Lesson 22 - The Foolishness of Trusting in Riches

    Suggested Bible Reading: Mark Chapter 10, Luke Chapter 16

    The greatest question that a person must answer while they are living on this earth, is the question of what will happen to me when I die? Is there life after death? Is there a real place called heaven? Is there a real place called hell? How will I make it to heaven? How will I stay out of hell? Many people try to ignore these questions and think only about living this present life. People are consumed with making money, getting nice things, and doing whatever is necessary to survive and make themselves happy in this life. Many times, Jesus warned us not to make the mistake of ignoring these questions. The Bible says in Mark 8:36, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

    What Does It Mean to Trust Jesus?

    Jesus used many different illustrations to teach us what it means to believe on Him for salvation. The Bible says in Mark 10:13-15, “And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.”

    The disciples did not think that Jesus would want to take time to show love and care for little children. However, Jesus loves children. He wanted them to believe his Word and trust him, too. We are all born sinners and under the power of Satan and death. The only way for any of us to be rescued is by putting our trust in Jesus as our Savior.

    Those who are not willing to come to God and trust in him like a little child will not enter Heaven. A little baby loves to be held in your arms. He's not afraid of being dropped. He trusts you to hold him and take care of him. When you were a baby, you believed whatever your parents told you. You didn't try to figure things out for yourself, but as you grew older, you became more independent.

    God did not design us to be independent of him. God made us so that we would know, love, and obey him. As sinners, we cannot do that. We are servants to the desires of sin in our wicked hearts. We are naturally independent and self-centered. Jesus Christ came to save sinners. He said that we must be born again. Just as it is impossible for anyone to bring about his own physical birth, so it is impossible for us to bring about our own spiritual birth. God alone is able to give us new life. Only he can save us from our sins.

    The only way to be delivered from your sins is to surrender your life to Jesus Christ and ask Him to deliver you and forgive you. You may find it difficult to accept the simplicity of the Gospel because we are naturally independent and want to be in control of everything that happens to us. That is why Jesus said we must come to him like a little child. Many people will go to the Lake of Fire because they simply will not trust God. When a person humbles himself and believes God like a little child, God will accept that person into Heaven.

    The Rich Young Ruler

    The Bible says in Mark 10:17-20, “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? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. 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. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.”

    This young man thought he could be accepted with God because he was such a good person. He thought that by doing good things he could be good enough to deserve eternal life. This man was like Cain, who thought that he could bring his own offering to God and that he would be accepted by God. But God did not accept Cain because he brought his own kind of offering, instead of following God’s instructions.

    This young man did not understand that no one can ever be good enough to please God. He did not realize that God is the only one who is good. When Jesus answered him, he was not denying that he was good or that he was not God, but he wanted the man to realize that no ordinary man is good. If this man believed Jesus was good, then he should also have realized that Jesus was God, because the only one who is good is God.

    This man did not want to admit that he was born a sinner and under Satan's control. Therefore, he could never perfectly obey God's laws. He did not really want to be honest about the sin in his life. He had broken every one of God’s laws, some of them outwardly, and some of them in his heart. Jesus already taught the meaning of the Law by explaining that if a person simply hates another person in his heart, that he has committed murder. If a man looks at a woman and desires her, he has committed adultery in the heart. God does not judge a person according to his outward acts alone. God gave the Ten Commandments to prove to every person that all have sinned and come short of God's standard of righteousness. You may think that you are a good person and that you do not deserve to go to the Lake of Fire, but you too have broken many of God’s laws, many times.

    The Bible says in Mark 10:21-22, “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. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.”

    Jesus knew that the man was covetous and loved his riches more than he loved his neighbors. Jesus was trying to show him that he had broken God's law which says that we must love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves. Jesus wanted him to admit that he was a sinner and needed a Savior. Jesus was trying to help this young man realize that he had made his money more important than God. This man chose his riches and turned away from eternal life with God. He loved his money more than God. The rich and poor are the same in God's sight. No one is able to take their money with them when they die.

    The Rich Man and Lazarus

    Jesus told the following true story because he wants us to realize that our relationship with God is far more important that the riches of this world. Even if a man had all the wealth in the world, it would be no benefit to him if he would go to the Lake of Fire. Believing God and having everlasting life is of far more value than being rich in this life.

    The Bible says in Luke 16:19-24, “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.”

    The rich man had everything he wanted. Did his riches keep him from dying? Were his riches any benefit to him after he died? When people die they either go directly to be with God in Heaven, or they go to Hell. Lazarus was accepted by God and went to Heaven, but the rich man went to Hell, where there is eternal suffering.

    Lazarus did not go to Heaven because he was poor on earth. Lazarus went to heaven because he agreed with God that he was a sinner and trusted in the promised Savior. The rich man did not go to hell because he was rich. The rich man went to Hell because he did not agree with God that he was a sinner and did not trust in the promised Savior to rescue him from Satan, sin, and death. He just lived his life on earth to enjoy his riches. He lived for himself and did not care about God.

    Abraham could not grant this rich man's request for Lazarus to dip his finger in water and cool his tongue. The Bible says in Luke 16:26, “And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.” Once a person dies and goes to Hell, there is no way he can be delivered. There is no way to escape. He will be there forever and ever. For all those who die without being accepted by God, they too will go to Hell. Those who die separated from God remain separated from God forever.

    Satan has really deceived people about living today. Most people believe that money, possessions, and health are more important than God. After two thousand years, Lazarus is still with God in Heaven, and the rich man is still in Hell suffering great pain. There is no changing places. They will be where they are forever and ever.

    Study Questions

    1. What is more important than preparing for where your soul will spend eternity?
    2. Jesus taught that you must trust Him as a trusts his parents if you want to make it to heaven.
    3. How much does a little child depend on his parents in order to survive?
    4. The rich young ruler thought that God would accept him into heaven because he was such a .
    5. Be honest. How many of God’s Ten Commandments do you think that you have broken?
    6. How many times do you have to break God’s Laws to be in trouble with Him?
    7. Believing God and having is of far more value than being rich in this life.
    8. Lazarus went to heaven because he was poor.
    9. A person that dies and goes to hell will never be able to get out.
    10. Why did the rich man die and go to hell?

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