The 'One Thing' I Can't Let Go Of

Is There One Thing That Matters More To You Than Jesus?

Ross Sawyers
Feb 21, 2021    51m
In today's message, we ask ourselves one question: Is there one thing in your life that matters more to you than Jesus? For most all of us, there is that one thing that often is more important to us than Christ Himself, yet the most joy comes in giving up that one thing for the thing that truly matters most. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

More From This Message

Ross Sawyers (00:08):
I'm grateful to be worshipping this morning from multiple places in here. And I was just upstairs in the flex rooms. I love being able to worship with you there. And many of you are watching and worshiping from home. So it's a gift that we have all these options these days to be able to worship. It's been a challenging week. David mentioned that. I don't have to say that anymore. You're certainly aware of that. And I hope that you find strength today and challenge at the same time from God's Word.

Ross Sawyers (00:39):
A little over a year ago, I met a man named Terry Looper. He's written a book called Sacred Pace that came out about that same time. And listening to his story, it's a fascinating story I think we can relate to at least principally. There are some aspects certainly that are probably beyond most of us. But he grew up wanting to be a businessman. At six years old, he already had identified a men's clothing store owner that was kind of an early mentor for him. And his desire was to be a successful businessman, to be a millionaire, to be an entrepreneur. And he set his sights on that early. He worked his way through college and later married his high school sweetheart. The two of them would have two daughters in their family. And once he graduated college, he took his first sales job and just began to work tirelessly so that he could move towards the kind of success that he'd envisioned since he was a little boy.

Ross Sawyers (01:50):
That quickly turned into tons of travel, breakfast meetings, lunch meetings, dinner meetings. It turned into late nights where his wife would simply cook, if he didn't have a dinner meeting, she'd cook a meal, leave it out for him, and he would eat by himself because everyone would have already gone to bed. He identified later and realized that a lot of this was driven by his own insecurity. It was driven by a people pleasing kind of personality. And then there was also a sense in him that he wasn't good enough, and it was a constant move to try to succeed, to prove that he's actually good enough. Those are good self-observations. His health began to decline somewhere in his later 20s or early 30s due to the pace that he was keeping. And then he finally came to the spot where he was about to sign something that would move him into actually a multimillion dollar category. It was at that point that his body and mind just simply broke down. He described his brain as going into a fog. He couldn't even think. That had actually been happening for a little while. And then physically his body just broke down. He wasn't even sure he'd be able to get there to sign the deal for that which he had been seeking for so long.

Ross Sawyers (03:19):
He describes himself on page 15 in the early part of the book in telling his story. He said, "In addition to the things I just described," he said, "having grown up in church, I'd never doubted that God was creator and ruler of the universe. I just hadn't wanted Him to be my God because I had a God already. Money. I was much like the rich young ruler in Mark 10 who said, 'Jesus, I've followed your commandments my whole life. Never murdered anybody or stolen from anyone or defrauded anybody.' But who was unwilling to become a real disciple. Because as author and Pastor John Piper described it, 'His fist was clenched around his wealth.' "

Ross Sawyers (04:09):
If you turn in your Bibles to Luke 18, if you have a Bible. If not, we'll have the Scripture on the screen. You can follow that way. If you have a device, you're certainly welcome to use that for the Scripture as well. This story of the rich young ruler is in three different gospels. And you may or may not know that Matthew, Mark, and Luke are often referred to as synoptic gospels. The word synoptic means the same. And we see a number of the same stories in these three gospels. We also find different details. And so you can get almost a fuller story by seeing the different eyewitness accounts of these gospel writers. We find that to be true with this story of the rich young ruler.

Ross Sawyers (04:52):
Before we dive into that story, I want to recap why we're here. We hear often that people struggle with conversation, how to actually have conversations. And we're spending some time just looking at Jesus and how did He have real conversations with people and how did He do those in truth and love. How are those two things anchor points for the way that He had dialogues. We've talked about a conversation with a marginalized woman that would have broken all kinds of barriers in Jesus' day and how to talk about Jesus in that kind of conversation. We've talked about how to have conversation with the Father, with God Himself. And we've talked about a conversation with somebody who had a troubled mind. We've talked about a conversation with someone in authority. And then last week, I used the longest title ever and we talked about a conversation with an external, religious, superficial, hypocritical person, how do we have those conversations. So we've just been looking at how to do this and we've done videos each week. So we have two to three minute recaps of the actual way to have the conversation. So that that's out there for you if you'd ever liked that as a resource on how to have these conversations.

