Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XXXIX: Putting The Value Of Material Possessions In Its Proper Place
(Mark 10:17-31)
  1. Introduction
    1. It is a fact that in today's world, we must use material possessions and money to make and preserve a livelihood. Food, housing, transportation, health--all of these things take material means for survival.
    2. However, there is a danger in coming to depend upon wealth as our source of survival when in reality there is an entirely different Entity that is behind even wealth's provisions. Jesus tells us of this challenge :
  2. Putting The Value Of Material Possessions In Its Proper Place, Mark 10:17-31.
    1. Jesus said it was easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye than for a rich man to enter heaven, 10:25.
    2. The basis for this claim is that people who depend upon wealth itself for gaining divine blessings cannot enter into the kingdom of God, for they don't trust God, but trust what wealth can bring, Mark 10:24.
    3. To expound on this truth, we look at the preceding context where Jesus spoke with a rich man as follows:
      1. A rich man had come to Jesus, asking, "Good Master, what shall I do" to "inherit eternal life?", 10:17.
      2. Jesus had responded that only One Being is Good, and He is GOD. In saying so, Jesus refuted a tendency in this man to believe that men are innately good, a concept of self-righteousness that cannot allow for the need for faith in God that it takes to be saved, Mark 10:18 versus Ep. 2:8-9.
      3. The cause for this rich man's belief in self-help righteousness was a tendency to view life as capable of being manipulated for happiness, a view caused by means of his exposure to wealth, Mk. 10:19-22:
        1. Jesus explained why He jumped on the word "Good" when the rich man called Jesus "Good Master": Christ told the man he needed to heed the Law perfectly to be qualified to enter heaven, Mark 10:19.
        2. Since the man felt he was upright in the Law, Jesus had to show how his dependence on wealth was actually a sin, a sin of covetousness in that he hoarded wealth as his source of fulfillment instead of looking to God for it, Mark 10:20- 21.
        3. When Jesus revealed the rich man's inability to part with his wealth due to his dependence upon it for fulfillment, he exposed a self-help mentality of righteousness that convicted the man of sin, 10:22.
        4. Thus, this man's exposure to what wealth could do for him by his own efforts had spawned a self-help mentality of righteousness that actually inhibited real faith necessary for justification.
    4. The disciples then stated that it was impossible for men to be saved if rich men could not enter heaven: Jesus responded with the truth He was meaning to apply to all, that self-help is out, but faith in God who alone can save man is the way for salvation, Mark 10:26-27.
    5. On the proper side of the equation, Peter responded that he was not depending upon wealth for fulfillment, but had left all to follow Jesus, Mark 10:28. Jesus responded that with the dependence upon God and not wealth, Peter and all l ike him could be given many possessions for use as they then knew how to use it to God's glory, Mark 10:29. The exposure to such possessions is fulfilled when the Church is formed, and God moves upon the hearts of His people to provide ample material possessions by way of voluntary giving of believers to help other believers' needs, Mark 10: 29-30 with Acts 4:34-35.
Lesson: (1) Depending upon material possessions to get our needs met can turn into idolatry as we look to wealth itself as a god to produce happiness rather than looking to God Who graciously supplies us the wealth to provide a living, c f. 1 Tim. 6:17. (2) On the other hand, if we look to GOD to meet possession needs we have for survival, He supplies bountifully all we need for living as we no longer see wealth as a self-help means for life, but a means to an end supplied by trusting Him.

Application: (1) If we are looking to wealth itself for fulfillment, we are involved in a self-help mentality that opposes faith in God, and that opposes the gospel and shuts us off from God's gracious spiritual provisions. (2) On the other hand, if we are looking in faith to God for fulfillment, we will be afforded all sorts of material goods by God through other believers to achieve the Father's will on earth as we no longer are idolators. (3) We must seek to get unsaved hearers away from self-he lp views to see their need for total faith in God for salvation if they would be saved.