Sabbath School Lesson 10 - Hindrances to Following the Master

Sabbath, December 8, 2018

“The ruler’s possessions were entrusted to him that he might prove himself a faithful steward; he was to dispense these goods for the blessing of those in need. So God now entrusts men with means, with talents and opportunities, that they may be His agents in helping the poor and the suffering. He who uses his entrusted gifts as God designs becomes a co-worker with the Saviour….” –Conflict and Courage, p. 300.

Life principles

1. What searching question did a young ruler ask the great Teacher one day? In what did the man seem genuinely interested?

Luke 18:18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

Mark 10:17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?

“There is a great work for us to do if we would inherit eternal life. We are to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and live a life of righteousness…. There is no salvation for us except in Jesus, for it is through faith in Him that we receive power to become the sons of God. But it is not merely a passing faith, it is faith that works the works of Christ…. Living faith makes itself manifest by exhibiting a spirit of sacrifice and devotion toward the cause of God. Those who possess it stand under the banner of Prince Emmanuel and wage a successful warfare against the powers of darkness. They stand ready to do whatsoever their Captain commands. Each one is exhorted to be ‘an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity’ (1 Timothy 4:12), for we are to ‘live soberly, righteously, and godly’ in this present evil world, representing the character of Christ, and manifesting His spirit….” –That I May Know Him, p. 316.

2. Why did Jesus say that only One is good? What principles was the young man urged to keep with all his heart?

Luke 18:19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.

Matthew 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

“Jesus desired to test the ruler’s sincerity, and to draw from him the way in which he regarded Him as good. Did he realize that the One to whom he was speaking was the Son of God? What was the true sentiment of his heart?

“This ruler had a high estimate of his own righteousness. He did not really suppose that he was defective in anything, yet he was not altogether satisfied. He felt the want of something that he did not possess. Could not Jesus bless him as He blessed the little children, and satisfy his soul want?” –A Call to Stand Apart, p. 14.

Principles of the law

3. In His reply, why did Jesus mention only certain commandments? With whom do these sacred precepts have to do? What is specifically required in the commandments relating to one’s neighbors?

Mark 10:19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.

Matthew 19:18, 19 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 19Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

“It is unsafe to trust to feelings or impressions; these are unreliable guides. God’s law is the only correct standard of holiness. It is by this law that character is to be judged. If an inquirer after salvation were to ask, ‘What shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ the modern teachers of sanctification would answer, ‘Only believe that Jesus saves you.’ But when Christ was asked this question He said, ‘What is written in the law? how readest thou?’ And when the questioner replied, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,… and thy neighbour as thyself,’ Jesus said, ‘Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.’ Luke 10:25-29.

“True sanctification will be evidenced by a conscientious regard for all the commandments of God, by a careful improvement of every talent, by a circumspect conversation, by revealing in every act the meekness of Christ.” –Faith and Works, pp. 52, 53.

4. Why was the young man unmoved by the Saviour’s listing of the commandments concerning one’s neighbor, asserting that he was guiltless in those things?

Luke 18:21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.

Matthew 19:20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

“The young man answered without hesitation, ‘All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?’ His conception of the law was external and superficial. Judged by a human standard, he had preserved an unblemished character. To a great degree his outward life had been free from guilt; he verily thought that his obedience had been without a flaw. Yet he had a secret fear that all was not right between his soul and God. This prompted the question, ‘What lack I yet?’ ” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 391.

5. What is the foundation and fulfillment of the holy law? How do these principles contradict the young man’s assertion that he had kept the commandments for his entire life?

Romans 13:9, 10 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

“The character of God is expressed in His law; and in order for you to be in harmony with God, the principles of His law must be the spring of your every action….” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 391.

“The law of God, from its very nature, is unchangeable. It is a revelation of the will and the character of its Author. God is love, and His law is love. Its two great principles are love to God and love to man. ‘Love is the fulfilling of the law.’ Romans 13:10. The character of God is righteousness and truth; such is the nature of His law. Says the psalmist: ‘Thy law is the truth:’ ‘all Thy commandments are righteousness.’ Psalm 119:142, 172. And the apostle Paul declares: ‘The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.’ Romans 7:12. Such a law, being an expression of the mind and will of God, must be as enduring as its Author.” –The Great Controversy, p. 467.

6. What did Jesus instruct this young ruler to do to become His follower? In doing this, was He asking more from him than He does from others?

Luke 18:22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.

Matthew 19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

Mark 10:21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

“Thousands are passing through this ordeal, weighing Christ against the world; and many choose the world. Like the young ruler, they turn from the Saviour, saying in their hearts, I will not have this Man as my leader…. All should consider what it means to desire heaven, and yet to turn away because of the conditions laid down. Think of what it means to say ‘No’ to Christ. The ruler said, No, I cannot give You all. Do we say the same?…

“To those who, like the young ruler, are in high positions of trust and have great possessions, it may seem too great a sacrifice to give up all in order to follow Christ. But this is the rule of conduct for all who would become His disciples. Nothing short of obedience can be accepted. Self-surrender is the substance of the teachings of Christ.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 523.

The obstacle of riches

7. When Jesus asked the other disciples to leave their current situations, how did they respond? But when the rich young man received the call to become one of the Saviour’s disciples, was he willing to practice self-
denial and follow Him? How would we respond if we were in that position?

Luke 18:23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.

Mark 10:22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

Matthew 19:22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

“The lover of self is a transgressor of the law. This Jesus desired to reveal to the young man, and He gave him a test that would make manifest the selfishness of his heart. He showed him the plague spot in his character. The young man desired no further enlightenment. He had cherished an idol in the soul; the world was his god. He professed to have kept the commandments, but he was destitute of the principle which is the very spirit and life of them all. He did not possess true love for God or man. This want was the want of everything that would qualify him to enter the kingdom of heaven. In his love of self and worldly gain he was out of harmony with the principles of heaven.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 392.

For additional study

“God sees how strong man’s inclination is to accumulate earthly treasure, and in the highways and byways of life His voice is heard saying, ‘What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?’ Mark 8:36. ‘Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’ Matthew 6:19-21.” –This Day with God, p. 30.