Sunday School Material 3-13-16: Simple Faith

(Mark 10:17-31; 3/13/16)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that Jesus teaches about the need to have childlike faith in God, instead of trusting in one’s wealth. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to work on building our faith and keeping wealth in proper perspective. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to prayerfully trust and obey God today.

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Read Mark 10:17-22

I. Jesus and the Rich Man. In our Sunday School material a man runs up to Jesus. He inquiries about what he has to do to inherit eternal life. After an exchange about who is good and the importance of living by the law.

Jesus tells the man to sell what he has, give the money to the poor, and come follow Him. The man leaves with sadness, because he had great wealth.

Applications -

- The need for God’s grace. Notice in vss. 17, 19-22 that Jesus responds to the question about eternal life with a reference to obeying God’s commandments, selling all to benefit the poor, and following Jesus.

First, the context suggests that the man’s question has more to do with current abundant life (God given blessings) than life after death.

The question also implies that the man thought that he had to do some kind of work to make him eligible for the blessings that he was inquiring about.

We should thank God that He has some blessings for us both now and after death. However, we should be careful about thinking we can earn the blessings of God.

Second, Jesus urges the man to obey God’s commandments, which in this case are concerned with treating people right. We should make sure that our godliness highly influences our relating to people. 

Third, it appears that Jesus talks about selling all for the benefit of the poor and following Jesus, because He loved the man enough to help him see that self-reliance was an inadequate way of having abundant life/eternal life. Sometimes God has to break us, so He can make us into who He is calling us to be.

Let’s work on appreciating that at our best, we are still absolutely dependent on God’s grace. The point is not that we should not strive to obey God. Obedience is very important. However, none of us are obedient enough to earn the blessings that we desire.

- “Good teacher.” Notice in vss. 17-18 that Jesus did not give too much weight to the man’s calling Him “good teacher.” The man’s intentions may have been innocent. However, we see that the “good teacher’s” teaching was not accepted by the man.

In like manner, we should be careful about being distracted by how people refer to us – whether good or bad. We are who God says we are. And we are called to do what God calls us to do. Let’s make sure we stay focused on our God assigned roles and responsibilities.

- Obedience and grace. Notice in vss. 20, 22 that the man said he obeyed the noted laws; however, he leaves with sadness, when it came down to selling his wealth for the poor.

First, give the man some credit for living by the noted laws from a boy. This is a salute to his “home training.” There are too many of our young and middle aged adults who cannot say they have lived by the Ten Commandments from childhood.

Second, the man is sad apparently because of his unwillingness to sell his wealth and give to the poor, as the “Good Teacher” from God has taught him to do. In like manner, think about how many people go to church on a regular basis but refuse to tithe. 

It is really true, “where our treasures are is where are hearts are as well.” Let’s strive to live in obedience to the Lord, which includes giving and appreciating His grace. 

Read Mark 10:23-31

II. Jesus and the Disciples. Jesus tells those around Him that it is hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of God. In our Sunday School material He talks about how with God, all things are possible. In response to Peter’s comments,

Jesus talks about how those who have made sacrifices for Him (note there was no mention of leaving one’s spouse) will receive more than they have sacrificed.

Applications -

- Wealth and faith. Notice in vss. 23-27 that riches will not make a person right with God, but childlike faith will. First, wealth is not bad; it is simply inadequate as the basis of being right with God.

Wise stewardship often leads to wealth. However, we should make sure that wealth doesn’t become our God.

Second, childlike faith is nurtured by prayerfully studying God’s word, obedience, and supportive relationships. Let’s work on nurturing our faith and keeping wealth in proper perspective.

- Serving the Lord will pay off. Notice in vss. 27-30 that all things are possible with God and serving Him pays off. First, we should thank God that just because something is impossible for us doesn’t mean that it absolutely impossible. God is stronger and wiser than we are.

Second, we should thank God that whatever we sacrifice for Him, we can expect God to provide even more. God is not going to allow us to give more to Him than He gives to us.

The Expositor Commentary notes that the promised abundance of home, relationships, and land is probably a reference to what one experiences in the extended family of the people of God.

Let’s live like we believe that all things are possible and that serving the Lord pays off. Such living should be noted for joy, anticipation, and obedience.

We should note that with the promise of blessings is the also the promise of persecution. We should be mindful that being a Christian includes some Resurrection Sundays and bloody Fridays.

- God will set things right. Notice in vs. 31 of our Sunday School material that our current status is subject to be turned upside down.

Those who are well respected and first in line today, are subject to be last in line. And those who are least respected and last in line today, are subject to be at the front of the line.

First, we should make sure that we focus on being who God is calling us to be, instead of simply trying to gain status among our peers. Second, if we are faithful to God, we can count on God to exalt us, in due time.

Let’s live like we trust God to set things right, according to His will. Such living should be known for our focused faithfulness to Him.

Conclusion: Let’s work on building our faith and keeping wealth in proper perspective. God has much for those who obey His will.

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