The Fruit of the HOLY SPIRIT
Podcast Episode: The Fruit of the HOLY SPIRIT – GOODNESS #6
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, AND SELF-CONTROL. There is no law against these things.” [Galatians 5:22-23 NLT]
The Rich Man
In Luke 18:18-30 NLT says, “18 Once a religious leader asked Jesus this question: “Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “Only God is truly good. 20 But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother.’” 21 The man replied, “I’ve carefully obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” 22 When Jesus heard his answer, he said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 23 But when the man heard this he became sad, for he was very rich. 24 When Jesus saw this, he said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! 25 In fact, 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!”
26 Those who heard this said, “Then who in the world can be saved?” 27 He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.” 28 Peter said, “We’ve left our homes to follow you.”
29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, 30 will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.”
Let’s meditate and study these verses starting in Verses 18-19 > This religious leader addressed our Lord Jesus Christ as good teacher (not the more common “rabbi”) and eagerly asked a question about what he should do to get eternal life. He viewed eternal life as something that a person could achieve or earn through certain works or good deeds, and he wanted to make sure that he did everything necessary.
Instead of answering the man’s question, our Lord Jesus Christ first took issue with the way the man addressed Him. This may have been no more than a flippant attempt at flattery, but our Lord Jesus Christ forced the man to think about it. Because only God is truly good, the man had made a statement about our Lord Jesus Christ that he probably did not even realize. By asking this question, our Lord Jesus Christ was saying, “Do you really know the one to whom you are talking?” The man was correct in calling our Lord Jesus Christ good for He was good and also God.
In Verses 20-22 says, regarding the man’s question, our Lord Jesus Christ at first pointed him back to the commandments (meaning the Ten Commandments). Our Lord Jesus Christ listed only five of them – those dealing with human relationships. He did not list any of the first four commandments that deal with a person’s relationship to God. All of the ones listed could be easily identified – the man probably could honestly say that he had not committed adultery or murder, had not stolen or lied, and had honored his parents. To keep the letter of these laws would be relatively easy for a wealthy young Jewish man. Yet he still felt strongly that something was lacking in his life. So he asked if there were more he should do. The point is that even if a person could keep all these commandments perfectly, which this man claimed to have done, there would still be a lack of assurance of salvation.
In Verses 22-23 says, the man saying that he had kept all the commandments led our Lord Jesus Christ to focus on the man’s relationship to his material possessions (alluding to the last commandment not to covet) and on his relationship to God (the first four commandments that our Lord Jesus Christ had not mentioned). Our Lord Jesus perceived an area of weakness – his wealth – and so said that it was the money itself that was standing in the way of his reaching eternal life. So our Lord Jesus Christ told him to sell everything he owned, give away his money to the poor, and then follow Him. This challenge exposed the barrier that would keep this man out of the Kingdom: his love of money. Ironically, his attitude made him unable to keep the first commandment: “Do not worship any other gods besides me” (Exodus 20:3). The young man did not love God with his whole heart as he had presumed. In reality, his many possessions were his god.
The task of selling every possession would not, of itself, give the man eternal life. But such radical obedience would be the first step. The emphasis was not so much on “selling” as on “following.” Our Lord Jesus’ words to this rich young man were a test of his faith and his willingness to obey. The man thought he needed to do more; our Lord Jesus Christ explained that there was plenty more he could do but not in order to obtain eternal life. Instead, he needed an attitude adjustment toward his wealth; only then could he submit humbly to the lordship of our Lord Jesus Christ. By putting his treasure in heaven and following our Lord Jesus Christ along the road of selflessness and service to others, the man could be assured of his eternal destiny. But the young man became sad when he heard this.
Our Lord Jesus Christ does not ask all believers to sell everything they have. He does ask each person, however, to get rid of anything that has become more important than God. If your basis for security has shifted from God to what you own, you may need to get rid of those possessions.
In Verses 24 -25 says, that offered discipleship, the man chose to return to his possessions. Our Lord Jesus Christ sadly pointed out to his disciples that it is hard for rich people to get into the Kingdom of God. This was contrary to conventional wisdom. Most Jews believed that wealth was a sign of God’s blessing on people. Here our Lord Jesus Christ explained that riches can often prove to be a stumbling block. Rich people often don’t feel the deep spiritual hunger needed to seek out and find God. They can use their money to buy possessions, trips, and helpers so that they don’t perceive any needs in their lives. With all their advantages and influence, the rich often find it difficult to have the attitude of humility, submission, and service required by our Lord Jesus Christ. Because money represents power and success, the rich often miss out on the fact that power and success on earth cannot provide eternal salvation. Even if they use their money to help good causes, they can still miss out on God’s Kingdom.
