Sermon Detail

Happiness Revealed How Really (Societal Approved and Observably Right Living People), Really, Really Good People Enter the Kingdom of God

May 21, 2023 | Buster Brown

“And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, 'Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?' And Jesus said to him, 'Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: "Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to him, 'Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.' And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, 'You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.' Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, 'How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!' And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, 'Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.' And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, 'Then who can be saved?' Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.'" Mark 10:17-27

1. This extremely rich (Luke 8:23), young (Matthew 19:22) ruler had it all! Yet…there was an irresistible attraction to this teacher named Jesus and an acknowledgement that “something was missing” in his life.

“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” Augustine Confessions 

“God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there.” C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity 

"Each of us then must be so stung by the consciousness of his own unhappiness as to attain at least some knowledge of God. Thus, from the feeling of our own ignorance, vanity, poverty, infirmity, and--what is more--depravity and corruption, we recognize that the true light of wisdom, sound virtue, full abundance of every good, and purity of righteousness rest in the Lord alone… we cannot seriously aspire to him before we begin to become displeased with ourselves." John Calvin, Institutes, Book 1, Section 1

2. Jesus obliterates merit-based living as a means of salvation/right standing with God.

“The Law is given as a rule of life, it informs believers of God’s will and their obligation to obey it. It also reveals to them the sinful pollution of their nature, hearts and lives, so that, examining themselves from its point of view, they may become more convinced of the presence of sin in them, more humiliated on account of that sin, and hate sin all the more. Thus they gain a better awareness of their need for Christ and for the perfection of his obedience.” Westminster Confession of Faith (Chapter 19 - The Law of God), Article 6

3. The problem with “good idols” (a good idol would be one that is culturally accepted and even held as a positive good).

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26-27

“God loves you and wants you to continually destroy the idols in your life so you can walk in joyful obedience, live with Christ centered purpose, and be a ready disciple in his kingdom.” Unknown

4. The disciples response of exceeding astonishment (vv.24-26).

5. The gospel that brings exceeding abundant hope (v.27).

How are really, really, really nice people brought into the Kingdom of Christ?


1. How does the poem "Richard Cory" by EA Robinson support the thesis of Augustine mentioned above?

2. Why did this young, socially embraced, and exceedingly wealthy man humble himself before the Lord?

3. Do you agree with the statement by John Calvin that “our hearts are idol-making factories”? Why or why not?

4. What is a “good idol” in our culture/geographic location/socio-economic group?

5. Why were the disciples amazed or exceedingly astonished by the statement of Jesus on wealthy people entering the kingdom of God?

6. How are really, really, really nice people brought into a saving relationship with Christ?