Luke 18:18-30




Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem.

He stopped at Perea.



A crowd gathered.

He talked about the end of the age, His Second Coming and the Kingdom of God.



Daniel wrote about these things.

Daniel said, “And at that time [the end of the age] thy people [Israel] shall be

delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book [the Book of  Life].”



“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake [the resurrection],

some to everlasting life [eternal life], and some to shame and everlasting  contempt”

(Dan. 12:1-2).

I want you to know that the end of the age, the Book of Life, the resurrection and   

eternal life are Old Testament teachings.



Jesus was talking about this when the rich young ruler showed up.

Mark says he RAN to Jesus.



He knelt before Jesus.

I like this picture.



I sometimes close a sermon saying, “Eternal life is like a great treasure.”

“One soul is worth more than the whole world.”

“No one should have to beg us to come forward.”

“We should run to Jesus, fall on our face, and beg Him to give us eternal life.”



If all the people we know, gave us all the money they have,

Our pile of money wouldn’t be worth as much as eternal life is to just one person.



The rich young ruler RAN to Jesus.

He knelt before Jesus.



“Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

I want to say, “Good question!”



But it might not be a good question because it reveals at least six mistakes.

The 1st mistake is that the rich young ruler didn’t know who Jesus is.



He said, “Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

Some translations say “Teacher” or “Rabbi.”



Jesus was both.

But if we want to receive eternal life, we need to know Jesus as Lord.



Too many Church members don’t know Jesus as Lord.

Too many people think they can walk the isle, say a few words, get baptized, join   

the Church, and receive eternal life.



They say the words and go through the rituals without accepting Jesus as Lord.

Words and rituals are not enough.



Peter said, “God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and       

Christ” (Acts 2:36).

Eternal life involves repentance;




Becoming a new creature.



This is a big problem for the Church today.

Many people have walked the isle, said the words, gone through the rituals.



But they’re not letting Jesus rule over their life.

Jesus asked the Jews, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord and do not the things I say”        

(Luke 6:46)?



Why do you respect Jesus by calling Him “Lord,”

And disrespect Him by doing your own thing?



The 2nd mistake is that the rich young ruler thought he could earn eternal life.

He asked, “What shall I DO to inherit eternal life?”



He wanted to DO something that would earn eternal life;

This is another big problem for the Church today.



Many people think they can do good deeds;

Live a good life.



And wind up in heaven.

“By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of       

God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).

It’s not our DOING that earns eternal life.

It’s what Jesus did that makes eternal life possible.



A husband and wife were riding in a car.

A bee got inside.



The wife was allergic to bee stings.

A bee sting could kill her.



She was terrified.

Her husband grabbed the bee in the palm of his hand.



The bee stung him.

But he crushed the bee.



The wife was saved.

But it’s not what the wife did that saved her.



It’s what the husband did.

It’s not what we do that saves us.



It’s what Jesus did.

The 3rd mistake is that the rich young ruler called Jesus good without realizing     

what that means.



He said, “Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

He was polite, but Jesus wasn’t impressed.



“Why callest thou me good?”

“None is good, save one, that is, God” (Luke 18:19).



Goodness is a characteristics of God.

So Jesus was saying, “The only One who is good is God.”



“If you believe I’m good, you believe I’m God.”

“And if you believe I’m God, you should do what I say.”



If we really believe what we’re saying when we accept Jesus as Lord and Christ, it  

should make a difference in our life.

If we really know who Jesus is, we should change.



Living for Jesus doesn’t mean that we can live like those who don’t attend Church,

don’t give, don’t pray, etc.

The 4th mistake is that the rich young ruler didn’t know that he was a sinner.



Jesus called his attention to the Ten Commandments.

“Thou knowest the commandments,”

          “Do not commit adultery,”

          “Do not kill,”

          “Do not steal,”

          “Do not bear false witness,”

          “Honour thy father and thy mother.”