Our Lord Jesus Christ used a well-known Jewish proverb to describe the difficulty faced by the rich; He said, “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.” The Greek word refers to a sewing needle. Our Lord Jesus’ image was for hyperbolic effect. The camel, the largest animal in Palestine, could get through the eye of a sewing needle easier than a rich person could get into God’s Kingdom. These are indeed sobering words for those whose money and possessions are extremely important to them.
In Verses 26-27 says, because the Jewish people saw riches as a sign of God’s special blessing, they were astounded when our Lord Jesus Christ said that riches actually worked against people finding God. So they asked, “Then who in the world can be saved?”
Our Lord Jesus Christ answered that what is impossible from a human perspective is possible with God. People cannot save themselves, no matter how much power, authority, or influence they buy. Salvation comes from God alone. Both rich and poor can be saved, and human impossibilities are divine possibilities. The rich need to hold their riches loosely, remembering that every penny comes from God. And they should willingly use what God has given to advance His Kingdom. This does not come easily for anyone, rich or poor. Money can be a major stumbling block, but God can change anyone.
In Luke 18 and in our last Verses 28-30 says Peter and the other disciples had paid a high price – leaving their homes and jobs – to follow our Lord Jesus Christ. They had done what the rich man had been unwilling to do. They had abandoned their former lives.
Our Lord Jesus Christ reminded Peter (as well as we as Born-Again Christian believers) that following Him has its benefits as well as its sacrifices. Any believer who has had to give up something to follow our Lord Jesus Christ will be repaid in this life as well as in the next. For example, if you must give up a secure job, you will find that God offers a secure relationship with Himself now and forever. If you must give up your family’s approval, you will gain the love of the family of God. For each person the sacrifice may be different, though no less difficult. No matter how much or how little you have, no matter how difficult the sacrifice may be, are you willing to do whatever it takes to have eternal life?
In most of our lives, there is contentment with grace. We needed it so badly when it found us. But having been saved by grace, we spend the rest of our redeemed lives walking around the law. The commandments seem so severe in our thinking. Before I was born-again on March 17, 1974 and experienced the love and forgiveness of God, I have this belief, the “big” mortal, and “small” (immortal) sins, but now I understand whether it’s big or small, we are all sinners and come short of the glory of God. The “big” commandments – killing, stealing, committing adultery – give us less trouble than the “small” ones – like bearing false testimony and coveting.
We all want to be saved with logic like this and cash in on grace by confessing some general sins while not getting too specific with regard to any of the commandments. Consider the case of the rich young ruler in Luke 18:18-30 stated above. He was better at avoiding sins of commission (things done wrong) than he was at sins of omission (things he should have been doing but wasn’t). He should have been serving the poor. He should have been giving his wealth to feed the hungry.
Materialism is not on the “big ten list” unless we group it under covetousness, which the rich young man didn’t do. But one thing must be said to commend this young man. He was comfortable with God’s law. Goodness is a hard word with which to feel comfortable. Is anyone really “good”? Still, if we could keep the commandments, we would be good – or at least we’d be better. But the commandments were not given to help us to be good or better. They were given to make us more righteous so that we could build a relationship with a holy God. If we are not comfortable with the commandments, are we really comfortable with the idea of wanting to be righteous? If we turn from righteousness, can we ever really relate to the holiness of God?
Let me encourage our brothers- and sisters-in-Christ, and I want my readers to be both strong in the faith and sensitive to others’ needs. Because all, we as Born-Again Christian believers are strong in certain areas and weak in others, we constantly need to monitor the effects of our behavior on others.
In these GOODNESS Series of Podcast, we will learn the PURPOSE of this fruit of the HOLY SPIRIT:
- Learn To Care How God Feels About Our Morality – Podcast Goodness #1
- To Have The Desire For Holiness – Podcast Goodness #2
- To Know That God Implanted Righteousness Into Our Lives Through Our Lord Jesus Christ – Podcast Goodness #3
- Learn To Imitate Our Lord Jesus Christ – Podcast Goodness #4
- The Virtue Of The Written Word Of God – Podcast Goodness #5
- To Be Contented With God’s Commandments – Podcast Goodness #6
If you are not sure that you are Born-Again Christian believer, please take a look of one of our ministries, “An Invitation To Meet Our Lord Jesus Christ” at https://homefellowshipchurches.org/an-invitation-to-meet-our-lord-jesus-christ/
Observation: What do these passages say to you?
Interpretation: What do these passages mean to you?
Application: How do the meaning of these passages apply to you or to your situation?
Suggested Prayer: Father God, we come into your presence in Jesus name, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Thank you Lord Jesus Christ for Your agape love and for the Holy Spirit as our Helper and Comforter. We cling, yield, plug-in and tune-in to you Holy Spirit to help us to understand God’s Words, receive Your divine revelation, know the Truth that sets us free, and obey them, in Jesus name, Amen!
God bless you all!