Love Is His Answer

Preached at Riverview Baptist (798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, Tn) May 28, 2017

1Matthew 19:16-22 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?  [17]  And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.   [18]  He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,   [19]   Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.   [20]  The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?  [21]  Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.   [22]  But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

A man came to Jesus looking for eternal life. He called Jesus “Good Master” or ἀγαθός agathos διδάσκαλος didaskalos, literally “Good Teacher”. Jesus rejected the adjective “Good”. Jesus said “Why do you call Me “good”? There is no one “good” but God”.

Now Jesus Christ is “good”. He is the “Good Shepherd Who gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:11). Jesus applied that term to Himself, so why does He reject this most common adjective now? Because this man did not come to Jesus as He is, but as he THOUGHT Jesus was. You cannot learn or receive eternal life from a mere man. God is the Author of life. God is the Giver of life. If there is eternal life to be had, you must have it from God. It would be like this, if I can use this illustration.

My car starts running badly, skipping and popping and sputtering. I need to get it fixed. So I drive up to the local McDonald’s, and pull my car into the drive through window. “Welcome to McDonald’s – may I take your order”. I respond, “Why yes. My car is sputtering and smoking. I need you to send someone out to look at it.” The person on the speaker says “Do you want fries with that?” No they don’t. They probably call the police, or the people with nets and padded rooms. I’m going to McDonald’s to get my car fixed, I must be out of my mind.

This young man comes to Jesus. “Good Teacher, how can I have eternal life?” Jesus responds “Why do you call Me – just a Teacher – “Good”. Only God is Good”.

Jesus Christ is God incarnate, God become flesh. Among mankind the Bible says – as Jesus responded:

Romans 3:10-12 (ESV)  as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;  [11]  no one understands; no one seeks for God.  [12]  All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

Good” is an adjective that belongs only to God. Jesus Christ is Good because Jesus Christ is more than a mere Teacher. Jesus is the Author of life. The Bible declares:

John 1:1-4 (KJV)  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  [2]  The same was in the beginning with God.  [3]  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  [4]  In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

Jesus is not just a Teacher, though no greater Teacher ever existed. Jesus is the Messiah sent of God. Jesus declared:

John 5:24-26 (ESV)   Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.   [25]   “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.   [26]   For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.

Jesus is Good. He is the “Author of Life”. Peter preached to the Jews at the Gate Beautiful:

Acts 3:15 (NLT) You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. And we are witnesses of this fact!

Jesus is no mere Teacher. He is good, and holy, and righteous. He is the Author of life and the Granter of eternal life. This young man physically is at the right Source, but spiritually he’s standing at a McDonald’s. Jesus is the Author of life!

In Grace Jesus responds to the young man. Let’s look at what Jesus said.

Matthew 19:17 …. but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

Those Who Have Eternal Life Lovingly Obey The Father

As Jesus speaks to this young man He has peered into his heart and seen what is most important to him. Jesus’ response is based on where this young man’s heart is pointing. Where is his heart pointing? Jesus tells the young man:

Keep The Commandments

Now I want you to understand that I believe salvation is all of grace. I believe the Scripture when it says:

Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV)  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  [9]  Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Titus 3:3-6 (KJV)  For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.  [4]  But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,  [5]  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;  [6]  Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

Eternal life is a gift bestowed on those who receive Christ as Lord and Savior. We cannot work our way into Heaven, no more than those who built the Tower of Babel could build a stairway to God. Christ is our Savior. He paid for us, making atonement for us by His Blood shed on Calvary’s Cross.

But once saved, the Child of God wants to do the Father’s will.

The Child of God – born again by faith in Christ – obeys His Commandments.

We who are saved delight to do His Will. We who are saved are relieved of condemnation, headed toward glory, and under His peculiar care. God loves His Children, and His Children love Him.

When a person comes to me and says “I’m saved, but I do not want to obey God’s Word. I want to pick and choose what part of God’s clearly revealed will that I will obey” – it is my duty, and your duty as well, to tell that person they are our of line. Jesus Christ does not save us IN our sins, but He saves us to make us like Him. We who are saved will on occasion fall, but we will NEVER exalt ourselves in sin. Saved by Christ we hear His Word:

2 Corinthians 6:16-18 (ESV)  What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  [17]  Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you,  [18]  and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

There is no Christian who, upon discovering sin in their lives winks at it and hides it. Sin is against our Father’s will.

When Jesus told this young man “Keep the commandments” I want you to notice his response:

Matthew 19:17-18 {Jesus said} … but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.   [18]{the young man” saith unto him, Which?

Which commandments?”
Which commandments are the most important?
God the Father’s commandments are all important.
The will of God is all important.

