Matthew 19 is about getting our values straight, about valuing most what is most valuable. The main point of the chapter is this: Only when one prizes Christ and his kingdom above all things does one begin to properly value anything. Only then do things such as money, marriage, and children assume their proper places. Only then will marriage and children—things that require great personal investment and sacrifice, and which our modern world therefore disdains—be appreciated as things of great value. Only then will wealth, always one of the greatest idols in any age, be put in its proper place as a servant and not a master. Wealth, more than anything, fuels man’s delusions of self-sufficiency. Wealth, therefore, is a powerful temptation toward the worship of man in both of its primary forms—worship of the individual and worship of the secular state. This is what Jesus is getting at when he says it is more difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. (Mat 19.23-24.) Jesus is talking about the relative impossibility of two impossible things, with one being even more impossible. That may not make sense logically, but it sure gets the point across. It is impossible for anyone to enter the kingdom of God apart from God doing the impossible. The disciples pick up on the point. They don’t ask Jesus, “How then can a rich man be saved?”, but “How can anyone be saved?”(Mat 19.25.) It is impossible for a man to be saved; it is even more impossible for a rich man to be saved. Sinners are deluded; rich sinners are even more deluded. (Luke 12.19-20; 2 Cor 4.4; 2 Tim 2.26; James 1.11.) But God is the God of the impossible. That is why he sent his Son—to do the impossible—to save sinners who cannot be saved. And when he saves us, he begins to change us so that we do the impossible—we value most what is most valuable. I hope you enjoy the sermon. Thanks for listening. —Alan Burrow
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