Ross Sawyers (06:11):
What I'd like for us to think about today is a conversation with a wealthy person. And before in our minds, we shoot ahead and think of who the wealthy is, I would suggest it's the majority of us in the room today. That's the majority of who's here today and that would be who Jesus is speaking to. So it's really a conversation with us. And I'd like for us to think about it and one phrase to run through it and to be reflecting as we go through this part of Scripture. What is that one thing that I can't let go of? That one thing that my fist is clenched around? For Terry Looper, it was wealth, money. Fist tightly clenched. While this is a story about wealth principally, we can ask the question, it might not be wealth, but is there something else that we're holding tightly to? That one thing, that one thing that I can't let go of.

Ross Sawyers (07:22):
Over the years, I've gone to different counselors and I'm basically a mess. I'm just hoping God will get me to the finish line somehow, some way. But one of the things that I've learned from counselors, and I've learned this in counseling people as well, that there's always one thing that people leave out. And when you leave out that one thing, you give different kinds of advice. And there's been times where I've learned something later about a person, and I thought, if I would've known that one thing, I would've suggested something different. That one thing. And I think a number of us hold back on that one thing. We may keep it a secret one thing. It may be a known one thing. But there's that one thing that I can't quite let go of that I'm holding onto greater than Jesus.

Ross Sawyers (08:15):
Now I've wrestled with towards the end of the week, is this the right message for today in light of the week? I don't want to be insensitive to the week. And I love what we do in our country when there's hard times. We immediately go to humor. Maybe you saw this meme this week. You know, this one right here. Did you see this meme? Somebody help me. There we go. Getting pretty tired of living through historical events. And so we might be exhausted from all the historical events that we keep living in. And who knows what this week holds? Let's just make the most of today. That's kind of what Jesus said to do. And there's wisdom in that. But in light of that, I wonder over the last several months, is God trying to get our attention somehow? And maybe He's trying to shake us a little bit to say, hey, there's one thing you need to get rid of. I need you to look. Hey, is there one thing, is there something God is trying to say to us as a culture, to us as individuals, to us as a church? We've been tested to the core, and we can't be afraid of the ways that Jesus tests our hearts.

Ross Sawyers (09:44):
When we look at this conversation, it starts like this, and again, I'm unpacking these, thinking about the conversation itself and breaking it down that way. So this is how I would start this particular story and this dialogue, that we would be Christ-like enough to be asked a question. That our lives would look enough like Jesus, that someone would actually ask us a question about faith, that someone would actually ask us a question about Christianity. And that's how this story begins. It begins with someone coming to Jesus and asking a question. In verse 18, He said, A ruler questioned Him, saying, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He comes to Him and says, Good Teacher, what do I do?

Ross Sawyers (10:32):
Now I've actually thought about this question a lot this week since I've been in this passage. And I actually started wondering, are people even contemplating this question anymore? Are people more consumed with grabbing what life can give now and not so interested that there's anything beyond this life that this isn't even a question rolling in people's heads? When I talk about my story, I grew up wondering if I would go to Heaven or hell. Like that was a fear for me at night. I wonder if anybody even thinks about that much anymore because our culture is increasingly leaving God behind in their thinking. But when it is a question, are our lives enough like Jesus that someone actually comes to us to ask a question? Am I Christ-like enough to be asked questions? How cool if that were the case.

Ross Sawyers (11:36):
And this week, I just don't think I could be more proud of Christians of 121, of the churches in our area and the way we've loved each other well and communities well during the week. John 17, we saw a few weeks ago that Jesus prayed to His Father. And He said, will you help them to love each other so that the world will believe? Jesus said, it's the way that we love each other as Christians that will at least stir the imaginations of people who are not to wonder why we do life the way we do. Now I'm not saying that people who are not Christians did not serve well and meet needs well this week because they did. And what I can say is I watched the church be who the church is designed to be, to give themselves away and to serve humbly. Saw it in a number of ways. We opened our building this week. It was a warm house for people. There were those who served, took shifts, were here all night long, a few nights a week. Some people spent the night here. There were people that made food and brought food up here. There was coffee, snacks. There was a charging station for some. The building was used all week long.