A man who was a Pharisee and a Lawyer came to Jesus one day and asked:

Matthew 22:36 (ESV)  “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”

He calls Jesus not the Son of God but διδάσκαλος didaskalos – a Teacher, just like many others who are teachers. That is an honorable profession – thank God for teachers – but Jesus is so much more. But Jesus didn’t challenge the lawyer. He answered:

Matthew 22:37-40 (ESV)  And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.   [38]   This is the great and first commandment.   [39]   And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.   [40]   On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

If you love God the way that you’re supposed to love God, you won’t ask God “which commandments should I obey?” That’s a foolish statement. If you are going to enter into eternal life you’re not going to Heaven to argue with God. You cannot cherry pick commandments.

The Two Greatest Commandments on which all of the Scripture is based is to:

  1. Love God MORE than ourselves, MORE than our things, MORE than our families, MORE than anything.
  2. Love our neighbor as ourselves.

Think about that word “neighbor” for a moment. This is an Old English compound word which is composed of “NAE” meaning NEAR & “BUER” which means “to dwell”. We are to love God Who is above us with a lofty love much greater than we love anything else. But those in proximity to us – our NAE BUERS – these we are to love as we love our own selves.

Even the Ten Commandments are in two parts. The first FOUR of the Ten Commandments tell us to love God. The last SIX of the Ten Commandments tell us to love our neighbor.

When this young man said “Which?” – as in “Which commandments must I obey” Jesus didn’t mention ANY commandments related to loving God. By this man’s response he ALREADY doesn’t love God. If you love God, you will do what He says. If you love God you will obey Him.

This Young Man Loved Himself, Not God

He wanted to enter into eternal life, but God was not his Father. He loved only himself. He loved only his possessions. He is like many in our world today. They have gained the whole world, but lost their own souls (Mark 8:36). This young man is his own god. He worships at the altar of ME, and tithes to a god called “Self”. Jesus responds to the young man’s question with:

Matthew 19:18-19 … Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,   [19]   Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Jesus does not mention:

Command 1 – Love God above all else

Command 2 – Do not worship any other gods but God

Command 3 – Do not take God’s name in vain

Command 4 – Remember to worship God at least one day a week

Jesus instead focuses on the commandments that relate to others, to the NAE BUER.

Command 5 – You shall treat your parents with honor

Command 6 – You shall not murder another

Command 7 – You shall not murder a marriage

Command 8 – You shall not steal from another

Command 9 – You shall not besmirch another person’s character with lies

Then Jesus sums it up this way:

You shall love your neighbor as yourself

You cannot have eternal life unless you have love toward your neighbor. Why?

Because God is love. If you are born again into the Kingdom of God, if you have received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, you cannot help but love your neighbor. The Scripture declares:

1 John 4:7-8 (ESV)  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  [8]  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

That’s very plain. If you are born again, God is in you. God is love. If God is in you, you love your neighbor as you love yourself. We read:

1 John 4:11-12 (ESV)  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  [12]  No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

God resides in His people. Jesus Christ died to bring us to God. When we receive Him, believing that He has paid our sin in full, and that He is worthy to be loved, then God manifests Himself in us. Listen to this:

1 John 4:14-16 (ESV)  And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.  [15]  Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.  [16]  So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

The love we have to our neighbor is the visible marker that we belong to God, that we have eternal life. If you have a good relationship with God, you will have a good relationship with those around you.

The Scripture goes on to say:

1 John 4:20-21 (ESV)  If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.  [21]  And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

We cannot see God now, but we see His handiwork. Those who are saved love their neighbors.

We love the neighbor who doesn’t love us back.

We love the neighbor who seeks to harm us.

We love the neighbor who offends us with his sin.

We do not love his sin, but love him as we want to be loved.

We love our neighbor regardless of color.

Jesus did not say “Love your WHITE neighbor or your BLACK neighbor”

All men and women are created in God’s image.

And God will save whosoever will believe in His Son.

We love our neighbor not just by lipservice, but by showing love.

We love our neighbor by reaching out to help, as Good Samaritans.

We do not COMPLAIN but COMMIT to helping others.

We love our neighbors for Christ’s sake, for He has said:

John 13:34-35 (ESV)   A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.   [35]   By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

This young man replied to Jesus:

Matthew 19:20 All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

If he didn’t love God, he certainly wasn’t loving his neighbor as he loved himself. But his sin and selfishness had blinded him. Sin blinds us to the reality of our lives. So Jesus simply said:

Matthew 19:21-22 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.   [22]  But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. 

He had gained the whole world, but lost his soul.

Oh, that every person would come to God to be saved. Oh that every tongue would look to Him Who gave all for you. Oh that we would see that it was the Love of God that sent the Savior, the love of Christ that endured the Cross, and that everlasting life is only received by those who love Christ, love the Father, and love one another. The Lord’s Table reminds us of love.

May God touch your hearts by His Word.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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