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Matthew 19:16-26

Hold Nothing Back

  • Samuel Wilson
  • Weekend Messages
  • January 19, 2020

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Hold Nothing Back

Matthew 19:16-26

Illus. Okay, go for it!

This morning we are going to look at a story of a young man who came to Jesus seeking assurance regarding the biggest question in his life, how can he obtain eternal life. He comes to Jesus searching for the answer, and Jesus gets to his heart in the matter. Jesus pointed him toward what was ultimately holding him back, to the one thing he still lacked. In pointing him to what was holding him back, Jesus also extended an invitation, to come and follow, but what he was being asked to give up was ultimately too hard for him to swallow. The questions we center on today as it relates to walking with Jesus, are “what is off limits?” “where is the boundary?” “what is untouchable?

Read: Matthew 19:16-26

The young man coming to Jesus was asking essentially “what is holding me back from heaven?” “what is in the way and what good deed, good thing can I do to ensure that I am in? Jesus ultimately illuminated that which was truly in the way, and ultimately untouchable to the young man; and that with which was in the way, was so essential to the young man, that he was unwilling to let go and walked away from Jesus. It was that which he was holding back that would ultimately hold him back.

For you and me, there are many things which we too value greatly, but when or if that something greatly valued gets in the way of your pathway toward the promise found in Jesus will you go or will you stay? Will you turn and walk away, or hold nothing back, because you know that He is the only way. Getting back to the question we center on today, what, if anything, is off limits? What is untouchable?

I encourage you in your life to hold nothing back.   

I.   Determine Jesus’ Identity

Matthew 19:16-20

  • This particular circumstance, as well as, many we face in our lives, centers on a question. Who is Jesus?
  • The young man coming to Jesus has a backstory, just like you and me. Through the accounts of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, we get a glimpse into who exactly he was.

Illus. Who is he?

  • It was clear that he knew he lacked something, he had many things, but he did not have eternal life. And without assurance of his eternal destiny, it did not matter how much equity he had in the things of this world, something, the most important thing, was missing and he knew it.
  • In knowing what is missing – eternal life, he ran to Jesus. He identifies Jesus as the One who can answer this question, and he was in the right place, before the only One who could truly answer.
  • Just as Jesus was the One to run to in determining the answer to this most pressing question in His life, Jesus is also the One to run to regarding the question regarding eternal life, for you and I.

1 John 5:11, God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

1 John 5:20, We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true. And we are in Him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

Illus. Who do you say I am?

Matthew 16:24-26

  • It is one thing to hear or read Jesus these words, but it is altogether another when they are personally applied, to your personal and specific situation.
  • This rich young ruler was asking Jesus about his specific and personal situation, Jesus was going to respond to Him personally. He will do the same for you and me.
  • Determining Jesus’ identity personally is essential to in your determination to hold nothing back.
  • Jesus asks the rich young ruler, “Why are you asking me about what is good? There is only One who is good.”
  • It is a striking response, that seems to center on the importance of the man’s realization of just who he thought Jesus was.
  • Did he realize Jesus’ identity as the Messiah, as the Way, as the Truth, as the Life, did he know that there was salvation in no other name than the One to which he had come.

Illus. That part should change.

Matthew 7:24-25, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.

  • When you determine His identity as Lord and Savior of your life, when you know He is the author and perfecter of faith (Hebrews 12:2), when you know He is the Rock spoken of in Deuteronomy 32:4, then you will walk according to all He calls you to.
  1. Follow Beyond any Barrier
  • In response to the rich young ruler’s question about what “good thing” he could do to obtain eternal life, Jesus begins the process of drilling down deeper than some “good thing” and is determined to get below the surface to actual barrier.

Matthew 19:17-20

  • Jesus then said to the young man, “If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Jesus’s answer is clear, “If you want to enter life by your doing; then keep the commandments.”
  • By referencing the commandments, Jesus was not saying that the man would be saved by obeying the commandments. Jesus was however, emphasizing the Law as God’s perfect standard.

