Matthew 19:16-22 When being good is not good enough

Everyone wants to tell God how to they should be allowed to get into His house.  It is  pride and arrogance to think that we get to determine what qualifies or disqualifies ourselves or someone else for entrance into heaven. Some people say everyone makes it in because God is love. But God is not just a God of love He is also a just God who does not overlook sin but did something about it.

My biggest complaint against people is not those who do not know the Bible but those who twist God’s word to make it say something that is not true. I believe God has made it clear what it takes for entrance into His Kingdom and we cannot ignore what has been said about it.  I saw a bumper sticker recently that said, “God is too big for one religion” What they are saying is that all roads are the correct roads to God but then the problem arises as to why Jesus Christ had to die on the cross for mankind. Not to mention that Mormons believe they become gods in their own way so what does that mean?

We need to look at what Jesus said was the way to get eternal life.

What good thing must I do to have eternal life?

What would you say to someone if they asked you that?

Would you be ready to give an answer for the hope that you have in Christ?

All the religions in the world are about what you have to do to attain eternal life, Christianity is about what Christ did for us. (John 3:16)

This man was obviously a religious man who did a lot of good deeds and wanted to make sure that he did everything before he died to know that he was in good standing with God. Although, he did all the religious things a person could do he realized that something was still missing from his life.

He came to Jesus publicly and what not embarrassed that he did not have it altogether so he must have been genuine in his search for truth. Eternal life was not just a life that went on forever but it was a quality life. It was an abundant life (John 10:10) This was the hope the Jewish people had when they or loved ones passed away that God would give them a long quality eternal life.

1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

There is one who is good

Jesus now takes the man’s mindset and switches it off of himself (what must I do) and onto God (there is only one who is good) . The man thought in his own mind that he was good and Jesus had to tell him that only God is good.

Romans 3:10-11 10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.

This argument is still happening today as people believe they are good in their own way or at least good enough in Gods eyes to be accepted into Heaven. To help the man see where he is spiritually Jesus now tries to show him that he is not good.

If you would enter life, keep the commandments

The man wanted a possession or check list to work off for God.  Can he do more good than bad and earn his way into Heaven through his own works. Enter means it is a journey of submission to the will of God. This man, as we will find out, what not about giving his life to God but only coming to God to fulfill something that was still missing in his life. He wanted to add God to a list of things he already had instead of denying all the things he had, to have God.

Obedience, not signing a card or being baptized shows who your life belongs to God

Some people come to Christ just to feel better about themselves or because they grew up in a home that believed that way. They were baptized because that is what you were supposed to do or because they thought it would earn favor with God.

Jesus did not die on the cross so you can just feel better or even for you to have your best life now. He died to put you back into a right relationship with God.

Romans 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

James 4:4  You adulterous people![a] Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God

Most people do not see that God is against them because we always hear He is for us. He is for us but if we do not accept the free gift of Christ and turn from our sins then the Bible is clear we are His enemy. God cannot accept someone into His Heaven that has not been cleaned by the works of Jesus Christ. God does search for us (John 6:44) and pursues us but if we do not surrender to Him than He will allow us to go our own way.

The commandments were given to show that we fall short of perfection which is what it takes for us to enter into Heaven.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Which Ones?

This shows that the man has still not switched from thinking that it is something that he can earn and that it is only something God can do for him. Many people still think this way as they examine their lives and think that they are not that bad. Jesus now gives him the commandments to see if he will acknowledge that he did not meet the standard of God.

A person that does not believe they are that bad, will not call out to God because they believe they are good enough on their own.

That is why the Tax collectors and Prostitutes who knew they needed saving hung around Jesus.That is also why the religious leaders hated Jesus because they thought they had all the answers and all the works to earn favor with God on their own.

See how you measure up.


Matthew 5:21-22 You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother[a] will be liable to judgment; whoever insults[b] his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell[c] of fire.

Have you ever thought bad thoughts about someone?

One argument you will hear from people is that they never murdered anyone. But Jesus is making it clear that your thoughts that no one else knows about He considers them murder.


Matthew 5:27-28 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Have you ever looked at the opposite sex and thought inappropriate thoughts?


Have you ever taken something that was not yours?

False Testimony

Have you ever said something about someone that was not true or you added something into the story making it a partial truth?

Honor your father and Mother

Have you always honored your father and mother in how you acted and treated them?