Ross Sawyers (12:59):
Somebody made us aware early in the week that the Dancing River Memory Care Center just down the road from us on 26, that they were without power and that they had put all the residents in one room together just to try to stay warm. We received a shipment of blankets here and some of our people took 30 or 40 blankets to them. It was just a surprise that someone would show up, care for them. I heard story after story of people moving in with people in their life group for a few days while they were without power while someone else had power, people that were helping each other fix busted pipes and sop up water and get it out of the house and wait until, somebody said they're like number 200 on the plumber's list for this week. This has been a beautiful picture of watching people serve and love. And I'm going to encourage you at the end of the service today to stay tuned all the way to the end. Elvis is coming back and he will give you information today about water distribution that'll happen from the semi that you saw out in the parking lot this afternoon. And then we're doing an insurance, how to navigate the insurance maze time tonight for people that would have an interest if that's confusing to you.

Ross Sawyers (14:17):
I just believe that when we are meeting needs like this physically, that opens the opportunity for questions like this to be asked. What is it that motivates and drives someone? Which leads me to the second part. When we think about a conversational flow and Jesus here asks a question again, He's a master of asking questions. It's a reflective question versus a direct answer. A friend of mine that since has trusted Christ in the last couple of years I was walking with him for several years along with a lot of other people. And he was reading through the Bible and I really believe he knows the Bible better than most of us know the Bible. And he would say to me, because it's so frustrating, could Jesus just not one time answer a question directly? Jesus does that. He talks in parables. He shares a story or He shares a metaphor and then He'll come explain it later. Sometimes He is direct. In this particular case, He's asking a question to get the person to think. Verse 19, Jesus said to him, why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. Why do you call me good? He addressed him as good teacher. That was not a usual address to a rabbi.

Ross Sawyers (15:37):
But Jesus brings it back. And this is a great conversation learn for us. How do we get the conversation to God? He heard him say good teacher. Said, okay, let's talk about that a minute. God alone is good. Why do you call me good? So He's making him think about God. He's just stirring his imagination a little bit. Have you ever tried to define the word good? Just in your mind real quick, define it. It's not an easy word to define. My son is really contemplative and he was pondering this question a few years ago. It never occurred to me to think about the definition of good. I said, well, what did you determine? He said, good, the definition of good can only be determined by what the source of good is. Isaiah said in his prophecy that in his day, people were calling good evil and evil good. We live in a relative culture that says, you define your own truth and you define what's good.

Ross Sawyers (17:00):
It is dangerous when every person gets the authority to determine and define what is good and what is truth. Jesus is forcing a thought here. God alone is good. He's the source of good. If God is not the one who is good, then it's a little bit frightening. It's like what I said a few weeks ago, I quoted a man who's an atheist who actually said, if there is not a transcendent evil and a transcendent God, then that is more concerning to me that human beings on their own could come up with the evil of which they come up with. Hitler thought what he was doing was good. God is the source of good. Jesus has taken him and saying, think about who's good. God is a source of good. Then He takes him to the commandants. Says, okay, you asked a question. What do you do to get eternal life? Well, now I'm going to give you something to measure your performance. You want to know how you can do it. Let me show you. And He quotes five of the ten commandments. This is numbers five through nine in Exodus 20. You know the commandments. Do not commit adultery. Do not murder. Do not steal. Do not bear false witness. Honor your father and mother. He said, here you go.

Ross Sawyers (18:24):
Now the rabbis believed they could keep these commands. And the ten commandments are broken down, the first four are how we relate to God. The second six are how we relate to each other. Jesus gives him the easy ones. Here's how you relate to each other. And the rabbis believed they could keep them in their entirety. You may or may not be familiar with Kirk Cameron. But years ago, what he started doing was on-the-street interviews. And in those interviews, he would go up to someone and he would say, and I watched one the other day just to recall exactly how he did it. He walked up to the lady and he said, have you ever lied? And she said, yes. And he said, well, what does that make you? She said, a liar. Have you ever stolen? Yeah. What does that make you? A thief. And he just went down the line and showed her how she had broken each of the ten commandments. Then he asked her a question. He said, well, do you believe that when you die, you'll go to Heaven. She said, yes. He said, okay, you just admitted to me that you are, these are your words, you're a thief, a liar, go down the line. God is a perfect and just God. How does that work?

