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Intro: Ill. Luke 16:19-31 – The story of the Rich Man and Lazarus. If you had met these two men during their life times, who in this room would have chosen to be Lazarus instead of the Rich Man? No one in their right mind! Yet, if you could have seen them 5 seconds after death, the choice would have been in the favor of Lazarus. Even though the Rich Man had all the world’s good, a fine home, many friends, a large, close family and his health, he still lacked something worth more than all those other things combined. He had it all, except that "one thing" that would have made all the difference in eternity. Lazarus, on the other hand, had nothing that this old world had to offer, but he had that "one thing" that gave him everything in eternity. It is that "one thing" that I wish to discover this morning.

Before us today, in this passage, is another man who seemed to have it all. Yet, when the Lord Jesus inventories this man’s life, He finds him to be lacking one very important "thing" that would have guaranteed him eternal life.

Most, if not all, of us have dreamed of one day striking it rich. Whether it be winning a sweepstakes, inheriting a large sum of money, etc. (Ill. The Kentucky lottery is over 85 million dollars and people are in a frenzy trying to buy those winning numbers.) So, if we were given the opportunity, we might be willing to trade places with this rich young man today. That’s exactly what I would like for us to do. I want us to look at what all that he had going for him, and at that "one thing" he was missing and then let’s see whether or not we would really like to be in his shoes.

As we look into this passage today, please take some time to look at your own life. See what you have, and see if you have this "one thing" that makes all the difference here and hereafter.


A. Money – v. 22b There is nothing wrong with having money. It is when money has you that there is a problem, 1 Tim. 6:10. But, money, with all it’s power and potential, does not impress God and can never provide salvation for the soul – Ill. Simon the Sorcerer – Acts 8:20. (Ill. The Rich Fool in Luke 12:16-20.)

B. Position and Power – Luke 18:18 – This young man was a community leader and held a place of honor among his people. But, again, Jesus was unimpressed. In the eyes of God all men are sinners – Rom. 3:23. Salvation cannot be earned by influence or by one’s position in the world. (Ill. King Herod – Luke 23:8)

C. Morals – v. 19-20 – Jesus named several commandments to this young man, yet the man responded that he had kept these from his youth up. The fact that Jesus did not challenge this man’s claims tells us that he was a moral man. However, morality is not enough to get you into Heaven! There will be millions of good, moral people in Hell. The Bible is very clear when it tells us that works will never be enough to save man’s soul – Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5.

(Ill. It was a common belief among the Jews in Christ’s day that good works were the secret to salvation – John 6:28. It hasn’t changed today! Many still think God will weigh the good against the bad and which ever comes out ahead will determine where they spend eternity. Others feel that they need to compare their lives against their neighbor. They believe that if they are a little more moral than those around them then they have a good chance of earning salvation. These, however, are the opinions of men and not the truth according to the word of God. Even the most moral person in the world will spend eternity in Hell if they are not saved God’s way!)

D. A Sense Of Urgency – v. 17a – He ran to Jesus looking for the answers he needed. He realized that life isn’t going to last forever! (Ill. Lost people today need that same sense of urgency where their soul’s salvation is concerned. You see, life is passing swiftly by and one day, time will run out, James 4:14; Pro. 27:1; Job 7:6-7; Job 9:25-26; Psa. 39:5; Psa. 90:6-7. Where will you be them?) The haste with which life passes by is the reason the Bible tells man to be saved today – 2 Cor. 6:2. Today is the only day you are promised! You may feel this same sense of urgency, but that will not be enough to save you from eternal damnation!

E. Humility – v. 17b – This young man came before Jesus humbly. He demanded nothing, but he bowed before the Lord and asked of Him. It takes a humble person to come before God and confess their sins and receive Christ into their heart. A humble life and spirit are good things, but just being meek and humble will not keep you out of Hell. Having a sense of the fear of the Lord is wonderful, and many lost people have a fear of God and His power, but these are not enough. This man was humble, yet he wasn’t saved!

F. He Had A Desire For Salvation – v. 18 – This man cared about where he would spend eternity. This tells me he believed in Heaven and in Hell. It appears that he wanted the best after life that he could achieve. Yet, a desire for salvation is not enough to bring it about. There are people who have spent a lifetime in the House of God and long to be in Heaven when they die, yet they have never been truly saved. They have a desire for it, but have never followed through and been born again.

(Ill. Anyone in their right mind would care about where they were going when they died. Only a fool really believes that men are nothing more than animals. Man has an eternal soul! You will live forever in one of 2 places. However, just thinking about it and worrying about it and wanting it will never get the job done. You have to take it one step farther and do something about it.)

G. He Was Loved By God – v. 21a – Even though he was a sinner, he was still loved by the Lord. (Ill. This is a true window into the heart of Jesus and His compassion for sinners!) Every lost person enjoys this same love today – Jer. 31:3. In fact, the love of God for fallen man was so great that He gave up His Son to die on the cross to save men from their sins – John 3:16; Rom. 5:8.

(Even though man is loved everlastingly, and totally, that in itself is not enough to bring about your salvation. Jesus loves you, but He will not force His salvation on you, Ill. Rev. 3:20. If you get saved, you will have to go just a little farther than being loved by God.)


A. When this man came before Jesus, Jesus simply held up the mirror of God’s Word before him to reveal his sinfulness to him.

