Now a certain ruler asked Him saying, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Luke 18:18
The Royal Law consists of two commandments on which eternal life rests and is the very foundation of our salvation. Loving God and our neighbor is a divine relationship that no one can keep apart from the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit who enables us to fulfill the law of Christ, thus bearing the outward sign of the fruit of true agape love.
When one surrenders his life to the conviction that he is indeed asinner in need of salvation andrepents of his sin and submits to thelordship of Christ, Holy Spirit descends into his heart and begins to live His life through him and a new relationship begins to form with the Father that in turn births a true love for all of mankind, resulting in the obedience to the Royal Law of Christ! The sons of God are led to bear the same fruit as the Lord Jesus did in the earth by developing a love relationship with God and man.
In this message we will see what the consequences are for disobedience to the Royal Law and how two men failed the test of true salvation. One, the rich ruler refused to obey the greatest of all commandments to love God with all of his heart and the second, the rich man, who refused to love his neighbor, Lazarus who was sent to him.
"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
LOVING GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART
"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." Luke 18:22
The rich ruler came asking for eternal life but his heart was tied to his riches so Jesus told him to sell all and follow Him. Today if someone came seeking salvation he would be asked to bow his head and mutter the sinner's prayer and would be made a member in good standing, and if he wasrich he would be eventually be made a deacon and be put over the finances. Sound familiar?
The rich ruler refused to give up his life to follow Jesus because he was very rich and his heart was tied to his riches. So it is today, thousands walk the isles of churches all over the world thinking that praying a little worthless oath will save them but never having a thought about giving up their life for Christ! Everyone in the New Testament scriptures who were recorded being saved gave up all to follow Jesus and there is never a report of someone praying a prayer. Jesus didn't lead the disciples, Paul didn't lead the Gentiles and neither did anyone else because the conviction of sin brought them to desperation leading them to repentance.
At Pentecost the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the disciples of Christ in the upper room and they were all filled with the Spirit and began to speak in tongues. Peter then addressed the crowd of three thousand with the gospel of Jesus Christ telling them that they had put Him to death and that led them to be convicted of their sins and they cried out saying,"What shall we do?"
"Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38
THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS
"There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. "But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores." Luke 16:19-21
Before you start judging the rich man for his sin I want you to think about your own lives and the fact that there are millions of Lazarus's laid just outside of your door and outside the gates of the church! Now focus on what the Word is saying: Lazarus was laid at the rich man's gate, meaning that someone purposely laid him there, but for what? A test!
God had him put there to test the rich man's heart to see if he would help him or ignore him, and every day he had to step over poor Lazarus in order to leave his home. Day after day he saw his plight and yet never lifted a finger to help him. Can you think of a situation in your life where you saw a desperate need in someones life and turned away trying to ignore what you saw? The world is a sick and sin infested place and there are literally millions of needy people living in poverty and suffering greatly even in this great country. You don't have to go far to spot a Lazarus, they are everywhere!
So what! It's not my problem, after all the government will take care of those lazy bums, or they can go and find a mission or a homeless shelter, it's good enough for them, after all, Jesus said, "The poor you always have with you." A true statement indeed, but He was not giving us an excuse not to help them. The mission of the church is the mission of Jesus, not living in luxury in a Crystal Cathedral of comfort and coffee shops, but out in the world where the poor reside, some just outside your door!
The rich ruler and the rich man both went to Hell because they refused to acknowledge the commands of Christ by not loving God with all of their heart and by not loving their neighbor as themselves. Whats sad is they both will be reminded for eternity of how they had a chance to be saved and rejected it because they refused to lay down their own lives!
And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. "Then he cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.' "But Abraham said, 'Son remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented." Luke 16:23-25