Ross Sawyers (19:52):
And it kind of stumped her a little bit. And then he shared the gospel with her. Through Jesus Christ, He's the one that took our sin because we don't have the ability to keep these commands. Our human effort is not going to get us good with God. Which leads us to the third piece of the conversation, that we listen for awareness or lack thereof. Jesus listened to people and then He responded based on what He heard them say. So we're listening. We're asking reflective questions and then saying, okay, what are they saying and what does that reveal underneath of what's going on? Here's his response. He said, all these things I've kept from my youth. Well, what does that tell Jesus about this man? He was convinced that he was upright and that he had kept all these commands from his youth up. He believed it fully. He was convinced in his own mind. He's like the story just before this story in Luke 18 verse 9. Jesus tells a parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous. This rich young ruler is trusting in himself for his righteousness. It's like Paul in Philippians 3 who said he was found blameless in regard to the law. They fully believed they kept the law perfectly their whole lives.

Ross Sawyers (21:26):
The one who actually understands it is the hated tax collector in verse 13 of chapter 18, who standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to Heaven but was beating his breast, saying, God, be merciful to me, the sinner. This man recognized there was nothing good he could do to measure up and perform well enough for God. And he recognized apart from God's mercy on him, he had no chance. But that's not where this man was and Jesus knows that based on the answer that said he kept these from his youth. Paul would later discover that the law is actually our tutor to lead us to Christ. We read the law, we read the ten commandments and realize, oh no, I can't keep these. It actually says to me, I need something beyond this. The law is good, but it doesn't have the power to change a heart. We unfold the conversation and then Jesus speaks to the core of the issue. We want to speak to the core of the issue. And that's really the crux of what's going on here in verses 22 and 23. When Jesus heard this, He said to him, one thing you still lack. One thing. Sell all that you--I'll spot you this, that you've kept them.

Ross Sawyers (22:55):
You might not have heard my sermon on the Mount yet where I mentioned that if you lust in your heart, then you've committed adultery. You might not have heard yet that if you have hatred for anyone, that's murder. So our hearts are corrupt and deceptive. We are self-justifiers. As quickly as we can, we justify ourselves. And Jesus is exposing everything in him right now, said, okay, well, you've kept those. There's one thing you still lack. Sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor and you shall have treasure in Heaven and come, follow me. He gets to the root. He's going to the root of what the problem is for this man. We know this is a problem. It's in verse 23. When he heard these things, he became very sad. And in other gospels, it says he grieved. He was sad and he grieved because he was extremely rich. Jesus is laying bare this man's heart, saying what you are holding onto is your wealth. That's the one thing that's got you. It's the materialism. It has hold of you. Jesus did the same thing with the woman at the well. He revealed something different in her though. It wasn't her wealth because she didn't have the wealth. But she had been married five times and was currently living with a guy outside of marriage.

Ross Sawyers (24:44):
And Jesus called her out on it, not to be mean to her. Out of a love for her to help her see in her own heart, this is what you've made ultimate. You're making men ultimate and it's not working for you. Let me show you something that is an ultimate treasure, ultimate joy. Let me show you what you're looking for. It's in Jesus. This man, he's looking at it and saying, man, I think there's probably something else. No, I'm hanging on to it. That one thing. We've been talking about conversations that are in truth and love in Mark 10:21, where this story is also told, well, it doesn't say here. Mark tells it and says, Jesus felt a love for him before he made this statement. It was out of a love for this man. He wasn't trying to catch him doing something wrong. He loved him. He was trying to help him. He had a love for him. Real conversations, truth and love. We're not simply trying to be right. Someone needs to know they're loved. Then perhaps they'll listen to truth.

Ross Sawyers (26:16):
Jesus isn't holding back speaking truth. It's because he loves him, He is speaking truth. It's out of a love for him that He's exposing this. There's other times that Jesus is really clear about what the expectations are to follow Him. In Luke 14:33, so then none of you can be my disciple who does not give up all his own possessions. What Jesus is asking from us is to hold our hands out and to hold on loosely to everything that we have. Our possessions are His. He might say, sell all you have and give to the poor. You got to be willing to hear that. He's also not saying to every person. But He is asking is for all of us. In Luke 9:23, He said, if you want to follow me, deny yourself, deny your control, take up your cross and follow me. What's He say to this man? Go. Get rid of something. I'm not really asking you to do something. I'm just asking you to get rid of that. And then come follow me and you'll have treasure in Heaven.

