Easier for a Camel
Pastor John Sloan
Introduction: Hiking to the top of a formidable mountain. Completing a marathon. Recovering from invasive surgery. Some of life’s hurdles are known to be so difficult they’re considered virtually insurmountable. Nevertheless, with a well-devised plan, a steely resolve, and the help of friends, such challenges can be overcome. But some obstacles are, in fact, impossible to overcome. Like gaining entrance into heaven by our own resources.
Questions For Discussion & Discovery
1. Is money inherently evil? If not, why does Jesus so often warn about the dangers of it? And why is it so difficult for a wealthy man to enter the kingdom of God?
2. Read John 3:1-15. What does it mean for a person to be “born again”? How does this take place? In what sense is it supernatural?
3. How does God’s miraculous work in bringing about salvation comfort us right now?
4. What does it mean to “leave father or mother or children or lands” (verse 29) for the sake of Jesus’ name? Does leaving those things require a geographical move?
5. Pastor and poet, Eugene Peterson, says that the great hope for Christians is God’s personal, unalterable, persevering commitment to us. Not our commitment to him. What do you think he means?
1. Read Matthew 19:23-25.
2. 01. Few things, if any, can blind us of our need for God more than money.
3. Read Matthew 19:25-26.
4. “Jesus recognized their problem and assured them of two things: the first was the sheer impossibility of any human activity bringing about the salvation of a rich man (or, for that matter, any man) and second, that God is not limited as people are.” – Leon Morris
5. 02. In bringing to life those who are spiritually dead, God makes the impossible both possible and certain.
6. “You are right. … And it is just as true that, if you think you are saved because you give Jesus your heart, you will not be saved. You see,’ [he said] reassuringly, as he continued to look at the young pastor’s face, in which uncertainty and resentment were shown in a struggle for the upper hand, ‘it is one thing to choose Jesus as one’s Lord and Savior, to give Him one’s heart and commit oneself to Him, and that he now accepts one into His little flock; it is a very different thing to believe on Him as a Redeemer of sinners, of whom one is chief. One does not choose a Redeemer for oneself, you understand, nor gives one’s heart to Him. The heart is a rusty old can on a junk heap. A fine birthday gift, indeed! But a wonderful Lord passes by, and has mercy on the wretched tin can, sticks his walking cane through it and rescues it from the junk pile and takes it home with Him. That is how it is.”
7. Read Matthew 19:27-30.
8. 03. Kingdom economics are paradoxical; what God values differs greatly from what the world esteems.