A teaching by Rev. Barbara Williams, President of the Ministry of the Watchman International

Week of December 13-17, 2021

Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ”
And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.”
Luke 18:18-21

This young man asks Jesus the same question that we all ask when we come to God. “Am I o.k.? Is there anything wrong with me?” Of course this question is cloaked in a false security that the well-to-do sometimes have. Non-well-to-doer’s have it also. It is a form of pride that makes us feel that we’re really o.k., but on the outside chance that we’re not, we’d better check with God anyway. You know the ones I’m talking about. You and I used to be the same way before we were born-again.

Whenever someone would mention God, heaven or hell, we would say things like, “I’m not going to hell. I don’t hurt anybody. I don’t drink. I cuss sometimes, but that’s normal, isn’t it? I mean…” You know the rap. We all want to go to heaven just as we are. We don’t want to have to change for anything or anybody. But if we’re honest, the fact that this young man has even inquired about the qualifications for eternal life must mean that he has some doubt or some concern that he does not measure up. Imagine standing before the Holy One with deceit in his heart. The young ruler is trying to get Jesus to change His standards of holiness to accommodate a mere man’s lifestyle.

Interestingly, Jesus tells Him the exact same things that the young man believes will cause him to inherit eternal life. This young man has been a good Israelite, obeying the law from his youth up. But we know that the law carried with it a curse that could not be broken through obeying the law. The curse could only be broken with the shed blood of the sinless sacrifice. The blood of bulls and goats only stood in proxy for the sinless blood that would be shed for mankind. There is only one way to partake of the power of this blood and that is through change.

If you are in need of healing, there is good news! Proverbs 4:20-22 SAYS:

My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.

So there is life and health in God’s word. Since God’s word is medicine, we must take it like we would a prescription. I suggest three times a day, like you would your food. Remember, healing is the children’s bread. Consider this your “dose” for today. Remember, read, and meditate three times a day the following:

Rx: 2 Kings 20:5 ~ Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: “I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you.”

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
2 Timothy 2:15

If you’ve never studied the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, we invite you to join us as we read through the Bible in a year. Read and meditate on these chapters this week:

December 13: 2 Chronicles 14-15, Revelation 4, Haggai 2, John 3
December 14: 2 Chronicles 16, Revelation 5, Zechariah 1, John 4
December 15: 2 Chronicles 17, Revelation 6, Zechariah 2, John 5
December 16: 2 Chronicles 18, Revelation 7, Zechariah 3, John 6
December 17: 2 Chronicles 19-20, Revelation 8, Zechariah 4, John 7
December 18: 2 Chronicles 21, Revelation 9, Zechariah 5, John 8
December 19: 2 Chronicles 22-23, Revelation 10, Zechariah 6, John 9

So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.
Luke 18:22-23

So enter Jesus, the repentance preacher. I’m sure many people thought that that kind of preaching stopped when John the Baptist was murdered, but the gospel of the Kingdom is not bound. He immediately tells this young man that he is lacking. To tell a rich man that takes boldness. I’ve seen some of the wildest preachers get into the presence of the wealthy.

I believe their boldness takes them there. The benevolent, compassionate, loving Savior who has just corrected the disciples for refusing to allow the children to come to him is now risking insult to this young man by telling him that for all his wealth there is something that he does not possess. That’s boldness.

This something that he lacks cannot be purchased with his money or position. This something requires a sacrifice on his part. This something comes through repentance (the Greek word “metanoia” means to change one’s mind). So this young man’s problem is a mind-set caused by a heart condition.

We all have it. It’s called selfishness and it keeps many of us from entering fully into the blessings of God. We know we’re probably wrong, but we wanna be right anyway. There’s something unsettled within, but we’d rather ignore it and believe we’re okay. But Jesus knows everything. He has the answer. The answer is change.

So this young man, for all his wealth and position, will have to conform to the same standards as the drug addict, prostitute, liar, backbiter, adulterer and murderer. Calvary puts us all on level ground. He is sad at this news because he wants to have heaven without meeting heaven’s requirements. He finds that his wealth will not buy heaven.

And when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! For 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.”
Luke 18:24-25

The Master knows our hearts. He wants us to enter into the Kingdom. He promises us the Kingdom. This young man wants the Kingdom. We want the Kingdom.

Which part of him desires the Kingdom? Is it the heart that is humble toward God or is it his carnal man? Is it the man that desires fellowship with His creator or is it the one who likes the trappings of his earthly position? We need to know from whence come certain desires. Why does Jesus say it is hard for those who have riches to enter into the kingdom? Because it’s true.

The rich tend to trust in their riches. Ever wonder why our money says “in God we trust?” We need a reminder that wealth is only temporal. All material wealth will pass away, but this young man is asking about eternal things. There is a different system that must be employed if we are to inherit eternal life. That system requires that we make a sacrifice of our fleshly wants and desires and only want what the Master wants.

When we follow Jesus we are no longer in charge. This young man found this all hard to swallow. He was required to give up his hard-earned position of status and to sell all his wealth and give to the poor in order to have riches that would last unto eternity. I’d say he was getting a far better deal than he had, but he did not think so. He did not want to change.

And when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! For 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.”
Luke 18:24-25

Jesus knows how hard it is to get people who are tied to the world’s system to let go of it. We’re all tied to it in one way or another. Easier to get a camel through the eye of a needle, He says.

I’ve heard the teachings about the eye of the needle referring to a narrow gate at the entrance of the city. If a camel was laden down with goods, he could not get through unless he would kneel down. These teachers seem to think kneeling represents humility. Jesus doesn’t think so. I’ve heard this taught to justify holding onto the love of money and things and think you can have true riches, too.

This is not what Jesus told this young man. He was given a direct command that would allow him to enter into a greater Kingdom than this earthly one. All other arguments are therefore moot. Once you have a command from God, you must obey. To do anything else would be to ask God to compromise His holiness for your selfishness. So we must make the required change instead of doing the easy or religious thing, hoping God will honor us anyway.

And those who heard it said, “Who then can be saved?”
But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”
Luke 18:26-27

Apparently the disciples thought that the rich had some type of edge over the poor when it comes to God’s Kingdom. They wondered that if it were hard for the rich to attain heaven, who could?

Jesus answers that it is impossible with men, but possible with God. God sets the requirements for our entry into heaven and it always requires change. Many times we want the material blessings without making the change in our heart that is necessary to get the power to keep the devil from stealing it back from us.

For instance, if God has blessed you with a vehicle and you resent bringing the saints to church in it, get ready! You may lose that vehicle because the heart change has not taken place that will allow you to resist the devil in times of testing and trial. If that car is dear to you, give it over to the service of the Lord and watch Him increase and prosper you with it.

Think about all the things we have lost over the years. Was God in full control over that area or had we not made the necessary inner change that God requires that would enable us to fully possess it for him?

So change. God’s required change is good. It allows you to have true riches in heaven and blessings in this life as well. If you are afraid to turn away from your selfish ways and wholly follow Jesus, pray the prayer of consecration, as Jesus did in the garden. “Not my will, Father, but thine be done.” Change is good.