1 Timothy 1:8, But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully.

  • Lawful use of the law is to show us our error, to show us our sin, not to lead us to righteousness.

Galatians 3:24, Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.

Galatians 3:11, Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”

  • Regarding Jesus instruction to keep the commandments, the young man responds, “Which ones?
  • Jesus responds by giving specifically five of the 10 commandments, but he was just getting the conversation started.
  • If the young man was going to get anywhere by Law keeping, “which ones” did not apply.

James 2:10, Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles on one point has become guilty of all.

  • He answered that he had kept all these things since he was young and continued, “What am I still lacking?”
  • Whether he had truly kept the commandments or not was for Jesus’ to determine.
  • Outwardly, he may have kept those specific commandments perfectly. Much was made in that day about what people did outwardly, but Jesus would turn the attention to his heart.

Matthew 5:20, For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

  • While he may have kept them outwardly, it is clear that he knew there was something missing in his life. Something was lacking, something was in the way.
  • Jesus boiled it down to the barrier that was in the way of his willingness to follow the Lord, it was his possessions.

Matthew 19:20-22

  • As mentioned early, the law leads us, as a tutor, to Christ. Here is becomes clear that he was not able to keep the commandments, because he turned away from Jesus, unable to fulfill what Jesus called the greatest commandment of all, “to love the Lord with all his heart, his soul, and mind” (Matthew 22:37)
  • Luke 18:18, He calls Jesus good teacher. He is good and He is God, since He is God and God works all things together for good (Romans 8:28) follow beyond the barrier.
  1. Trust Him to Bring What is Better
  • This brings us back to the question we are considering today. What is the limit, barrier, or boundary that you aren’t willing to follow beyond?
  • For him, it was his possessions. They were in the way.

Illus. Who does this apply to? Not everyone, not no one.

  • Jesus was calling the man to be His disciple. In saying “Follow Me,” He was using the words which He used to call several of His 12 disciples (Mt. 4:19; 8:22; 9:9; Mk. 2:14). Jesus called him to be his disciple, but it meant leaving behind what he had his heart set on.
  • While his giving up any or everything would not merit salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9), it would surely show that he desired salvation above all else.
  • He came to Jesus expressing his desire for eternal life, but that desire was diminished, leaving his distraught at the thought of giving up all He owned.
  • The reality is that what God would give, those treasures that remained for eternity, would outweigh anything he had or could attain on this earth.
  • The question remains for you today, what is the barrier? What are you willing to keep in the way? For this man it was his wealth. What might it be for you? What barrier is in the way of your following Jesus fully today?
  • Where do you own much property? So much property that it is in the way of your walk with Jesus? That you are willing to walk away from Him sad, because you want that thing so badly.

Matthew 6:19-21, Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

  • There your treasure is your heart will be also. Your heart follows your treasure.

Illus. This is better.

Psalm 34:8, Taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him!

2 Corinthians 5:7, For we walk by faith, not by sight.

  1. Pursue what only God makes possible.
  • The young man walked away grieved after hearing Jesus’ answer. He was willing to follow his possessions. But it would not be a stretch to think that Jesus too, was grieved, in seeing this one come so close, yet not trust and believe.
  • It was then that Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.”
  • Realizing the impossibility of a camel, the largest animal in Palestine to get through a needle, the disciples ask, “Who then can be saved?”

Matthew 19:26, And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

  • With God, all things are possible. With God, salvation is possible, with God you will make it through, with God you will get there, He will make a where there is no way.
  • Salvation is not possible for anyone from human standpoint. No one can be saved by wealth, achievement, talent, good deeds: with men it is impossible. But with God, all things are possible.

Illus. Closing quote. 

Revelation 3:17-19

  • When Jesus tells us He is the way, He means it. There is no other way, no other name in heaven by which we must be saved, hold nothing back from Him because He has held nothing back from you.

Matthew 19:16-26 

And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Then he *said to Him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not commit murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother; and You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man *said to Him, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property.

And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?” And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”


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