I’m so enjoying doing these hard sayings with you. Your answers at the close of last week were fascinating! Hebrews 6 must get the prize for the most challenging passage! It’s why we must interpret unclear passages in light of clear passages.
I sometime reflect on how the Holy Spirit gave the right answer to my sister, who was a baby Christian, when I asked:
“If I were to give my life to Jesus, would He ask me to give up the house Steve and I are planning to build overlooking the ocean?”
She was quiet for the longest time. (Praying! I found out later.)
When she looked up, she said, “In your case, yes.”
That shocked me, but it also drove me to try to find out if Jesus was who He claimed to be or a fraud. The truth God showed me brought me to my knees. And after convicting me of my sin, and breaking me, our gently and lowly Lord forgave me and flooded me with His love.
Keller, in this week’s sermon, wonders if the young man whom Jesus told to sell everything he had and give it to the poor had done it, if Jesus would have given him it back, as God gave Isaac back to Abraham.
We don’t know, of course, but I do think Keller is right — that it was a test for him to see where his heart was. You can tell this is an older sermon from Keller for he makes the point that both wealth and sex are very important to us, and many people find their identity in wealth, but he doesn’t say in sex. But now that is also true too in our mad, mad world.
We must find our identity, our worth, and our meaning in Christ.
It’s a battle, for our approval idols are so strong, and what they want is often in direct conflict with what God wants. Keller’s message is another golden one, and I know it caused me to ponder and to be reminded of the danger of the wealth with which I have been blessed. There’s so much in this and I’m eager to do this with you.
Here is the podcast:
God Hunt Sunday:
- How did you experience God in the last week (in His Word, in fellowship with others, in answer to prayer, in power?)
Monday: Meditating on the Text
2. Read Mark 10:17-31
A. What question does the rich young ruler ask? (v. 17)
B. How does Jesus answer? (v. 18-19)
C. How does he respond? (v. 20)
D. What does Jesus tell him to do and how does he respond? (21-22)
E. What does Jesus tell the disciples in verses 23-27?
F. What does Peter say in verse 28?
G. What is the promise in verses 29-31?
3. Listen to Keller’s opening up to minute 6:30 and share what stands out to you. (The podcast minutes may be slightly different than my downloadable sermon – but end shortly after Keller says what Jesus is teaching is dynamite because if you obey, the power of God explodes in your heart.)
Tuesday: Why Moral Wealth or Physical Wealth Puts You in Danger
Keller refers to this song — this is a very short clip:
4. Listen to the sermon from where you left off to about minute 16, where Keller moves into the question “What is Jesus saying when he asks him to give everything away?)
A. What are some false explanations of what it means for the camel going though a needle and what point does Keller feel they are they missing? Do you agree? (verse 27 might help)
B. In Judaism they saw wealth as a sign of blessing from God, and that if you weren’t wealthy, you must have done something bad. How does Keller use the Sound of Music song as an example of that false theology?
C. How did Job’s friends embrace that false theology?
D. What did Richard Baxter say?
E. Keller said though the young man had been good, he still felt there was something missing. He said people like this are never sure. Why is that true?
F. Did anything else stand out to you, and if so, why?
Wednesday: What Was Jesus Really Saying?
Listen to where you left off to about minute 31:22 when Keller begins with “Two things Jesus told him: Give away and follow me.”
5. Why the love of money is the root of all evil (See Proverbs 30:8-9) What do you think Scripture says the love of money and not just money?
6. After listening, or while listening, answer:
A. How does Keller show from Genesis that both money and sex are gifts from God?
B. What is powerful about money?
C. Poverty isn’t necessarily a blessing — Keller points that out with two examples. Explain:
D. What happens to money under the influence of sin? When it becomes an idol?
E. List some signs that Keller gives to show money has too much control and may be an idol:
F. I was convicted personally at his statement that the more money you have the more choices you have that can drown you. More toys. More shopping. Etc. I want to be more aware of this when I want something, or when I’m decluttering. What did you think about this?
G. Did anything else stand out?
Thursday: One Thing You Lack
Prepare your heart with this:
Listen to where you left off to about minute 36 after he says the disciples might have thought, “Hey, it might be good to have this rich man in our band!” 🙂
7. Read again Mark 10:21. Has it ever confused you why Jesus said this as a matter of salvation? Do you understand it better now? Explain.
8. What did you think about Keller’s parallel with Isaac? How did Abraham succeed where this man failed?
9. Keller said Jesus was trying to snip the umbilical cord he had to money. Have you had an umbilical cord to an idol snipped, and how, in the long run, did it help you?
10. Keller says nothing helps your perspective more than being involved with the poor. Have you experienced this, or helped others (your children or others) experience this?
11. What else stands out to you and why?
Friday: The Danger of Feeling Morally Wealthy
Listen to the end.
12. Keller talked about how people often say, “Are you telling me a good Buddhist will go to hell because he doesn’t believe in Jesus?” He said they never say a “bad Buddhist.” What point is he making?
13. He said feeling morally superior is even more dangerous than being physically wealthy. Why?
14. What did he mean when he said Christianity is not an addition but an explosive?
15. How has the Lord changed your view of:
A. Morality as a way of salvation
B. Wealth as the answer to unhappiness?
16. How will you apply this to your life? Be specific.