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What Must I Do to Inherit Eternal Life?
Tony Chute, Interim Pastor
Overview: As Jesus continues His journey to Jerusalem, He is approached by a man whose life is fulfilled but whose soul is empty. The man enjoys the blessings of youth, success, and moral integrity, but he is uncertain as to whether he has done enough to please God. Though he comes to Jesus with great respect and with a great question, he is unwilling to acknowledge Jesus’ ultimate authority over his life and walks away in a worse condition than before. The disciples are amazed that such a man is not fit to enter the kingdom, yet Jesus assures them that God’s grace is more than sufficient to save, and God’s goodness is manifest to all who serve.
01. In order to inherit eternal life, we must abandon both our sin and self-righteousness to embrace the Son of God and receive His righteousness. This is impossible for us but possible with God.
02. In anticipation of eternal life, we can abandon both our comfort and our safety to follow the Son of God and receive His rewards. This promise comes to us from our gracious God.
Questions for Discussion and Discovery
1. What desirable qualities does the man in this story demonstrate with respect to managing his life well? What examples of respect for Jesus are evident in this story? Why then does he still fall short of pleasing God and inheriting eternal life?
2. Does Jesus require all people to sell all they have in order to follow Him? Why does Jesus single out this command for this man? What “pet sins” have you laid down in order to demonstrate commitment to Jesus?
3. Notice the language Mark uses with respect to Jesus’ heart in verse 21. How does this information help us to see God’s commands on our lives as coming from His heart? Are you more motivated to serve the Lord by responding to His love?
4. Notice how the man went away disheartened and sad (verse 22). What does this tell us about people who seem to have it all and yet are unfulfilled inside? How does this insight into the rich man’s heart help us to avoid coveting things that will not last and will not bring ultimate fulfillment?
5. Jesus promises rewards for those who follow Him (verses 29-30). How does this promise shape our understanding of material goods (i.e., are they inherently evil, or are they good when used for the right purposes?). Have you given thought to God’s generosity, which will be fully revealed when He gives eternal rewards to those who have followed Jesus? What examples of God’s generosity can you testify to in this lifetime?
For Further Reading: Craig Blomberg, Neither Poverty Nor Riches: A Biblical Theology of Possessions (IVP Academic, 2000).