This Sunday, Christmas Eve morning, we come to the end of our Fall series, “A Charge to Keep”. After many weeks of examining some of Jesus’ commands, it’s clearer than ever that there’s only one way to “keep”, “observe”, or “obey” all that Jesus has commanded us -and that’s to be more about Him and less about us.
Martin Luther once said that it’s neither us nor God who needs our good works, it’s our neighbors. He, of course, was right. Luther knew that any goodness or obedience that brings us into “lock-step” with Jesus never improves our standing with God or His devotion to us, but it does certainly redound to the benefit of others.
You say, “But how does anyone get better? How do we grow in grace? Paul answers that plainly and succinctly in II Corinthians 5:14 when he says, “For the love of God controls (constrains, motivates, changes) us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died…that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” What Paul is saying is that it is the kindness, the unconditional love of God that leads us to His throne and to our knees. If getting better is by “spit and elbow grease”, it won’t last. It doesn’t work. But, if you let Jesus love you, if you take yourself to His cradle and cross you and your desires will begin to fade and His beauty will grow to possess your heart.
This Sunday we will read Luke’s birth narrative as our companion text – Luke 2:1-7, but examining Mark 10:17-27. It’s the story of the rich young man who comes to Jesus.
It’s a text that most of you have read many times. However, in my experience I’ve never heard it read and preached on Christmas or Christmas Eve. That’s a shame, because it’s all about the how and the why of the incarnation.
In preparation for Sunday’s message entitled, “Go and Sell”, you may wish to consider the following:
- What do you know of the Fulton Street revival?
- Check out the parallel accounts of this encounter in Matthew and Luke.
- What additional detail do they offer?
- What parallels do you see with Luke 10:25-28?
- Why does the man run to Jesus?
- Why does Jesus cite five commandments in answering the man’s question?
- What does verse 20 tell us about this man’s self-concept?
- Why does Jesus command him to go and sell all that he has?
- What’s Jesus mean in verse 27?
- Why does Mark add the detail in verse 21(a)?