But the rich young ruler interrupted Him, “All these have I kept from my youth up.”

The Bible says God gave the Ten Commandments to reveal what sin is (Rom. 7:7).





But the rich young ruler thought the Ten Commandments revealed how good he     


I’ve heard people say, “I don’t sin.”



Get real.

If we say “I don’t sin,” we’re on dangerous ground.



John said, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not         

in us” (I Jn. 1:8).

The person who says, “I don’t sin” is doing two things:



He’s deceiving himself.

And he’s lying.



If we say we don’t sin, we can’t confess our sins.

And we can’t repent of our sins.



But confession and repentance are the basis of forgiveness and mercy.

Instead of saying, “I don’t sin” leave that fantasy world;



Face facts;

And deal with the sin in your life.



“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

And we’re in deep trouble, if we don’t believe that.



The 5th mistake is that the rich young ruler loved money.

He didn’t know it.


So Jesus asked him to do something that would reveal the sin in his life.

He said, “Yet lackest thou one thing:”



“Sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor,”

“And thou shalt have treasure in heaven:”



“And come, follow me.”

Let’s give this young man some credit.



Let’s give him a pat on the back.

He said he was keeping several of the Commandments.



And Jesus didn’t dispute it.

In fact, Jesus said, “lackest thou one thing.”


The rich young ruler was a good person.

But being a good person wasn’t good enough.



Just one thing would prevent him from receiving eternal life.

We have to pay close attention.



Jesus didn’t say, “Give all you have to the poor and you will receive eternal life.”

He said, “Give all you have to the poor and you will receive treasure in heaven.”



On another occasion He said, “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where      

neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through   

nor steal” (Matt. 6:20).

Sacrificial giving earns us rewards in heaven.


But sacrificial giving doesn’t purchase eternal life.

“Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”



Jesus said, “Come, follow me.”

This fell like a nuclear bomb on the rich young ruler’s heart.



Luke said, “He was very sorrowful:”




“He was very rich” (Verse 23).

We’ve been talking about the Ten Commandments.



Notice, the First Commandment.

“Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).



If we want to earn eternal life, we can’t love anything more than we love God.

If we want to earn eternal life, we can’t break any of the Commandments ever.



An elderly woman passed out in the isle of her church.

She fell and struck her head on the end of a pew.



An ambulance was called.

Some Church members thought she was dead.



But she opened her eyes while they were loading her into the ambulance.

And motioned for her daughter to come close to her.




Some Church members assumed she was giving her daughter some final       


But she said, “My offering’s in my purse.”



Giving was in her heart.

Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”



Giving is a good indicator of our spirituality.

But it doesn’t buy eternal life.



The 6th mistake is that the rich young ruler’s actions said, “I can’t.”

Giving everything he had to the poor and following Jesus was too much.



He wanted to do something to inherit eternal life.

But he didn’t want to do that much.



He dropped his head.

And walked away.



Many people want eternal life today.

But not enough;



Not enough to make a confession of faith in Christ;

Not enough to give up their priorities for Christ.



They’re like the rich young ruler who said, “I can’t.”

Here’s another point.



We sometimes think that we would be happy, if we had just a little more money.

The rich young ruler had a lot of money.



But he wasn’t happy.

Happiness is learning to trust Jesus no matter what.



“And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they    

that have riches enter into the kingdom of God” (Verse 24)?

He didn’t say that it’s wrong to be rich.



He said it’s difficult for the rich to receive eternal life.

The rich often let their full wallet hinder their relationship with God.



Instead of controlling their money, their money controls them.

Jesus said, “it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man         

to enter into the kingdom of God” (Verse 25).



Most ancient cities were walled cities.

The walls were built to protect against enemies.



The walls always had a large wide gate for animals, wagons and crowds to enter.

But they also a small narrow gate to force people to enter in single file.



This small narrow gate was often called the needle’s eye.

