who takes merely because he likes taking. Look at what he tells Peter, verses 29 through 30.

Jesus said, truly, I say to you, he didn't have to say this. He's God. He could have just let it lie. Yeah. You have left everything, Peter, and I'm God. Get over it. But he doesn't. Verse 29, Jesus said, Truly I say to you, there is no one, who has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or mother, or father, or children, or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who won't receive a hundredfold, now in this time, with persecutions, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, lands.

Don't miss that what, and don't miss that when. You get in the age to come eternal life, but Jesus was not there. Not exaggerating, that was not a slip of the tongue when he said, in this time, you are gonna get mothers, children, Lance. I read this passage with my oldest son last Monday night and I asked him, is Mrs.

Carolyn Ball your mother? And he said, no, and I nodded.

And then I said, but is Mrs. Carolyn Ball kind of your mother? And he said, yes, and I nodded. Three churches we've been at together. She has been praying for him since he was about one year old. Her prayers are a part of his biography. Who did that? The God of all the earth did that.

This Jesus Christ gave my son multiple mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters and lands and homes, and he does it for you. Why? Because he gives people families and homes and lands that they did not have before he gave them. That world always over promises and under delivers. God will never do that to you.

I know what the apostle Peter left. My Bible tells me, but I also know what Christ gave him because my Bible tells me, I know what Steve Di Iorio left. Steve's told me, but I know what Christ has given. Steve, no Christian is promised the life he expected at the beginning of the gospel of Mark. Peter is living with his family where Jesus heals his mother-in-law.

So, he's married. It's living with his kids and his wife and presumably Andrew too. The way the language in Mark 1 21 31 reads. He's a career fisherman with his brother Andrew in a rural out of the way town in Galilee called Capernaum a few years later He's the target of the rid of the religious leaders in the capital of the Jewish world and he's being rescued miraculously out of jails There's no quiet retirement for Peter.

I'm sure he had fisherman buddies who worked there with him in Capernaum, and they were shooting the breeze one day at the Capernaum Senior Center, playing canasta. They're like, what happened to Peter? He moved to Florida. And the other guy's no man, you didn't hear? He was crucified upside down for following that 30-year-old carpenter he left a long time ago with.

Peter had a mother-in-law, which means he had a wife. Mark 1 describes that home that Peter is talking about leaving here. His Christian life cost him a great deal and none of it was what he expected five minutes before his brother Andrew ran up to tell him about this guy he just found. That story's in John chapter 1.

Andrew, a disciple of John the Baptist, is the first one who's called to follow Christ and he runs back and tells his brother. But what does Jesus tell Peter about this surprising life, this faith that cost him everything? He tells him, Mark 10, 29 through 31, again, Truly I say to you, no one who's left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake in the gospel, no one won't receive a hundredfold now in this time.

All of it. That same Peter. That same Peter, who left all of that, writes this, 1 Peter 1: 3-7.  Right before his martyrdom. Not too long before anyway, his martyrdom. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. That guy I followed in Galilee, it cost me everything. According to his great mercy, he's caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

To an inheritance that's imperishable, undefiled, unfading, kept in heaven for you who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice. In this I rejoice. I haven't been home in years, but in this I rejoice. Though now for a little while, if necessary, you've been grieved by various trials.

So that the tested genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that perishes though it's tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. No Christian is promised only the suffering he budgeted for. But the flip side of that beautiful coin is, no Christian doesn't get more rewards than he budgeted for.

You have no idea what God has in store for you. I have no idea what God has in store for me. I know I have no idea because my Bible makes it plain that it's incomprehensible to me, little me, 38-year-old me with my brain that barely works. I have no idea what God has in store for me, but I know it's good because He's good, and He told me it was.

Peter can write the way he does in 1 Peter, even though he's houseless, 401K less, retirement condo less, but he's not joyless. And that's why you'll never hear a true Christian. On their deathbed, saying, Man, I wish I'd have put it off a little bit longer. There's a lot of sinning I could have done. Put it off a couple years.