Love your neighbor as yourself

Our focus should be on God and others and can you honestly say that you have always loved others more than yourself?  Jesus left out the first commandment to love God with all your heart which how many times a day do we forget about God?

These are clear indicators that we do not meet the standard of God for entrance into His kingdom.

All these I have kept, what do I still lack?

This man does not see himself for who he really is. DO YOU? The majority of people do not see that what they do is sin and therefore find no problem with how they live. We all need to see that we do not measure up to God’s standard for entrance into Heaven and if we do then we would know that we have to rely on Jesus Christ for forgiveness of our sins.

James 2:10  For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it

If you only sinned one time your whole life you would still not be eligible to enter into Heaven and stand before a perfect God. You will hear things like “I didn’t kill anyone” or “Im not as bad as Hitler” so why am I not allowed into Heaven?

We are not comparing ourselves to each other but to a Holy and perfect God.

We are spiritually blind to think we do not have sins in our lives that God hates. It is those sins, whether we acknowledge them or not, that keep us from Heaven. Could any of us say we never lied? Lusted? Coveted our neighbors stuff?

Since the man did not see that he did not keep them all Jesus knows that he has another god in his life besides God. He was trying to earn salvation on his own apart from what Jesus did for us on the cross.

Ephesians 2:8-9  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

If you can earn salvation or get into heaven any other way besides Christ, then He died for nothing. Jesus knew that the man worshiped his wealth more than God and that is exactly what Jesus tells him to give up.

Sell all your possessions and give them to the poor

If you want to know what is a god in your life, besides God, then give it up. Is Football, Golf, or a television show your god? If not then give it up. This man probably already helped the poor but not to the point that it hurt his lifestyle.

Luke 14:33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

God does not want to be number one in your life, He wants to be your everything. We add God to an already long list of things we already have. What we do not realize is that we make these other things gods in place of God.

Follow Me

Discipleship always begins when you give up the world’s ways to go with Jesus. In the gospel of Luke Jesus was telling them to count the cost before you decide to follow Him. He is telling them to weigh out if the reward is worth the sacrifice. This same decision is made by each person on earth. Are the things of this life more important to you than eternity?

To follow Jesus means you do what He tells you. This does not mean that everyone has to sell all they have or move to Africa but if He asks you to, will you?

He went away sad because he had great possessions

The god of success took his hand and led him away from Christ.

If this man were in many churches that he would have been sought after to come back. Jesus did not twist the truth to fit this man’s life but showed him the error of his thinking and the love of his money. This was a very religious, upstanding citizen who would have been respected by the majority of people.

Sometimes we make excuses for people or try to soften the truth to make sure they do not walk away but that it sometimes the best thing we can do for them.  Until a person truly sees where they are at with God they will never give their lives to Him. If they heard the truth then they have to do something with it, and sometimes letting them suffer through the decision they need to make is not a bad thing.

This young man went away from God not because he misunderstood the message but because he was not willing to admit that money was his god and that he thought his life was good enough to get into Heaven.  One of the mistakes our Christian culture has made is to make Christianity fit someone’s lifestyle. We feel better if we believe they prayed a prayer or we are all sinners so if they want to hold onto one sin who cares, Jesus forgives. People need to  be confronted with the truth of what God says and then allowed to wrestle and make the decision for themselves.

Contrast this story with the story of Zaccheus

Luke 19:5-9 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.

Being sorry for what you have done is not just saying you are sorry, it is a lifestyle change that is noticeable to others.

Are you willing to follow Christ if He asked you to give up something?

Christianity is the easiest yet hardest to follow. It will cost you everything you own yet it cost you nothing to attain. We need to tell people the truth about where they are at with God even if it means they walk away from us and God.

Unfortunately because we are more concerned about being liked we do not share with people the greatest news of all. Because we are afraid of not knowing what to say we stay silent and leave sharing about Christ to someone else. The only way you can fail at sharing your faith is really not sharing at all.

How do I become a Christian?

Romans 10:9-10  because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved

Lord: Means Sovereign ruler. He gets to make the decisions.

God raised Him from the dead: Historical account of what God did for us through Jesus as the perfect sacrifice.

Heart: What you believe will show in your actions.

Justified: Just as if you never sinned. God no longer sees your sins because they are hidden through the work of Christ (Colossians 3).

Confess: acknowledging that Christ is the only way to Heaven. (John 14:6)

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