The Text

Mark 10:23–27 (CSB)
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”

24 The disciples were astonished at his words. Again Jesus said to them, “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 a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

26 They were even more astonished, saying to one another, “Then who can be saved?”

27 Looking at them, Jesus said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God, because all things are possible with God.”

The Devotion

You and I cannot come into the kingdom of God by being in the right family.

You and I cannot come into the kingdom of God by ascending to power.

You and I cannot come into the kingdom of God by playing with any sin.

You and I cannot come into the kingdom of God by being in the right church or right denomination or right sect or the right cult.

You and I cannot come into the kingdom of God by listening to the right preachers, reading the right books, or attending the right schools.

You and I cannot come into the kingdom of God by living a good moral life, being kind to one another, giving to one another, and loving one another.

You and I cannot come into the kingdom of God by doing all the right things and doing so perfectly.

You and I cannot come into the kingdom of God by being righteous.

Luke 5:27-32 (CSB) After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, “Follow me.” So, leaving everything behind, he got up and began to follow him. Then Levi hosted a grand banquet for him at his house. Now there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others who were reclining at the table with them. But the Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus replied to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a doctor, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Our best efforts are not good enough to be in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:20 (CSB) For I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.

Our righteousness–our self-righteousness–is like vomit compared the scribes and Pharisees. We love to bag on the scribes and Pharisees because they were trapped in their own legalism. But as much Christ called them to repent, he also said, “They are more righteous than you. But for you to be in the kingdom of God, you have to be more righteous than they are.”

Some of you will hear this and think, “Oh, that means I can work harder and better.” And guess what, you are going to come up short.

And some of you will hear this and think, “I can’t do it. I give up. It is too hard. Why even bother?”

And Christ speaks to you both:

Matthew 11:28-30 (CSB) “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

What is his yoke? What is his burden that he wants to give you?

2 Corinthians 5:21 (CSB) He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

You can just go for something better. You got to get something perfect if you want to be saved.

Christ is our righteousness. Christ is our perfection. Christ is our Lord. Christ is our King. Christ is our God.

Choose on this day of whom you will serve. Right now, choose.

The Discussion

1. Did God make it easy or difficult to get into the kingdom?
2. How does Christianity compare to other faiths in terms of good works?
3. Are our good works actually good even when our hearts far from good? Can good works be done in sin?
4. Is there anybody whose good works got them to heaven? Then why would it be different for us?

The Prayer from the Psalms

Psalm 5 (CSB)
For the choir director: with the flutes. A psalm of David.

1 Listen to my words, LORD; consider my sighing.

2 Pay attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for I pray to you.

3 In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I plead my case to you and watch expectantly.

4 For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil cannot dwell with you.

5 The boastful cannot stand in your sight; you hate all evildoers.

6 You destroy those who tell lies; the LORD abhors violent and treacherous people.

7 But I enter your house by the abundance of your faithful love; I bow down toward your holy temple in reverential awe of you.

8 LORD, lead me in your righteousness because of my adversaries; make your way straight before me.

9 For there is nothing reliable in what they say; destruction is within them; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongues.

10 Punish them, God; let them fall by their own schemes. Drive them out because of their many crimes, for they rebel against you.

11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them shout for joy forever. May you shelter them, and may those who love your name boast about you.

12 For you, LORD, bless the righteous one; you surround him with favor like a shield.

My King and my God,
My heart grieves. My soul groans. I am in need of your Spirit.

My own pride has kept me far from you. My own arrogance has caused you to look away. Yet, I am in need of your holiness—the very thing that keeps me far is the very thing that keeps me close.

Clean my lips.
Give me your heart.
Remove this poison from my throat. Smooth the rawness and ease the pain.

Let me speak life into everyone and everything around me.
I don’t want my tongue to be a filthy dagger. I want it to be a tool that lifts the lowly to godly; sin to righteous; and hopelessness to joy everlasting.

Oh Lord, teach me your songs.
Let me learn the songs you sing over me. I will gladly sing them over your people.

Cover me. Protect me. Keep me in your hands.

In your Son’s mighty name I pray,
Amen.

The Media

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