A loaded animal couldn’t pass through the small narrow gate.



Sometimes, a man would unload his camel.

And let it crawl through on it’s knees.


It wasn’t impossible for the camel to get through.

But it was difficult.



It’s not impossible for the rich to receive eternal life.

But it’s difficult.



It’s not a sin to be rich.

But it’s dangerous.



It’s hard to give away a lot of what we have;

Hard to put God above our material possessions.



This shocked the disciples.

They grew up believing that riches are a blessing from God.



Let me tell you something, “Riches are a blessing from God.”

God is the source of every good thing in our life including our money.



But Jesus was saying riches can prevent people from receiving eternal life.

Your boat, your crop, your job is a blessing from God.



But your boat, your crop and your job can come between you and God.

The disciples asked, “Who then can be saved” (Verse 28)?



“If it’s difficult for those who have been blessed by God to be saved,”

“Who can be saved?”




Jesus replied, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God”   

(Verse 27).

It’s impossible for us to save ourselves.



But God can save us.

It was the World Series.



Babe Ruth was at bat.

He took a pitch.



He thought it was low.

The umpire said, “Strike one.”



Babe Ruth protested.

His fans booed.



He looked at the umpire and said, “Me and forty thousand people think that was a  


The umpire replied, “My opinion is the only one that counts.”



If you want to inherit eternal life, you had better do this God’s way.

His opinion is the only one that counts.



Peter jumped in at this point.

“We have left all and followed thee” (Verse 28).



“You told the rich young ruler to give away everything and follow you.”

“We left everything and followed you.”


“What about us?”

Jesus said, “There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or bretheren, or wife,  

or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake,”



“Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come         

life everlasting” (Verses 29-30).

If we will put God first, and follow Him,



Everything we do for Him will come back to us many times in this life,

And we will receive eternal life in the world to come.



It may not be money.

It might be our health.



We might live longer.

But it will come back to us.



Construction workers were digging near the ancient city of Pompeii.

They unearthed a woman’s body.



Investigators were called in.

The woman was encased in lava.



The investigators concluded she died trying to escape the eruption of Mt.


She died clutching a handful of priceless jewels.



She could’ve given them to God.

And had treasure in heaven.


But she took them to her fiery grave.

“Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”



I will close with three quick points.

1st---It’s not what we do.



Eternal life is a gift for trusting in Jesus.

Accepting this is the only way to receive eternal life.



2nd---Eternal life involves our making a commitment to Jesus.

And Jesus making a commitment to us.



In 1966, Joe Paterno became the head coach at Penn State.

He started out by losing several games.



He said some of his players lacked commitment.

Some were just going through the motions.



The next year, he focused on recruiting committed players.

Just before the big game with the Miami Hurricanes he decided to bench the  

sluggards and to play the committed.



Miami was highly favored.

But Penn State won.



In fact, Penn State went on to win thirty-one straight games.

Today, Joe Paterno is the winningest coach in NCAA Division I Football.



His players not only receive a commitment FROM Penn State,

They also make a commitment TO Penn State.



“Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

If we want to receive a commitment FROM God,



We have to make a commitment TO God.

3rd---Our commitment to God means God comes first.



Oseola McCarty is a black lady from Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

She washed clothes for fifty cents a load.



She deposited a little of what she earned in the bank each week.

She retired at the age of eighty-seven.



She asked the banker, “How much do I have?”

He said, “Your savings have grown to more than a quarter of a million dollars.”



“I can’t carry all of that with me to heaven.”

So she gave $150,000 to the University of Southern Mississippi to help educate      

young black people.



At an interview she said, “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.”

“I’ve tried it.”



Understand this.

I’m not saying that we have to give away everything we have.



But I am saying that a true commitment to God affects our priorities.

A true commitment to God affects what we do about Church, praying, giving, the   

way we live, the way we treat others, etc.



Those who have received eternal life are new creatures.