Ross Sawyers (27:33):
I'm afraid that what this man's heart reveals is that really what he wanted was to grab the good life now, not the good teacher. What he failed to understand is that the good life is intimately tied to the good teacher. Commandment number one and number ten are broken by this man. The first command? There's no other gods before me. Money, his clear God. Terry Looper, he said it. Money, his clear God. It might not be money for you or for me. Could it be something else? Is there anything, is there one thing that we might find ourselves attached to more than Jesus Himself? Let me see if I can help us work through that. In 2 Timothy 4:10, we hear about a man named Demas. I read names like this in the Bible at times and I think what a bummer that for all time, this is what you're associated with.

Ross Sawyers (29:05):
Demas apparently set out to follow Jesus. He was with the apostle Paul. He was a help to him. I suspect he was talking to people about Jesus. There was probably sacrifices that he was making. And in 2 Timothy 4:10, it says that Demas loved this present world and he deserted Paul. Said, okay, I think I'm done with the persecution. I'm done with the sacrifice. I'm done with talking about Jesus. When I look around at the world, I think I like the good life in this world more than I like what's rolling here. So in that particular case, it's similar here. He had done some things. He had done some good things. But somewhere in there, he lost interest in it and he decided this present world is what he wanted. And he deserted Paul and headed for this present world. CS Lewis who's one of the foremost thinkers in our faith, before he surrendered to Christ, his wrestling match was with who was the ultimate authority in his life. He wanted to be in control. And the idea that Jesus would be in full control, he didn't like that at all. And as he wrestled through it, he said this. He said, he just wanted to hang on to one part of his life. Let's just say, let's just choose right here. And he wanted to put a no trespassing sign there and say, this business is mine. Mine only. You don't get to mess around with this part. That one thing. I'm going to hold onto that one thing, God. No trespassing. This is my business.

Ross Sawyers (30:51):
Until he did surrender all. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism in the 1700s in England, came to the U.S. and on one particular time here, he was hanging out with a man who owned a vast amount of land, property. And he took John Wesley on a horse for a tour across the land. They just covered a fraction of it, there was so much. And at the end of the day, they had dinner together and the man looked at John Wesley. He said, well, what do you think? What do you think about all that I have? And John Wesley looked at him. He said, I think you're going to have a hard time leaving that behind. He knew being with that man that what he had had control over him. He didn't have control over it. You may or may not be familiar with the desert fathers in the early part of the centuries AD or whatever the new term is. I forget. What is it? Nevermind. You can tell me later. It was AD when I grew up. I'm still hanging in there on that. Around 251, Anthony walked by a church and he heard somebody. This verse, it's amazing how many times God has used this verse to radically change people's lives.

Ross Sawyers (32:24):
But Anthony was walking by. And outside, he heard the pastor preaching and he heard this verse and he actually believed that God had that specific verse for him. And he did exactly what it said. He sold all that he had. He began to live outside the village and just did what he had to do to make ends meet. But then he realized there were so much false self in him that if he didn't detach from everything, there was no way for those superficial realities to ever be cracked. And he headed to the desert and he's considered the father of monks. He is one of the leading desert fathers and mothers of the day who would flee where they were and go and complete solitude in the desert to be alone with God. Now you think, that doesn't feel very productive. That sure seems like a waste. He spent 20 years in complete solitude in the desert.

Ross Sawyers (33:28):
Well, in that time, and I do believe this is our cultural wave today. Everybody wants to know their authentic self. We're on this self-discovery. Let's find our authentic self. We need the false self cracked and to understand how God sees us and what our real authentic self is. That's what happened with Anthony in the desert when he didn't even know that was it term yet. And he emerged from the desert as a whole person, emotionally, spiritually, physically, mentally. Over the ensuing decades, people would come to him for wisdom and insight and counsel. He lived to be 106 years old. Three years ago, I had a sabbatical and on that sabbatical, God broke through some things in my life that were that false self, that apart from the long space alone with God, I don't know that they ever break. But he heard this verse and just did it. And God broke through him in really cool ways.

Ross Sawyers (34:45):
Many of you know Lecrae's music, Christian rapper, African-American man. And read a story this week. This is really cool story of understanding wealth and what do you do with it. He has a lot. And what he's done in Atlanta, he's taken a neighborhood, a particular neighborhood. And in that neighborhood, there's no school. It's an African-American neighborhood. And kids, if they want to go to school, they get bused. I mean there's not even a public school there to go to. There's not even an option for one. And he's built a school with other people, partnering with a lot of other people called Peace Prep Academy. And it's at grade five right now. Each year, they're adding a grade. It's Christ based. But it's giving education to children in an area that are in a drug ridden part and that's normally the path they would follow. What Lecrae said, he said, I want to be a different kind of black man and to help break the generational cycles that are happening. And this is what he said. He said, you can't become what you've never seen. And for many people in these neighborhoods, they don't see anything else.

