Wednesday, September 6, 2023

The Impossible Possibility

 Wednesday, September 6, 2023 Some material taken from The Impossible Possibility.

And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, 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.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19: 23- 26

The Impossible Possibility

Yesterday we looked at the story of Jesus’ response to the rich young ruler who had asked Him what good deed he needed to do to get to heaven. The young man believed that he had done all the good things he needed to do, but he knew he still lacked something. Until we have a relationship with Jesus, we will always feel this lack. He is the only thing that can make up for this lack, and a relationship with Him is the only way to eternal life.  

Jesus told His disciples that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. The first thing anyone thinks of when they hear this, is that it is impossible. In fact, as humans we look at all our seemingly impossible situations - from how will we pay the mortgage this month to how will we ever be worthy enough to get into heaven - with hopelessness. We can only see with our human eyes, but God sees yesterday, today, and forever with His eyes. With him all things are possible. In our own strength very little is possible, and without Him, we cannot enter into eternal life with Him in heaven. He makes all our impossibilities possible. 

The disciples were shocked. Riches were thought to be a sign of God’s blessing and favor, so if a rich man could not enter heaven, then how could anyone? It seemed just as impossible as a camel, the largest land animal, fitting through the smallest thing, an eye of a needle. The truth is, it is exactly that impossible when we try to do it in our own power. 

Jesus is not just picking on wealthy people, and He is not saying that if you are wealthy, you can’t go to heaven. What He is saying is that it may be harder for someone with riches to put God first, above all their possessions. Money gives people a false sense of satisfaction, so they may not follow after God like they would if they had no money. It tends to make us content with this world, when we are supposed to be just passing through, not settling down. It doesn't have to "money." We can all fill in the blank with something that we love and would have a hard time sacrificing. But as Jesus told the rich young ruler, the riches of heaven are far more satisfying than anything this world can offer. 

Jesus points out two important things that we all need to know to have eternal life.

1.    Our need for a SUBSTITUTE - there is no way we will ever be “Good enough.” Man is sinful and sin separates us from God. But God made a way by sending Jesus to bridge the gap between us and Him. Jesus took on flesh and kept the commands perfectly. He then gave himself as the payment for our sins on the cross, and was raised to life on the third day, bringing eternal life to all who will receive it. This is the great exchange that God made for us to have eternal life. God took our sins and placed them on Christ, in exchange for His righteousness. The righteousness of Christ is the only way to be made right with God. Only He is good enough to get into heaven, and He was good enough for all humanity. He paid the admission for everyone who would ever want to trust Him and accept this amazing gift of eternal life. His invitation to you and I is the same as it was to the rich young ruler that day. Follow Me. If we are going to follow Him and not walk away sorrowful like the young man in the story, we must be willing to surrender.

2.    Our need to SURRENDER- The young man asks, “What good must be done…,” and Jesus respond, “Keep the commands.” The man then wants to know which ones and when Jesus responds, he tells Jesus that he has already kept all those commands. Then Jesus tells him to sell everything and give the money to the poor and the man went away sad. He loved his possessions and wanted them more than he wanted to follow God. The one command he had not kept, and still could not keep was the first and greatest commandment – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”  When we love God, we put Him above everything else in our lives. When He is more important to us than anything or anyone, we can surrender in obedience to Him. We can live open handed because we recognize that all we have is His. To follow Him, we must surrender in obedience. Obedience to God is the measuring stick of whether we truly love God.  “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” – John 14:15

We have hope because Jesus is calling us to follow Him. We have the invitation, our debt is paid, we only have to surrender in obedience. For us and all who will accept it, The impossible camel through the eye of the needle is for salvation and is possible by placing total trust in Jesus Christ. He cancelled out our debt and the impossible goal of being good enough to get into heaven. He did for us what we could never do for ourselves. Today is the day – God is for you and waiting for you to accept Him, surrender and follow Him, making Him the Lord of your life. 

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

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