I’ve always been intrigued by things that seem IMPOSSIBLE, like sneezing with your eyes open, eating just one potato chip (especially Doritos), or a Washington D.C. Sports team winning in the 21st century! (come on Wizards and NATS, this is the year!)
- Parents, ever feel like making it through the day is IMPOSSIBLE!
- Maybe you’re in a relationship that feels IMPOSSIBLE to reconcile!
- Or like me, your bills are piled up and it feels IMPOSSIBLE to get ahead!
- Or like many, you’re struggling with the same vice, addiction, or bad habit that seems IMPOSSIBLE to get rid of!
Let me encourage you… God loves to turn OUR impossibilities into HIS possibilities.
Yesterday I preached from Mark 10 at Restoration Church, our new church plant in Gaithersburg, MD. HERE is the audio, I hope it’s a blessing to you, especially if you’re facing what feels like an IMPOSSIBLE situation!
Below are my sermon notes. I’d love to hear from you, comment below or send me a message.
*In my research for this sermon, I used Pastor Brian Bill’s (of Edgewood Baptist Church) outline from his sermon called “Why It’s Hard To Get To Heaven.”
There was a wealthy first-century celebrity whose story is recorded in Mark 10. The problem wasn’t that he had great wealth… great wealth had him!
Mark 10:17-22 NIV
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
This man was sincere, moral and upright, he highly valued relationships, and was a man of respect! But in the end he loved himself and his wealth more than God… TRAGIC!
Let’s be clear, Jesus is NOT against people having money, even great wealth. There are many examples in both OT and NT of wealthy people who loved the Lord and were used greatly by God.
As the disciples watched and listened to this interaction, they were in a dilemma. They saw wealth as a sign of God’s blessing. It blew their minds that this wealthy celebrity was allowed to just walk away from Jesus. Maybe they thought Jesus was making a mistake!
There are a few key principles Jesus unpacked showing that God loves turning our impossibilities into His possibilities…
Salvation Is Nearly Impossible For The Rich (MARK 10:23)
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
What is it about wealth that makes it so difficult to follow Jesus… to enter His Kingdom?
Pastor and Author Randy Alcorn posted an interesting article recently entitled: “Lottery Winner Says Winning ‘Has Ruined My Life.’” This is what he wrote:
“One of the great ironies of gambling is that the vast majority of people lose money, while the few who win discover money doesn’t make them happy—and often it actually ruins their lives! One study reported that, ‘six months after winning the lottery, you are likely to be no happier than if you had been paralyzed in a car crash.’”
In 2013, Jane Park, then 17, won $1.2 million in the EuroMillions lottery. Now 21, Jane was recently considering taking legal action for what she calls negligence, claiming that a person her age shouldn’t have been allowed to win. (She has since dropped her plans for a lawsuit.)
“At times it feels like winning the lottery has ruined my life…I thought it would make it 10 times better but it’s made it 10 times worse…I have material things but apart from that my life is empty. What is my purpose in life?”
Yet when asked if she’s ever considered ridding herself of the money that has brought such misery, her answer was an incredulous, “What?”
Did you know that there are more verses in the Bible about money than about Heaven and Hell combined? The Bible has fewer than 300 verses on prayer, less than 500 on faith, yet over 2,000 verses that deal with wealth and possessions! Of the 38 parables Jesus told, 16 of them are about money.
The inescapable conclusion is that our relationship with our STUFF is a big deal to God. There really is no way to separate faith and finances.
1. God owns everything and I am his money manager. When I honor God with my wealth I am declaring that He owns me, and everything that I have.
2. My heart always goes where I put God’s money. We tend to think that our money follows our heart but Jesus said it’s the other way around in Matt 6:21 – “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Money leads; hearts follow.
When our treasures, our money and our stuff, have us, it’s nearly IMPOSSIBLE to see our need. But oh how God loves to turn our impossibilities into His possibilities!
Notice what happens next in Mark 10…
It’s Nearly Impossible For Anyone To Be Saved (MARK 10:24-27 )
24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
The disciples “… were amazed at his words…” Jesus was messing with their theology. He used an unforgettable illustration to make His point that salvation is impossible on our own. It’s easier for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle!
Talk about impossible! Jesus wanted us to think of a literal camel, the largest animal in Israel at that time, and a sewing needle, w/a small opening at the top for thread. The picture is absurd, right? There’s no way a huge camel could fit through the eye of a needle! And that’s his point.
God loves to turn our impossibility into His possibility.
The disciples were dumbfounded by this description. v. 26: “And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, ‘Then who can be saved?’” There minds were blown! The assumption was that the rich were the ones blessed by God… so if they were out, who is left to be saved?
BUT JESUS… ‘With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.’
God loves to turn our impossibility into His possibility.
Check out how our story today ends… probably not how you think it would…
The Incredible Rewards Of Following Jesus (MARK 10:28-29)
Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”
29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Peter, Andrew, James and John left their fishing franchise to follow Jesus. Matthew bolted from this tax booth. Simon the Zealot gave up his revolutionary ways. Everyone left something.
Jesus calls us to leave much behind to follow Him. There’s a cross to carry and much to sacrifice. But notice how Jesus #ChallengedTheNorm and presented some incredible benefits of following Him…
- New relationships. The church… locally and globally! Can’t be connected to Jesus and disconnected to His bride, the Church He loved so much that He gave Himself for her.
Some are disowned by family and friends because we follow Jesus. At times it can feel lonely. But check this out… the church is your new family (father and mother and brother and sister)! Anywhere in the world there is a church, we have family there too!
- New rejections. Blessings come, but battles come too… v. 30: “…with persecutions.” Properly understood, persecution is also a blessing as Jesus said in Matt 5:10-12: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
We’re so far from this sometimes aren’t we? I saw a post on Facebook recently that captures a common sentiment: “You’re ruining my day, Starbucks! Out of chai!”
- New rewards. We receive new relationships and rejection in the here and now, BUT there are also rewards that are not yet: “…in the age to come eternal life.” This is a promise you can count on.
Jesus ended with a strong #ChallengeToTheNorm… “But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Jesus rules an upside-down Kingdom … The humble are exalted, mourners are comforted and losers are keepers!
Let’s make this personal, so we’re not just hearers, but we’re doers of the Word…
Let’s confess the IMPOSSIBILITIES of our lives and claim the promises of God, who loves to turn them into HIS POSSIBILITIES…
- Are you faced with something right now that seems impossible? Remember what Abraham was asked in Gen 18:14: “Is anything too hard for the LORD?”
- Is there an impossible relationship, friend, significant other, spouse, child… Jer 32:27: “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?”
- Do you have an impossible situation going on at school or at work? Rom 8:31: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
- Have you, or a loved one, received some bad health news recently? In Mark 9:23 Jesus tells the father of the young man who was demon possessed: “All things are possible for one who believes.”
- Are your finances unraveling? Jer 32:17: “Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.”
God wants to turn your IMPOSSIBILITY into HIS POSSIBILITY… His arms are open wide, wherever you are, run into His gracious, merciful, and good arms, allowing Him to do what only He can do.
This is GOOD NEWS!