(Ill. Like a mirror, the Word of God has the power to show us what we really are, James 1:23-25. Ill. The Laver at the Tabernacle, Exodus 30:18-21. It was made from the looking glasses of the women, Exodus 38:8. Every time the priests entered the Tabernacle, they were required to wash their hands and their feet. In doing so, they would look into the Laver and see their reflection. The Laver therefore served as a mirror to remind them that they were sinners and that they were unclean before God and in need.)

(Ill. Christ’s desire was that this man come to see himself as a sinner, and that he was in need of salvation.)

(Ill. Many in our day share a common problem with this rich young man. They see themselves a moral people and feel that they need nothing from God or man. However, the Word of God has declared all to be sinners in need of a Savior!)

B. Jesus not only held him up to the mirror, He also touched his sore spot. In verse 21, Jesus told this man exactly what he had to do to be saved forever. His challenge to this rich young man was threefold.

1. Renounce your wealth – This man’s money was in truth his god. He trusted money, he worshiped money and he received his fulfillment from money. Therefore, even though he was moral and upright, his god was his money.

2. Take Up Your Cross – This young man was called to leave his place of position and power and identify himself with the shame of the cross. He was called upon to give up his life for Jesus.

3. Follow Jesus – He was called upon to place his trust in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ for his salvation. He was to turn away from everything he had been trusting in a place his trust totally in Jesus and nothing else for salvation.

C. These requirements still stand today!

1. Renounce Your Wealth – Jesus doesn’t ask you to give up all that you own. He just wants you to know that you cannot receive the gift of eternal life while you are grasping the world. What Jesus wants the lost person to know is that they are loved and they can be saved, but they are going to have to be willing to turn from those things that have a hold on their lives. In other words, you cannot have Jesus and your sins! Repentance is an absolutely essential component in salvation, Luke 13:5; 24:37.

2. Take Up Your Cross – This means that you must be willing to be identified with Jesus. It isn’t always popular to be known as a Christian. The world may hate you and despise His Name. However, the one who truly loves the Lord will be willing to bear the shame of the old rugged cross. (Ill. Anyone who isn’t willing to publicly claim His Name and follow Him is a coward and is probably not even saved, in my opinion!)

3. Follow Him – This simply is the way to be saved. That is to place you faith in Jesus and in Jesus alone. You are following Him if you have received the Gospel account of His birth, life, death and resurrection, and if you are trusting His blood, alone to save you from your sins. Is your faith in Jesus? Acts 16:31; Rom. 10:9-10.

(Ill. Who Jesus really is, notice verses 17-18. Jesus reveals His identity to this young man. He declares Himself to be God! Jesus is saying that if He is good, then He is God! His challenge to the young man is to believe in Christ alone, and in what He can do for the sinner. Who is Jesus to you today? A great teacher? A good man? A poor guy who got Himself killed on a cross? A good excuse for presents at Christmas and a diner at Easter? Who is He? If He is anything less than God, then He can never be your Savior!)

D. This young man had the same problem that millions of others have this morning, they are trusting everything but the right thing to get them to Heaven! They possess a lot of this world’s goods, they are morally pure, they are good respected people, but they are lost and they are hellbound because they have never trusted Jesus as their personal Savior.


A. This man was offered eternal life, yet he thought the price was just too high for him to pay. He chose his riches over his own soul – Mark 8:36-37.

B. What is that is keeping you from coming to Jesus today? Whatever it is, it isn’t worth going to hell over! Nothing is!

C. When it comes to salvation, you are going to make a decision. In fact, you are going to make it today. You will either choose to get up and come down to the altar and receive Jesus as you Savior, or you will choose to get up and walk out of here as lost as you were when you entered. I pray that you will choose Heaven over Hell this day.

(Ill. I believe it was Sir Isaac Newton who said, "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." While that is true in the world of nature and science, it is also true in the realm of spirituality. Your decision in regard to Jesus Christ will determine exactly what you can look forward to in eternity.)


A. Verse 22 says that he went away "grieved." This word was used to mean ‘the gathering of storm clouds." This young man literally walked away from the sunshine and directly into the storm.

B. When a person rejects Christ as Savior, they have no other place to turn to, Acts 4:12, Heb. 2:3.

C. Therefore, this young man’s prospects for eternity, while they could have been wonderful and guaranteed him an eternity of bliss in glory, became very bleak and promised only Hell because he refused to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for his salvation.

D. I want you to understand today that if you receive Jesus as your Savior, you have the promise of Heaven and all it’s glories. However, if you choose to walk away from Jesus, you will never find salvation anywhere else and you will eventually wind up in Hell, forever apart from the God who loves you and died for you, 2 Thes. 1:8-9.

Conc: Now, I don’t want you to go to Hell, and I don’t believe you want to go there either. You don’t have to! All you need to do to be guaranteed a future in glory is to come to Jesus now and receive Him as you Savior. He isn’t asking for much, just you. Ill. The thief on the cross, Luke 23:39-43. This man had no money, no future, no hope. He could produce no works and could do absolutely nothing for the Lord. He couldn’t be baptized, he couldn’t preach, he couldn’t go to church or Sunday School. All he could do was place his faith in Jesus and trust Him to save his soul. That is exactly what he did and Jesus saved him that day and for all eternity. He can and will do the same for you if you will just come to him right now. Is that "one thing" missing from your life today? If so, then come and let Jesus give it to you. Will you give Jesus the privilege of being you Savior? If so, you will not be turned away, but you will be saved right here, right now and forever. The choice is yours. Don’t be like this young man and walk away from the sunshine and into the gathering storm of God’s fierce wrath.


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