What Must I Do to Inherit Eternal Life?
Crosspoint – Dave Spooner – Nov. 21st, 2021
- The message this morning flows from the most critical question of our whole existence. “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” How you answer this question will determine your eternity and shape how you live on this earth. A religious lawyer asked Jesus this question, and this morning, we will focus on this passage to find the answer. This passage is familiar to most of us, and it is important for us to reexamine this passage, remember what it says, and reapply this truth to our lives. I am asking that God give us fresh ears, fresh eyes, and open hearts this morning. Before you turn to the passage, I have asked Lee to tell us the story.
What must I do to inherit eternal life?
- This question was asked of Jesus two times in the book of Luke. The first time is in our passage today Luke 10:25-37, and the second time was by a “rich young ruler” in Luke 18:18-30. In answering this question, and ours as well, Jesus addresses our hearts that underlie our questions when He interacts with us. In the case of the rich young ruler, Jesus gets to his heart and reveals that this man loved his riches more than God and people. And in our passage for today, this lawyer loved his religion more than God and people.
- This question that is asked is a good one, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” because it is a question about eternity. However, how the question was asked reveals the worldview of those who asked it. They believed that eternal life would be earned by how they lived. This is the same way the majority of the people in our world think about this question still today, that eternal life can be earned.
Luke 10:25 NIV
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
- This is the morality scale. “If one’s good works outweigh the bad works, then you are in.” Many today think about eternity in this way, and perhaps you do as well.
- Because Jesus knew this lawyer was trying to trap Him in the law, Jesus asked this man how he read the law.
What does the law say?
Luke 10:26-29 NIV
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
- If you want to “justify yourself,” you must live the law perfectly summed up in “loving the Lord and loving your neighbor.” Jesus told him, “you know the answer according to the law, alright go do it.” The problem with this answer is that no one can do this because no one loves like this because no one has a pure heart.
Rom 3:23 ESV
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
- The glory of God is His perfection. And His perfection is measured by His perfect love. And His perfect love requires justice. And His justice spares no one who does not love perfectly. This is what the law demands, and this is what the law says.
- The law reveals us – the gospel heals us.
What does the gospel say?
Rom 3:23-24 ESV
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
- Justification is only by His grace. It is a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
- All have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. There is no one righteous besides Jesus, who is the righteous one, the only one who lived perfectly. People ask the question, “why do bad things happen to good people?” This question only applies to one person, Jesus, who is the only truly good person, and this happened because of love. The question that applies to us is, “why do good things happen to bad people?” This also is because of love, given to us by grace through faith (Eph. 2:98-10).
Rom 10:9 ESV
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
- If you confess with your mouth that “Jesus is Lord,” not that he is moral, or good, or a prophet, but that He is “Lord,” the King and ruler of your life, and if you believe in your heart that Jesus indeed rose from the dead, that He is God and redemption is from Him, you will be saved. There is an interior faith (belief) dementated and an exterior expression (confess with your mouth). This is where faith and works combine, and this is possession of faith and expression of faith.
- Jesus told the story of the good Samaritan to answer the question, “who is my neighbor?” This story answers by asking a better question. The question asked was, “who is my neighbor.” The question given through the story was, “are you a neighbor?” The right question is not “who are you responsible for?” but “who are you?” Because what we do flows from who we are. What we do is important as an expression of who we are. We love not to gain eternal life; we do so because we have been given eternal life.
What do we do now?
- Believe in the gospel – I urge you to place your faith in Him today or renew your faith in Him today.
- Live by the gospel – We do this not to gain eternal life; we do this because we have been given eternal life. How we live is an expression of who we are. We need God’s grace and forgiveness to do this every day. And this story shows us how we can show our love of God by loving our neighbor as ourselves. Here is the guts of it:
Luke 10:33-34 NIV
But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.
- See people – who are they really, and what do they truly need? Most of us look at people, but God asks us to see them. Not to avoid them and walk to the “other side,” but to see them for who they truly are. We need God’s heart to do this.
- Have pity – this is sympathy for their plight and situation by putting yourselves in their shoes (after you have seen them). This is action motivated by compassion. Allow yourself to be moved by the story of others.
- Heal wounds – in whatever forms these wounds come, physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually.
- Provide for needs – in whatever way God has equipped you to do. You can’t do everything for everybody, but you can do something for somebody.
- These were the things given as an example. We are to “go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37b).
Conclusion and Communion
- So, this is the challenge for you today: believe in the gospel and then live by the gospel. The “believe in the gospel” part I am asking you to do today, either for the first time or by renewing your faith. Then the “live by the gospel” part is to look for ways starting this thanksgiving week to do this for your family and those in your “neighborhood.”