Now that I know I'm going to make it to 85, I could have waited. You'll never hear a true Christian talk that way. Because it doesn't matter what the scars look like. They are delighted in the fact that they lived for Christ, and they wish they could have done it longer. We're not sadomasochists. Peter didn't all of a sudden like pain more than pleasure.

He didn't all of a sudden like grief more than joy. He didn't all of a sudden like jail cells more than his hometown or his house that he was living in. Instead, he knows he's receiving everything the man from Galilee told him he would. That Messiah's proving true year after year, decade after decade, sleepless night after sleepless night, jail cell after jail cell.

No Christian is promised only sacrifices he expects. I'm almost done. Hear me. There is almost something, if you are not gonna die tomorrow, if you're gonna be around for a bit, there is almost something you love, that you cherish, that you will have to give up as a Christian for following Christ. Amen. And the blessings and the joy and the reward on the other side of that sacrifice is as sure as the fact that I'm standing here, not because of me, but because God said, soul, you should think every time it hurts you to give up something for Christ, hundred-fold in this time, a hundred-fold and eternal life in the age to come.

This God is no con man. He's not a charlatan. He gives more than faith costs, but it takes faith to see that Here's peter saying we can't we gave up everything and Jesus saying I will give you more than that Pray in a moment. Let me just say this. At our house we've got a saying. All my kids are writing novels right now.

Every single one of them. The three-year-olds write a novel. They're all writing novels. And the saying is, I want your stories, and I want the stories we watch and read together to be like the true story. And by now, they've heard me say that so many times, they know what that means. But you don't know, so I'll tell you.

The true story, the one we're actually in, according to the word of God, is one where the good guys win. God wins. Every knee bows. That dragon is tossed, tail, fire, everything, into the pit. He doesn't get the last word. Death doesn't get the last word. Sin, suffering don't get the last word. But there are lots of times where it feels like we don't win, but feelings are liars, and ignorant, and transient.

So, we don't listen to them, and instead we remind ourselves of the story we're actually in. I say that to say, the story we're actually in is one where the rich young ruler made the wrong choice, and Peter made the right choice. It would not have looked like that in that day. That day, that, at 5 p. m. when that rich young ruler saddles on up to the bar and he's sitting down with his buddy and he's yeah, I met this crazy carpenter today.

He told me to sell everything, give it up and follow him. All his buddies are like, that's nuts. Dude, you have a great life. Unless they repented, all of them are in hell right now. Meanwhile, Peter is sleeping on the ground that night. The son of man has no place to lay his head. He's got nothing to his name.

He might've looked over at Andrew and been like, don't you ever wonder did we make the right choice? And he knows deep down in his guts, no, we did not make the wrong choice. We followed the one who pays more than it costs. We followed a good God who loves us. If you're not a Christian, repent and trust in him.

If you are a Christian. And you're suffering right now. I know some of you, there are things you have given up as a Christian. You've moved, you've had your pay cut in half, there's therapies or treatments you won't take because you're not sure they're in line with God's word. You've broken up with unsaved girlfriends.

He sees, He notices. He will reward you 100-fold in this time and in the age to come. You will inherit eternal life. Your father is not a liar.

He will reward you. Pray with me.

I can call you Abba Father only because you were kind to me in saving me, and so I do. Abba Father, thank you for saving every person in this room who's a Christian. Thank you for predestining them, for numbering their days, for ordaining their suffering and their joys, for conforming them ceaselessly every day to the image of your Son. And for keeping for them right now in heaven and inheritance that will never rust, never be stolen.

Thank you for being good in saving all of us who are Christians.

Lord, we want people to come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. We want them to be saved from their sins as we were. We can't do it apart from ourselves. We ask that you would empower the preaching of your word, the outreach next Saturday, the raising up of our own children that you give us, help us to do all of it such that we will see many more sons and daughters made out of orphans, many more friends of God made out of rebels.

Help us, Lord, help us. Please help us. And when we are tempted to believe the lies of the enemy that we lose, that it's hopeless, that our suffering doesn't matter, that our sacrifices aren't noticed. Arm us with your word that we may show him his end and remind our souls of their end. Thank you for your word and your son in Christ's name.


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