Ross Sawyers (36:01):
And he said, I want to be a different kind of black man. I want to, he's a father of three. I want them to see what fathers look like. I want them to see what business people look like. The school has African-American teachers and an African-American principal and the kids can see, oh, I could actually be a teacher someday. I could be a principal someday. They can see it. And then he's taken other neighborhoods, bought them. torn down the dilapidated properties and then working with different others, they're rebuilding houses. It's affordable housing for people. So when we think about people coming to Christ and we do this, this is what Terry Loopers a part of when I mentioned earlier about a ministry called Edify that all over the world, they're starting schools or helping with schools with the technology piece, with the training piece of it. And business people love it because it's micro loans that are being paid back. There's dignity in the whole thing. And when they're paid back, then they're reinvested in other schools. The money keeps rolling into more Christian schools. But everybody that's working in these worlds, Orphan Outreach and others, it's a holistic idea of breaking a whole chain. It's not just taking the gospel. It's having that at the center, but it's helping people break the chain of poverty. Seeing what family can be, seeing what education can look like, seeing what job opportunities look like. It's a holistic idea, and he's doing it.

Ross Sawyers (37:25):
What a great use of wealth and partnering together. Does everybody have to do that? No, but it sure is a cool picture of what we can do. What is that, what may be that one thing for us? Is it a career that we've got such a tight hold on it? Is it a boyfriend or a girlfriend? One's following Christ. The other, maybe not so much. It only takes a degree or two off and over time it gets a little rougher and rougher. So attached. Is that the right, is that right? Is it materialism? Is it power? Is it comfort or security? Weeks like this reveal a lot about our hearts. When our comfort's disrupted. What is that one thing? Is it sexual preference other than what God says? Is it family? You do understand that if a Muslim comes to Jesus, what they know is they are potentially giving up family. They're giving up all. Or maybe it's, I like the idea of Jesus but I want to hang onto this. So it's Jesus plus. Hinduism is that way. It's I can buy into the idea of Jesus, plus a million other gods as options. And we think, gosh, at least I don't do that. Well, our gods just have different names. Jesus plus. Holding on. No trespassing. Jesus, I'm good. I like the idea you died for me. I like the idea of my sins are taken care of. I like the idea of Heaven at the whole end of this deal. I like all that. I don't really like the other things in there.

Ross Sawyers (39:43):
So I'm holding onto those. Maybe it's an idea that's counter to Jesus, cultural idea. Or maybe it's cherished sin that we hold onto. We just don't want to let it go. I received a text on Friday night that it's disturbed me all weekend long. And I think this is one thing that people can attach to that it's a problem. A lady in our church, her dad is in the New Mexico legislature. And they asked us to pray on Thursday because there was a vote New Mexico on Friday on abortion being legalized up to the point of birth. And it passed. The doctors do not get a choice. If they refuse to do it, they lose their license. Now lest you think in our culture, it's just a one kind of issue around abortion. It's a whole issue around life. On the same day in the New Mexico legislature, they also voted for doctor assisted end of life measures. However, a doctor can have a matter of conscious and they can refer the person to another doctor. So the end of life, you don't have to participate to help someone end their life. As a matter of conscience, you can send them to someone who will help them end their life. But it is literally a matter of seconds in the birth canal and somehow we can terminate that life.

Ross Sawyers (41:44):
Now I mentioned it earlier about that transcendent evil and my heart just broke for young ladies and young men as much as anything when I read that Friday night. Because the lawmakers of our land are saying, this is something you can do when they're in some of the most traumatic, emotional times of their life. And we need to be adult enough to be a help to someone to work through that. But I've just not rested well in thinking we just legalized Friday, you can terminate a child. What is the difference in life in the few seconds from the birth canal? That one thing, that one thing. We beg God to have mercy on us. Our hope is to move conversations to the heart and to the one thing that matters. Jesus. That's what He does. And when hearts are changed, minds change. When hearts are changed, lives change. When hearts are changed, then the desire to protect life changes. Everything changes when the heart changes. And God does a miraculous work. He does a forgiving work. He does a merciful work in people's lives. So we move the conversation to the one that matters, the one thing that matters. We sang about it earlier. There's one thing that matters and it's the love of Christ. That's what matters. It's the love of Christ. Move to that one thing.

