Giving It All Up

covered-in-the-dust-of-the-rabbiPublic Reading: Luke 18:15-34

•    Pairs

o    Little children and rich grownups (verses 15-22)
o    Lose everything to get everything (verses 23-30)

Little Children

•    People where bring their little kids for Jesus to bless

o    Think about that…getting blessed by God Himself!! Wow
o    It should be noted that this was a common practice back then
o    Still is a practice today…to a certain extent…we bless babies in church

•    The 12 disciples tied to stop this from happening

o    They figured Jesus was too busy and important to worry about children
o    Children, after all, are messy, noisy, get in the way a lot, ask too many questions…etc.
o    Like the old comment about kids been seen and not heard and rarely seen at that

•    Jesus saw things differently

o    He wanted the kids to come up to Him
o    In fact, Mark 10:14 says that Jesus was “indignant” that the kids were being kept from Him

*    Indignant means “feeling or showing anger because of something unjust or unworthy”
*    That is pretty powerful!!!

o    Jesus was angry at his followers – the guys he handed picked – because they tried to keep a bunch of little kids away….
o    Think about that for a bit…

*    If Jesus is that passionate for children, should we be too?
*    Shouldn’t we be doing everything in our power to make sure the folks that Jesus wants to hold and bless get to the chance to meet His?
*    Yet, How often do we, in our own way, try to keep the church clean by not invite those people?

•    Receiving the Kingdom of God

o    Jesus told his followers that the Kingdom of God belongs to the little children

*    That whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it…

o    That should get our attention!!!

•    What is Jesus talking about?

o    The phrase “Kingdom of God” is an odd one that basically means “the dynamic rule and reign of God”
o    It is a term that the Jewish people started using between the Old and New Testament to refer to the time when God would fulfill His promises to rule over the land and destroy evil
o    There are verses that talk about enter into the kingdom; other which say that the kingdom is coming; still others that it is in our midst; and is still a long ways off

•    Receiving and entering into…

o    In a nutshell, Jesus is saying that if we want to see the rule and reign of God, we are too humble ourselves and become like a small child…. Like the ones who crawled up into Jesus lap and was blessed by him
o    This doesn’t mean that we can’t ask questions – kids ask ALL kinds of questions!

*    It just means that we trust Jesus even when we don’t like His answers
*    We just grab his hand and follow him…

Rich Ruler

•    In contrast with the little children is the story of the rich ruler

o    This guy has everything – money, power, status…

•    He comes up to Jesus and asked what he must do to inherit “eternal life”

o    Now before we go any further, it is important to realize that this man meant by “eternal life”
o    He was not looking for immortality or the fountain of youth

*    The focus on wanting to live forever is a more modern, Europe thing
*    Folks in the 1st Century were not trying to get to “heaven” – they were waiting for “heaven” to come to them!!
*    They were waiting for God to make good on His promises

o    In fact the phrase “eternal life” is used interchangeably with the phrase “kingdom of God”

*    Luke switches tween the two phrases during his reply to the ruler

•    Eternal life – vs. 18 and 30
•    Kingdom of God – Vs. 24-25

•    I say all this to say that the story of the young ruler is dealing with the same question that Jesus answered with the children

o    Who inherits or enters the Kingdom of God?

•    Who how does Jesus answer the question this time?

o    At first he quotes five of the 10 commandments
o    The ruler said that he had followed them all since childhood

*    He was arrogant
*    I don’t know anyone, besides Jesus, who could keep one of those commandments their whole life let along five of them!!

o    Jesus, however, didn’t call him on this – instead he hit him with his other pain point:

*    “Sell everything, give it to the poor and then follow me”
*    Become, in other words, homeless and poor…
*    Leaving everything you have ever known and trust me
*    Become like a little child…..

o    This man wouldn’t do it….

Second pair: lose it all to gain it all

•    After seeing the rich man walk away, Jesus turns to his disciples and comments about how hard it is for the rich to enter into the Kingdom…

o    Interestingly, St. Mark records Jesus as saying (Mark 10:24)

*    “Children, how difficult it is to enter the Kingdom of God.”

o    Highlighting the need for the disciples to trust Jesus like a little child

•    You see, the disciples were actually like the rich ruler

o    They, through the mouth of Peter, declare that they had left everything (vs. 28) so they should be ok
o    They had made it because they had done the impossible…

•    Jesus responses in an odd way…. (Mark 10:29-31)

29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

•    Yes, Jesus is saying, you will enter the Kingdom and you will be blessed

o    But it will cost you everything
o    You will leave homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, fathers, fields, jobs,
o    And you will receive persecutions and heart ache
o    But you will walk into the Kingdom of God and eternal life – the life of the coming Kingdom!

•    In order to gain it all, you must be willing to lose it all

Us Today

•    We are entering a new phrase – or stage – of our life as a family of God within this community
•    God is calling us – beckoning us – forward into the unknown

o    It is hard and it is scary
o    Some of us are like the rich ruler

*    Looking back over our lives
*    Telling God, “Have I not obeyed your commandments? Have I not followed you all my life? I should receive your blessing – I should be ok.”

•    Give up all to get all

o    Yet God is telling us that we are to give up everything

*    Yes, this gym has been nice over the last seven years
*    Yes, we have prospered and seen God move in amazing ways
*    Yes, it has been nice not having the messes and the noise and the craziness of lots of little kids running around
*    Yes, it has been nice knowing everyone’s name and going to all the events

o    Jesus is telling us to give it all way – to empty ourselves of everything so that he can rebuild us the way he wants to

*    He is telling us that in order for us to go forward with Him, we are going to have to change
*    We are going to have to open ourselves up to more people – to not knowing everyone’s name – to not being at every event or study
*    We are going to have to be willing to accept new marching order – possibly even laying down a ministry close to our hearts so that Jesus can birth a new ministry through us
*    We are going to have to clean up more spilled drinks and listen to more cries of young ones
*    We are going to have to learn how to do things differently

o    What is it going to look like?

*    I don’t know – I’ve never walked this road before
*    I do know that Jesus has promised us two things:

•    He will NEVER leave us
•    If we die to ourselves, He will resurrect us into the image of Himself

o    To those who have left all will “receive many time as much in this age” and in the age to come

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