Explore the Bible Study: What is Required?

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How good is good enough? If good works are the path to eternal life, when do you meet your quota of good works? What is eternal life? Do you have to take a vow of poverty in order to gain eternal life? Who is really good enough? Is eternal life more important to me than following Jesus? These are just a few of the questions posed and answered in this week in LifeWay's Explore the Bible Study: What is Required? Jesus helps us answer these questions through a dialogue He has in Matthew 19:16-26 with a rich young man.

This rich young man desired to have eternal life, but he didn’t desire to follow Jesus. Many people today assume, as he did, that they can have eternal life without following Jesus. The only path to the promise of eternal life is through Jesus Christ. Following Jesus Christ begins with absolute surrender of every part of our lives to Him. It is about a relationship that comes with the promise of eternal life; not a promise that comes with an optional relationship.

While the primary passages are Matthew 19:16-26, this week's teaching ideas suggest that you have someone read the passages from the other two gospels that record this story - Mark 10:17-22 and Luke 18:18-23. While all are very similar, God led each writer to capture some significant words that help us understand more fully the beauty of all Jesus was teaching about eternal life.

PERSONAL PREPARATION

Sermon by Alistair Begg - The Rich Young Ruler (Mark 10)



Harmony of the Gospels
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(Reference) Eternal Life: MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew
  • He came genuinely seeking eternal life, motivated by his sense of need for a true spiritual hope. The term eternal life is used some 50 times in Scripture, and always refers primarily to quality rather than quantity. 
  • Although eternal life obviously carries the idea of being an everlasting reality, it does not refer simply to unending existence. Even ancient pagans knew that mere unending existence would not necessarily be desirable. According to Greek mythology, Aurora, goddess of the dawn, fell in love with a young mortal named Tithonus. When Zeus offered to provide anything she wished for her human lover, she asked that he might never die. The wish was granted, but because she had not asked that Tithonus remain forever young, he continued to grow older and more decrepit. Instead of being blessed, he was cursed to perpetual degeneration.
  • The unsaved person is spiritually alive only to sin. But when he receives Christ as Lord and Savior, he becomes alive to God and to righteousness (Rom. 6:1-13). That is the essence of eternal life, the life of God's own Son dwelling within.
    (Reference) Eye of the needle: The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Volume 8
    • Jesus is not saying that all poor people and none of the wealthy enter the kingdom of heaven. That would exclude Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to say nothing of David, Solomon, and Joseph of Arimathea.
    • Most Jews expected the rich to inherit eternal life, not because their wealth could buy their way in, but because their wealth testified to the blessing of the Lord on their lives. Jesus' view is a different and more sober one. 
    • The proverbial saying of 19:24 refers to the absolutely impossible. The camel was the biggest animal in Palestine. Attempts to weaken this hyperbole by taking "needle," not as a sewing needle, but as a small gate through which an unladen camel could just squeeze and only on his knees are misguided - The needle was not a gate in the city but a literal sewing needle (Italics added).
    TEACHING RESOURCES

    PowerPoint Slides
    Contains the New Testament Map below plus some funny cartoon illustrations of a camel trying to go through the eye of a needle.



    Music Video Option
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    New Testament Map
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