Ross Sawyers (43:49):
Verse 24, Jesus looked at him and said, how hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the Kingdom of God for it's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. This was blowing their minds, Jesus explaining this, because they believed that the rich were the ones that would actually go to Heaven and be with God. That if you were rich, you had the favor of God on you. That's what they believed. Now they're all standing around saying, oh no, if a wealthy person can't get into Heaven, how am I going to get in? I don't have any money. If they can't, how do I get in? And so they asked the question. It's a logical question. Who can be saved? And this is what Jesus said. He said, the things that are impossible with people are possible with God.

Ross Sawyers (44:35):
The things are impossible with people. People can't change each other's hearts. Only God can change the heart. Every time a child says yes to Jesus, our hearts ought to explode in celebration because that is a full-on miracle and it's only possible because God changed the heart. Anytime an external, hypocritical, religious person sees Jesus. We ought to celebrate and our hearts ought to burst because that is a miracle that that person can trust Jesus. Anybody that has absolutely gone off the rails wild and they come back into a relationship and are rescued and come to God, that ought to be cause for celebration because only God can change the heart. We sang another song. Poor David. I kept calling him this. He said, hey, let's do this one and that one. I had him so changed up by the end of the week. I apologize to the worship team. But we sang that song. God is the God of possible. He's the one that changes hearts. He changes the heart of the wealthy and He changes the heart of the poor and He changes the heart of everybody in between. Timothy Keller said something about this passage that I'd missed.

Ross Sawyers (45:43):
There's two rich young rulers in this story. There's the one we've been thinking about primarily. Jesus is a rich young ruler. The difference is He did exactly what He was asking this man to do. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake, He became poor so that you and me through His poverty might become rich. He is waiting to pile on an infinite wealth of mercy and grace and love. And He secured it for us at the cross. What's that one thing? Some villagers tell the story about trapping monkeys and the way they figured out to do it was to hollow out a coconut, tie it to a tree, put bananas and peanuts in it. And the monkeys would come. And they designed it in such a way that the monkey gets fist into the coconut. But as soon as it let go and grabbed the banana or the peanuts, couldn't get it out.

Ross Sawyers (47:12):
And the monkey would not let go of the food. Trapped every time. That's what that one thing does to us when we clench our fist around it. We're trapped, trapped. The only way is to release and let it go. And we're free. And Jesus is the one that frees us. Terry Looper discovered that when he was at his health's end. He started going to counseling. He later trusted Jesus for his salvation. Somebody asked him, said, but we already thought you knew Jesus? He goes, no, I was just really accomplished at religious activity. But he missed Jesus. Totally changed his life. He went to God and he said, I'm yours. The rest of my life, I'll do things your way. And God taught him some principles. One of the things he did, he started a new business. He and everybody else only worked 40 hours a week, no sales goals, and it's a billion dollar business today.

Ross Sawyers (48:44):
What he talked about though principally is he learned to get neutral. I love that idea coming from him. And what he meant by that is this. I had to take all my decisions to the Lord. And I had to wait, if that was days or weeks or months, whatever it was, until I was neutral. Neutral means I no longer had any emotion tied to it. He said, I'm a people pleaser so that'll be my tendency. So I had to get to a place of being neutral before God so that I could hear Him and know what it is He's saying to me and then walk in what it is that He's saying. That's a good word for us today. Why don't we get neutral for a little bit here? And let's be willing to ask God, not just how to have these kinds of conversations, but is there one thing that's keeping me from giving my whole life to Jesus?

Ross Sawyers (49:47):
Is that what CS Lewis said? Is it control? Or are we in danger of being like Demas, following Jesus but there's this one thing over here that it got my attention and I've got it, I'm not quite willing to let it go. Will you let it go today? The freedom is in the Good Teacher, Jesus Himself. Father, thank you for the power and strength of your Word, the stories that you tell and give us. Lord, I pray in my own heart that you continue to reveal to me that one thing that unfortunately is usually more than one thing. But God, I pray today if there's any that there's just one thing that is keeping them from you, God, will you help them to let go? And then Father, for those who know you today, I pray that if there's one thing that has got us trapped right now, will you in your power loosen our grip for us so that we might be free? Free in Jesus. Let's be quiet before Him.

Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
Read More

Next in this Series

View all in this series
121 Community Church
2701 Ira E Woods Ave.
Grapevine, Texas 76051